Tim Hawkins - Homeschooling Is Something to Laugh About
- Friday, June 14, 2013
Christian comedian Tim Hawkins earns his living making people laugh. And he’s good at it. Since he started giving away his comedy free online, his music videos and stand-up clips have received more than 200,000,000 views on YouTube, GodTube, and Facebook alone. Fan favorites include “The Government Can,” Cletus Take the Reel,” “Chick Fil A,” “The Homeschool Family,” and “Things You Don’t Say to Your Wife.” In 2013, he’ll perform live in 32 states, in front of nearly 200,000 fans.
A homeschooling father of four, Hawkins gets “new material daily from the perils of marriage, parenting, and homeschooling.” His comedy routines regularly include references to some of the laughable moments he has experienced as the father of children who range in age from seven to 17. At a recent performance, Hawkins gently poked fun at the mistaken notion that homeschooled children spend most of their time at home. “Hey, are there any homeschoolers here tonight?” he asked the sold-out crowd. To the cheer that went up from a large section of the audience he replied, “How’s it feel to get out?” The laughter that followed was his answer.
As he discusses his family’s homeschooling experience, Hawkins is quick to laugh at himself. Describing a successful co-op his family helped organize, he admits to being less than stellar at teaching math. “I was actually fired several years ago,” he confessed, “I was the math teacher, and we realized that the only subject my son was failing at the time was math...maybe in the public schools it’s hard to fire someone,” he mused, “but in homeschooling, it’s easy. You just say the word, and it’s over.”
As Hawkins’ popularity has exploded, he’s recognized the need to guard his family time, “My rule is that I am not gone more than three days in a row. I have to be home, and I am home most Mondays through Thursdays...flying across the country every day can really wear you out, so we really have to balance the schedule.”
Hawkins and his wife of 20 years, Heather, agree that homeschooling is “an efficient use of your time.” He remembers struggling with traditional school, because “there’s a lot of time that you’re waiting for the other kids to get done...a lot of clock-watching time, and if you’re not geared for that sort of stuff, then you’re going to struggle. Then you start feeling like you’re not good at school, when in fact it has a lot to do with the environment.”
A “dynamic and flexible (learning environment), one where true learning and not just learning for a test,” is one quality Hawkins likes about homeschooling. “I could care less about my kids’ grades as long as I know they’re actually learning. You don’t need a grade to be able to tell that,” he says. “Knowing how they’re doing on a daily basis rather than waiting a year” for grades is a plus, he affirms.
Hawkins sometimes jokingly admits during his comedy routines, that he was homeschooled. “But both my parents worked,” he deadpans, “so it didn’t turn out too well.” What has worked well for his children has been a three-day-a-week learning co-op that he and his wife organized early on. While they have homeschooled “pretty much from the beginning,” his eldest son Spencer began attending a local Christian high school in order to play football. His 15-year old daughter, Olivia, and their 12-year old son Levi attend a private school. They continue to homeschool Jackson, 7.
Remembering the early days of his family’s homeschooling, Hawkins admits that it hasn’t been easy. “At the beginning, when we first started having children, (having Heather stay at home) was a sacrifice, but it was worth every minute, because I wanted my kids to be around her, as opposed to someone we (didn’t) even know.” While Hawkins acknowledges that homeschooling isn’t for everyone, he believes in it. “For us, it’s worked out really well.”
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