Sharing the Load

I’ve been on this homeschool gig for many years and I sometimes feel a bit inadequate teaching a given topic to my punks.  Maybe that’s just me.  Or… just maybe you sometimes feel the same way.  Thankfully, I don’t have to sail this homeschooling ship all by my onesies.  Savvy (to paraphrase Captain Jack Sparrow)?  I’ve found that many people are often willing to help with educational rabbit trails that come up, or fill supposed learning gaps I’m afraid might exist.

My greatest homeschool resource is my husband.  My middle little is very technologically minded.  I would describe myself as leaning a bit more technophobic.  Thankfully, Dad is often willing to answer questions I don’t know, or explain things in more detail than I have filed away into my overly crowded brain.  As the boys get older, I often direct them dad’s way for science questions.  Someday, they will know more math than I do and I will send them to him for that as well.

I generally like to call the times that he is intentionally educating them “Dad School.”  However, the many STEM projects have a special name.  We call that time gEEk school.  They love gEEk school.  It’s quality time with Dad.  It’s fun and often even *exciting*.  Dad has made many gadgets, including a vortex cannon, potato gun, various kinds of rocketry projects, things with batteries and wire.  If it’s exciting and my punks have done it, they probably made it with Dad!  In fact, he was invited to teach a class called Crazy Contraptions, which we all took part in.

Dad school isn’t all fun and games.  I wouldn’t want to be the only homeschool “bad guy!”  The boys have “helped” tinker with our cars when time, weather, and circumstances have allowed.  They’re learning lawn and garden care, and occasionally tag along with dad to work, where they see how “boring” engineering really is.  His employer does have a snack room though, which kind of makes up for that.

We also belong to a homeschool co-op.  Co-ops vary significantly in style, but the one we belong to meets every other week for about 4 hours of lessons.  The classes are ongoing for the full 17 weeks.  My punks have history, science, and sports opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have.  Moms and/or dads from each family share a wealth of their own knowledge (or learn along with the classes).

Dads and co-ops aren’t the only places we can look though.  There are so many people out there in our lives who often are happy to share their knowledge with our children.  Whether they spend a single session with someone, or have a recurring lesson, it can all be valuable learning.  Grandparents are a wealth of information about history in general and family history specifically.  I wish I had spent more time learning from my grandmother when I was a teen.  She made amazing bread and was very crafty.  Encourage your kiddos to “interview” Grandpa.  Neighbors might be willing to garden with your family for a season, sharing the harvest with you.

Do you know a blacksmith, a Civil War re-enactor, a seamstress, or a carpenter?  Even a *gasp* public school teacher can nurture our children’s curiosity.  Ask them to share their skills and knowledge with an interested child.  As homeschoolers, we have many unique opportunities.  Use the time you might have available to intentionally seek homeschool helpers.  You will ease your own load and provide someone else with a wonderful opportunity to get to personally know a homeschooler.

 A big thank you to Jodi G of Insane in the Mombrain for writing this article.

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