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Totally long thread about DH's reasons to not homeschool...

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 

So DH has been saying all along that he's fine with me homeschooling the kids if I choose to do it.  That was all fine and dandy until it came time for them to actually start enrolling in kindergarten.  DS is now five and "should" start kindy in the fall here in New York.  Now DH is coming out with three arguments for schooling, and they're a little hard for me to respond to.  I mean, I have responded to them, but I don't think to his satisfaction.

 

First, we moved from a state with pretty minimal school taxes to a state where they're some of the highest in the nation (New York).  We pay a LOT in school taxes, enough that we could have afforded a private school education for a kids in our old state on this.  And the schools are pretty good here.  I'm not in love with schooling in general, I think the best can't really compete with the homeschooling lifestyle, but they're really nice as far as schools go.  So he's saying that since we're basically paying the equivalent of a private school education, we might as well send them.  He's mad about having to pay all that money and not get anything out of it. 

 

Second, he agrees perfectly that I can teach them whatever academics I want and it would be a better education than the school could do.  But he is clear on the idea that school is not about academics, really, and he wants them to go so they can sort out how to behave in life.  He's not concerned about socializing with friends, really, they're fine with that.  He wants them to learn how to conform to mainstream expectations of life because they're not learning "mainstream" from us.  (They're also mostly media free, all the shows we watch are older, like Road to Avonlea for example.)  I really don't know how to respond to that.  Neither he nor I ever really fit in, either as kids or young adults or now.  And for some reason, I think unresolved issues are coming out of him now, because now he wants for our kids to be a part of the machine instead of being, I dunno.  Independent, or free thinking.  (He's also been saying "no" a lot more lately to all sorts of things, like urban homesteading ventures, etc.  He doesn't want to stick out of the neighborhood *at all*.  I'm not really sure what to make of it.  I guess he just wants the kids' lives to go as smoothly as possible.)

 

And finally, he's just concerned that I'll burn out from doing it all on my own and never getting any breaks.  And, this is true.  We have no family around to ever watch the kids, never have.  It's always been on me pretty much exclusively since they were born.  He's been clear that i can't expect any help watching them or with the actual homeschooling.  He views public school as a babysitter so we can finally, after all these years, get some quality time for the two of us.  He just wants us to veg and play Warcraft during the day or something mindless, or let me work on my novels (which I can't do when the kids are around) or finally re-start my Master's.  We don't have money for a mother's helper unless we do some major re-arranging of budgets.  He says I'm going to be very stressed out.  And I can see how it would be lovely to have a bit of free time during the days, to be able to clean in peace, etc. - but I figure that when they get a bit older they'll be more independent too, and maybe I'll be able to get away during the day to do some writing, etc.  But it still wouldn't leave as much DH-and-me time as he'd like. But what he's SAYING is that I'll be taking too much on and get very stressed out, and I won't be able to take care of him as well as if the kids were in school for a few hours each day.  I tell him that that would bring stresses of its own (like getting ready on time, dealing with teachers and IEP's, conferences, tests, having to bring things in, PTA, all that sort of thing) but he doesn't think those amount to much.

 

Ugh.  So... given those, how would you respond if you were me?

post #2 of 56

Has he done any of the research into home schooling or has he always relied on what you have learned about home schooling?  Have you both gone to informational meetings, home school conferences, read the books, etc.?  Or has it all been just you?  There is still time for him to investigate for himself.  I don't know specifically about New York state but for most states the mandatory school age is age 6 (first grade).

 

I found this site about compulsory school age by state:  http://www.schoolengagement.org/TruancypreventionRegistry/Admin/Resources/Resources/15.pdf   In New York state, the compulsory minimum age is 6 (maybe).



As for supporting public school with taxes, all tax payers support public education whether or not they have children, home school, pay for private school, have adult children, etc.  There are a lot of things that tax payers support that have no direct benefit to them.


Edited by sewchris2642 - 4/21/12 at 9:03am
post #3 of 56
post #4 of 56

Quick comment about "paying all that money and not getting anything for it." By a similar argument childless couples should have children simply in order to put them in the schools they're paying for. Parents with just one child should choose to have several more in order to get more for their tax dollar. It makes no sense to make major parenting decisions just because you're paying high taxes. The two matters are unrelated. A parallel situation might be working at a job where you might make a bit less, but you've got excellent health insurance. Do you wish for a major illness so that you get your money's worth out of your benefits? I look upon a strong school system as insurance: insurance for my own family in case homeschooling should prove to be not the best choice at some point, or necessary for some reason, and insurance for my community, where other people's children can get decent education and become contributing members of society rather than anti-social forces and net drains on social services.

