My Dad, My Teacher

Dad helps Josh set up an electric train modelKids go with their Dad to a muddy cattle yards

Does Dad teach in your homeschool?

Most dads have some sort of employment during the day and it isn’t always possible for him to be consistently involved in the “lessons” part of the day. Early on in our homeschool journey I would jump on the opportunity of Pete being home and ask him to do a lesson on a particular science topic; science being his thing. Though I felt it was more than in his ability to talk to the children about “Flight” for example, it put tremendous pressure on him. I didn’t understand this.

One of the changes that has happened in our family understanding of homeschooling is that our focus has shifted from lessons from books to lessons from heart, to building relationships. This has helped so much especially when it comes to Peter being involved. In the beginning when I asked him to take a lesson, though I was expecting him to teach from his knowledge and passion, he still saw it as a school lesson and he didn’t have time to prepare a lesson (to be fair to him, it must be noticed that I actually asked him to teach a lesson, so it is no wonder this is what he thought I meant! Our language has an immense bearing on us). Once we shifted our own education paradigms this no longer was an issue. He was free to be who he was, with his own unique take on the world and pass it onto his children.

What are the skills and knowledge that dad has?
His career, his hobbies, his passions?

Though our children don’t go out to work with their dad often there are many opportunities where Pete can invite the kids into his world. Such as the times he brings home animal samples to be sent onto the Vet. Pathology Lab - a brain, an eye, a liver etc. As he prepares for a training workshop he has a model showing bone structure around the reproduction area of a cow. Fascinating!! The kids love it when he pulls out his microscope and shows them many wonderful things in our micro-world. Occasionally they do get to go out on the job with him - they have had the opportunity to work in the cattle yards with him, watch as he carries out operations or pull a horse’s tooth.

What are Pete’s hobbies? Unfortunately he doesn’t take much time for hobbies at the moment but he does squeeze in a bit of gardening and building, especially during the Wet Season. These few months becomes a season when spending time with Dad takes a precedence over any academic study that we have planned. While in the shed the boys, in particular, are learning to use tools to build and maintain our home and other possessions , measuring, recycling materials, painting.

In the garden the kids have learnt to operate machinery, to measure, to build, to prune, to take initiative, to follow sequences, to be innovative and resourceful.

As for Pete’s passions - God and God’s people. He certainly doesn’t need to prepare lessons to pass on his love for his God to his children. An extension of this love for God is Peter’s desire to see kingdom principles taken hold of in people’s lives. He sees history and world events through the principles God sets out in His Word. As Peter talks to the children about these things, he is teaching principles and modeling the central place God has in his own life.

Can you see the variety that they are learning from their Dad? He is not only passing on his knowledge of the animal world, because he is a Vet, he is showing them how to relate to people, how to hold to his integrity in the business world, how to manage his time, how to care for animals, how to persevere on a tough job, but most of all, how to always be first a child of God.

As they spend time with him he becomes their mentor, their teacher. As we have learnt, it doesn’t have to be structured lessons following a curriculum or planned lesson. What is needed though, is time, a focused mind, and a heart for their children.

Live life with your kids!

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