Sometimes I think we get caught up in expectations, or “shoulds”, or the ideal when we think about the involvement level of a homeschool dad. It’s something that isn’t talked about much, and I think it deserves a look.
So in this episode I discuss what are reasonable and unreasonable expectations in regards to getting homeschool dads involved in the homeschooling process, especially during high school. You might breathe a sigh of relief, or you might be upset with me, LOL. See what you think.
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This episode is sponsored by CTC Math.
Are you looking for a new math curriculum? CTCMath specializes in providing online video tutorials that take a multi-sensory approach to learning. Favorably reviewed in Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks and the Old Schoolhouse Crew Review, the lessons are short and concise, to help your children break down concepts and appreciate math in a whole new way.
The lessons are taught the traditional way, not to a test. Each one of the video tutorials is taught by an internationally acclaimed teacher Pat Murray, who is renowned for teaching math concepts in a simple, easy-to-understand way and in only a few minutes at a time. Using a multisensory approach, having the combination of effective graphics and animation synchronized with the voice of a friendly teacher together with practical assessment. This three-pronged attack makes learning so much easier and more effective. Even students who struggled with math are getting fantastic results, and ones who were doing okay before are now doing brilliantly.
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Episode 72: How to Involve the Homeschool Dad in High School
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Ann Karako: Hi, I’m Ann Karako, and you’re listening to Episode 72 of the It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School podcast.
Welcome to another episode of It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School, the podcast for real people so that you can confidently, competently, and yes, even contentedly provide the high school education that is best for your teen and your family. I’m your host, Ann Karako, from notthathardtohomeschool.com.
Ann: Hi, everyone, and welcome back. Today, I want to talk about a topic that, I think, we all have in the back of our minds and yet I don’t see a lot of discussion out there about it. There was a discussion in my Facebook group one day. A mom left a comment. Her husband had agreed to teach their teenage son a particular course for high school and yet that actually hadn’t happened. Time went by, and the son was due to graduate and he didn’t have the credit from that particular course because that course had never happened because the dad had never taken care of it.
The mom was pretty upset, pretty disappointed, and I totally felt for her. Today, I wanted to talk about this whole idea of getting dads involved in the homeschool process, what are some realistic expectations for that and what are some unrealistic expectations for that, and how can we have this be a family endeavor, and yet at the same time, not run into this type of situation. I might be coming at this from a slightly biased point of view, so definitely take what I say with that in mind. Remember, my husband is a pilot, so for most of the years of our homeschooling career, he was gone most of the time.
I was the one doing all the homeschooling. Guess what, I survived [laughs] and lived to tell about it and so did all of my kids. Now, was it as wonderful as it could have been if he were more involved? No, probably not, but that was our life situation and we did the best we could. Coming from that experience, I do think that there are several ways we can involve our husbands in the homeschool process and I’d like to talk about them now.
Ways the homeschool dad can be involved
As the Principal
Probably the biggest way that I think it’s very important that dad be part of the homeschooling is as the top dog [chuckles] in the homeschool administration, the principal, if you will. The dad, in my humble opinion, should be the guy with the final decision-making authority, the guy who gets to sign off on the decisions that get made. Now, you, as the mom, are the primary teacher, the supervising teacher if your teens are working independently, and yes, there are many decisions that you are going to make completely on your own without needing the husband’s input, but there are some decisions that I think should always be discussed with your significant other, if at all possible.
One of those is the big vision, the big picture, or as I like to call it, your why. This should be something that is generated with both of you, that you both talk about what you want to get out of this homeschooling lifestyle, this experience for your kids, why are you homeschooling as opposed to sending your kids to the public school, what are the specific things about your family situation that come into play, and your goals and your values. That should be a shared conversation and one that you both agree on the final result of what are our ultimate goals here.
If you need help with that whole process of coming up with the why for your homeschool, which, I think, is an incredibly important process because it helps you with your decision-making and your feelings of success, I do have an article that I will link to about that. There’s also a complete chapter about it in my book, Save Your Sanity While Homeschooling High School, so that’s another resource to look at and I’ll link to that as well.
There’s going to be some decisions, though, that you might need to go to that are maybe smaller level decisions, but you get stuck, between this curriculum or that curriculum, or do we want to do video, do we want to spend that much time in front of the screen, do we want to get involved in this particular co-op or this particular activity that’s going to mean a long-term commitment for the family. These are the types of things, too, that we can run by our husbands to help us decide whether it’s a good idea because these are the types of things that affect the entire family.
What if you’ve gotten yourself into a mess? [chuckles] There are all sorts of messes we can get ourselves into as homeschoolers. Maybe your kid got six months behind in their schoolwork, I don’t know, and then you’ve got to figure out, “Okay, what do we do about this situation? Are there going to be consequences for the kid?” That’s the type of thing you don’t really want to have to come up with all by yourself, you want to run that by your husband, the homeschool dad, to see what he thinks about it.
You are the guidance counselor; you can do a lot of decision-making as far as curriculum and coursework and things like that. This, of course, depends on how much your husband wants to be involved in the everyday decision making. If he doesn’t want to be involved in all the little decisions, that’s totally okay, but definitely involve him in the larger decisions. There’s definitely room for dad to get involved in big picture type decision making, and big picture vision casting and being the overall supervisor of the entire shebang [chuckles] and I think that’s super important.
For help in the moment
Here’s another way to involve dad, or your husband in the homeschool process and that is, the husband can always be somebody who has your back in the moment. [chuckles] If you’re in the middle of a horrible day, and you need a hug, that’s a great thing to ask your husband to be part of your homeschool day by giving you a hug. What if you’re having a tricky discipline issue with one of the kids? Then call up the hubby, maybe have him talk to the kid to help you through that discipline issue.
Maybe you’ve been working a long time on a particular math problem with your high schooler and neither one of you can figure it out, but you’re in the middle of it, but you really need to break and make dinner, maybe dad can figure out dinner or maybe dad can take over on the math problem. Sometimes it just needs a new set of eyes so in that moment, you could say, “Hey, could you do one or the other of these two things?” That would be a way to get dad involved in your homeschool.
In other words, you’re going to ask for help when you need it in the day-to-day running of the homeschool and that help could encompass anything really, that you just can’t do at the moment and it would be really nice if he could do it for you. Please, word from an older married woman here, don’t expect your husband to see that you need help. When they come home from work, or if they’re just around the house, they are doing their own thing. They’ve got their mind on their stuff. They’re not necessarily, unless there’s screaming or crying going on, they’re probably not paying a whole lot of attention to what we’re doing.
They might not see that we are actually stressed out or need some help in any given moment. Don’t expect them to see that. Feel free though, to calmly ask for help, “Hey, I feel like I’m in over my head, hey, I’m feeling overwhelmed. Hey, I’m under a time crunch. Can you please tie the four-year-old’s shoes for him?” Whatever the case may be, ask for help when you need it, don’t expect them to see it, and then be appreciative of the help that they give because we’re essentially asking them to drop whatever they’re in the middle of to get us out of a jam and that needs to be appreciated.
The thing is, usually they’re quite willing to do that, and that’s a neat thing, so if you’re worried if your husband loves you or not in relation to- well, he doesn’t see that I need help, he should be paying attention; that’s how he’s going to show me he loves me is when he notices I need help and pitches in. Well, guess what, if he doesn’t notice you need help, that’s not an indication of whether or not he loves you, but when you ask him for help, and he’s willing to drop everything and help you at that moment, that’s a definite indication of love, so take it and honor that with appreciation in return. That’s the second way to get dads involved in the homeschool is in the moment when you need help, ask for it, and I’m sure they’re happy to help out.
I just want to jump in here for a moment and say that this episode has been sponsored by CTCMath. Are you looking for a new math curriculum? CTCMath specializes in providing online video tutorials that take a multi-sensory approach to learning. Favorably reviewed in Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks and the Old Schoolhouse Crew Review, the lessons are short and concise, to help your children break down concepts and appreciate math in a whole new way.
The lessons are taught the traditional way, not to a test. Each one of the video tutorials is taught by an internationally acclaimed teacher Pat Murray, who is renowned for teaching math concepts in a simple, easy-to-understand way and in only a few minutes at a time. (I’m just going to put in there, he’s got a great Australian accent as well.) Using a multisensory approach, having the combination of effective graphics and animation synchronized with the voice of a friendly teacher together with practical assessment. This three pronged attack makes learning so much easier and more effective. Even students who struggled with math are getting fantastic results, and ones who were doing okay before are now doing brilliantly.
