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A Reader Asks: How to Involve My Husband in Homeschooling?

By Lynn Hogan

Added Friday, June 24, 2005

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 6 No 25 June 24, 2005
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2000-2005 Lynn Hogan. All Rights Reserved.

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!
If you like this newsletter, recommend it to a friend!


Notes from Lynn:
-- Guest Article - Barbara Frank
-- What I Did On My Summer Vacation... School?
Helpful Hints
-- Free Bob Evans Lesson Plans
Question of the Week:
-- Help My Student Learn Numbers, etc.
Reader's Response
-- Involving My Husband in Our Homeschool


This week there are several new folks that came on board from
the bookfair in South Carolina I attended last weekend. By the
way, the folks at that bookfair were just wonderful, friendly
and helpful! It was great getting to meet so many new and not
so new homeschooling families. I hope you find this newsletter
to be helpful for you. Feel free to send your suggestions and
articles as you feel led. PS This issue is a little longer because
of all the great responses to the question of the week below.
Normally the issues are a much shorter, I promise!

For those of you long term subscribers, you might remember that
this is the guest author Friday. Once a month we have a guest
author take my place. Often the author is a homeschooling
parent who may or may not be a published author. I try and make
sure that the articles are informative and helpful. This
month's author is a published author named Barbara Frank.

I think you will find her article a great read!


What I Did On My Summer Vacation... School?

It will be summer before long; time to put away the books and
dig out the suntan lotion and the beach toys, right? Well,
maybe for you, it is. But for many homeschoolers, summer
vacation doesn't really exist.

When I first began homeschooling, we took the summers off. The
neighbor children were on vacation from public school and my
children wanted to play outside with them. That worked well for
a few years, but as the neighbor kids got older, they started
sleeping in until noon, so my children didn't have anyone to
play with until after lunch. Also, I came to realize that
taking the summer off of school meant that we did an awful lot
of review in September. It seemed like wasted time.

When you think about summer vacation, you realize that it's not
carved in stone. It's a habit we developed from all those years
we went to school. Back then, having the summer off was one of
our rights, a reward for spending the previous nine months
locked up in school---we would have staged a revolt if summer
vacation had been taken away from us.

But the truth is that it's just a tradition, and each of us
needs to think about whether it works for our homeschooling
family. My experience has been that some years it worked, and
some it didn't. We have tried different yearly schedules based
on our needs. It is so nice once you realize you have that

For example, when spring came one year I realized just how far
behind I was on house cleaning. (You've probably experienced how
homeschooling can take over your life, leaving your other
responsibilities neglected.) The window treatments were dusty,
the kitchen cabinets needed to be reorganized, the kids' winter
clothes were still taking up prime space in their dresser
drawers and closets.the list went on and on.

Every time I noticed one of these neglected areas, I felt guilty,
and overwhelmed by the thought of finding time to take care of
them. Each week was just too busy-there was no time. But it
was stressful noticing these things and not being able to do
anything about them.

Finally, I decided not to waste any more time that spring
wondering how I'd get those things done---as I noticed them, I
wrote them down and forgot about them until June, when I
assigned one task from the list to each Monday of the upcoming
summer. We took off school that summer, and after I
accomplished the assigned chore each Monday, I enjoyed the rest
of the week, happy that I'd done something that had long
bothered me. When fall arrived, my house was much cleaner and
we were rested and ready to start our schooling again

But that was just one year. There were other years when we did
school all summer. The kids slept in, spent the hot and humid
mid-days inside, doing school in air-conditioning, and went to
the pool or ran in the sprinkler in the afternoons. Come
September, we needed no review, and even took some time to go
on vacation, visiting areas in Wisconsin that had been crammed
with tourists during the summer, but were now quiet, with
bargain hotel rates to boot. September weather is always nice
there; we returned rested and happy.

Another year, we took off three weeks during May. We drove to
Florida to see the shuttle launch at Cape Canaveral, then
visited other areas of that beautiful state. There were no
crowds because the spring-break revelers had long-since gone
back home, as had the snowbirds. There was very little traffic,
and we found great off-season rates wherever we went. It was a
wonderful vacation.

