“You do what?” “How do you do it?” “I could never do that!” These are just some of the questions and comments that I have heard over the last five years of homeschooling my boys. While many homeschool moms hear similar things quite often, there seems to be even more doubt or hesitation when they are addressed to me, a stay-at-home, homeschooling dad.
Finding Solidarity as a Homeschool Dad
When I first started homeschooling my boys, I searched extensively on the Internet and Facebook for other men who shared my new profession. There are plenty of stay-at-home dad groups to help us fathers who stay at home with our children, while our significant other, the breadwinner for the family, is at work. But I was going to be more than just “daddy daycare”—I was going to endeavor to homeschool.
The task was daunting, and the support was very hard to find. I did stumble upon a couple of Facebook pages and actually started one myself, but most of what I found focused on the dad being either a support for his wife or being the “principal” of the homeschool. It can still be very difficult to overcome the gender stereotype that has been prevalent in our society. I still find that many people want to look at me as if I am somehow not “fulfilling” my role as a husband and father, that I have somehow slipped through the cracks and that this is some kind of scheme to keep from working, which any homeschool parent will tell you is as far from the truth as you can get, as homeschooling is a full-time job, in and of itself.
The Decision to Homeschool
I was actually paid a nice salary in a supervisory job during the last six years I worked, and I have an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degree, not to mention numerous certificates and diplomas. So it is not for lack of education or drive that I do what I do, but quite the opposite; it is out of a love for my children and a desire to see them not only succeed in the future, but to thrive and be the best person that God has called each of them to be.
When my oldest was finishing preschool and my youngest was only two, both my wife (a charge nurse at our local hospital) and I were working full-time. We had a wonderful nanny for our children, who came to our home to care for our boys. It was a perfect setup; however, one particular morning, I received a text that our nanny would no longer be able to watch the boys due to a severe medical condition that had a very sudden onset. We were stuck, and dumbfounded about what to do.
Before kids, we had talked about homeschooling, but this seemed like a dream, because we “had to have both salaries.” Now we were faced with a decision: place our kids in daycare and public school, or figure out how to make it work so one of us could stay home. We began to pray hard and crunch numbers. Within the week, I had resigned from my job and walked into the great unknown of stay-at-home parenting, with the reality of homeschooling just around the corner. I really had no idea what I was doing, and am still figuring it out!
Following the Call Day by Day
I have learned to take things one day at a time, try to enjoy the moments I can spend with my boys, and look at all of the accomplishments we have made over the years. There are times I just sit back at the end of the day, when everyone is tucked into bed, and sigh, trying to figure it all out. Those are the moments I have learned to listen even more closely and intently to what God is saying and teaching me about myself, about my children, and about the world.
Most recently, my wife began working on weekends and has been able to stay home through the week and help by teaching our middle son. What a blessing this has been. I tell people all the time that one of the hardest, yet most important jobs you will ever have, is raising your children.
The Future is Bright
If you had asked me fifteen years ago, when I was graduating from college, where I would see myself today, homeschooling my children as a stay-at-home dad would not have even been on my radar; however, I wouldn’t trade it for the world! The important thing is to follow God’s leading as you lead your children.
It has been a most wonderful experience, and I look forward to continuing as long as God allows. I hope, one day, I will have the honor of handing all my boys their high school diplomas from Powers Academy. Being a stay-at-home, homeschooling dad has been a blessing that I wouldn’t want to trade for the world.
Copyright 2018, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms.