7 Ways Grandparents Can Help Homeschool

Last week I had an enlightening conversation with an extended family member about her homeschooling endeavors…..not with her children, but with her grandchildren.

Our talk got me thinking about how “hip homeschool grandparents” might be a rising trend in the homeschool lifestyle. For one thing, today’s grandparents often seem more youthful, and are more active, than the “grandparent stereotype” of yester-years. Often, they are eager to be involved in their grandchildren’s lives.  Second, more families today have two parents who manage full-time jobs alongside home life.  While this doesn’t make a homeschool education impossible, it certainly makes it more difficult to juggle, especially when several children are involved.  While such families can (and do) certainly cope with this struggle in any number of ways, enlisting grandparent involvement can actually be a great solution for everyone!

If you are a grandparent reading this and currently thinking, “No way am I going to teach biology,” that’s okay.  Maybe you are even a grandparent who is not totally sure about the whole “homeschool thing.” That’s fine too!  If you want to be involved in your homeschooling grandchildren’s lives and educations, there are several different ways you can do so without having to don a labcoat!  This list explores 7 ways that grandparents can help with homeschooling!

1. The Full-time Teacher

For some families, having a grandparent act as the main “teacher” in their homeschool situation may actually be the best solution. This is especially true if both parents work full-time and the grandparent is eager to be involved. Grandparents who take on this role have to be energetic, patient, and prepared to meet “the Dark Side” of their precious grandkids. This situation may, however, run the risk of causing uncomfortable confrontations with their own children (the parents). For some families, this scenario may not be best. For others, though, it can actually be very successful.

2. The Guest Lecturer

A grandparent in this role might be particularly skilled in math, passionate about writing, or interested in learning a new language alongside his/her grandchildren. This grandparent could be in charge of whichever academic subject that he/she feels most inclined towards. This can also give parents the opportunity to have that block of time free during the week.

3. Life Skills Guru

 A grandpa who knows auto mechanics? A grandmother who bakes? For grandparents who are not interested in traditional “school,” sharing their practical know-how can be an invaluable teaching contribution. Home economics and carpentry used to be offered in most educational settings. However, practical skills like these run the risk of becoming lost arts today. A grandparent who is a “guru” of some kind of hands-on life skill can be an invaluable asset in homeschooling.

4. The Storyteller

 Similar to the “Practical Skills Guru,” this role gives grandparents a chance to do something that they may already enjoy—sharing stories about their experiences. In this role, a grandparent could commit to regularly tell a detailed story from his/her past. Such stories give children a unique glimpse into a time that they will never be able to experience first-hand, and even long-distance grandparents can fill this role.  Alongside preserving the oral traditional,  storytelling provides supplementary knowledge about a wide variety of subjects. Students could even make a writing project or documentary with the stories.

5. The Bus Driver

It can be stressful getting kids to all of their various sports and hobbies. If a willing grandparent lives nearby, he or she could volunteer to help with transportation.  While this not may seem directly related to “a role in homeschooling,” it really is!  For one thing, an extracurricular is basically equivalent to an “elective” course in homeschooling.  Secondly, this saves time for parents, who might be able to get some extra grading and planning done. This very practical way of helping out can also develop into a bonding experience over a child’s personal interests.

6.  The Gifting Grandparent

One of the homeschool mothers I talked to recently said that,  even though her parents didn’t understand their family’s choice to homeschool, they still played a helpful role by sending toys or books that went along with what the children were learning at the time.  “The Gifting Grandparent” keeps up with what the grand kids are learning and plans gifts accordingly.  Bonus: this is a helpful role that long-distance grandparents can fill! (So make sure to keep them up  to date with what your kids are learning!)

7. The Cheerleader

Finally, even if a grandparent is unable to be more actively involved in homeschooling, he/she can still be helpful by having a supportive attitude.  A demonstration of verbal affirmation about what the children are learning or how parents are teaching is always valuable contribution. It’s also helpful when grandparents praise a child’s parents in front of the child…just sayin’.

When it comes to their grandchildren, grandparents have so many valuable things to teach, stories to tell, and love to share. Homeschooling provides a unique opportunity to expand the special relationship between grandparent-grandchild into the realm of education. These are just 7 of the meaningful roles that a grandparent may choose to fill in homeschooling, but any positive form of involvement is sure to be meaningful to every member of the family!

Do your homeschooling students have grandparents who are involved in homeschooling? In what ways are they involved?

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  1. My mom has always been involved in helping me, but last year we moved into a house that has an in-law suite, and she became even more involved in our homeschool. Last year and now this year my mom has become an even bigger presence in our school day. I have two sons who are dyslexic, and we have them in a program to help with this, but it takes up so much time. Thankfully my mom has been here to help. She has taught my kindergarten son how to read, does elementary literature and art and teaches Spanish to all of my children. In addition, she has been very helpful with helping my youngest dyslexic child. I truly could not have managed without her. The children love doing school with Grandma, and she loves teaching them. It’s a win-win all the way around.

    1. That is wonderful! It would be such a blessing to so many homeschooling families to have a grandparent to help like that! Thank you for your comment.

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