One of the most common reasons I hear for not homeschooling is the fear that parents will be unable to teach higher subjects such as calculus, physics or trigonometry. Just about every article about homeschoolers is followed by comments like, "That's fine for elementary school, but how will you teach Calculus?".
If this sort of worry is keeping you from homeschooling, it's time to put your mind to ease.
The reality is that there are resources available to homeschoolers to teach any subject. Whether your kids need to take higher math classes to get into their colleges of choice or they develop passions for subjects you know nothing about, there are many ways to meet their needs.
Here are just a few.
Free educational courses and videos online. Khan Academy is one example of a completely free curriculum available for students online. This particular resource offers short video lessons in subjects such as SAT preparation, Precalculus, Calculus, Physics, Statistics, Biology, Chemistry and more.
Individual college classes are also frequently offered online, such as this Astronomy course from Michigan Tech. A quick google search will literally turn up more free educational resources than you could ever use in literally any subject you can imagine.
Online lesson plans for educators. Likewise, you can find lesson plans, reading lists, science experiments and other teaching tools in any subject you need online. Newspapers in Education offers weekly lesson plans in a plethora of subjects, for example. NASA offers lesson plans for every grade level in quite a few areas, such as Earth Sciences, Physical Sciences and Technology. Mosaic offers a free world history curriculum and there are so many more. Freely Educate is a great source of daily leads on free lesson plans online.
Community College classes. Many homeschooled students take advantage of community colleges for classes in advanced subjects. Here's an example -- a nine-year-old homeschooled child who took community college classes part time and thrived. His mother wrote:
"The interesting part to me personally is that, he transitioned from being a totally unschooled shy kid, with no prior formal school experience (but for the on and off state univ classes, previous cc experiences), to being one totally responsible and social kid, and he was able to handle the college classes and the responsibility that goes with it."
He has done so well he is now taking classes in graphic design, biology and physics! And while it's less common for such young homeschoolers to take such advanced classes, it is extremely common for homeschooled teens to take them.
Purchased curriculaThere is a wealth of curricula available to homeschoolers in every subject you can think of. Much of it is in the form of scripted lessons (where the parent only needs to read the instructions), lessons on CD and other means so that even if the parent doesn't feel exceptionally competent in the subject, the child can still learn. The Rainbow Resource catalog is an excellent (free!) guide to literally thousands of curricula like this, with detailed reviews of every one.
Books and videos. Children can easily learn from library books, Netflix DVD's on various subjects and other resources. Many of these are available for free as well. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute offers free DVD's on a number of science subjects from evolution to AIDS to cloning.
Homeschool Coops. Many homeschooling parents get together and teach group classes, dividing up subjects so each parent teaches in his or her own areas of interest and expertise. The St. Peter area Christian Community Coop is one example in the Mankato area.
Tutors. While it's less common, some homeschool families also take advantage of tutors in certain advanced subjects. Older homeschoolers in the community can also serve as inexpensive tutors for teens, or they can simply help each other out. Businesses such as Sylvan also offer tutoring services, but public school children are much more likely to use these services than homeschooled ones, statistically. In Mankato, the Mathnasium offers math tutoring for students in grades K-12.
Teaching themselves. One of the joys of homeschooling is that children become self-directed learners. They don't need to be spoon-fed their education and can learn on their own from books, videos, the internet, independent exploration and all of the wonderful opportunities for learning that the world contains these days.
The reality is that with the massive amount of resources available, there is truly no subject that homeschooled kids can't easily master.