This is for the parent who is not entirely sure what they are doing here.
By here... I mean, homeschooling, on this page, or in general.
I wanted to share my last month experience with you. So, my 12 year old decided that he wanted to try public school (again). This was mainly because we lived in a small town. We gave it a go and it took less than two weeks before we considered that experience a flop. Now, he is back home and we are all happy again. I have thought about his brief two week stint and have come to the following conclusions...
1) Public school is great... for other people's kids. I have taught my son what he knows in part and the rest he has decided to learn and explore on his own. Honestly... deep somewhere inside I worried that he may be behind. I mean, who wouldn't worry about this when they don't teach to the public curriculum. That being said... he wasn't. He was pretty right on... amazingly... since we don't teach to the curriculum.
2) Kids ultimately will find a way to do what they want. The trick is allowing them the opportunity to choose wisely and the foundation to make good choices. Ask me again what I think about this when my son's puberty hormones kick in!
3) No one is going to like what you do but it doesn't really matter. You make choice for your family and whether you run it with a tightly scheduled fist or whether you are a exploratory homeschooling experience... not everyone is going to approve. It's hard to fight back glares and questions and not worry about what you are doing and not allow the creeping darkness of worry to sink in. Almost every parent that is a home educator that I have EVER talked to has expressed this concern. I have come to realize that it is normal.
4) You can't convince people and you shouldn't try. It is one thing to answer polite questions but it is quite another to feel like you have to put on emotional Kevlar before you head out to a family function or sporting event waiting for that one sibling, parent, "friend", or well-meaning stranger to assault you. You don't owe any explanations to them and the sooner you realize it, the better off you will be. There are always going to be socialization questions and people that think that they know better but until they take over your role as parent you are the one in control and who can set boundaries that make sense for your family.
In the end, there is no one that can tell you what you have to do.... Well, other than the legistators of your state and perhaps your spouse.... but other than them... it's up to you and your family. You're doing great. Remember that.