Self-Education: Preparation for Teaching


Why should I study?

A few weeks ago I posted about the importance of self-education. Since then I've had some great conversations with other homeschoolers about making time for studying (here are a few time management tips). Two more questions came out of those posts and conversations. First, why should I study?

In the first post, I shared about how I want to be ready for those logic & rhetoric stage discussions, which is one of my reasons for studying. Another reason, not addressed yet, is the fact that it's easier to teach a subject that you are comfortable with. When I am confident in my knowledge of a specific subject it is much easier to teach or to modify a program to suit my needs. 

Annie Kate shared a great reason to study - I also like to learn interesting background tidbits, such as stories about scientists, etc. that add flavor to their learning.  I've found that anything I learn ultimately comes out in the homeschooling.

I agree with Annie Kate and have had that happen many, many times. Things I've read or studied always seem to make it into our discussions at some point.

And the next question - 

What should I study?

So how do you go about educating yourself? This is going to look different for everyone, depending on what skills and knowledge they already possess. I made a list (surprise, surprise!) of the subjects TJ would cover and divided them into 3 categories according to my abilities and weaknesses.

Category 1 - Subjects I need to study

In this category,, I include those topics that will include discussion and interaction. If I want to be ready for those discussions then I need to prepare!

  • Literature - I love literature but I am not so great at analyzing it. But I know that in the future I want to be the one discussing literature and historical events so I am using The Well-Educated Mind to really work on my depth of understanding. (I'm almost through the list of the novels and I can tell that my reading skills have grown.)
  • History & Geography- I also try to read a few historical/factual books each year - focusing on whatever upcoming time period we are learning about. 
  • Logic - I'm totally new to this subject. For now, we just use logic puzzles and games but, in the future, I want to include formal logic study so I'll be studying this in a year or so!

Category 2 - Subjects that require regular teacher preparation

The programs that fall into this category are those that I am comfortable teaching though I do spend time reading through teacher's manuals and studying what I'm not too sure about. The more I understand a subject the easier it is to teach and modify as needed.

  • Foreign Language
  • Language Arts
  • Math (lower level)
  • Science (lower level)

Category 3 - Subjects that will be outsourced

In these early years, I'm teaching everything, but I know that in the future there are a few subjects that will be outsourced. I plan to teach these subjects as long as I am able but, at some point, I will be looking for help to teach the following:

  • Math (upper level)
  • Science (upper level)
  • Latin

What subjects would you add or change?

And, if you are interested in reading more on self-education, Susan Wise Bauer has some great articles:

Tonia L

Hey! I'm the owner of Happy Homeschool Nest - a website devoted to helping homeschool moms balance the needs of homeschooling with managing a healthy and happy home.