When DAD Is The Teacher – MBFLP 204

When Dad is the Homeschool Teacher

Surveys and studies have shown that over 90% of the time, Mom is the primary teacher in a homeschooling family. But that doesn’t account for everyone, and sometimes Dad is the teacher, not Mom. How does that change the homeschooling dynamic? What is it like being a Dad at a support group meeting full of Moms? How can the homeschooling father find the support and encouragement he needs when so much is aimed at the concerns and struggles of mothers? This episode, we look at the question of what happens when Dad is the teacher.

When Dad is the homeschool teacher


When Dad is the Homeschool Teacher

Some years ago a survey found that something like 96% of homeschool families report that Mom is the main teacher in the home. That number may have changed with the rise of more digital and co-op programs, but the bottom line remains – at 90% demographics, you have to expect most of the support will be directed toward mothers, not fathers.

But there are many situations where Dad might be the main instructor at home, whether by plan, by accident, or by temporary circumstance. And if Dad’s a homeschool teacher, he needs support and encouragement just like Mom would. How does that work out?

First, it’s nothing to apologize for. While the Bible talks about the instruction of both parents, whether as a couple or individually, it frequently puts the expectation on the father to make sure the children are being trained up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4). Modern work patterns make it difficult for fathers to personally carry out the 24/7 spirit of Deuteronomy 6:7 – “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” If a Dad does have the opportunity by working from home or whatever, that’s a blessing in itself.

No matter who’s teaching, you’ll need to communicate with your mate. Keep her in the loop. Give her a daily update. Reach out during the day with prayer requests or interesting news. Coordinate on decisions. And give yourself a mental break at the end of the day before she comes home from work, so you can ease her return to the family after the distraction and stress of the workplace.

As the dad, you may not be as tuned in to your child’s non-verbal and emotional communication. Get your wife’s input and trust her instincts. (On the plus side, you are likely to experience less stress and uncertainty over choices and directions for the homeschool. We tell moms to recruit their husbands’ decisiveness to break the impasse they experience).

Do be sensitive to your children’s childhood. We dads get really goal-oriented and sometimes we don’t allow for their normal levels of distraction, fatigue, and so forth. They’re kids!

Understand their differences

Understand the learning differences between your sons and your daughters. Boys tend to be noisy, physical, active, and just hard to teach. Moms often don’t instinctively get this, and you do. But you might need some insight into what makes your daughters special.

For example, our sons like the teaching to be emphatic, confident, engaging, challenging. They like to debate. And they like the room well lit and cold, preferably with a breeze in their faces. We understand this. Our daughters like things more warm and nurturing, affirming, peaceable, gentle rather than stirring. You need to speak both languages, if you have both sons and daughters to teach.

One thing I find I CANNOT do is divide my attention. If I’m teaching our kids or interacting with them in any way, I have to focus on them. I simply don’t have the ability to continue working on my laptop and have a conversation or lead an activity at the same time. The multitasking gift is a great boon to homeschooling moms; I do things like keep a notebook handy, and anytime I’m interrupted (a billion times per day), make a note of what I’m doing. That way I can get back on task without trying to keep half my brain on hold while I talk with my child.

We all need support

Finally, recognize that all homeschool teachers need support. Join a local group, even if you’re the only father in the mix. Yes, there will be some conversations you just can’t connect with, but there are so many other things which are important. Your kids need the peer group, there will be activities and opportunities that enrich their learning and make your teaching easier, and you’ll be less isolated yourself.

— Hal


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