15 Easy Ways to Navigate Homeschooling Subjects You’re Not Confident to Teach

One of the things I love most about homeschooling is the freedom! Freedom to customize our kids' education, take a day off from academics and go on a hike, study at a local coffeeshop and so much more! But, when faced with subjects that are not in our wheelhouse, what's a hardworking, freedom loving mom to do? Homeschooling no longer feels like freedom- more like fear! The good news is that we don't have to know everything our kids need to learn- and let's face it, we can't.

I mean, just do the math. For instance, I homeschooled our 5 kids for 12 years each, on average 6 subjects a year. That's a total of 360+ classes that ranged from taking these kiddos from illiteracy to literacy as well as through Calculus, Shakespeare and the entirety of world history. Of course there are going to be classes and subjects that I can't teach, don't want to teach and am simply not qualified to teach. And same for you, My Dear!

How do I know which subjects are not gonna be big wins if I'm at the teaching wheel? One obvious clue for me that I'm in too deep with a specific subject is that I have more curriculum for that area than any other. Let me give you an example: Writing is my thing. I used the same phonics program for all 5 kids (all very different types of learners), same elementary and same high school writing programs. All 5 of my kids are strong, confident writers who can not only knock out a solid essay, but can also write some killer poetry, short stories and even a novel or two.

Math on the other hand, while I'm confident in doing it myself, is not my happy teaching place. And I have purchased all the math programs- especially for high school. Self-paced, textbook, online, manipulatives, games, computer programs, you name it, we had it! So, keep a check on areas where you are buying up all the stuff in hopes of finding the holy grail. It might be a clue that that's an area you are not so confident in teaching.

Or your kids have simply outgrown your ability. I have a super mathy kid and he definitely outgrew my math ability by mid-high school. Or you have kids who have unique interests that you don't have the personal bandwidth to pursue, but you really want to support their interest.

Now that you've identified a subject- or two -or three- that fall under the category of “not confident to teach” what's a rock star homeschool Mom to do?

Embrace a Growth Mindset

The first step in tackling unfamiliar subjects is to adopt a growth mindset. Understand that learning is a continuous process for both you and your child. Approach these subjects with curiosity and a willingness to learn alongside your child. And remember that learning curves are a real thing, and it can be tough getting started!

Leverage Online Resources

The internet is a treasure trove of educational resources. Utilize online tutorials, videos, interactive websites, and educational apps that provide comprehensive explanations and engaging content for various subjects. Sites like Khan Academy, Coursera, Hillsdale and YouTube offer a plethora of free or affordable resources. Perfect for when you need to review specific concepts or in addition to a self paced program that is working

You can read Save Your Sanity at any time during your homeschool high school journey and be encouraged by it. And it’s definitely very applicable this time of the year to help your mindset be one where you are not feeling bogged down. Click here for more information: Save Your Sanity While Homeschooling High School: Practical Principles for a Firm Foundation.

Invest in Quality Curriculum

I might step on a few toes here, but there really is bad and mediocre curriculum. And poor curriculum can be antithetical to your goals, causin confusion and frustration. Ask around, visit curriculum fairs and conventions, call curriculum suppliers and ask hard questions as you're looking for quality materials. Investing in a well-designed curriculum can provide structure and guidance. Look for curricula that offer clear explanations, step-by-step instructions, and practice materials. Many curricula also come with teacher guides that can provide the support you need to teach effectively. Check out the plethora of reviews on this site and other trusted homeschool resources.

Join Homeschooling Communities

Connect with other homeschooling parents who might have experience in the subjects you find challenging. Online forums, social media groups, and local homeschooling meetups are great places to seek advice, share resources, and collaborate with fellow parents. Creating small in-home co-ops can be just as beneficial as large community based co-ops!

Hire a Subject Tutor

If the subject is particularly challenging or advanced, consider hiring a subject tutor. This could be a professional tutor, or a retired person from church. Tutors can provide one-on-one instruction tailored to your child's needs and can offer expert guidance in areas where you feel less confident. We hired a tutor for our 3rd math minded son as his skills progressed beyond my math paygrade. He kept going with Math in college and ended up with a math minor!

Seek Out Online Classes

Many online platforms offer virtual classes for various subjects. Enrolling your child in an online class taught by experts can be an effective way to ensure they receive quality instruction. Engaging with a live online instructor who is a subject matter expert can be a game changer for students and help them discover new opportunities. World class teachers, like those at True North Homeschool Academy can change your kid's future!

Learn Alongside Your Child

Don't be afraid to learn alongside your child. Dive into the subject materials together, explore concepts, and discuss what you've learned. This not only shows your child that learning is a lifelong journey but also strengthens your bond. After our house fire, our entire family learned how to drywall, tile and grout, lay brick, sand and finish floors, and so much more! We learned right alongside of our kids' thanks for books, YouTube tutorials and the helpful people at our local hardware store!

Break Down Complex Concepts

Break down complex concepts into smaller, more manageable parts. This approach allows both you and your child to gradually grasp the material without feeling overwhelmed. In the academic world, this is called scaffolding and is an important educational concept!

Focus on Practical Applications

Whenever possible, emphasize practical applications of the subject in everyday life. Real-world examples can make abstract concepts more relatable and easier to understand. Remember all of that construction work we did after our housefire? We flexed our building muscles, but also math and science application and so much more!

Encourage Independent Learning

As your child progresses, encourage them to take more ownership of their learning. Provide them with resources and guidance, but also allow them to explore and research independently. Becoming an auto-didact is one of the best ways you can future proof your kids during this time of societal disruption.

Make Learning Fun

Inject creativity and fun into the learning process. Incorporate educational games, hands-on experiments, and interactive projects to make the subject more engaging. And if you can't make it fun, at least make it rewarding! For certain, difficult programs, we would let our kids pick the reward they wanted upon completion, hence our very large lego collection!

Practice Patience and Persistence

Homeschooling subjects you're not confident in teaching requires patience and persistence. Understand that progress might not happen overnight, and setbacks are part of the learning process. Building resiliency and grit are great skills!

Cultivate a Supportive Environment

Create a supportive environment where mistakes are seen as opportunities for growth. Teaching our kids that failure is just a part of learning, is an importnat life skill! Encourage open communication, and let your child know that it's okay to ask questions, seek help and even fail. Remember what Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work!

Focus on Transferable Skills

While teaching the subject itself might be challenging, focus on the transferable skills your child can develop. Skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, how to memorize and effective research skills are valuable across various subjects and life situations.

Celebrate Achievements

Celebrate your child's achievements, no matter how small. Recognize their efforts and progress, which can boost their confidence and motivation. Learning is serious business, but the thrill of accomplishment and acquiring new skills is definitely something worth celebrating!

In conclusion, homeschooling subjects you're not confident in teaching is an opportunity for both you and your child to learn and grow. With the right mindset, resources, and support, you can provide a well-rounded education that equips your child with essential skills and a love for learning. Remember that your dedication and commitment to your child's education are what truly matter.

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Lisa Nehring
Let's Connec

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