The Holy Grail of Getting Your Husband Involved in Homeschooling
Let me just say up front that my passion is showing dads how to be more involved in their families and especially in their homeschools. Now if I were writing to a bunch of men, I’d give them all kinds of practical ideas and thoughts on how to do that. But this time, I’m going to address all you moms who are reading this. After all, if a dad isn’t very involved, he probably isn’t going to be reading this article anyway.
I’m going to share with you the holy grail of homeschooling - how to get your husband more involved in your life, your family, and your homeschool. I can see you shaking your head in disbelief. But I’m serious. What I’m going to share with you has the power to transform your life, your marriage, and especially your homeschool.
Actually, it’s not all that difficult in theory. In fact, it all boils down to one very simple principle. I could be putting myself out of business by sharing it with you because it’s that simple. Are you ready for it?
Here it is:
Whenever your husband involves himself in any way...LET HIM.
You see, most of the time when a husband tries to help out, he gets told that he did it wrong, whether it’s loading the dishwasher, dressing the toddler, or picking something up for you at the store.
Consider this scenario for example: Your husband sees you struggling and feels guilty about the huge burden that you shoulder alone so he decides to try and help. Hoping to surprise you, he straightens up the schoolroom mess before he goes to bed so you can start the day with a spic-and-span homeschool area.
Thinking he has done something good, he excitedly waits for you to see the room the next morning. But instead of being appreciative, you complain that he messed things all up by putting stuff where it doesn’t belong ... “You put Josh’s books where Anna’s books should be. Where is my lesson plan? I can’t find anything!”
Now, guess what goes on in your husband’s head when he gets that kind of response?
He makes a mental note never to do that again. And he doesn’t.
Oh, but it’s not just about cleaning up the schoolroom. It applies to helping with the dishes, disciplining the children, leading family devotions, and a hundred other things. We husbands often quit involving ourselves because when we do you only point out how we did it wrong.
We pull out. We quit leading. We quit offering to help, and we sit on the couch and watch TV instead. It’s easier—and safer.
My own wife still does it to me sometimes. Before I got married, I thought I was smart and could do simple tasks like park the car, but after we got married, things changed. I’d pull into a parking space and my wife would say, “Why are you parking here?”
I looked at her like it was a trick question and answered, “Um, because it was empty?”
She just wanted me to park a little closer, but I felt like she thought I was dumb. It even got to the point that I’d freeze up when I got to a parking lot and had to check with my wife before I parked.
One time I was speaking to a large group of women in Massachusetts about this very thing and gave them the homework assignment of telling their husbands that they picked a good parking spot.
The very next day, a big guy walked up to me and said, “I don’t know what you told those women yesterday, but my wife told me this morning that I did a good job parking the car.”
He paused and then without a hint of a smile, he said, “It’ll never last.”
In short he was saying, “I can never do anything right in her eyes.”
Mom, let me say again, this is why husbands don’t get involved. We’ve learned that although you need our involvement, you don’t want our involvement, unless it’s done YOUR way—and we can’t always do it your way.
So here’s what you need to do. Whenever your husband involves himself in any way, shape, or form—LET HIM do it his way. I know I said that before, but it bears repeating.
So, if he cleans up the kitchen and puts things away in the wrong place, you say, “Thanks honey. I really appreciate you doing that.”
If you do that, I guarantee that he will do it again.
The next time your husband spends a few minutes reading to one of your children, don’t tell him you’d love it if he could do that more often. Just say thank you, and he WILL do it again. If you ask for more, he will give you less. If you thank him, he will give you more.
If you want your husband to take a more active role in disciplining your children, just wait until he does and then thank him for doing such a wonderful job. If you correct him for his “over-zealous” punishment or undo what he has done, then he won’t do it anymore.
If you need your husband’s involvement, and you do, then whenever he involves himself in any way—LET HIM and then be appreciative!
Am I starting to sound like a broken record? Good.
Mom, I’m telling you, as I have told thousands of other moms, that this will work. Try it this week and see for yourself. He may not do it your way, but that doesn’t matter. The important thing is that he will become more involved in your family, you and your children will reap the benefits, and he will love you more because you believe in him.
So go on, let him.
TODD WILSON, author of Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe, Help! I’m Married to a Homeschooling Mom, and The Official Book of Homeschooling Cartoons, is a dad, writer, conference speaker, and former pastor. Todd’s humor and gut-honest realness have made him a favorite speaker at homeschool conventions across the country and a guest on Focus on the Family.
As founder of Familyman Ministries, his passion and mission are to remind dads and moms of what’s most important through The Familyman Weekly (a weekly e-mail sent to thousands of dads), seminars, and books that encourage parents. Todd and his wife Debbie homeschool their eight children in northern Indiana. You can visit Familyman Ministries at www.familymanweb.com