The homeschool community is very mommy-centric: most of the parents doing to active, daily teaching of homeschooled students are, in fact, moms. But dads have a wealth of wisdom and guidance to impart on their children. Let's look at four ways to be an awesome homeschool dad.
To write this post, I asked my husband, Greg, his thoughts on what it takes to be an awesome homeschool dad.
First on Greg's list is patience. "Understand that you had to learn it too," Greg said. While reinforcing multiplication tables, for example, take it at the child's pace. Make learning fun instead of a chore.
Look on your role as a homeschooler as just that: a homeschooler, with your wife, instead of "principal" or "administrator." Both parents are homeschooling the children, not "my wife homeschools our kids," but "we homeschool our kids." You, dad, are as much homeschooling your kids as your wife is.
Your kids may learn differently than you, and that's okay. "Just because flash cards didn't work for me, doesn't mean they don't work for my child," said Greg. It's important to be creative and teach according to your child's learning style. Plus, being creative helps inject life into homeschool and fosters a love of learning. Partner with your wife on making homeschool a place where learning is celebrated and enjoyed.
Be an active teacher. Greg has a degree in horticulture from The Ohio State University, so he likes to plant seeds and actively teach Laura by doing. A lot of learning is not via textbook or lecturing: it's by the simple act of life. Making a garden (whether it's out in the yard or in pots on the patio) together is an important life skill to learn, and it's by the act of doing it that Greg imparts knowledge onto our daughter.
As a full-time wheelchair user (Greg was paralyzed in an attempted armed robbery in 2015), he enjoys playing wheelchair basketball and tennis. During the times he plays tennis, he makes it a point of taking Laura with him, and now she is learning tennis. She goes with us to basketball tournaments out of state, and during those trips, she's learning logistics (packing and loading a car), listening to audiobooks, social interaction with other people of different abilities, and how to travel. All great things to learn.
Most importantly, as a full-time wheelchair user, Greg is constantly modeling determination, dedication, and a positive attitude for our daughter. Life throws some awful curve balls at us many times, and it's in those times that we can either choose to curl up in a fetal position and whine, or deal with it. Either way, character is being shaped. The question is: what shape?
Support and love your spouse
By far the most important thing awesome homeschool dads can do is to support your wife and be a homeschooling couple. Go to homeschool conventions together, explore catalogs and curricula together, and talk with other homeschool dads. Take a day off work and homeschool the kids while your wife takes some much-needed alone time. Understand that housework takes a beating due to homeschool; take it upon yourself to look at housework as being the responsibility of everyone who lives in the house, not just your wife. Don't "help" your wife by washing dishes or cleaning bathrooms, as that implies it's all her responsibility. Just do it--without anticipating or expecting praise.
An awesome homeschool dad loves the Lord first with all his heart, mind, and soul, and his wife second, his children third, and honors his work fourth. When an awesome homeschool dad puts relationships in that order, he cannot fail.
In Jesus' Name,
(C) 2020 Terrie Bentley McKee ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Terrie Bentley McKee is an author and speaker who homeschools her youngest daughter. Married to her husband Greg, they have four children, all of whom have special needs of varying degrees. Terrie is a follower of Jesus Christ and tries to glorify God in all she does. To read more about her testimony, click here.
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