1. What was your initial reaction when ‘home schooling’ came up as an option?
My first reaction: “Errrrrrr… o-kaaaaay?” However, that was all in my head. I’m sure though that the raised eyebrow said all that my wife needed to know – I had doubts. My second reaction was to understand what this “homeschooling” thing actually meant. I didn’t have a true sense of what homeschool was or how it would be rolled out. My other main concern was who was going to teach our children. Chantel, while a brilliant educator, I was concerned about maintaining stamina through the process. What I knew for sure was that my wife was more than capable to create a curriculum, but I just wasn’t sure if she had the wherewithal to see it through to completion. I felt that a half-hearted roll-out of a curriculum was as dangerous to my daughter’s education as one that is full of gusto day 1 through 20, then is non-existent day 21 and on because she got burnt out. Again, this wasn’t to slight my wife in any way, but a question in regards to whether she may be biting off more than she could chew. Lastly (but certainly not the last thing I thought of), how much is this going to cost? We have limited funds – it’s an important question.
However, let’s be clear, my concerns were washed away completely as I saw my daughter’s growth each day and how invested my wife was in making sure our daughter got a world-class education at home. My wife and I talked about our values and those we wanted to instill within our children before the world got ahold of them. I knew that we had made the right choice and the growth of my daughter in terms of her educational retention and application have been astounding. This was the right fit for my child and I was proud to see her mom leading the effort.
2. As a non teaching parent, how do you know your child is actually learning what they are supposed to learn?
At first, I would just talk to my daughter each day about what she learned or asked my wife directly. The problem with that is I still only had a cursory understanding of what my daughter was learning and not a fact-based understanding of the principals she actually knew. My wife came up with a brilliant plan that held me as accountable to understanding what she was learning as much as my wife was to instructing her.
My wife created a folder that laid out all of the work my daughter did during the week. She created a template where she would ask me to review certain subject principles with my daughter to help reinforce her learning. At the end, I sign the template to acknowledge that I reviewed her work and went over the principles taught that week. It’s great because my daughter knows that both parents are invested, but it also helps me see what a wonderful job my wife is doing with our daughter.
3. How do you support the homeschooling process?
Simple answer: Any way possible. On top of reviewing the work as stated in the previous answer, I also make sure my wife has all of the tools she needs to be successful. Whether you’re in a public, charter or private school, there’s a financial cost involved. Homeschooling does not equate to being cheaper. In fact, depending on what curriculum you buy, it can be quite costly – on top of the supplies and paper needed. If she needs me to copy or print anything, I make sure it’s done and brought home. More importantly, I support the homeschool by being present and being positive about the effort. My wife gets kudos and appreciation from me all the time. I believe that when the teacher feels they are supported and appreciated, it ultimately positively supports the student. On occasion, I take over the teaching duties and instruct my daughter myself. I feel kind of proud at the end of a session I instructed and seeing my daughter smile at me with eyes that glimmer and express, “good job, Daddy”.