When we began our homeschooling journey nearly 6 years ago, I had visions of grandeur. Things were going to flow smoothly, our house was going to be a fun place of learning, and my husband would be completely involved in our homeschooling process. (With his work schedule, I had it all worked out how he would be involved and help on his days off, which were Wednesday and Thursday at the time.)
Things, however, did not go as planned—life happened. Truthfully, the rigidness of the schedule was more than he could manage when he worked 45 hours/week on the graveyard shift.
We adjusted and life went on, but the kids began to miss out on things, and they missed that time with Dad.
I also missed my partner in this journey and felt like we were on different planets at times while I tried to explain what we were doing during school time that day.
I wanted him involved in our homeschool days as much as possible, but it needed to work for him too.
I finally put together a list of ways he could get involved that would also help me out. This gave him the freedom to choose what he wanted to do, which made Daddy school time more pleasant. It gave more flexibility so we could pick and choose what he could fit in that week through his busy work/sleeping schedule.
For some dads, getting involved in homeschooling is natural. They like to learn and/or teach, so they bring their children right alongside them and away they go. For others, it is a struggle. But there are ways every dad can be involved in the homeschooling process.
1. Choose Curriculum
I know I can be a control freak when it comes to choosing curriculum for our upcoming school year, and I have a handle what is working an what isn’t with each child, but that doesn’t mean I can’t involve my husband.
Being a minister as well as the head of our household, I naturally turn to him for the Bible curriculum. I ask him to research these options and get back to me with what he thinks is best. This allows me to choose a style I think works best with the children, but involves him in the selection process as the final say.
2. Lead Bible Time or Devotions
Bible time and/or devotions are a great way to start the morning. Ask Dad to lead this time during breakfast when everyone is seated around the table and can listen before the craziness of the day gets started.
This is something my husband enjoys doing, even if he does get a little carried away with theology on the four-year old. We tried this when our children were younger and got up at relatively the same time, but now that they’re older, we have moved this to evenings.
Do what time works best for your family. That’s the beauty of homeschooling.
3. Character Building/Training
This is a follow-up to the Bible time, but character training is a great way to get dads involved. Most dads work outside the home and therefore have life experiences they can use to teach their children. By using those teaching moments combined with Scripture from the Bible to show where God asks these of his followers, it is a great way to tie them both together.
Some character traits you might start with are honesty, integrity, trustworthiness and generosity. Find family Bible studies that address these and kill two birds with one stone.
4. Teach a Subject
My husband is often the fall-guy when it comes to math with our oldest. They think the same and can understand each other.
If there is a subject that you find difficult to teach or one that you’re not passionate about, but your husband is, ask him if he’d be willing to teach that subject. It could be in the evenings or on the weekends even.
I am not a fan of history or science, but my husband loves them. While we do cover these subjects during the week, he often takes what the kids have learned and expounds on it so much more than I ever thought possible. They simply love it and have fun learning from Dad.
5. Science Experiments
Science is not my favorite, and experiments are often messy and take more patience than I have most days, so this is something that falls to my husband. He enjoys blowing things up, making things fly, and just doing fun, simple experiments with the kids. It has really taken the stress off me and given him a way to be more involved with their homeschooling.
When it comes to biology and dissecting…that will be all him, too!
6. Teach Life Skills
Learning life skills is an important part of growing up. And while I have my kids do certain chores around the house—dusting, vacuuming, dishes, laundry—there are some skills I do not possess.
Household maintenance for example. I can fix minor things around the house, but when it comes to major work that is not something I enjoy doing. However, my husband does and the kids love to tag along and watch and learn while he works. Car maintenance is another skill that many women do not possess. Even though I helped my own dad work on cars, change brake pads and even change the oil in my own cars, it is not something I enjoy doing.
My husband is a problem solver and fixer by nature, so he enjoys researching and figuring out how to fix a problem with our vehicles. The kids tag along and learn by observing and asking questions.
If your husband enjoys working with wood and building things, this is a great way to get the kids involved. They can work on simple projects together and not only does it give them time with Dad, but it can also help them with math as they measure and geometry in figuring out angles to cut. Carpentry is also a great hands-on project for those kids that need some kinesthetic learning.
8. Grocery Shopping
Now I know most moms are the grocery shoppers, but in our family my husband does the grocery shopping. Frankly, I hate to do it, and I don’t do well remembering or paying attention to prices. If we need it, I buy it—at the least amount of stores as possible. So, now my husband does the shopping and often times he takes one of the kids along with him.
Since we live 30 minutes from the store, two towns over, he takes them on “their day” and they get lunch together and then get the groceries. Not only does it give him time alone with each child (as they rotate), he also enlists their help.
Whether it be to find items on the shelf (before they can read) or to read the list, he gets them involved. He also has our oldest figure up prices, totals, percentages, etc. to work on his math as they go through the store. Your husband could even use this printable pack to help with homeschooling at the grocery store.
9. Nature Walks
Nature walks with Dad are a fun way to have time outside as well as spend time with Dad. We live in town, so we often take trips to nearby state or national parks to spend time in nature. My husband loves to visit and explore new areas and has passed this trait along to our children. They enjoy the time outdoors and he can sneak in some fun learning while they walk around and see new plants, trees, leaves, animals and even animal tracks.
10. Look over papers
I know when my dad came home from a day of work I wanted to bombard him with all the papers and work I had done that day—especially if I had a good grade.
Just because you homeschool, doesn’t mean Dad can’t look over the children’s work or crafts they did that day. In fact, its a great way for him to see their progress, to encourage them in their learning, even give some additional instruction or tell a story from his own childhood about that subject. My kids love this time with Dad.
11. Read Alouds at Bedtime
Most dads work outside the home, so they can not do read alouds during the day, so why not do them at bedtime?
My kids enjoy listening to stories as they are snuggling in to bed at night. The boys have gone through several books in The Chronicles of Narnia series as well as The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. My girls just enjoy short stories for now, but the important thing is Daddy reading to them.
What other ways can Dads get involved in homeschooling?