Moms typically bear the brunt of the load when it comes to homeschooling. Dads are away at work all week and sometimes over the weekend to make ends meet in the mostly one-income families of homeschoolers.
This makes for an interesting problem. How can you get your husband involved in your children’s education? Dads may not be home all day, but they are integral to the success of a child’s homeschooling experience. This is especially true if you are raising sons. Moms can educate a boy’s mind, but a male influence is needed to turn that boy into a man.
You can do many things to help get dads more involved in the homeschooling process. Here are a few ideas:
God has called dads to be the spiritual leaders of their homes. Dads may not be home while moms are going through the Bible curriculum with their children; however, they can still be the rudder that steers the spiritual direction in their homes.
Dads should help to make the decisions about what Bible topics are covered in their homes. They should have a hand in picking the Bible curriculum, as well as the curriculum for all other topics each year. It can be easy for dads to stand back and let their wives make these decisions on their own. Dads need to resist this tendency. Their wisdom is crucial to the process.
Dads should lead some type of family devotions. They should also oversee their children to be sure that personal devotions are taking place. This type of spiritual guidance and support from our husbands is necessary.
Dads should also try to set the example when it comes to their personal devotions. Children should see their dads in Bible study and prayer. For boys to take their own devotions seriously, it is vital that they see this example in their fathers. This will make it much less likely that they will walk away from the faith as adults.
Much of the focus in our children’s education is on filling their minds with information and teaching them how to think. We forget that it is just as important, if not more so, for us to train their character. Honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, generosity, being a good friend… these are all traits that we need to live out in front of our children.
Character lessons are mostly caught – not taught. There are several good programs which can help us to teach character education to our children. If our children don’t see us live these qualities out in everyday life, however, the lessons they learn won’t stick.
Dads must get in on these kinds of life lessons as well. It is important for both moms and dads to teach their children to live in such a way that all of their actions bring glory to God.
Use scripture to teach these timeless lessons to your children. When our children do things with a bad attitude, we remind them of Philippians 2:14, “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” When they are angry with their sibling or are being unkind, we remind them of Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Most dads have home improvement projects waiting for them when they get home from work. These projects can be a wonderful hands-on learning experience for kids. If you have young children let them hand you tools as you teach them about their use. As soon as possible, try involving your children even further in the process. Let them pound in nails, use the staple gun, measure things for you, drill holes, etc.
It’s also fun to build projects with your kids. Try your hand at creating go-carts, model airplanes, rockets, kites, swing sets, etc. There is an infinite number of projects you can build together.
As their skills progress, you can have your children help to plan projects, create designs using software on the computer, and attempt building things on their own or with minimal supervision. The goal is to help your children become proficient and confident when using tools. These types of learning experiences will long be remembered by your children. And their new skills will be valuable to them in everyday life as well.
Dads often have repairs they need to make around the house as well. Turn those “Honey Do” lists into learning opportunities by involving your children. Most men wish they knew more about electrical work, plumbing, appliance repair, carpentry, etc. Focus on teaching these types of skills to your children.
If you don’t know much about these trades yourself, now is the perfect time to learn. Buy a book on basic home repair and start small. Learn how to change a faucet or showerhead before you tackle replumbing your whole house. Build a birdhouse with your kids before you attempt to design and build a dining room table.
Your kids don’t care if you know everything there is to know about a topic. As long as you have a spirit which is willing to learn and a sense of humor, you can teach your children and learn at the same time.
If you feel more comfortable, hire a professional and watch him make repairs with your children. Ask him to explain things as he does them. Be sure to let the repairman know your intentions before he agrees to the job. Some people will be more open to people watching him work than others.
Reading is the most important aspect of your child’s education. It is important not only for your child to read but also for us to read to them as well.
Most parents read out loud to their children when they are young. As soon as children learn how to read on their own, however, they often stop reading to them. This is a big mistake. It is important that parents continue to read aloud materials which are just above the reading levels of their children. This teaches our kids correct grammatical patterns, gives us quality time together as a family, and is just plain fun.
Get dad involved in reading to the family. Dads are great at adding inflection and using silly voices to bring stories to life. Also, when sons hear their fathers reading, they are more likely to become readers themselves. If boys only see their moms reading, they can come to the inaccurate conclusion that reading is only for girls.
Choose books which are entertaining both for boys and for girls. There is no point reading aloud books which are dry and won’t hold the interest of you or your children. Books with plenty of adventure and humor are great choices for these family reading sessions.
Higher Math, Dissection, and Other Gory Items
Moms are usually a bit nervous when it comes to teaching certain school subjects. Calculus may be a good subject to have dads teach. If you are a math wiz but you aren’t the best at spelling or history, let your husband take over that subject instead. He can teach it when he gets home from work while you are making dinner.
Biology is another subject that makes some moms squeamish. To help your husband be successful, moms can help out by organizing the materials for their spouse. Moms can also order the necessary materials and turn them over to dads, who can dissect with the kids after dinner. Mom can also do the book work with the kids during the day and dad can simply do the hands-on instruction at night.
However, you divide up the tasks, focus on each other’s strengths. If dad is an engineer or a computer professional, you will want to capitalize on his knowledge by letting him instruct your children in these areas. The possibilities are endless! Do whatever works best for your family.
Internships and Apprenticeships
Many times dads have more connections to the outside world than do moms, as their jobs usually take them away from their homes every day. Dads can ask other dads to mentor their children. If your son or daughter is interested in being a doctor, ask a health professional from your church if they can tag along on the job.
This kind of real experience is invaluable for kids when they are deciding what it is God wants for their profession. It is one thing to read about being an electrician or an engineer. It is another thing entirely to apprentice under an electrician or to have an internship at an engineering firm.
Look through your church directory to determine the many different professions that are represented there. Talk with people from work to see if they may have connections that could be beneficial to your child’s education. Check with extended family members to see if they know someone in a profession that interests your child.
The more real-life careers your child is able to experience or observe the better. All of that experience will help them to make more informed decisions when they are choosing majors in college, choosing trade schools, or filling out resumes.
This is just a sampling of some of the ways that dads can be directly involved in their child’s education. God intentionally placed moms and dads over the family for a reason. Men bring strengths and talents to the family that wouldn’t exist if they were absent. Seek out your husband’s strengths and encourage him to use them for the betterment of your children. This will not only improve your child’s education, it will also help build stronger relationships between dads and their children.
What ways have YOU found to involve your husband in homeschooling? I’d love to hear any tips that you can share with the rest of us. Please leave a comment below!