When our son turned three, my husband decided it was time to change careers. This would also mean another college degree and a lot of time away from home. In fact, Mark would work nights, drive to Walmart parking lot, sleep in his car for an hour, go to school and straight to clinicals, then come home. By the time he did get home he was exhausted and ready for his two hours of sleep before going back to work. Needless to say, we did not see much of Daddy during those two years.
This schedule is what prompted us to homeschool our now 4 children. Homeschooling allowed us to have time together as a family on the days Mark was off. When he came home at 1:30 or 2:00, we were able to pick up the books and finish later. If not for homeschooling, the children would have only seen their dad on holidays.
So here I was with three girls and one boy. The children were learning from me and I, at times, was learning even more from them. Now, the girls would sit for hours with books and lessons. D however, taught me a new way of "doing school". Bless his heart, D needed to go outside and dig - a lot. So we bought him a small shovel and marked off places for him to dig. D needed to move around, so he practiced spelling words while hopping in place, or while turning summersaults down the hallway, or by writing his spelling list on the driveway with sidewalk chalk. The key was, I needed to remember that D needed time to vent and to release his pint up energy. As long as we allowed for lots of play the lessons came easily. As soon as I tried to get a days worth of lessons from D with no real breaks or physical activity, there was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.
With Mark's permission, we also began looking and praying for other men to step in and be an influence in D's little life. Funny thing is, they all came to us. There was Uncle Mike and Uncle Cheesy, two military men from our church whose role of influence was listening to D's jabber and hoisting him high into the air until he had giggled himself into exhaustion. There was our neighbor, Mr Hall, who invited D over to "help" pick up leaves or look through his tool box. D love handing him tools while he worked on his car. There was Pappaw, of course, who took D fishing and hunting and puddle hopping and mischief searching. And there was our Pastor Lewis and Br Joel who always listened when D's creative little mind needed answers. Now, some of these men are still part of D's life but most are not. At the time, they were a Godsend and we appreciate so much the way they each took D under their wings while his dad could not be there and helped him learn more about things that interested him.
Some Great Resources That We Have Used are:
To Train Up a Child - Micheal and Debi Pearl
Hide 'Em in Your Heart Series - Steve Green
The Five Love Languages of Children - by Gary Chapman
Wild at Heart - John Eldredge
Dare to Discipline - James Dobson
Bringing up Boys - James Dobson
The Squire and the Scroll - Jennie Bishop
Preparing Your Son for Every Man's Battle - Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker, Mike Yorkey