Visit ctcmath.com today to start your free trial. You know what? Homeschoolers get a 50% discount and they have all levels, kindergarten through calculus. Definitely take a look at it, ctcmath.com.
With teenage sons
Another way that dads have a crucial role is in the high school years with teenage sons. I think that in general- there are exceptions to everything of course, but in general teenage sons do tend to respond better to their dad’s expectations of diligence and respect and all of those things. When the mom is very heavily involved in trying to train the teenage son in these areas it can be more difficult than when the dad is the main guy doing that training for the teenage son.
That’s something that I can’t really point to any specific, oh the husband should do this, that, or the other thing. It’s totally dependent upon the dynamics of your family and how you’ve trained your children to this point and the relationship between the dad and the son and how your husband wants to handle that situation. For the most part if the husband can be a little bit more involved with the teenage son, in respect to diligence, showing respect, just even getting up in the morning, other issues — hygiene, right? Then that can be a great way to get your husband involved in your homeschool.
Basically it’s being involved in parenting, but in the sense of we need to get school work done too and we need to do it within a reasonable timeframe, that’s where it enters the realm of homeschool. It’s super helpful.
Some unrealistic expectations of homeschool dads
Should we expect the dad to give us every Saturday off because we’ve been homeschooling all week and now we deserve a Saturday off, we deserve time off away from the kids? I’m going to say no. I know that it is a common thing that, oh the dad comes home from work every night and we hand him the baby and we go have our time, or on Saturday, that’s going to be me time, m y husband’s going to take over.
I personally think that’s a pretty selfish expectation. If your husband volunteers to do that for you, then great. When it becomes an expectation, then I think that is something that we are bound to be disappointed by. Our husbands are human beings, too. I think we sometimes think that they’re supposed to be perfect and they’re supposed to be always there to be our support. They have responsibilities outside the home that we know nothing about. We don’t know all the details about their jobs and what they’re doing every day. Yet we expect them to give us a break whenever we want it. That’s not always going to happen. I think the expectation that it’s going to happen every weekend or every evening or most evenings or what have you, I don’t think that’s fair.
I guess what I’m saying is, do we expect the husband to be there every single time we need them? Or every time we want to unload our emotions? No, they have bad days too. They get over-committed too. I think sometimes we expect them to pick up our slack or to handle all of our emotions instead of us taking responsibility for them ourselves. I know I’ve been thinking about that personally a lot lately, that we do need to take responsibility for our own stress levels, for our own ability to handle the every day. We can’t expect somebody else to be constantly picking us up when we have put ourselves in a situation where we’ve allowed ourselves to become overwhelmed.
Should we expect the husband or the dad to handle an entire course? Like I said, I felt for that mom, but I honestly believe no, we can’t expect the dad to take an entire course. I think we have to give them the respect of knowing that they’ve got a lot going on, a lot that they are responsible for that we cannot do.
My husband is in charge of all of our auto mechanics. Every time a car broke down that was his job to fix it. I can’t do that, [laughs] but I can teach the courses or at least pick them out and facilitate them and make sure they’re happening.
Then you’re like, but why couldn’t he teach the teens the auto mechanics as he was doing it? It’s not that simple, and you know it’s not that simple. Oftentimes the car needs to be fixed now or three days ago. There’s a time crunch involved. Or the teen is busy at the time that the husband has to be able to do the work.
I just don’t think it’s a reasonable expectation that we are going to say, “Hey, husband, please take this entire course over.” I just think there’s too much that can come into play there that could prevent that from happening — to nobody’s fault, to nobody’s blame.
What if the homeschool dad drops the ball?
Now, also, back to the gal on Facebook, what if the dad agrees to do something and then they don’t follow through? This, I think, was the main problem. I do think, though, just in full honesty, I think we sometimes push them into making these commitments because we don’t really give them the chance to say no, because if they say no, then we’re on them for saying no — “but you’re not willing to be- participate in all of this, or you’re not willing to help out” or whatever.
They’re going to look bad if they say no, so they say yes, even though they don’t really want to. I think that happens a lot. [chuckles] I’m speaking from my own, I’m talking to myself as the choir here, you all, talking to myself just as much as I’m talking anybody else.
