Whose House?! Homeschooling Through Divorce
Homeschooling is definitely not a decision for the faint of heart. As a matter of fact, even those resolute parents wrestle with questions every once in a while.
Normally, mothers lead the educational charge in home education. Meanwhile, fathers ensure that the education, meals, required transportation and all other household necessities are paid.
However, there are alternative homeschools where moms and dads share in the actual teaching of their children.
There are also single parent homeschools. Once considered the unicorns of home education, now with the assistance of benevolent associations, are beginning to take root and thrive.
But what about homeschools that are going through divorce or separation? Where once resolute parents are now groping in the dark to keep it together?
I know this is a subject that some would rather not approach. It can be rather bumpy and doesn’t always wrap itself up as neatly as a 30-minute sitcom.
In homes where mom and dad once agreed on homeschooling approaches, but now can’t agree on much of anything, what direction can be taken?
What is left of the child’s ideal home education?
Can mom and dad once again share in the responsibilities of teaching?
If custody is a rocky issue, what then? And what of child support?
If one income now must become two, can you handle it? Will your parenting agreement include money given for homeschooling?
Ugh! None are subjects likely to aid in homeschooling win-win scenarios.
So, again, what is left of the child’s education?
Know When to Hold ‘Em
First of all, experience teaches home educators that one size does not fit all. With that experience comes the understanding of when to let go. When to ease up on the reigns of home education.
During separation or divorce, our children are already coping with major changes in their lives. For some kids, the only world they know is now falling apart.
That’s like when it was decided Pluto was no longer a planet.
What are we supposed to do NOW!?
For years, that was ALL we knew!
But, after several years of adjustment, we have come to understand and accept the change.
Not without some bumps and faulty science reports, obviously.
Yet, we survived. We continue to live.
Knowing and understanding that Pluto would no longer be in our lives as it had been before.
Yes, for my family, the split was rough and ragged and messy. (Glares at all those who had amicable splits. Kidding. Not kidding. Kidding.)
Splits are not easy. There is now a tear in the fabric that was once your family life.
That fabric has to be repaired. Or it faces the possibility of unraveling. And that takes time.
Of course, it will never be the same. The pieces are no longer together. They can, however, be separate, yet whole, pieces.
They can also still work together. (Provided there were no criminal instances of abuse.)
Meanwhile, there is still the issue of how to continue with your homeschooling endeavors during this season of stress.
Know When to Walk Away
Continue or let it go?
I chose “let it go”. (Not the song)
Mainly because I found myself in a state of grief that lasted an entire year.
And during that time, I had to figure out where I was going.
Mentally, emotionally and physically.
Like, literally, where was I going to move?
We had created a business around a self-sustaining, farming community.
To stay in that community would have driven me Bonkers!
Yet, not only did I entertain the thought, I agreed to a lot, an engineer and the design of the house!
What the WHAT?!
My resolve had unraveled.
Whatever stability I thought I had was shaken.
How did I think I could make sound decisions about anything?
Property division and relocation were already enough to handle. Not to mention an imminent custody battle.
I felt overwhelmed and unable to trust my own decisions in everyday life. Much less, my child’s early learning curriculum.
I had to accept the fact that Pluto was no longer what I thought it was.
But that took time, counsel, reading and a lot of faith.
The first thing I needed to do, to the best of my ability, was calm down the overwhelming emotions. I needed to step outside of the emotion.
Some wonderful ways to calm overwhelm:
- Walk away for awhile. Movement is helpful in so many ways. If your environment is not conducive to taking walks, find some way to exercise. There are many helpful videos on YouTube.
- Ask yourself, “What is Most Important?”
Sometimes, we get so caught up in the feeling of being blindsided or fenced in. We must be able to see clearly. And that’s difficult in stressful situations like divorce or separation.
Grab a pen and paper and start dumping. Once you’ve put them on paper, those overwhelming thoughts are no longer bouncing around in your head. Also, think of anything you may be grateful for and write it down.
- Ask for help
Many times, we assume people will say no before we try to ask. You’d be surprised how many are willing to help.
There is already enough noise in an overwhelming situation. Take some time in silent meditation, listening to music (while not working) or a creative project. One thing I love about meditation is that it helps me to weather the storm from inside. I don’t have to feel like I’m outside in the midst of the storm. Having a different perspective can change a lot.
Parenting Through Divorce
Once you have calmed your sense of overwhelm, you can focus more.
Follow One Course Until Successful.
In the case of parenting through divorce, your course is to make sure you take care of you. Not in a self-absorbed, egotistical, self-centered way. Quite the opposite. You must make sure you are strong enough to support your kids.
Here is where you need to constantly feed and nurture yourself. Why? Because your kids will need you in this rough time. Put on your oxygen mask first. You will still need to parent through divorce. Make sure you are strong enough.
Some wonderful resources that helped me and my daughter get through the maze of miscommunication and relocation:
Joint Custody with a Jerk: Raising a Child with an Uncooperative Ex (I should add I was, on occasion, the one being a jerk.)
Two Homes (a story I can read to my daughter)
Divorce (or separation) is a process that will transform you. You and the world you once knew. No one will exit the same way they entered.
In the meantime, you – as parents – must continue parenting. Then, You can find mutual ground to come together and decide if homeschooling will continue to be the best decision for your child(ren). Before someone else decides for you.
The above resources are great to assist in communication. They help with advice and examples on handling emotions, conflict, moving on and other touchy subjects.
Not saying that all will be rainbows and daisies afterward, but they will help you. Help you to be able to put the children first, find strength and find win-win ideas when life doesn’t go as planned.