Julie & JuliaHomeschooling is a joint venture, one that affects the entire family. Obviously, it affects the kids and the parent who takes on the primary responsibility of teaching, but it also affects the other parent, the one who typically brings home the bacon and sees first-hand the fruits and labor of the homeschool.

This person plays an invaluable role. He or she is the tie-breaker between competing curriculum, the audience for oral presentations, the voice of reason when things get too hectic and the cheerleader when the teaching parent needs to be reminded that they are doing a good job.

I thought about this the other day when after an intense week of doing, going, planning and pushing myself to the limit, I sat down and watched the movie Julie & Julia. I remember watching reruns of Julia Child’s cooking show as a child, so I was interested in learning more about her life. She was quite an inspiration.

The entire showing took about four hours. In between kissing boo boos, refereeing squabbles, granting (or withholding) permission to do this and that, changing soggy diapers and preparing dinner, I gained an obvious appreciation for the upbeat Julia Child and empathy for the sometimes neurotic Julie Powell. (I’ve had a few meltdowns of my own, especially with self-imposed deadlines and endless to-do lists.)

But when my husband asked me what I thought of the movie, I answered, “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie that portrayed men so well.” As much as I appreciated the women, I loved seeing how much the men supported their wives. Julia Child’s husband was an obvious force in her success, and the same goes for Mrs. Powell’s husband. Both women succeeded because of their spouses.

It crossed my mind that homeschooling spouses have that same ability. They are often the reason that homeschooling works. They play a powerful role in the success of the homeschooling family.

If you are considering homeschooling or are in the throes of homeschooling, I hope you and your spouse stand united. That unity will carry you when you can’t decide which curriculum to choose, when your children encounter a slump, when you are exhausted and when the dust bunnies threaten to take over the house. They can talk you down from throwing that once interesting science project out the window or keep you from giving up on that unit study that taunts you to finish it.

And hopefully, they will enjoy the rewards of your job and appreciate the work you do. Because homeschooling really is a family affair, one in which we all benefit.