Many parents considering homeschooling feel that they aren’t smart enough to teach their children. I’ve had this fear too, especially when thinking ahead to the high school years. I never took advanced science or math classes in high school or college. I don’t have a teaching certificate. The only teaching experience I had before homeschooling was toddlers at vacation Bible school.
You don’t have to be an expert to teach.
It’s pretty ingrained in our society that only experts should educate. From middle school on, sometimes earlier, each subject is taught by a different expert. So, it’s natural for us parents to be a little nervous about taking on the job of what is usually done by several trained experts. However, you do not need to be an expert in every subject to homeschool successfully.
If you are dedicated to learning along with your child, you’re smart enough to homeschool. The library and the Internet are full of resources you can use to increase your knowledge and understanding of any subject. It’s perfectly fine to say, “I don’t know; let’s look that up.” Actually, it’s more than fine. It’s beneficial for your child to see you struggle to learn something and persevere. You are modeling the valuable skills necessary for lifelong learning and self-education. Your children will watch you learn and grow over the years. This is not something children in traditional schools will experience since they have new teachers each year.
Don’t worry about calculus yet.
If you’re considering homeschooling your six-year-old, there’s no need to stress over whether you’re “smart enough” to tackle subjects like algebra, calculus, and chemistry. Those are way down the road. When the time comes, you may find that the subjects you struggled through, failed, or never took at all aren’t that daunting after all. Think about it; by the time your child reaches high school, you will have essentially repeated your entire elementary and middle school education. If you have multiple children, you will have repeated it multiple times. This sets you up to be much more prepared than you were the first time you attempted (or opted out of) these difficult subjects as a teenager. Chances are you may also be a lot more motivated and dedicated to learning than you were in high school or college. So, don’t worry about calculus for now. If you can read, write, and do basic math, you are smart enough to teach these subjects to your small child.
The Difficult Subjects
At some point, there will probably be at least one subject that, despite your best efforts, you struggle to teach. That doesn’t mean that you’re not smart enough to homeschool. There are so many resources available to homeschoolers today: online courses, video-based curriculum, tutors, and homeschool co-ops, to name a few. Some private schools will even allow homeschool students to enroll part-time for just a course or two. If you are smart enough to recognize when you need help and seek out help, you are smart enough to homeschool.
You can do this!
When you doubt that you’re smart enough to homeschool, remember that it’s good for your children to see you learn. You don’t have to figure it all out now, and you can seek help when you need it. Also, keep in mind that school teachers don’t know it all either. That’s why they have answer keys and teacher’s manuals! 😉