What If I Don’t Know the Answer to My Homeschooler’s Question?

Are you terrified that you are unqualified to homeschool your kids?

Thinking you might look foolish if you can’t answer all their questions?

Maybe your memories of school are kind of blurry?

Pretty sure you could never make it on the gameshow “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?”?

Do you think your kids are going to stump you on the first day with random questions you can’t answer?

Well, hold on to your coffee mug Mama, because I’m about to shock you:

Not knowing the answers to your homeschoolers questions can be a GOOD thing!

surprised homeschool mom who doesn't know answer to kids questions

I know this is crazy, but trust me!

I used to be right where you are at.

My oldest child had attended public school kindergarten, but I felt so convicted that we needed to homeschool her. I was nauseous with fear and anxiety at the thought of homeschooling…but we decided to take the plunge.

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I found out very quickly that no matter how prepared I was to teach, my kids could easily throw me a question from left field that I wasn’t expecting.

Here are some examples I remember from last year:

  • While looking through a kindergarten science book on nests, “Mom, what is a weaver bird? How did he build that nest?”

  • While going through a book on clothing in different cultures for geography with my 3rd grader, “Mom, where is Martinique?”

I had no earthly idea.

You didn’t know the answer during a lesson?!

Yep. And the homeschooling police didn’t even show up!

Don’t get me wrong, I prepare for lessons and I am able to teach the assigned material.

But invariably, my girls ask follow up questions and often times – I have no clue what the answer is.

The lesson about nests was just supposed to be about all the different kinds of nests there are – I wasn’t supposed to be a subject matter expert on every bird in that book.

The lesson about cultural clothing was just supposed to show the diversity in every corner of our world – I wasn’t supposed to be able to name every one of the 7,000 (literally) islands in the Caribbean.

Aren’t good teachers supposed to ALWAYS know the answer?

You probably think that because you grew up in a traditional school environment.

I actually have no memory during my years in school of someone asking a question and the teacher saying, “I don’t know.”

Never.

They always knew the answer.

You may be wondering, “How can I be a successful, respected homeschool teacher on all these different topics if I don’t know all the answers???

4 Reasons the Hard Homeschool Questions are a BLESSING!

Are you scared that you won't be able to answer your homeschooler's questions? Maybe worried that you'll look foolish in from of them? That they won't respect you as a teacher? This is a legit homeschool fear that I had too! Click to find out how not having all the answers is actually a blessing to your homeschool!

Your kids asking you questions is not something you should fear. It should be celebrated!

Here is why:

1. Shows the student is engaged

Students who are asking questions are students that are focused, engaged, and learning.

They are interested in the topic and want to learn more – that is definitely something to be celebrated!

I am always much more concerned when I finish a lesson and I receive blank stares and no questions.

2. Safe environment to ask questions

I wonder if the reason I didn’t see my teacher stumped in school is because kids were too embarrassed to raise their hands and ask more questions.

Who wanted to admit they didn’t know something?

Who wanted to hold up the class from continuing on?

Who wanted to look like they really cared?

In our homeschool, none of those outside pressures are there. My kids are free to ask questions and dig deeper – and I love it!

3. You Have the Time for a Rabbit Hole

Thinking about it now, I do remember some teachers “answering” questions by saying it was off topic or we didn’t have time, but the child could investigate more on their own.

Do you think the student ever went home and looked up their question?

No, because the internet had not been invented when I was a kid…and also because they probably forgot.

You as the homeschool mom have time to pause your class and follow “the rabbit” with your kid to a google search or a youtube video!

You can let them lead their learning with passion and a desire to know more!

4. Awesome Opportunity for YOU to set an example!

This last reason is your joy as a homeschool mom!

Nobody likes a “know it all.”

I especially can’t stand it when I notice someone is answering a question and they clearly have no idea what the answer is.

It shows incredible humility and grace to simply say, “I don’t know.”

When I do that with my kids, it shows them that it is okay to not have the answer. 

Even mom doesn’t know everything!

You get to show your kids what to do when they run into something they don’t know.

  • Should they freak out?

  • Look embarrassed?

  • Puff out their chest and make up an answer?

  • Say it’s not important and move on?

No, to all of the above!

They will do what they saw their mother do countless times:

Say “I don’t know,”… and then find out!

My kids love to google things with me and watch youtube videos to dive deeper into a subject.

In many ways that is the heart of homeschooling – fanning the flame of curiosity and the desire to learn more.

I hope to grow them into adults who are never satisfied with the status quo – constantly trying to learn, grow, and search for more knowledge.

So, if your kids start asking challenging questions – don’t sweat it!

Congratulate yourself on your stimulating homeschool environment and then start digging with them for the answer!

Recap Difficult Homeschool Questions

Do you feel a little better? I hope so!

I know there are still a lot of things you’re worried about as you get into this homeschooling thing.

Need some encouragement and support as you navigate this new journey?

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