 

Miranda

post #5 of 56
Thread Starter 

You guys just summed up my views pretty strongly.  :)

 

He doesn't research homeschooling himself.  He doesn't really participate too much with that sort of thing.  Just like if we were definitely schooling them, I would be the one researching the options.  He didn't really care about when they went to preschool a few days a week.  I asked for his input on where to send them initially, or whether to send them, and he didn't care.  He says it's up to me to make the decisions.  It's pretty much like this with everything.  I get most of the parenting decision making ability because I'm the one who is responsible for them and parenting them.  He vetoes some things sometimes and every once in a while he pushes his agenda if it matters to him.  But since I'm the one parenting them, I'm the one who makes the choices mostly.  Media (or lack thereof), food, religon, all that sort of thing.

 

I've been reflecting on this the better part of this morning and I think it's just a matter of him wanting to get the kids out of the house for a while each day so he can get some peace and quiet and some time alone with me.  It's not really about where they are or are not thriving.  Well, that sounds harsh.  He probably also knows that there would be less pressure on me if I gave up the responsibility of teaching them myself and let the teachers handle it.  He knows I've been under a lot of stress and doesn't want me to overextend myself, and the kids to suffer as a result.  And he probably wants or needs more attention, I guess?  I dunno.

post #6 of 56

He really needs to read The Underground History of American Education.  It's an oldy but a goody.

 

School is not preparing them for "real life" unless real life is something like a factory, certain civil service positions, etc.

 

It teaches kids to be passionless (with homework, no time for anything else -- and even if your passion is math, you have to stop when the bell rings), to live by a bell (punch in, punch out), and more and more, to cheat like crazy.

 

 

post #7 of 56

If time is the issue then you need to work on ways to combat that instead of the homeschooling idea. I will tell you that as a homeschool mom who works sometimes and has zero support system it's really really hard sometimes. The good still outweighs the bad for us but there are times I find myself dreaming of a perfect school being available so I could have a moment to myself. 

You said your kids already socialize a lot. Can you maybe switch some childcare with someone to get some alone time with dh? It sounds like he's home during the day. Does he work nights or work from home? Is he worried about homeschooling affecting a home business or his sleep schedule for shift work?

There is tons of research to show how great homeschooling is but my opinion is that in the end your specific reasons for wanting to homeschool your kids are the best reasons and points to bring up because they are tailored for your family.

Good Luck! 

post #8 of 56
Thread Starter 

No, DH doesn't work.  The kids bother him sometimes but he has the whole first floor of the house for himself.  (It's technically a basement but it's finished and has three rooms in it.)  The kids go down there sometimes to play next to him, but usually he doesn't allow them down there.  He can hear them, though, upstairs.  They don't bother him so much as that he knows that I'm always occupied with them and he gets annoyed that I can't drop whatever I'm doing to go make him a meal right that second or go watch him play video games if he's doing something epic or something.  I think he's lonely and wants my company more, and knows that while the kids are in the house they take up a lot of attention. 

 

We don't know anyone around here (yet) though I imagine we will eventually meet people.  It's a bit hard.  They go to the Y and play with kids there and they see other kids on the playground, but we don't do playdates or anything like that.  I wouldn't really want to invite other kids over to our house because I don't think DH would really appreciate that, and I wouldn't want to chance him coming upstairs and being unsociable.  Our kids obviously know that he's gruff and swears and is sarcastic and stuff, and they don't think anything of it, but I don't know if other parents would be super OK with having him around their kids.  Sometimes he can be really funny and great with kids, but I'd be worried that he would get into a mood and just, I dunno, be grumpy or rude.  =/  It's just not predictable how he'll be on any given day - and sometimes he'll switch in the middle of the day.  Even if he's having a good morning, something can set him off (like someone honking outside or the coffee not tasting right or the cat knocking something over or whatever) and then he'll go right back into his bad mood.  And since I can't usually leave him alone I couldn't watch the kids at someone else's house either.

 

But I'm not trying to be contrary.  Maybe I can somehow build something into the budget where we can get some childcare a few times a week.  I imagine as they get older they'll be more independent too.

post #9 of 56
Thread Starter 

No, DH doesn't work.  The kids bother him sometimes but he has the whole first floor of the house for himself.  (It's technically a basement but it's finished and has three rooms in it.)  The kids go down there sometimes to play next to him, but usually he doesn't allow them down there.  He can hear them, though, upstairs.  They don't bother him so much as that he knows that I'm always occupied with them and he gets annoyed that I can't drop whatever I'm doing to go make him a meal right that second or go watch him play video games if he's doing something epic or something.  I think he's lonely and wants my company more, and knows that while the kids are in the house they take up a lot of attention. 

