Trust The Children

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Total Package - Both of You


Is home schooling really mostly about Mom doing the teaching and Dad passively enjoying-observing-judging the results? In the last two years, Cyndy and I have been invited to speak at a few local home schooling conventions. I have been asked to address some kind of topic about "Fathers and Home Schooling". Of course, more moms attend my class than Dads. Honestly, of the Dads that attend, I sense a good percentage attend a bit grudgingly. So I find myself in the middle. On the one hand, dads who don't want to be something someone else wants them to be, arms folded, furrowed brows, wandering eyes. On the other hand, home school moms, notebooks and pens in hand, sitting on the edge of their chairs, a light in their eyes, bright countenances shining, hoping against hope that the one they love the most will finally "understand" and kick in.

The message I offer is one I don't think either is expecting. (Maybe that's why I don't get more offers to speak!) The message is this: "The development of your children, which includes the education portion among other things, comes as the result of the total package that the Dad and the Mom bring to the table." The total package.

Dads teach a lot, heading off to work each day, day after day, bringing home the bacon, often in jobs they don't enjoy. Dads teach a lot fixing stuff around the house, pursuing hobbies, community/church service, discussing topics of interest, and being a husband as well as a father. This impression gets combined with all the Mom brings to the table. AND since children learn primarily by observation instead of by lecture, it's the TOTAL PACKAGE that gets communicated, it's the TOTAL PACKAGE that combines to teach our children, warts, aha experiences and all.

All Dad does and all Mom does, including course corrections, mistakes and frustrations, combine in a unique and custom fit design, enabling children AND parents to learn each day, one step at a time. For the government school disabled who read this, all of us seem to find ourselves actually in the same school, just different classrooms.

Moms can do more and improve and certainly Dads can do more and contribute more to the effort of home education too. Yet, even if mom does more of the tactical facilitating of children during the day, the example of Dads life makes up the rest of the package that influences the kids. His example is already important and contributing. And even a bad example, while neither optimal nor preferred, provides the child who is free to think an opportunity to come to conclusions that they will act on in years to come or "not". Rather than the glass being half empty, it may be more than half full, when the dads existing contribution is seen in a true light.

Over and over again I see, in home schooling families, the wisdom in the total package that the mom and the dad, (assuming the family has one of each) bring to the table just as it is. Before wanting something more and different in a spouse, consider for a moment the wonderful contribution currently being made as things are. The total package seen in this light may be better than originally thought. In fact, the total package may be just right.

2 Comments:

  • Absolutely!

    Even if a family member is not "on the homeschool team" and even if a family member is not doing any "instruction", their inclusion in the day to day living and being a part of the driving force of how the family rolls, is contributing just as much as mom.

    This includes brothers, sisters, grandparents and any other person who has significant face time in that child's life.

    I also think that the actual school work that we do with them - like math, etc, even religion - has and extrememly minimal effect on how they end up as adults. The number one most important thing that will influence their brains, spirit and psyche is how we conduct ourselves and make our own decisions on a day to day basis. How we live our lives, how we speak to people, how we decide the important things, why we decide to use one particular thing over another.

    None of this stuff do we teach them directly. Although we can talk about it. But words mean little compared to our actions and our true beliefs underneath it all.

    By Anonymous Tammy Takahashi, at 4:14 PM, November 27, 2006  

  • this certainly touched a nerve with me when I accidentally ( ok, maybe it was a Freudian slip ) made a hurtful comment some time ago. I remember talking about some "homeschooling dad" blogs I had read and was thinking it would be cool if my husband had one, then I added the sting "but you're not a homeschooling Dad" without thinking. Ouch ... thank you for painting a much clearer picture for me that simply confirms the conclusion I came to once I took the time to think about what I had already spoken.
    Kristina

    By Anonymous onfire, at 8:45 AM, January 02, 2007  

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