Editor’s Note: This month, in honor of Father’s Day, we’re turning over our article spot to a homeschool dad! We hope you enjoy this series and that it sparks some great conversations in your home.
Gentlemen! (and ladies!) This is part deux of The Importance of the Homeschool Dad. I am humbled that enough of you cared to read part one and are here for more! Thank you, and welcome.
In part one, we discovered that fatherhood consists of more than financial provision for your family. We learned that we also need to provide for and protect their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. And I contend that homeschooling offers us unique opportunities to be able to do this well.
While walking through this, I will be referencing what I do at home with my family. This is by no means intended to convey that I have it all figured out, or that my way is the only right way. It is just what works for us in this moment, and will surely grow and evolve over time. Caveat two: give yourself grace. If all of this sounds overwhelming and too much to bite off, don’t let that stop you from just starting somewhere. We’re so used to instant results, but this is a slow burn that will pay dividends long into the future. Finally, we also need to keep in mind that all provision is from God. As fathers, we have the opportunity (read: duty) to impart that provision through us and into our family. With all that in mind, let’s get into the weeds.
We aren’t going to spend a whole lot of time looking at financial provision. My only thoughts are that we easily get consumed with providing for our current needs. And while today is important, we also need to take a long view of our finances. Rather than dreaming about being empty nesters and wintering in the Sunshine State, let’s consider our future grandchildren and how we can equip our children financially to help them be better parents.
Moving on, I’d like to tackle emotional and physical provision and protection. Homeschooling gives us the special ability to actually socialize our children. Anyone who has discussed homeschooling long enough is usually confronted with that well intentioned concern of how our kids will learn to “socialize” while not being in school. Like somehow throwing 20-30 emotionally ignorant kids into a room with one adult is the best way to learn how to socialize? Ha! Personally, I think introducing your kids to more concise interactions with other people (of all ages, not just their own) and being able to process any emotional challenges with them afterward is a far superior way to learn to socialize. But I’ll get off my soapbox and summarize this point by reaffirming that homeschooling affords us more time to process emotions and emotional growth, and to incorporate more physical activity into the daily rhythm.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, we need to look at fulfilling the spiritual needs of the fam. This one might also be the most difficult to adjust to. As I mentioned in Part One, we have been outsourcing spiritual growth and needs to our pastors for generations. We at Revival Lancaster believe the Bible clearly establishes the father’s role to include being the spiritual leader of the household (1 Corinthians, Ephesians, 1 Peter, etc). Does that mean Sunday morning sermons and youth group are worthless? Of course not! Nonetheless, it is the father’s job to ensure everyone is spiritually fed. There are many different elements you can include in your daily and weekly rhythms to do this, so I cannot list everything here. But I would encourage you to seek out resources on how to do this well. At a minimum, I would look to include worship, Bible reading, or prayer (or all three) into your daily (yes, daily!) family schedule. I know, that sounds daunting. But. Just. Start. Somewhere. When I first attempted this, I tried it in the evenings after dinner. That failed miserably. I am fortunate enough to have a job with a flexible start time, so we moved this time up to the morning while everyone is eating breakfast. This has worked really well for us. We call our time Morning Midrash where we spend 10-15 minutes reading a passage of Scripture (we’re reading through Luke and Acts), discuss it, sing a hymn, and pray. This has quickly become a favorite part of the morning, and we have been able to be very consistent. My other suggestion, and something that I am personally still trying to figure out, is adding a day of family rest into the weekly rhythm. I am finding that this period is critical to everyone’s wellbeing.
Again, I want to stress that the intent of this article is not to add stress to your life or even to be a guide on what to do. Rather, my goal is to simply get the gears turning in your head and to reexamine what fatherhood can look like. Culture has done a terrible job modeling fatherhood (even in the church), and it is time for change! Your grandkids will thank you. Thanks for reading!
Brent is married to his elementary-school-sweetheart, Kyrie, and is the father to an ever expanding number of children through foster care, adoption + the good ‘ol fashioned way. He fancies reading Tolkien + C.S. Lewis, learning about the Bible + riding his scooter to take out the trash. When he’s not climbing a tree with his kids, you can find him helping with math or facilitating their morning midrash discussions and dreaming up ideas for their family’s ministry, Revival Lancaster.