{Day 6} Real Motherhood: Teach Them What You Know

There are skills you have, stories you can tell, knowledge you can share. 

Maybe you do these things for a living. Maybe you minister to others with your creative gifts.

But let me ask you something. Do you share yourself with your children?

I didn’t until recently.

I felt that I had to put some sort of systematic plan in place. I thought that I needed extra resources, a schedule, a routine.

I don’t know a lot about many things. But I know a lot about a few things. Isn’t that true for all of us? 

Though my oldest is 10, I didn’t become a stay-at-home mom until 4 1/2 years ago. Before then I worked at a 4-year liberal arts college. It was a great job. I taught American History. I worked with college freshmen to help them discover their gifts and build community. I gave tours of a local historic site and never tired of telling its 150-year-old stories. 

In my spare time {of which there was little}, I read and took pictures and journaled in scrapbooks. I dabbled in all sorts of creative.

When I left my job and began teaching my children at home, there was a disconnect between what I’d done professionally and what I shared with my own kids.

People often said to me, “Oh you’ll be a great homeschooler! I bet your kids will just love history!” And no one believed me when I said that I wasn’t teaching as much history as I’d like, that I struggled to teach what I know to my own kids. 

Because of my perfectionistic tendencies, I felt that if I couldn’t do things systematically and creatively {as I did in the classroom}, I couldn’t do them at all.

But something clicked this fall. I realized the ridiculousness of my thought patterns. The truth is, I can teach American history to children without a book or syllabus in sight. I can tell stories and answer questions and explain how this idea relates to that event. 

And I was keeping it all to myself. 

Once or twice a week the kids and I pile on the sofas with a few library books and I simply talk to them about what I know. I use pictures from the books and I read a few excerpts here and there. I answer their questions. 

I don’t have an actual lesson plan for history. We don’t follow up with cute hands-on activities. I’ve realized I don’t need those things. I move chronologically and we learn through conversation. It’s fun for all of us and I’ve wondered why I didn’t start this years ago.

Whether you homeschool or send your kids to school, whether you work outside the home or stay at home, you have the opportunity to share yourself with your kids, to teach them a little about the things you love and know something about.

It doesn’t have to be academic. This transference of what I know has begun to seep into other areas as well. I’m teaching Blondie some basic photography skills with my camera. No plan. No rules. When we’re out and about and I’m taking pictures, I let her take some too. 

I’m letting them {one at a time} help in the kitchen more. No plan. No rules. When I’m cooking and they’re interested, I just explain what I’m doing and let them pitch in.

And when they have questions about God and truth, when they’re struggling with the “realness” of it all, I tell them my own story. 

I tell them how I struggled too…and how I still struggle. But I also tell them that God made Himself real to me and then I pray that He’ll make Himself real to them too. No plan. No rules. Just an honest sharing of where I’ve been and how He’s brought me to a beautiful place of faith.

Maybe you get excited about math or bread-baking or painting. Perhaps you were {or still are} a scientist or nurse or librarian. Whatever you love, wherever you’ve been, don’t keep it from the most important people in your world: your children.

Teach them what you know.


“Education is a life.”

Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

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& topics thus far.}


  1. says

    I’ve heard that “you can’t teach what you don’t know,” although I’ve certainly seen a lot of people try to do that.

    But it’s taken me awhile to learn the opposite: you CAN teach what you DO know. You can do it however God guides you to do it, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be according to a patented formula or in a publishable form, if you know what I mean. God’s call doesn’t have to be answered in one particular way. I’m grateful for that, because it means that even I can be useful!

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