Monday, May 23, 2011

Home school marriages?

I haven't blogged for awhile, and even thought about just deleting this account. I believe that most of my readers have given up and gone away by now. I don't blame them. And it's okay by me. Subconsciously, maybe that's what I wanted anyway.

I am not changing plans. My plan has been to keep plugging away at my education, and hoping/praying for my husband's emotional/spiritual healing and growth. I'm not giving up on that. I don't need to be lectured about how rare it is for abusive men to change. I already know that. My husband has already put way more effort into change and growth than the huge majority of abusive men ever begin to invest. And he is continuing to push forward and seek growth and healing. As long as he is putting forth the effort, I am going to be supportive.

I started CNA classes last week. That is the next step in meeting the prerequisites I need for the school I plan to apply to next January. I have really enjoyed it so far; much more pleasant than I thought it would be. There are some really sharp people in class with me. I feared that because a high school diploma is not required, that I might be in class with people of lesser ability. Instead, there are two college graduates, another SAHM returning to the work force, a young immigrant who has already conquered a second language- some really sharp cookies. I am very pleased and actually looking forward to spending the next twelve weeks in their company.

The forums at Fanda Eagles have really been helpful to me. Lots of MKs have emotional "bombs in the brain"; my husband is not alone. Some of them have seen their marriages fall apart. Others have come to recognize the abuse for what it is, are getting treatment for the PTSD and are walking through the healing process as partners. I am grateful for their support and prayers.

On the other hand, I have recently heard about yet another home school marriage failing. Another man has abandoned his (now middle aged) wife and children, just walked on out them all to go and make a better life for himself without all that responsibility. His formerly young, beautiful and accomplished wife is now older, lacking in recent work experience, heartbroken and left with the responsibility of trying to heal the broken hearts of her adolescent and pre-adolescent children.

There are no adequate words to express the cruelty of this scenario.

So I was wondering, anyone else out there know of home school marriages failing? How many home school moms are being abandoned: first emotionally, finally physically?

I know personally of half a dozen over the past five years, and I'm not even very well-connected in home school circles anymore! Plus I can think of just as many marriages in which the men are detached at best (which is a form of abuse in itself) and there is clearly no mutually loving supportive relationship going on between husband and wife.

What is up with that?

Any ideas, anyone?

Does home schooling help, hinder, or have no effect on a marriage?

I can go to No Longer Quivering and find out what happens to women and children when the women leave an abusive home schooling situation; that is if patriarchal religion was a factor in that break-up. But what happens when men walk out on their families? What happens to these women abandoned?

And what happens to these men? Does society favor them? They suddenly have more money, freedom from responsibility to the women they once agreed to support while she home schooled the children, freedom from responsibility to their own children (which in reality had probably been all on mom for some time before they left), and they are still marketable on the romance circuit. Middle-aged women are past their physical prime, going through or nearing menopause, have been focusing all their energy on their children's welfare instead of building a career, and are most likely being slandered as angry bitches for expressing the pain and anger of being betrayed by the person in whom they had put all their trust.

How many home school marriages end this way?


  1. I don't know much about marriage. But just wanted to let you know that I'm still reading. And SO proud of you! :D

  2. Ouch! Good points and even better questions.

    I am familiar with a few homeschooling marriages failing and others that are dry, intimately. I also am aware of seriously dynamic and look-up-to-able marriages where the blokes homeschool.

    My consensus is that homeschooling is not the problem in this case. The problem lies in the man that walks out. He is only thinking of himself, having set up the horrible life ending scenario where his wife's skills, if she had any, are stale or useless - the world having moved on.

    Any marriage where this happens will favor the man more because the belief is usually that the woman should stay home, jobless, and teach the kids. The man may be involved, but he needs to go out and be successful to pick up the slack. That keeps his career well greased while the woman's isn't.

    My take:

    Get all the government and private party help possible while going back to school. Immediately put the kids in public school. Make a new life for yourself. Get some sleep.

    Ok...enough rambling. And, by the way, I follow your blog, so, even if you write once a decade, I'll still receive notification of it.

  3. Thanks, IC.

    For most of the home school moms I know in this situation, putting the kids in public school would be the like setting fire to the last hope and dream of their heart. To the home school mom (especially the ones who took the responsibility seriously) that IS their career, even though it doesn't pay.

    Also in some of the cases I know of, that would be a further trauma for the kids. Either the children have never been to public school and never heard it spoken of in a positive light (not cool but it happens, especially in the more religious homes) or they had asked to be home schooled because they hated public school. In both cases, public school seems like a further trauma to the kids.

    I have been told that if a husband supported home schooling while married, a wife with a good lawyer should be able to get enough support to keep home schooling, but I don't know how that works out in real life.

    I agree that the problem is in the man that walks out, but it's the wife and kids that have to deal with the pain. It really sucks, as all these women were defending "traditional values" a brief few years ago, wondering why those older feminists seemed so bitter, and now, well, now they know why.

    To any younger moms out there, if you have a degree or certification, keep it up by all means, whatever it takes. One of the moms I know was an MD (yes, a bona fide medical doctor!) who left the field after their youngest was born with special needs. After continuing to pay to keep up the license for a few years, she let it lapse. There is no way now she could pass the boards again- medicine is a rapidly changing field and being ten years out of it is hopelessly behind.

    Her husband walked out on her this year when her youngest was ten. She is taking classes hoping to be a medical transcriptionist, meanwhile she keeps hearing that this field is now clogged with laid off workers and paying less and less. I hope her background gives her an edge over the competition. She still wants to work from home and help her children deal with the abandonment of their father as best she can.

