Homeschooling, as a given, is already hard. We’re “outcasts” and often we’re considered foolish for our unique approach to life and education. However, more times than not the mother does the homeschooling. It’s much more rare that the dad is the one who stays home. I was homeschooled my whole life (recently graduated High School) and the entire time I was homeschooled by my Dad. I watched it all first hand, the good the bad and the ugly. So here’s five tips for homeschooling dads - from the student’s perspective.
You’re doing the right thing, though, you’ll be told otherwise. You’re doing more for your kid(s) than it seems because right now you’re in the midst of the process. But in the end you’ll see it was worth it, you just have to stay committed. I speak from experience, there’s unique benefits from having the dad homeschool. Yes it’s different, but you’re the foundation that holds the family together. That’s not to add pressure. That’s just to point out that your homeschooling process will look different than other homeschooling families. So if you’re worried about being different, relax, it’s a given.
Here’s the thing: your kids will feel like outcasts too - most likely. If that’s the case, they need to know that you’re relaxed despite your being unique. The truth is that even amongst other homeschoolers, your family will stand out. But if you as the dad set the tone that everything’s alright, your kids will appreciate that more as time passes.
Be The Example
Similar to the need to be relaxed, you need to be driven. As the dad, one of the best gifts you can give your children is the example of a strong and passionate individual. As long as you’re driven about life, education, and family, I’m confident your kids will follow. It may take time for them to recognize it in you, but patience is a key factor of drive. Show them what it’s like to study and be curious. Show them how to love and make sacrifices. These traits will cross over into their education if they watch you persistently portraying these in your everyday life. Also, don’t be afraid to lovingly open up with your kids when it’s difficult. It’s important for them to see you struggle so they can see how you bounce back.
When In Doubt, Books
There’s a million curriculums out there.
Forget about them.
The first question parents ask when considering homeschooling is, “How will the kids socialize?”. Then once they’ve moved on, the next question is “Which curriculum do we choose?” and let me tell you, both of these come from a state of panic. Again, relax. You’re overthinking this. Just like we don’t need school to socialize, we don’t need a curriculum to be educated.
When in doubt, books. Start with this one.
Don’t Be A Teacher, Be A Mentor
There’s a huge difference between the two. Don’t worry about giving them information, instead give them the right environment and resources so they can learn on their own. (You’re already on the right track by choosing to homeschool.) Being a mentor means giving them space, but being there when they need you. A lot of homeschooling parents think they need to take on the responsibility of writing out a curriculum and plan activities for every hour of the day. It’s not true, you don’t have to do that. In fact, doing that is only going to wear you out and give them the impression that learning is only something you want for them, not something they can own and fall in love with.
Get Plugged In
I already talked about the fact that you will be different. You don’t have to go to all of the park days with the moms, because you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. But for your own sake, I think it’s best if you can find at least a few families that will be there for support. Isolation will create a huge negative impact. Just like you’re being a mentor to your kids, you might need to have at least one mentor for yourself as well. (That’s actually a part of setting the example.) So find a way to get plugged in with a few families, if not a co-op of some sort. It will be best for your kids and for you as well.