A few days ago

Homeschooling parents: How do I work with an ex-husband whose new wife homeschools –?

And now, because of her views, he feels the public school system is evil and corrupt. We have always had our children in public school and have adult children who are stellar, independent and happy. They are fully-functioning adults. Our minor children are in public school and I face a barrage of intrusion from my ex (really from his wife, via my ex) regarding their education.

Please enlighten — as I really don’t believe — after reading much of the responses in Yahoo! Answers homeschooling section — that all homeschoolers are of the opinion that they are “RIGHT” and the rest of the world is “WRONG.”

I don’t know if it is relevant or not, but they are also religious fundamentalists and their church dictates their daily activity. Their chuch also supports, in their opinion, their “rightness” in their extreme views.

Any insight or ideas would be useful.

Top 10 Answers
A few days ago

Favorite Answer

When you say “intrusion” I believe that you are actually raising the children. Homeschooling is a huge commitment for the child and the parent doing the homeschooling, and yes it is not for everybody. I too, attend a fundamentalist Christian church and I find it promotes homeschooling for good reason. BUT, it is not the end-all. A lot of the material used to homeschool the children is horribly biased and I find some inaccuracies in the Science and History because they are not “selling science or history, they are selling religion” I think that religion and school should be separate. I want to open my child’s eyes and mind not close them. (Yes, I am incorrigible, I wear pants to church and let my daughters wear them also) Your kids step-mother has absolutely no say in this matter-and I do think that it is relevant. Homeschooling may be okay in her house, but not okay in yours if you are not committed. Public school is not evil, they will not go to hell if they attend-they may even get a good education. Be firm, keep good morals, ensure they do well in school. Perhaps when the novelty of the new wife and new religion wears off your ex will settle down. And then again. I repeat: homeschooling is great-but not for everybody.

A few days ago
Hi, you did not say how old the children in question are. I would say if they were in 5th grade or higher then they should be part of the discussion. Granted even being in the discussion doesn’t mean they get to make the final decision. I have never home schooled, but I did look into it deeply. I still think about it at times especially with some of the things my kids come home and tell me sometimes. My kids are going into the 9th and 7th grades.

I don’t know what the new wife’s reasons are, is she really concerned about how the kids are doing in school or is she trying to be controlling and take over? She has a place in our kids lives now but she does not get a say in big discussions.

Are your kids having any trouble in school? Is it a bad school? I would think if it isn’t broken then why mess it up.

I could go on but I won’t. What does your “Mother’s voice” inside tell you? don’t let them bully you, but as a mom you need to be open to find out what is the best for your kids. Good luck


A few days ago
You need to make this about your children NOT about your ex and his “new wife.” When it’s all said and done, you are already lived your lives and now it’s your children’s turn……

I’m not trying to be rude but I am just putting out some ideas….

Now, having said that you need to be openminded when it comes to homeschooling. It is my experience that people are always suspiscious of things they do not know. You should explore homeschooling, why does the wife homeschool her children? You say your “adult” children are all leading great lives so what makes you believe that “homeschooled adult” children don’t lead productive lives? Did it ever occur to you that maybe the wife informed your ex of her views and why she has her views of homeschooling and once more informed he decided that homeschooling wasn’t so bad and was actually beneficial to the children?

Now, I have 2 children (12 & 9) I homeschooled them both for 1 1/2 years before my 12 year old decided he wanted to be back in public school for sports. My 9 year old is still homeschooled and probably will be until she graduates. I believe that homeschooling isn’t for all children. I have a son that is very outgoing and believes he “needs” to be in the spotlight with his friends all day regardless of whether he is bored most of the day because he is a straight A student. He plans on wrestling in the Olympics or playing football for the NFL and starting college while in high school (ALL goals he decided upon while homeschooled). My daughter is 9 and she plays sports, has 4 gardens that she upkeeps on her own, recycles, is a vegetarian, volunteers for a foodbank, is very into the environment and how to keep it “safe” longer, wants to be a Vet when she “grows” up, and also wants to run an animal rescue farm for neglected or abused animals. I don’t know many public schoolers who have this set of goals at the same ages as my children. I’m not saying my children are perfect but they are goal oriented and guess what HOMESCHOOLED! So what I’m suggesting is that maybe you can research homeschooling and it’s benefits more then decide if your ex and his wife are being unreasonable.

