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Help! My Child Knows More Than Me!!

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Help! My Child Knows More Than Me!!


I sometimes hear from homeschooling parents who are concerned that their child knows more than they do! Their child will ask them a question and the parent doesn't understand what they're talking about. Or the child will insist the textbook is wrong!

I am here to tell you, it's SO OK for your child to know more than you do! You don't HAVE to know all the stuff they are learning - that's their job, not yours.  Remember that you want your children to become auto-didactic (self-teaching), so they can succeed in college and in their careers.  Knowing how to teach yourself is one of the most important indicators of success. So when your child is learning on their own, that is a GREAT thing.

I did also have a strategy for "the answer is wrong" reply.  Sometimes the answer keys ARE wrong, but most homeschool curriculum will have a support email, or an 800 number you can call when such questions arise.  When your child thinks an answer in the textbook answer key is wrong, you can contact the book author and find out whether they're correct.  When I got frustrated with my children because of their protestations of incorrect answer keys, I would tell them that their answer had to look EXACTLY like the answer key.  If it didn't, the answer was marked "incorrect" unless or until my child called or emailed the textbook author to get the corrected answer.  That put it in the hands of my children to solve the problem, and not me.

Instead of saying "Help! My child knows more than me," realize it's wonderful that homeschooling will allow your children to learn at their own pace - even when they know more than you!  It's a good thing, not a bad thing - and certainly not a reason to prevent parents from homeschooling!

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Please note: This post was originally published in April 2009 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Your teenager has a lot to learn in order to be successful in homeschool high school.  As the parent, there is a lot for us to learn, too!  In your role as teacher, coach and guidance counselor, there is a lot of information that you need to internalize in order to successfully navigate the high school waters.  Help is available with the Gold Care Club!

 

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Comments 21

Guest
Guest - JW on Thursday, 10 July 2014 00:46

Latin. My daughter and I ended up simply learning together, doing the same assignments and shoring up each others' weaknesses. It was more like we were college buddies taking the same class together.

Latin. My daughter and I ended up simply learning together, doing the same assignments and shoring up each others' weaknesses. It was more like we were college buddies taking the same class together.
Guest
Guest - Assistant to The HomeScholar on Thursday, 10 July 2014 12:54

Dear Jo,

What a great idea!

Robin
Assistant to The HomeScholar

Dear Jo, What a great idea! Robin Assistant to The HomeScholar
Guest
Guest - Ann on Wednesday, 09 July 2014 13:05

When one of my boys insisted his answer was right, and I flipped out because it didn't match the answer key, I called Teaching Textbooks. I was surprised to hear the teacher's answer: If your son says it's right, mark it right, and don't give it another thought. He is the one in the thick of studying the subject--trust his judgment (or words to that effect). That was good and liberating advice! =)

When one of my boys insisted his answer was right, and I flipped out because it didn't match the answer key, I called Teaching Textbooks. I was surprised to hear the teacher's answer: If your son says it's right, mark it right, and don't give it another thought. He is the one in the thick of studying the subject--trust his judgment (or words to that effect). That was good and liberating advice! =)
Guest
Guest - Staci on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 03:38

The first yr was tough now into the 2nd yr.my 2 boys (Ages 12 & 14) seem to really have the hang of it and come to me with questions if needed. We use Saxon math, daily gram , Spanish and History for grade appropriate text.Some added subjects for my older son because he's in high school but I won't bore anyone w/ that. But for the most part my kids like to be on their own and they like their own space!!!
Love all your advice because I ? Myself all the time as the high school days roll ahead !! :?
Thanks,
Staci

The first yr was tough now into the 2nd yr.my 2 boys (Ages 12 & 14) seem to really have the hang of it and come to me with questions if needed. We use Saxon math, daily gram , Spanish and History for grade appropriate text.Some added subjects for my older son because he's in high school but I won't bore anyone w/ that. But for the most part my kids like to be on their own and they like their own space!!! Love all your advice because I ? Myself all the time as the high school days roll ahead !! :? Thanks, Staci
Guest
Guest - Assistant to The HomeScholar on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 03:47

Thanks Stacy! Lee loves to help. It's so nice when children get into a routine and take care of stuff themselves. What a blessing!

Robin
Assistant to The HomeScholar

Thanks Stacy! Lee loves to help. It's so nice when children get into a routine and take care of stuff themselves. What a blessing! Robin Assistant to The HomeScholar
Guest
Guest - Kel on Saturday, 07 September 2013 05:26

Yes! Online courses helped me out. I am and my son is enjoying SOS from AOP. I am going to order Monarch for my youngest soon.