We continue to keep a flexible yearly schedule, trying to go
with whatever works for us at that particular point in time.
For the past few years, we've been doing school four days a
week year-round, with a week off here and there and two at
Christmas. I use our Friday off as a catch-up day; since the
homeschool group we belong to does its field trips on Fridays,
we do occasionally have a five-day school week. We continue to
take off-season vacations, finding them to be low-stress and
low-cost. How long will we keep this schedule? As long as it

Once you realize that three months of summer vacation is just a
tradition, you can enjoy the freedom of looking at the year
differently. As your family grows and changes, you can arrange
the year so that it will work for whatever is going on in your
family at that time. If you have a baby in March, you can take
off April without guilt. If relatives are coming for a long-
awaited two-week visit in October, you can take that time off to
enjoy it with your loved ones. Some homeschoolers take off a
few weeks in May to put in their gardens; how about taking off
the month of December if you really like to bake, decorate and
celebrate the Christmas season? Let yourself break away from
the public school calendar you were raised with, and you'll
find all sorts of interesting possibilities arise.

Copyright 2005 Barbara Frank

Barbara Frank is the mother of four homeschooled-from-birth
children ages 12-21, a freelance writer/editor, and the author
of "Life Prep for Homeschooled Teenagers." To visit her Web
site, "The Imperfect Homeschooler," go to






I haven't had a chance to use these lesson plans myself yet but
have heard positive reviews about them! - Martha


I have a son who is struggling to remember, his numbers, shapes
etc. He turns 6 in September and still cannot correctly name a
circle for instance when he sees one, let alone his numbers. I am
so concerned and have no idea how to continue. I have 2 older
sons who were fine and so am panicky now as this is very
overwhelming for myself and my son. - Terri


NOTE: my publication of these responses does not necessarily
mean that I endorse a product or an activity. You make your own
decisions about how these responses might work in YOUR school!

How can I get my husband more involved? He thinks we should be
done by a certain date "or else it's off to public school.

When we (okay, I) first decided to homeschool, my husband was
opposed to it. It wasn't long before he was 100% behind it.
Part of the reason for his change of mind was because as a
minister, he counseled a lot of the public schooled teens who
had bad things happen to them at school, but another reason was
I involved him in the teaching. He is better at math and
science than I, so he taught those subjects. I also gave him
Bible. And any time I went to support groups or field trips, I
asked him to come. Maybe if you ask him to do some of these
things he will become more involved.- Rebecca

To our dear sister who struggles with a husband who is not
involved in a positive way, I would first of all say that my
heart goes out to you. I longed to write you when your
question first came out, but because my own husband is very
much involved and helps me a great deal, I thought someone who
has overcome this problem would be better equipped to help you
than I. Perhaps that is still true, but I do have one resource
to recommend to you. Check out "Familyman Ministries" at
http://www.familymanweb.com Todd Wilson offers
encouragement and practical advice to both husbands and wives,
but he does it within a context of humor and with humility (he
admits he struggles with the same things we all do). I
especially recommend his book "Homeschooling but Still Married"
for wives. Your husband might enjoy receiving Todd's weekly e-
mails for dads. They are non-threatening, very entertaining,
but contain a nugget of wisdom. I wish you blessings and peace.
- Mary Beth

In response to the woman who asks how to get her husband more
involved, I would suggest taking him with you to your state's
Homeschool convention. The speakers and vendors exhibits are
sure to expand his ideas to a much larger picture of what
homeschooling really is. If you can't make it this year, try
going online to see if you can order recordings of some of the
sessions to listen to together.

As for the rest of the year, perhaps some things your husband
already does has been overlooked by you: does he play sports
with them, or take them along to work sometimes? Does he show
you son how to mow the lawn or check the air in a tire? Not all
learning comes from books.

I know we all want our husbands to see and appreciate the work
we put into schooling during the day, but they seldom think to
ask us. They have delegated our children's education to us and
trust we are doing well. If you would like him to see what you
have been working on lately, why not schedule a family
presentation night? The children can all display some skill,
such as reading or reciting a poem, read a short report, play
their instrument, or display their art portfolio. The
possibilities are endless. Just keep it short and simple so it
is enjoyed by all, and shoot for once a month.- Suzanne

One thing that has helped my husband be more involved is a new
tradition we've recently begun. We call it our monthly "school
board meeting" and the whole family gathers around the table
the first Monday of the month after dinner. I review what we've
done, the kids show off activities they've enjoyed, and we talk
about what we liked and didn't, as well as what is coming up.
It's also quite rewarding and encouraging to pile up the books
we've read the previous month!

