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Why Do Dads Resist Homeschooling?

Do you want to homeschool, but don’t have the support of your husband? Do you currently homeschool but find your husband questions or finds fault with your methods?

I receive emails from moms who complain that their husbands are the roadblock between traditional schooling and home education. They understand that homeschool success depends on BOTH parents being on the same page and supportive of the decision to homeschool the children.

Fathers are typically more reluctant to consider homeschooling. It will help to lovingly discuss (with an open mind) Dad’s objections. In all likelihood, your husband has not read as much about homeschooling or talked to as many people as you have. While you may have resolved your concerns, some things that may come up for your husband are:

  • Socialization – How will your son get exposure to a wide range of people? How will your daughter learn to cope with negative peer pressure and influence, if she isn’t exposed to it on an on-going basis at school? How will your son learn to compete in life if he isn’t being judged and graded and compared to classmates on a continual basis?
  • College – Will your daughter be able to get into college as a homeschooler? Will homeschooling LIMIT your son’s chances of getting accepted to a competitive university someday?
  • Productivity – Many times fathers who work outside the home do not have the advantage of seeing what their homeschooled children do on a daily basis or evaluating it in a meaningful way. There may be no barometers for success like there are in school – no daily assignments or homework that they can review and or help with, no grades, no teacher comments, no ways to compare what their kids are doing to what other kids are doing. Dads may fear their kids aren’t doing enough – because they don’t necessarily have anything tangible to “prove” their kids are learning what they are “supposed” to be learning according to traditional standards and expectations. Dad may worry that his children are not “covering it all” – and that they will be at a disadvantage when it comes time for college admissions (if that’s the goal).
  • Sports – Dads often want their sons to have the male bonding experience of team sports. They may want both of their children to experience sports competitions. They may see it as building skill in competing in business one day. Will homeschooling prevent their child from having sports opportunities?
  • Fear of Losing Your Time and Attention – Sometimes Dad feels put on the back burner and left out of the homeschooling loop. Mom is having all the fun with the kids and as a result is bonding with them in deep, meaningful ways. This can cause Dad to question his role in the family and feel like he’s losing precious time and attention from the people he loves most.

Because Dads are usually not in the thick of the daily homeschooling, they do not get the opportunity to rethink the “school model” of education based on experience. As a result, they are often not on the same page as the rest of the family.

Dad’s definition of schooling continues to follow the traditional model based on his own experiences – which is not comparative to what his child is doing or learning in homeschooling. That can be scary – how can he relate to an experience he hasn’t had? How can he support it? Where is he needed? How can he be part of his son’s or daughter’s academic life – when it doesn’t look like any academic life he’s ever experienced or understands?

It may be easier to insist on sending his kids to school, than to rethink education and try to find a way to support and fit into a different way and lifestyle of learning.

These are some of the big concerns of Dads. So, if any of this resonates with your husband, then talk about it. Sometimes, just talking to other fathers who homeschool can really help allay fears. However, it requires a willingness to try to see a different perspective. You’ll find other homeschool fathers by attending homeschool park days and events.

Also, consider attending a homeschool conference with Dad. I’ll be a presenter at the California Homeschool Network’s EXPO in Ontario, California on July 31-August 2nd. The EXPO features a session called “Dads Can Too!” A diverse group of homeschool dads will talk about how they find creative ways to be actively involved with their children’s homeschooling. Listening and talking to other fathers who are PRO homeschooling may inspire your husband and help convince him that homeschooling is a healthy and viable option for your family.

Keep the homefires burning,

Diane Flynn Keith
Editor of Homefires & Author of Carschooling

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