Posted by: chrisdavis | January 6, 2012

Reflections of a Homeschool Pioneer, Priority #2: Dad Should Not Be Principal of the Homeschool

Homeschooling is usually initiated by mothers. When Moms bring the idea to their husbands, Dads often respond, “Sure, honey, whatever you think.”

What Dads usually mean by this is, “I’m really busy bringing home the bacon. There is an entire industry out there to educate children. But, if you have time to do this and think you should, then go ahead…” We call this Dad supporting Mom’s homeschooling.

What is wrong with this? I will tell you: If Dad supports his wife’s homeschooling, Mom will eventually burn out.

What causes Moms to burn out is not the work of homeschooling, but the responsibility of making it work.

Men don’t understand that women can actually get physically ill when they feel totally responsible for how this homeschooling enterprise works out. That responsibility is simply not Mom’s to carry! Instead of Dad supporting Mom’s homeschooling, Mom should be supporting Dad’s homeschooling.

A few years ago, I was giving a homeschool seminar to a group of about 600 people. When I had finished speaking, I felt the Lord prompt me to give an alter call for healing. I was stunned! I had never even thought of giving an alter call during a homeschooling conference. “This isn’t the place for alter calls,” I thought.

But, I obeyed, telling the audience there might be a few ladies who needed healing for medical issues brought on by their particular homeschooling situation. I told them to come up front and I would pray for them. Then, I dismissed the rest.

Within moments, I was looking down at over 200 women who had come forth for healing! It was then I realized how serious this is.

What if Dad said something like this to the children, “Your Mom and I have decided to homeschool you kids. Since I work during the day, I have asked your Mom to do most of the teaching. Mom and I have discussed how we will do this. I have told Mom that she is not required to make you do what we have agreed should be done. All she has to do is tell you what the two of us have decided. She will not remind you several times and she will not raise her voice. You will make homeschooling easy for Mom. If you don’t, you and I will have a talk. And, we may even more than a talk.

Support is not the same thing as being responsible. If Dad only agrees that Mom should homeschool, what happens if things don’t work out? He can always say, “Yeah, I didn’t think it was such a good idea. But, you wanted to, so I agreed.”

However, if Dad is the homeschooling parent and Mom is his helper (meaning she may still do most of the teaching), all the weight of responsibility is lifted from her shoulders and she can simply follow through with what she and Dad have agreed needs to be done.

There is lots of flexibility in this arrangement, too. As time goes by, the kids can appeal for changes in routine and curricula and both parents can make whatever changes are necessary to make homeschooling flow more happily.

Mom is not carrying a burden. She is enjoying her time with the children and really enjoying Dad being responsible.

Dad, how about telling your wife, “Honey, instead of merely being a ‘figurehead Principal’, I am going to be the homeschooler around here. Will you help me?”
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  1. ‎”You will make homeschooling easy for Mom. If you don’t, you and I will have a talk. And, we may even more than a talk.”.

    It actually sounds like you’re putting the burden on the children ~ not mom or dad. If it’s not easy then it’s the children’s responsibility?

    “Honey, instead of merely being a ‘figurehead Principal’, I am going to be the homeschooler around here. Will you help me?”

    Yes, nothing helps me feel respected like my husband taking my job title, asking me to “help” him, & then walking out of the door for the day.

    There are plenty of times in this (now 8 year) journey that my husband has lovingly said, “Honey, I can give you my thoughts & opinions ~ but you are with the children all day, have better knowledge of their uniqueness, and I am confident in your choices.”

    Now THAT is showing respect.

  2. This is one of the problems with writing (and trying to make it short)! I think you are hearing something I am not saying…

    It is definitely awesome that your husband trusts you to make the child-rearing decisions. But, again, I think you misunderstood.

  3. Thank you so much for this! I just printed this out to share with my husband. Also, I will be forwarding the link to this article to all the homeschooling families I know. What a wonderful model of leadership for the home!

    • Thanks, Bridget. I have a chapter in my book titled “Mom, the Roaring Lion” which have a lot more to say about this topic. In this blog, I tried to shorten it and probably shortened it too much. CHRIS

  4. Chris,
    I googled you because I’m borrowing an old Elijah Company catalog from my sister and I love it, but am growing sadder as I read, knowing that I need to return it! Is there any way I could get an old copy of your catalog? The one I have is 2003-2004. Thank you so very much!

  5. What if mom comes to dad and dad doesn’t agree to home school? What if mom insist on doing it anyway such that the dad agrees in resignation denoting that he is not actually head of the household? What happens when mom does burn out? When the family is in divorce court because of her enmeshment with the children and the educational abuse and neglect that has ensued?

  6. Dear B7D: Is there a specific question here?

    • What if dad says no to homeschooling?

  7. Should we be training dads to really think about it and make sure that it is ok to say no to homeschooling?

  8. My emphasis is that parents be on the same page re: just about everything they consider important in raising their children. Some moms have prayed for some time before dad came to her same conviction. Why would either parent simply say “no” to something his/her spouse thinks important? What kind of marriage is that? Consider things together. Pray together. It really doesn’t matter what I think (or want). If I don’t care what God has to say, how am I going to make any decision that matters?

    • Because convictions can be self motivated as well as God motivated. Dads need the freedom to say this may not be a good idea.

  9. Yes, convictions can be. And, it may NOT be a good idea. The Bible doesn’t say, “Thou shalt homeschool”. However, it seems He can put both parents on the same page if they are mature enough in Him and respect one another.

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