Let’s face it – dad’s are typically not engaged in the homeschool life. If your family is anything like mine – then your husband is out working hard for the money to make all your homeschooling dreams come true.
When he gets home, it is dinner, usually an evening practice/scouting/church event, kids go to bed, time for us to decompress, we go to bed – repeat cycle the next day.
Why should dad be involved in homeschool?
Dad getting involved is most likely, not going to happen naturally – life is too crazy! But, intentionally carving out time to involve him can have huge benefits for you and your kids!
Validates school to the kids
Have you have ever been teaching a history lesson or a math concept and your kid looks at you like – what?! Is this even a big deal? Why do I need to learn this?
Just today my daughter informed me that we can skip English because she already knows how to speak English. Sigh.
Having Dad step in as part of the process can give the kids another adult perspective (someone to back you up!). When my husband starts talking about how math can be applied or why an historical event is important or why knowing how to write might be valuable in their lives – the kids respond differently to him.
They seem to listen more intently and I imagine they are thinking, “Uh, so maybe that stuff mom talks about all morning is kind of important. Maybe she knows what she’s talking about.”
Structured time with dad
Due to the hectic schedule of life and work, I know my husband struggles to have time with our kids. When we do have time, it can be challenging to think of what to do. We’re tired!
Homeschooling (especially the Charlotte Mason approach), strangely enough, has offered both me and my husband so many fun, structured events to do with our kids! Whether is was building an ant farm, studying our butterfly garden, playing play dough smash, or reading awesome books together – homeschooling has been fun!
Your husband may appreciate having a structured activity (that he did not have to plan or organize) to do with the kids as part of their time together.
Dad knows what’s going on with school
This is huge. Just in the same way that you can reinforce and apply learning throughout the day, your husband can do the same thing – if he knows what the kids are learning.
When your husband is plugged in to what you are doing, he is much more likely to take every day experiences and turn them into learning opportunities.
A Break for you!
This is likely the most obvious reason. Anything that your husband does with your kids for school is something taken off your plate…and that’s a good thing!
Who has time for all that??
You may be thinking – I already knew that having my husband involved would be great – but we are slammed! He leaves for work early and gets home late – there is no time for all that. I hear you. Trust me.
Think outside the box with me and take at look at these options. Maybe one or more can work for your family!
5 Ways to Include Dad in Your Homeschool
1. Science Experiment Saturday
I find that a lot of homeschool moms really struggle with keeping up with science – no matter what age their kids are. From listening to moms talk, it seems to be one of the first things that can fall off the day’s agenda.
Teaching the lessons and doing the experiments can be time consuming and messy. It also tends to feel less necessary during the earlier years when reading, math, and writing are the core focus.
Wouldn’t it be fun to start a tradition of Science Experiment Saturday (or whatever day)!
I can see it now. You relaxing on the couch with hot coffee and a book while your husband and the kids check on their bean plant, blow up a baking soda volcano, watch youtube videos about zoology, or go outside to identify trees. A fun morning with Dad and learning!
2. Field Trip Director
I’m gonna be honest here – I don’t like field trips. Well, I like the idea of field trips, but when it comes to the actual trip – it is very challenging to take my three kids (7, 5, and 3) anywhere and have the time to actually teach my kids anything.
I envision being at a museum, pointing at an exhibit, and explaining something insightful and thought provoking. When I look up my 3 and 5 year old are missing, climbing into an exhibit, or licking the water fountain. Nope. Not doing it.
Enter Dad! Dad can be a huge part of making field trips fun and possible! Depending on his personality (and adventurous spirit), he can take the kids on individual field trips that correlate to their age specific classes. Think of it like a date!
Or he can take the kids all together for something everyone is learning about…while you do anything else!
Or you can all go together and make it a family event! The stress will be much less and the chances or learning much higher when there are two adults present.
Either way, including dad in field trips is a wonderful way to involve him in your homeschool and give him fun, structured time with the kids.
3. Dinner Table Review
This is my personal favorite and the main way that my husband stays connected to our homeschool.
When we first started homeschooling, my husband would ask the kids what they did that day or what they learned. Most times they would give blank stares and say, “I dunno.” The great thing about homeschooling is that I know what they are learning!
