Make Room for us Daddy
- 2003 24 Feb
Let's see, is Neptune the planet that rotates on its side? Or is that Uranus?
Better ask the kids.
I'm halfway through the year as a homeschool dad who works from home, and while my three children have gained from the experience of being tutored by their mother and me, it's safe to say that my brain has benefited, too.
"Thomas Jefferson wasn't the second President. John Adams was,'' my 5-year-old son informs me, (of course, I already knew the answer. Yeah, of course I did) showing his education in American history has not been limited to things A.D. (After Disney).
"How do we know we're really here?'' says my 8-year-old daughter going on 25-year-old philosopher.
"Uhhh...,'' I answer in my most articulate stammer.
"Dad,'' my 5-year-old daughter begins ... (yes, I have twins; they're fraternal, and they will kindly explain what that means if you slip up and refer to them as being identical) ... "there's a man outside stealing our snow.''
"Huh?'' comes my curious response as I look out the window and notice a neighbor kindly snowblowing my driveway.
Such is the joy of working from home and helping educate your children through a Christian perspective. You learn, you laugh and you love.
In this first installment of "Make Room for us Daddy'', I'd like to share some basic thoughts on the triumphs, trials and tests -- oops, my wife has forbidden me to say t-e-s-t in our house - that go along with teaching your children from the luxury of a converted dining room.
First, I must confess that initially I was a homeschool skeptic. You may know the type: worried about socialization; distrustful of the curriculum; concerned that my kids would become adults by the age of 10 (actually, I still tremble over that last one).
But, ultimately, after seeking God's wisdom, I caved, er, came to my senses. And I'm so glad I did.
Homeschooling in Year One has not been easy for Mom or Dad (although my wife works her energy to the bone much more than I do.) Some days it's so cool how the kids connect to the lesson. Others, their attention span lasts as long as it takes to open the refrigerator to see what's available for lunch.
But the good far outweighs the bad. Reading the Bible together in the morning is priceless, and hearing a child learn to read before your eyes - and ears - not only makes you proud, but makes you aware that speech is a miracle that God has ordained for His children.
One of our recent projects was making planets out of Styrofoam balls. I wondered what Christian lesson could be learned from painting a large red spot on Jupiter. The answer came as my three kids watched me hang the orbs from a dangling light. The sun looked like a yellow egg. Earth revolved around Saturn. Wires went everywhere.
"Good thing God created the heavens and not you, Dad,'' my older daughter said matter-of-factly. "He knew what he was doing.''
I didn't know what I was doing a lot of time since beginning in September, but I wouldn't have done it any other way.
Next time: a uniquely male perspective on why our stomachs make those funny, gurgling sounds.
Rob Oller is a homeschool dad and a sportswriter and columnist for The Columbus Dispatch, the second-largest circulation paper in Ohio.