When most people hear the word homeschooling they instantly think the mom does all the teaching. While it may be true that most dads work outside the home, many are working from home more often these days. So moms are wondering how they can get dad more involved with homeschooling.
Recently, in a homeschool group I’m a part of online, there was a discussion that piqued my interest. A homeschool mom was asking for help with what to do with her husband, who kept interrupting their homeschool day. She was extremely frustrated by this and didn’t know how to make it stop. Many of the moms responding back to her mentioned that perhaps she needed to get Dad more involved with homeschooling.
I’m not sure if that was the answer she was looking for, but it did get me thinking about all the ways I’ve been able to get my husband more involved with homeschooling, not necessarily because he interrupted us a lot, but because I think there are some really practical ways Dads can help. They often have some expertise that can greatly benefit our kids if we can find a way to make those gifts part of the curriculum.
10 Practical Ways to Get Dad More Involved in Homeschooling
While we’re on the topic of getting Dad more involved with homeschooling, you should know that there are some homeschools in which Dad is the primary teacher. Yes, dads can homeschool too! There is an increasing rise in the number of stay-at-home dads who are the primary homeschool teachers because the mom is working outside (or inside) the home these days. Even if your husband isn’t in the home as much, or homeschooling the children doesn’t come naturally, there are ways they can still have an impact in the journey.
Help Choose the Curriculum
If you haven’t done so already, have a chat with your husband about his perspective of education and what that looks like. You may find out there are certain things he’d like his children to learn or things to stay clear of. Having this conversation can lead to discussing the various curriculum options available. Invite him to help you choose resources that compliment what you’d both like your children to learn.
Contribute to Setting Goals
Having dad help with setting goals in your homeschool can help with keeping everyone on the same page, as well as giving dad ways to keep the kids motivated. This is an aspect commonly left up to the mom to do, but the dad can certainly help in this area. Ask him to help with setting certain goals and then following up with accountability check-ins.
Teach His Favorite Subjects
Math anyone? Have mercy, if I could have talked my husband into teaching high school math, ALL would have been right in the world. We all have our favorite subjects! And our least favorite. If there’s a particular subject your husband likes, and you don’t, ask if he’ll head up teaching a few lessons per week in that area. It doesn’t have to fall within the traditional time that schooling typically takes place. If dad is working during the day, schedule a time after he gets home for the subject he agrees to teach. Or utilized days off (yes, even weekends).
Help with Teaching Life Skills
Continuing with the thought of taking learning outside the normal days and times, consider soliciting dads help with teaching life skills related lessons on the weekend. This is where my husband shined! This can be anything from how to fix a flat tire, learning how to work a lawnmower or an introduction to commonly used tools. These skills will follow your kids into adulthood, and they’ll remember the quality time they got to spend with their dad while learning them. In addition, don’t forget things like financial literacy are an important life skill. We actually chose to use financial literacy as a high school credit, but even beginning at a younger age, dad may be the perfect parent to begin teaching the kids about money.
Check and/or Grade Papers
Not only would it take a chunk of the responsibility off your plate, but it would also give dad an opportunity to see what the kids are studying. He may also see a way to help with corrections, offer encouragement for doing better, or find a way to offer additional instruction. Another perspective is always a good thing, especially when your eyes are bugging out trying to get it all done yourself.
Start a Storytime with Dad
Bedtime is the perfect way to incorporate story time with dad. Even if you have kids of varying ages, everyone can curl up together and enjoy a chapter (or entire book) read by dad. Starting a big family-friendly book and reading a chapter or night will give the kids something to look forward to. Not to mention, reading to kids increases their vocabulary and communication skills. Most dads would relish the encouragement to spend time in the evenings reading with their kids.
Head-Up Field Trips
Put dad in charge of scheduling and/or planning field trips. If necessary, give him a list of local places that would be perfect to visit and ask him to take charge. Bonus points if he’s able to schedule them so he can attend also. This was another area my husband did well with. He traveled a lot for most of Ben’s schooling years, and because of the amazing flexibility of homeschooling, we were often able to travel with him. It was not unusual for dad to tack on a couple of extra days to a business trip for some family field trip time. Even if he wasn’t able to go with us, he often did the legwork to find interesting things for us to do while he was working. If your family is not so fortunate to be able to travel together, weekends can be a good time for a family field trip or day trip not too far from home. See if you can get him involved in making some plans once a month or so!
Take Nature Walks Together
This another activity that doesn’t have to be done only while dad is at work or only during “homeschool time.” Nature walks can be done in the evening or on the weekends. These are great times to build family bonds all while enjoying the great outdoors. Purchase a few botany and foraging books and see what you can find while taking your walk.
Do Projects Together
Consider saving projects and experiments for when dad can participate. Having the extra hands on deck will be awesome, but even more so, dad will get to have fun with the kids. Not to mention, most guys like to make things go pop (or boom), spew over, and fly, so this would be right up their alley.
Ask Him What Wants to Do
If all else fails, just come out and ask dad how he’d like to be more involved in homeschooling. Especially if you have a man like the one I mentioned above, who continues to interrupt your homeschool day. He may not even realize he wants more of a part until you ask. And you may be surprised about what he says! Dads can be pretty creative! Once he gives you an answer, look for ways to accommodate and complement. Be prepared to make any necessary changes and go with the flow.
Getting dad more involved in homeschooling may not be as hard as you think. Always take into consideration your unique family dynamic and plan accordingly. Even if he can only do a little, it’s still better than nothing. If he’s not able to help at all or simply doesn’t want to, don’t see it as a bad thing. Understand that everything has a season and if his work schedule doesn’t allow for him to help, or if he simply doesn’t have the drive to do so, things can change in the future.
I’d love to hear from you! Is your husband involved in homeschooling your kids? If so, what are some things he does to contribute? Let me know in the comments below!