Thursday, September 13, 2018

How Do You Get Dad Involved In Your Homeschool?

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How Do You Get Dad Involved in Your Homeschool? Part of the How Do You Homeschool series on Homeschool Coffee Break @

No matter how long we've been homeschooling, we are curious about how other homeschoolers do things. And homeschoolers who are newer to the game obviously have lots of questions! This series will try to answers some of the questions homeschoolers ask each other. Questions about how we handle some of the little details and about our opinions on different aspects of homeschooling. Questions that we all might answer differently because what works great in one family might not work at all in another. 

Remember when I said I would be writing this How Do You Homeschool series starting "soon"? Yeah, well, about that . . .  I did want to start earlier, but life and all that. So here goes with the first question. This one isn't among the first that homeschoolers ask each other, but it does come up often, and it's essentially the question Crew members are answering in our Round-up this week.

How do you get Dad involved in your homeschool?

In some homeschool families, the dads are very actively involved in choosing curriculum or in teaching, but I don't think that's a huge majority. It's not exactly the case in my family, nor is it in most of the homeschool families I know well. I firmly believe that it's important that mom and dad are on the same page with homeschooling, and support each other in the endeavor, because that's a key ingredient in homeschooling success. But that doesn't necessarily mean dad is going to be teaching math class! If it does, that's wonderful! I can think of a few classes that may have gone a lot better if Dad had been the teacher, but we couldn't make that happen on a regular basis.

So what has Dad's role been in our homeschool?

When the kids were young, we told them that I was the teacher in our school, but Dad was the principal. And it was not a good thing to be sent to the principal's office. But really what happened was that almost every day Dad would question the kids at dinner: "What did you learn in school today?" He was also in charge of homework. (Calling it "homework" is so weird when you're homeschooling - am I right? We do all of it at home, so in a sense it's all homework. But I digress.) If there was an assignment that the kids were supposed to work on in the evening or on their own, it was almost always Dad that asked if they had finished their homework or helped them with it if they needed it. When the kids reached high school, he checked how they were coming along with the assignment lists and if they were meeting deadlines. He may not have been actively teaching a class, but he stayed informed about what they were studying and made sure the work was getting done. He's interested and invested in what they are learning.

With some subjects, Dad is the go-to source when they have questions or need help. Dad studied French for most of his middle and high school years and is much more fluent than Mom. So when Kennady needs a little help with her French homework, she goes to Dad. When Spencer was doing an Auto Repair and Upkeep elective, he went to Dad for anything that wasn't clear in the textbook. Dad has also been the best person to go to for help in the sciences, and occasionally in math.

For me, he is my sounding board when I've had to make decisions about curriculum or outside classes. He listens to me talk through the pros and cons of this curriculum versus another, and helps me narrow down my choices. Many times he's told me something kind of like this: "I don't really know why you should choose one book or another. I'll listen to you talk about it, but whatever you decide will be fine." He has listened to me talk complain about our hard days or my frustrations. And believe me, that is really valuable!

But you know where Dad is most involved? And where almost all homeschool dads can be involved? Field trips! Whenever possible, Dad goes along on field trips with us. Obviously when we do something during a weekday, Dad is at work and can't get away, but we have tried to do educational type things on weekends and while on vacations so that Dad can go along and participate. And a lot of times, it's places that DAD wants to visit!

Many years ago we went on an encampment weekend with our homeschool group, and I felt like I'd really accomplished something by talking Dad into going along. We all had a great time and it's a really special memory - not just because it was a great experience, but also because Dad did it with us!

From the High School Lesson Book: St Augustine and St Mary's City on Homeschool Coffee Break @

Even the grad trips we've done for our kids involved fun field trips that Dad wanted to do at least as much as we did. Like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during the Summer of Harrison, and Glacier National Park during the Summer (well . . . Autumn) of Spencer.

The Summer of Landon - A Summer Inspiration round-up post on Homeschool Coffee Break @ - Our plans to make the last family vacation a memorable one for our high school grad!

The Summer of Landon - A Summer Inspiration round-up post on Homeschool Coffee Break @ - Our plans to make the last family vacation a memorable one for our high school grad!

Dad has gone along on a couple of Kennady's chorus trips, and this is how he has stayed involved in her chorus and music education.

A New Orleans PhotoJournal on Homeschool Coffee Break @

And all these little day trips that we do close to home. Even this attempt at hiking at Codorus State Park a few weeks ago. 

Homeschool Highlights - Summer Blues Edition on Homeschool Coffee Break @

Whether Dad is a hands-on teacher or stays more in the background of the homeschool, the important thing is that he expresses interest and enthusiasm for what's going on as we learn.

How do you get Dad involved in your homeschool? There's a lot of ways that dads can be involved! Leave a comment and let me know what works for you - or leave a homeschool question you're curious about.

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog for the How We Involve Dad in Our Homeschool Round-upand see how other Crew members are doing just that. (September 14, 2018)

How we involve Dad in our Homeschool {Link UP}

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