SummaryBehind every successful homeschooling mom, there is a hard-working homeschooling dad. Patricia Purcell reflects on these true and unsung heroes.
Due to the nature of homeschooling, with one parent having to be available to teach the children, most homeschooling families fall into traditional patterns where the father works full-time and the mother stays home.
From the outside, it can appear that the mother bears the brunt of the homeschooling workload, such as teaching the children, doing the housework, and shopping, with little help from her spouse.
In reality, there are many ways that dads are vital to keeping a homeschool going.
1. Main Breadwinner
Homeschooling is a full-time job that attracts many smart and creative moms, but it doesn’t get the bills paid.
Without dads who are willing to be the main breadwinners, homeschooling wouldn’t be possible for many families, including mine. In this materialistic age when two income families are praised, husbands who make significant financial sacrifices so that their wives can stay home and educate the children are to be commended.
Much like the loving example of St. Joseph, homeschooling dads put the needs of their families first. Our children might not keep up with the neighbor kids in acquiring the latest toys and gadgets.
However, they are learning invaluable lessons about commitment, responsibility, and goal-setting by witnessing their fathers working hard to ensure the financial security of their families.
2. Providing Backup
People often ask me how I do it all. The answer, of course, is that I don’t. Homeschooling dads tend to be highly involved in child-rearing. Discussions with my friends have shown me that it is common for dads to be in charge of a subject or two; in my house it’s math.
Relieving me of responsibility for a subject that I don’t enjoy teaching is a tangible way that my husband helps me and takes an active role in our homeschool.
Dads often provide backup in smaller ways too. Even when time is at a premium, dads can help by:
- Reviewing material. What student couldn’t use extra study time? Dads can use driving time or meal time to help kids with memorizing spelling words or math facts, or even discussing historical events or literature.
- Enforcing consequences. Let’s face it. Sometimes parents just need to present a united front, whether it’s about ensuring that chores are done, or that greater effort is put into schoolwork.
- Surprising advantages. Having my husband gone all day occasionally has its advantages…he’s been known to drive away with a favorite video game locked in his trunk until a math grade is brought up or a bedroom is cleaned.
3. Teaching Practical Life Lessons
My husband taught all of our children how to ride a bike; he proved to be far better at letting them risk the inevitable falls than I was. Now he has moved on to teaching our oldest how to drive. There are a multitude of life lessons that fathers naturally teach their children.
Dads show their sons how to grow into strong and capable men. They guide them through everything from shaving and wearing a tie, to how to fix things (or know when to call an expert), and how to treat girls with respect.
Dads show their daughters how they should expect to be treated.
By valuing the achievements of their wives and daughters, dads show girls that they can be smart, physically fit, and beautiful all at once. My husband makes it a point to buy our daughter flowers each Valentine’s Day when he buys them for me. He wants her to know that she should be treated well by boys. He also makes sure that she takes self-defense lessons.
Our house would slowly fall apart if it wasn’t for my husband. Like many dads, his weekends are filled with various chores and projects.
He is our household expert in all things relating to the lawn, cars, plumbing, renovations, and computer problems. If he doesn’t know how to handle it himself, he inevitably has a brother or a friend who does.
5. Being There for Mom
At the end of a long week of teaching, sometimes all I want is a glass of wine and my husband’s ear for an hour or so.
Sharing the triumphs and frustrations that are a natural part of both teaching and child-rearing with my partner in parenting is just what I need to recharge. Other ways that homeschooling husbands support their wives include:
- Filling the gas tank. Taking even one item off of a busy to-do list can be a huge relief.
- Salting the walkway or clearing the driveway on winter mornings.
- Doing the late pickups. With active teens in the house, our schedule has been stretched to include frequent evening activities. More often than not, my hubby volunteers to fetch our wanderers home.
- Occasional errands. My husband will often help out on his lunch break by scouring stores for something that we need, be it size four running shoes, supplies for a camping trip, or even new needles for the sewing machine.
The expression, “If you want to get something done ask a busy person,” might have first been uttered with homeschooling dads in mind.
Even after the demands of work and home, many homeschooling dads selflessly put time into their communities. They’ve been known to volunteer at church, to work as coaches or scout leaders, and to teach classes in their areas of expertise.
7. Dads Help Keep the Homeschool Going
In many homeschooling families, dads are the unsung heroes who help to keep things running smoothly. They offer support to their wives and serve as role-models for their children. Their active involvement both at home and in the community is a testament to their commitment to their calling as husbands and fathers. Most homeschooling moms would agree – we just couldn’t do it without them!
In what ways do you find that dads help keep things going?