A Word from the Dads
Column host MaryAnn Gaver and her husband Jay.
Last issue, I asked the dads to write in with advice to fathers new to homeschooling. I’d like to thank all the men who responded! Obviously, it seems best to have a guy’s perspective on this one. So here’s my husband Jay ...
Hey dads! What comes to mind when you think of investments? Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or your 401K? ... How about your children and their education?
Ten years ago, when MaryAnn and I started homeschooling, I thought of how we wanted to invest in our boys’ lives. Specifically, we wanted them to grow in knowledge, truth, love, wisdom, and faith. And we knew it would take time.
Studying together, working on simple projects around the house, taking field trips, and praying together have been ways I’ve gotten involved in our homeschooling. For every father, involvement might be a little different, but the important thing is to be involved in some way.
I encourage you to take advantage of the freedom and liberty we have to homeschool by investing your time and talents as a dad. Pour your heart into loving and teaching your children and being the best example that you can be. The rewards will be eternal!
MaryAnn Gaver and her husband, Jay, have been homeschooling their twin sons for 10 years.
TRAIN UP A CHILD
IN THE WAY HE
SHOULD GO: AND
WHEN HE IS OLD,
HE WILL NOT
DEPART FROM IT.
Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)
Be Patient, Participate, & Pay Attention
Dad, many of us grew up in a world where teaching was (wrongly) perceived as a “woman’s job,” and now live in a world where instant results are expected. So:
- Be patient—Homeschooling won’t (and shouldn't!) look like the schooling you grew up with and doesn’t need to be solely test oriented. Take time to learn the joys and opportunities of homeschooling freedoms; be patient with Mom and your children as you grow in this.
- Participate—Be an active part of schooling. Plan and go on field trips, teach occasional classes, attend events, check and help with assignments, support your co-op or homeschool group.
- Pay attention—Much of the homeschooling responsibility will likely fall on Mom, so listen for her needs and be responsive.
Remember, like the rest of our lives together, homeschooling is a full partnership!
by Timothy K. / Fairfax, VA
It’s About Being Together
My thoughts for dads are: stand by Mom, hold loosely to expectations, and be engaged. Learn to treasure up each memory, because the days are long, but the seasons are short. At the end of the day it is about being at home together. Home is where love, life, and relationships are really taught.
by John R. / Midlothian, VA
As a dad of quadruplets who works nightshifts, I was able to help teach our 4th-graders during our first year of homeschooling. I still spend time with them daily, doing devotions, field trips, exercise, and lunch. Time is too short. Now I’ll have no regrets wishing I had spent more time with my family.
Do It Together and Make It Fun!
“What game are we playing?”
“Whoever touches the round rug first when you come down the stairs wins.”
That's when it hit me: to a 4-year-old boy, everything is a game. Learning single-digit addition? Take turns rolling a pair of dice (doubles get a free roll). With each roll, have him add the numbers. (He wants to know the total because he wants to win.) The highest total after 10 rolls wins. Later on, roll three dice, or play dominoes (teaches strategy and planning, too).
While driving, add up the numbers on each license plate. Small rewards help (e.g. a quarter for five correct answers in five minutes).
Identifying two-digit numbers? Play bingo! “G 56, G five six.”
How about subtracting three-digit numbers in his head? Play Monopoly. “Marvin Gardens is $280. What’s the change from a $500 bill?”
Telling time? “If we finish cutting the grass by 10:30, we’ll get in the pool.” “Your favorite show is on at 4:00.” He’ll learn to tell time.
Reading? It’s best done with him lying on your back, Dad, and the book on the floor. (That’s right, after the bull rides.) Make it the original McGuffey Readers, and you’ll get morality lessons and Roman numerals (chapter numbers) thrown in for free.
Just remember, Dad, he wants to play and he wants to learn—and he wants to do it with you.
by Jim M. / Round Rock, TX
For dads of elementary-age kids, make every moment a teaching moment, from school time to shopping to fishing to yard work.
For dads of middle school and high school kids, don’t make every moment a teaching moment! Time to start letting them learn on their own. Let guiding and mentoring be your go-to teaching tools. When I started hearing “Yes, Dad,” “I know, Dad,” and “You already told me that, Dad,” I realized it was time to throttle back on the lessons and focus more on steering them down the right path.
by Bud T. / California, MD
A High Calling
If you are new to homeschooling, my advice for you is to realize this is a high calling. God is calling both you and your wife to a journey, just as He called Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and all who are His own. At times the journey will seem unstable, uncertain, unknown. When these times come, and they will, as a test, remember Who called your family into this journey. Examine the journey and rejoice in the Lord's goodness and faithfulness along the way.
Stay plugged into biblical, Christ-centered homeschool conferences and support organizations such as HSLDA. The Lord will refine, encourage, strengthen, convict, and lead your family along this way. The Lord bless you and keep you as your family starts on this amazing journey.
by Tim D. / Grants Pass, OR
Two very simple realizations came at completely different times. First I recognized that one of my strengths was not only caught by my child, but was also, over time, built into something profoundly better. Only after this did I realize that the worst I saw in my children also came from me. Being a homeschool dad means our opportunities to influence in either direction are manifold. Making this connection encouraged me to follow my heavenly Father very closely, hoping He will rub off on my children!
by Ron B. / Nashville, TN
Full-Time Homeschooling Dad
Welcome to the wonderful world of homeschooling, Dad! Are you feeling a bit intimidated by your new role? That’s understandable. I am a full-time, stay-at-home homeschooling father of three children, and here is what I’ve learned.
- Remember that you haven’t swapped roles with your wife. If you think you have, try asking her to mow the lawn and clean the gutters after work tonight. Don’t try to imitate Mom. Dads do things differently. Work to your strengths and ask for help when you need it.
- Find a curriculum and a teaching process that works for both you and your child. This takes time. Be patient as you both adjust to this new relationship. If something isn’t working, scrap it and try something new.
- Say a prayer. We all need help. God is ready to give you the guidance that you need when you ask for it. So ask.
Very few dads get to enjoy the challenging and rewarding homeschooling lifestyle. Make the best of this opportunity. Have fun!
by Richard B. / Lansing, KS
Confident In God’s Provision
We have 10 children, three of whom graduated from homeschooling and went to college. Two of our children are legally blind and one has Down syndrome. All have been taught at home 100% of the way. So my first recommendation to fathers new to homeschooling is to be confident in God’s provision. The second recommendation is to set a daily devotional time and be regular about it. The third recommendation is to help your children grasp the subjects being taught by giving examples of how they are applied and providing further discussion.
Share Your Tips
This column is designed to feature teaching tips, encouragement, and advice from homeschooling parents.
Our topic for the Jan./Feb. 2011 issue is “Relatives and Homeschooling.” Grandparents and other relatives have a wealth of knowledge, skills, and life experiences to share. What involvement do they have in your homeschool? Send us your advice in 150 words or less. Submissions may be edited for space. Mail submissions to:
Attn: Parent to Parent, HSLDA
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, VA 20134
Or email us (include “Parent to Parent” in the subject line) at ComDept@hslda.org
Please include your name and address. Submission deadline is 11/26/10.