One night after a particularly taxing day I surrendered to the comfort of my bed a little prematurely. When my husband came home from a late night at work he found our home to be in less than pristine condition (to put it mildly) and his exhausted wife resigned and retired for the night. After great coaxing he managed to get me up to “take a tour” of our home. This did NOT sound like something that I would be interested in under the best of circumstances but especially after I had resolved to give up for the night. He insisted that I take a walk around our home with him so I finally relented.
He put his arm around me as we walked. He pointed to the white board and dry erase markers on the floor. “This tells me that Audrey was practicing her spelling words today.” We walked a few more paces around the room, though skeptical, I grew curious to hear where this was going. He motioned to the guitars that were lying on the floor and the sheet music scattered around hap hazardly. “I can picture you and Rachel playing guitar together this evening instead of doing the dishes,” he remarked smiling. Then he spun me around and directed my attention toward the table littered with craft supplies. “I can see that Adam and Claire were being creative today,” he continued. I was beginning to see what he was trying to show me. We continued our tour and he surprised me with his insight into my day, each little mess telling its own story.
I can’t tell you what that did for me as a homeschooling mother. It is a daily struggle to get everything done. It seems I can do one or the other well, keep the house or learn with the kids, seldom both. I was so appreciative of a husband who could see that I had chosen the better part and who had the good sense to show me that he approved of my choice.
I often hear homeschool dads ask how they can help and support their wives in homeschooling.
A husband and a father of the home is an invaluable part of a homeschooling family. What an important role they play. My husband has the power to change our environment in a few moments. In our home we do zone cleaning. My husband has been the mastermind behind this system of home management. I can’t even tell you the weight that is lifted off of my shoulders when their Dad comes home and whips my kids into zone cleaning mode. He can have things in ship shape in thirty minutes. I get a break from leading the charge for a while and I feel renewed when order is restored to our home.
My husband leads us in our family devotional and shares his energy, testimony, and vision with our family. I feel an amazing sense of order, peace, and support as we take even 15 minutes to gather our family for a spiritual thought, scripture, and prayer.
My husband and I meet with our children and discuss our plan for them for the year. We listen to their input and my husband and I discuss ideas. This allows my husband to feel in the loop and helps us to get on the same page with what our goals are for each of our children. He can check in with each child occasionally and provide them accountability to someone other than me. This is a highly effective element for my kids.
This year my husband is teaching geography to our kids. Of course it is their favorite class. They get to do things like sword fight with dad using pointers if they get all of the countries right. It has been so fun to watch my husband get involved with teaching the kids in this way. His schedule doesn't always permit that it be a regular time of day but he has been pretty consistent and the kids have learned a ton and had a ball doing it.
My husband has an unfailing sense of humor. His ability to see the humor in a bad day has done more for my psyche than almost any other thing. Sometimes we just need to laugh. Dads can provide great comic relief to an otherwise stressful situation. I rely on this every day as it keeps me positive and reminds me not to take things so seriously.
If this feels like an homage to my husband, it is! But I relate all of this to illustrate the power and influence you have!
A bit of advice:
Like most women, on occasion I feel the need to vent. By vent I mean emotionally dump the contents of my mind and spirit all over my husband. This can be very alarming to you men. You come in with your fix it hats and want to make everything go away as quickly as possible.
Men, when your wife comes to you and says, “I can’t do this anymore! I am not cut out to be a homeschool mom! I must be crazy for trying to do this, there is no way I am capable of making this work!” FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE DON’T AGREE WITH HER! It can be tempting to say, “You are right honey, I will register them for school tomorrow morning.” Please don’t. What your wife really needs to hear is that you believe in her. She needs validation that she is having a hard time but that if this is something that she really wants to do; you know that she can do it. This is usually a cry for help and the solution can be quite simply picking up dinner for the night or helping to get the kids to bed early. Be a listening ear and offer assistance as you can.
I am so grateful to my husband for being patient with me as I have grown as a homeschooling mother. It has not always been pretty. There are not many reliable charts, spread sheets, and benchmarks to measure success as there are in the corporate world. I am so relieved that he has reserved judgment and has allowed this to be an organic process, ever growing and changing. He has watched as I and each one of the kids have transformed as well as struggled. But most of all he has been a huge support. He has been a cheerleader and not a skeptic. He has given me courage to keep going and I couldn't do it without him.
To all the homeschooling dads out there, please know you are so important to the success of your family. May you have the good sense to keep your mouths shut and your arms open for days like this.
Love and support your wife. Believe in her. Pitch in to help. Give her a day off from time to time.
She will LOVE you for it!