by Timothy Carey, Jr., Indiana Association of Home Educators
Educating our kids at home is not just about the books or curricula; it is about being free to shape our kids in the ways we feel called. This means that it’s not just a cut and dry program. This is truly a way of life. As we educate our kids and prepare them for the future, we want to model a way of life that they will carry on into adulthood and model Biblical values as husband and wife. Homeschooling our children is a crucial aspect of carrying this out. It’s important to remember how we, as dads, have been called to lead our homes well.
There are many different types of homeschooling dads today. Maybe you have not been very involved, perhaps you work with your wife on lessons a few times a week, or maybe you’re the full-time educator in your home. Regardless of your role, there are some basic principles that we can hold to that will help us in our roles as homeschooling dads.
Now, let’s look at three areas that will help us understand our roles as husbands and fathers and therefore will help us in being active in homeschooling our kids. All of these can fall under the umbrella of Spiritual Leader, but we will break this down into Father and Husband as well.
As homeschooling dads, we must remember our reason and our ultimate goal in leading our families well—building them up to be faithful Christ-followers. The most critical thing for a husband and father in homeschooling is being the spiritual leader of the home.
Be the thermostat.
It’s important to keep in mind that we are the thermostat for our homes, not the thermometer. This means we don’t simply come in and read the temperature and react, we set the tone for our home. This involves many things on our part. We must ensure that we are devoting ourselves to scripture and prayer. Everything we do must be draped in prayer. We must pray for ourselves, our wives, and our children every day.
Be an ambassador of Christ.
This will lead us to understand how we want our homes to run and ensure that we are approaching our leadership with an attitude of grace, mercy, and humility. Our families were entrusted to us by the Lord. It is never appropriate to look at our leadership in the home as power or authority, but we must act as ambassadors of Christ. We can utilize catechisms and family devotions to engage our children either at the dinner table or at another specified time.
Write a Family Philosophy.
Another one of the most helpful things we can do is to know our goals for our kids— understanding what we are doing and why. This shapes how you raise your kids. Understanding our goals will help us formulate one of the most important documents I think we can have in our homes—a Family Philosophy. Working together with our wives to write out our intentions and beliefs for our homes and kids will help guide us and remind us every day why we are choosing this path. Work closely and be very active in this with your wife.
Fathers, we play an important role in the lives of our children. They look up to us and need our affirmation and attention. They need to know that we care about them and we care about what they are doing.
Know what they are learning.
Another important way to work with our kids is to understand where they are and what they are doing in their lessons. Knowing what they are learning, what programs they are in, or what books they are reading, will help us relate to their lives in a very real way. This is especially critical if you are not particularly involved in the daily lessons.
Get involved with their learning.
If daily involvement is not plausible for your family, choose certain days to lead lessons or pick a subject to be the primary teacher. Try to involve yourself in real ways. If you can’t take on a subject, help plan a field trip, nature walk, or project at home to enhance the learning process.
As a husband, we must be connecting with our wives daily. This is an important way we can set the temperature. More than likely, most men reading this work outside the home. While the workday can bring deep exhaustion and stress, we must enter the home with the attitude of grace, mercy, and humility.
Support your wife.
Training up our children is a deeply personal and fulfilling job, but it is also tiring, stressful, and full of struggles. Ensuring that our wives know they have a partner who is there for them and sharing this burden is so important. Take an active role with her and regularly ask how she is doing and if there is any way you can help. This applies to every marriage, no matter who is doing the bulk of the homeschooling.
Connect with your wife.
This takes intentionality, but try to have weekly or nightly meetings together to discuss your kids’ lessons and how they are going. We can use this meeting time to connect with our wives as well. As stated before, work with her on building a Family Philosophy. We can also take a bit of the load off by playing an active role in choosing what curricula best suits our families.
Remember, we are helping to prepare our kids to be lifelong learners, and we do that by setting the example and pointing them to the greatest Father. We are all blessed to be able to homeschool our kids, and we must make the most of it to glorify God.
This article was originally published on January 11, 2021 on IAHE.org’s blog. Reprinted with permission.