Homeschool Dad Lesson: It’s Okay To Struggle


Homeschool dad…that was something I never would have imagined as being one of my roles. Yet, over the past 8 months I have embraced it and am really glad that I can be called a homeschool dad.   It has been great to be so involved in the teaching and training of my children, and to model the skills they are to master.  Equally great are the lessons that I am learning and/or relearning.  Not just the grammar and basics, but the life lessons that will be valuable today and 20 years from now.  One of the biggest lessons I am learning, while at the same time modeling for my daughter, is “it’s okay to struggle.

“It’s okay to struggle.  Some of the best teaching moments come when the parent and the tutor just don’t know the answers.”

The above quote comes from the guide that we follow for our Classical Conversations curriculum.  Some of the skills I am teaching I never mastered in school or at least have lost some of the skill over the years due to a lack of use.  Due to that there are many times when I just don’t know the answer.  That was one of my major concerns when considering homeschooling.  Yet, as we’ve progressed through the year those moments are now becoming the most valuable.  Listed below are 3 reasons why they have become so valuable.

Even Dad doesn’t know it all…and it’s okay if you don’t either.

This is kind of an inside conversation in our household.  When my kids ask me “how did/do you know that?” my response is always, “I’m a dad…dads know everything” (with a serious face).  I actually think they believe that until each of them turn 4 or 5.  On the serious side when we began homeschooling I noticed my daughter, Jaicey, really had a tough time when she didn’t know an answer, couldn’t do something, or did not understand.  Sometimes almost to the point of tears.  She came from traditional school where she was a straight A student in the gifted and talented program, so not knowing an answer was a problem for her.  The more we encountered problems that neither of us had the answer to, the more she realized it was okay, and the stress and frustration levels begin to dwindle.  How she handled it began to change, which leads to the next reason…

Have a positive attitude when facing challenges

What I noticed most when Jaicey faced these challenges was her attitude changed drastically from good to bad.  It was almost night and day.  The first few times it happened, I have to admit my attitude almost took a turn for the worst.  My poor “dad feelings” were hurt.  🙂  So, first things first, I had to make sure the attitude I had was something that helped, not hurt, the situation.  What we practiced was taking a short break.  Getting way from the situation if even just for a few seconds, is helpful.  I also modeled a positive attitude by the way I reacted when I didn’t know the answers.  I was okay with not understanding, and my attitude stayed positive because I knew that over time I could figure it out or find someone who could.  Leading to the next reason…

Model problem solving skills for school and life

When I come across something I don’t know or understand I do a few things.  I take note of the question/problem, and if it is visual I take a picture and save the note (in Evernote).  Then I move onto the next problem.  Sometime later, the next day or even week, when I can think, I ask someone and/or search for the answers.  I will admit some of the questions/problems I am still trying to solve, and some of them Jaicey has figured out before me.  That has been humbling yet rewarding because I want her to be better than me.  The value comes from me modeling the behavior and steps she can take to solve school and/or life problems.  I get value by practicing what I preach and she gets value from having the opportunity to see and practice what I preach.

These are great life lessons that everyone can benefit from.  There aren’t any of us that know everything, have mastered every skill, or don’t face challenges.  When we come against these things we can all accept that it is okay, knowing that we are fully capable of solving the problem and/or mastering the skill over time.

Question: What lesson have you learned from parenting or homeschooling that you think others can benefit from?

Feb 24, 2012