Everyone, please welcome Seth to the blog today! Seth is a CC dad of 4 and also a self-proclaimed math and science geek. He enjoys being outside hiking, playing disc golf, and generally enjoying God’s creation. He and his wife blog together at www.runningwithteamhogan.com.
“Homeschooling seems like a lot of work, but I will be off at my job all day while my wife teaches the kids, so it doesn’t impact me really. Right?” Wrong.
There is a lot we can and should do as homeschool dads, but many men don’t know where to start. In this post, I will share some ideas of ways that you can get involved in your child’s homeschooling. If you are already involved, I hope to encourage you and maybe give you a few more ideas. If you are not yet involved in the homeschooling process, start small (wives, let your men start small)! I certainly don’t have all the answers, but through my wife’s hard work and my efforts to plug into homeschooling, our kids have developed a love of learning.
Listen to audio books in the car. This is an easy one, but it does mean that you have to be willing to pass on listening to your own music. Becki wanted the kids to listen to Little House on the Prairie on one of our long car trips. I had absolutely zero interest in hearing the story myself, but I agreed. To my great amazement, I really enjoyed it. Over the course of our next few trips, we listened to many of the other books in the series. We are able to get audio books from our local library. Check yours out (or suggest it to your wife).
Play board games with your kids. If you have young kids that need to practice simple math, board games can be a great, “real world” way for your kids to practice. Games that are meant to teach, like Sum Swamp, are great, but practically every game gives kids a chance to practice simple addition or subtraction. Make sure you let your kids do the math, or help them do the math. Do not figure out the math for them.
Read books to your kids. I do not read books to the kids very often, but I have enjoyed reading to them on vacation. We camped in Coopers Rock State Forest one summer, and I read The Lion,the Witch, and the Wardrobe to them. Sometimes we would stop in the middle of a hike, sit on a rock or a log, and read a few chapters. Mostly I read to them in the tent before bed. The most memorable time was when there was a giant thunderstorm as we were in our tent at night. The whole tent was shaking in the wind, and the rain and thunder were so loud that I was shouting as I read the book. It took a possibly scary thunderstorm and turned it into a special memory.
Help your wife – this might be an indirect way to help with homeschooling. A sane wife makes a better teacher. If you walk into a messy house, realize that your wife probably had a long, difficult day of homeschooling. So instead of complaining, pitch in and clean up a little.
Take the kids and give your wife some alone time. One winter, we had Garage Hour once a week. I would take the 4 kids out to the garage and we would exercise, toss balloons around, or make up little games. The biggest rule was that no one could go into the house. It gave Becki some much needed time to plan, clean, or just relax. You could create your own garage hour, take the kids out to eat, go for a walk in the park, or whatever you like. Don’t torture yourself – pick something you actually enjoy!
Play to your strength. I like science, so I do a lot of science experiments with the kids. Sometimes we use things we have around the house (like a bicycle wheel to demonstrate gyroscopics). Other times I order supplies for experiments that I want to do with the kids. You don’t need to do science experiments. Focus on what you like. If you enjoy good literature, start reading some good books to your kids. If you are skilled at construction, have your kids build something with you. By working with your kids in an area that interests you, the kids will see your passion for learning and be encouraged to learn.
Use the internet. There are a lot of great videos online that you can view with your children. We love to watch science videos. I get excited to learn new things and the kids get excited too. Anytime the kids see me connecting the laptop to the TV, one of them says, with a voice of anticipation, “I think we are going to watch a science video.” Whether you look at science videos, or some other topic, watch with your children. Do not turn it on and walk away. Be there at their side learning with them. Pause the video and ask them questions, or chime in with other facts that you know on the subject.
Help with memory work. Besides the obvious benefit of reinforcing the memory work, you may hear things that your wife didn’t. Last year, when the kids were memorizing the prepositions, one of my children thought that the word “been” was “bean” and was saying it incorrectly. My wife never noticed because the kids recited the list so quickly and she knew what they should have beansaying. I like to make memory work silly and fun. I have set up an obstacle course and had the kids answer questions before they were allowed to run the course. Other times they had to shoot a plastic cup with a Nerf gun and then answer the question for the subject that they shot.
Go to CC. Take a day off of work and spend the day at your Classical Conversations community. Watch your kids present, learn new grammar, play review games… Sometimes I have a day off of work for a holiday, but our CC campus still meets. These are great days for me to go, or take one vacation day once a year. Your wife and kids will appreciate that you make time to be involved.
Most of all – Just do something! Show an interest in your child’s education. Your wife will appreciate it and your child will understand that you value education.
Guys, I love Seth’s totally doable ideas! My favorite suggestion — “Don’t torture yourself – pick something you actually enjoy!” Great stuff, Seth. If you’re interested in many more great ideas, be sure to follow Becki’s & Seth’s blog, Running with Team Hogan.