The “I Have to Teach What?” Meltdown

How can I teach science when I can’t light a bunsen burner?


I can’t light a bunsen burner. If there was anything that could have failed me in high school, that was it. My friend Becky and I were a team and both terrified of the burner. So one of us would turn on the gas and the other would light the match. Then there would be this HUGE flame, terrifying both of us, and the one with the gas would turn it off instead of down. No flame. Over and over and over… Mr. Crowell, our teacher, would just watch us and laugh. When we ran out of matches, which was a weekly occurrence, he would have to go to his office for more.

So how in the world am I equipped to teach chemistry when I can’t even light a bunsen burner? Well, there were some other issues, like refusing to touch anything that “we” were dissecting. I always zeroed in on one of the basketball players whose grades were on the line. I’d tell him: you dissect, and I’ll do the write-up. The offer was never refused. Strategy was more up my alley, and my science career honed that craft.

I imagine you think you know where I am going: when you are a homeschooling mom, you are just going to have to bite the bullet and get it done. But you forget that I am queen of getting out of science strategy. My strategy: have someone else teach them. So obvious. In our homeschooling community there were several parents very good at science, like in degrees in science good. They didn’t like teaching English so well. So……we had a wonderful solution.

But we moved, 700 miles away from all my brilliant science moms. I have one child left, and she is going into 9th grade this summer. I don’t have any brilliant homeschooling science moms around. And there my perfect strategy bombs.

So here I am, it’s July, and Biology is breathing down my neck. What’s even worse, my daughter is looking forward to dissecting (she did not get that from me). So I am going to get a DVD course, mess up her experiments, and get her brother to help her dissect. (He really got into it in Biology, enjoying squishing eyeballs at the other homeschooled girls).

My point to all this drama is this: homeschooling moms do not need to drop out when their kids reach high school because of fear. I homeschooled my four children, and three of them are doing great in jobs and college. The fourth has a few more years left. My science failure did not become theirs. Remember that you took all these classes in highschool, and somewhere inside you all that information is waiting to come out. If you feel you didn’t get taught well enough to teach it to your children, then why send your children to the public school to get that very same kind of education you got? If you have solid reasons to send your high school student to school, that is fine. But if it is because of fear, take a breath and don’t panic. I suggest strategizing.

9 thoughts on “The “I Have to Teach What?” Meltdown

  1. My mom was a public elementary school teacher. She loved English but hated math. She worked a “deal” with one of the math teachers, (who hated English), to teach her students math while she taught his English. So I understand how this thing works, I’ve seen it first hand πŸ™‚



  2. I did the same thing in biology class. I had the boy who was my lab partner dissect while I wrote everything up. Now, I have my husband help. Lucky man got to help the kids dissect a cow eyeball. πŸ™‚

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