If you want to know more email me! Good luck to you!


A few days ago
If you are the custodial parent then having them in ps is your choice. However be glad Dad still wants some say in the matter!

You need to calmly discuss this with him (& wife as like it or not she is now part of the family) and both of you need to compromise. Just because ps worked great for older kids doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option for the younger ones, homeschooling isn’t necessarily either. How bout meeting in the middle – perhaps agreeing to evaluating/considering homeschooling ?, aqumenting ps with some extra work at home, homeschool type activites? Discussing private school option, agreeing to discuss school/academic concerns, etc once a month or so, etc. It doesn’t have to be all him OR all you!

I personally beleive that tests don’t show anything except that you’re a good test taker – are not good indicators of intelligence or education and are indeed a way of school’s keeping their funding. However that doesn’t mean that your children taking them will somehow corrupt their souls – just that in the long run they really don’t mean anything. (case in point — in nursing school our top guy in the class test wise couldn’t make a bed without help).

You are both tearing the kids apart…..STOP IT! You both need to respect each others beleifs for the sake of the kids and agree to schooling, beleif & life compromises for their sake.


A few days ago
Thrice Blessed
Do you have custody of the children or does your ex? Or do you have joint custody? Who do they live with during the school year?

I think homeschooling is a great choice for many people, and if the kids live with your ex during the school year you might want to go along, but if they are living with you then your ex and his wife have no right to expect you to take on that duty if you don’t want to.

One thing I can tell you is that homeschooling will not harm your kids, and unless the public schools in your area are bad, public school probably won’t either. Living in a family where the parents fight over the kids’ schooling WILL harm them. Its hard to say what you should do without knowing more about the situation, but you and your ex should try to come an agreement.


A few days ago
Jenifer D
Does he really agree with his wife or is he just trying to support her? The decision to home school or not is between you and your ex husband. I also think the kids should have a say in it. I home school my son, but not my daughter. I don’t see where the church has a right to influence the decision one way or another. I am also a christian and I have the support of my church, but they do not dictate my daily activities. Sit down with you ex and his wife and discuss this. Find out if this is really about the public school system or someones need to control the situation. Above all, remember that the kids are the ones that have to live with the decisions that are made.

A few days ago
You’re right: most homeschoolers do not believe they are right and the rest of the world is wrong. Many times homeschoolers will say, “It’s not for everyone!”

You will, however, find that there is a percentage of homeschoolers who are very, very religious and among whom the ‘evils of public school’ are promoted. It is unlikely that you’ll be able to change their minds any more than they’d be able to change yours.

If you have primary custody of the kids, then it’s one of those unfortunate things that you end up having to deal with after a divorce. Don’t try to work with them: they’re not interested. Don’t defend your position. Do talk to your kids about the differences of opinion between you and your husband and his new wife because the two of them could really mess with your kids’ heads and cause further problems!


A few days ago
I have homeschooled and my children have attended public schools. My youngest even went to a christian school. Which one was the best? I can’t say. I enjoyed homeschooling because they were there with me. But they missed the socialization with other people their own age. Public schools are as good as the teachers that are hired. You just have to stay on top of it. A private school has some benefits but then they try to make that child into what they want. They can’t be an individual. Who has custody of the children? If they stay with you mostly, then you should be allowed to decide where they go. They are not her children to homeschool or even have a say on how they are educated. This should be strictly between you and your ex husband. Tell stepmom to butt out and keep her extreme views, religious or otherwise, to herself and not try to teach your children that.

A few days ago
Tad W
I may not be the person you’d most like to get an answer from on this. My ex-wife convinced me and my current wife that home schooling was the better option for my children and step children. But she didn’t do it by cramming it down my throat; she did it by 1.) providing me with information about what she wanted to do with my two daughters that were in her custody, and 2.) discussing the situation rationally and recognizing that I had a different opinion, but was still very interested in and concerned about my daughters education and welfare.

