The sacrifices parents make to homeschool their children are substantial. Moms are generally charged with planning and executing lessons, while running the household and doing most of the childcare.
Fathers sacrifice free time and often forgo leisurely pursuits to devote themselves to the children.
Many dads want to help their wives manage her many roles and responsibilities, but don’t know how to help. Here are some winning ideas:
- Listen to her. Really listen. Sometimes listening muscles are on automatic pilot. When the spouse shares every jot and tittle of her day, a husband can tune out, muttering an occasional “uh huh” or he can really engage and know what’s going on in her heart. Sometimes she wants suggestions and solutions. More often, she just wants you to listen and understand.
- If you say you’ll do something, do it. Follow through. Because moms manage so much in any day, if you drop the ball on something that seems small to you, it can throw off her entire plan and toss everything up for grabs. Sometimes the demands on Mom’s time are so many and varied that your failure to follow through can be the brick that topples the whole Jenga tower of homeschool management.
- Do chores and clean up without expecting a huge pat on the back or “Atta boy” every time you do something. While we all want/need/crave appreciation, Mom is also trying to teach the children that service is part of family life. Everyone does it just because it has to be done.
- Spend time with the kids and really talk to them. You will be meaningfully engaging in parenting but your engagement also frees you wife to take care of other things.
- As much as you are able, be of one accord. Don’t undermine one another, or change a plan or decision Mom has made on discipline or homework. If Mom has decreed that a consequence for misbehavior is XYZ and you come home and declare it is ABC, you both lose credibility and authority with the kids and undermine one another.
We have dealt with these issues and many others in our family. Failure to adhere to these simple things can cause mistrust and disorganization. Work WITH your spouse as you both put your shoulders to the plow to train and educate your children. Homeschooling works best when everyone works together.
For more on helping homeschool moms, see Help for the Harried Homeschooler.