Teaching What You Don’t Know

Teaching What You Don’t Know

At some point along the homeschool journey, every parent is faced with teaching a subject they know nothing about. First and foremost, do not for a single moment berate or belittle yourself. No one can expect to be an expert on every subject. Half the fun on this homeschool journey of ours is the opportunity to learn something new along side our kids. Sometimes it even means re-learning an old skill. In my case, that includes absolutely any type of math problem that is not utilized in my everyday life – aka balancing my checkbook.

The solution to your quandary is dependent on the age and skill set of your offspring. My first and best advice is to make sure you purchase the teacher’s manual that accompanies your curriculum. Often times, the manual will include step by step instructions and solutions. In my case, that means the teacher guides for any math or science taught in our house. If English is not your first language, you might want to consider the manual for a grammar curriculum. If literature is not your bag, there are great study guides available for free on-line that include discussion questions…with answers!

Our kids possess a secret weapon we never had as children – the internet. Now that “google” is a proper verb, use it to your advantage. You can google the answer to almost any problem. Find and save a few great websites to your favorites list and don’t forget to download school apps to your smart phone. For math and science related explanations, Khan Academy has some of the best videos on-line. Wikipedia is great for a quick answer to almost anything (but don’t expect them to solve your AP Physics conundrum).

Sometimes the step by step instructions in your teacher guide may not be enough. Scary huh? This is when you turn to the smartest people you know – other homeschool parents. I belong to a few chat boards and private homeschool pages on FaceBook. I’ve been known to mark the step that confuses me, snap a quick photo and post it with the words “save me, I can’t get past this step!” I usually have an answer back in seconds. Do not be afraid to admit your lack of knowledge to your kids. By communicating your own need for help, you let your kids know that not everything comes easy and sometimes, you need to ask for help or work a little harder to find the answers.

If all else fails or and your anxiety induced by that AP Physics conundrum becomes too much, let your fingers do the walking and find a co-op class or on-line course for your little darling. Sometimes, writing a check is the best help you can offer.

About Marcy Guyer

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