With my oldest daughter turning four years old, the age where we begin homeschooling in earnest is looming. One of the biggest obstacles to homeschooling is quite simple: how do I teach what I do not know? My math and Hebrew skills will only be passable for the first few years of instruction. I will be working on those.

The method we plan on using, named after the educator whose writing it is based on, Charlotte Mason, suggests hours of outdoors activity per day, complete with keeping a nature journal. Thus, I’ve begun keeping my own nature journal, trying to teach myself art and “outdoorsy” stuff, like the names of plants, trees, and birds. Mason also recommends art appreciation and handicrafts in the curriculum, which means I’ve been teaching myself that as well.

Although I attended relatively good schools, I am struck by how inadequate my education was in so many areas. In his biography of Winston Churchill, Martin Gilbert paraphrased a letter Churchill sent home to his mother about why, at age 21, he planned to hire a tutor for himself. Churchill said, “The desultory reading I have so far indulged in has only resulted in a jumble of disconnected & ill-assorted facts.”