 

We don't know anyone around here (yet) though I imagine we will eventually meet people.  It's a bit hard.  They go to the Y and play with kids there and they see other kids on the playground, but we don't do playdates or anything like that.  I wouldn't really want to invite other kids over to our house because I don't think DH would really appreciate that, and I wouldn't want to chance him coming upstairs and being unsociable.  Our kids obviously know that he's gruff and swears and is sarcastic and stuff, and they don't think anything of it, but I don't know if other parents would be super OK with having him around their kids.  Sometimes he can be really funny and great with kids, but I'd be worried that he would get into a mood and just, I dunno, be grumpy or rude.  =/  It's just not predictable how he'll be on any given day - and sometimes he'll switch in the middle of the day.  Even if he's having a good morning, something can set him off (like someone honking outside or the coffee not tasting right or the cat knocking something over or whatever) and then he'll go right back into his bad mood.  And since I can't usually leave him alone I couldn't watch the kids at someone else's house either.

 

But I'm not trying to be contrary.  Maybe I can somehow build something into the budget where we can get some childcare a few times a week.  I imagine as they get older they'll be more independent too.

post #10 of 56

Your husband doesn't work, you make his meals for him, and he can't be left alone?  And he doesn't plan ever to help you with the kids or with homeschooling?  And he can't be trusted to behave appropriately around other people's kids?  Is he disabled?  Mentally ill?  Do you see yourself staying with him long-term?

post #11 of 56
Thread Starter 

He is disabled and I am his (paid) designated caregiver.  I do see myself staying with him longterm.  We hope he will improve.  He may not.  He was nothing like this when we got together.  Add in a brain lesion and a few traumatic brain injuries and an undiagnosed-as-yet illness (we suspect MS) and to make a long story short, he is on a lot of meds, gets a lot of counseling, but he still needs a lot of help.

post #12 of 56

hmm...it's probably not the route to go, but I'd be tempted to ask him how he'd feel if you dumped him into a care facility, so that you could have more time with the kids. Family's are about balance, not about one person getting things the way they want them. You're his wife, but you're also the children's mother. As young as they are, that's a huge role!

 

The first argument is nonsensical. Does your dh see doctors for his condition? Did they get their original schooling through public school? Then, he's getting benefit from his high taxes!

 

The second argument I can't even respond to rationally. I'm not "normal". I was a misfit, and a "weird" kid, and all the rest. And, all the mainstreaming, public school, etc. in the world didn't change that. What school did accomplish was to drive me farther into my shell, and pretty much cripple my social development. I'm 43 years old, and I've only been coming out of that state for a few years. I still have an inordinate amount of difficultly coping with almost all social situation, and a small social comfort zone...and I developed most of that at school. Before school (middle/high school, in particular) did its number on me, I was "shy", but was able to move out of my comfort zone on my own terms. By the time school was done with me, I couldn't move out of it at all. I've never met a "weird' kid who was any less weird for having been public schooled. I've met lots of "weird" kids who got a lot more grief about being weird, because of public school, though.

 

The third one? This has some validity. Sometimes, it's really tough. There are days when I feel completely burnt out. (Mind you, much of that is because of ds2's behavioural issues.) But, I was a WOHM of a public schooled child for 10 years, and I was pretty burned out then, too. As you say, the commitments and running around with a school can be pretty rough, too. Even just keeping track of everything can be crazy - ds1 used to bring home some kind of notice and/or form almost every day! Late dinners while I went to a talent show. Early, rushed dinners, when I went to parent-teacher interviews. It got pretty crazy sometimes. I'd recommend trying to find the local homeschooling network. Almost every city has one, although some are more extensive than others. I'm sure you can work out some kind of deal for occasional childcare. I have a lovely local homeschool friend who takes both of my kids (I actually have four, but she takes the two school aged ones) more often than I take hers, and she's more than happy to do it. Maybe you could barter some meals or something in exchange, if a childcare trade-off won't work with your husband's behaviour.