Yes! Online courses helped me out. I am and my son is enjoying SOS from AOP. I am going to order Monarch for my youngest soon.
Guest
Guest - Marie on Sunday, 27 May 2012 09:55

Our elementary age student is more knowledgeable than his parents. He thinks that because he knows more than us that he doesn't have to obey us. We have to keep showing him that he still lacks wisdom. Hopefully we will be able to get through this season before puberty hits.
As for curriculum, we mainly use video based or online courses so he can teach himself or be taught by someone who can keep up with him academically.

Our elementary age student is more knowledgeable than his parents. He thinks that because he knows more than us that he doesn't have to obey us. We have to keep showing him that he still lacks wisdom. Hopefully we will be able to get through this season before puberty hits. As for curriculum, we mainly use video based or online courses so he can teach himself or be taught by someone who can keep up with him academically.
Guest
Guest - Susan K. Stewart (website) on Tuesday, 14 June 2011 19:58

One curriculum company talks of learning gaps as though it's something that can be fixed. The fact is we all having learning gaps of some kind.

I filled in some of my gaps while teaching my children by learning along with them.

One curriculum company talks of learning gaps as though it's something that can be fixed. The fact is we all having learning gaps of some kind. I filled in some of my gaps while teaching my children by learning along with them.
Guest
Guest - Get Smart(er) | Sonlight Blog (website) on Monday, 23 May 2011 03:20

[...] agree with Lee’s thoughts. And I love the way that homeschooling encourages everyone to learn more. Love [...]

[...] agree with Lee’s thoughts. And I love the way that homeschooling encourages everyone to learn more. Love [...]
Guest
Guest - Lee (website) on Monday, 28 March 2011 02:48

Thanks Rebecca! I appreciate your encouragement!
Blessings,
Lee

Thanks Rebecca! I appreciate your encouragement! Blessings, Lee
Guest
Guest - Rebecca G. (website) on Sunday, 27 March 2011 14:11

Lee,

I want to say that I appreciate all that I am learning through you.

I have a 15 year-old who is so computer savvy. He helps me out when I have had problems with my computer. He protects his computer with anti-virus software that he approves of. I am very proud of him. I don't mind that he knows more than me. Sometimes, people become experts at different subjects, and that is a good thing.

Rebecca

Lee, I want to say that I appreciate all that I am learning through you. I have a 15 year-old who is so computer savvy. He helps me out when I have had problems with my computer. He protects his computer with anti-virus software that he approves of. I am very proud of him. I don't mind that he knows more than me. Sometimes, people become experts at different subjects, and that is a good thing. Rebecca
Guest
Guest - Bev on Friday, 18 March 2011 01:06

This happened long ago, and it took me a while to get used to the idea. Now when people ask me how I teach pre-calculus, etc., I answer that I don't - I just coach!

This happened long ago, and it took me a while to get used to the idea. Now when people ask me how I teach pre-calculus, etc., I answer that I don't - I just coach!
Guest
Guest - Kaari on Monday, 05 July 2010 16:18

This happens a lot with topics that particularly interest my children, and especially as they get older. My oldest was frustrated with the park specialist who did not know we have water beetles here, and had no answers about the tiny frogs we have encountered. But our homeschool support person encouraged my son to keep attending and find answers and make contacts with local staff until he can make friends and connections with knowledgeable people in his field of interest.

We as parents may not have the answers; but we can encourage and direct their attention and focus until they get to the resources or people they need.

This happens a lot with topics that particularly interest my children, and especially as they get older. My oldest was frustrated with the park specialist who did not know we have water beetles here, and had no answers about the tiny frogs we have encountered. But our homeschool support person encouraged my son to keep attending and find answers and make contacts with local staff until he can make friends and connections with knowledgeable people in his field of interest. We as parents may not have the answers; but we can encourage and direct their attention and focus until they get to the resources or people they need.
Guest
Guest - Corine (website) on Saturday, 12 June 2010 11:13

So True! I think a lot of parents don't homeschool simply because they know they don't know all that their kids need to learn so feel inadequate. If only they realized how normal it is... and that their kids know lots of things that their public school teachers don't know, too!

