One of the most common questions that I am asked by those that are interested in homeschooling is, “How do I teach what I don’t know?” Most of us feel fairly comfortable with most elementary school subjects, but we may have concerns about high school (Algebra anyone?) or elective subjects such as music and art. There are several solutions to this problem, but the real answer lies in the fact that while homeschool moms do spend time teaching, their overall job is more of a facilitator. This is especially true as students get older.
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When my children were in the early elementary grades, I personally taught them almost everything I wanted them to learn. However, as they have gotten older there have been subjects that I did not know how to teach them. This did not mean we needed to give up homeschooling or that they would be unable to learn. This meant that I needed to find a curriculum we could use to learn together, teach them to learn and research independently, or out source the subject. Over the years we have done a combination of all of these to help them learn.
First, there are many wonderful curriculums that can help you teach areas that you do not know well. Even though I felt competent to teach elementary science and history, I found I learned a great deal right along with my children as we went through those subjects. Many parents worry about teaching phonics when their children are young, but there are many great programs that will walk you through the process including our favorite, All About Reading.
As an adult, I believe that we should always be learning. I learn by reading, watching documentaries, doing research, and talking to other people. As my children got older, I started teaching them how to use those same techniques to learn about their areas of interest. When my oldest wanted to learn about gardening, he started doing research and talking to our experts over at the cooperative extension. When my daughter wanted to learn about weaving, she read a book, watched several videos, and talked to a good friend that was a weaver. This is a great way to encourage their interests without mom having to know everything.
Finally, sometimes you just need to outsource. This may mean an in person course with a local co-op, an online course, a tutor, or private lessons. For several years now we have been outsourcing both music and art. My children adore their music lessons from Practice Monkeys with three of them taking violin lessons and my daughter also taking piano. My son is even considering adding their new guitar lessons in the fall. I cannot play an instruments would have been unable to teach these skills, but this has not stopped my children from enjoying the blessings of music lessons. We also love our art lessons from Nana at You Are An Artist . These fun chalk pastel and acrylic lessons have allowed my children to learn about various techniques in a fun way all from the comfort of our home.
As my children have gotten older, we have begun outsourcing some of their core subjects via video instruction. Many of these are subjects that I was proficient in during my high school and college years, but much of that knowledge was forgotten over time. For example, this year my son is going to take a video based geometry course from SchoolhouseTeachers.com as well as a video based Ancient History course. He is also going to use Journey Homeschool Academy for biology.
No one knows everything there is to know about every topic, but that should not deter you from homeschooling. There are so many great options that will help you lead and facilitate your children’s education. If you are already homeschooling, what resources do you use with topics that you don’t know?
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Deals and Freebies
SchoolhouseTeachers.com is doing an amazing sale this month! Buy One year get One Year FREE! We use this for several of our courses and one price covers all the students in your home for as many of their over 400 courses and you would like to use.
Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.
Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)
Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)
Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!
Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!