I start my glaze calc students out with some "old" methods... and then lead them into molecular understanding and then into using glaze claculation software. Works well.
First assignment..... research a glaze RECIPE (I immediately make the verbal distinction between a recipe and a formula... to set the stage.) in books or online (that fits the firing range used) that they LOVE, that is composed only of materials that we stock in the lab. Bring in the recipe and images and share..... explain why they picked it and so on. Then mix it up (that lets us get into how to DO that... stuff like accuracy of measurements and the impact of significant figures, use of lab tools, H+S procesures, and so on) and apply the glaze test to test cylinders (and record keeping and labeling).
Then I have them research each of the raw materials in books and online. Write me out (typed, etc.) a "book' on what they found out about the characteristcs of each raw material in their glaze recipe....chemical composition, what it comes from, where it is mined (if so), what oxides it supplies in the melt, what it does when mixerd in water, and so on.
Then I have them make a decision about changing one characteristic material from their list of ingredients. Some pick different feldspars, some change from stuff like Whiting to Dolomite, some change the colorants, and so on. It is their decision what to do. (In the group setting... this lets me address a LOT of stuff to the group.) Then I introduce the concept of scientific method (short version - change ONE thing at a time ....control all else), and a line blend and how that works. They then set up a line blend system (11 points) and vary a SINGLE variable in that potential blend (sort of half of a blend....really just regular incremental stepped changes). Next comes exchanging two items for each other.... a true line blend.
Eventually when we have fired results, and can look at an analyze them, we then look at what the material changes did to the oxides in the melt in each case. Slowly we shift from a materials based approach to glazes to an oxide based approach.
15 weeks......... two - 3 hour classes a week, plus homework time. By the end....... they can mix up glazes, organize tests, do recordkeeping, use Insight at a basic level.. .... and know what they are doing at a basic level. (At NHIA we now just instituted Clay and Glaze Chemistry II in our curriculum starting in the fall BFA semester.... YES!)
Don't get overwelmed. There is a lifetime of study ahead of you. Take baby steps. You'll get there.