    I keep hearing similarly discouraging things about my choice of training. Half the discouragers repeat the mantra 'it's very competitive!' as if they don't think I can make the grade. A new voice recently told me the local market is saturated and I'll have to relocate to find work. I highly doubt that, but we'll see. (also my GPA is 4.0 so I think I can handle the competition, at least if this trend continues...)

  4. Shadow--you have to work a lot harder at blowing us off to make us go away! The cool thing about RSS is that we don't really have to work very hard to stick around.

    I've been seeing you around the internet so I knew you were still alive and kicking. And that makes me glad! I'm also assuming that things with hubby are Situation Same Old Same Old. Which is not good, of course, but obviously something you've got lots of practice dealing with. {hugs]

    Hearing the tragic stories from the mission school survivors group has to be equal parts heartbreaking and reassuring--you and hubby are not alone in your pain and there are at least some people who are making things work. I'm so very glad for you that you have found them.

    Regarding homeschool and divorce: I think homeschooling is not ever the real problem. Homeschooling merely brings out whatever kind of relationship problems lurked--whether spousal or parent/child. I've known peripherally a couple families who divorced after homeschooling for years. One family sent the kids to school (but i don't know how that turned out because they left the homeschool group too) and the other tried to fight for unschooling in the courts. The husband had been very supportive of unschooling and had been the primary at-home parent facilitating it for several years but had a mental breakdown (definite brain chemistry issues that were exacerbated by inappropriate medical intervention--he only really fell apart AFTER he started meds) and a really lousy counselor talked him out of his marriage and into suing for custody based on "negligence" because of the continued homeschooling. (The counselor subsequently moved in with the husband. Very weird.) Legally the mom had the higher ground but getting the judge to agree was a LONG nasty process. Neither of these families homeschooled for religious reasons.

    Another more positive story is a current friend who has homeschooled all four of her children (the youngest is now 13, the older two are graduated) despite her being a high school dropout. At least one of her children had significant learning disabilities (I think two others do as well but not as severe) and she did such a great job with him that the charter school where she enrolled him for a couple years of high school actually employed her as an LD consultant. So homeschooling CAN be a profitable career.

    Re: your own career prospects. There will always be jobs, sometimes just not too many. But you only need one. Someone has to get hired, it could just as easily be you as someone else. Especially if you keep yourself as competitive as possible--highest scores, most networked contacts, etc. The best jobs come from who you know more than what you know. Period. No matter what the field or the market.


  5. I'm still reading. ; )

    I never got into the conservative Christian mode of homeschooling, so it's hard for me to say. To me it's just as dangerous financially for the woman as any other kind of stay-at-home motherhood. Most of my kids are older, and when I first had to make the career-vs-home decision, there weren't many options. Today moms can work part-time, work from home, telecommute, job share (maybe not in the current economic climate, but the mold has been broken). And technology changes things so quickly that I think it's harder to take a few years off and go right back to where you were in your career.

    So much as I value stay at home moms and stay at home motherhood, I'd have a hard time encouraging a young mom today to stay home full-time. Courts, such as those in my state, aren't real sympathetic anymore to the mom's plight, as far as child support and maintenance go. It's just too much of a financial risk, in my opinion.

  6. That's what I was thinking, Final. When my neighbor was encouraging me to make a move now, saying that since my husband had supported home schooling for so long the courts would demand that he sustain the status quo financially, well I just don't think that happens anymore.

    I agree, any one choosing to be a SAHM is taking a big risk these days. Definitely should keep an iron in the fire somewhere.

    And Sandra, hooray for the mom getting paid for her home school experience! I make good money per hour tutoring based on mine, but I can't live on three hours a week!

    Actually, things are better between us but I hate to commit that to print because it seems all hell breaks loose when I do. Murphy's law and everything. The EMDR is working for him. A niece and her husband are now privy to our plight, and totally supportive, so that's kind of awesome for him (they are his side).

    As for me, still no new counselor. Maybe soon.

  7. Still reading here (RSS does help!). This is my parents' story to a t - my dad just walked on out! I do think that the SAHM/breadwinner dad scenario can be very hard on a marriage, and when it's a large homeschooling family, so much the harder!

  8. "A niece and her husband are now privy to our plight, and totally supportive, so that's kind of awesome for him (they are his side). "

    Oh, that has got to be huge for him! Didn't you say that both(all?) your nieces on his side were well-entrenched in the same fundy-ism that he grew up with? So to get validation from within that camp--or even from those formerly in that camp--has to be enormously empowering.

    Are you still on the wait-list for the new counselor? June sometime? That will be good for both of you, too.

    Much love. S

  9. I know two homeschooling families with major marriage problems. In one family, the husband has been addicted to porn for years and apparently does a good job fooling church leaders. The wife reports people always believe him when he says he's trying to give it up. A mutual acquaintance told me that the elders at her previous church had really been on her case because they didn't think she was forgiving him. Why would she want to forgive him when if he's constantly lying about repenting? They still live together, mostly because I suspect that people at her current and old church would throw a fit if she separated or divorced him.

    The other marriage has always been rough but is doing a little better. I think they would've had lots of problems regardless of what school choice they made.

  10. I feel for that wife, HtT. If she's been home schooling she probably has no way to support herself and the kids if she did leave.

    I HATE how people are blaming her for her husband's infidelity (that's what porn is if the wife is not okay with it. I know some women are okay with it, but if it feels like betrayal to a wife- and it would to me- then it IS betrayal in that marriage). That's spiritual abuse and it happens all the time. So sad.

  11. I'm still reading, just not much to say and even less time to say it in...