After spending a lot of time answering each family individually, I thought it might be helpful to share some basic information for anyone considering the homeschooling journey. I'll make it a series, since there is no way to fit it all in at once. While I'm sure there is plenty that I'm leaving out, here is an attempt to introduce you to homeschooling. Part 1:
There are about 5,473 reasons to homeschool. I really can't think of any reasons not to homeschool at the moment, but I'm sure they exist, too. Rather than go through the many reasons to consider homeschooling, let's address the stereotypes against homeschooling, as they might be scaring you a bit.
What about Socialization?
Socialization is the "process that provides an individual with the skills and habits necessary for participating within his or her own society." First, let's consider the logic involved in saying that public school is a good place to achieve this process. If "his or her own society" refers to other 2nd graders, then sure, public school will give your child a good skills for participating with other 2nd graders. Maybe. If "his or her own society" means the world around them, then no, not so much. In fact, public school students tend to learn only how to interact with their immediate peers, but are stunted in their growth in interaction with anyone else.
There are awkward homeschoolers. There are also awkward public school students. I was one of them. Freakishly awkward and I'd never even heard of homeschooling. Out of the hundreds of homeschooled students I've met, I've only met 2 that qualified as awkward. I assure you that public school was not going to change that fact. And I can also assure you that I've met many more awkward public school students.
Fear of Gaps
But what if I leave something out? What if he applies to college and ends up humiliated because he doesn't know Blaise Pascal's middle name? Or how to add?
#1, Why would they need to know old Blaise's middle name? #2, You would have to try really, really hard to keep them from learning how to add. The truth is, everyone has gaps. Everyone. You, my friend, have gaps. Do you remember finishing your textbooks at the end of every school year? No, no you don't. It may have happened once or twice, but I doubt you got there without the teacher skipping chapters. The point is to learn how to learn, so that you can continue to grow in your education for the rest of your life.
Please note that homeschool students tend to score significantly higher on standardized tests, so they don't seem to be missing much. And just so you know, Blaise didn't have a middle name.
How can I teach without a teaching degree?
This is a concern for a lot of first time homeschooling families. It's also a concern expressed by many in the teaching community. It is an unfounded fear. You know your child better than anyone else. You can do this. If you know how to read, you can teach your child anything. If you struggle with any area, there are resources, many of them free, that can help your student learn without your help. But even better, you can learn with your student! If the data showing the incredible test scores of homeschooled students (most of whom are taught by parents that don't have teaching certificates) doesn't convince you, then just friend a few teachers and public-schooled high school students on your facebook page. A few weeks of watching their spelling and grammar errors, and you'll feel much better about your abilities.
How do I know if it will be a good fit for us?
Prayer.Drink deeply of 1 Chronicles 16:11 and Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! Don't let fear step in the way. 2 Timothy 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. If you feel God is directing you toward this method of education, you know that He will give you what you need to do it and do it well. You can do this. Philippians 4:13 says so.