One of the top reasons for not homeschooling that I hear from parents is that they don’t feel qualified to teach their children. They believe that if they don’t know Chemistry or Calculus, or whatever the subject, this lack of knowledge will hinder their child’s education. Personally, I don’t struggle with this concern or give it merit because:
- I have always loved learning. When my daughter took Algebra, which I never understood when I was younger, I learned it along with her. And for some reason, this time it made so much more sense. Anything we need to teach we can also learn alongside our children.
- If I still don’t feel qualified to teach a subject, I find someone who is. As a homeschool veteran, I know I don’t have to be the only one teaching my children. For example, my eldest daughter really wanted to take culinary classes when she was 12, so I found a wonderful cook at our church that taught her a few foundational things at first. After that, we found culinary classes for her to take. My second daughter was interested in art, so I found an artist at our church that let my daughter come hang out in her studio with her once a week. I love this method of real-world, inter-generational learning.
- I know my children can also learn independently. Over the past few months, I have been reminded about another way my children learn when I don’t feel qualified to teach them — independently. More on this below.
My 10-year-old son loves Minecraft. Last summer he mowed our one-acre yard all summer by himself, and he earned $500 to buy his own laptop. He bought a PC; I am strictly a Mac user. I told him when he bought it that I couldn’t really help him with it: Not only do I not understand Minecraft, but PCs thoroughly frustrate me.
Within six months of buying the laptop, it was full of viruses. So my son took the initiative to watch YouTube videos and chat with his computer friends to figure out what was wrong with it. I took him and the laptop back to the store where he purchased it, and he told them what it was doing and what needed to be fixed.
I have considered enrolling my son in a Homeschool Minecraft class, but I don’t know enough about it to know what type of class he would need. His skills with Minecraft and computers have grown without my help. He recently bought his own Minecraft server and built it up all by himself. He tells me all about what he is doing, and although I don’t understand a word of it, I smile with internal pride.
Last week, my son discovered that he was locked out of his own server. I told him I didn’t know what to do except maybe he should contact the company he was buying the server through. He took the initiative to contact them, then get on chat with them while they walked him through fixing the problem and how to block the “friends” that had taken over. I was just in awe that he did all of this without me.
I am not qualified to teach my son computer programming, but this “lack” on my part is not only not hindering him, it is giving him the opportunity to learn independently, develop problem solving and communication skills, and so much more.
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your child is take your “unqualified” self out of the equation: If you’re not able to teach them something they’re interested in, you can step back and see if they can fly on their own! If not, you can still find apprentice-style opportunities, outside classes or co-op programs to help fill in those teaching gaps. Either way, your children will develop learning, communication and other important life skills that are just as if not more important as the subject you feel unqualified to teach.
Do you struggle with feeling “unqualified” or not up to the task of homeschooling? What other resources and tools have you learned to turn to when you need help teaching a subject or skill you’re unfamiliar with? How do you combat the fear of not being qualified enough to homeschool? Stay tuned for our last post in this series appearing this week, Homeschooling With Faith, Not Fear! Join us this month at NextGen Homeschool as we discuss Ten Things to Let Go of This Year, and join the conversation! Find the complete series here.