Dads Teaching High School: Why, What and How

By Mike Cheney

During the past few years God has been moving the hearts of fathers to take the lead in the home discipleship movement.  While speaking before groups and organizing and attending various conferences I have noted a dramatic increase in the number of men in attendance.  Increasingly, men have gone from trudging along behind the home discipleship wagon to taking up the reins and leading the way.  In increasing numbers fathers are setting the standard and pace.  They are taking up the mantle of authority in this area tempered by a keen sense of responsibility to God.

WHY?

Though it’s great to attend a conference to meet and listen in person to the great speakers in the movement communicate uplifting messages about the benefits of homeschooling, I find that 3 weeks later it is very easy to forget what I was so excited about in the first place.

It was on one of those Mondays recently that I was prompted to recall my list of reasons and benefits for helping to teach high school subjects to our son. This list is from my perspective and not necessarily my wife’s. Some of you know that I was pretty much oblivious to homeschooling and its’ benefits when my wife, Roxie, struck out on the journey with our children in 1989. She was and, in many ways, still is several years ahead of me in terms of commitment and practice and understanding.

Nonetheless, being the astute husband that I am, it only took me about 14 years to catch on. Since then I have been gaining glimpses here and there and am coming to the realization that in order to obey God’s commands concerning our children and future generations I am required to lead in the training of my children including their academic pursuits.

Here’s my list:
1- I will be able to spend more time with my children.  Hence, I will know them and they will know me.
2- By knowing them I will know their hearts and their character.
3- By knowing their character, I will know how they are proceeding toward taking on the character of Christ.
4- Since my children are a reflection of me, I will know how I am proceeding in taking on the character of Christ.
5- Since taking on (reflecting) the character of Christ and teaching this to his posterity is the chief business of a Christian father, I will lead in the training of my children, even if it means I have to take geometry again.

WHAT?

My shortcomings in Geometry aside, I do best teaching subjects I enjoy. In my case they are related to my interests, vocation and personal experience.

Here’s a sample list of some of the subjects I teach along with their categories and applications:

TITLE CATEGORY LIFE APPLICATION
Construction/Home Improvement Industrial Arts Taking care of their own home, teaching work habits
Bible History, Philosophy Strengthen Faith/Worldview
Taekwon Do PE Physical training, discipline
Outdoor Skills Elective Familiarity w/outdoors, Firearms handling
Real Estate, Finance Math, Business Financial competence & Stewardship; Develop an understanding of God’s resources and their proper use.
Consumer/Business Math Mathematics Practical tools for managing business and family economy
Auto/Mechanical Repair Industrial Arts Practicalities for life

HOW?

Perhaps the most common question I get has to do with finding the time to teach.  One of the great things about High School age children is that they have already learned to teach themselves.  Hence, you will not need to sit with them several hours per day as they do the work.  My main involvement has to do with creating the scope and sequence, laying out the lesson plan, offering guidance along the way and grading the work.  It takes about two hours to lay out the lesson plan for two weeks work on 6 subjects and another two hours per week to grade and review the work with my son.  You will invest about 4 hours per week, the approximate length of an NFL game, including commercials.  If you are just getting started you may have to include the postgame show as well.

In a nutshell, here are the steps that work for our family:

  • Set the Goal- Course Description
  • Determine the Standard-  Grading System
  • Identify the Resources- Text/Source Materials List
  • Lead the Way- Lay Out The Lesson Plan (weekly, monthly)
  • Inspect the Progress- Establish and grade tests/review difficult concepts
  • Memorialize the Results- Final assessment and grade

If you find any of this to be helpful and would like more information, please feel free to contact me at mike@chec.org

One last thing…the point is not to teach math, but rather to use math as a tool to teach Godly character.

Standfast, brothers.

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