It started when my oldest son was in fourth grade. He needed to study geography, but I had never studied geography before. He was only in fourth grade, so I wasn’t too afraid. I found a LIFEPAC® set by Alpha Omega Publications® which cover the geography of the world at a fourth-grade level. We read all the lessons and studied the globe together.
But what do we do when they are in High School? What do we do when the classes we teach them can affect the rest of their lives? The short answer is that we do the same thing that I did when Zack was in fourth grade. We learn.
No matter what grade you are teaching, it is always best for you to understand what you are teaching before you begin. Sometimes that is easy. Most adults already know how to read, write basic sentences, add, subtract, multiply, and divide. Sometimes it is not as easy. You might not have done well in math, so you struggle with algebra. Many schools make students pick between history and geography at some point, so you might have holes in your learning of one or the other. Your student may be very interested in forensic science, which you never studied.
As with all decisions about our families and our homeschooling, we need to begin by seeking the Lord. You want to teach from God’s plan, not just make your plan and ask God to bless it. Pray about what classes your student should take. Pray for wisdom in selecting material to teach these subjects. Spend some time listening for the Lord to speak about these classes. Don’t forget to pray that the Lord would bless your time preparing and your learning as well as your student’s.
How to Prepare to Teach with Your New Curriculum
There are many curriculum options available to homeschool families that teach their subjects very well. Most students can pick up those books, read them alone, and do all the activities without the intervention of a parent. You should prepare yourself for the possibility that your student may not be able to do that. Purchase your curriculum early so that you can read through it, understand what they are teaching, and be able to answer the questions yourself.
Sometimes you need to investigate a little more. If you find that you do not understand the curriculum, or you cannot answer all the questions in the books you expect your students to finish, you’re going to need to do some more work. It’s not enough to get the answer key and read the answers to your student. They will always learn better if you can talk to them about the subject rather than read an answer key. Sometimes they won’t even understand the answer given in the answer key. So get prepared.
How I am Preparing to Teach Astronomy Next Year
When I select curriculum for my students, I always use Christian material. When I’m doing my own research, I go broader in my selections. Here’s an example. I am currently preparing to teach Astronomy for the first time. I have read two middle school level Christian astronomy textbooks, two high school level Christian astronomy textbooks, and I’ve started the first of two college text books, one of which is consistent with a creation science worldview. The second college text book is secular and talks frequently about evolution, the big bang, and billions of years of cosmic history. Once I finish reading all this material, I will understand basic astronomy, taught from a Christian and a secular worldview. I will be able to teach the students at my homeschool co-op about basic astronomy, and will be able to field any questions about both Christian and secular world views. I won’t necessarily teach them about evolution, the big bang, or billions of years of cosmic history, but if they’ve heard about that and want to ask questions, I should be ready.
Don’t be afraid to teach something new. You just need to embrace the idea of learning something new yourself. You may not be able to teach an old dog a new trick, but you can teach any age homeschool mom a new subject! If God has called you to teach this new subject, He will give you the tools you need to teach it.
You can do it! You can homeschool successfully for the Glory of God!
Cheering you on,
Meredith and I have many resources to equip you to be a confident homeschool teacher, even if you don't know a subject very well. Here are our how-to-homeschool books.