To Redefine “Paternalism” I hope!

2 10 2006

Schott Somerville blog headshot

Lawyer and homeschooling dad Scott Somerville was known to us until today as the personification of the HomeSchool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) online – but he’s making a life change, to wit:

The First Day of the Rest of My Life

I’m hard at work today… but not at HSLDA. As of this morning, I am off the HSLDA payroll (although I’m still on the letterhead, as an “of counsel” attorney).
With HSLDA’s enthusiastic support, I’m off to tackle what I see as the biggest (non-legal) challenge that Christian homeschoolers face today: the “disengaged dad.”…
I’m calling this new project the “K-Dad Network.”
I chose that name because I don’t think a lot of dads will get involved until we shatter the paradigm of “K-12 education” (age-segregated, subject-by-subject “school”) and replace it with a whole new model of family-wide integrated learning and living.



5 responses

2 10 2006
Scott W. Somerville

How about if I redefine “paternalism” as “paternal” and leave the “ism” off? That would be a good start, I think. I’d love to pick your brains about how much the average unschooling and/or non-sectarian dad is involved in the learning experience.

Evangelical and Catholic homeschoolers have long been aware of a gender gap in homeschooling. I call it the “Royal We” phenomenon: although “we” homeschool, “she” seems to do almost all the work while “I” take all the credit.

I don’t know if this can be cured without surgically removing the “Y” chromosome, but I’m off to find out! I will appreciate your charitable comments and constructive criticism as we go. Drop in at !

2 10 2006

Sure, love to, I think that would be pretty interesting all around. We can explore it here, there and everywhere, now that you have so much time on your hands! 🙂
Just off the top of my head tonight, I’d say mainly the involvement will look different because unschooling is all “experience” and no “work” while the kids get any credit rather than their dad or me. As a result, every minute dad’s with us is an integral part of the family experiences we’re sharing, hence of our “unschooling” life.
More improv, less scripted so authorship becomes less a factor, maybe? Dad’s part of the creative team just like the rest of us and there’s no general or headmaster, no lead teacher nor teaching to lead…

3 10 2006

Work schedules — that seems key to me. If Dad is gone 8-6, and Mom is home all day and then running the kids to evening events, how involved could he be? If Dad is self-employed (or a blogger 🙂 ) and can, at least some days, set his own schedule, doesn’t that allow for more involvement? More real involvement — not just “what did ou do today” interest.

Since not all Dads can quit their day jobs to become bloggers, what can they really do?

Unless, of course, the Moms are going to start making the larger paychecks. . .


3 10 2006

IM and email works wonders to keep dad involved at work.

I think we’re facing a cultural shift as dads are becoming more involved in family matters in general. It’s become what’s expected anyway.

I just got done reading a book, “Friendship; An Expose” that talks about how husbands and wives being friends, even best friends, is a recent cultural development. And that, I think, in turn, shifts dad to focusing inside the family more, compared to times before.

I think Scott is going to a good place. I’ll have to check out his blog/website. Thanks for the tip.

3 10 2006

Well, you all have me thinking now, about how we do this. I do think the new technologies (cell phones help us a bunch) are part of it as actual communication devices But also, each of the children relates to Dad through the computer as an entity or learning interest too — video games, research, photoshop presentations, composing stories and sharing music files, building a Mindstorm robot, chess sites, setting up remote mouse stuff and in-house wifi as a project together, etc. Dad makes all this stuff possible and keeps it all running, and interacts with the kids about it.

And in fact we are all together using technology individually as I sit here writing this – huh, this is more a part of family life (and thus of our unschooling) than I’d realized. Dad should get a lot of credit for this . . .

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