Getting Dad on Board with Home Educating
by Beverley Paine, 2012
Sometimes the easiest way to convince a non-supportive dad is to show him how well it works for other families. Show him real people and children who are home educating. Nothing is as reassuring!
If dad works during the week or the children are still at school or preschool you might need to work a little harder and become friends with one or more home educating families and arrange opportunities to get together on a weekend. It's not easy making new friends, but if you can manage it, this really is the quickest and easiest way to persuade non-believers to the cause!
Just because your children are at school doesn't mean you can't start educating them from home - take it easy and don't replicate what you think is happening in the classroom. Take a unit study approach to getting involved with your child's learning. These are the old-fashioned 'projects' I did as children and they naturally cover skills and content across several subjects in the curriculum. Pick something of high interest to your children. Anything can be a starting place for developing a range of activities within a unit study.
The other thing to do is defuse the whole issue. Stop talking about it. You may be pushing his fear buttons and it will feel to him as though you are undermining his parenting role with your determination. I have found that many men are reluctant or find it difficult to verbalise their thoughts and feelings and sometimes avoid talking about issues they feel will develop into an argument. Dads can be very future focused, busy thinking about how to finance high school or university education when their children are still in nappies! Helping them to realise that an education is something that is built in incremental steps over time can be reassuring as well as non-threatening. Helping them see that children learn in much the same way we do - meeting immediate needs, keeping in mind long term goals - is empowering as well as reassuring.
Also never underestimate the power of just getting on and playing with your children, doing activities which will encourage and enhance their learning in a natural way that you both enjoy. Involve dad in lots of activities - whatever he feels confident and good at and is happy to do with his child. Children naturally want to hang around their parents so often it is just a matter of making time, being patient, and allowing the fun to start and grow!
Do things together as much as possible as a family - lots of excursions to the park, playground, wherever. This is the core of home education, families living and learning together. When we are with our children more often, being attentive, we can't help but notice the superiority of natural everyday learning over contrived classroom activities to suit other people's curriculum agendas. And remember, social learning and socialisation starts at home.
There are some great sites for fathers to read up about home education that are reassuring and there are other articles on this site.
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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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