There are a lot of reasons to homeschool, but very rarely does anyone ever say, “I’m going to homeschool because I know more about vacuum polarization and quantum tunneling than a physics teacher.”
Let’s face it, none of us are experts in everything. Homeschool classes help. Textbooks, worksheets, and tutors can sometimes fill in the gaps. But for me, and many homeschool moms, the lifesaver in the areas where we have shortcomings have been the Great Courses.
I found a few Great Courses at the library and then started ordering one or two throughout the year. They’re on the pricey side, but when they’re on sale, they’re a good investment because the quality is top-notch. The professors are all from ivy-league or leading universities and colleges, or they’re experts in their field, like the geologist from National Geographic. That guy knows way more about ancient ecosystems than I could ever hope to. They’re professionally produced and visually beautiful (although we have a few on CD that we’ve used for car trips – the music ones tend to be perfect for this).
Last year, The Great Courses started offering an online service called The Great Courses Plus, where we got access to stream pretty much the entire library, whenever we wanted, wherever we wanted, and as much as we wanted, for an annual subscription. What I especially appreciate about this service is we can pick and choose certain lectures that tie into our current focus of study, rather than going through an entire course, which sometimes can be too much information or take us too far ahead of our lesson. It’s easy for the kids to watch what they want, and review what they need in order to take notes or grasp a topic. I even ended up donating hard-copy courses I had bought to the library because all the DVDs we have were already on The Great Courses Plus. Two points for decluttering AND charity!
The accessibility is another huge benefit for me. One reason we homeschool is so we can travel. It was incredibly convenient to be able to pull out my tablet, open the course on National Parks, and hear about the processes that produced Yellowstone’s geothermal formations, specifically the geysers, while we were ON OUR WAY TO YELLOWSTONE!
So while I may not be qualified to teach quantum tunneling and ancient ecosystems, I am glad I have this trustworthy resource at my fingertips, full of people who are.