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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Homeschooling - A Father's Perspective


The other day my husband and I met a really nice woman who was considering homeschooling her children.  She happened to mention that her husband had some reservations about it.  I was quite pleased when my husband quickly and enthusiastically offered to talk to her husband. 

This isn't the first time I have heard about one parent being open to homeschooling, while the other may be hesitant about it.  It was this situation which gave me the idea for this blog post.  Since my husband was so open to talking about his experience as a homeschool dad, I decided to interview him in hopes that his responses could help another parent, a father in particular, who may be a bit skeptic about homeschooling.


Did you have any concerns or reservations about homeschooling?  If so, what were they?
My biggest concern about homeschooling was the subject of socialization.  I was concerned that my son, who at the time was four-years-old, would lack the opportunity to interact with other children his age.  However, this reservation was quickly erased.

I learned that there were many homeschool families in our area.  There were also an abundant amount of functions available to my child which offered him the opportunity to get together with other families and hence interact with people of all ages. 

What helped you consider homeschooling as an alternative to public school?

The thought of homeschooling entered our minds only after we began making preparations to send our oldest son to preschool.  We knew we didn't want to send him to a public school because we wanted him to have a Christian based education.  Private school, as everyone knows, can be rather expensive.

We decided to seek the advice of our pastor.  After we explained our "dilemma," he suggested we consider homeschooling.  We had very little knowledge about the subject.  We did know a couple of church members who homeschooled their children.  One of the things that impressed us was the manner in which their preteen children interacted with the adults.

It was at this time that homeschooling became an option for us.  My wife quickly "took the ball and ran with it."  She spent that whole summer researching everything she could on the subject.  I was confident that she would do an excellent job as our child's teacher. 

What are some of the positive aspects about homeschooling?  

If my children went to a traditional school, my work hours would not allow me the opportunity to see my children in the mornings.  Their being home is a big plus for me.  I am able to eat breakfast and interact with them every morning.  I also get to see them start their school day.  

Having them homeschooled also allows me to participate in their education.  For example, each morning my wife starts the day with a Bible study.  This is one of the things I enjoy doing with them.

Another positive aspect to homeschooling is that my five-year-old son has the opportunity to learn some of the same things that his ten-year-old brother is learning.  The only difference being that he learns it at his level of understanding.  

Can you think of any negative aspects?

I can't think of anything negative.

What kind of an effect do you feel homeschooling has on the following: your children, their relationship towards each other, their faith in God, and your family?    

The effect that homeschooling has had on our children is huge!  My sons get to interact with each other all day long which has helped them establish a closer relationship.  If they were in public school, they would be separated from one another for most of the day.  

Once my younger son told my wife, "Mom, I'm glad you homeschool (my brother)."  When my wife asked him why, he responded, "Because if he wasn't homeschooled, I wouldn't see him all day."  That's one example of how close he is to his big brother.

I believe our family is more tightly knit together because of homeschooling.  My children not only get to interact with each other on a daily basis, but they also get to spend more time with their mom.  Being at home offers us more opportunities to discuss our faith in God, whether it's through a Bible study, or working through a particular struggle together.

Do you feel your children are getting a good education?  Explain.

I know without a doubt that they are receiving an excellent education.  I see it firsthand in so many different ways such as the types of questions they ask, the things they explain to me, their in depth explanations of any field trips taken, and their narrations (telling back what they have learned).  

My five-year-old's geography skills are unbelievable!  We have two maps hanging on our kitchen walls and he barely has to look at them when he tells me the names of the states.  He even knows where most of the states are located.

Our oldest son's math and reading skills are excellent!  He has also learned so much through his Bible studies.  I'm impressed with how well he knows scriptures or stories from the Bible.  In fact, he knows them better than I do.

Do you help homeschool your children?  If so, how?

My work schedule allows me to help homeschool on Mondays and sometimes on other days of the week too.  The subjects I normally help with include reading and math.  I always ask my wife, "What are you doing today?  How can I help?"  So whether I'm reading a story to my youngest son, participating in a Bible study, helping the children with their math or geography, whatever area it is, I help out and enjoy it.

What are some misconceptions about homeschooling?

One of the biggest misconceptions about homeschooling has to be the topic of socialization.  As I previously mentioned, there are many ways in which my children are socialized.  

I think the second misconception is that the children will not receive a good education.  Once you do your own research and speak to other homeschool families and their children, this misconception will be quickly erased.

Speaking of socialization, do you feel your children are well socialized?  Give some examples to support your thought.

Yes, I believe my children are offered an abundant amount of socialization experiences, whether it's through a church program, various homeschool classes, or a homeschool event they can participate in.

The other day I attended my children's homeschool ballroom dance class.  I saw how well they interacted with the other students as well as with their teacher (a homeschool parent).

