Sometimes you probably feel alone in your homeschooling journey, right? I’m a dad involved with my kid’s homeschooling. But I can say that it wasn’t easy for me to get participating! But to all parents out there, dads can be easily incorporated into the homeschooling routine! Let me show you how.
To get a dad involved let them understand the curriculum. Next learn the styles of homeschooling. Then get them to teach a class. Gradually they can take over some chores and meal preparations. Dads can also lead extracurricular activities and field trips. Certainly, all handyman jobs, camping trips, and club activities are for dad as well.
Now let me show you how I did it and how you can do it as well.
Help Research the Curriculum
My part of homeschooling is to research the curriculum in our local library, online, and in our community. This is something dads can be good at which is searching for the best resources. My wife is ultimately the one who started this whole journey into homeschooling. But I decided to create my mark on the process by being involved in collecting as much as I could about curriculums. For me, the mission started at our local library and I was fortunate to find one of the best resources, The Well Trained Mind, by Susan Bauer Wise.
As I began to collect curriculum ideas for our son, I was fortunate to find this and it helped me build a foundational understanding around a method of homeschooling that is very practical and familiar. This definitive book on classical methods of homeschooling is a no-nonsense approach to homeschooling that has been in publication since 1999. Many families can attest to its relevance and helpfulness because it is so comprehensive. Once you have a good general understanding of a method you can easily compare it to other styles and curriculums.
As you look for curriculums you will most likely begin online as well. For me, I preferred to get some books from the library, but online may be the way to go for some. As a dad new to this homeschooling journey, it was convenient that I could access resources online at any time of the day. I even felt myself looking for curriculums while I was waiting in line or at a restaurant. Essentially whenever I had a spare moment I would find myself looking for resources for our homeschool. There is an amazing amount of information online and many are free. This was one of the most amazing things I found while I was searching for our homeschooling direction.
Time4Learning, Khan Academy, IXL, and All In One Easy Peasy Homeschooling were all very helpful to me. They are a complete resource of curriculum, some with free functions and courses. And they all allow you to learn about the system, the process and use some of the resources and curriculum online for free. There are free trials, and they also have newsletters you can sign up for which also keep you in the loop and provide you with new ideas. If you are new like I was, it was so helpful to explore these resources while I was researching for our homeschool.
And some of the material I found I would share with my wife. We would also try out with my son. He enjoys using the Khan Academy for Kids app on our Ipad which is an amazing set of exercises for kids with math, ABC’s, and logic. There is more exercise that is educational and fun, and seemingly unlimited. There are hundreds of very helpful educational exercises available. I couldn’t believe that it was free at first!
Explore the Styles of Homeschooling
Exploring the styles of homeschooling may also serve as an educational opportunity for dad as well. We can all learn something by understanding the ways of homeschooling. The first time I heard about living books and the Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling it made sense to me. And I wanted to learn more about it and how to incorporate it into our routine. We recommend having a good review of the basic styles of homeschooling that include the Classical, Traditional, Charlotte Mason, Unschooling, and Unit Studies. Time4Learning has a good article about the types here.
One can find a range of offerings from the secular and non-secular curriculums that are Open and Go. This means that they are self-contained and you just follow the book and teacher’s guide. You just open the text and go! This style is highly recommended for someone just getting started in homeschooling and is perfect for families who need a clear schedule and how-to guide. There are even self-taught programs where the philosophy is the child will learn how to guide themselves and requires less input from the parents. This is an interesting concert and you can learn more about it here with the Robinson Curriculum.
Let Dad Teach a Subject in Your Homeschool
Let dad teach a subject or two to be involved. It was apparent during my search for homeschooling resources that the majority of it is done by moms! This is the main reason that I started to become heavily involved and have set up www.dadcaresto.com. I wanted other fathers and myself to get more involved in the work. From this data gathered by Ray in 1997, 88% of moms and only 10% of dads did the majority of homeschooling in the United States. My suggestion is to focus on 1 subject at first that dad can teach. Maybe it’s science, math, or even a special project where you build something. This is perfectly fine and is a super way to get dad involved with your homeschooling.
I am sure that once they do it for 1 subject they will enjoy it. And at the least, they will respect the hard work the other spouse puts into the process. This level of involvement would be ideal for both parents for your child to have a balanced education. In our situation, we started to homeschool our son when he was 5 years old. And he was still in kindergarten when I started to handle the soft start of homeschooling in the evenings. My duty was to pick him up around 6 pm from school and we would have dinner then do some learning as we call it. We used this opportunity to get him accustomed to homeschooling and learning at home from an early age.
I taught my son, reading, and phonics over this period. I also taught him about numbers and we practiced writing and tracing letters. We also go to the library and select some supplementary books that he has an interest in like sea animals, and earth and outlet space topics about stars and the moon. Perhaps these are some pretty normal things families might do already. However, you can use it to prepare yourself and the dad to teach a subject in your homeschool. These sessions were valuable to me as a dad and a homeschool teacher. Because I was very nervous to do this since I had no experience!
