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Getting more dads into home education

Newsletter · Sep 15, 2021


There must be something in the water, because I’ve had a lot of questions about getting reluctant dads in on the homeschooling action this week. There’s a lot to unpack on this (a worthy topic for a Life Without School Podcast episode!), but I think the main reason so many dads shut down the idea so quickly is because they know a little about all this – they’ve probably heard a few stories over the years, or met a homeschooling family along the way – but they don’t know enough.

And so it’s usually a case of…what’s that saying? “Better the devil you know…

Most homeschool-resistant dads went to school, and so did most of their friends and most of their colleagues. They didn’t necessarily have a good time there, but that doesn’t matter. They experienced it first hand, so they know what it is and how it goes. They understand it.

They know how to talk about it.

To get more dads interested and involved in different life paths for their children, we need more awareness about what those paths actually look like. The myths, assumptions and perceptions are widespread and strong. What we need are more accurate, personal reflections on our own schooling experiences, and more real, open, and interesting accounts of lives spent outside the school system.

I was sent a message the other day from someone who listened to the first episode of my podcast with their husband. A man who has never cried about anything, I’m told. As he listened to the story of my school years, tears filled his eyes. He had the same kind of experience, and he let himself really feel it.

Dads – I get that it’s hard to walk a different path through life (trust me). But it’s only different, and so misunderstood, because not enough of us have stepped back and thought about what might be best for our children. Nor have enough of us truly reflected on our own school years. When we bring ourselves to do those things, there are often tears, and often eyes and hearts that feel more open.

The road less travelled is never the easy one, and we need more bold and brave dads walking it. If you’re a dad reading this and want to talk more about annnnnnnything related to choosing a life without school – a movement in education that’s growing faster than it ever has before – please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’ll chat by email, on Facebook, on Instagram…wherever you like.

And in the meantime, I’ll keep working on making you all cry.

Thanks, always, for reading. See you back here next week.

Issy Butson, aka Stark Raving Dad. Author of The Grandparent's Guide to Home Schooling

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