Saturday, January 17, 2015

Homeschool moms do not (need to) know everything

I was talking to a new acquaintance at church, and she asked me what I do. I said that I have been homeschooling my girls for the last however many years. She said, "That must have been a great adventure!--because you would have to research everything that you taught them."

Yes, and go on Jeopardy when I'm done.

I didn't have a chance to correct that at-least-partial-misperception, and anyway it was only after I got home that I really thought about what she meant. No, homeschool moms do not know everything. If we're smart, we do not even research everything; that would be kind of like laying out a treasure hunt for the kids and then answering all the clues before they even finish reading them. Anyway, I've found I rather like knowing less about some subjects (e.g. knitting) than the Squirrelings do. Knowing that Mom is going to be of very little help on whatever it is (and sometimes Dad as well) forces them to find things out for themselves.

Some parents may be afraid to homeschool because they feel they don't know everything, or, as this person said, because they think they're going to spend their evenings "getting up a lesson" (to quote Charlotte Mason) and pass themselves off the next day as experts on snakes or the solar system. They hope that the kids are going to listen to what they say, but not ask any really difficult questions. And that they won't want to learn computer coding or basketball drills or something else we never learned ourselves, because that could be embarrassing.

Most homeschooling parents do figure this out pretty quickly, though: home education is not the equivalent of Mom giving an oral report every day. People who do know snakes or the solar system have said it better in their own books (or sometimes other media).  That's what we use. I am there to help find the books and to see to their ordered serving (another CM phrase). I am there to encourage engagement.  I am both the coach and the cheerleading squad.

I teach what I can. I help where I can. And sure, I do learn a lot along the way. But what matters more is that they're learning. Right?


Dawn said...

Amen! This is wonderful, Mama Squirrel.

Karen said...

I love every bit of this. I know my children must tire of my shrugs and eyebrow lifts throughout the day...but there is simply so much they want to know that I don't know and my head feels too crowded most of the time anyway. This is refreshing.

Lisa Smith Potter said...

Exactly! I love the last paragraph!

Find the books, ordered serving of the books, encourage engagement (it is up to our students after all!)
You sum up the truly ideal day so well, thank you!

Silvia said...

Just what I needed to hear,

thanks for the encouragement.