While homeschooling certainly isn’t a gender specific occupation, in many of the families that we know, the mom has the lion’s share of the responsibility for homeschooling. My husband’s occupation makes this necessary in our home, but it also has the unintended consequence of his being left out of a good amount of our day. Early on in our homeschooling, we began making a conscious effort to include him as much as possible.
Here are some strategies for involving Dad in homeschooling that we have used over the years:
Show and Tell
After my husband has had some time to change his clothes and move out of “work mode,” I encourage my children to show off some of their work from the day, especially if we have done a special activity. Art projects, science experiments, handwriting pages, and new reading material are all fun to show Dad.
Supper Time Chat
My husband often spends part of our supper hour chatting with the kids about what they have learned during the day. He also enjoys quizzing them on spelling words or math problems. The children enjoy telling him about what they are reading as well, narrating Charlotte Mason-style.
We plan educational family trips for days that my husband is home from work. When possible, he takes off work to attend field trips our co-op group takes as well.
Our local co-op plans a variety of family activities throughout the year, such as a hay rack ride in the fall and a talent show in the spring. My husband makes every effort to attend these events. Not only are they fun for our whole family, but when we tell about this person or that at co-op, he knows who we are talking about.
Texts, E-mails, or Notes
When the kids were younger, and especially as they were learning to read, my husband would often leave them notes before he left for work. As they’ve gotten older, these have morphed into e-mails and texts as well. He encourages them to be diligent in their schoolwork and to obey mom, as well as letting them know he is thinking about them during the day.
We attend afternoon co-op classes once a week during the school year. My husband takes one afternoon off a year and visits our kids at co-op. They love having him there, and it gives him a better idea of what we are working on.
While my husband doesn’t teach any of our core classes, he does occasionally teach some elective ones. For example, he has given lessons in gun safety, carpentry, weight-lifting, and baseball.
Reading aloud in the evening, especially during the winter, has been a wonderful way to include Dad in our homeschooling. My husband especially likes reading books to the kids that he enjoyed as a child, such as The Hobbit, Where the Sidewalk Ends, or Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
My husband works with our children on sports activities. Both of our children play competitive ball (softball and baseball). He spends time teaching them fundamentals, has coached their teams, and attends games.
While it takes some effort and time on both of our parts, including my husband in our homeschooling world has been well worth it.