I was chatting one day with a young mom about homeschooling. She was thinking about homeschooling her preschooler, but she was worried about if she’d do a good job. “But I don’t know anything about history!” she lamented. “And I barely passed Algebra! How am I going to teach my child calculus?”
Many non-homeschoolers would agree – how do you ensure your child receives a proper education when you don’t know the subject?
I’ve had homeschool moms tell me they will NEED to send their child to public school for middle school or high school. They can handle the elementary level subjects, but they don’t feel confident tackling those higher levels – especially in high school when it starts to ‘count’ towards college.
Homeschooling When You Don’t Know Everything
Take heart. Nobody knows everything! You don’t need unending knowledge or even a college degree to homeschool your child through high school! You just need to have some strategies up your sleeve to help you out!
Learn With Your Child
When Bug was in 1st grade, I mentioned to my pastor’s wife that he was learning Biblical Hebrew. She knew we homeschooled, so she had a perfectly legitimate question – “But you don’t know Biblical Hebrew, do you? How are you going to teach it to him?”
“Nope, I don’t know Biblical Hebrew at all.” I responded. “I’m going to learn it with him!” I was quite excited about the prospect but she didn’t quite ‘get it’ and changed the subject.
When we did our Hebrew letter flashcards, we did them TOGETHER. We both learned the names & sounds. We both learned how to say Genesis 1:1 in Hebrew. I didn’t know anything about Hebrew but we managed to learn it at the same.
I’ve used the same process with many different subjects over the years. Especially history! When we read Story of the World together, it’s almost always new information to me too!
Study the Subject Ahead of Your Child
With some subjects, it might easier to know the material before presenting it to your child. Math is one of those. When I realized that Bug was soon going to be in Pre-Algebra, I decided to start the Life of Fred book before him. I wanted to have a good idea of what he was doing & how the book presented it. I was pretty sure I could do all the math, but I wasn’t so sure I could teach it. As he moves into Algebra, Geometry and beyond – I’m going to have less confidence I remember all of it.
As he moves into Algebra, Geometry and beyond – I’m going to have less confidence I remember all of it. I will continue to read the LoF books before he does – refreshing and learning as I go.
It’s also a great idea for your children to see you studying! Learning and education don’t just happen when you are a kid! It’s a lifelong endeavor!
Find A Good Curriculum Your Child Can Do Independently
Sometimes, you just don’t have the time or desire to learn with or before your child. That doesn’t mean your child can’t learn it! The curriculum choices you make can have a lot to do with it!
One of the reasons we chose Latin for Children was because it was all written to the student! I didn’t have to teach any of it! I help Bug with the vocabulary by doing flashcards with him, but the rest of it is all on his own. I have an answer key to correct his work. The curriculum is doing all the teaching for me!
Outsource the Subject
There are some subjects that you just feel you can’t properly teach. There may not be a good enough curriculum; it may just be too high of a level for you to adequately conquer before or with your child. That’s when you need to outsource! Outsourcing is finding someone else to teach the subject to your child. This may be a class, a mentor or tutor or an online class.
I know that when Bug gets to high school, I’m going to outsource writing. I do not feel competent enough to properly grade writing projects. There are many amazing curricula out there that can teach it, but I’m going to need someone else to help him and grade his papers. I’m not sure what we’ll be using yet. It may be a combination of a regular homeschool curriculum along with a tutor (either in-person or online) or I may find him a full writing class to take.
We may end up outsourcing other subjects when we get there, but I know that will be one of them!
Teach Your Child to Educate Himself
One of the things that makes homeschooling so different from public school education is the options the student has to direct his own education. There is not a teacher force-feeding him information. He is free to learn and discover on his own.
I am no longer Bug’s teacher, I am now his education guide. If he doesn’t know something, I don’t just give him the information I guide him to it. We use a variety of resources – books, videos, internet searches, other people – to answer his questions. The goal is to get him where he does this automatically on his own.
This what we do as adults when we don’t know something. We don’t have teachers that tell us what we need to know. We educate ourselves on what we are interested in or what we need to know. If I lead him in this type of education, it will mean more to him in the long run.