5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials: The Homeschooling Mom

1/20/2014
5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

Homeschooling Mom, you have needs that must be met in order to effectively homeschool. So, I want to talk about the essential needs of a homeschooling mom and wife next.

I will share my personal story of struggle by sharing what I've learned from Todd Wilson's book, Help! I'm Married to a Homeschooling Mom, (aff link) and how it has helped our homeschool (and marriage!). This is a humorous, but seriously practical book and I highly recommend it for homeschooling dads and moms.

Todd Wilson, author, speaker, and father to 8, has a simple message for dads:
"Your unrealistic expectations, disapproval, and lack of interest further the burnout of your homeschooling wife until she's ready to throw in the towel."

While my husband was not lacking in showing interest in our homeschooling, he did have unrealistic expectations and I felt his disapproval at times.

I got to the point that I was ready to throw in the towel.

So, last summer, I stopped homeschooling and put my whole heart into meeting my husband's expectations.  I spent my hours and days doing nothing but cooking and cleaning and caring for children. The only "school" I did was a read-aloud at bedtime. After weeks of housecleaning, wifing, and mothering I proved that I could be a good housewife.

But, I can't do both.

I can't have two full time jobs. I can't be a full time housewife and a full time homeschooling mom.

And I started to reflect on why this was happening. My housekeeping standards had not declined over the past couple years. In fact, I was doing more housekeeping and less blogging than ever before. But, I asked him if he wanted me to stop blogging altogether and start doing the laundry again. (Do you know that he does the laundry so I can blog?)

He said no, but I was still hesitant to pour my heart into my blog. And I beat him to the laundry.

It was after many trials, much prayer, and marriage counseling that God opened my eyes to why my husband had such unrealistic expectations, or why they seemed so much higher, and why I felt like I couldn't meet them.

He was under stress, and I was feeling guilt.

I couldn't stop my husband from feeling stressed, but I could start praying for him in this area and I could stop feeling guilty that I couldn't live up to his expectations.

And thus, we began to rebuild our marriage {and our homeschool!}.

In his book, Help! I'm Married to a Homeschooling Mom, Todd Wilson outlines what homeschooling moms need. He says...

Homeschool moms need their husband's:

  • help

  • encouragement

  • leadership

  • listening ear

  • muscle

  • money

  • time

  • understanding

  • approval

  • prayers

  • sacrifice

Me... I needed my husband's understanding above all.

I appreciate how Todd Wilson highlights a Bible verse at the beginning of each chapter. Here is his version of 1 Peter 3:7 at the beginning of Chapter 8: Your Wife Needs: Your Understanding...
"You husbands [of homeschooling moms] in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way." ~ 1 Peter 3:7

Homeschooling moms are tired. Some days, I just need my husband to overlook the messes and piles, and understand that I am tired. I work hard to keep up the house, but it's just not possible to do it all. So, husbands are encouraged to live with their wives in an understanding way.

My husband is awesome in most of those areas. He gives me plenty of help around the house, with the children, and with the homeschooling. He is a wonderful encourager and is very supportive of me homeschooling.  And he is generally a very sweet guy and truly cherishes me.

He prays for me, offers a listening ear when I am fretting over curriculum, and he asks me how much we need to budget for homeschooling expenses so that we can afford to homeschool. And is willing to make sacrifices so that we can afford it. And he is wonderful about giving me time.  Every night that he is home for dinner, he takes over the after dinner clean up. If I ask him how I can help, he always tells me to go relax.

He is still growing in the area of understanding, but he is trying. He is much more relaxed, and I no longer feel guilty that I can't do it all.

And I am growing in allowing him to lead.

I am fiercely independent. It was hard for me to allow my husband to lead. But he is gifted in areas I am not. So, I am learning to listen to him in areas that I previously was not. It has always been his desire that we follow some sort of schedule and I've always been resistant to it. I'm convinced flexibility is a virtue, and in short, he is not. But, with his help, I made a schedule and started following it last week. My mornings are full and I have to stay on task to get through it, but it has helped me and I feel good about being so productive.

He was a little hesitant to lead in this way (for fear of stepping on my toes), but I assured him that I need his help in areas that he is gifted in.  In short, not only do husbands need to lead, as suggested in Chapter 3: Your Wife Needs Your Leadership, but as wives, we need to let them lead as well. Thankfully, my husband is an excellent example of a servant leader and trusts and values my opinion on most matters.

