Recently I was honored for homeschooling our four sons. While it is an honor and a privilege to be able to homeschool, and it is nice to be recognized, I have to say, that in my case, homeschooling has everything to do with my husband.
I put (Our) in the title because I realize that every homeschooling family is different. Truth is not variable, though homeschooling, delightfully, can be. As many changes as we have been through over the twenty-six-plus years we have been doing this, one strong constant has remained--Dad.
When I think of what makes our homeschooling even possible, it all begins with him. He is the one who has been completely supportive of the idea from the start, when we figured out that public school was not working for us. Being open-minded was not a challenge for him. Many dads have to work their way around to the idea, which is fine, but Ron has a lovely penchant for going off the beaten path. Sometimes this leads to a bad case of poison ivy, but at other times it leads to much better places, and wonderful hidden realms.
Ron is a fearless type who loves adventure--and not alone, but is always anxious to bring his family with. Actually, if he were the one doing most of the schooling, I think the boys would be better off. But alas, somebody around here has to make a living for us, and he has dutifully headed off each day, all of these days, all of these years, so that I could stay home and "school" the boys.
Not that I believe for a second that what we do during "school" hours is the whole job of education. Ron spends his free time lavishly on the kids (and me). When the boys were little, after he would come home from work, Ron could most often be found down on the floor playing right alongside them. It didn't matter what, though he taught them all about knights, and army men, and other favorites from his own childhood. He would also read to them many nights, and has shared with his sons many of his favorite books and authors, usually beginning with Tolkien.
Other hugely important learning takes place with our boys when Dad is around, teaching them how to garden, to fish, to fix things around the house, and general maintenance of everything from washing the car to taking care of the dog. Every Saturday morning since I can remember, Ron has been making pancakes with the boys. It's not just teaching them cooking, but also the simple joy of family life. Even if he's yelling at them (which sometimes happens if the bacon is getting burnt or something) it is cementing them together as comrades. They know they have great value in their father's eyes.
It doesn't end with just us, either. Ron is very mindful that we need to reach out to others. He is the driving force behind the boys learning service. He courageously leads the singing when we visit retirement centers, not that he even really knows how to sing. He also jumps in with both feet when adult leaders are needed in various kid's programs, and can regularly be found coaching. He does these things with such an attitude of selflessness that it is baffling to me. That he is modeling this to my sons is worth much more than gold.
Obviously, I could go on for days about all the ways in which my husband is an amazing father. But back to the subject at hand. To me, homeschooling oftentimes puts the focus on the mother--as normally she is the one handling much of it. The truth about our homeschooling is that it is really the dad who makes it any kind of a success. Without my husband's support, the kids would run me ragged. He backs me up, encourages me, listens to me. He helps. He gives me a break. He supplements where I lack. He does the chemistry! He even sometimes picks up tacos on the way home for dinner. Whatever it is I need, he does it.