New Homeschooling Dads
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The July 2010 issue of Parents magazine ran an especially fascinating article entitled “The New American Dad,” and I couldn’t help wonder how the information in it might affect homeschooling. In it, journalist Paul Scott investigated a new trend in American families, something he called “the new neither,” men who are “neither stay-at-home dads nor primary breadwinners but guys who work a little and parent a little and likely spend a fair amount of time worrying about not doing so hot at either.”
As I read the article, I found myself smiling at the new tug-of-war dads are feeling. I smile because moms have been feeling this pull for years. And for the homeschooling mom, we’ve chosen (or felt impressed) to add even more pressure to the mix. But instead of talking about how challenging it can be to parent, homeschool and keep a continual sense of peace, joy and calm in the midst of this sometimes crazy juggling act, I want to instead share a few of the statistics that Scott included in his article and consider what they could mean to the future of homeschooling. Just look at these numbers:
- “Fathers are now the primary caregiver for about one out of every four preschool-age children.” (U.S. Census Bureau)
- “Today, 28% of all American wives between 30 and 44 have more education than their husbands, while only 19-percent of husbands in that group have more education than their wives. (The remaining 53-percent have the same level of education as each other.)”
- “The U.S. Dept. of Education found that women received 57% of all bachelor’s degrees and 61% of all master’s degrees. They receive 51% of all Ph.D.’s.”
- “From 2008-2009, the unemployment rate increased 83% among men age 25 and over, compared with 57% among women age 25 and over.”
- “Twenty-percent of American men ages 25-54 didn’t have a job as of December 2009.”
- “As of February 2010, the top two professions among the unemployed in the U.S. were construction and manufacturing.”
What do these statistics mean to homeschooling families?
Well, with the rise of homeschooling’s popularity, I can’t help but think that we will see an increase in the number of dads who take on the role of primary homeschooling parent. As women receive more education and men endure a downturn in industries that are held primarily by them, we will most likely see more men coming home and more women pursuing more profitable career paths, all in an effort to support and care for their families.
In most of the homeschooling families I know, the moms work as least part time. In fact, according to the Homeschool Progress Report 2009, 19.4% of homeschool moms (almost 1 in 5) work at least part time. This number may very well increase in the face of a shrinking job market.
When the time comes, I hope that as a community we will welcome these newcomers with the same encouragement we received as newbies. It will be a chance for us to draw from their strengths and offer a smile, a pat on the back or even a cup of coffee when the situation arises. (Think about it, who wouldn’t love to have a construction-savvy dad teach woodworking techniques in co-op? I know several moms—myself included—who would be elbowing our way to the front of the class!)
We’re in this together, homeschoolers. Let’s do all we can to make sure we succeed the same way… together!
Are you a homeschooling dad? Please comment on your experience.
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