** This webpage is provided for informational purposes. It is not legal advice. **
What’s Really the Problem with Homeschooling and Divorce?
Ending a marriage can be a time of ugly fighting. Lots of finger-pointing happens during a divorce, with a need or want to assign blame for the failed marriage. As a result, two adults can find themselves arguing over the most inconsequential things – like who gets a certain stapler.
Digging in your heels over a disagreement can stall out divorce negotiations. If the divorce disagreement centers around homeschooling, it’s important to know what you are really arguing about. Oftentimes, divorce-related homeschool arguments fall under one of two categories.
Getting divorced costs a lot of money. If you wind going to court, each party could face attorney fees of $20,000 or more. Even if you can negotiate a settlement with your ex, the idea of leaving your house behind and loosing half of your retirement funds can cause great anger.
You can understand the level of frustration a parent feels when they see their divorce as, “I’ve lost my house. I’ve lost my kids. I’m living in a cheap apartment. And now my ex won’t have to get a job because of homeschooling.”
Going through a divorce can feel like the world has been ripped out from under you. With so much uncertainty about the future, some people will grasp at any hope to keep some semblance of control and balance to their lives.
It’s hard to think of divorce as a win-win situation for any of the parties involved. However, when one partner approaches the divorce saying, “I’m not going to let my ex win – even if I lose everything”, there’s a risk of losing so much more than money.
Listen For the Problem
Only you know the history of your marriage and why it has come to an end. If you’ve dealt with an abusive partner, then most of the following statements will not apply to you. However, for many married couples, a lot of fear fuels their speech during the early days of their divorce. The words may be saying one thing, but if you listen closely, you may hear the underlying message.
- “I’m not going to pay for homeschooling so you can stay home with the kids all day long.”
What the message may be: I’ve lost my financial security and I’m scared and resentful.
- “I don’t want my kids learning that crazy Christian material.”
What the message may be: I’ve never been 100% comfortable with our differences in religion and now I’m scared you’re going to alienate the kids by making me into some kind of anti-religious monster.
- “I never really wanted you to homeschool in the first place.”
What the message may be: I’m carrying a lot of resentment because I haven’t always been able to stick up for what I believe in, within our marriage.
- “You’re not smart enough to teach the kids anything past 5th grade.”
What the message may be: This type of personal attack serves to demean and belittle the homechooling parent. In many cases, it’s one spouse continuing a cycle of hurtful comments that the two adults have been exchanging for years. Or, it may be a deep expression of pain of the spouse’s on feelings of inadequacy.
- “You keep the kids locked in the house all day and they have no social skills.”
What the message may be: Usually this mean-spirited scare tactic plays into the public perception that homeschool kids are not properly socialized. Alternatively, it may be the parent’s way of expressing their own fear of not having a solid network of friends or support for themselves.
How you respond to these types of statements will depend upon how well you can stay calm. Hearing such hurtful remarks from your former spouse may cause you to lash out and be spiteful in return. Working with an attorney who understands homeschooling will help keep discussions and negotiations moving forward in a respectful manner that keeps the kids’ educational best interests at the forefront.
Working with an expert witness who can testify on behalf of a homeschool family can also help your case. Contact Hand In Hand Homeschool to discuss how we can be of assistance.
Last modified on October 9, 2019