One of the biggest questions I see expressed by homeschooling moms is whether or not they can teach their children. Some moms worry about teaching subjects like math or science, and other moms feel okay with the elementary grades but worry about what to do when their kids get to junior or senior high. We may feel that, since we don’t have an education degree or a degree in every subject our kids are learning, we aren’t qualified to teach them.
My Homeschool Experience
However, I don’t think that should deter a mom from homeschooling. In this, of course, I have my own mom’s example. She taught my brothers and I for grades 1 through 12. I think the biggest key to being a successful homeschooling mom is a willingness to learn yourself.
My mom demonstrated her commitment to being a lifelong learner by returning to university after my brothers and I finished high school. In fact, she and I both graduated with our second degrees last June.
When I was a student, homeschooling was a relatively new thing. Many people looked at us funny when we mentioned that we were homeschoolers, because they’d never met any other homeschoolers. Mom was, in many ways, forging her own path.
We used a homeschool curriculum from a company in the States, and she had some support from friends who homeschooled and our local school board. Mostly, she had her enthusiasm; I think she was often more excited about what we were learning than my brothers and I were!
Resources for Homeschooling Moms Today
Today, there are so many resources available to homeschoolers. Homeschooling is now much more common and many companies are competing for homeschoolers’ dollars. I have the option of multiple homeschool boards to register with, instead of the two school boards that my mom could chose between twenty years ago.
Doubts Homeschooling Moms Have
If you are feeling like there is a particular subject or level of school you can’t teach, don’t worry. You don’t have to do it alone. For example, if you feel your child needs math support, you could hire a tutor to work on that subject with your child while you do the other subjects with them. If they need science support, maybe there is a local science program that offers classes or camps to supplement what you are doing at home.
If your child is struggling in a certain subject, maybe a simple switch in curriculum can help. Both my best friend and I struggled with math in elementary school. Our moms eventually both switched math programs and we found success with doing Saxon Math.
The curriculum options available today can be a bit overwhelming, so I recommend talking to other homeschooling moms about what has worked (or not worked) for them as a way to determine if a specific program may be good for your child.
Homeschooling Junior High and High School
If the upper grades worry you, remember that your child should be a more independent learner by that stage. In high school, I did most of my school work by myself, with my mom checking my math or science worksheets. Learning to study and to apply myself to my books that way helped me when I reached university.
Think of yourself as an education facilitator, helping your child find the right resources and explore them, and making sure that they do reach the outcomes, more than a teacher who has to explain gravity or algebra to your teen. You may also be tracking their course work and putting together a transcript for them.
In high school, my younger brother began to struggle with math. He and Mom tried switching curriculum several times, but nothing seemed to work. Finally, he enrolled in math courses at the local high school. Thankfully, he had an excellent teacher there whom he connected with and he was able to complete his math courses.
My mom is actually the math whiz of the family (she got an A in her university calculus course a couple years ago), but was unable to help my brother figure it out. Instead, she found someone else who could help him understand math—at least enough to pass the course.
Remember that you can take homeschooling one year at a time. Approach each year with a willingness to learn and to be flexible to your child’s needs and interests. Be open to new ideas for teaching and learning, and know that there is a lot of support available to you as a homeschooling mom. Take advantage of those resources, from tutors to pre-planned curriculum to local classes, and figure out what works for your family and your child.