Are Home School Graduates More Likely to Divorce?

Don’t miss this: Recent research out of the Cardus think tank points to the risk of divorce in home school graduates.

As children, we form our initial concept of marriage based on what our parents model. And let’s be honest. Christian marriages don’t fare much better than those of the un-churched when it comes to surviving divorce. Home schooling doesn’t make marriage any easier. Finances—one of the greatest areas of marital conflict—are tighter for home schooling families, which statistically make ten percent less than other families.

On top of that, it’s not uncommon for the father to be working more than one job to make ends meet, giving the couple less time to invest in their marriage. The mother is working two jobs—that of teacher (often to many grade levels) and homemaker, but rarely gives herself the extra mental space needed to accomplish this dual role.

In addition, they are usually actively involved in community and church. Then, take into account the fact that the enemy of marriage doesn’t like the family values and truth being planted in their children. It’s easy to see why a home school family might look divorce in the face and have to stare it down . . . or be struck down.

My family’s initiation into the world of home schooling came the year we were also called to start a Christian high school. Chaos! We got the kids a dog that year because we were trying to make up for taking on too much. The adorable six-pound puppy was wrapped in a big bow and placed where our Christmas tree should have been. In twenty-two years of marriage, it was the only year we were never able to find the time to conquer the forest and bring in a tree. There were a lot of things that never got done that year. I remember it all with messy fondness and consider myself a lover of home schooling. But it was not easy. And it was not easy on our marriage.

Perhaps the risk assessed by Cardus is relevant and real. Don’t get me wrong: if God is calling you to home school it’s a stress you can and will handle with His grace. But let’s be wise. We need to be vigilant.

Here are some things Bob and I do as we seek to overcome the odds, and we encourage you to consider them prayerfully so that in ten years when another study comes out on schooling, we will have reversed the risk!

  1. Confess your sins to one another (James 5:16). Home schooling families aren’t perfect. We are all flawed, sinful individuals and it’s so important to be accountable to someone. A strength of the home school community, according to the Cardus report, is that they understand the authority of the Church. Come under that authority in regular accountability. Meet with an older woman with whom you can confess in real time the financial hardships, over-crowded schedule, or temptation to be the picture-perfect family.
  2. Take time to invest in the friendship of your marriage. Just this past summer, Bob and I stepped away from some of our local leadership for several weeks because we’d become guilty of ignoring our friendship. My accountability partner looked me in the eye and sarcastically said, “Dannah, it would do you good to resign from your position as CEO of the universe for a few weeks! The world will go on without you. Your marriage won’t.” The fruit of several weeks of nurturing our friendship was good. We are back in leadership, but now taking time to enjoy each other—not because we need to, but because we want to.
  3. Open up a dialogue with your older children about divorce. In addition to biblical teaching on divorce, share a few of the natural consequences, which include financial hardship, academic challenges in the children, depression, and more.
  4. Remember what you’re protecting. It’s not about you. It’s about the gospel. Ephesians 5:31-32 reminds us what marriage is really all about:  

“For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery, but I am talking about Christ and the Church.”

Truly marriage is a profound (but rare, these days!) mystery . . . even in the Church. Let’s do something to fix that. What’s your next step?

About the Author

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like … read more …

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