 

It sounds as though he mostly wants you to put them in school so that you can devote all your time to him. That's not going to work out well in the long run. I think you'd end up very resentful (I'm sure I would!) and that's going to put strain on your marriage. You two are in a very unusual situation, but many homeschoolers are. I know single, working moms who make it work. I know a woman who quit her job and went on welfare, so that she can homeschool her two boys with special needs (severe anxiety disorder and moderate autism), as the school system was having a detrimental effect on them. I know a couple who work incredibly difficult hours and shifts, and switch off childcare, and don't make much. They all find ways to make it work. This can be done - you just need to find a way to convince your husband. I wish you luck. It sounds as though he's being a bit irrational about it (the changing his mind, odd attitude about getting his money's worth in school taxes, etc.).

 

post #13 of 56

He wants to send his child to public school to "get his tax dollar's worth?"

 

I find this a bit off-putting. Would he also send his child to prison for the same reason?

post #14 of 56
Thread Starter 

 

 

lol!!  I am totally going to ask him that next time the taxes come up.

 

(That said, NY is seriously nuts about the tax issue, school taxes are like 6000 and everything else together is like 1000... or something like that, I forget the actual figures.  But the school tax is pretty ridiculous.)

 

Thanks for the input.

 

Oh, and about the misfits - I don't think he's afraid our kids are going to be weird.  (ITA with you on that public school doesn't fix the weird kids, just makes them feel bad about it.)  I think he thinks that they'll at least SEE mainstream kids in action.  Right now they mainly interact with us.  DH is the disabled vet, I'm the odd hippie Pagan (so I'm not weird by MDC standards lol).  We also don't do any current TV - the only live TV they watch is from Europe, and the rest is TV shows that are mostly older (I Love Lucy, Bewitched) or about older times (Road to Avonlea, Little Bear, Heidi, Mary Poppins, etc).  Our neighborhood is pretty conventional tract suburban houses.  I figure they'll see what the other kids are living like without having to go to school with them.  DH thinks that if they were spending 5+ hours or whatever in school every day some of that would rub off on them.

 

I dunno, I hope this is a passing phase of his.  I think he's just worried that we stick out like a sore thumb from the typical family of this neighborhood.  (Dad goes off to work, Mom does the SAHM thing with playground and coffee and jog with the stroller, they all work on the yard on the weekends with their dogs.)  I know that's totally generalizing but I think that's the place he's in right now, he feels bad about not being the breadwinner and being unable to work and he doesn't want the kids to go through that sort of social isolation that we're experiencing now.  I dunno if that makes sense but that's just my theory.  I think he'll get over it... I think.

post #15 of 56

hmm, I think if you're the primary carer for the kids, and it sounds like, through no fault of anyone's, you are, then possibly the right to make the decision about their schooling falls to you. 

 

I don't want to sound harsh or judgemental. This must all be incredibly hard on you right now, you must be trying to keep every ball in the air. I bet you get zero time for yourself. All I'd say is, I don't think his needs can come first here. I think the kids needs do need to come first. I think, even if they are used to him being unpredictable, sarcastic, gruff, if its going on to an extent that you know you can't have other kids over, that's probably going to be affecting them too. Perhaps in this situation school could be what they need, to give them a break. Or perhaps homeschooling would be more beneficial. But you are almost certainly the one best placed to make the decision, not him, from everything you've said. They are kids and, IMHO, their needs need to come first right now. 

post #16 of 56

That sounds like a tough situation.  Your husband has a point about you possibly getting burned out.  And it sounds like it might be hard for you and the kids to get out of the house much to do activities or meet other homeschoolers.  That might be hard on the kids.  But you're the one who's going to be taking on the burden, so I think it's up to you to decide whether you feel comfortable with it.  You can tell your husband that whatever you decide to do next year doesn't have to be what you do forever - that you want to try homeschooling because you think it will be best for the kids and think it will be manageable, but that you can all assess how things work out over the next year and then possibly make a different decision for the next year.

post #17 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiqa View Post


Oh, and about the misfits - I don't think he's afraid our kids are going to be weird.  (ITA with you on that public school doesn't fix the weird kids, just makes them feel bad about it.)  I think he thinks that they'll at least SEE mainstream kids in action.  Right now they mainly interact with us. 

 

They'll meet and interact with other kids. Even in homeschool circles, the "weird" people aren't all weird in the same way. And...there are other things. One of dd1's best friends is a girl she met at ballet class, who goes to public school. She has a couple of close friends in our townhouse complex, both of whom are public schooled. They see lots of mainstream kids in action. Did they see them as much when they were a bit younger? No, but it really doesn't matter very much.

