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Teaching What You Don't Know

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Posted on : 2:43 PM | By : Nic | In : , , ,


One area that homeschool parents (especially new ones) feel the most anxiety about is how to teach what we don't know. I am not a scientist - how do I teach science? I stink at math - how will I give them the college prep they need?

Have you read Cheaper By the Dozen yet? I feel like I keep mentioning it. Anyway, they have 12 kids, blah blah blah, read a really good summary over at this blog. The part that's relevant to what I'm talking about is when the Dad decides all of his kids need to learn typing. He has absolutely no idea how to type - he just gets the typewriters and a book, and as they practice he thumps them on the head with a pencil if they get a letter wrong. And they all learned typing.

lol, I'm definitely not recommending thumps on the head. My point is that if you provide the tools and get yourself reasonably educated on how something is done, it can be taught. For example, I really do stink at equations. I am much better at economics, word problems, codes and statistics and geometry. But put an equation in front of me and I will really struggle. I'm lucky right now because my girls are doing rudimentary addition and playing with tangrams, but I find myself still learning along with them. I am getting a review of every math principle from the kindergarten level... what's stopping me from learning algebra all over again?

My point is that parents shouldn't stress about what they don't know, because teaching is learning. You are simply a learning guide as you explore the world together. Today my six year old asked me why people on the bottom of the earth don't fall off...so we studied gravity and mass, and even learned what a black hole is. I'm not an astronomer, but I have lots of books and I know how to read, which is really all you need to have. We demonstrated density with a foam ball, and I'm reasonably sure my 3 year old can tell me the order of the planets because of a song we made up. Who had more fun, me or them? Hmmm...

Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand. - Chinese proverb

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