The whole thing doesn't take long, but it really helps the kids
feel like their voices are heard, helps my husband keep up with
what we're doing and where we're heading, and gives me both a
time for quick assessment and a reason to make sure I'm looking

My husband is enthusiastic about our homeschooling, but I wonder
if the approach might help in your situation, too. I wouldn't
require or pressure him about being involved, but schedule the
"meeting" when he will be there. Maybe some of the kids' and
your enthusiasm will rub off on him? The trick would be to keep
a positive attitude, even if he's not really involved or paying
attention ... hey, like my 3 year-old! The same kid who *does*
absorb things, even if you can't tell it at the time.

Even without an official meeting time, maybe just hanging recent
work on the refrigerator, encouraging the kids to share some
neat book or new discovery at dinner, etc. will eventually grab
your husband's interest.

The only other thing I can think of is whether your husband is
getting good vibes from you and your kids. Is he seeing you be
enthusiastic, or does he see you worried about schooling? Does
he see you smiling and having fun with the kids, or does it
seem to him a burden for you? It's hard to be enthusiastic from
the sidelines when the coach is drooping! Maybe that doesn't
apply, but I thought it might be worth a mention.- Dianna

I can tell you from personal experience
that sometimes husbands can be so busy and stressed from their
own work environments that everything at home looks like
another task that needs to be done. Although my DH is very
supportive of our homeschool, I don't expect him to ask how
things are going. Instead, I plan evenings where we have a
theme dinner from what we've been studying. The children not
only help on the preparations but they are also asked by me to
share their projects and work with their dad. They really look
forward to doing this and it let's their father know what they
have been working on. I also tell my DH what's going on in the
school, schedules, upcoming field trips, etc. so he has some
idea of the work going on. I also illicit his input and if he
doesn't have any, I move on and try not to dwell on it. Seek
the support of a local homeschool group for encouragement
because unfortunately there are other moms going through the
same thing. One eye-opener for my DH was attending our state's
homeschool convention. He didn't realize how many dads attend
this type of thing and are involved....and he came back with a
renewed interest and desire to keep the homeschool fires
burning. It is now one of the highlights of his year. I hope
this helps.- Karen

My husband is JUST LIKE this woman's husband. While he will
never be as involved as some fathers (he's not a natural
teacher), his interest has been piqued by our putting on a
"recital" for him. Each child prepares a song, skit or some
other individual project and they all learn a poem to recite.
Since my husband is big on patriotism, we include something
along those lines (The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, for
example) and he's hooked. He shows more interest in what the
kids are learning when we go out of our way to present it to
him. Perhaps this might help. - Janet

We have homeschooled since October, 2002. We pulled our two
older kids out of public school to do it, while the two younger
kids have never been to school. When I approached my husband
initially about homeschooling, his response was that since I
always handled the "school stuff", it was my decision. Now
that we homeschool, he has a lot of trouble wrapping his brain
around homeschooling and our method, which is mainly
unschooling. He always asks what the kids have "done" or what
grade they're in. Try to stay calm and remember this is about
your HUSBAND, not you. Perhaps you could convince him to attend
a homeschool support group meeting or conference with you? Mine
recently came to our support groups annual general meeting,
where he, as a member with the rest of the family, voted on the
new board and got to see the business end of things. He looked
at the financial statement and heard about some of the concerns,
etc, and he got interested in that end of it. He is also strong
in math, where I am more of an English-type person, so he
drills the kids in their multiplication tables now and then, or
spends some time teaching them a new concept. The day-to-day-
stuff of our "schooling" is basically a mystery to him, and he
likes it that way, but he is slowly coming around to trying to
understand what we do. - Wendy

Because my husband is not as gung-ho about homeschooling as I am,
he also expresses his concern about the kids' progress the same
way yours does. Any little thing makes him (sometimes) wonder
aloud if they need to go back to public school. However, when
they were in school he wasn't very involved anyways. The way I
deal with this is whenever our quarterly reports are due, I
print an extra copy to give to him (kind of like a report card).
I say if he wants to know more about anything, just ask. He
never does, but at least I know I tried. I also just tell him
periodically whenever I think it would interest him what we've
been doing and how I'm dealing with a particular subject, and I
say what the kids are working on at various points. I don't
wait for him to ask. Maybe just the effort to share with him
will show him that you are on top of the situation and he
doesn't need to worry that they need to go back to public
school. We are finishing our third year of homeschooling and
all is well so far. My boys are 11 and 13. - Nicki

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