When my husband and I were just two starry eyed people in love, with our future ahead of us and talking about having kids as you do, he mentioned that he would like us to homeschool our kids. My reaction was a very sweet, "Nuh-Unh!!! That's freaky amish weird!!!"
I really didn't know anything about it at all. But, then we met some homeschoolers and they were very polite, smart, well-behaved kids.
I thought, 'hmmmmm.....'
Then, we watched a show called How'd They Do That? In that show, the family had 6 kids and the mom homeschooled them from 8-11am every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. After school, all the kids had to pack up and go work in the family restaurant. At the time the show aired, the 17 year old was teaching college and the 15 year old was working on his master's degree!!!
I said "I wanna do that!"
Alas, I'm not quite so ambitious and my 17 year old just graduated high school. He does work for us in our pool business, though. I like that. But, we didn't do school every single day like that mom did. But, that's really what I love about it. You can go at your own pace, or your child's as the case may be. A lot of people think they have to follow the public school's schedule. You Don't!!!!! That's the beauty! You can also learn whatever your child feels like learning. Those unschoolers are some of the smartest bunch of kids I know!
You might think Unschooling means they just sit around in their undies eating Cheetos and watching cartoons all day. Well....I suppose they actually COULD be in their undies eating Cheetos (that's a plus in my book!). I can assure you they are NOT watching cartoons all day. They are exploring their world and learning a heck of a lot about it.
This is not a bash on public schools. I went to public schools. Go Cardinals! Excuse me while I give a shout out to my Pottsboro homies! I turned out quite well, thank you very much.
But, I graduated not knowing what I want to be when I grow up. I also didn't learn to manage money, balance a checkbook, or vote. Those are pertinent things a person needs to learn before they go to college. My son may struggle with algebra but he knows the difference between a democrat and a republican. I was able to make sure he knows that. That's the real beauty of homeschooling.
Also, because he's been allowed to pursue his own interests instead of what the state says he needs to know he knew what path he wanted for his future by the time he was in the 8th grade. We were able to tailor his education around that. That has been profoundly beneficial. It'll also save money on college. No flipping around majors!
I also notice social benefits to homeschooling. You hear all the time about "socialization"."What about socialization? What about socialization?" Well, I think homeschooled kids are better socialized. That's because they are around a wide range of people on daily basis. They tend to be polite, respectful, and able to carry on a decent conversation with adults. They also tend to be a little naive of the real world. That's refreshing in a world of Jackass movies and sex education in schools. I have some friends whose homeschooled children just got married. Their wedding kiss was their FIRST kiss. Awwwww!!
My son didn't know about Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, and The Tooth Fairy until he was 13! He never even questioned them. (no, he's not retarded!! He's special!) Just kidding, he's sweet and trusting. I love that.
Homeschooling isn't always easy but I think the reward is worth the effort. I feel immensely blessed that I was able to experience the joy of shaping my son's education and giving him the gift of pursuing his own educational interests.