Our family has been homeschooling for close to twenty years and it is not the easy way out. Homeschooling is not for everyone and it takes a lot of work and effort for the parents to stay dedicated to it. For most families, the mom is the teacher. She organizes curriculum, researches curriculum, grades papers, gives tests and gets exasperated from the extensive work it entails. It’s not just one grade but for many homeschool families, it’s multiple grades that are being taught. This is where the father needs to be a vital part of the homeschooling to not only encourage his wife but for the children to know that dad backs up mom and the children are also responsible to him in doing what is required.
So what can a dad do? First of all, show love and interest to his wife in what she is doing and teaching the children. Just as a man wants to tell how his work day went, so does a woman want to share her day – the good and the bad. If possible, it helps greatly if the dad can take over one subject or correcting one subject. If the dad can do math for the upper grades for the older children, this takes a major load off his wife. If he can correct math papers and tests, this also helps tremendously.
Many years ago when I first began homeschooling I was spoiled by our oldest child who caught on to his schooling very well, and was self-motivated. Our second child was not, and he and I battled often. He could not catch on to what I thought was easy math concepts. I was at my end and called my husband at work, ready to resign from homechooling! My husband encouraged me to put away the math book for our struggling son for awhile – just don’t touch it. I really had a difficult time with this, because math seemed like a required subject we HAD to do! But I did so. Reluctantly, I got it out after several months, and it clicked with my son. He caught on and away he sailed through his math book . . . even catching up to his older brother! Then it was much easier as we had two doing the same math book! It definitely took the encouragement of my husband to see outside the box and what we could do to help our son (and me).
This is one of the great advantages of homeschooling and it does not have to follow the rigid, stick-to-it curriculum of public schools. Sometimes a breather helps. Sometimes a day off helps. Sometimes not doing school on Friday and having dad do it on Saturday is a great blessing for the mom. The dad may not be able to teach a full school load, but his input and encouragement is certainly what can keep it flowing so much smoother.