Help! I'm Married to a Homeschooling Mom will make you laugh and offer a perspective I'm sure you will relate to! I did. And it has helped our homeschool {and marriage!}. I think it helped him to hear from another guy what I've been trying to tell him all along.

In fact, Todd Wilson strongly believes that dads need encouragement, too, and his ministry, Family Man Ministries, is built on encouraging dads.  He is also a contributor to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's newsletter, The Homeschool Minute and offers encouragement and reminders of what's important.

I'll see you tomorrow for more homeschooling essentials!

We have 89 blogs participating in the blog hop this week!  You can read all of the blogs at the TOS Crew blog. I invite you to visit these lovely ladies this week:

Erica @ Be the One, Ellen @ Grace Tells Another Story, Jenn @ Treasuring Life’s Blessing, Christine @ Our Homeschool Reviews,  Sharon @ Life with the Tribe, Hillary @ Our Homeschool Studio, Melanie @ FinchNWren, Brittney @ Mom’s Heart & Heather @ Principled Academy.

Disclaimer: I was not given this book to review, but rather a friend sent it to me to give to my husband in the midst of our trials. Thank you, dear friend! I contacted Todd Wilson and asked if he would be willing to give away a copy of his book on my blog during the Homeschooling Essentials Blog Hop and he said yes! Thanks, Todd!  

Affiliate links are used in this post. 

56 comments:

Erica B said...

Really great advice - definitely is an area that needs attention for homeschool moms and dads!

Jessica said...

I have 3 children and we've been homeschooling for 2 years. I think I would really get a lot out of this book.

Rachel Obrokta said...

I have always been a working mom, but now with a pre-k child, I am looking to leave the workforce in order to homeschool full time. My husband is supportive, yet stressed. I think this book would be extremely helpful!

Deana said...

I have three, soon to be four, children. We have been homeschooling for about 3 years. Thankfully, my husband is fully supportive of homeschooling and trusts everything that I plan for the kids' education. In fact, homeschooling was his idea first! I would love to read this resource.

Melanie (Wren) said...

Thanks for your vulnerability and honesty, dear sister. I was encouraged by your post. God is so good to work in us and for us, isn't He?

Btw, we have one son....and we've been homeschooling since pre-K, 8 years ago!

Lynn said...

Michelle, your posts usually come in a timely manner for me and my circumstances... thank you for sharing and giving me another perspective. I currently have a full time job (thankfully one that allows me to work from home) and have homeschooled my son since preschool and is now in 4th grade. I haven't heard of the book by Todd Wilson but definitely one I'm interested in reading and sharing with my husband!

Nancy Bram said...

I am a homeschool mom of four children. My oldest daughter is a sophomore in college and my oldest son is a senior. I'm currently homeschooling my second grade daughter and gearing up to start preschool a couple days a week with the youngest next fall. I truly believe a homeschool moms needs must be met! She's the foundation of her children's education. Open communication with dad makes things run more smoothly. :-)

Julie said...

Thanks, Michelle, for this beautiful post. I can relate to so many things you wrote. My husband sounds similar to yours (esp. with regards to wanting us to stick to a schedule).
You already know: we have two kids (6 and 4) and have been homeschooling since birth, lol! Homeschool mom needs are definitely essential! We have different needs for sure than a working mom, or even a SAHM whose children go to school. One of mine is that I would like my husband to have more say in our curriculum, but he always says, (trying to be helpful) "You know best."

Tristan said...

I have eight children grades 7 down to 6 months old and we've always homeschooled. I agree, mom's need support from their husbands - especially when homeschooling on top of caring for home and children. As we added our 7th child, Mason, I needed my husband in a new way - actual help doing the homeschooling. I've spent so much time at doctor's appointments and in the hospital with Mason and he's just turned 2. Eleven major surgeries, most of them brain surgeries, plus all the recovery time, more specialists, etc. My husband's help gave me peace that I could focus on Mason completely when we are at the hospital/doctors'. It's not the life I pictured but we've all grown and become a stronger family along the way. I love homeschooling!

MicheleR said...

