The Homeschooling Father's Role
by Tamara Eaton
While some fathers are the principle teachers in the homeschool, more often, it's the mom doing most of the teaching and actual homeschooling. What are some of the things a father and husband can do to help the homeschooling process go smoothly?
My own husband has always been very supportive of me and the children's homeschooling, but because of time constraints, he has not been involved so much with the actual day-to-day homeschooling. He does work hard to provide for our family's needs so that I can stay home and homeschool my children! He also is our number one encourager and provoker of good homeschooling habits. We have always given him nightly or weekly reports of what we've been accomplishing in our homeschooling and it has given the children an opportunity to "review" what they've learned, too. He has been a wonderful example to the children as well, as an adult who enjoys learning and growing in knowledge.
When we were just beginning to "formally" homeschool, all the children were young and sometimes I'd have a rough day. His coming home in the evenings would be all I needed to encourage me that tomorrow was yet another day, a fresh start! He would hug me and listen to me without jumping in to criticize me or tell me I was over-reacting, etc. After I was all talked out, either he would have some calm, encouraging suggestions, or he would express confidence in my ability to find a solution to my problems. Often just talking it out would be all the help I needed! Other times, he would suggest I take the next day off and let him work some with the children in the evening. Sometimes we ALL needed the day off!
Once a week he would watch and play with the younger kids so I could go off to the library alone and "regroup" and have an opportunity to expand my own education. He would pick up meals and bring them home, or grill out dinner for me. Not every night, but often enough that I had a break. It wasn't always easy to homeschool with four young children, but with his support and help in the other practical matters, it went very well and we all enjoyed it!
Years later, we added two new members to our family in the period of 20 months. It was challenging for me to care for two babies as well as check over all the lessons that the older four did each day. One of the ways William helped me was by offering to cover the math for me. He'd check the work each night and help the children if they needed help. He also would listen to the young readers read aloud and encourage them. He made it a point also to watch and take care of the babies so I could work independently with my younger grades when they needed it. And, he personally saw to it that the bedtime routines were accomplished promptly at 8:00 p.m. so that I could get some rest in the evenings!
As our teens have matured and gone on to mostly independent studies, William has taken on more responsibility in supervising their studies and suggesting new research topics. This has especially been helpful in homeschooling our teenage son, who also works in our family business and spends a great deal of time with his dad. My older son has "answered to" William for years now for getting his work done well and on time and this has helped me out so much!
Even if a homeschooling father has almost no free time to help in homeschooling or even to spend with the family, (which would be a hard thing, indeed) if he can give his wife the love, support and encouragement in a *visible* form, that can be enough to help her homeschool alone joyfully!
He can also see to it that he and his wife have time alone to nourish their own relationship. A mom needs to be reminded of the fact that she is not *just* a mother and teacher, but that she is an individual as well. She needs to be taken out from time to time, with just a tiny handbag instead of a huge diaper bag! Even if a couple is on a strict budget there are plenty of fun things couples can do that don't cost a lot of money. These days we have teenagers and "built-in" babysitters for our younger two and it's easier for us to go out, but for years we had a weekly "date night" when we would put the children to bed and then enjoy some quiet time alone together just at home. One of the best gifts parents can give their children is a happy marriage!
Homeschooling at its best is a lifestyle that involves the WHOLE family. If you feel your homeschool needs more "teamwork", prayerfully discuss problem areas and trust God to provide wisdom! We believe that God has given Christian husbands and wives to each other to function as a team, in parenting and homeschooling-- in mutual respect and honor, totally sold out and committed to the Lord, each contributing special gifts and wisdom and thereby working efficiently and effectively to further not only His will in their homeschooling, but their whole lives, and in the kingdom of God!
© Copyright Tamara Eaton 1994-2000, all rights reserved.
Permission is given to reprint any of Tamara's articles in non-profit publications as long as the article is reprinted in full and contains the copyright information and website address. Please send a copy of the publication to :Deeper Life Family Ministries, P.O. Box 909, Killen, AL 35645.
We have always homeschooled our six children (elementary through high school and beyond!) and enjoy encouraging other families in their homeschooling, parenting and in the Lord! For more help and information, please join us on the Christian Homeschool Fellowship Message Board.
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"And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."