I admit it. I’m not smarter than a 5th grader. At least, not when it comes to math. Two, going on three, of my kids are already learning things beyond my ability to teach (at least, from memory). And that’s ok. Teaching subjects you don’t enjoy or understand well can strike fear in the hearts of the most enthusiastic homeschooling advocates. There are a few ways to get around the hurdle.
More than likely, there are other homeschooling families in your community. In most areas, there are several homeschool support groups set up. If you don’t have a homeschooling support group locally, you should consider starting it yourself. It is nice to have others to talk to about the challenges you may be having.
Once this support group is in place you can bring it up to the group that you are facing a challenge in a certain subject. Ask if it would be possible for you to bring your children to the home of someone that is better at that subject than you are. In turn, you could do the same for others in the group that may face a similar situation with a different subject. This is usually referred to as a homeschool co-op. Some homeschooling support groups have these set up already. If not, you could initiate this in your group.
Ask around among your network of friends and relatives. Does anyone have a passion for a particular subject? You may find a mentor for your student who just loves poetry, or art history, or something else that bores you to tears, who can make that subject come alive for your child.
Another option is to have your children use online courses. These could be from sources like Khan Academy (free), from colleges that offer classes a la carte (my son has taken a couple of these), or other resources you can find.
Don’t underestimate what your kids can learn all on their own, without assistance from you. After all, do we really teach our children how to walk? Nope. They have to stumble around, experiment, fail, and eventually figure it out. But they all do. Think too of immigrant parents whose kids learn to speak a new language that the parents themselves can’t understand. This is an extremely common phenomenon.
Another option is to take classes yourself so that you will be able to improve your skills and feel more comfortable when you teach the subject. For many homeschooling families, learning is a way of life. It is a lifelong habit! Some homeschooling parents love the fact that they are able to revisit their own education while teaching their kids.
Lastly, get the children to help each other. My oldest son often gives his younger brother a few pointers when he’s a bit stuck with his math. This is great because it helps reinforce the understanding of the one doing the teaching, and I think it draws siblings closer when they help one another.