So True! I think a lot of parents don't homeschool simply because they know they don't know all that their kids need to learn so feel inadequate. If only they realized how normal it is... and that their kids know lots of things that their public school teachers don't know, too!
Guest
Guest - Lee (website) on Friday, 25 September 2009 23:53

Hi Kimberely,
Here is an article that may help, called "Letting Go of Teaching."
http://heartofthematteronline.com/letting-go-of-teaching/
If you need more help, call me on Wednesdays during my office hours, OK? I'd love to talk with you! Here is information about my free office hours:
http://www.thehomescholar.com/free-homeschool-consulting.php
Blessings,
Lee

Hi Kimberely, Here is an article that may help, called "Letting Go of Teaching." http://heartofthematteronline.com/letting-go-of-teaching/ If you need more help, call me on Wednesdays during my office hours, OK? I'd love to talk with you! Here is information about my free office hours: http://www.thehomescholar.com/free-homeschool-consulting.php Blessings, Lee
Guest
Guest - Kimberely on Friday, 25 September 2009 13:33

I believe I have made the mistake in some areas of "over teaching" and not letting my kids "self teach"....how do I remedy this? A couple of my kids may resist this change as their personalities like me to sit next to them and "motivate" them all day to get work done.

I believe I have made the mistake in some areas of "over teaching" and not letting my kids "self teach"....how do I remedy this? A couple of my kids may resist this change as their personalities like me to sit next to them and "motivate" them all day to get work done.
Guest
Guest - Jeff Thompson on Thursday, 27 August 2009 08:45

Rather than sad, I think it's exciting!

A couple of years ago, my daughter did Bridget Ardoin's excellent "High School Physical Science in Your Home", http://scienceforhighschool.com/physcisamples.shtml . It was a good course, but the last section on rocks and minerals was a piece of cake for my daughter who obsesses on the topic. (So does my dad, but it seems to have skipped my generation.) I decided to do something I haven't hardly ever done. I gave her a test on the material. I wandered around the house and found rocks and minerals scattered everywhere on the shelves and asked her to identify them.

The exchange went about like this:
Me: What is this?
Her: Aragonite.
Me (in a conspiratorial whisper): Is that what it is?
Her: Of course!

I gave her an A.

Rather than sad, I think it's exciting! A couple of years ago, my daughter did Bridget Ardoin's excellent "High School Physical Science in Your Home", http://scienceforhighschool.com/physcisamples.shtml . It was a good course, but the last section on rocks and minerals was a piece of cake for my daughter who obsesses on the topic. (So does my dad, but it seems to have skipped my generation.) I decided to do something I haven't hardly ever done. I gave her a test on the material. I wandered around the house and found rocks and minerals scattered everywhere on the shelves and asked her to identify them. The exchange went about like this: Me: What is this? Her: Aragonite. Me (in a conspiratorial whisper): Is that what it is? Her: Of course! I gave her an A.
Guest
Guest - Lee (website) on Saturday, 25 July 2009 22:59

LOL! Carol, I love this!

“mankind doesn’t have the answer to that yet”

That's awesome!
Blessings,
Lee

LOL! Carol, I love this! “mankind doesn’t have the answer to that yet” That's awesome! Blessings, Lee
Guest
Guest - Carol (website) on Saturday, 25 July 2009 09:13

Hi Nikki,
My son is now 16 1/2 and it has been years since we accepted that he was smarter than both his parents. I think it is important to model how to handle being wrong gracefully as well as reminding him that knowledge is not the same as wisdom and experience ~ we have all known people who may have much book knowledge but not a lot of perspective, love and laughter. I realize that my son knows much more than I do in many areas and that my 'answers' are often wrong but I am able to laugh at myself, direct him to find the answer, as Lee says, and also in some cases say "mankind doesn't have the answer to that yet".

Hi Nikki, My son is now 16 1/2 and it has been years since we accepted that he was smarter than both his parents. :) I think it is important to model how to handle being wrong gracefully as well as reminding him that knowledge is not the same as wisdom and experience ~ we have all known people who may have much book knowledge but not a lot of perspective, love and laughter. I realize that my son knows much more than I do in many areas and that my 'answers' are often wrong but I am able to laugh at myself, direct him to find the answer, as Lee says, and also in some cases say "mankind doesn't have the answer to that yet".
Guest
Guest - J W on Tuesday, 21 April 2009 10:49

Yep. The only times I allow my daughter to roll her eyes at me are when 1) I butcher the pronunciation of some French word, and 2) when I attempt to talk about anything that has to do with knitting or crocheting.

Yep. The only times I allow my daughter to roll her eyes at me are when 1) I butcher the pronunciation of some French word, and 2) when I attempt to talk about anything that has to do with knitting or crocheting.
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