4. "Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know."
5. If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.
We do not have a child with special needs that can't be met in a public school. We are not over zealous Christians hoping to shield our children from the harsh realities of the world. We are not a military family that moves every few months. We do not have a horror story of abuse and/or maltreatment at the hands of a teacher.
Our choice to homeschool was borne out of a desire to have shared family experiences. You see, our oldest daughter went to school; for Kindergarten, 1st grade and part of second. During those years she went from an only child to an older sister of two siblings. We moved twice, and I went from full time employment to no outside employment. That's a lot of life changes between (then) ages 4 to six. Our daughter would come home from school crestfallen to learn of all the "first's" she missed. Baby's first smile, first laugh, first time rolling over, first steps... her brother and sister were growing up too fast, and she felt as though she were missing most of it.
Our son went to Pre-K several days a week at ages 2 and 3 but did not want to go to Pre-K 4. When it came time for him to decide what he wanted to do about Kindergarten he made his choice with no discussion. The school district registration packet came in the mail one afternoon addressed to him. I told him what it was and left it on the kitchen counter. Dear son picked up that packet and calmly, without a word, put it in the trash. He has never looked back, except to express a slight regret at not riding a school bus!
Now for our last daughter. She is smart as a whip, and much more advanced than the older two were at this age (now 4). This year she is in Pre-school 3 days a week at the same school her siblings attended. While she loves the classes and her teachers, she absolutely despises leaving the house to go to school. We were discussing the idea of Kindergarten while baking cookies yesterday afternoon. Looking up from her chocolate balls and confectioner's sugar she says to me "I'm better off just being homeschooled". Did I mention she's 4?!
Now let me clarify, we do not allow our children to have total say in their school choices. If we sincerely felt a child (such as #3) would be better off in school, they would go. But we do listen to their feelings, and let them know their opinion is valued, then every year we review our choice on a kid by kids basis.
We are very blessed to have a wonderful homeschool network to share field trips and play dates and tips and frustrations and friendships. For us, for right now, this is the absolute best choice for our family.