Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Homeschool? Me? I don't know everything...

And some mornings I wonder if I know anything at all.

I hear this question a lot:

"How can I homeschool, I don't know everything? I am not a teacher."

I want to ask you, “Does anyone know everything?” I mean, I probably know a lot of stuff you don’t know, and you probably know a lot of stuff I don’t know, and yet we are functioning adults and do quite well.

We do not need to know everything in order to teach our children. We can learn right along with them. And, we really do not need to teach them everything they need to know by the time they are 18. Haven’t you learned a LOT since you were 18? I bet you thought you knew a lot when you were that age and now you realize how little you knew then. More frightening yet, is how little you know now. It seems like the more we learn, the more we realize we don't know. But, maybe that is a discussion for another day.

Take heart! Teachers don’t know everything either. Doctors, lawyers, rocket scientists—they don’t know everything either. In fact, and this is the honest truth, I talked to a rocket scientist last year. She and her rocket scientist husband were going to homeschool their five year old so she called me for advice.

I was mentioning how she could teach using literature and how effective that can be. She didn’t know she should be reading aloud to their children! I mean can you believe that? Here is a rocket scientist, someone who we think should know it all, or at least know a LOT, and I was giving her advice about reading aloud to her children in order to develop language skills, family closeness and to transfer core beliefs. She didn't know that. She learned something new that day and so did I.

No one knows everything.

Also, if you really get stumped, help is pretty close. I have found that there are people in my community that can help if chemistry or calculus is more than you can teach. There are community college classes that students as young as 14-15 can take. There are co-ops and other opportunities—tutors if you need them and the amount of help you can get on line or with DVD's and the like is staggering.

Maybe one of the best lessons your children will learn is that "we are not quitters" and "you're never too old to learn something new." I think if our kids see that someone as ancient as mom or dad can tackle Algebra 2 for the first time, surely they can do anything they set their minds to.

You don’t need to know everything. What you need is a strong desire to enable your child to learn as much as he can in the time you have him home. You can help him pursue his desires and encourage him as he struggles though something that does not come easy. You can learn Calculus along with him if you need to, or have him take it away from home.

Homeschooling does not mean that you know everything or that you have to teach everything. I loved it when my kids would say, “You didn’t know that, did you Mom?” And I didn’t. We learned it together.

What a blessing, to learn along side of your children.

Sometimes you teach, sometimes you learn, sometimes you tutor or mentor and sometimes you bring in outside help.

You can do it. You can homeschool. Take the first step now and don’t worry about chemistry labs and foreign language. You can worry about that when the time comes. And when the time comes you will be surprised how many different ways there are to accomplish an incredible high school education without going to a traditional school. You can do it-I know you can.

Take care,


[Photos: High school student Cris with book written and illustrated by Cris; Chad and Dusty in middle school working on school work, Scotty learning outdoor cooking.]


  1. Hi Jill,
    I just ordered some of your soap and in an email from you found your blog. I'm enjoying reading your posts. We homeschool, too. I've graduated two boys from high school and am currently teaching a 1st grader (with a 2 year old destroying the house as we learn :0)! ). I'm always amazed at how much I learn right alongside my kids. I tell everyone I talk to....if I can can too! I love helping moms get started in the whole new world of homeschool.

    I'm following your blog now. You might check out mine...I'm new to the blogging world and I'm still getting my feet wet. :0)

    I keep getting info. about Sonlight curriculum and have never even looked at it. I've used Bob Jones and Saxon Math for the most of our homeschool lives. I started my daughter with My Father's World and really like it. Just wondering if God might be speaking to me about a change since "Sonlight" keeps popping up..... I just ordered a catalog. Praying about it, too. Any thoughts on why I should make the switch would be appreciated.

    Thank you and God bless.

  2. Hi,

    I have lots of thoughts and I also want to invite you to check out my Sonlight Webpage at congratulations on graduating two sons.

    So, why Sonlight as opposed to other curricula that are out there.

    Reading great books inspires children to do their own hands on activities such as drawings, writings, pyramids out of sugar cubes, beaver dams out of sticks and mud and so on. Many curricula have plans for moms to spend lots of time and money preparing coordinating hands on activities. Sonlight and I believe we just need to provide a learning-rich environment and great books--and that is all you need. The kids will take it from there.

    Sonlight's goal [and my personal goal] is that of creating Ambassadors for Christ that are equipped to reach THIS generation. With Sonlight's broad base of books and their detailed IG teacher notes, children are taught to "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." I know with the well rounded education they get from Sonlight that they have been prepared to go to a our state universities, sit with people of varying backgrounds, and they have not been judgmental, but seek to understand where the person is coming from, then show Christ's love to that person--as an Ambassador.

    I found many curricula try to advance their own religious agenda, but with Sonlight the information is given to you and then it is up to you to interpret it to your kids. The study notes constantly remind us to measure what this person or nation did by looking to God's word, but they are very balanced and lead kids to learn how to think critically and not to believe something just because it is in a book.

    And, the thing that makes Sonlight head and shoulders above any other curriculum--the Instructor's Guides [IG]! If you are convinced that the literature approach is the way you want to go, look at Sonlight's Instructor's Guides. They are amazing--and another benefit, you can get all the books from Sonlight so there are no fruitless trips to the library and book store.

    The editions match the IG right down to the paragraph and page number. They schedule every reader, read-aloud, history, science and Bible book and have great study guides for each book. The study guides have notes on everything from place and setting, to maps and time line suggestions, as well as comprehension questions [with answers], cultural literacy and nature questions and much more. The IGs save you so much time, and are so complete, they are unparalleled.

    Those are a few reasons I heartily recommend Sonlight--thanks for asking.

    As a note, I would like to invite you to join my private Sonlight Forum where I am available to give advice and it is also be a private forum where my customers can chat about SL or about whatever is on your heart. Just email me if you would like an invitation to join.

    Please let me know if I can help you further. If you have friends that are interested in Sonlight or in homeschooling, please direct them to my Sonlight web page.


  3. the outdoor cooking pics look so amazing...I really love the scripture verse in Micah 6:8 it says, "...and what does the Lord require of you, but that you act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God."
    There is little more humbling than to honestly admit you do not know everything, but then exhibit a willing heart to search for the knowledge desired. What could be a better example for our kids?

  4. That is true, Jenny--and I have strived most of my life to live up to Micah 6:8. A short verse that no matter long I live I will never do it perfectly.
    Thanks for your comment.