The Dad’s Role
in a Relaxed Homeschool Setting
In my book, The Relaxed Home School: A Family Production, I lik- ened the homeschooling family to a theatrical production and referred
to the dad as the producer and the mom
as the director. As the producer, the dad
is ultimately in charge of the production
and is often able to see the bigger picture
best. He is not only typically in charge
of providing financial support, but also
emotional support to his wife.
There is nothing a dad can do that is
more important than demonstrating love
and respect for his wife. When I used to
provide yearly evaluations, most dads
were good about providing that needed
encouragement. However, sometimes
a dad would say things like, “Well, she
might be able to teach the kids up to sixth
grade, but she’s not capable of learning
algebra,” or “I don’t see how she can do
this, with everything else on her plate.”
You could just see the women shriveling
up inside as their husbands spoke dispar-
agingly of their ability to homeschool.
In a theatrical production, it is true
that the producer is ultimately in charge
of everything, but he must give a certain
degree of autonomy to his director in
order to have the production proceed.
Dads need to recognize that moms are
the ones at home most of the time with
the children, and they need to be given
the freedom to handle things on their
own during the hours dads are at work.
The basic formula for relaxed homeschooling is as follows:
• You are a family, not a school;
• You are a dad, not a principal;
• You are a mom, not a teacher;
• You have individual relationships with
your children, not a classroom.
This formula then frees you up to set
your own goals and work with each child
in the manner that works for him or her.
Along the way, it helps to gradually identify all the assumptions about learning
you have carried over from your own
days in school, gradually challenging
those assumptions and replacing them
with new ideas and new goals.
The reason I don’t like calling the dad
the “principal” of the school is simply
that it is not really a school! It is a family, and his proper role is typically head of
the household. The problem is that when
a dad calls himself the principal, even in
jest, the mother tends to start believing
Mary Hood, Ph.D.
There is nothing a dad can do that is more important than
demonstrating love and respect for his wife.