Today's post is written by a dad for other dads. Cade Newman and his wife, Joy, have three kids: Eli (Intermediate), Abraham (Kindergarten), and Esther (age 4). This is their family's fourth year at SLOCA. Cade also currently serves on the Board of Directors.
Each week our wives diligently read the grid, prepare and teach each lesson to our (numerous?) kids, and at the end of their long day, we come home, a knight in shining armor, and get to be the “fun” parent. Dad. The one who hasn’t had to set and enforce boundaries all day. The one who gets to play catch in the front yard, help out with the model airplane, or paint fingernails and toenails her favorite shade of pink. Not red, but pink.
We get to help with the home projects, building axes and shields, take them to baseball or ballet, read great stories before bedtime – any number of “fun” dad activities.
Many of us probably feel as if we don’t contribute much to the schooling of our children. We want to do more, but aren’t sure how to get involved, or simply don’t have the time to teach -- Formally. But spending time with our kids, the informal, daily “lessons” is teaching. While we’re playing catch or playing house, we also get a chance to model manhood, including a curiosity about learning. We can also model the integrity being taught by their teachers, our wives, and the great historical and fictional characters they find in literature.
In addition to projects and play, there are more practical ways we can be involved. Below is a list. I’m not suggesting you do all of these; I certainly don’t. Pick two and go from there.
· Take on home projects
· Journal with your children
· Do an art project once a week
· Read the updates and stay informed
· Demonstrate how the math concept learned during the day is
used in your job
· Read the history and literature to know what they’re learning
and be able to engage
· Volunteer at school when possible
· Build something together (sure to measure, work with fractions, use right angles, etc.)
· Drop off or pick up
· Dress up for History Day
· Read progress reports and look at work samples from time to time, and comment to your child
· Read the literature books and lead dinner table conversation about the choices characters make
· Tell mom she is a fabulous teacher!
· Familiarize yourself with the grid and the basics of how school usually works in your house so you can step in if necessary
· Join the soon-to-be-formed Dad’s Book Club (Amusing Ourselves to Death)
Each of us needs to find our place in this endeavor. It will look different in every household, but regardless of your approach, it will allow you to come closer as a family as you learn together.
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