Not all homeschoolers have family members who are willing or able to share the responsibilities of homeschooling, but for those of us that do, there are many creative ways to outsource a portion of your teaching responsibilities to another family member.
Family devotions are a great place for dads to get involved. Breakfast and bedtime are opportune times for this. Some ideas include reading a few verses of Scripture and discussing; practicing a memory verse or a hymn together; talking about what you learned at church that week; or using a formal Bible curriculum. Remember short and sweet is often best. If you do ten to fifteen minutes most days of the week, you can cover a lot of ground over the course of a whole year.
Review & Memory Work
Saving some drill or memorization to do with Dad once he gets home from work can be a welcome change of pace for the whole family. Whether it’s math facts, sight words, spelling or vocabulary lists, or prepping for a test, Dads are often great at thinking of fun ways to practice rote facts. My husband invented a “Mountain Climber” game to review sight words with our son – he positioned our first grader at the bottom of our large flight of stairs and showed him a sight word card. If he read the word correctly, he could climb up one step. Our son looked forward to playing this “game” every day, and it was a simple, no-stress way for Dad to make a meaningful contribution to his learning.
Teach To Your Strengths
Invite Dad (or a grandparent) to teach a topic they are particularly passionate about. Maybe your husband has a passion for math or science. You could structure your weekly rhythm so that you teach language arts in the morning, and Dad teaches math in the evenings. Or Dad could do a weekly intensive in science on the weekend. If you are lucky enough to have a grandparent with an academic background who would like more quality time with your kids, create space in the schedule for them to share their expertise with your young student. This can be a great bonding opportunity.
Training in practical skills is something the younger generation sometimes lacks in our often age-segregated society. If you have a family member who is competent in a skill or trade, make time for them to pass this knowledge down to your children. Some examples could include basic home repairs, cooking, sewing, public speaking, basic first aid, how to fix a flat tire, or how to budget. Even skills like how to read a map or how to survive without electricity are quickly growing obsolete, but are valuable to know when the need arises.
Many homeschool moms are ready to throw in the towel by the time bedtime rolls around, but this can be a great opportunity for another adult to step in and supplement the learning that has taken place during the day. Save some of your literature books for night time read-alouds, or pick a book that relates to a topic you are covering in science, math, geography or history.
Remember when collaborating with another adult, receive their help graciously. If you critique your teaching partner or offer unsolicited advice, their willingness to help probably won’t last long. A team approach works best when each person is free to explore their own teaching methods and interests. You may be pleasantly surprised by the creative ideas your teaching teammates come up with!