There is no doubt that home educators want the BEST academic experience for their children. We all want our kids to go far and to have every opportunity afforded to them. Yet sometimes it's just not practical for a parent to teach ALL the subjects their kids want or need to learn. What do you do if you can't get it all in? What if you have many children?
Many people do "cross teaching" which essentially means you teach a subject to more than one child at the same time, and the same level. My son was doing a 9th grade level curriculum (boxed type) and I was simply exhausted from trying to teach him chemistry and then do general science with my daughter who was in 7th grade. As well, two separate English courses, and two separate history courses, while teaching really advanced math, it was just too much – and I only had two children at home at the time!! Imagine having 4, 7, or 11 children in all different levels.
So anyways, I thought it might be interesting to let my daughter sit in on some of the lessons with my son. She was so ready for this – and actually helped HIM with understanding the chemistry (ah, the simplicity of the younger mind!). They began having discussions about the history, and the English assignments. My thoughts were – if she can keep up, then why am I teaching her to a lower level? So I did the cross teaching successfully. Math still had to be kept separate, but thankfully I was able to find really great tutors to take the higher math off my plate.
And that's another point – as home educators, we have that flexibility to utilize tutors. It does not signify failure or lack of knowledge to hire a tutor. Rather, it shows that we know how to use our resources wisely! It doesn't always have to be fee based, some parents trade services with tutors, and others live in an area with a high population of homeschoolers and can work with co-ops.
Besides cross teaching, tutors, and co-ops, there are online courses in a wide variety of subjects. The important thing to remember is that the parent can supervise all of these options, and if it's not what you expected or wanted it to be, then you can walk away at any time. Unlike public school (or private school) where you are stuck with whatever they have to offer.
One of the special areas that Home Education Council of America tries to work on is making things easier for home educators. You don't have to do it all yourself. We've seen a lot of parents waste hundreds of dollars switching curriculum halfway through the year because they get frustrated. If we learn to lean on reliable resources, and communicate our needs with each other, our kids can receive a superior education while we supervise the quality and ethics.
That just makes sense! This is why HECOA is now developing courses to teach parents how to teach various subjects. We also have our member Toolbox which outlines what needs to be taught for each subject – that way you can google tons of free resources online to get the job done. To access the Toolbox, simply login with your member credentials, and it will appear in the navigation menu at the top of the website!!