homeschooling dads

Reassure Your Kids Dad that You Won’t Mess Up their Education

In most of the families that we encounter, it is usually the mother who considers homeschooling first, and then she has to propose this idea to the father and get him to agree with the decision.
It is very common that men take longer to be convinced that this is the best option and to get ‘on board’ with the decision.

We find that fathers often have a different way of looking at things, have a different set of questions and require longer to make this decision. Many of them are more analytical than the moms – they want more facts and information than the moms.
Many mothers are more focused on the emotional well-being of their children and they are guided by a ‘gut instinct’ that knows intuitively that this will be a better option for the family.

Because of the different ways that mothers and fathers approach this decision, here are some tips for moms, who would like to help the dads become more assured about the decision to homeschool.

1. Prepare emotionally for a lengthy decision-making process

The first tip is to get your own emotions out of the way as much as you can. Expect this not to be a quick decision, but a decision-making process.

Think of all the possible concerns he may have and find the answers that will help to resolve those issues. Read our homeschooling FAQs

2. Show respect for his concerns

We generally recommend that you do not try to convince your partner by arguing or harassing him, but instead keep asking him questions to better understand his position. Show him that you respect him and that you appreciate his caution.

Start a conversation by asking him to share all his thoughts. Tell him you appreciate his concern for his children and will try to find the answers. Other families have been through this process too, so there are answers and solutions. Make a list of ‘problem’ issues that you can research if you don’t have the answers yet.

3. Have these answers ready

Men often worry that their boys will miss out on sport, or that their mother will keep them in a cotton-wool cocoon and overprotect them, or that they won’t be able to study further and get a good job.

Have the facts and figures that answer the most common questions, like 

4. Prepare him to answer the skeptics

Make sure that he will not feel inadequate if other people, like his parents, siblings, his ex, work colleagues or friends ask him about his children’s education. Feeling that he has been pushed into something that he can’t explain adequately could trigger resentment against this decision. You need to empower him.
Watch our video about Dealing with Homeschool Critics.

“Home education allows you to raise children who think outside of the box, they are not afraid to take risks and consider alternative career paths.” ~ Gavin Young, veteran homeschooling father of 4

5. Ask him to trust you as schooling is unpredictable

A good point to raise, is that the school system is constantly being disrupted. It is not the same system that your child’s father was raised in. Can he depend on that system not to ‘mess up’ his child’s education? Can he trust his child to complete strangers who have no long-term interest in his child’s future? Or would he rather partner with you, or at least, support you in the choice to take responsibility and find solutions for your family?
No one loves your children like you both do and that is why mothers (and fathers) are the best people to take charge of their children’s education. You both love them and you want them to succeed academically and in life.
Read Why Homeschooling Mothers are Better Than Teachers

“Homeschooling keeps us as parents directly involved in each child’s development, and helps us stay connected as a family.” ~Jaco Vollgraaff

6. Suggest a trial period of one year 

Save this as your trump card. If after many discussions, he remains unsure, ask him if you can test out homeschooling for one year. That will give you all a fair chance to see how it works. Most men are willing to give it a go and feel better about a short-term decision than taking the plunge and committing to a long-term decision.
Usually a year is enough time for him to evaluate homeschooling and see that the child is learning, the child is happy and the mom is coping.
You could then ask to continue till the end of primary school, if your children are still young and by then you will all be able to reassess and decide together as a family whether or not you wish to continue enjoying the wonderful benefits of this family learning lifestyle.

“My husband sees how the children are now interested in school and are excelling. He also praises homeschooling because we save almost 60k. Year now. We will never go back. Our lives are calm and our children are happy.” ~ Shannon Strauss

7. Discuss what homeschooling will cost

In terms of finances, you are in control of what you spend on educational resources. You can buy world class products if that’s what you want or you can homeschool on a shoestring budget if that’s required in this season. We recommend that you spend at least the same as you would have spent on schooling for your children, including fees, books, uniforms, transport, lunches, fundraising etc. This is an investment into your children’s education and it sends them a message that they are worth it, they are important and that you value education. However, some families can homeschool for less than the cost of schooling. If this is a deciding factor, use it to your advantage! 

“Homeschooling has given us the freedom to choose our own future.” ~ Riaan Erwee, veteran homeschooling dad

8. Repair broken relationships if you are separated

When parents are divorced or separated, it’s not always easy for parents to come to agreement. We suggest that you do all that you can to repair the broken relationship so that it is at least amicable, and then discuss homeschooling with the other parent. You need to show that you have the children’s best interests at heart and that you are not just looking for an excuse to get more money from the other parent…or whatever other negative motivation he might think you may have. The greatest challenge is to be able to have a friendly relationship so that you can make clear-headed decisions about the children’s future and well-being.  In the short-term, you may need to compromise on other issues, in order to win his trust and support in the long-term.

9. Prioritise your relationship with your man if you are living together

A final concern of many dads is that the mom will be so frazzled from educating the children that he will only get the leftovers of her time and energy. From the start, you need to show him that your relationship with him is important and that you want this decision to be one that brings ALL of you together more as family. Show him that this will be an immensely fulfilling decision for you as a mother and wife, to the benefit of the entire family, including him. 

Commit to setting aside a regular time with him alone – be it a weekly coffee date, a drink together on the stoep or whatever he needs to fill his lovetank and don’t use the responsibility you’ve undertaken in homeschooling as a weapon to manipulate him to serve you or pity you when it’s challenging. You are a team and you each have to support each other emotionally in different roles with different types of stress. Assure him that you will shoulder your responsibility and not let it harm your relationship with him – and then commit to doing that. Use the many support groups for homeschooling moms so that you do cope well.

“The home is the first and most effective place to learn the lessons of life: truth, honor, virtue, self control, the value of education, honest work, and the purpose and privilege of life. Nothing can take the place of home in rearing and teaching children, and no other success can compensate for failure in the home.”
~ David O. McKay

In this short video, Shirley and Wendy discuss some of the common concerns that dads have and why. Things like why team sports are so important to some men or worries that homeschooling will put pressure on the marriage relationship. Take a look: