What happens when you’re homeschooling your children and you get to subjects that mom and dad just aren’t able to teach? That’s what the 4 Moms or 35+ Kids are talking about this Thursday.
In our culture where it’s assumed that we need ‘professionals’ to teach everything from art to reading, let me just throw a couple of thoughts out there:
- God has given parents the responsibility to teach, instruct and train their children and He is the one who will equip us to do just that.
- If you and your husband are functioning adults who are raising a family, then perhaps the topic/subject isn’t as necessary as one may think.
- Education isn’t about spoon-feeding information. It’s about teaching our children how to learn. If we’ve done this then our children should be able to learn lots of things that their parents don’t know.
I’m certainly not saying that we will never need to call in reinforcements, but the trend in homeschooling circles seems to be to farm out nearly all of our children’s education to others, creating more of an inconvenient ‘school’ situation than an home education.
Be encouraged: God has equipped your family to raise and educate the children that He has entrusted to you.
So what do you do when/if you hit a subject that is too tough for one of the parents to teach? (Keep in mind our oldest is a rising high school sophomore.) These are some suggestions in our order of preference.
Choose good curriculum
One of the specific subjects that was mentioned in this original question to the 4 Moms was dissecting for high school biology. That’s a perfect example of this idea. Our oldest, Amber (15), took high school biology, complete with dissecting an earthworm, crayfish, perch, frog and a chick embryo. With Apologia Science and lab supplies, she was able to do all the dissecting, learning what she needed to, even though Mark and I don’t remember a lot of that information that we learned in high school.
We’ve found this to also be true with math . Our children have easily completed high school Algebra and Geometry with very little (to no) help from their father.
If you have successfully taught your children HOW to learn, choosing a well-written, clear curriculum should solve most of the difficulties of teaching subjects that mom and dad don’t know well (or have forgotten).
*In particular with dissecting, you can find a lot of information online. Even YouTube has a selection of dissecting videos.
Enlist the help of siblings
Several of our children have 5-6 years of Greek under their belts and even though I took two years of high school Greek, they are more advanced that I am (or perhaps ever was).
Most of our children have easily grasped the harder grammar and structure, but one has had difficulty. The beauty of this is that even though I’m not much help to her (without a lot of review and time on my part), her siblings are able to step her through portions that are difficult for her to understand.
Enlist the help of the body of Christ
At the church where I grew up and Mark and I spent the first 11 years of our marriage, they are serious about assisting parents in the education of their children. (They are, however, careful not to enable parents to pass off the education of their children.) Men in the church, who are experts in their field, offer higher level classes for homeschool students. (i.e. Economics, Great Literature from a biblical worldview, Latin, etc.)
I realize not all churches offer this type of obvious support, but I’m confident that the body of Christ is willing to come together to work for the education of these children. Is there an engineer in your church? Ask if he would be willing to spend an hour helping your child with math. A scientist? Maybe he’ll help with chemistry.
Do you have a Christian friend who plays the piano? enjoys drama? Work together to share and pass on the knowledge and gifts within the body of Christ. Christians should be working together for His honor and glory, sharing the gifts that we have with others in the body.
Consider online options
I know that there are lots of online options with teacher student interaction (even including college level courses). We haven’t personally done this, but I know they are out there and available.
Consider local options
Since moving to Knoxville, I’ve been amazed at the local possibilities and opportunities for homeschoolers. You could literally homeschool and yet not teach a single class to any of your children.
Some options here are:
- 3 day a week co-ops – These are in actuality traditional schools that meet 3 days a week and the children spend 2 days a week at home completing the homework assignments given on the “in-school” days.
- 1 day a week co-ops – These vary from where children can take a single, suplementary class to full day co-ops where children are given a full week’s worth of home assignments in all essential subjects. They also offer everything in between.
- Individual classes - Our children have taken violin and piano classes locally.
- Local Christian schools – When my parents homeschooled me and my siblings, several of us took high school biology and chemistry at one of the local Christian schools. I’m not sure how readily available this is, but it may be an option in an area with fewer options for homeschoolers.
Other than piano and violin, we haven’t chosen to participate in these local options, but I know that they are available. There is such variety, there should be something to fit the needs of every family.
What are your “tough subjects” and how have you taught them?
You may also be interested in:
- Who is responsible for education?
- Why we Teach Greek
- Our Hot House – a little about where God planted our beginning family to give us roots to flourish in less friendly soil
- Homeschooling with Little Ones
- How and why we use Apologia Science
- The reality of homeschooling a large family - a live-blogging adventure
- Pursuing Educational Wood, Hay and Stubble @ Visionary Womanhood
For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.