I homeschooled for 5 years...up to 5th grade with Abby. The reasons for this were varied, but at the time, one of the main reasons was that I had completed a kindergarten cirriculum with her (in about 60-90 minutes a day, 4 days a week) when she was four. She was already reading and the school where my husband taught at the time would not let her test out. Public school is not an option for us, and I wasn't going to pay thousands of dollars to have someone teach her what she already knew. So I decided to take one year at a time and she continued at home. My kids were all really close in age, so with every passing year, I added a child on to the roster. Truly, we have wonderful memories from those years.
I think one of the things that I like the best is how much time it frees up. Let's face it...any of us who have been in tradtional schools know that there is a lot of wasted time. My kids now leave the house at 7:15 and get home at 3:30. THEN they have sports practice, instruments to play and homework. In homeschool, we started our school day about 8 am and were almost always done (homework included) by 12. One day a week we met with homeschool friends and the kids had music lessons, swam at the Y, and just "socialized." We also went on fieldtrips once or twice a month. But by-in-large, our evenings and half our afternoons were free. I worked 12 hour weekend nights during much of those years, so I could be home all week.
Because I used a literature based cirriculum (Sonlight--it's superb), and my kids were so close in age, we did many subjects together (art, science, history, Bible, geography, etc). And even the littlest kids sat on my lap and listened when we were reading. The Sonlight books we read Abby's last year continue to be some of our favorite stories of all time. I used a hodge podge of cirriculums, but I consistently used Saxon Math, which is outstanding. I learned so much about math.
So why did I stop? The math got to hard....ha! Just kidding....maybe.... We moved to Maine and the school where my husband was teaching required that the kids attend there. My youngest was starting school at the time...talk about shock. I'll never forget the day I dropped them all off at the school. I came home and stood in the kitchen and cried. The next day--to be really honest--I dropped them off and drove to Acadia National Park for the day. At that point I realized maybe it wasn't going to be so bad after all!! But then, because my husband's job didn't provide health care, I had to go to work full time to get coverage. Believe me, homeschooling was far more fun than a full time job!!
This is a subject I LOVE to talk about. I know it's not for everyone...but it can be a great alternative. There is sooooo much out there now to help homeschooling parents, including entire video cirriculums online...or even live streaming into classrooms. If you have questions, I'd be happy to help.
Here are some deals for those of you who can use them:
10% off at http://www.rosettastone.com/ (foreign language) with code hstm410, exp 7/15/10
free magazine at http://www.aboverubies.org/ good info on motherhood/homeschooling
Another great cirriculum is The Noah Plan (no, not the ark Noah, Noah Webster) Check it out at http://www.facebookstore.net/ 20% off entire order use code CFS4 until 6/30/10
Free kid's book The Great and Terrible Quest if you've never purchased from Sonlight before. No other purchase necessary. www.sonlight.com/tm2-gtq
Always go to your state homeschool convention (even if you don't homeschool--great resource) and look on ebay for used books.
Hope this helps!!