An Interview with a Homeschooling Dad
In this series, I have had the privilege of interviewing other homeschoolers from across the country. Today I am talking to a homeschooling Dad. Here to tell us how his family got started homeschooling and what his family’s homeschool style looks like is Jason, the author of the blog, Homeschool Daddy. He’s been online at his personal blog bnpositive and many others for almost a decade.
First I’d like to ask you, how old are your kids and how long have they been homeschooling?
I have a 12-year-old son, Ethan, and a 9-year-old daughter, Abby, who will be 10 in May. This is our 2nd year homeschooling for our kids.
How/why did you get started homeschooling?
There were a number of things that motivated us to start homeschooling our children. I’m not sure there was one particular item that was the decisive “last straw” though. Generally it was a combination of our kids being bored in school, what we saw as hours of wasted time during school days, and what we saw as an opportunity for our kids to experience so much more in their education.
Two particularly interesting stories that helped our decision:
During the Christmas holidays, I regularly heard of my daughter learning about a variety of other Christmas traditions and religions from other cultures. My daughter learned about Kwanzaa, Ramadan, the Mexican Christmas Witch, and Hanukkah. However, when it came time for one of her art projects she was not allowed to include in images of her own Christianity-based Christmas traditions on her “Holiday” card. I was fine with her being taught about other religions and exposed to other belief systems, but when she was then banned from expressing her own beliefs in as a personal expression of art, I was quickly getting irritated with the politics of public school.
In another situation, I was told that my son was being picked as a peer tutor for his classmates. He was grasping the content in a variety of subject areas and he would be paired up with an under-performing student to help tutor and teach the child. I was very proud of my son for doing this well and being picked for this out of his classmates. The problem, as I found out later, was that when it came to being tested, my son’s grade would be averaged in with the other student’s for a shared grade. My son would be indirectly responsible and rewarded (or punished) for his effort. I was no longer honored or interested in my son participating in this socialist grading system.
What did you do for school yesterday? Do most of your days look like that?
Interestingly enough, yesterday was one of the highlights of our homeschooling efforts. And, one of the reasons we chose to pursue homeschooling. My wife and I have been in South Carolina and North Carolina this week and yesterday we visited the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC with our kids. (See the photo below.) My kids will be writing papers and sharing their experiences. This combines history, science, writing, and English.
Of course this isn’t a normal day. Normal days are hitting all the basic subjects while sitting around our house in the dining room, living room, or the individual kid’s rooms.
Do you have set hours/days for homeschooling?
Our family are all night owls for the most part. We normally have school days Monday through Friday, and we start between 9 am-1 0am and go for 4-6 hours per day depending on the kids’ work load for that day and their ability to stay focused.
Where do you do most of your homeschooling? Do you have a specific homeschooling room?
The vast majority of our homeschooling efforts take place at the dining room table. The kids will do their homeschool math curriculum in the living room and some other subjects privately in their rooms.
How does homeschooling work in your family?
My wife does the vast majority of all of our homeschooling duties. I am responsible for math, which helps take some of the load off my wife’s shoulders. I’m also looking to start taking over more responsibility for science as well. Other than that, I’m just the “principal.”
In many homeschooling families the Mom has the primary ‘teaching’ roll. How have you been received as the homeschool Dad by your friends and other homeschoolers you meet?
I think it’s been fine. Aside from the general comments of not seeing a lot of dads deeply involved with the process, there’s not been anything really out of the ordinary from friends and family.
Do you school year round or do you follow your local public school schedule (starting in September, taking off on public holidays, winter break, long summer break)?
So far we’ve been following our public school scheduling. However, many schools in our area are switching to year-round schedules and we’ve been trying to convince the kids of the benefits and potentially more relaxed schedule they could have if we did year round as well. One of the benefits we see with homeschooling and my job is that we have the opportunity to travel frequently and now we can take advantage of those chances and combine them with schooling like we have this past week in the Carolinas.
Do you have a particular style of homeschooling? Do you follow a set curriculum?
We’re still kind of figuring things out I think. We’ve changed curriculum a few different times across different subjects. I’m not sure what our style is yet, but I’m sure it’s more of our own than anyone else’s.
What curriculum/books do you recommend most often to fellow homeschoolers?
That would be a better question for my wife I think! However, I know I personally can really recommend our math curriculum, A+ Tutorsoft.
How do you manage the school/house/work/kids’activities/meal balance?
That’s a good question. It definitely takes a good team effort between me and my wife. We’ve also really gotten our kids involved by making them responsible for a number of chores. That really help us out. We try not to stress out when it comes to school or housework.
What are your homeschooling plans for the future? Will you homeschool straight through high school?
Another good question! Right now we’re just taking it year-by-year I guess. We’ve gone back and forth about whether or not we will homeschool in high school. I went to a very small high school that didn’t offer a whole lot of things outside of the normal school subjects. Our local high schools offer classes in robotics, art, video, and radio production and all kinds of other very specialized courses. I think it would be hard to not take advantage of those areas. We’ll just wait and see, though.
How much do you use technology in your homeschool?
I’m an absolute geek. You can call me a professional I guess since my job pays me to be involved in technology so much. My wife and kids share two Macbooks and an iPad that all get used for educational resources and homework. Our math curriculum is installed on a PC laptop that’s run through our HDTV in the living room. We haven’t pursued much in using other games and software specifically for homeschooling, but I believe we are getting better at finding educational catalysts for discussion in a variety of different areas and activities.
Tell us about your most favorite homeschool project/activity/memory?
Being early in our homeschool adventures, I’m not sure we have any amazing stories to tell yet. The ones that probably stand out the most though are the trips we’ve been able to take and what my kids have been able to see since they haven’t been quarantined to a school room. We’ve traveled to Atlanta and seen the Georgia Aquarium; taken a field trip to 12 different countries by visiting EPCOT and learning about each country’s cultures and lands; traveled West to South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, and wild buffalo in Custer State Park. The world around us is an amazing place. What better way to learn about it than by just going out and exploring it for yourself?
How has your homeschooling changed since you first began?
I think it changes regularly. We’re always adjusting and tweaking. I believe that’s another strength of homeschooling. When you see something not working for one or both of your kids you research and adjust. Find something that does work for you and your family.
Once again, thank you so much for doing the interview with me! Jason will be attending numerous homeschool conventions over the next few months promoting the math curriculum his children use. In the meantime, you can visit Jason at his blog, Homeschool Daddy.
You might be interested in our other Homeschool Interviews and Guest Posts:
- An Interview with A Homeschooling Dad
- An Interview with a Christian Classical Educator (Part 1) and (Part 2)
- An Interview with a Montessori Homeschooler
- Homeschooling Through a Virtual School
- Homeschooling in Australia
- An Interview with Erica of Confessions of a Homeschooler
- Interview with a Radical Unschooling Family
- Guest Post: Working Outside the Home, Homeschooling Mom – A guest post by one of my very best friends! 🙂
- 11 Year Old Shares Her Thoughts on Homeschooling – The daughter of my friend (above) wrote this!
- Guest Post by My Homeschooling Sister: Intensity in Learning
- Homeschooling Through Spousal Deployment, a Destructive Flood and More (Another post featuring my sister’s homeschool journy. They lost their house during flooding in Nashville 5 years ago.) and Part 2 of that post–Homeschooling Through High School (My sister’s kids are Older than Mine!)
- Homeschooling Through the Teenage Years: Video by Susan Wise Bauer