 

Another thing to look into, although cost could be a factor, is after school programs. My niece and nephews attend a Boys and Girls Club after school program at the local elementary school. Because their cousins are there, dd1 and ds2 wanted to check it out. So, I got them a membership ($30/year!) and they go over about once a week. It's not working out that well for dd1, for various reasons, but ds2 loves it. The Club has a lot of free play, plus crafts, cooking, a "lounge" (they show movies there, sometimes - think Marley and Me was the last one), organized sports - street hockey, soccer, etc., Fussball, air hockey, pool table, board games, a few videogames, and access to the school playground. Most of the kids who attend are students at that school, although a few come from other schools in the area. DD1 and ds2 are the only homeschoolers, as far as I know. They stay for a couple of hours at a time, have a snack, play with friends, and then come home. Right now, I still have my almost 3 year old to deal with, but when she's old enough for the Club, I'll have a 2-3 hour break once or twice a week. Is it possible there's something like that available where you are?

post #18 of 56

 

Quote:

1. So he's saying that since we're basically paying the equivalent of a private school education, we might as well send them.  

 

2. ...he agrees perfectly that I can teach them whatever academics I want and it would be a better education than the school could do.  But he is clear on the idea that school is not about academics, really, and he wants them to go so they can sort out how to behave in life. 

 

3. And finally, he's just concerned that I'll burn out from doing it all on my own and never getting any breaks. 

 

Ugh.  So... given those, how would you respond if you were me?

 

1.  There is no guarantee that if you send them they will get the equivalent of a private school education.  Cost does not always equal value received.

 

2.  Public school is an institution.  They will learn institutionalized behavior there.  It is actually less like real life than homeschooling, which basically is whatever you design it to be.

 

3.  If you get burned out, you *can* send them to school.  Homeschooling is one option when it comes to education.  So are public, parochial and private schools.  Choosing one does not mean you can not change later on. What you want to do is pick the best choice for you and your family and periodically re-evaluate it.  You may find that different children within the same family need different things.

 

Good luck!

post #19 of 56

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hippie Mama in MI View Post

He wants to send his child to public school to "get his tax dollar's worth?"

 

I find this a bit off-putting. Would he also send his child to prison for the same reason?

 

I just wanted to say I love this :)

 

 

To the OP ... I'm sorry if this post is all over the place. I'm just trying to brainstorm for you ...

 

You must be very overwhelmed right now. I think it's best to do some soul searching and see if homeschooling is really what's best in this situation. A stressed out mom with no support system and a sick dad who is having trouble dealing with his condition might make it hard to have an optimal learning environment at home. I'm sure it can and will work out if that's what you want and dedicate yourself to but there's also nothing wrong with admitting that's things aren't easy for your family at the moment and the school system could be a decent option for right now. As a pp said, your decision for now doesn't have to be your decision forever. You can homeschool and see how it goes and then have them go to school if it isn't working and vice versa. 

 

How old are your kids? I know you said your ds should be starting kindy in the fall. Is your dd younger? Is there a preschool program that is more play based you could put one or both of them in for a few hours a couple of days a week. I know NYC has some kind of program called UPK that you can go to preschool part time for free whether your income is low or high. I have a friend that uses it. I can ask if you want. I know there are a lot of homeschool families that never sent their kids to school but sent them to preschool and were very happy with that. 

 

If they are too old to qualify for that maybe you can look for a homeschool co-op? Somewhere to get support and get the kids out a bit. I am not judging in any way, I understand fully that your husband is ill but as much as you say the kids are used to it, I wonder if it isn't hard on them too. It can't be easy for young kids to deal with such unpredictable behavior even if it's all they know. I wouldn't worry at all about "normalizing" your kids to common suburban behavior but if they are witnessing a lot of unhealthy emotional behavior from your dh it might be wise to have them out of the home more and since you physically can't be out of the home more I'm just not quite sure how homeschooling is going to work without some kind of external support system. Is it possible to get outside care for your husband? Does he qualify for a home health aide or something like that maybe? Someone who could care for him so you could get things done with the kids? 

 

Are you in NYC or upstate? If you are in the city I know for a fact there are tons of covens and support groups for pagans. That might be a good thing to get involved in with the kids. 

 

As far as the schools go, do you know that they are good or are you just judging by the taxes? Unfortunately this is not necessarily one of those situations where you get what you pay for. Your taxes can be through the roof but you can still have a crap school anyway. We have friends paying 11k a year in property taxes for a very average property and their schools are frightening. I'd research your zoned school fully before making a decision. 

post #20 of 56

This would be tough as those reasons aren't very reasonable.

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