"Mom, can we learn about chemistry next year in Science?"came the small voice somewhere underneath the hand-me-down white lab coat.
As an eclectic homeschooling mom who TRIES to provide a delight-directed education for her kids, I am embarrassed to admit that this wasn't the first time that my scientist-in-the-making son asked me that question.
I remember hearing it last year...and the year before that...and the...well, you get the idea.
The very thought of preparing a year's worth of lessons about CHEMISTRY made me want to run and hide. "WHAT DO I KNOW ABOUT CHEMISTRY??" were the words ringing in my head. I never took chemistry in high school and my college-level course was abysmal. The monotone lectures given in broken English by an international professor made me feel like I was taking a foreign language class. But at the end of the semester, I still couldn't ask, "How are you today?" or "My name is..." in anything but plain English!
The only CHEMISTRY I've ever had any experience with is the kind that the Hubs and I had on our first date...but I'm quite certain THAT kind of chemistry isn't what my son is referring to...
The REALLY scary part is knowing that he, at this point, only requires an ELEMENTARY version of chemistry. What will I do a few years down the road when he's in high school?
I'm only a mom, after all. I'm not a scientist!...and then the Deceiver starts whispering his lies...
I can't homeschool because I'm not qualified to teach higher level subjects.
Despite my fears, despite the nay-sayers, despite the Devil who would like nothing more than for me to "pass" on Chemistry once again, came my reply...
"Yes, son. We can do Chemistry next year."
And what has made the difference? Do I suddenly feel more confident to tackle beakers and bunsen burners? Nope!
I will order a family-pack of lab goggles with trepidation, clinging to these truths...
I can enlist the help of others
I can Embrace TechnologyIf I feel "unqualified" to teach a topic or subject, a quick GOOGLE search will provide a lengthy list of on-line AND/OR video homeschooling courses in just about any area of study. In fact, for the past two years, Sweetie Pea has already been utilizing technology by using Rosetta Stone's computer assisted language course to learn Mandarin Chinese...a language I WOULD NEVER be able to teach her. But, her learning does not need to be inhibited by my inability.
I can Consider dual-enrollmentMost community colleges allow for dual-enrollment. I can continue to homeschool my high schooler in most subject areas, but encourage him/her to learn ONE or TWO particularly difficult subjects through a post-secondary course at the local college. As an added bonus, most colleges award college credit for each completed post-secondary class which can be applied to a traditional college education upon high school graduation.
I can Encourage life-long learningOne of my primary goals of homeschooling is to encourage a life-long love of learning. If my kids develop this kind of thirst for knowledge, chances are, they will "outlearn" me eventually. There will come a day when the student knows more than the teacher. And that is a GOOD THING! I don't have to fear or dread that.
As a former classroom teacher, I have students who are, at this moment, earning degrees in areas of study that I haven't even heard of. Kudos to them! They've sought knowledge all on their own and have outlearned me. I want the same for my own kids. I WANT my son to continue his Chemistry passion, even if it means having to grab a book ALL ON HIS OWN and learn it...ALL ON HIS OWN. In the words of famed mathematician, Albert Einstein, "[You] don't need to know everything, [you] just need to know where to find it, when [you] need it." And rest assured, if my son feels like he "needs" it, he WILL find it! Because that's what life-long learners do!
I can Acknowledge that NO ONE knows it allI could succumb to my fears of chemistry and admit defeat. I could send my little scientist off on the big yellow bus assuming that the "experts" will do a better job down at the local public school. But, the reality is, he could have the brightest and best teachers and STILL not learn all there is to know about chemistry...or algebra...or WHATEVER higher level subject that I struggle to teach. Why? Because no one...not even "the experts" know it all. The truth is, my son doesn't need to know it all. So, I don't NEED to be able to teach it all. I just have to ignite a passion in him to WANT to know it all. And that I can do! After all, I know him and what makes him tick...I'm his mother!
I can learn as I teachDid you know that killer whales are not whales at all? They are actually members of the dolphin family! (Don't worry, I had no idea either! I just learned that last week while TEACHING it to my children.) So what if I didn't learn chemistry in high school?! I, myself, am a life-long learner. My son and I can learn it together.
I can Obey in Faith
Like Abraham who
"when called to go to a place he would later receive as an inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going" (Hebrews 11:8)I step out in faith everyday that I choose to homeschool. I obey the calling that God has impressed upon my heart and OBEY. Even when it is hard. Even when I doubt. Even when I have to teach difficult things...like chemistry. Because although I may not know "where [I] am going" at times, I know Who will guide me.
- By FAITH, I take one step at a time in this journey of homeschooling.
- By FAITH, I do my very best and allow God to fill in the gaps.
- By FAITH, I remember that He doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called.
- By FAITH, I know that God has a "plan to prosper and not to harm" my children. (Jeremiah 29:11)
- By FAITH, I recognize that the "steps of [my children] are ordered by the Lord." (Psalm 37:23)
- By FAITH, I trust that He has already written each of their stories, knows all of the chapters that come after my teaching is done, and (if they allow Him), will orchestrate their lives to glorify Him in all that they are called to do...not BECAUSE of my great ability to teach Chemistry, but IN SPITE of it!
By FAITH, I obey...
So, bring on chemistry!
because I've learned through these truths, that I CAN homeschool even when I don't feel "qualified" to teach higher level subjects.
Still need to hear it from a mom who's "been there, done that?" Here's a round-up of links from moms who have traveled much further along the journey than I have...and have lived to tell about it.)
- Homeschool Through High School? You Really Can - Simple Homeschool
- How to Handle Teaching What You Don't Know - The Pioneer Woman
- Homeschool? Me? I Don't Know Everything... - Sonlight.com
- Fear Not, Trust, and Rejoice - Habits for a Happy Home