A Father's Heart Title
Todd Wilson
What It Means for a Homeschool Dad to Lead his Family Well
When you’re writing an article about men leading their families well, there really are two distinct audiences: moms, who make up the vast majority of readers, and dads, who occasionally get roped into reading the article by their overly zealous wives.

In light of that truth, I’ve written two articles for two audiences.

(Mom Version)
Fifteen years ago I wrote the homeschool classic, Help, I’m Married to a Homeschooling Mom. It was thin, easy to read, and filled with cartoons. In short, it was the perfect male book. At the time I was a young dad with a bunch of young children.

It all seemed pretty straightforward back then. I challenged husbands on a dozen needs that their wives had. All they needed to do was encourage, listen, and flex their muscles every once in a while.

Oh, the truth is still pretty straightforward, but exhaustion and a few years under your belt makes even those simple needs that I put forth seem pretty hard sometimes.

So here’s my message to all you moms who are reading this: Cut your husband some slack. That’s right; throw away your unrealistic expectations of your husband creating a family vision, leading in daily devotions, taking an active role in homeschooling your children, or any other romantic vision you have in your head.

The truth is, he’s a man…he doesn’t think like you. The things that feel important to you probably don’t feel as important to him. And if you expect him to be like you, he’ll let you down continually.

I’m not saying he doesn’t have room for improvement. I’m just saying that so many wives create a no-win situation for their husbands. They demand him to be something he just can’t be.

Closeup of knights armor
What I would suggest is to schedule a date night with your man and talk. Say something like, “Honey, I love the idea of homeschooling, but I don’t think I can do it alone. Now I’m not asking you to do the schooling, because I know you’re super busy…but I need you to be my knight in shining armor if I’m to make it through.”

“I need you to encourage me and remind me of why we homeschool when I get weak.” At this point you may need to talk about why you homeschool. He needs to know why and what kind of encouragement best encourages you. Be specific; don’t assume he’ll come up with it on his own.

Then say, “And if you could help in these other areas…like when I need you to come to my rescue when I’m having a hard day, a hard kid, or just need you to let us eat out when I need a break from home.”

Again, be specific and don’t overwhelm him or put all the weight on him to be the one to think of it. Instead, say, “You don’t have to initiate it, but would you be willing to do those things when I tell you I need them?”

To drive your points home, make sure you thank him for being him, for all that he does to allow you to homeschool, and then be a little flirty and smile at him. Trust me on this one: every knight in shining armor likes to be admired instead of reminded how he continually lets you down.

I’m telling you, Mom, there isn’t a husband out there who doesn’t want to lead well…but again, don’t expect something that is unrealistic. Keep talking to him, tell him when you need his help and encouragement, and don’t be hurt or surprised when he lets you down…just gently remind him again how much you need him, and be specific.

“Homeschooling is hard, and the pressures can be overwhelming and soul crushing, if she doesn’t have a knight in shining armor like you.”
(Dad Version)

OK, Dad, here’s where I need to shoot straight with you. I’ll keep it short, because I know your attention span is…limited. But the truth is: your wife needs your help to make it through in one piece.

Homeschooling is hard, and the pressures can be overwhelming and soul crushing, if she doesn’t have a knight in shining armor like you.

Here’s what your wife needs from you:

  1. She needs you to lead the charge. You don’t have to do it all, but you do have to be supportive and convinced of the need to homeschool. There will be days (plenty of them) where she’ll look to you for reassurance, and you must be able to remind her again of the reasons you homeschool.
  2. She needs you to encourage her, and you need to give her a steady diet of encouraging words. Words like, “You’re doing a great job, you are amazing with our kids, the kids are so blessed to have you as their mom and teacher…”
  3. She needs you to be understanding of why the house isn’t as clean as it once was, the meals as fancy as they used to be, and she is not as fresh and frisky as she was before homeschooling. Got it? You need to cut her some slack and understand that homeschooling means she can’t get it all done.
  4. She needs you to give her the tools that she needs. And the best tools cost the most.
  5. She needs you to pray for her. I know we all believe in prayer, but few of us pray for our homeschooling wives. Pray for joy, wisdom in parenting, patience as she deals with kids, a deep love for her children, and that she won’t miss the relationship with them in the midst of the task of school.

Dad, she doesn’t need you to be perfect, but she does need you to be involved. Fight the urge to do your own thing and relegate homeschooling to her. Homeschooling is a husband/wife thing. You may never teach a subject or pick a curriculum, but your role is vital and if you neglect it, your wife will pay the price with a joyless heart and stooped shoulders of carrying a burden that was meant to be carried together.

Is it easy? Never.
Is it worth it? Always.

odd Wilson, author of Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe and Help! I’m Married to a Homeschooling Mom, is a dad, writer, conference speaker, and former pastor. Todd’s humor and gut-honest realness have made him a favorite speaker at homeschool conventions across the country and a guest on Focus on the Family. Todd and his wife Debbie homeschool their eight children in northern Indiana and travel around America in the Familyman Mobile. You can visit Familyman Ministries at: www.familymanweb.com.