Whether a child is in public school, private school, or homeschooling, a great predictor of his/her success is how involved his or her parents are. It goes without saying that homeschooled children have a great deal of parental involvement in their education, though all their learning may not take place within the physical boundaries of the home. Even then, there is usually a primary wage earner and the homeschool parent. The level of involvement of the parent who is not the primary educator may vary greatly. The goal of this article is to encourage both parents to be involved in their children’s education in some capacity. To do so, I will provide 6 ways to involve dad in homeschooling and offer a free printable of 20 specific ideas.
I do realize that there has been an increase in the number of fathers who have taken over the homeschooling of their children. However, since my readers are mostly women, I will speak from my perspective and may refer to the spouse as “husband.” Either way, these tips given can be used to increase involvement of any parent that is not the primary homeschool educator within the family.
6 Ways to Involve Dad in Homeschooling
You must be intentional about involving him in the process. Dads may seem content taking no part in their children’s education. But it doesn’t mean they’re disinterested. It usually means they believe in your ability to manage the home and they trust you to take care of it all. But as homeschooling mothers, we know education is much more than “school;” it’s a lifestyle. And if done correctly, it is weaved into every waking moment. As adults, we are constantly learning and gaining understanding. For children, this is even more true as they are being exposed to more and more new things each day.Education is much more than “school;” it’s a lifestyle. And if done correctly, it is weaved into every waking moment. Click To Tweet
Our job as parents is to be aware of the developmentally appropriate goals for our children and use every opportunity throughout the day to help facilitate their learning. The younger they are, the less aware they may be that they are actually “doing school.” That means, school isn’t over when the workday is over. It continues until bed time and isn’t paused on weekends or holidays. Therefore, your husbands have plenty of time to join the fun! Yay! Okay, now I’ll finally get to the 6 ways to involve dad in homeschooling!Our job as parents is to be aware of the developmentally appropriate goals for our children and use every opportunity throughout the day to help facilitate their learning. Click To Tweet
1. Have monthly meetings to discuss your children’s goals and progress.
Let him know what your children are enjoying most. Discuss the strengths and opportunities you see in each child. For example, my oldest is an academic. He likes to read, analyze, write, and construct arguments based off evidence. He also loves math and figuring out how to solve complex problems whether or not it comes easy to him. However, he needs more support in identifying the main ideas in writing and digging deeper within a text. My little guy is a hands-on learner. Though he loves books, stories, and inventing plots, he is more concerned with how thing function. My 2-year-old is just beginning to explore literacy and the world around her and enjoys writing and doodling. She loves measuring, pouring, and mixing in the kitchen. She also exhibits good gross motor skills, coordination, and balance and loves all things song and dance.
The way we relate to each child emotionally as well as academically, is quite different. In the same way, they understand that mommy and daddy are different and look to each of us for different things. My son loves doing projects with me but looks forward to building and working with tools with dad. Great learning can occur in either situation, so it is important we are on the same page as parents. We should both be intentionally reflecting on our children and discussing what we are noticing.
Helping daddy renovate the bathroom.
2. Create goal sheets for each child and post it in a main area or add it as a memo to your spouse’s phone to refer to.
He will not remember every goal off the top of his head. Please don’t expect him to and please don’t feel like he cares any less for not remembering. It is not your spouse’s primary role or something he is focusing on each day, so it may not come as second nature to him at first. But the more involved he becomes, and the more you help to bridge the gap, the more natural it will be to all.
Because of my unique schedule (check it out here), with my husband working nights, he is able to participate in a few hours of learning with our two little ones. The goal sheets have been a great resource in helping my husband facilitate learning through play. For example, if he knows one focus is multi-step directions and another is positional words, he will describe the position of the item he is requesting from my son and explain through positional words where to put it. Something that simple, can greatly reinforce what the child is already learning.
3. Give him specific ideas of how he can incorporate learning into his day to day activities with the kids.
Don’t make him have to research, think, and tie it all together. You know what you are working on day to day. Observe your husband’s routines and what he enjoys doing most with your children and give him ideas from there. For example, my husband loves to fish. Sometimes, he takes the kids; sometimes he doesn’t. But either way, he involves them in the process. That includes ocean topics, catching the fish, cleaning the fish, and cooking the fish, which can involve all three of our learners.
My husband is also very handy and is always fixing something around the house. My 3-year-old is drawn to tools. So, when his dad is drilling, hammering, or measuring, my son is doing the same. He is very curious about how things work and loves taking things apart to put them back together. So much learning occurs in those moments and I truly believe it is what will support my son most in his future career.
Other basic examples include trips to the barber shop or supermarket. Whenever he takes the boys to get haircuts, he has my three-year-old son count the money since he always pays with cash. Though he doesn’t fully understand denominations, he gets that a $10 bill and a $5 bill add up to $15. When he takes them grocery shopping, he is pointing out fruits and vegetables, counting and using descriptive language to reinforce colors and other adjectives.
4. Follow up with your children about what they did with dad and incorporate it into their learning.
Find out and reinforce what they learned by asking them to explain/teach it to you, draw a picture, write an essay or letter to you about it. This can open up an opportunity to do a unit study on a topic to gather more information about what dad introduced. Depending on your child’s age, they may be able to come up with questions to interview dad or borrow books from the library on the topic. Conversely, your child can research topics that are interesting to them and present their findings to the family, as a whole. The goal is increase family involvement in whatever way feels comfortable for your family.
5. Set up field trips on weekends or during times when your husband can participate.
Field trips are so much fun. They whole family usually looks forward to them. So why not use that opportunity to bring your husband in on what your studying? They may be exploring new things together or dad may get a chance to show off his knowledge and real-life experience. Either way, it is a great learning opportunity that fosters closeness and involvement in homeschooling. It can be as often as you would like it to be. Realistically, we don’t all have the flexibility or finds to do a weekly trip but every opportunity counts.
6. Celebrate the wins together.
Make sure your husband is aware of any mid-week successes or perseverance on the part of your child so that you can make a big deal of it together! Your child will feel so special and proud to know that his wins are discussed and celebrated as a family. This doesn’t have to be limited to academic achievements or the mastery of a topic. It can be positive attitude or good worth ethic exhibited by one of your children despite difficulties they may be having. Or it could be a kind act, selfless attitude, or being a team player that merits the celebration.
I hope that these tips were able to get you thinking about how you can involve your spouse in your children’s homeschool education. Are there any other ways that have worked for you? If so, we’d love to hear them in the comments below or you can email me at [email protected] with any questions. Sign up below for a free printable of 20 easy ways dads can reinforce learning with little ones.