I feel that this needs said and I do not mean any hard feelings as I write this.
Homeschooling is a way of life and it can make it where even close family and friends can no longer relate to you. I have a small fraction of the population where I can come to ask questions or discuss a topic related to homeschooling.
I get enough grief for my decision to homeschool outside this circle. When I come here and want to be a part of a discussion, or ask a question, I should feel free to do so without the judgments and criticism.
I get that a lot of homeschoolers think that it shouldn't "look like school". However, how much more or less a person models it after public school, is up to each parent. What materials they choose, how long they want to do school, the activities they choose to do to count as school... it is all up to each parent to choose. I do not answer to the school, my family, or even to other homeschoolers concerning these decisions.
I have never come here asking how long I should homeschool for, what kind of homeschool method I should use, how much I should model my homeschool day after the public school system.
Not everyone is against the public school system. Not everyone is paranoid of the government. I live in a state with strict laws and it doesn't even personally bother me any. It is all stuff I do anyways, and yes it is time consuming and inconvenient to put all that information together and pay to have someone to check over it all.
Then again, I live right in between big cities (Baltimore, Philly, DC..) and there are medium and small cities scattered about. A large population of people live close together. I see how parents fail their children, and how communities fail their children - on almost a daily basis. So I am a bit more patient and understanding with certain laws.
We each have our own circumstances and backgrounds that color in our pictures as homeschoolers - despite what we have in common.
If a unschooler can come in here and expect to ask for specific advice or join in a discussion, and reasonably ask not to have their "method" criticized. Then, also, a homeschooler that wants to do it to the polar opposite, should also be able to come in here and ask of the same exact thing.
It distracts from the conversation if people get too focused on "advising" on the area that they think is the problem, the method. Unless it is that they specifically want advice on. Unless what I am doing is emotional, mental, or physically crossing some line of abuse in your mind, then there is no reason to criticise how I choose to homeschool my kids.
Some think that because what is their experience is what will apply to others. They say well, I have been doing this awhile and this is what I experienced and learned...
I have homeschooled before. I used a relaxed eclectic method. I was a married SAHM at the time. We had both the money and time to comfortablly homeschool any way we saw fit. I had grand ideals and plenty of confidence.
I homeschooled my oldest child through part of 5th grade, and up to 9th grade. She has since attended public school for the past two years of high school.
She struggles in certain areas. To the point that she can not effectively learn at public school. She takes all of her work home and learns it all there.
A teacher told my daughter that she is not prepared for college at all. Some of it being because she can not learn in a school environment. We recently sat in on some college classes. A family member that lives a few hours away and who we do not see often, is a college professor, and we talked to him a bit. He agreed that my daughter would struggle with college if some habits were not developed soon. My daughter in the past two years has acquired enough credits to graduate a year early (next year). She scores fine on all of her tests, she makes straight A's, is an intelligent and hard working girl. Yet she is NOT ready for college.
My daughter and I have had talks and I know where I went wrong with homeschooling. Some of the issues she has is because of public school and some because she was homeschooled. I would let her make decisions and she admits now that she had no idea of what she was doing. She also now says that she just followed me - she was easily wanting to make me happy, agree with me, etc. It hasn't hurt our relationship. She doesn't feel like I steered her too far off course, and she says that she still feels better off from the homeschooling than had she attended public school all those years. She has a love for learning and she learned a good bit. However, there were lessons learned from the experience. Most teachers never have to be accountable on this level. They do not have to bear the weight of accountability solely on themselves for a single child (because that child passes through so many handlers). They do not have to live with and so closely experience the consquences... for good and for bad.
I make my choices to homeschool the way that I do, based on MY set of circumstances. Based on MY lessons learned - which is basically based on just MY perceived thoughts of various experiences. You might read this and walk away with a completely different outlook.
I do not write this to advise you to steer clear of certain ways of homeschooling, or from educating your child at home. I do not respond to unschoolers posts saying they are doing it wrong, that their children will hate them, or that they should listen to me because I have XYZ experience (all things I have heard in the past few days). I don't do it because I respect that they have a right to do it their way, learn their own lessons, and recognize/respect that what works for one doesnt work for everyone. I appreciate and respect those differences - and the freedom to have them.
Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air... Emerson *FIRE DRILL*