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Jul 08 2013

{GHF Blog Hop} Homeschooling With My Other Half

Today’s post is part of the July 2013 Gifted Homeschoolers Forum blog hop. This month’s topic is Homeschooling With/Without a Partner.

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homeschooling with my other halfThis past Saturday Tom and I celebrated seventeen years of happily ever after perfectly imperfect wedded bliss marriage. Seventeen years of good and bad, richer and poorer, up and down. Seventeen years of standing shoulder to shoulder, us against the world, stronger together than apart. We’re not perfect, but we’ve honed some skills over the years.

As homeschooling parents, however, it’s been more of a case of Hot Potato, except I have the potato 99% of the time when the music stops. Actually, I just have the potato all the time; every so often I smack the speakers on, whip the spud at Tom’s head, and run like hell. I get a wee little break and we all have mashed potatoes for supper.

We didn’t really plan it that way. When we finally made the decision to pull A from school, some twenty-odd months ago, we fully intended that Tom would take on some of the schooling. Right. Murphy and his Law got wind of that and laughed in an evil manner. In the first six months of homeschooling (still the deschooling stage), Tom’s job went crazy south and he started a new one. Then it was a whirlwind of learning a new gig, travel, and long hours for him, and learning a new gig, developing deeper reserves of patience, and long hours for me. That has been the last twelve months. No wonder I’ve felt so out of control with this whole homeschool thing; the number of changes in our lives in the last couple of years is just stomach-churning.

It frustrates my husband to no end that he’s not able to do more. We try so hard not to play the “if things were different” game, but seriously, if things were different… He wants to be more involved and do history with A (we can’t say teach, because that child resists formal teaching like a cat resists water), but he needs to be focused on being the primary bread winner. This frustrates me to no end, because I’ve been trying to find consistent work since we moved here. We’re also constrained simply by the number of hours in a day. There just aren’t enough. Even though he works from home, by the time he has wrapped up and we’ve done dinner and clean up and any kind of evening activities (scouts, band), it’s suddenly bedtime and there went the day. We’re juggling fall schedules to fix this, and with Pamela Price‘s new book How To Work and Homeschool: Practical Advice, Tips, and Strategies from Parents in hand (review to come), we hope to have a calmer and better planned year. Hear that Murphy? Find someone else to pick on for awhile.

One area where Tom has really jumped in is scouting. He recognized the crossover possibilities with Boy Scout Merit Badges and unit studies, and put together something akin to a syllabus for A. He learns new things in depth, he earns a Merit Badge, he advances through the ranks. Win-win-win. This fall is likely to be math, homeschool coop classes, and one Merit Badge/unit study after another. Oh, and programming, because if we take that out he may hold his breath until we put it back.

I envy homeschooling families where both parents are deeply involved, but that’s just not the case here. I want it to be, Tom wants it to be, we’re working on it, but our circumstances just don’t allow it right now. If it happens, great; if not, that’s ok too. (Look at me being all relaxed and stuff!) Everyone homeschools according to their situation. I do it differently than joint homeschoolers who do it differently than single parents. I see homeschooling as an option for anyone and everyone, as long as we recognize that we all do it as best fits our lives.

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A complete list of participating blogs can be found here, and will updated throughout the day.

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  1. Susanne

    The unfortunate truth is that often when a family chooses to homeschool, MOST of the time it means some amount of sacrifice in some way, a different level of income, a parent working long hours to provide, etc. I hope Pamela Price’s book helps Tom find a way to do more of what he wants and hopefully some sort of schedule can come about.

    Doing something like homeschooling through all of those changes is hard!

    1. Jen

      I knew there would be sacrifices when we made the jump, and I was happy to make them. But it’s still hard, continually hard, to keep making some sacrifices when you thought those issues would be over by now.

  2. cheri

    Hey, being a teacher is a full time job! How on earth anyone is expected to do that, be a mom, and do any other sort of work…and do it all well is just amazing.

    Keep up the good work, and all that zen.

    1. Jen

      And yet I still try…LOL!

  3. Virginia

    I will have to find the money for that book just as soon as we finish repairing our vehicle. I am single parent homeschooling my youngest very gifted child while working evenings while my oldest babysits her siblings. We definitely make a lot of sacrifices but they are all worth it.

    1. Jen

      The GHF press books are intentionally priced very low, usually around $5-6, for this reason. We want parents to benefit from them, and oftentimes the parents who need them the most are the ones already making so many sacrifices.

  1. Homeschooling with/without a Partner - Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

    […] Homeschooling With My Other Half – Laughing at Chaos […]

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