While we’re part of a large homeschooling community here in Vancouver, I haven’t met any homeschooling dads yet. So when Chris reached out to me about sharing his experience, I said, “Yes please!” Whether Dad is the primary educator of the kids, or just steps in to teach when Mom is away for a day or more, here are 7 tips for him from a fellow homeschooling dad.
What’s the first image that comes to your mind when you think of homeschooling? It’s probably a mom teaching her kids. That’s okay. You’re just thinking what most other people are thinking: moms are the superheroes of homeschooling.
The traditional picture of a working father and a stay-at-home mother is the reality for most homeschooled children. When I started this journey with my kid, I realized that the online homeschooling community mostly consisted of women.
So let’s do something to bring a tiny bit of balance, shall we? Homeschooling dads have a different role in the family. Let’s stick with the stereotypes for a while, okay? If Mom is the epitome of grace, love, and support, Dad stands for strength, security, and (dare I say?) authority. Those are good, too. We can use them to become great homeschooling dads.
Let me walk you through seven tips that can help a dad become a better teacher for his children. I’ve extracted them from my personal experience. Through a lot of trial and error, I found the methods that work.
1. Be a Different Kind of Superhero
Have you ever wondered why kids are obsessed with superheroes? These characters are not realistic. However, they provide a world where children can assert themselves.
Did you know that kids often give superhero characteristics to their fathers? In their imagination, Dad can do anything. He can fight evil. He can conquer any obstacle. He is the strongest. Smartest. Most confident.
Maybe you’re not a superhero. But you can be one for your kid!
I invented a game for my kid’s homeschooling journey. I was Captain Teacher and he was the rookie I was training. He loved it. It’s an innocent little game that got him very inspired to learn.
2. Get All the Resources You Need
To teach well, you have to know the things you’re explaining. No homeschooling parent is absolutely perfect. However, there’s always space for more learning… and resourcefulness!
My personal drawback is essay writing. I don’t get why all essays need the same structure. I acknowledged that weakness and figured out that if I wanted my kid to do better at essay writing, I had to get resourceful. That’s when I hired a writer from Essay Geeks and it was a huge success.
The lesson? Know your flaws and weaknesses. When you identify them, find the right strategy to help you overcome them.
3. Homeschooling Takes an Investment
Homeschooling doesn’t mean it comes for free. You have to be able and willing to invest in books, online resources, and devices that support the learning process. The core subjects, like writing, English and math, are your priorities for spending.
The most important investment is not finances. It’s time. If you’re not willing to make that sacrifice, you better send your kid to school.
4. Get Some Self-Time
It’s time to admit it: you’re not Superman. Being a teacher is a tough job. You have to stay calm and patient no matter how much your kid is struggling with a certain topic. If you don’t get the time to relax, you won’t be able to stay calm in all situation. Do the morning walk in the park. Read every day. Find an activity you like and allow yourself to enjoy it.
5. Don’t Be Competitive
I’ve noticed one big flaw with homeschooling dads: they get overly competitive. It may be because they are into sports. Maybe it’s because they were pushed to compete from a very young age. We need to get shut that mindset down.
Is it crucial for your kid to outperform public school students? Are you competing with public school teachers? Are you competing with other homeschooling parents? Why? It’s not necessary.
6. Set a Good Example
Kids learn a great deal by imitating their role models. You should be a great model for them to imitate. If they see you reading every day, they will be inspired to do the same thing. If they see you using the Internet to research and learn, they will understand its true purpose.
7. Have the Big Picture in Mind
Set goals! As any other parent, you want your child to be successful and happy. They may struggle with a concept for weeks and months, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on it. Have your eyes on the big picture. Maybe your kid isn’t performing well at this point, but don’t let that discourage you. Keep going!
Children take their dads seriously. When you start this homeschooling journey, you’re making a pledge to nurture their wish to learn, engage them in relaxed contexts, and set the goal for pursuing permanent things in life.
What advice would you share with homeschooling dads?
Chris Richardson is a writer and a dad who enjoys homeschooling his kid. He loves to write and learn new things. Chris is also fond of traveling, sports, and playing the guitar. Follow him on Facebook and Google+.