Friday, May 11, 2012

Husbands and Homeschooling

Q. How involved is your husband with your homeschool?

A. The answer to this question will be different for every family. In our family my husband doesn't do any "formal" schooling like I do. He has more of a relaxed, supportive involvement. Here's a summary of what he does.

Reinforcement: Our farming lifestyle is such that we are able to have all three daily meals together as a family. Lunch is our biggest meal of the day. It is also the time the kids enjoy telling their dad what they learned that day. It helps me to hear what they found to be interesting, what they didn't like, and what they found to be interesting. This narration solidifies what was taught but also leads into my husband asking the kids questions and reinforcing the concepts that were taught.
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History: My husband is a huge, HUGE, history buff. He just enjoys learning, reading, discussing it. One of the things my kids like to do is see if he knows the little tidbits of history they learned that day. He almost always does. And then teaches new things that even I didn't know about. When retelling stories to the younger ones he acts them out complete with sound effects. They love it! With our teens he has had good discussions about the whys of history, the choices that were made, the political environment at the time, the effects that has had and will have in the future. Whenever we take road trips and see a sign for a historical marker you can bet there will be a detour to read it and see it.

Reading:  Our family loves to read. The best thing for my new readers is to read a book to dad. They just love when they can show off their new skills! He enjoys it too. It is relaxing to have a child snuggled up on your lap after a long, tiring day reading to you. Of course, then he has to reciprocate. And the book is NEVER the same no matter how many times he "reads" it. Again, the sound effects and varying voices make it much more interesting than when mom reads. Seriously, if we ever have to find a new line of work my husband could make it in the cartoon voice business.

We also have family read alouds. This was started because my husband has fond memories of his mother reading to them. I usually do the reading but once in a while he will do it. One Sunday when my older girls were little they stayed home from church because of sickness. Mr. Ferrero Rocher stayed home with them as I had several church responsibilities to fill. When I got home the girls told me, "Dad was reading to us and he started crying!"  Our read aloud at the time was The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. He said as he was reading about the hardships the Ingalls family faced and Pa trying to find wheat for his family to eat it just hit him because now he was a father with young daughters to take care of. He couldn't fathom how hard that would be to not be able to provide the basics for his family.

Fill In: My husband is there to fill in where I lack. Semisweet took a basic automotive class for high school. I had no clue what she was learning. He did and enjoyed helping her.

One day the younger kids were learning about Saudi Arabia. The book we were reading mentioned the melons and other crops that are grown in the middle of the desert because of the pivots that had been built. I told my children, "Dad knows all about that! Ask him when he comes home for lunch."  Sure enough he was able to pull out his laptop and show them through Google Earth the photos of green pivots out in the desert. He told them how they worked, what crops were being grown, etc. There are countless other examples of this type of filling in.

Support: Mr. Ferrero Rocher is very supportive of the decisions I make for our children's education. I am the one who does all of the research and we discuss what I have found. Because I am the one who is working with them day in and day out I make the final decision about what to teach, when, and how. In our discussions he is also able to gauge whether I am pushing myself to hard. I used to plan each child's week out on Saturday nights, making sure we had all the supplies needed for each subject, etc. It was extremely stressful when there were five children to plan for. Being in the thick of it I wasn't thinking clearly or looking at other options. It was through his suggestion we took a month long break while I looked at curriculum options. I was able to find one that I loved, my children loved, and was planned out so I had time for other things.

Those of you that homeschool, how involved are your husbands? Do they teach formal lessons? Are they the "fun" parent who takes them on field trips?

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