On another occasion I was able to experience how my children interacted with other children during their Spanish club.  This club offers them the opportunity to learn and practice Spanish with children of all ages.  After their class is completed, they spend time "socializing" with each other.  Another class my children are involved in is a karate class, which most of their homeschool friends are also participating in.

Socialization opportunities occur in so many different ways.  In fact, I believe my children have just as much, if not more, socialization opportunities available to them as homeschoolers than they would have had if they had attended a public school. 

Do you believe that your children will be well prepared for college?

I believe that their social skills along with the education they are receiving will indeed prepare them for college.  One of the most important things that will help them is their faith and walk with God.  Once they are out on their own, they will be faced with many important decisions.  Homeschooling allows us to prepare them for this by teaching them to rely on God, offering them daily guidance in their walk with the Lord, and providing them with a Christian based education.  We pray that these things will help them mature into strong Christian adults.

Because my children interact with people of all ages, this allows them to practice their communication skills with both their peers and adults.  I believe this will be a benefit to them in college.

What advice would you give a father who has reservations about homeschooling?

My advice to the father would be to seek out a homeschool parent and talk to them about their experience.  This would give you the opportunity to listen to someone who has, "walked in those shoes."  Ask him questions such as, "How has homeschooling worked for your family?"

What advice would you give to a new homeschool dad?

My biggest advice would be to give homeschooling some time.  Be patient with it.  I recommend you stick with it for at least a year.  Use this time to get to know your children and how they best learn.  Use it also to grow in your relationship with them.  Watch how your children benefit from it. 

If your family becomes involved with a homeschool support group (which I would highly recommend), attend some of their events.  This will give you the opportunity to get to know other families, speak to other dads, and share your experiences or seek their advice.

Become involved in your children's education.  You can help them with math, reading, writing, or whatever subject you feel comfortable with.  

Watch it work, because it will and you will be happy with the end result.      

Summary:

When your children are homeschooled, you as a parent are more aware of their academic growth because you are there experiencing it with them.  Sometimes it may be difficult to know what a public schooled child may have learned that day, however that will not be the case with your homeschooled child.  You'll know what they have learned because you or your wife will be their teacher.  Also, homeschooled children are more likely to share what they have learned because school and life are intermingled.  For example, during our dinnertime our conversations are usually geared around what the children learned that day.  My children love telling me about any projects they did or field trips they went on. I can't tell you how many times the map on our walls will trigger conversations about a particular country they learned about that day.  

Homeschooling has brought my family closer together.  It has enabled my children to learn together; it has helped us as a family grow in our faith in God, and it has created a strong bond between me and my children.

As their teachers we are able to celebrate their successes in ways that a public school teacher would not be able to.  Through one-on-one instruction, we can help our children build their self-confidence in their academic abilities.  Homeschooling is not a separation between academics and life skills; it is all interrelated and this helps prepare them for real life.  


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6 comments:

  1. Great interview! I would also suggest that new homeschool parents commit to giving it a "year plus" to see how things go. The first year of homeschooling can be a whirlwind, and especially if you are bringing kids home from public school, you need that first year to get organized, research and try curriculum, and discover your child's best learning styles. If, after one academic year, there are aspects you'd like to change, I would commit to an additional semester or year to see if the changes you want to make improve things.

    Homeschooling does not always go smoothly every single week, and that first year has a real learning curve for most parents.

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  2. ASliceofHomeschoolPieApril 10, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Yes Sue, I agree with you. :-)

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  3. What a wonderful interview! I am going to share this with others. You have really blessed me this morning as I read this. What a blessing for your marriage homeschooling has been as you work together with your children.

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  4. Great post! I wish I could homeschool, but it's really not an option in my family and have a lot of respect for families that are able to do so.

    I moved from the US to the Netherlands (hubby is Dutch), and while homeschooling is theoretically possible here, it is only allowed in very specific cases. There are a lot of different school options though ranging from religious to Montessori and everything in between. The educational system itself is really different here. One of the biggest differences I've noticed is that kids are not expected to be as busy - they don't really get homework until around ten and aren't under pressure to do extra curricular activities. My brother (huge age gap) really had a lot of pressure on his shoulders in between advanced classes, sports, etc which is a huge concern that I have with public schools. Hopefully that won't be a problem here.

    Sometimes, I kind of want to move back to the US just to be able to homeschool, haha. For now, I'm loving doing tot school at home with my 19 month old and am so glad to be a SAHM.

    Sorry for being so long winded!

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    1. Hi Yuliya! I find other countries' educational systems fascinating. I truly feel that the education here within the U.S. is failing a great number of our children and I've heard that the educational system in some other countries are much better.

      Maybe someday you will move back and have the opportunity to homeschool. You never know. :-)

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  5. This is a great interview! It is always nice to hear about the experiences of fathers who are often overlooked in the homeschooling experience.





    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

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