I have listened to Todd Wilson talk before. He has a great way of making true points with humor. Thank you Michelle for being open and honest. We all have struggles in our homeschooling life. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, but wouldn't change it for anything. I have used your blog many times with my Five in a Row lessons. I pray for you and your family often. You are an inspiration to me.

Veens @ Our Ordinary Life said...

Such an awesome post, Michelle! Please do not enter me for the giveaway (not in your country) but I do agree with all that you have said.

Jessica G said...

I have 3 children: 6 year old boy, 3 year old girl, 10 month old girl. This is my third school year homeschooling. And... I think my husband would benefit from the concepts in this book. :)

heather said...

Sounds like that book was a valuable tool for you and your husband. Love the photo too.

Nancy said...

5, going on 6 - just started this year

Meghan F said...

Thank you for the review and for hosting the giveaway! We have 3 kids, 5, 3, and 10 months. My husband is wonderful and very involved in our homeschooling, I think he would enjoy reading this!

Lisa M @ Farm Fresh Adventures said...

As you know I have my two boys that we are homeschooling. I absolutely agree 1000% that a homeschooling mom's needs are essential!!!!!! I love what you did last summer. I would do the same. I can't "do it all" and that means something has to be given up or allowed grace. My husband is learning that I can keep the house clean, but I can't keep it spotless...not without going insane. I need help! Sadly it's hard for me to ask him for help when I know he works 40 hours in 3 days for our family and doesn't "feel like" doing a lot when he's home Thursday-Saturday. And so I just grit my teeth and keep trudging along with the basics and if somehow I find an extra minute I do something extra. I really feel like I get taken for granted...that somehow I don't have as much to do. Yet every moment of my day is full. In fact I do MORE on Monday-Tuesday JUST to make sure I have extra time to just sit with my hubby on the nights he's home. And yet I feel like all he sees are the things I DON'T get done....so I totally agree with your post. 100%. And that book sounds awesome.

Katie said...

I have 3 kids, but I only homeschool the oldest, but I am adding in the second boy. My little girl is only 9 months old.

Brittney said...

Well if this doesn't speak to my heart. I always felt like it was easier to be a full-time working mom and keep the house clean, than it is to be a homeschooling mother surrounded by toys and projects and art supplies and books....but I am glad to see that I am not alone in this struggle. I homeschool my 7 year old son, my 4 year old son tags along when he wants, and we also have a 1 year old daughter. I feel like I can never keep my head above water. This book looks like it would be a great read in our household!

Mindy said...

Sounds like a great book! I just started doing preschool this year, and it has been so hard to keep up with all the housekeeping. I think I need to read it, so I can give myself a little understanding!

Sharon B. said...

Thank you for sharing your experience and how things are improving. Communication between husband and wife is so critical. It can also be challenging to reach a point where you can understand one another. Always a work in progress.

Heather said...

We have thought about hiring cleaning help, but that has its own negatives, so we just have to be content with less neat & tidy.

Dawn said...

Thank you for being so honest, it is a sigh of relief for this first time homeschooling mom.

Becky M said...

I have 2 boys, 3rd & K, and have been homeschooling for 3 years. I am about to share this post with my husband. I think he'll appreciate it after my semi-nervous breakdown this afternoon. He is incredibly understanding and even offered to take our oldest son to basketball practice for me tonight without me having to ask. It's so true that homeschooling moms have different needs and sometimes it's hard for our husbands and even other family members to understand that.

Heather said...

What an encouraging post to so many homeschooling mamas! You did a lovely job sharing your heart about such an important topic. ~Heather @ Principled Academy/the Crew

P.S.
I enjoyed Todd Wilson's book, "Help! I'm Married to a Homeschooling Mom!" Someone will be very bless by it. :)

AmyC said...

I can definitely relate to your schedule/flexibility dilemma. That seems to crop up between my husband and I every time we talk about homeschooling. We've actually started avoiding talking about homeschooling because we end up arguing. We are still in agreement about homeschooling our 3 kids but it's the method that is causing the problems.

Rachel said...

Michelle, I appreciate your blog so much. I love all of your posts, especially the pictures. I've only been homeschooling for 2 years now, and truly your blog is an inspiration to me. I especially come to check out your rows as they are hands down the best I've seen blogged. So please tell your husband, from me, thanks for doing the laundry so you can blog!

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials: My “Essentials” said...

[…] We are more productive when the house is nice and tidy! As I shared yesterday, I can’t do it all, but we do our best. We often do “10-minute tidies” throughout the day and take about an hour a day to cook dinner and clean up the house before my husband comes home from work.  It’s the days that I have had a hard day, am tired and plain worn out, he is working late, and have lost the battle on the house that was clean at 5pm (when he asked it to be clean by) and is now a mess at 8pm, that I most need his understanding. […]

Jenna said...

THIS is exactly what I have been trying to learn. That I CAN'T do it all. It's so hard and discouraging when I look around my house and expect more but know that I simply don't have the time in the day to do it. Thank you for your real words and your encouragement to let go of the guilt! As far as how many kids I have...I have 3 with one on the way. We have "officially" been homeschooling for 3 years. I'm teaching 2nd grade and Kindergarten this year. I love it, but it's definitely a challenge!

Cristi said...

I started homeschooling my oldest daughter when she was a first grader, and she's now a sophomore in high school studying mostly independent while I work with our two younger children.

I often need my husband's listening ear as I'm weighing pros and cons of various approaches or curriculum options.

Michelle said...

Tristan, I am continually in awe of you and your strength. That your husband was able truly step in to relieve you to care for Mason is a wonderful testimony!

Michelle said...

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement! {and for supporting me in my honesty} ~ it's hard to know how much to open up on the blog without saying too much! :)

Michelle said...

Thanks, Heather! {I think we'll always be a work in progress, but helps to have support!} :)

Michelle said...

I read once that husband's should view ALL of the housekeeping, cooking, children rearing and in our case also homeschooling as 100% THEIR responsibility, so that way when they walk through the door, they are happy that ANYthing got done! :D Wouldn't that be nice?

Michelle said...

Me too, Brittney! I think being a full time homeschooling mom is much harder. Keep your head up! You're a strong swimmer. ;-)

Michelle said...

haha! For sure! We really do need to give ourselves grace, don't we? :)

Michelle said...

That was the first thing recommended to us in marriage counseling, Heather! We really didn't think we could afford counseling, and for sure not both. :D But, yes! Being content is KEY!

Michelle said...

Becky, so been right there with you! ((((Hugs)))) Yes, I don't think it comes naturally... I guess that's why I'm so thankful for the help the book offered. Hope you are doing better!

Michelle said...

I forward this comment to him, I'm sure he will appreciate it ~ thank you, Rachel! :)

Amber Garsee said...

Michelle!

What a beautifully vulerable post! Praise God for women who aren't afraid to be real and open up their lives so that others who may be struggling can receive comfort and encouragement.

In Thailand, we're so blessed to have house help. I always had house help since living here. It's been one of the most amazing blessings! I've had someone come in three days a week. Because the windows are open there's dust everywhere and the house must be swept, mopped and dusted several days a week or you'd be covered in dust. So it's really an essential. We also don't have dishwashers or hot water to wash out dishes which is makes it a challenge. And clothes are hung out on the line which then means you have to iron almost everything to make it look wearable. So to say house help is a must is an understatement. ;)

Anyway, for various reasons my house help of five years, who was my God-send, had to leave! Her last day with us we both cried ALL.DAY.LONG.
Now I find myself swamped with house work and having NO time for homeschool. Just this past week… Mon-Wed I cleaned the house and did laundry until 11:30am!! I was walking around talking to myself, "How am I going to do this?? Joseph's in 2nd grade. We're no longer playing shcool. He really has to learn!"

Although Clinton is very understanding and helps me a TON, it's me who can't seem to function in a mess. So now i find myself cleaning instead of teaching.

You can pray for me that we can find someone else to come in a help OR i can just leave everything until late afternoon. I'm making myself nuts!

I'm super blessed that you and Luke have/are working through all of this! God will show both of you the perfect balance.

Love
Amber

Lisa M @ Farm Fresh Adventures said...

Snort...oh yeah! :)

Elizabeth said...

Have you come across anything that is an encouraging resource when extended family give you grief about homeschool? Every time it is sign up at the private or public schools, my dad puts pressure on us. He and his wife make comments all year...really frustrating!

Eva Charles said...

