How to Support Your Wife in Homeschooling

Homeschooling is a team sport!  Here are some simple ways that dad can save the day!

It was a regular occurrence during my highschool years…  The phone would ring and I’d hear Mr. P on the other end quickly inquiring if there was any way I could babysit – TONIGHT.  That slight edge of desperation in his voice and my love for their family would usually prompt me to say yes.   I sort of suspected that her 4 darling children, the messy house, and homeschooling may have left her a little tired, but as I catapulted into the realm of baby/toddler mom and then homeschool mom, I found myself understanding her in a whole new way.   Some days just leave you frazzled.  And I had new-found respect for her husband who would swoop in to save the day.

Oh this grand learning adventure…  I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than learning here alongside our children.  Each day is unique, beautiful, mostly fun, often challenging.  We have the opportunity to cultivate these lives entrusted to our care, to train them, guide them, and then launch them into all God has for them.

Yes, we stay home with the kids and most of the work with homeschooling falls to us.  But really, raising kids needs to be a team effort.   Dad’s, we need you!  We may not always be able to put into words what that looks like because every day is fresh with new challenges and well, our own emotions can tend to be on an ever shifting pendulum too.  I know you’ve all come home at one time or another to get that look when you walk in the door–that look that screams HELP!  So I thought I’d pass on a few tips today.

1. Make it a Family Affair

Homeschooling shines when it is made a family affair.  My husband jokes that while he was always supportive of our decision to homeschool, it took him a while to transfer perspective from “her thing to OUR thing.”   Whenever you find a way to get involved, jump right in.

  • Take learning on the road. Family vacations can become family field trips with a little bit of reading before you head out.
  • Plan some of the “fun” learning activities for when dad is off work.  A few years ago, Rich saw me pulling together a tasty collection of materials during our unit on birds.  Knowing something fun was afoot, he asked if we could wait until he was done with work for the day.  This proved to be a win for all of us!
  • Explore together. Family field trips showcase the beauty of family learning.
  • Take over a subject.  There might be a season where you need to step up and help.  My mom and I butted heads so much on writing that my dad ultimately had to step in for a brief season.
  • Dinnertime discussion is a wonderful time to bring the family back together.  When I’m on top of things {on rare occasions} I try and text my hubby with something that we did that day so he can ask the kids about it.  Usually however, I’m not that pulled together and I’ll prompt the kids with a “tell Dad what we read about, built, explored, etc…”  This is a great time to discuss the day’s explorations and give dad the opportunity to share insights as well.
  • Rough house – if possible, in the morning.  You read that right.  Rough housing with the kids is an amazing way to help prime the pump and wire their brains to learn.  Those moments when you think you are just having fun…  They serve an unseen academic purpose as well.  Getting their blood pumping in some way before you head off to work might just be what they need to get the wiggles out and buckle down to focus on the tasks mom has for them that day!

Rough housing is a great way to help wire their brains to learn!

{crazy to look at these pictures and realize that this cute baby is now 6 years old…}

2. Protect and Promote Her

We need our knight-in-shining-armor.  There are days when I’m that damsel in distress.  A wise husband has his game on and is constantly ascertaining the situation. Sometimes we might need:

  • A shoulder to cry on.  After a rough day sometimes we just need a hug and for someone to tell us that it will all be ok.
  • A pep talk.  First rule of thumb is to just listen.  But sometimes we need you to do what you are so good at – problem solve.  Remind us WHY we are doing this, share insight into what can be done differently. 
  • An intervention!  Sometimes a girl just needs her knight-in-shining armor to swoop in.  You may need to step into the situation at hand and have a talk with the kids.  We needed this recently and I’m sharing about it today over at The Busy Mom.  This was a classic reminder to me that my boys need their dad just as much as I need him!  They learned quickly that they can’t treat his bride with disrespect.
  • A speech.  Talk us up… This may not seem like a big deal, but when you speak highly of your wife and the investment she is making by homeschooling – especially to the kids, it not only gives your wife a boost, but models to your kids respect for what she does.  It’s important that our kids see a united front.  They need to know that we are a team.  My hubby and I try hard to bring disagreement on parenting issues to each other in private instead of airing that in front of the kids.
  • Prayer – Pray with and for us.

