Homeschooling was a joint decision between my husband and me. We decided together, and we are in it together.
He knows I do more of the daily schooling and a lot of the work and pressure falls on my shoulders, but he is willing to help in any way he can.
Besides working hard everyday to provide for our needs and our wants (and our field trips), dad helps with the following in our homeschool:
Technology– I am just not smart in the area of technology, so Chad keeps us up and running in that department. He set up the kids’ computer and Kindles with passwords and time limits. He makes sure we have the apps and programs we want. He fixes the printer. He helps download and save and trouble shoot. He is our IT guy.
Nature– One of my goals with our homeschool is to have regular nature experiences – whether it be hiking or bike riding or snow shoeing or cross-country skiing or geocaching. I asked Chad to kind of head up this part of our homeschool. He is more adventurous than me and more experienced. In September we went on a hike to Stuart Falls, over General Conference weekend we went on a bike ride that he mapped out, and he is currently working on a snowshoeing adventure. While we are out enjoying nature, he helps the kids understand directions, outdoor life, conservation and safety.
Life Skills– I am more book smart; dad’s more street smart. Therefore, dad helps teach basic life skills — everything from fixing a flat bike tire to washing cars to planting the garden. For example, I ordered two dining room table chairs from Target. They arrived and needed to be assembled, but they came with no instructions. We all gathered around and looked at the hardware that came with the chairs, and Dad walked us through washers and screws and allen wrenches. The kids learned how to tighten and untighten and how to build and problem solve.
Real Math– This category kind of goes along with Life Skills, but Chad takes pride in teaching his kids how math is applied in the real world. We were putting up some hooks in Elle’s Room / Guest Room, and Elle was doing the work. She painted the board, and then Chad helped her do the math to figure out where to place the hooks. She divided, measured and marked. Crew is doing some fundraising right now for baseball and Chad walked him through profit margin. He even diagramed it on our “white board”. Chad doesn’t rush through the problem and just give the answer. He walks them through the process step by step and helps them think through the solution so they can see why they need math in real life.
Read Aloud– I read aloud to the kids every day, but Chad likes to have his own read aloud at night too. Sometimes he reads to all the kids and other times he just reads to one child. Last year, he read the whole “Great Brain” series just to Crew. Now Crew is tackling that series on his own because dad got him hooked. He has also read Where The Red Fern Grows, The Hobbit, Ender’s Game, Hatchet, Because of Winn Dixie, Treasure Island, Holes and Charolette’s Web to the kids. I could never have made it through The Hobbit or Ender’s Game so it is nice that Chad will read books I won’t.
Qualilty Control- Right now I have the kids doing a Bingo sheet every day for their school work. It has 16 squares and an assignment or subject is in each square — there is everything from ‘math lesson’ to ‘hug mom’ to ‘history’ to ‘life skill’.
I change the contents every day to respond to the needs of that day. They mark off a square when they are done with the task, and the goal is to complete the bingo sheet each day. At the end of the day, Chad looks at the bingo sheet and randomly picks one square he wants to review. The kids must show them their ‘output’. Last night, he read Crew’s journal entry on our field trip and he corrected Croft’s math workbook. One job was up to par, one wasn’t 🙂 So today one of the kids will be redoing an assignment. Chad, with his red pen, picks battles I am sometimes too tired to face. He is a fresh enforcer.
Support– If I’m being honest, homeschool kicks my butt some days. Sometimes I feel like crying or yelling or quitting. But luckily I have my husband to turn to. He continually listens to my frustrations, talks me off the cliff, and gives me encouragement. Sometimes that’s all I need to face the next day. I still have moments of doubt, but he never questions my abilities or our decision. He just knows that I am venting for a moment. It is great to know he is on my side and has my back. And it is great to have someone on your team that trusts you more than you trust yourself.
Relief– Then there is just a dad’s role of giving a mom a break. Chad is always willing to take a kid to work with him, put them to bed, take them on a Saturday somewhere, make dinner, or drive carpool so I can have some time to myself. He will take over homework or back me up when he gets home if there has been an issue. He has even subbed a whole day for me when I have lots of errands to do. He does not expect me to do it all and that is a relief all by itself.
I feel very blessed to have a husband that lets me dream — who has complete confidence in my decisions and abilities — who is so competent and helpful and who always has my back.
We make a great homeschooling team.