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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I Can't Homeschool Because I'm Not Qualified to Teach Higher Level Subjects

I Can't Homeschool Because I'm not Qualified to Teach Higher Level Subjects-The Unlikely Homeschool


"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.

Like Chemistry!

Chemistry kit

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

Asking for help from someone more knowledgeable in a subject area doesn't admit homeschooling defeat. On the contrary, it simply means that I KNOW enough to KNOW that I don't KNOW it all! I delegate teaching to someone else ALL THE TIME, even when I don't always realize it. When I need someone to read my baby a board book when I am otherwise occupied with laundry, I ask his older sister to read it. I DELEGATE. When my son wants a lesson on how to run the lawn mower, I refer him to the Hubs. I DELEGATE. When my four-year-old wants to know what animal is "the most extinct", I type "google." I DELEGATE. So, when my high schooler wants to learn about the periodic table of elements, I might have to borrow from the knowledge of the wonderful community of homeschool moms and dads that surround me and DELEGATE. (It just so happens that the Architect's Wife was on the Chemistry Team in high school...ahem! So, I think I'll know right where to go for help, if I need it!)

I can Embrace Technology

If 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-enrollment

Most 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 learning

One 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 all

I 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 teach

Did 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.

(Disclaimer:  The verdict is still out on my homeschooling ability. My oldest daughter is currently only in the fourth grade. I realize that giving advice about higher learning having NEVER experienced it is a lot like the "soon-to-be" parent giving advice on parenting simply because he/she has read a parenting "how-to" book. But, I have seen these TRUTHS played out in so many other areas of life as a homeschool mom.  

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.)

I Can't Homeschool Blog Hop

Got any more excuses why you CAN'T homeschool? If so, be sure to check out the "I Can't Homeschool Because..." series by the lovely ladies of iHomeschool Network.

14 comments:

  1. Amen! This is such a great post - and I love your points. I CAN enlist help, use technology, and admit I don't know everything. We can outsource!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement to write it, Aadel.

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  2. I've heard this excuse and the "I'm not patient enough to homeschool" excuse many times. Yes, I don't know everything and am not always patient...who does and who is?! Only God who will give us the wisdom and patience to do what He has called us to do. Good post. :)

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    Replies
    1. I've said "I'm not patient enough" more times than I care to admit...or at least felt like saying it. "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

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    2. I think I'm in the same boat, I felt at one time that I wouldn't be qualified to do home school or teach math for that matter and just to add to it all my lack of patients, let me just add, I have 5 boys, which all just have soooo much energy, I wish I could have. Anyways I decided to lock away my excuses, suck it up and start planning to put my children in home school God willing for the next upcoming school year. I feel that it is my duty as a mother to do my very best to raise my children the way I see fit and not let the public school do it or interfere with that process. I look forward in home schooling my children and am thinking, planning and strategizing for 5 boys with 5 different personalities and I pray to God this works out.

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  3. Amen on all of it! Opening up the world for our older children is so exciting!

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  4. Wonderful discussion of a common home school fear. I, too, am learning so much alongside my kids. I think you are correct that raising them to be lifelong learners--to have the thirst for knowledge and to be able to teach themselves using resources-is the real goal. It isn't knowing everything ourselves so we can feed it to them.
    Great post, Jamie.

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    Replies
    1. It most certainly is. I want to know that my kids have the TOOLS to learn with or without me. If I've accomplished that, then I've taught them well.

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  5. I'm here to tell you that you CAN teach the higher subjects, even without prior knowledge or a college degree! My oldest son and I are studying chemistry this year, and it's going great. Oh, and we've already made it through algebra, geometry, and biology, too!
    I firmly believe that if my child is going to learn something, I certainly should be able to learn it, too. :-)

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    Replies
    1. Glad to know so many other moms are doing it first. I'll know who to turn to when I get there!

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  6. My DD entered high school this year, so I am entering a new phase as well. I was very intimidated by it in the beginning, but am much more relieved now. I found one site that has awesome articles and tips that have eased many of my fears (www.letshomeschoolhighschool.com)

    I think we will make now!

    Best wishes to all the newbie homeschool high school parents and kids.

    Jackie

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  7. Most employers require a masters or a management degree for a top job placement, as a result the need for an MBA is essential in landing a lucrative job.

    ReplyDelete

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