I hear this question a lot:
"How can I homeschool, I don't know everything? I am not a teacher."
I want to ask you, “Does anyone know everything?” I mean, I probably know a lot of stuff you don’t know, and you probably know a lot of stuff I don’t know, and yet we are functioning adults and do quite well.
We do not need to know everything in order to teach our children. We can learn right along with them. And, we really do not need to teach them everything they need to know by the time they are 18. Haven’t you learned a LOT since you were 18? I bet you thought you knew a lot when you were that age and now you realize how little you knew then. More frightening yet, is how little you know now. It seems like the more we learn, the more we realize we don't know. But, maybe that is a discussion for another day.
Take heart! Teachers don’t know everything either. Doctors, lawyers, rocket scientists—they don’t know everything either. In fact, and this is the honest truth, I talked to a rocket scientist last year. She and her rocket scientist husband were going to homeschool their five year old so she called me for advice.
I was mentioning how she could teach using literature and how effective that can be. She didn’t know she should be reading aloud to their children! I mean can you believe that? Here is a rocket scientist, someone who we think should know it all, or at least know a LOT, and I was giving her advice about reading aloud to her children in order to develop language skills, family closeness and to transfer core beliefs. She didn't know that. She learned something new that day and so did I.
No one knows everything.
Also, if you really get stumped, help is pretty close. I have found that there are people in my community that can help if chemistry or calculus is more than you can teach. There are community college classes that students as young as 14-15 can take. There are co-ops and other opportunities—tutors if you need them and the amount of help you can get on line or with DVD's and the like is staggering.
Maybe one of the best lessons your children will learn is that "we are not quitters" and "you're never too old to learn something new." I think if our kids see that someone as ancient as mom or dad can tackle Algebra 2 for the first time, surely they can do anything they set their minds to.
You don’t need to know everything. What you need is a strong desire to enable your child to learn as much as he can in the time you have him home. You can help him pursue his desires and encourage him as he struggles though something that does not come easy. You can learn Calculus along with him if you need to, or have him take it away from home.
Homeschooling does not mean that you know everything or that you have to teach everything. I loved it when my kids would say, “You didn’t know that, did you Mom?” And I didn’t. We learned it together.
What a blessing, to learn along side of your children.
Sometimes you teach, sometimes you learn, sometimes you tutor or mentor and sometimes you bring in outside help.
You can do it. You can homeschool. Take the first step now and don’t worry about chemistry labs and foreign language. You can worry about that when the time comes. And when the time comes you will be surprised how many different ways there are to accomplish an incredible high school education without going to a traditional school. You can do it-I know you can.
[Photos: High school student Cris with book written and illustrated by Cris; Chad and Dusty in middle school working on school work, Scotty learning outdoor cooking.]