March 26, 2017

A Story From Father to Son For Generations

You’ve got to take a break out of your day and watch this short-film. It’s actually a commercial, but wow! what a powerful one it is.

Beautiful video work and imagery combines with a meaningful story and script to send a message from father to son that should live on for generations to come. I see stories like this and I feel completely incompetent and really doing everything I can to mold my son into the man I hope he becomes one day. I realize that’s an overstatement, but may that feeling spur me on to continue to do better in that area.

I’ve got to find more ways to connect with my son, and daughter, and communicate to them the important things they should learn about life. I can assure you, those lessons aren’t going to come from any curriculum you choose or text book you may have them read. Those lessons come from relationship and experience.

How are you doing in this area fellow dad? Let me know in the comments.

Source: Creating Authentic Marketing

More of My Thoughts on Homeschool and Public Schools

Bean Family Photobooth

This post is another one that consists of my answers to questions that were asked of me during an interview process for someone else that was writing a book. As soon as it’s published, I’ll be sure and provide more details, but for now. Here are more of my thoughts on our own homeschool journey. I’m particularly interested in hearing what thoughts you may have on my comments related to public schools and education in our communities.

Tell me a little about yourself. How many children do you homeschool, and what are their ages?

I’m pushing 40 this year and parenting two children with my wife of 15 years. My son is 14 (Honeymoon baby) and our daughter is 11. I was public schooled myself in a very small town in Kentucky. We are in our 4th year of homeschooling our children.

Where are you from? (State or Province is fine).

I grew up in southern Kentucky and graduated from college in Ohio. My wife has lived her entire life in Indianapolis, IN where we still live. We’re currently looking at relocating to Nashville, TN.

Do you identify with any “minority,religious or ethnic group” you would like to disclose, in order to show support for others who may feel alone in this journey?

I don’t think so. I feel like we’re pretty much the typical Christian American family. The only minority group we’re really in is “Christian” and “homeschoolers”.

What was your initial reason for homeschooling?

There wasn’t a single “straw” that “broke the camel’s back” with us. More like a small bale of hay that kept gnawing at us that caused us to be unsatisfied with just about everything we saw in the public school system and the desire to want more for our kids and our family than what we were getting in the school system.

Have you come across any more reasons to continue with this choice since you began?

I don’t think there have been any new reasons for us, just a continued strengthening and affirmation of the original reasons we discovered initially.

What are your thoughts on the public school system?

I think the public school system has an incredible task and hurdle in front of it. I believe the biggest problem is we haven’t come to an agreement in our society of what it actually means to be “educated”. The challenge after that is we’ve put too many demands on our schools and teachers without a confirmed target for them to aim for in their classrooms. I believe there should be some agreed standards set at a national level, but the operation and execution to meet those goals should be done at the local level.

Do you experience any struggles that the average homeschooler may not?

I’m not sure, what’s the average homeschooler struggling with these days? I’m guessing we’re pretty normal.

What is the best thing about homeschooling that you and your family have experienced so far?

For us I believe it’s the freedom and flexibility to try new things and spend time together as a family. With my job I’m able to work from just about anywhere as long as I have an Internet connection. That’s allowed us to travel and enjoy a variety of experiences as a family that’s also been very educational for all of us as well. We’re hoping to visit a couple of places like Gettsyburg and Colonial Williamsburg in the near future.

Do you base your homeschooling on any of the following educational philosophies: Waldorf, Montessori,Reggio,Classical,Traditional,Unit Study, Project Based, Un-schooling,Road-schooling, Scripture Based

One of the things we love about homeschooling is the ability for us to mix ‘n match strategies and methods across curriculae and other resources.

Are you in a single or double parent household?

My wife and I both participate in the homeschooling of our children. My wife does the majority of the effort by comparison. I focus more on helping with math and science and supporting as much as I can in the other subjects.

There has been a lot of assumption about the income level of homeschoolers being very high. Is this your experience?

I sure wish it were! Since we got pregnant with our son on our honeymoon, and my wife’s desire and my support of her desire to be a stay-at-home-mom, we’ve lived on a single income for the majority of our marriage. I lost my full-time job at the end of 2013 and currently looking for employment. Even in this time in our lives, the importance we put on continuing to homeschool our children has kept us from looking at forcing my wife to go back into the workforce. That will be an absolute last resort.

What are your thoughts on public schools?

See previous answers, but I’ll also add this. I know that homeschooling is NOT for everyone. We need public schools and I want them to succeed. As I said before, we need to put education at the forefront of the purpose for our schools and get politics completely out of the classroom unless it’s for a course in government, civics and the Constitution.

Do you feel that the option to homeschool is discriminatory against low income and/or single parent households?

I’m not sure I’d consider it discriminatory. It’s just a reality. Obviously it will be much harder for a single-parent family or a family where both parents have to work due to financial strains. I think the biggest challenge is who looks after the children while the one or both parents are working during the day when the kids are “supposed to be in school”.

What does an average homeschooling day look like for you?

