8 Ways to Get Homeschool Dads Involved

Father helping daughter with homework
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First, I realize that many homeschool dads are the primary teaching parent and many others are actively involved in their family’s homeschools. I don’t want to fall into stereotypes. However, statistically in most homeschools, the mom is the primary teaching parent and Ways to Get the Non-Primary Teaching Parent Involved is a rather cumbersome title. So if you are a homeschool dad who is the primary teaching parent, please overlook the generalization and insert “mom” as needed.

If you’re a working parent who homeschools, you likely already split teaching duties with your spouse. However, for most single-income homeschooling families, one parent is the primary instructor and school takes place during the income earner's work day. If the latter describes your family, you and your spouse may be anxious for opportunities for him to play a more active role in your homeschool.

Try these eight ways to get homeschool dads involved.

1. Let him teach to his strengths.

I am 100% confident that my husband doesn’t want to come home and teach a grammar or writing lesson, but he can sometimes explain math concepts better than I can.

Many dads prefer hands-on activities to worksheets. This fact makes them a fantastic resource for leading science experiments or building things. When my kids were younger and in a music class, my husband had much more patience for making a paper-towel-tube-and-toothpick rain stick than I did, and building a dulcimer would have been a much more stressful experience if I had been in charge.

Consider your spouse’s strengths when encouraging him to become involved in your homeschool. Is he an excellent cook or a talented artist? Does he do amazing voices that would spice up read-aloud time? Perhaps he’s an enthusiastic history buff or a geography aficionado.

Invite him to take part in your homeschool in areas where his passions and skills will captivate and motivate your children.

2. Reserve teaching time.

Thanks to the incredible flexibility that homeschooling offers, you can arrange your schedule so that your spouse can be an active part of your homeschool at times that make sense for your family.

Some homeschooling families save science for the weekends so that Dad can lead the class. You may decide to save your read-aloud books until the evening when Dad can read them after dinner or as bedtime stories.  Don’t be afraid to think outside the usual 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday through Friday schedule when considering teaching times for your spouse.

3. Know that he will likely have a different approach.

Dads often have an entirely different teaching approach than moms. That’s okay! Don’t try to alter his style even if it’s not the way you’d teach the subject. Kids benefit from being exposed to a variety of teaching styles, and it’s very likely that your spouse’s approach will connect with them in a way that you wouldn’t be able to do. Let your husband teach his way and consider your teaching styles to be a complement to one another.

4. Let him be the tutor.

Some dads may not have the time or desire to take on the full instruction for a single subject or two. Instead, it may be more practical to enlist his help as a tutor for subjects at which he excels.

As I said, sometimes my husband is much better at explaining math concepts than I am.

When my kids completed a physical science course, there were a few experiments involving materials and concepts that were out of my area of expertise. I was happy to have my husband step in to help.

On the days we hit frustration level, I was always relieved when Dad came home and took over reading instruction for my struggling reader. Often, just having someone other than the parent you've been with all day is enough to reset a bad day for a homeschooled student.

5. Plan educational outings when he can attend.

Homeschool group activities and field trips most often take place during the day, making attendance difficult for homeschool dads working a traditional day shift job. Try to plan some events in the evenings so that your spouse (and the grandparents!) can attend.

Some suggestions for evening events include science or geography fairs, art shows, music recitals, and show-and-tell events where homeschooled students set up presentations highlighting what they’ve learned.

We also try to schedule some of our field trips on my husband’s day off so that he can attend, or he’ll request off to accompany us on particularly interesting outings.

6. Involve him in project-based learning.

If your spouse doesn’t have the time or inclination to teach specific subjects on a regular basis, engage him in project-based learning. Maybe he can’t teach the history and geography of ancient Greece, but he can help built the salt dough map or construct the set for the play your kids are writing and producing.

Perhaps he can teach wood shop or auto mechanics – or he may be a much more accomplished seamstress than you and would like to help with costume design for the period clothing your kids are making for their history project.

7. Involve him in the planning.

Many homeschool dads don’t offer much input on the day-to-day process of homeschooling because they aren’t asked. Get your spouse involved in planning. Invite him to accompany you to the curriculum fair and see what’s available. His perspective may lead you to consider curriculum choices that you wouldn’t have looked at on your own – and they may just be the perfect choices for your kids.

My husband accompanied me to a curriculum fair last year. Though it wasn’t his first choice for how to spend a Saturday, his input proved invaluable and saved me selecting what would have been a poor fitting science curriculum for one of our kids.

8. Look for teachable moments.

Getting your spouse more involved in your family's homeschool doesn't have to be structured and organized. As homeschooling parents, we all understand the value of creating a learning-rich environment and capitalizing on the teachable moments. Encourage your spouse to be on the lookout for those moments so that he can capitalize on them. 

Becoming more involved may be as simple as playing educational games with the kids in the evening or expounding on something they've learned with a relevant story or personal knowledge. 

No matter how your spouse chooses to be involved in your homeschool, his (or her) input will provide both relational and educational opportunities that will make the effort rewarding for your entire family.