I don’t know, but I can find out.

Afternoon peeps!

Our week has gone well in general, I hope yours was alright as well.

What do you do when you don’t know the answer to a problem?

Choosing to learn at home comes with some amount of criticism, often posed as concerned questions.

One common one is:

“What happens if your child has a problem with a subject and you can’t help them?”

The criticism is that a homeschooling parent cannot possibly have the same knowledge base, resources, or ability to assist a student that a school teacher possesses. An accompanying assumption is that when faced with lack of knowledge, all hell breaks loose.  Next thing you know little Timmy is a delinquent.

The common rebuttal in the form of a answer to this question is, “I will find the answer, or I will find someone who DOES know the answer.”

Little Bee (10) asked to learn computer programming this year.  Except for a frustratingly boring semester of C++ nearly two decades ago, I have no experience with programming.  I remember sitting for hours looking much like this:


Undaunted by the fact the mere presence of code makes me break into a cold sweat, I said yes. She’s two years ahead in math, so I let her cut back to math three days a week, and add programming for two.

She is working through the java script learning modules on Khan Academy.

Into module three there was a PROBLEM.

The Scream by Edvard Munch, 1893

She was getting an error message, and could not figure out which line was in error.  I looked it over twice.  That’s right, I looked at code for my baby. THAT is love.

I could not make heads or tails of it.




I posted to Facebook asking for help.

I emailed computer smart friends not on facebook.

I even contacted her Dad, my ex husband, who spread the need for a tutor among his contacts.

Guess what? Her Dad found someone willing to give her his time via email or video chat whenever she needs help.

In the end, we didn’t need to contact him over her problem because I FIGURED IT OUT.  That’s right, ME.

My slow coding ignorant  noggin finally saw the error.

When I say I’m slow, I’m serious. During IQ testing they tested my processing speed and I’m like a commodore 64 (1982 computer) in an Intel processing world.Yet I can remember (long term and working mem) more sh*t than the average bear, including it seems twenty year old coding knowledge.

So, potential earth shattering educational misfortune was avoided.


We can all sleep tonight.  If we want to. Maybe.

I know that when she has another issue with this, if I can’t figure it out, I have someone to ask.

I don’t have to know it all.

Homeschooling or not,  I’m sure there are times when you’ve needed guidance from other people.

Do you have a favorite mentor? (could be a teacher, or colleague, another artist, or an author…)


(sorry my personal facebook is very private I am not adding ANYONE NEW, but the blog has a page link in the right column – lookee! )









5 thoughts on “I don’t know, but I can find out.

  1. Mercy McCulloch Hasselblad says:

    Lol, this question is funny, I remember getting it, along with “How do the kids get socialized?” My mother homeschooled all 7 of us kids. It’s amusing sometimes… People don’t seem to realize that EVERYBODY used to be homeschooled… I remember doing some of these searches, we had a list of people for various topics who were teachers or general experts. 🙂 On a side note, my hubby learned programming in high school and it’s been a super valuable skill for him and for us. Props to your daughter for taking interest! That’s the other thing I love about homeschooling 🙂

  2. h4rrish4wk says:

    I keep saying that I’m going to try Kai in lower school – and if he LOVES it and takes to it like my mother (or uncle mark) took to school – then he stays in and I’ll just help him.

    HOWEVER if he takes to school like myself and my uncle did – then I’ll take him out after lower school and home school him for his secondary education.

    I keep getting asked “what about socialization?” by a friend whose concerned about that and all I can do is keep repeating: There’s: Scouts, Karate or some other form of martial arts, lots of local groups and clubs to be in – this is a town of a quarter of a million people, my son is NOT going to be starved for socialization – and sometimes – it’s not even as deathly important as people say. Socialization for me was hell on earth – people need to stop being so wed to the concept.

    A child is not going to learn better if they’re forced to go somewhere they’re horribly bullied and not going to learn to interact with people better having to go there – than they would learning in an environment with one-on-one teaching and going to some clubs.

    • amandasmills says:

      Exactly, there is no shortage of social activities outside of school. Some homeschoolers I have known actually have the problem of trying to cut back so they can fit school in! And as you said, (and is backed up not only historically, but by child development research) spending the whole day with ones peers is not essential nor always healthy. We can attest to the damage it can do (to self esteem, to learning)

  3. Teacher Learns to Code says:

    School teachers go through this same struggle! I work in a teacher preparation program, and we talk a lot about disequilibrium…that moment when you suddenly realize you don’t know and don’t know what to do. This is such an important moment! Both for teachers and students…

    I think we need to value and feel encouraged by it! (Which is never easy!)

    The thing is…in today’s Information Age… teachers, parents, etc. don’t need to be keepers of knowledge and information. We need to be resourceful, and know how to reach out and search for answers. When we can do that, we can support our children in doing it.

    Congrats on figuring out your conundrum! It’s exciting to learn side-by-side with children! (And I am personally impressed because I’m trying to learn to code, and know how hard it is to dig deep and move forward when you get to those stuck-points!) In my own personal journey, I have found a combination of more-knowledgeable friends/colleagues, internet searching, and gatherings of other beginners to be helpful…not sure if any one of those in isolation without the others would be as helpful 🙂

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