 3. Help Her Refuel

Sometimes we are just running on empty and need to refuel.  A wise husband will spot this and help find a solution just as the dad did who called me for emergency babysitting.  The key here is to talk with her and figure out what will help her refuel.  Here are a few ideas to get you going:

  • Send her out for a walk. This won’t work for everyone, but this is the easiest way to talk me off the ledge.  Sometimes I just need 15-20 minutes to get outside for a brisk walk.  The fresh air, movement and 15 minutes of solitude to entertain my own thoughts works wonders to calm me down and bring perspective.
  • Send her up for a bath.  Release her to go take a bath.  Put on some peaceful music and offer to get the kids to bed, wash the dinner dishes, etc so that she can have a few moments to herself.
  • Send her OUT.  A friend shared on facebook a few years ago about how her husband handed her a Bible, notebook, a Starbucks gift card, and car keys.  That mama returned refreshed and so madly in love with her husband that she couldn’t help but sing his praises for a good long while.
  • Encourage her to have a girl’s night out.  I recently went out to celebrate a friend’s upcoming wedding.  It was fun to dress up and figure out how to talk about something other than homeschooling or parenting!
  • Take the kids out.  Sometimes the chaos of the house is getting to us and the most helpful thing you could do would be to get the kids out of the house for a Saturday morning so we can restore order.  My dad did this once.  Trust me, my mom was on the verge of crazy, but when we returned she was all smiles.
  • Date Night!  Depending on your budget this is a sure-fire winner.  It gets you both away and provides time to either get your mind off the difficult day, week, month or talk together to fine-tune how things are going.  We’ve worked out an exchange program with some friends to make this more affordable and something that happens monthly now.

You are more important than you can even imagine.  We need your love and support far more than anyone else’s because we are in this together.  Your role is just as critical as ours and together we are stronger and more effective than when we stand alone.

On the Road to #EndBiblePoverty

A great way to memorize Bible verses is to take take it on the road with you! #EndBiblePoverty

We spend a lot of time in our car driving here and there.  Being in a large metro area means you get used to driving, I guess.  Sometimes it makes the whole idea of “home” schooling seem like a bit of a stretch since so much of our explorations take place out in the great big world.

My sister lives in a small town and I admit that I’m a bit envious when she tells me that at most, she drives 12 minutes to reach her furthest friend.  For a while I couldn’t even say that I had a close friend within 12 minutes (so thankful for wonderful neighbors who have become friends!).

All that to say –  we drive.  A lot. So what’s an intentional mama to do, but find good use for our time in the car.  One of our favorite things to do is work on Scripture memory.

A great way to memorize Bible verses is to take take it on the road with you! #EndBiblePoverty

Remember when I wrote about monthly mission to help #EndBiblePoverty? This last month, we took our memory challenge on the road.  I’m super-high tech as you can tell…  Having Bible verses taped to the steering wheel or dashboard makes it easy to work in practice here and there when we are in the car.

We memorized Psalm 119:9-16 together and then the kids recited it for us and then each set of grandparents who had all agreed to sponsor them in this challenge.  My 6 year old, found it the most difficult to keep all of these verses straight. It helped to hear his brothers working on it at the same time.  And all I can say, is that I’m so thankful for Skype!  The boys loved having an almost in-person audience!

Taking the challenge to #EndBiblePoverty through Scripture memory!

While the memory work was great, the conversations were simply precious.  We discussed what it means to guard our way (which my warrior boys loved), what it means to meditate on the Word and such…

Watching them catch the vision for helping people groups who have no access to God’s Word and coming up with their own creative ideas to help made this mama cry out to God in gratitude.  I definitely think we’ll be following up on this some more this year.

It’s so easy to take access to the Bible for granted.  Throughout this process, we’ve been reminded afresh to dig deep with thankfulness and do what we can to help others gain access to the life-giving Word of God.  We are excited to plant seeds that will reap an eternal harvest.

Did you miss my first post? We’d love to still have you and your family join us to hide God’s Word in our heart and help #EndBiblePoverty in the process.  It’s as simple as challenging them to memorize some Bible verses and sponsor them in this endeavor by pledging a certain amount per verse that you can then donate to The Seed Company (an affiliate of Wycliffe Bible Translators).  I’ll keep up our donation page if you want to support efforts in southeast Asia with us!

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