Last month, my husband and I celebrated 20 years of marriage. Half of that time we have been a homeschooling family. It was a joint decision, and he has been fully supportive all these years. As a matter of fact, it was his idea that I resign from my job and stay home with our baby girl almost 15 years ago. He had to take on a second job for a while to replace some of the missing income as we made adjustments. We have never regretted that decision. It is no secret that any marriage takes work, and homeschooling adds a whole other dimension.
Recently, I read a book I picked up at a homeschool convention a few years ago. I even got to meet and chat with the author, Heidi St. John. I wish I would have read her book, The Busy Mom’s Guide to Romance sooner! She wrote about nurturing and keeping marriage the primary relationship in the family. Marriages are under attack, and none of us are immune to the ways Satan and society will try to destroy our marriages. Homeschooling families are somewhat different. We need to be mindful of seemingly good things that may drive a wedge between you and your husband.
“Your success as a homeschool mom and as a family depends on two things: Your relationship with the Lord and with your husband”The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance, Heidi St. John
Beware of the Vortex
A familiar danger Heidi writes about is the “homeschool vortex”, where “the days are all about children , curriculum, and crock pots”. Well, I have traded the crock pot for the Instant Pot, but I know firsthand what she’s talking about. Most of the time, that is what is on my mind. I have struggled with falling into that vortex. Late nights and weekends are often filled with more planning and grading than spending time with my husband. I have a huge responsibility, and I do not take that lightly. I fully believe God intended women to have the role as “keepers at home” in the first place. Sometimes we are so busy being those “keepers”, relationships get neglected. We definitely need to be aware and keep that in check.
Be “That Girl”
My favorite part of the book was finding what Heidi calls, “That Girl” – described as free spirited, has high hopes, an open schedule, a flirt, unknowing of the changes that will be coming to her body…. I spent a few day revisiting “that girl” in my mind. “That girl” that was head-over-heels crazy about a long-haired guy with a loud car. “That girl” would look forward to going to Pizza Hut every Friday night. “That girl” wrote love letters. “That girl” felt like a princess on her wedding day. Of course, “that girl” has grown up, has children, and takes care of her home. Daily life and “adulting” certainly changes things, but I know “that girl” is still in there.
After thinking a lot about “that girl”, who is now a homeschooling mom, I made a list of 10 practical tips that may be helpful to you in your marriages and your homeschooling journey. I don’t always get it right, but it’s time to put forth the effort. Most can be done in ten minutes or less!
- Take just a few minutes minutes to pick up toys, school books, and a general tidy before he gets home. You want your home to look welcoming, not like a war-zone.
- Take just a couple of minutes to run a brush through your hair, or put on some lipstick. Look like you care. You want to be the prettiest thing he’s seen all day.
- Smile. The fist 10 minutes home can make or break the evening. He is aware you’ve had a lot to deal with, but don’t rant the second he comes in.
- Take 10 minutes to listen. Ask about his day, keep quiet about yours. Men can usually say what that need to in less time than that.
- Wait on him. He’s been at work all day. Get the man some tea or ice cream.
- Keep papers and school projects out of the bedroom. I know most of us “school” all over the house, but keep one area free of clutter .
- Flirt. It will make him happy and gross out the kids.
- Make time to be alone. This has been more challenging as the kids are getting older and no longer go to bed at 8 o’clock.
- Appreciate what he does, so you can do what you do. A while back, another homeschooling mom was telling her husband how she had had a lousy day with the kids. Her husband’s reply was – at least you get to work with people you love all day.
- Respect him. Love him. Because the Bible tells us to.
Homeschool mamas – our jobs are not always easy. Strive to be the woman God intended us to be. Grow in the Word, and see growth in your marriage. You will be finished homeschooling sooner than you realize, and can smile at the days ahead alone with your husband.
Be That Girl.