Within the next couple of weeks, most kids in the area will be headed back to school. Whether you choose public, private, or homeschool for your family is not the determining factor in their success. Dad, you make a defining difference in your kids’ life and education no matter which path your family is on.
How are you intentionally engaging in your child’s educational process, and what does that look like for the various options available?
The Measure of Success
Dad’s engagement is a common denominator for success. According to Fatherhood.gov, “When fathers are involved in the lives of their children, especially their education, children learn more, perform better in school, and exhibit healthier behavior.”
But there’s more to it than that.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9
When you sit. When you walk. When you lie down. When you rise.
I see T.I.M.E spelled out. In every circumstance and in every opportunity, teach them diligently. Academic success is vital, but spiritual growth is utmost.
So what does it look like in your family?
Practical Ideas to Get Involved
Try some of these ideas to get involved with your kids daily, in their school learning and in their spiritual wisdom.
- If your kids go to school, look for ways to volunteer as a room dad or a chaperone for field trips. I enjoyed many field trips with my kids and was often charged with a group of especially active boys. It was a blast – great for me, great for them, and great for the other chaperones. Win-win-win!
- At home, help them with homework. Give what you’ve got in your areas of interest and expertise. If your family homeschools, pick one subject to teach. I know of a homeschool dad who met once a week to teach history and Bible to his son and several other 9th grade boys. He was retired Air Force, and they enjoyed many pushups for neglected homework or incorrect answers. Those guys were strengthened in multiple ways that year. No matter where your kids go to school, be their Bible teacher.
- Read in front of them, and read to them. When your kids see you read, they are more likely to become readers themselves. When they see you read the Bible, they are more like to become Bible-readers themselves.
- Talk to them and ask specific questions about their day. Yeah, we all get the “Fine” response when we ask how their day was, so get creative.
- “What did you learn today?”
- “What unit are you studying in math?”
- “What did you talk about at lunch?”
- Check out 25 Better Ways to Ask Kids About Their School Day (bgca.org) and Getting Your Kids to Talk to You (webmd.com) for more ideas.
- Be genuinely interested. When they answer, just listen. Listening is a neglected part of communication with our kids. We need to be open to hearing about their world.
- Respond, don’t react. When you hear something concerning, pause. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Now is the time to have a healthy discussion about how they can form their views on the situation. You can model going to the Word for perspective, digging in, and seeking answers together. Help them process and filter through a biblical lens. This is the exciting part! Spoiler: I’ll share how our family used mealtimes to teach biblical worldview through current events next month.
- Finally, make time for it. It takes time and effort to dive deep into meaningful conversation with our kids and help them open up. It comes slow. It comes late at night. It is hardly ever convenient, but it is always worth it.