Having agreed, though, then what happens when they don’t follow through? You know what, I think we do that too. So many times, we don’t follow through with stuff. I don’t think we need to nag them to make sure that it happens, I think that’s a little bit controlling.
We need to give grace, because we know that there are plenty of things we fall down on every day. Because the tyranny of the urgent is a thing, and we often put other things back until all of a sudden we realize, wow, it’s too late and now I don’t have time to do that thing because it’s just too late.
The beauty of homeschooling is we can adapt to almost any situation. If there’s a course that didn’t happen that was supposed to happen and now there’s a credit that’s lacking, you know, what, it’s really not a big deal. [chuckles] It’s not a big deal, it’s not worth getting down on the husband for or the kid for, it’s not worth creating family tension about; we just adapt.
Guess what, most of the time, something that the dad was going to teach is not a core course anyway, so we can just remove it from our requirements. If it was a core course, then we just find something to replace it, something that can happen quickly, or we just reduce our requirements. There’s always a way to make up for something that we discover that we’re lacking, always. Let’s not turn this into a family tension or something that gets brought up later, as well. “Remember that time when you didn’t do that and you said you would?” No, let’s give grace, let’s put it behind us and move forward.
One homeschool dad’s idea
One homeschool dad posted in my group a while back about an idea that he had, where in their co-op situation — and they did have a co-op, so there was a group of families doing homeschooling in some sense together, and there were a bunch of dads — and he would create opportunities for the dads to do social things with the kids. They would have a father-daughter dance, they would have a father-son outing, they would have outings for just the dads to get together for breakfast or for golf or what have you.
He would vary the schedule so that it never happened at the same time all the time so that hopefully during the course of the year, each dad was able to participate in at least one event where he was with other dads and being involved in that sense in the homeschooling. I thought it sounded absolutely great. That’s a big exception rather than a rule, I don’t think you can expect to find that everywhere.
Homeschooling is a family lifestyle. It is something we decide upon as a family, it is something that affects the entire family. In my experience, many if not most men prefer to be out of the day-to-day of the homeschooling life. This is totally normal. They don’t want to be involved in the day-to-day, every day. Don’t be a martyr, it’s not like you can never ask for help. Ask for their help when you need it but do expect that most of the day-to-day is going to fall on you. That’s just part of it and it’s okay. Don’t we enjoy homeschooling? Isn’t that why we’re doing it? [chuckles]
We don’t need to put a heavy burden on our shoulders that we are doing all the work and they are hardly doing any. No, this is part of delegation of roles in the family. Don’t expect him to be as fully invested as you are. It’s okay.
You’re not fully invested in his job as far as all the decisions that he makes day-to-day, and even the things that he does around the house. My husband mows the lawn because it’s a big lawn and it needs a tractor, and I can’t drive the tractor. Do I tell him when to mow the lawn or how to mow the lawn? No, that’s totally his purview, and I let him have it.
The day-to-day homeschooling can be our purview. We can allow our husbands the privilege of not having to be super involved with it in any ways different than what I’ve already talked about.
Now you may have some other ideas. I would love for anyone to share those in the comments. I will, of course, be sharing some more resources in the show notes which you can always find by going to notthathardtohomeschool.com and looking at Podcast in the top menu, look for episode 72, and you’ll find all the links there.
I do think as a whole, we women need to lower our expectations somewhat. It’s like anything else in homeschooling, we hear or read about how other people are doing it and we think that we are “less than” if that’s not our experience. That is so not true. We talk here on the podcast, and on my website, I talk about that whatever decisions you make for your homeschooling, they need to work for your family and your kid and they also need to work for you, because if it’s not going to work for you then it’s not going to work at all. Don’t you think your husband needs to be part of that as well? It needs to work for your husband, and if we’re having these high expectations that don’t work for our husbands, then that’s going to be a problem down the road.
Let’s lay off that ideal, oh, the ideal homeschool dad is one who is involved all the time, teaches a couple of courses, takes the kids out for dates every week, yada, yada, yada. This is really not reality for most of us, and that is okay. We’re just ordinary people y’all, we can only do so much. Let’s give a lot of love and grace to one another, as we follow this journey.
This has been a long one, I might have to do some editing, [chuckles] but I’ll see you next time.
[00:21:37] [END OF AUDIO]
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