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Back from HS Convention & Discouraged

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Joined: 02 Apr 2005
Posts: 81
Location: Northwest PA

PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2005 6:16 pm    Post subject: Back from HS Convention & Discouraged Reply with quote

We just got back from a weekend homeschooling convention (CHAP). This was our second year, and it was in a lot of ways, a lot easier than last year.

The conference is huge. Actually, from what I've been told, it's the biggest HS convention in the country. In one sense, it was really cool. Heard some great talks, learned some new methods, etc, etc.

However, I found myself very, very discouraged. There were a lot of talks about how the dads should support the moms, how great the moms were for homeschooling, etc. One booth handed out stickers that said, "my wife homeschools and she's my hero". When they tried to give one to me, I told them that I was the one who hs'ed. Their response "oh, we don't have any stickers for you then."

As much as I enjoyed the conference, I also found it very isolating. I actually spoke to one of the board members asking that they have a dad-as-the-primary teacher talk next year. His response was, "maybe, but I don't know if there's much demand for it."

I think that this year was hard because I really, really wanted to go, network, etc. I had finally talked my wife into going and it just didn't really pan out the way I hoped it would.

I'm not even sure where I'm going with this post, but I knew that you all could understand (or at least would fake it!)

Thanks for listening.
Married to Margaret (1996)
1 daughter Belinda (1999)
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Joined: 25 Feb 2005
Posts: 148
Location: Orlando

PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2005 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ed, Don't be discouraged. Maybe one day us dads will have our own HomeSchoolDads convention!! Very Happy

But I know what you mean. At are co-op meetings etc, they always refer to "the moms". Never is it "the moms and some of you dads...". We have our big Florida convention coming up later this month. I'm going to try and attend. I'll report back as to what I was able to stir up.

Father of 2 formerly homeschooled boys: Adam-15, Lucas-13
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Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 180
Location: Boise, ID

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have a home school convention sponsored by CHOIS(http://chois.org/). My first year there I was disappointed because there were no groups or speakers that helped or supported dads that home schooled. I wrote them a letter. I was told that they would consider this, but as of yet, haven't done so. It has been two years now.
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Joined: 15 Mar 2005
Posts: 12
Location: Arkansas

PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2005 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been there done that Smile

Go around the convention and they all ask, "what is your wife going to be doing with the children "and "oh, I see you're babysitting today". Try to ask a vendor a question and get "mabey your wife should come by and discuss this with us"etc.

Most of the homeschool organizations around here are borderline hostile to a homeschooling dad.
Luckily I've found a couple that are populated with socially mature open minded people, it's just the attitudes of some that can really add an extra burden.

---------Robert, father of Wolf 14 and Katarina 8...and Hauke 5.
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Darrell Combs

Joined: 16 May 2005
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greetings from SW Pennsylvania.
Our support group (Indiana Christian Homeschool Association) would be one that is supportive of homeschooling fathers.
In our case, my bride is the primary teacher, and I assist as needed. Truth be told, I was able to assist more in my past ministry than my current one, but I do support, help with co-ops and field trips, etc.
My bride and I serve as the facilitators of our support group, so I am usually at meetings, etc.

If any of you are in the SW PA area, you would be welcome at our support group and field trips.

Darrell Combs
Homeschooling Dad
Preaching Minister
1st Christian Church
Big Run, PA
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2005 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Ed,

It sounds like you're starting to waiver. I want to encourage you to hang in there because it does get easier. I wouldn't try to lead you to believe that if you keep looking, you're eventually going to find a tight little circle to work in. I'm at the end of our eighth homeschooling year and have waded through a number of support groups. I have found that although homeschooling dads are rare and I have yet to personally encounter another one besides me, men are becoming more visible and starting to take up some of the roles. Where I used to stop conversations by walking into the groups, I now feel welcome to participate. I might be considered out of place still to a certain extent, but am no longer treated as a freak.

Those conventions can really make your head spin. We're just back from one ourselves and I got the sticker too. There is information overload at every corner. The vendors never end and after awhile, all the curriculum runs together and you can't remember which was which. You wander around and see all sorts of people. Some dressed in homemade uniforms; one in every size. Men are present but in small numbers; usually carrying heavy bags and saying very little. Then you go into the lectures and hear about rigid sexrole stereotypes that your family probably doesn't model very well. Presentations delivered by experienced homeschooling moms who are uncontested and self proclaimed experts tell of how they managed to keep it all together. War stories for the most part, but they do serve to bolster the flagging spirit of the homeschool mom but, what about the homeschool dad? Can he get something out of it? Speaking for myself, yes. No, I can't entirely relate but I get the gist and it helps. No, I can't lean over to the dad sitting next to me and laugh appreciatively at the opening remarks but I really don't need to. Other presentations which keep to teaching and methodology are more valuable and those are where I spend my time. I applaud your motivation to approach the event planner and suggest a presentation directed at homeschooling fathers but I can see where he would think there wasn't much call for it. I imagine you might agree after all- sad but true.

Why keep doing it? Our first two years were challenging because like you, I wasn't sure which curriculum was best and whether or not my kids were getting enough. Nobody seemed to have good answers and I felt all alone. After the end of our second year and during our review, I came to realize that my kids were doing well, better than their peers in public school. They weren't complaining about school and in fact, were enjoying it. They were getting more out of learning and spending less time "in class." We were taking field trips and seeing things locally that we never would otherwise. I think that you create the proverbial monster(s) when you homeschool because your kids become acclimated to individualized learning. They become motivated and set their own pace. If there is some special need like my son who has dyslexia and ADHD, you have very much modified the curriculum because you have found something that works well. If not, you work at it until you do. Now imagine putting your kids into the cookie cutter public school system. If you're like me, you have no more confidence in the local private schools either. It just wouldn't work. Your kids would be miserable and would lose so much.

At the end of each year, I feel burned out. I have no other homeschool dad to reflect on my experiences with; who would keenly understand and appreciate what it has been like. Homeschooling moms have very similar experiences and yes, there is some overlap but not enough. Is it still worth it? Yes.

This year, my older daughter has taken some advanced placement classes and scored all As. She has enjoyed the challenge and has met other students who like herself, are taking their academics seriously. She will graduate highschool in three years and plans to go to medical school. My dyslexic son is in middle school and is reading and writing at grade level and is excelling in the sciences. My younger daughter will be starting middle school a year early and says school is still easy. I think she will take some AP classes too.

That's my story till now. I hope you can see where there is light at the end of the tunnel. Your's will be a somewhat lonely voyage but worth it. The sacrifices you make now will give your kids unique and lifelong benefits. I'm excited to see this website because now we can relate in a virtual sense, at least. I can say to you good job, well done, homeschool dad. Have a virtual high five.
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