My family has all been night owls since Day 1. So, our normal school day starts a little later than most people would consider average I’m sure. But our kids focus on their school work and studies and are usually done towards the middle of the afternoon. Once school work is done they work on their chores and other responsibilities. Rinse and repeat. We also try to be aware of how to make any opportunity outside of the normal school day an educational experience. In our state, we just need to prove 180 days of instruction. My opinion is if I’m not hitting 365 days of instruction a year, I’m failing my kids.

Do you feel you are judged negatively for your decision to homeschool?

I’m not sure if I’d categorize it as “negatively”, more just odd and not understanding what it really means and all the details. There have been occasions where I’ve been surprised at the lack of support we’ve received from family and friends. We have a number of friends who are teachers and I think some of them felt offended that our disproval of the public school system was also a direct disproval of them as teachers. Quite the contrary honestly, if I could guarantee 70% of the teachers and administration were as interested in my kids education as my friends were, I’d probably not have as much of an issue with public schools. But our other concern is the decisions that are being made in public education that are out of the scope of influence they have as well.

Any further comments you would like to share?

I’d just say that I hope your book gets shared and promoted to more dads. I think there are lots of dads who just aren’t quite sure how to be involved as best they can. I think for many dads, as with other areas of the family, they believe their only role in the effort is to fund it. Their involvement is to work as much as possible to be the provider for their family’s endeavors. That’s important, absolutely. But many forsake the need their family has for them to be there physically, emotionally and intellectually… not just financially.

A Dad’s Involvement in Homeschooling

On Disney Bus

This post is compromised of a collection of thoughts I shared from someone else asking me about my involvement as a father with homeschooling. They may be published somewhere else in some kind of format, but after writing them I decided I wanted to share them here  as well. I believe I’ve touched on a lot of areas that are important and should be heard by fathers and mothers. Would love to hear your feedback about them.

The Teacher or the Principal?

My wife does do the vast majority and over-site of the homeschooling of our two children. However, what we have tried to do from the beginning is equip them to be self-supportive in their efforts with each subject. My wife will setup and workout the plan, and then allow them to execute it as needed. I have provided more direct involvement with the kids in their lessons in math and science. Since I’m also self-employed I’ve enjoyed the flexibility to work from home frequently and provided support as needed for all subjects during the day when I’ve been available or when home after work.

I don’t know of many dads that are the “primary” educator for their children in homeschool efforts. Much of what I see are dads that are supportive from the effort through their role as provider for the family and working hard to allow their wife to stay home and provide the homeschool education. As we have become more involved in the homeschool community around as well I see more and more dads that are actively engaged in the process, even though they may not be the “primary” educator in the home.

Being Welcomed in a Mom Dominated Community

I would say I haven’t felt unwelcome by women in homeschooling by any means. I believe there is too much of an absence of fathers being actively engaged in the effort, so this provides both a general discomfort when there is a man involved in a group primarily dominated by women. However, I also see an excitement from many of those same women to see a husband and father actively engaged in that family support of the wife.

The biggest issue I see is just a division of effort and a feeling of being alone by both husband and wife. Homeschooling (along with just about every other effort as a family) has got to be a team effort between the husband and wife. The husband and wife won’t necessarily perform the same roles and tasks, but they should be in agreement of the end goals and strategies being implemented in the home. The classic issues between male and female relationships will creep into the homeschooling effort as well if there’s not that agreement. As I heard recently, the end of communication is the beginning of resentment in a relationship. I believe this is very much true if parents aren’t on the same page. I very much support the “traditional” home model of a man working to provide for the family and the wife staying home to take care of the family. However, I don’t believe it’s a must. Each family can establish that environment for what works best for them. But, in any scenario, I believe both roles need to be equipped and willing to handle the tasks needed: working for income, laundry, cooking, dishes, cleaning, taking care of the kids, etc., etc.

Different Educational Expectations

I think that men in general are more willing to take risks and allow failure to happen as a method for teaching. Not to say men should be insensitive, but I believe that’s how a man and a wife balance things for each other. I believe women can get too caught up in the emotions surrounding the success or failure of their children and may over-compensate in one way or another to offset those feelings. In our household I know my wife worries about how our kids are measuring up to other kids their age and their knowledge at the time. I’m concerned with that as well, but I look at the larger picture and ask myself, “Are they learning?” Even if it’s on their own pace and engagement level, are they further along today, than they were yesterday. In the end, I’d rather I succeed at teaching my child how to learn, how to be disciplined and how to work hard to accomplish a task, rather than if they know all the specific details of the Pythagorean Theorem before they hit high school.

Be Involved. Period!

I don’t believe dads should be involved in homeschooling because they should be involved in homeschooling. I believe dad’s should be involved in homeschooling because dads should be involved in every facet of their family’s lives. Dad’s are important and need to be involved in spiritual matters, intellectual efforts, physical efforts, professional goals, personal relationships, inner workings of the home, etc. I don’t believe a father’s involvement in homeschooling is any more important because there are sons in the family than they should be if there were only daughters. Dads are important! Period. A dad is just as important to the development of his daughter as he is to the development of his son. It’s just different. If they’re not there, including not being physically there but not involved, there is a loss in the family and a gap that has to be filled. If that gap isn’t filled by a father, it WILL be filled by something else. Many times that “filler” isn’t what we’d really prefer it to be.