I homeschooled my oldest for kindergarten 2 years ago because he was too young to enter public but was ready to learn. Right now my kids are in public school but I haven't sworn of the possibility of homeschooling again. We live by the philosophy that "whatever works for that kid that year is what we do". Homeschooling is a job in addition to wife and mommy jobs. It's a teaching job. That will look different for different families based on number of kids and the teaching philosophy of the family.

Charis said...

I have 4 children-- ages 6, 4, 2, and 6 months. I have a very helpful husband and find myself putting the pressure on myself to try to keep up with it all-- housework, mothering, wifing, and homeschooling! Thanks for your encouraging post today!

Hilary said...

sounds like a book I need to own! Even though I'm HS one preschooler now, I know everything is going to get much more complex!

Jenny K. said...

Hello, I have 2 girls ages 9 & 6. We have been homeschooling since the oldest was 5 yrs. old.
Homeschooling does a number on this mama some days! I often struggle with getting it all done. I don't always step back and look at how much I have accomplished for the day, even if the laundry is still in the dryer & the dishes are piled on the counter! Homeschooling is hard, but also a blessing & a Joy. :)

Becky M said...

Thanks. I am doing much better. I have a wonderful hubby and he does really well knowing that I need some extra support every now & then. :-)

Kelly PIeschek said...

I have 3 children and we have been homeschooling for the past 5 years! I really enjoyed this post. Thank you for being so honest. It is good to know I am in good company on this adventure!

Amanda Poninski said...

I really appreciate your blog. I am new to homeschooling and am finding it hard to balance it all!

Whispered Abundance said...

I've enjoyed all your "essential" posts! We all have struggles and yes, they play a huge part learning to work together as a family to make homeschooling work. Thanks for sharing your heart!

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials: The Memory Keeper said...

[…] The Homeschooling Mom […]

Michelle said...

Hi Elizabeth! I'm sorry you are feeling that pressure. I love the Boundaries books for situations like this. Basically, you set a healthy boundary, and you be firm and assertive in the boundary you set. It often makes others uncomfortable when you do this, but if you remain firm, they will come to respect your boundaries. If not, then when they start making comments - set another boundary - don't put up with it. Say, "You can comment all you like, but I'm going to leave the room while you do." ((((Hugs))))

Mary V said...

Michelle - I love all of your posts and this is no exception! Our husband's support is absolutely critical to a successful homeschool - especially when you homeschool kids with challenges - learning difficulties, health issues, etc. My youngest has childhood apraxia of speech as well (thank you so much for Bo's posts - I'm excited that he's having such great progress and will continue to pray for him). Sometimes, balancing therapy, homeschool, cooking, cleaning, etc. is overwhelming! I would love to get this book for both my husband and I to read. Thanks for the chance and, most importantly, thank you for continuing to sacrifice your time to create an inspirational blog for the rest of us. :)

laura said...

Hi Michelle~ i have four children ( 7,6,5 and 3) and this is our third year homeschooling. your blog has always encouraged me to keep on keeping on :)

Joy C. said...

We have 4 kiddos (ages 7, 6, 3, and 2 months) and have been homeschooling the older two for about 2 years. For me, help is my biggest need. I am so blessed to have a husband who is very willing to do so - he helps keep me sane! =)

Michelle said...

Oh Amber, I can only imagine! Prayers for new help to come!! Hiring outside help was our marriage counselor's very 1st suggestion! I have yet to do, but have been thinking more and more about it and hope to budget it in this year a little. Can you hire someone else? It is really hard to do both jobs full time... I really do like a clean house too... but I can't do it all and have had to let some of it go. We spend one day a week deep cleaning and try to maintain all week, but if we fall behind, or have extra messes that keep us from regular chores, I at least know we'll get caught up when we do our deep clean at the beginning of the week. Some days, I just can't focus with a messy house, so I'll take the morning off of school, or the whole day, LOL. If you don't find help soon, yes, let some of it go... or delay it until the afternoon. :) ((((Hugs))))

Megan said...

This was such an encouragement for me today! With four little ones newborn to 6 its a gear reminder that we can't do it all. I can so ree late to your post! There are great days like today that's cerything goes smoothly and the boxes are checked but then there are the rough days I'm not sure I was called to do this! I'm so blessed by your and others blogs giving blessing through vulnerability and hope for the fruit of what will come!

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