Homeschooling: Secrets all fathers should know first
You've made the choice to homeschool? Good luck. Here are some of the important items that I've learned from both my own experiences over 24 years and from many other fathers that I've shared with.
Two very important points to consider upfront...
- Homeschooling can be very inconsistent and contradictory from moment to moment. It involves multiple people, all with their own ideas and agenda, and what works today may not work tomorrow. Deal with it.
- Unless you've been homeschooled yourself it is going to be different from your own experiences. Don't assume that you know what everyone is thinking or feeling based upon what you are thinking and feeling.
Fathers don't have to be involved. I'm not saying that they shouldn't, but just that if for some reason you are unable to participate it is not the end of the world, or a sign that your homeschool will fail. If work takes you away from helping as much as you want... so be it.
There is no single best way of doing it. Do what is best for your family... not the family down the street who's been doing it for eight years and tells everyone that they are the experts.
Wives are full of doubt. Acknowledge it, give her encouragement, and never let her get so discouraged that she gives up.
Wives often turn to "experts" when they feel they don't know enough. That's not a problem, but if the "expert" becomes the dominant focus of the homeschool then it very well can interfere with a number of important family issues.
Husbands need to fulfill a role as skeptic. Historically homeschoolers have been very susceptible to some oddballs who have tried to lead the movement down some pretty strange paths. It's your job to put on that skeptic's role and not be willing to believe every claim or philosophy that is presented.
Wives need to get away. Often. With no kids around.
A lot of problems wives feel are important can be solved by benign neglect (this is tricky).
Wives can have hurt feelings over father's participation, especially if you come in at the last moment and become a "hero" to the kids. If she does all the work she get all the glory. The kids need to understand that.
Never, ever, not once, even dream of criticizing your wife's ability to homeschool in public. Don't even think of it.
Solve the problem of "titles" and roles well before the school starts. Things can change - that's why we homeschool. But having some things in order before the school year starts makes the task easier.
Someone needs to be the disclipline giver. Don't force your wife into the role if it is not best for her.
Fathers can help homeschool. Fathers can do the entire job if need be. But the primary role is to be a strong right arm for the mother, and to help her in any way that she asks - without question and whining.
And finally, you're invited to hang around a while and browse some of my other hubs. I hope that you find something of interest to you.