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Hello all! I was just wondering how you all decided to pursue the home schooling versus public or private school?
My daughter is only 14 months old now, but I will someday have to decide what we should do with her.
Do you find that home schooling is very time consuming? Of course my husband works outside the home, but I work from home just a few hours a day.
What is your favorite and least favorite thing about home schooling your kids?
Thanks in advance for the information.
Public schools are terrible. Even the ones that claim they are the best in the country are a sorry excuse for education. That is a very inflamatory statement to make around public schoolers, but here in this forum I feel all warm & cozy. It's true. Public schools are substandard.
When my daughter was coming home in FIRST GRADE with 30%s, 40%s, Fs, and Needs Improvements, but her report card showed As and Bs, and her teacher said that I had nothing to worry about, something hit me. She was being shuffled along with her peers. Meanwhile she was falling behind. She was also bullied all throughout school, from kindergarten on, and none of the teachers or staff would do anything to stop it.
I went to both public and private schools as a child. I aced everything. The schools can only progress as fast as they are told. Any child who works at a pace faster or slower than that gets forgotten. If your child is well-behaved and quiet or shy, you can forget about him or her getting any special attention from the teachers! All of their time is spent with the troublemakers and the kids that are struggling. It's the ugly truth about the school system, and it can't be helped or changed.
Aside from the reasons I listed above, the following helped us decide that homeschooling was the thing to do for our children:
Homeschooling is no more time-consuming than parenting. You spend the same amount of time with your children as you did before the attained school age. I spend an extra hour or two on the weekend making copies and planning lessons, and that's it. We're done with school within four hours at the latest most days, unless we're off on a "field trip".
I don't have a favorite and least favorite thing. There are bumps in the road. There are rough days. But, for the most part, homeschooling is like nothing else. You get to watch your child have lightbulb moments. You get to be with your child. You get to foster a deep relationship. It's the best.
Last Edited on: 11/27/07 3:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
I never had any intention of homeschooling - my school actually made my decision for me. My son had autism (recovered now) and was in special ed. Things were ok while he was in the Birth-3 program, but once he turned 4, he was due to be moved into the a special setting for autistic kids. Everything was fine for a couple of weeks until my son started coming home and exhibiting strange behaviors - he was neurotic, edgy and was having a lot of other behavior issues. He would also start to cry whenever we got near the school. I asked the teacher if I could come into observe a class and she told me I was not allowed. I told her that while she had my child in class, I was going to observe the class if I wanted to and she could only have me removed by the cops. She agreed to let me watch the class and what I saw horrified me. Out of 6 kids in the class, 2 of them screamed bloody murder the whole 2.5 hours. The class had one teacher and one teacher's aide and both of them were focused on rocking and trying to get the two kids to stop screaming. The other 4 kids were left to sit in the corner and play with toys - off in their own little worlds. Each child in the class was supposed to get 20 minutes of speech therapy a day. At the beginning of the year, the speech teacher asked us to put a blank notebook in the kid's pack so she should write notes and homework in it so we knew what they were working on in Speech and what we could do at home to help. After two weeks, there was not one note in the book. The day I stayed to observe, the speech teacher came in for one child and towards the end of class, I asked the speech therapist why there had been no notes in his book and why he wasn't pulled out that day. She told me that she was still trying to familiarize herself with my son's file. I knew this was bull because I knew for a fact his previous speech teacher had a meeting with her specifically to go over my son's file. I gathered his things from the class and told the teacher he would not be returning.
It was a few months before I got a call from my son's previous therapist offering him a spot in the Head Start program. We gladly took it and I was excited for him. At the time, my son was on a gluten free/casein free diet (no bread, crackers, etc. and no dairy products) as an intervention for his autism and I was told by the school that they would not honor his dietary requirements unless he had note from an MD. Since we didn't see an MD for his autism and we couldn't get an MD to acknowledge and give us a note that he required these dietary modifications, they told me he had to eat what the school served through it's "nutrition" program -which was full of bread and dairy products. I tried calling up through the ranks of Head Start until I spoke with our county Head Start rep and she said that even if I could get a doctor's note, I'd still have to file a request to bring in my son's lunches instead of having him eat their food which would take at least 3 months and meanwhile he'd have to eat their food. I told them it was illegal for them to force my son to eat food he was intolerant to, she said that yes it was, but that we'd have to take the district to court in order to enforce it. I wrote his withdrawal letter the next day and that was the last time he had anything to do with the public school district outside community ed classes.
