Tuesday, October 11, 2016


You heard it!

There are some classes that I failed at teaching.

My MOST difficult one to Teach
Teaching languages has been an utter failure for me in my homeschool teaching career. My kids have tried EVERYTHING from Mango Languages, to Currclick Live, to Landry Academy, to Abeka Academy and lastly Middlebury Interactive.

None of them - not a one have given them the same level of expertise I found while learning both French and Spanish in the classroom.

Why? Well because No-One-Is-Speaking it to them.

As a last resort, my daughter, Tiger Lilly really wanted to prolong her Japanese lessons so I hired a Japanese tutor to work with her weekly. She won't listen to the Immersion CDs because she'd rather have someone speaking to her. As for my son, he has a 'basic' understanding of the Spanish language but doesn't feel confident speaking or writing in it.

This is the one class I am throwing in the towel on. I had to find outside and IN-PERSON classes to meet this need. 

Teaching Writing was another challenge. Now I love writing. I'm pretty good at it also. However, teaching it, reviewing work, and making the curriculum just wasn't as effective as I thought it would be.

My kids needed someone to help them learn grammar and editing rules while checking their work. I've had to order this curriculum out because they preferred to learn from an 'interactive' tool or teacher.

We've used Time4Writing, Fortuigence, San Diego Scribblers and lastly a private tutor. The combination of all of them worked well.

Teaching Advanced Math, Oh my goodness! Teaching up til Algebra 2 wasn't too difficult. Watching videos, teachers and having a few tutors here and there worked well. Most all of their classes were successful with Abeka Academy, Saxon, CTCMath and Teaching Textbooks (for Geometry).

But when we hit Pre-Calculus and Calculus there was a roadblock, limited teaching materials and difficult problems.

I hired a tutor to work with my daughter through her CTCMath and Saxon Calculus materials.

Physics and Chemistry were very difficult to teach. Especially, since the labs were not easily done at home. Also, I wasn't comfortable with these courses when I was in college 25 yrs ago and still am not.

These subjects we did a 'light' learning of by using Abeka Academy and Study.com videos. In each scenario the kids learned a lot, but didn't get the full experience of doing 'labs.'

I used Landry Academy 'Intensives' camps to expose them to labs.


If I was doing this all over again, I would've hired out the subjects I knew my kids needed a 'great' takeaway or in depth understanding for as far as college was concerned.

Come to find out, my daughter didn't have to take Chemistry or Physics in college. So, I should have done my research earlier and wouldn't have needed to stress out about it so much.

We hired a tutor to work with the kids 2 times a week on the Curriculum we chose for them.


Writing, Grammar, Reading! And Math. 

Make sure your student can Read and ComprehendWRITE (grammar and reading) well and understands MATH up to Geometry and Algebra 1 at least. All colleges at least want that. Even a job wants that. All entry test have those basic skills on it.

So if you're not confident in assisting your student in learning the above, don't feel guilty about 'hiring' to teacher or tutor.


  1. I think what you said here is really important, Nita. We've paid for music lessons for years for each of our children. I had some musical background but they all play different instruments. Myy youngest dd loves art and draws all day every day so I have a young ex-homeschooler who comes to our place periodically to give her instruction. I don't think it's any different to getting someone else to teach maths or science or whatever.

  2. Yes. Absolutely yes. Sometimes you just need more knowledge than you have yourself . . . at least I do. That's why my oldest is taking her Spanish classes at the community college. :)

    Interestingly, I'm finding that even when I do have enough knowledge in an area, sometimes an outside expert is better. I'm quite a good teacher, and I'm quite a good pianist, but I've never been successful at giving my children piano lessons.

    I wonder why that is.

  3. I with you on many of these. Luckily once my kids get beyond Algebra 2 their dad is happy to take care of maths for me. And I definitely want to outsource writing - not so much for the mechanics but to help develop the writer's voice. My attempts seem to result in the writer developing my voice which wasn't the plan at all!

  4. It looks like you know what works and doesn't work for your family and aren't afraid to step in to get the balance right. My daughter works with a few tutors now and from them she's picking up lots of skills that she can carry over into other subjects. I think being exposed to different teaching styles occasionally is good for our children.