I’ve graduated one (he’s a Freshman in college this year) and my other is a junior–you can do this! Don’t let fear hold you back. The junior high and high school years can be intimidating at first, but they are such rewarding years, watching our children become young adults. In many ways, these years are like the changes from birth to 5–vast and significant changes that are hard to even imagine when looking at that 6th or 7th grader! And in many ways, you take them the same way–one step at a time. Try not to let worry, fear, and self-doubt derail your years, and lean hard on the Lord.
Math–we used Math-U-See, which has worked out great for us. There are videos showing how to do everything, and then the Teacher’s Manual has all the instruction as well, and sample problems to work through, showing exactly how to answer them. Whenever my kids got stuck, I would have them either rewatch the video, read the instruction in the TM, or both. And if I forgot how to do something, I could go back and read through the TM as well. The answer keys show exactly how to work the problems as well. And if we still got stuck from there, MUS has great customer service. The student or the parent can call for help.
A friend of mine uses a tutor–another homeschool mom who is gifted in teaching math. She pays her tutor, but many people barter for tutors as well. If you don’t like teaching one subject, see if you have a friend and can trade subjects (maybe your friend doesn’t like teaching English or writing.) And, as mentioned, there are online courses.
For science, we have mainly used Apologia Science. My children have done different levels at different ages (one is stem-minded, the other is not)–so one did Physical and Biology and a third alternate course for high school. The other has done the Biology-Chemistry-Physics, and will do Advancied Biology (her favorite) next year.
The labs in Apologia are very doable at home. And, surprisingly, there’s nothing out there that says how many labs you must do to call a course a “lab” course. We don’t do all of the labs, but try to do one per module (what Apologia calls a chapter–usually 2-3 weeks of work), or at least one a month. That’s a very doable pace. I’m sure some people do more and some do less. It’s easy to order science kits that already have what you need for Apologia (Sonlight, Rainbow Resource Center, Home Science Tools, and all kinds of companies have them).
When we did biology, I was worried about the dissections (I have a chemically sensitive husband). I read that the new procedure replaces the formaldehyde so they don’t stink, but I wasn’t sure if it would work for us–so I planned to do all of our dissections in one day in the summer so that we could go outside if needed. Turns out they really don’t stink! Also turns out–planning them all for one day was a GREAT idea! You only have to get out all the stuff one time, the student improves in doing it as they go, and you only have one clean-up time.
After that experience, if we get behind on labs, I’ve often set a day aside for my student to just do labs and blow through several to get caught up. Labs seem easier when you’re in that mode, to us at least. Not too long ago, I heard of a place about 2 hours from us that offered to do all of the labs for the year in a 2-day seminar! I forget who offered that, but what a great idea! Some people get together with friends to do experiments too.
In the early years, child management and direct teaching take up a lot of time. In the later years, there’s not as much as that, but sometimes you may want to spend time reading or studying to help your student find an answer or understand something. (I like to be hands on, so that’s the way I approach things–some people approach it differently I’m sure.) It’s not more time (probably a bit less)–just spent differently. When something is hard, I tell my daughter, “We’re two intelligent women. We can figure this out!” And we do! If we didn’t, I’d call a friend who’s good in that subject, I’d call a homeschool company, or I’d post online–we have a great community in each other here!
So, I say all of this to say–you may hit rough spots, and that’s okay. Potty training may not have been easy. Teaching your kids to read may not have been easy. You didn’t know how to teach your kids those things ahead of time–but when the time came, you learned what you needed to, you found resources to help you, and you did it. High school is like that. You’ll learn what you need to, find resources to help you, and you can do it. Maybe you’ll want a video or computer course to teach one of these subjects. (By the way, you can enroll in online classes for Apologia too–so if you really don’t want to teach it, there are options). Maybe you’ll take advantage of dual enrollment and have your kids do some math or science at a local community college.
Take things one step at a time, one year at a time. You can definitely give your students a college-prep education, and they can be successful. The years may not be free of fears, worries, and trepidation–but keep going to the Lord for wisdom and perseverance, and remember he is with you. I’d love to say I never had worries, LOL, but that wouldn’t be true! But I CAN say, God was with us and IS with us every step of the way, leading, guiding, comforting, encouraging.