A Week with Daddy: Redefining Schoolwork

“Mom, I did reading today, but it wasn’t In Grandmas Attic.”

“Okay. I’m glad you read today. Did you do any other schoolwork?”

“No. Dad gave us the day off.”

“Okay. As long as Dad said you could have the day off.”

I wasn’t surprised. Here I was gone for the week, and the kids managed to do about 1 ½ days of the schoolwork I assigned them. But, that’s part of having a week with daddy.

I rarely leave my kids for more than a couple hours, much less overnight; but for the last two years, I’ve gone off for a week-long business trip, leaving the kids home with their dad. I have no worries about doing so, as he is a very capable person. But there’s no doubt that we do things differently.

At my husband’s request, I leave a schedule of activities and maps/directions so he knows who to get where, when. On the refrigerator I post a list of breakfast, snack, and dinner ideas for the week. And I leave the basic chore assignments and schoolwork assignments for the week.

My husband said he might take the kids fishing and to the zoo. Cool, The kids would like that. So I reminded him that those two activities have value as schoolwork, so on those days, just cut out or cut down the school assignments I had listed.

When I arrived home a week later the lawn was up to my knees, and I had to work hard not to say anything more than “Oh My.”  But inside and out back, I had other surprises.

The kids may not have folded laundry, cleaned their rooms, or finished all their schoolwork. But instead, they expanded my new drip system in the garden, laid a new wood floor in the bathroom, and put together a bunk bed.

Wow. It’s not what I assigned, but in my eyes, these activities were just as worthy as school activities.  And they got to learn at the hands of their father. Very valuable.

The schoolwork can be done anytime. But that father-child work time cannot. For now, I’ll just be quiet about what wasn’t done and be very appreciative for all they accomplished.

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3 Responses to A Week with Daddy: Redefining Schoolwork

  1. Shannon,

    That is an awesome thing that you did…not saying much to your husband. My hubby confided in me this week that when I undermine his trying to do things with the kids, it’s makes him feel useless and unworthy in our school. I was humbled by his words as I realize how often I do this instead of letting him do with the kids what he would like to do for school.

    I love what you said at the end. The schoolwork can be done anytime.

    Thanks for the reminder!
    Jen

  2. Shannon says:

    Jen, It’s good you were able to listen to your husband’s feedback. That in itself is not always easy.

    This has been a huge part of my growth process as a wife. It’s been a hard for me to learn to be quiet about these things. To be a helpmeet instead of critical or unappreciative of all he does for us.

    My husband says the worse thing for a man to feel “incompetent”. And yet, for several years, I would say something or do something without even realizing it that would send that message to my husband. Glad to hear that I’m not the only one on this journey!
    …Shannon

  3. Mrs. C says:

    That’s very, very cool. And kudos to dad for getting that 1 1/2 days of schoolwork in. With the extra stuff you might even come out ahead. :]

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