So you and your wife have decided to homeschool, eh? Congratulations! You’re on the most important journey you’ll ever take as a family. And now you’re wondering how you can help, right? You’re already working overtime to make ends meet. There aren’t enough hours in the day to complete the many commitments you already have at work, at home, at church and elsewhere. So how can you make the greatest impact on your family’s homeschool experience?
It’s so easy, most of us overlook it. It’s those first ten minutes when you walk in the door from work. Your wife has been mentoring, teaching, encouraging, disciplining, testing, grading and changing diapers all day long. She needs to know that you understand the sacrifice she’s made today. She needs you to not look at the pile of bills on the kitchen table, to not look at today’s scores on ESPN, to not look at what’s on the stove for dinner and to not look at the lawn that needs mowing. She needs you to look her directly in the eyes and ask her, “So tell me about your day, sweetheart.”
And then listen. That’s it. Just listen and maintain eye contact.
She doesn’t need you to fix every problem or necessarily do anything. She just needs five minutes to tell you about all that she did today, and then have you say, “I’m so very thankful that of all the people in the world who could be teaching our children, it’s you that’s making the difference every day.” She will light up like you’ve seldom seen her just to know you care about what she’s doing—and that you approve.
So that’s only five minutes, but I said ten minutes, right? Right!
Now go spend the other five minutes with your children. Ask them about their day. Ask to see the work they did today, the projects they worked on, the tests they took. Remember: Maintain eye contact! Just let them tell you about their day—the discoveries, the achievements, the frustrations and the disappointments. Just listen. And then say, “Wow! You did all that while daddy was at work today?! I am so very proud of you. Thank you for doing such great work today!”
Your job is hard. You get paid for doing it, and hopefully you get some recognition for what you do. Well, your wife’s and kids’ jobs are hard, too. And a little recognition and appreciation from you each day will make all the difference to them tomorrow—and every day.
Thanks for all you do to make homeschooling happen in your home.
By Steve Lambert
This article is reprinted with permission from HSLDA and the author.
“I love my father as the stars,” © 2009 Yvette T., used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/.