I am also coming from the point of view of a divorced dad that has experienced the “acrimonious divorce” in spades. They don’t come much worse. Perhaps my experience in that area is more relevant to your question.

I would start by accepting the fact that your ex and his new wife genuinely care about your children, but have a differing view point as to what the best way of providing that education is. Don’t make it be a matter of “right vs. wrong.” Rather recognize that there are alternatives to be considered. Then make a genuine effort to discuss those alternatives and determine the best educational course for your children. Your ex-husband wants to be a part of the decision making process, and wants to be an active part of your children’s lives. To him he isn’t being intrusive, he’s doing his job as the children’s dad. You and he are divorced; he and the children are not.

I would, however, suggest some ground rules. First, you are engaging in a discussion and exploring his point of view. Reserve the right to disagree, but be willing to actually consider his point of view. If you have legal custody of your children, then the final decision is up to you.

Second, once the decision is made, it’s made. The discussion is over. The lawyers call this “res judicata” (a thing decided) and it can’t be opened again unless there is some compelling reason to reopen the discussion. It is not fair to you or good for the children to keep hashing it out over and over again.

Third, the discussion should center on educational issues only, and not become some type of foray into a change of physical custody. If there are custody or visitation issues that need to be resolved, keep them separate unless you are willing to change the present custody arangements.

Fourth, make it clear that the new wife is entitled to her opinion, but that she does’t get to vote. The children’s dad is entitled to a say regarding his children. His new wife can infludence him, but is not part of the discussion, just as any new husband you have can influence you, but not be a part of the discussion.

Finally, keep educational and ecclesiastical issues separate. The discussion is to find the best educational option for the children; you are not there to be proslyted or to proslyte. Acknowledge that your ex has stong religious convictions, and that yours differ. Put bluntly, your children need to exposed to both, and then left to decide on their own.

I think it goes without saying that you need to sincerely consider the homeschooling option, not just pick it apart. And you should ask your ex and his new wife to sincerely consider the public school option rather than just pick that apart. I would also suggest that you consider other options: charter schools and private schools (I’d expect a large monetary contribution from him if you choose this option) should also be on the table. Perhaps he’d be willing to pay tution to a private school that espouses views (religious or otherwise) that you can agree on.

Bottom line: don’t make it a fight but a discussion of what is really best for your children. You may end up agreeing to disagree and maintaining the status quo, but I think you owe your children the effort of avoiding making this a hill to die on.


A few days ago
By “work with” do you mean he wants to pull them out of the public school and have his wife homeschool them? His right to do that would depend on what your divorce decree says in the matter. Are you the custodial parent and he has visitation? Do you have joint custody? In a joint situation, it seems you would need agreement from both parties, which doesn’t sound like an option here. If you are the custodial parent, it seems to me he would need to either gain your permission or take you to court.

to make sure what your legal rights are, it would be best to contact your divorce lawyer and review your rights.

Under usual circumstances, I would say his religious affiliation is of no concern, but if you feel their practices are unhealthy for your children and you would not want them homeschooled based on that, you have a pretty solid case to prevent it from happening. If it came down to a hearing, it seems to me that a judge would have to be convinced that your children are being harmed by the public system and they would be healthier and safer being homeschooled by your ex-husband’s wife. That, IMO, is not likely to happen.

You know, I have issues with the public system, don’t get me wrong, but I also support freedom of choice and not the idea that one is right and one is wrong. Both are both in various situations.

Something to take in to consideration. You do not agree with your ex-husbands choice of lifestyle, and that is ok. But please understand that his wife firmly believes she is right and your ex is supporting her and probably believes so as well. They will have the support of their church and will not be easily convinced otherwise.

If they are bent on homeschooling your children, you are probably in for a fight, unless they will back off easily.

You are wise to prepare yourself, if only mentally, before you need to take action.