Dad Leads the House Chores in Homeschool
This may seem impossible, but in our household, I handle many chores. Dad’s duties in our home are to clean the floors and do my laundry. To make a long story short in the early days of our marriage, I complained to my wife that my clothes didn’t smell very fresh! That was a mistake for me since she said great, wash your clothes from now on! And the floors are handled by my son and myself. The floors are mainly cleaned by my Neato robotic sweeper. But my son likes to help and this also relieves my wife of these chores. She has a busy schedule as a music teacher. And it gives a good way to train your children about household chores and the hard work necessary!
You can also help mom out by handling the grocery shopping with your homeschooler. In our routine, I will take my son shopping weekly for the main things we need and he will actively take part in the planning and shopping lists. We will focus on breakfast since this is the first meal of the day and mom will usually sleep in. I must get my family started in the morning and my children will handle their breakfast. This I will discuss as a separate point next because you can also use this opportunity for teaching and reinforcing about nutrition, the food groups, and eating healthy.
Prepare the Meals Like Breakfast and Dinner
One way to get dad involved is to have him prepare meals like breakfast and dinner. Luckily for my wife, I love to cook. Where we live I can hardly get all my favorites here in Asia. So much of the time, if I am craving something, I will need to cook it myself. If I cook dinner my children will usually help out in prep and in cleaning up afterward. It is another great life skill to be able to cook the basics like pancakes at least! Even my 5-year-old son can tell you the basic ingredients of my pancakes. And he even knows how to curdle the milk. We can’t get buttermilk here so we curdle the milk with a tablespoon of vinegar.
Now I’m sure some dads might be challenged with making some things. But at least every dad can BBQ, right? This is also a life skill we dads can pass down to our sons. How to cook the perfect steak and the most important skill of all, how to get the grill started? Charcoal and gas! Now if dad knows how to make some other classics like spaghetti and meatballs, Spanish rice and chicken, or stroganoff that’s great. Because all of these meals are my go-to meals. Why? Because they can be prepared in under 30 minutes! Us busy dads don’t have all night to prepare dinner., but you might try something else.
Take Kids to Extracurricular Activities
Dads can take the kids on an educational field trip or handle the extracurricular activities. Our house is ten minutes from 2 major museums for Art and Science and Technology. The best part of it is that they always have some cool new exhibitions, and most of the sections on display are completely free. You could even set up a project where you can combine a field trip to these places and incorporate the material into your schedule. It serves 2 purposes which are to get dad involved and to give mom a rest!
In our routine, I take one of our sons to hip hop dance class every week. My job is to handle this and to make sure he practices. That means I must go and watch, record it on video and supervise him in the evenings a few times per night. We practice it move by move and my wife expects to see a recorded video of him practicing it well. Not just going through the motions. She expects to see a well-practiced outcome of the moves step by step. Since she is a musician, she appreciates the hard work the teacher put into the dance moves, So she expects we practice it just as diligently.
Another duty of mine is soccer practice 3 times per week. This usually happens after dinner and depends on the weather. But we usually practice together and I make sure what new moves or exercises he has learned. Its fun and dad can get some exercise as well. Even more importantly mom doesn’t do soccer! So if we are to get our money’s worth, dad better take over this duty of handling PE and sports. Playing catch and batting practice with my other son is also my duty. Perhaps this is the same in all families, but don’t forget this important part of your kid’s education.
Taking Kids on Camping Trips
Some dads like me love camping and especially if they loved it when they were a kid. It’s going to be work, yes we know that, but it will be worth it. You can check out our other article dedicated to homeschooling and camping here. But this is 1 way to get dads involved in a big way. Preparing a camping trip is a big project and if you include your kids in this, it will be a super learning experience. If you can plan a few trips per semester it’s even better because you can learn from the previous trip and make adjustments for the next trip.
Nature, weather, and science as well as organization skills are all possible to give real-life practice with a camping trip. Dads and of course moms, if they enjoy it can pitch in, will have a real chance to also incorporate other families into the activities as well. When you are homeschooling, socialization is something you have to plan. So this camping trip can also pull in other homeschooling families to get other dads involved as well. The memories you will create will be unforgettable trust me.
Below is a photo of our family when I was just a little kid. We used to go altogether with other families during the summer holidays. I will never forget the great times we had in the wilderness. So not only will you learn together, you will get a chance to bond and pass on some valuable skills that your kids may want to pass down as well. Pitching a tent, chopping wood, and starting a fire are all useful and great teaching moments. Not to mention fishing, and using a compass in the woods and identification of edible berries and poison ivy! Mom will have a great chance to relax if she is not into camping!
Let Dad Bring Kids to Club Activities for Socialization
Can dad take your child to a club activity once per week? I take my son to a Toastmasters meeting occasionally and also to club events. This is a super way for them to get a chance to see what adults do, and how they interact. At Toastmaster you get a chance to make speeches and work on your leadership skills. My son enjoys watching me at the front giving a speech and he even mimics giving a speech as well. It is a super way to again socialize with other adults and teens.
As we mentioned earlier, in homeschooling, you will plan most of the opportunities for your kids to meet others. This is seen by most families as an opportunity to curate the best chances for good friendships to be made. In traditional schools, you won’t have as much control over the friends your children make. So this is a benefit for dads and parents to be more selective of the friends and activities they attend. If you are active in church, there are also many ways to meet others and enrich your child’s life through socialization in club activities.
Do Handyman Jobs Around the House
Most dads I know love fixing things around the house. When I was a kid my dad would always have some project to work on either in the yard, in the garage, or the house. Do some painting, fix the sprinkler system, change the oil on your motorcycle or lawnmower. These simple yet fun and important things are all learning moments as well. I can still smell the grease of working on the old 1965 Corvair with my dad in middle and high school as a teen. To this day I attribute my dad with teaching me all about car repair since we rebuilt this old classic car in my teens.
We went all over Florida scouring the junkyards and going to swap meets to find parts and advice. These were some excellent teaching moments as well because I still rely on my knowledge of working with my dad when I get my can or motorcycle repaired today. These practical but useful chances are also super ways for dads to be involved in your child’s education. Knowing how to fix a leaky faucet, or handle an electrical issue in the home can not only save you money, but it can also serve as a chance for dad to be involved with homeschooling.
Call it Handyman 101 and dad is the leader for this! See this Popular Mechanics article with 25 skills dads should teach their kids. Besides being the handyman, maybe gardening is your thing. This is also a super way to learn about plants, seeds, and caring for them. Growing your own vegetables or fruit from seed is a popular way to learn and introduce about the world we live in. It is also satisfying to go into the garden and get outdoors to enjoy time with your children. If you don’t have a garden or backyard, no problem. You can plant something indoors and learn about how to grow some simple herbs like mint and make some mint tea!
Dad Can Lead the Read Aloud Sessions
If dad doesn’t have time to do any of the above, then reading to your children is another great way to learn and share your own knowledge with your children. You can select age and subject appropriate material that both dad and your child enjoy. Right now my son is really into Earth and Sky and Under the Sea books since he’s nearly 6 years old. We also read together many of the Greek tragedies like the National Geographic’s Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters. This was so much fun to read with my kids since I could review so many great stories I read as a kid myself. There are so many unique and mystical creatures and ideas as you read these.
You need to be aware of age-appropriate material so review it before you start reading. But dad can lead these read along’s and this is also a great field trip you can take to the library. Once a month we can go and check out books. In our library, it’s high tech and we can learn so many cool things. For example, we can learn how to search for a book on the online system. Just type in a subject and my son loves to search for his current favorite topic. Then the hunt following the Dewey decimal system can also reinforce their skills as they search or the books.
And we can even sanitize the book in a UV sterilizer and you can teach them about germs and the importance of keeping clean. And what is UV light and how it kills the germs on the books? This is perfect for science knowledge and learning. Kids usually love to learn about these kinds of things even if they can’t see it. There is also an automated book return system that my son loves as well. He can operate it to return the books and he can watch the system in action. You can teach about the robot systems and how this can help the library stay efficient and put books back into the collection in a very quick time.
Plan Field Trips for Homeschool with Dad
Dad can share and get involved with the planning and take the kids to have some fantastic field trips. This is something that you can have a busy dad take care of a few times per semester. I like to plan something on a Monday or Friday where I make it into a long weekend. Then you can do the field trip and not be rushed in the activity. It’s more enjoyable if you plan ahead and work with mom and your child on the destination. Work it into a lesson you are doing so that you can make every moment count. I love the book Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire by Rafe Esquith.
He is an amazing public school teacher in LA who dedicates an entire chapter about how he prepares field trips. His take is that if you tie in the lessons, plan every part of the trip. This is including the historical figures you might see or the painting you might encounter at the museum. For example, we have an amazing earthquake museum here where we live. They have preserved an entire elementary school that was completely demolished. However, there are numerous displays and they have highlighted which parts of the structure were built wrong and show how to build them right in the future.
I went over the origin of earthquakes and how the fault lines run through our city and directly through the old school. He can see first hand what we were talking about and the damage and ways to prevent the buildings from such damage in the future. Then when we get to the museum, he already knows about these things and it helps reinforce the key points. It also highlights what he doesn’t know so we can review it when we get back. This is much more meaningful than just jumping in the car driving somewhere and just walk around aimlessly.