HIM: Nice, hon…when did you put silk flowers in the bathroom?
HER: Um, about 12 years ago.
HER: So, who’s playing in the Super Bowl next year?
HIM: Um, well they don’t know that yet. It depends on next season and the playoffs……….
Men and women are obviously very different. They communicate differently, can have vastly different interests and pay attention to different kinds of things. It doesn’t take an expert to realize that these differences can sometimes carry over into the family homeschooling arena.
Is there a right way and a wrong way to homeschool children? Certainly not. Are women better than men at it? I didn’t say that, either.
But different parents do other things differently, so it’s natural to assume that each will put his or her own unique spin on homeschooling, too.
Since homeschooling households tend to be made up of moms shouldering most of the responsibility for educating the children and dads off at a job, keeping the family financially afloat, moms usually do most of the schooling themselves. It isn’t always the case, and this isn’t meant to sound 1950’s or sexist or anything else; it’s just that large national research studies have shown that it is pretty typical.
But dads can help with homeschooling, too. In fact, most do. It all depends — some do a little and some do a lot. Different dads do different things, each adding his own spin to whatever it happens to be. Some dads take over parts of the academics. Some do the sports. Some handle the driver’s training. Some the nighttime story-telling. Others just pitch in where they’re needed. And on and on.
Dad’s involvement all depends on the patterns that have been established in the home. It’s very much like household chores, yardwork, shuttling children to and from activities, and everything else. Different dads do different things — each in his own way.
Lest you feel this is confusing to children, rest assured, it isn’t. Just as children adapt to both parents doing other things, they adapt easily to different parents in the homeschool, too. Like anything else, kids learn early on that mom does things her way, and dad his.
And overall, this all works out quite well.
Except when it doesn’t.
Like when mom insists that dad does it her way. Or when the kids decide to inform dad that mom doesn’t do it that way, either. Or when dad suggests that mom isn’t doing something quite right. Or when dad introduces the kids to a different way of doing whatever-it-is, and upsets the apple cart just a little bit (or maybe even a lot).
And that’s when things can begin to get a little dicey…but they don’t have to.
Though it can be hard to resist butting-in at time, it is important for both parents to give one another credit for what they do in homeschool. Just because one does it differently than the other, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong. And just because parents don’t do things exactly the same, it won’t necessarily confuse the children, immediately undo everything they’ve learned so far or make the kids stupid for the rest of their lives.
Can parents suggest to one another what might work best? Sure! Can they discuss the kids and the different kinds of things they’re doing in homeschool? Of course!
But, parents also need to accept that each will always add his or her own bias to their interpretation of the facts, each will always have his or her own ideas about a particular subject and each will always (whether consciously or not) add his or her own personal twist to doing homeschool with the kids.
And no matter who teaches what, or how, the kids will still be ok.
I’d like to leave you with a funny saying about fishing — perhaps you’ve heard this one:
A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at the office.
Applied to homeschooling, it might read like this:
No matter who does the schooling, or how, it is probably still better than the alternatives.
Just as moms and dads can have different parenting styles, they can also have different homeschooling styles. And it’s really okay. And the kids are going to do great.