Sometimes we feel like there isn’t time for Dad to be involved in the homeschool. 15-20 minutes could be enough time for Dad to impart some wisdom in one subject or area of expertise. If he doesn’t feel confident as a teacher, choose a subject where a lesson can be read. At the very least, storytime with Daddy! Find a way to involve Dad in your family’s school.
What is Dad’s specialty? Did he really enjoy math? Is he a scientist? Perhaps he is a history buff in his spare time (like our Dad!). Even if he really feels inadequate for “school” encourage him to read books aloud to the kids. (And, if he really feels inadequate— perhaps his family could do some confidence boosting and encouragement for him, too!) Because our Dad really enjoys history, that is his subject. After coffee with Mom each morning, Dad gathers the kids in the living room and reads their history lesson to them. Occasionally they’ll also watch a video on YouTube or listen to a song that relates. Most days they’ll consult a map or globe to identify the part of the world where their history lesson is taking place. Then, off to shower and get ready for work he goes. The rest of the schooling (and even some follow up on history) is overseen by mom, but this little bit of time each school day connecting with Dad, building common knowledge with Dad, and communicating with and learning from Dad is very important.
Sometimes it is hard for the primary teacher to step back and allow someone else to participate. We all have ideas about how things should be done. If you, Mom, have done more of the research, planning, and preparations, you naturally desire to see it through to completion. When I suggested you let him teach, did you think any of the following things? “He wouldn’t do it right.” “He doesn’t know enough.” “The kids don’t respond that well to his leadership.” “I’d just have to do it over again!” If you did, that is precisely the reason why he needs to get involved. There actually IS more than one way to get things done. Varying approaches and styles of teaching are beneficial to our children. Your husband will likely bring a different perspective to whatever subject he teaches than you would. By allowing him to take the lead in one area, you also honor him before your children and show him respect.
Now, maybe you thought something entirely different. “He wouldn’t be willing to do that.” “He’s not even sure we should be homeschooling.” “I’d LOVE for him to care and take part, but I have no idea how to get him to do it.” It may sound cliche, but start by praying. There was in time when it was hard to get our Dad to read a bed time story! Sportscenter on ESPN had a firm grip on his time. However, our Lord is in the business of changing hearts. Don’t underestimate His power! I’m not saying it will happen instantaneously, it likely won’t, but if you are praying and asking the Lord for wisdom, and WATCHING for Him to give it, then over time, I believe you will see more and more of the heart turning towards his children.
OK, if Dad is gone with the military or travels a lot, it may be more of a challenge. In this day and age, it may be LESS of a challenge, however, than it used to be. Do you Skype? We skype with grandparents and our uncle in Haiti. Encourage Dad that you’d like for him to be involved- even if it’s a story or extension once a week. Maybe he could email clues during the week to build up the anticipation and fun! If Dad really is unavailable- consider involving a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or other loving adult- in person or with skype or even over the telephone.
I truly believe that if Dad is involved in your family’s homeschool, he will be more supportive in general, will have a vested interest, and will have a new way to connect with his children. Who couldn’t use just a little more support in their schooling? Who knows, he might even find a new area to expand his knowledge, or discover a new interest and hobby. Field trips to Civil War battlefields, here we come!!!
What ways have you found to involve Dad in your homeschool?
© 2012 Katherine Clark | All Rights Reserved. | Image by Katherine Clark.