Practical ways to say "I love you"

Homeschool fathers often feel as though they'd like to do more for their wives, but they're just not sure what. Dad, a few small gestures on your part can go farther than you could ever imagine in building up and helping out your wife. Some of the 12 suggestions below may be new to you. Others may be things you already do without even realizing what a huge impact they have on your wife's happiness.

1. Ask the Kids Questions

When you get home from work, maybe over dinner or at bedtime, ask your kids questions about what they've done and learned that day. Ask them to tell you about a story they read or how their science experiment turned out. Pay attention and remember what's going on from one week to the next. Not only does this review help your kids remember their lessons, it shows them—and Mom—that Dad is really interested in what they've been doing all day.

2. Know Your Curriculum

Find out what exactly your wife is teaching your children. Look through the books, peruse the lesson plans. You cannot possibly know how thrilled we moms are when our husbands take an interest in what we're doing. At times we may seem a little defensive because we're afraid you're not going to approve of what we've selected to teach the children, but do it anyway. Just do it in a loving way! Make suggestions, ask questions. Make sure that if someone asks you what your kids are learning at home, you know the answer!

3. Do a Little Teaching

What are you good at? What subjects interest you? Do you find chemistry thrilling or history enthralling? Share that enthusiasm with your children by teaching a few classes. If circumstances allow, teach the subject for the entire year! If you don't really find any of your kids' subjects interesting, make up a new subject to share with them, or find ways to make the boring stuff more fun. This shows the kids that Dad is a pretty smart guy and gives Mom a bit of a break.

4. Take the Day Off

Whenever the situation allows for it, take the day off to accompany your wife and kids on field trips and outings. This takes stress off Mom and gives the kids the benefit of enjoying more time with Dad—and you'll get the benefit of spending more time with them! This is especially helpful on trips with serious travel time or visits to very big, busy places. Two sets of eyes keeping track of kids are always better than one.

5. Really Take the Day Off

Many businesses are now converting to four-day workweeks. If you have the chance to do this, it will be such a blessing to your wife! This past summer, my own husband took this opportunity at work and now has every Wednesday off. Wednesday is a great day, because it's like a little break right in the middle of the week. Take this day to help your wife out with schoolwork or housework or just to be an adult for her to talk to!

6. Get Your Hands Dirty

It is primarily the wife's responsibility to care for the home, and most of us (myself included) would not dispute that. But it sure helps to have another pair of hands around sometimes to wash dishes or fold laundry or mop the floors. Find out what your wife's most dreaded chore is, and do it for her every few days. Mine is washing dishes, and I always love to hear my husband say, "I'll wash the dishes tonight, honey."

7. Give Mom a Day Out

Every once in a while—and it doesn't have to be every week; once every few months will do—give Mom a day out. Let her do whatever she wants to do, minus you and the kids. Keep the kids busy at home while she shops, or walks, or enjoys lunch with friends. Moms need time to themselves every once in a while, whether they admit it or not.

For people who say, "Well, so do dads!" I couldn't agree more. But please consider that we stay-at-home moms would be overjoyed to have the twenty-minute commute to work that most dads get. Twenty minutes in the morning, and then twenty minutes again in the afternoon, all by yourself in the car to think your own thoughts and enjoy the quiet! In a five-day work week, that's over three hours of alone time for dads. If you can help your wife find a little time alone, you will be a tremendous help to her.