Many thanks to Cristina for giving me a chance to give a dad’s perspective on homeschooling!
Over the last 8 years that our family has been actively homeschooling, I’ve seen more and more fathers show their willingness to share in what was stereotypically (and incorrectly assumed as) solely the moms’ role as home educators. We are thankful for the thousands of moms that have worked to make homeschooling work in our families, but as we guys like to say about sports – “It’s a team effort.”
Thankfully, my experience as a homeschool dad has always involved total cooperation with my wife. I was considered my children’s ‘primary teacher’ for a number of years as my job allowed me more flexibility to stay home. However, I know that many homeschool dads aren’t as fortunate as I am to be a consistent part of the daily homeschool experience. Whether the man of your home is a stay at home dad, or the primary breadwinner, we all appreciate encouragement as we strive to take an active part in our children’s education. So moms, on behalf of homeschool dads, here are some ways to encourage us. I call them the three “L’s” = Learn Together, Let Him Lead, and Love and Laugh.
1. Learn Together: Most dads are not scared to learn along with their kids, but they are scared of ‘messing up the flow” of the homeschool. We feel that if something is working, i.e., the way the moms are managing the homeschool, that interfering can somehow be detrimental. Moms, don’t let us stay on the fringe. If you find something interesting to study or a subject that you need help with, consult with Dad first – even if it’s not his strongest subject or skill. Encourage your kids to reach out to us as well for help with their studies. If there is a subject Dad is strong at, by all means let him teach it whenever he can. By doing this, you encourage us dads to model life-long learning. A man often enjoys solving a problem, and we’ll go to great lengths to learn something if we feel it makes us – and the family – more effective.
2. Let Him Lead : Even though many moms choose curriculum and are more knowledgeable about homeschool methods, always support the dad of your family by giving him time to consider the long-range goals of your homeschool. Talk about what he feels is the vision for your kids, even if he’s not active in the day-to-day activities. We as men are charged with giving our kids the God – given vision of what they are to become, but parents must work as a team to make that vision come to pass in our children. Ephesians 6:4 (KJV) states:
Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
If we are to bring our children up in the Lord’s chosen pathways, we must agree on what God is trying to achieve through our homeschooling , and only clear and regular parental communication can accomplish that. All the dads I’ve spoken to recently have voiced their desire to be more involved in their respective homeschools. So give us the opportunity. Have ‘faculty meetings’ early and often throughout the year and always respect the opinion of the father in your home as you work together to set the course of your homeschool.
3. Love and Laugh: I feel dads should be able to schedule the breaks from school that the kids need every so often. If Dad is not part of the academic setting regularly, encourage him to be the leader of the recreational and social life of your family. Fathers can be the balance to the hectic lifestyle that can sometimes overtake the mothers as they juggle work, home, and homeschool (yes, they are all different categories) By taking the emphasis off curriculum and lessons every once in a while, a dad can lighten the load and remind the family of the most important part of homeschooling – the time you spend together. Share love and quality time as a couple and as a family, and you would be amazed how much easier it is to teach the academics in your homeschool when that core of love and laughter is established.
By following these three “L’s”, I trust your family will be more united than ever in learning, leading and loving together as God blesses your homeschool journey. Dads, jump in to the journey with both feet, and moms, don’t be surprised if we make a big ‘messy’ splash. We’ll clean up afterward, we promise.
About the author: Allen Paul was a music teacher in Miami public schools for 8 years before resigning and becoming a homeschool dad. He now works with Classical Conversations as a Challenge director and blogs about his homeschool experience at Homeschool Daddy. He lives in Miami with Lia, his wife of 16 years , and their three children – Chris, 21, Marcus, 16, and Naomi, 15.