5 Ways to Involve Dad in HomeschoolingLeah Courtney
In many homeschool families, Mom has the primary responsibility for homeschooling. Some moms prefer this, while others wish Dad was a little more involved. Whether you like being the primary homeschool teacher in your home or wish Dad was a little more involved, it can be a really positive thing for dads to be a part of homeschooling.
But how can mom include dad in homeschooling? Many dads work away from home all day. And others, although working from home, have a pretty strict schedule that won’t allow them to do much in the way of homeschooling during your regular school day. If you get creative, though, you can come up with quite a few ways to get Dad involved in your homeschooling. And making a point of doing this can give dads a sense of ownership and connection with the family’s homeschooling. Here are five ways to get Dad involved in your homeschooling.
5 Ways to Include Dad in Homeschooling
Go together to a homeschooling convention.
Several years into homeschooling my husband and I went to a homeschool convention. We went as a couple’s getaway, leaving the kids with Grandma. That was a nice enticement to get him to go. Being at the homeschool convention was a great experience for him. Up until that point our homeschooling was something he supported but didn’t always understand.
At the convention, not only did he have the opportunity to see tons of homeschooling families and realize that, hey, we weren’t the only crazy people doing this, he also went with me to workshops that helped him to understand why we were doing things a certain way, using certain methods, or buying certain curriculum. I loved having him there because it made me feel good that he was in support of and a part of our homeschooling. And he liked feeling more connected with what we doing in our homeschool.
Get his input on curricula purchases.
Most of the time our curricula purchasing involves me making lists, pricing items, and taking the final results to my husband to see if there’s enough money in the budget to get what I want. And, often, he doesn’t really care about the specific ins and outs of different curricula because I’m more knowledgeable in that area over all.
But, occasionally, when I’m stuck making a choice between a few different options, he comes up with some really good thoughts to help me figure out which is best. He is a little more objective because he’s removed from the day to day homeschooling grind, and he can think of good questions I should be asking as I pick curricula. There have been several curricula we’ve chosen because Dad had a good idea, and they’ve ended up being a great fit for our homeschool.
Ask him for help/opinions.
Because Dad is a little more removed from our day to day work, he can sometimes offer fresh insights when I’m stuck. There have been times when a child just couldn’t grasp a concept, and I couldn’t figure out how to help. I talk to my husband, and he can see the problem through fresh eyes- not my tired ones that are frustrated. He comes up with alternative ways to explain or new examples to use. And, Voila!, the child understands.
Dad can also be the voice of reason when I’m worried about a child’s progress. Because I’m so close to the situation, I can get frustrated or concerned because a child isn’t making enough progress. Then I start to worry that I’m not doing enough, I’m not doing it right, or there is a major problem with this child. Dad can be an objective voice of reason, helping me to take a step back and think about the situation more clearly. Often I realize that the problem isn’t really that big and that I just need to ride out this stage and be patient. But sometimes he’s helped me to confirm that there is a problem, and that we need to make a change in something we’re doing. Either way, he can usually be a little more objective in helping me think through the situation.
Have dad teach a topic you’re stuck on.
My husband isn’t necessarily a teacher. He wouldn’t want the primary responsibility for teaching the kids on a day to day basis. But sometimes he can explain things in a fresh new way to a child when I seem to have hit a wall.
My oldest struggled with telling time. I tried all the ideas and tricks I could think of to help, and she still couldn’t grasp it. I asked my husband for help, and he sat with her one evening after supper, explaining all about telling time. By the time they finished, she had had an ah ha! moment and could – most of the time- accurately tell time. Sometimes a child just needs something explained in a new and fresh way, and Dad is the perfect one to do it.
Encourage the kids to share what they’ve been learning with Dad.
When the kids were little, I loved for them to talk to Dad about what they had been learning during the day. He would listen to them in the evening and ask questions. Sometimes they would show him projects they had completed. And, occasionally, we would do a family activity that went along with what we were learning- a field trip, a special meal, a game.
Now that the kids are older, they don’t run and show Dad everything they’ve been doing the second he walks in the door. But because we established those routines early on, they do want to talk to him about what they’ve been doing in school, and that makes him feel a part of what we’ve got going on.
Having Dad involved in your homeschooling has so many benefits. It’s worthwhile to think of ways he can be involved.