I started to prompt the girls with some topics we had gone over that day. To my annoyance, they still did not engage very much and said very little.
I decided that Dinner Table Review would become a thing and it would actually be part of our homeschool day. Here is how it works:
While having dinner, I prompt the kids with topics we have studied that day. “Tell Dad 3 things we we learned about George Washington.” “Can you tell Dad how you did on your spelling test?” “Tell Dad what happened in our science experiment.” “Explain to dad what you learned in math today.” You get the idea.
At first there was resistance, but once they saw that it was not optional – and that Dad was really interested in hearing everything – they began to engage! In fact we have to get really organized because they talk over each other too much!
There are so many benefits to this approach. First, it does give my husband a great overview of our day and what the kids are learning. It also gives our kids an awesome way to review their information and help it to really “stick.” I also like that it has increased dinner table discussion and practice talking with adults, taking turns, and listening.
My oldest is rather shy, so even talking at the dinner table about her day can make her clam up. This review approach has helped her get out of her comfort zone and speak up a little! I also like to see them take pride in their achievements and show off a little about what they have learned.
So a couple things to be careful of when doing the Dinner Table Review. First, make sure you prime the kids throughout the day for this dinner table talk. “Wow that is so interesting! That will be fun to tell daddy tonight!” or “You did great on this math worksheet! Dad will love to hear that you know how to do this!” Make them excited for it – not dreading it.
My second caution would be, to make it fun and know when to pull back. The dinner table should never be a place of stress, so if the kid doesn’t know an answer – be quick to give them hints or to just remind them completely of the answer. The intent is NOT for it to be a drill or to embarrass the kids in any way. The goal is to share what was learned and discussed that day. Here is an example of one of our table talks:
Me: Can you tell dad what we learned about Robert Fultoun today?
Oldest: Um, I don’t remember
Me: Okay, do you remember how he changed transportation in America?
Oldest: Oh, I remember now. He invented a better steamboat.
Me: That’s right!
Dad can take that conversation lead from there and talk or ask questions about any number of things related to that topic. Or if that’s not his area, he can just say something encouraging and we move on to the next subject or kid at the table.
4. Read Aloud
Another favorite! I will admit that when I first started homeschooling, I did not spend a ton of time reading to my kids. When our first curriculum arrived in the mail, I saw that there was a “Read Aloud” time scheduled every day for the parents to read to the kids from selected books.
I thought, “That’s nice, but I’ll probably skip that if time is short.” I could not have imagined how much my kids would LOVE being read to. It is by far the highlight of the school day for us.
If you are not familiar with the amazing benefits to reading aloud to your kids of ALL ages please visit Read – Aloud Revival. It’s awesome and has wonderful recommendations!
Reading aloud to the kids is a fun, easy way for dad to get involved. It can be done any time of the day or week.
Maybe there is a special chapter book that he reads one chapter from every day – only a 10 minute commitment. Maybe Sunday nights are “Dad nights” and he reads whatever stack of books they bring to him. The kids may take turns every morning for who gets to pick book for dad to read during breakfast. You may be surprised how your kids of all ages will love it and feel so much more connected to dad by sharing stories together!
Swing by the library and give it a try!
5. Teach a Class Tuesday
I know that some of you out there have a husband who works from home or has a flexible job that allows for him to teach a subject every day. That’s awesome! For everybody else out there – try this:
It does not have to be all or nothing! Maybe your husband cannot make the commitment to teach something EVERY day. That’s okay. But what if it is just one day a week that he picks up that subject (of his choosing) and teaches? What if he teaches it at night? Or in the morning? Or on the weekend? What if its just the first week of the month?
Make it something that is manageable and FUN for your husband and family.
You may think your kids will not be down for school on the weekend – BUT they might be much more interested if they have dad as the teacher!
I know you are thinking that you have all these reasons that you can’t do this or you don’t want to do this. I strongly encourage you to pick just one of the above options and try it for a week. See how it goes!
Anyhow, the point with getting Dad involved in your homeschool is to just try something – You may be surprised how much your kids love the shake up of a new teacher, fun time with dad, and a mom who has rested!
If the kids don’t respond, or your husband hates it – try another! Don’t want to forget all your options? Then pin it to your favorite pinterest board or share with your friends and followers!