I remember when my wife first approached me about homeschooling our kids. “Home school WHO?!” That was my initial reaction which at the time seemed outrageous, unthinkable, absurd! My wife was asking me to literally disregard everything that I was raised to believe me in. Good grades? Check! Perfect attendance? Check! Listen and follow directions at school? Check! Make friends? Check! That was my basic model of what school was growing up. The idea of having full responsibility of my children education was somewhat scary and uncommon. (I mean; I can’t blame the school system if they fail…right?). After much discussion I turned and said to my wife “I don’t know, let me think about it” But I did know, just didn’t want to disappoint my wife.
A week passed and my initial thought had not changed. I was against it. My wife (surprise as ever), was mad, upset, confused as to why I had decided on that. You see, my wife had been following the news lately. She’d become concern about school bullying, school shootings and the overall public school education and that prompted her to adopt the idea of “homeschooling”. I, on the other, stayed closed minded, but mostly scared of the unknown. “Did you look into homeschooling like we agreed at least?” She asked. “I did.” I responded. I mean, I technically did. I browsed through the material she gave me, I sort of watched the video links she forwarded me and talked to friends about it. But I had made up my mind since I first heard the word “homeschooling” and the idea of it. Not for me. But my wife had planted a bug in my head. Homeschooling was now part of my vocabulary and embedded deep in my brain. We can’t home school! I’m not a teacher! How can I properly teach? How are they going to make friends!!? I repeatedly asked myself these questions throughout the next month. I was conflicted.
I remembered sitting in the front row of my daughters 4th grade awards and ceremony celebration. Both my daughters, stunning as ever, were waiting patiently to be called on to received their end of year accomplishments. One by one they were called on as they were handed their certificates of completion. “Good job girls, I am so proud of you all!” I said. But their response was empty and sad. “Thanks dad…” they said. You see, my daughters had become unmotivated and discourage lately and had begun to accept the fact that, (in their mind), they were just average. They weren’t honor students, they didn’t have perfect attendance (my fault) and they repeatedly stated that “I’m not good at math” I will never forget their despair look on their faces as we walked out of the school building. Have we failed as parents? How do we turn this around? Lurking in the back of my head was the word “homeschooling” again, so I began to look into it again. My fatherly instincts began to crawled on me like spiders. Protect I shall! I said to myself. But the more and more I looked, the more and more I began to realized that I had failed as a parent. Simultaneously however, I had also discovered how I could turn this around.
Homeschooling now for some time and after talking to several dads, I realized that I wasn’t alone as a father. We think manly and are mostly settled in our ideologies of our kids become the next great thing. (and what dad wouldn’t). We think highly of our kids. She is going to be the first female president! My son will be the next LeBron James! Noble prize, meet my son and daughter! We say these things to ourselves and others constantly. But as a dad/father, what are we really doing to help them? You see, what I realized after really looking into homeschool is that everyone is scare of the unknown, but, dads are more frighten than moms. We are supposed to protect them, we are the wall that people have to get through in order to get to them. We can’t change or meddle with their life’s, especially if all we’ve known growing up did not failed us. Why change what’s not broken? right?
I wrote this series blog because I sought help as a dad once but there wasn’t much. (and come dads, we don’t ask for help anyways, right?). I am writing this series with the intention to help lost dads who are thinking about homeschooling or juggling with the idea or maybe to enlighten someone. I hope to share my experiences and how I decided on homeschooling all 4 of my kids. This is the Journey of me, The Homeschool Dad.
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The journey begins…
One of my very first encounters with homeschool is the amount of backlash and stereotype that the word homeschool receives. I want to know who started this stereotype that homeschool kids are weirdos so I can go have a word with him/her 😅. This was probably the #1 reason that I often questioned myself at the beginning if what we were doing was right. I wrote a story about how meeting and carrying yourself as a homeschool parent is often misunderstood (read it here). But this is not that story. This is a more personal and deep analysis of how, as a dad, I often wanted to bailed. It’s was like driving in the highway and everyone keep honking at you screaming “turn back”, “wrong way”. As a protector of this family, a guardian, it was extremely difficult to continue forward. I remember been often interrogated about how what I was doing was not right. I found myself defending my position to strangers, coworkers and even family members. My wife would often encourage me to not listen to comments or criticism and just “brush it off”. But it wasn’t easy, man are born to protect by nature, it’s in us, it’s our job…