Since then I've been an avid reader about the public schools and the stuff I read is horrifying. It's not a good place for a typical child much less a special needs child.
Public Schools, Public Menace by Joel Turtel is one good book to read on the subject. There are tons of other books out there on public education - all you have to do is search "public education" and you'll find it.
Here's a link for looking at the quality of schools in your area. http://www.schoolmatters.com/ It's very eye opening!
The reasons I've kept homeschooling:
-High quality, personlized education for my children. Nowhere in public school would a 7 year old be pursuing engineering curriculum, but my son is in his schooling and he loves every minute of it. My other son is arts oriented and is in acting and music classes.
- Highly flexible in terms of curriculum, schedules, styles, etc.
-Keep them away from exposure to undesirable influences
-Instill them with our family's values and beliefs - not the government's
-Have control over the people they're exposed to. The difference between homeschooled and public school kids is like night and day. The kids in our homeschool group are so well behaved and everyone gets along. We have public school kids across the street and in some of the classes my son takes and it never surprises me to see them making fun of each other, calling names, profanity, fighting and put downs.
-Retain parental control over our children (a judge recently made a statement that upheld the notion that our parental rights are terminated the minute they walk through the doors of the school)
I don't think homeschooling is that hard or time-consuming. If you're putting hours and hours into it per week (after the initial time investment, that is) you're not doing it right. Learning is supposed to be fun and if you're bogged down and resentful of homeschooling and the time it takes, your children will pick up on that and it won't be fun for anyone.
Last Edited on: 11/27/07 4:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
and everyone gets along.
This is SO true. It a phenomenon you have to see to believe. Kids of ALL ages interact and get along and are all very accepting of one another immediately. Now THERE'S true socialization!
One of the best things about homeschooling is that because we spend so much time with our children (verses the few hours in the evening between activities and homework) is that my husband and I *know* our kids. We enjoy being together and the siblings are close. We are the most influental people in the thier lives (or other adults we select), not a teacher that may or may not share our beliefs and convictions. I've seen what passes for "socialization" in the instituationalized system, and thanks but no thanks. We started out in the ps system, had a child that was very gifted but had special needs. PS didn't work for him and we considered local private schools but the class size wasn't that different, still had the social issues even though the "Christian" label . We homeschooled and it was the best decision we ever made. We like that we have to freedom to participate in our family hobby -travel. and we can travel at off times when crowds are down and prices lower.Having a more flexible schedule has allowed my daughter to pursue her interest in animals and vet science which she would have had difficulty in finding time with a traditional schedule. My son is able to take dual credit courses at a local communiyt college. I could go on...
very time consuming? Well, you need to consider it a lifestyle change. We call it a learning lifestyle. Do I get to go and do all the things my friends who children are in public school do? Well, no I consider homeschooling my ' job'. I prepare each week for my job. Some day my children will be gone and I will have more "free" time, but I consider the exchange well worth the cost. We consider it a investment in our children's lives.
My least favorite thing is people that make judgements about homeschool when all they know is what they have heard from the media (tends to be slanted), or from the one homeschool family they know. I ask them if I should judge their very nice, publically schooled child by the gangsta wannabees at the local highschool? Of course not, then judge me fairly. It's really funny when they tell me that I don't *look* like a homeschooler! I'm outdoorsy, wear jeans, drive a pickup, shoulder length-highlighted hair. I guess I don't look like Mrs. Duggar, wink, wink (God bless her, she is admirable). I also don't like when folks think we never let our kids out of the closet they think we lock them in (OK, I'm being a little sarcastic). Yes, we are out alot, in fact the term homeschooling is sometimes a misnomer. My kids have many varied interests (sports, scouts, ballroom dancing, mission trips, teen court, volunteering, etc) we have to fight to stay home.
A selfish reason, is that I have realized how lacking my own schooling was and I have learned so much by homeschooling my own children. And now I have this wonderful website to feed my "habit". We are national park/zoo/museum junkies. My kids talk to people of all ages, intelligently. They are as comfortable with little ones and the elderly as they are with age peers. This is another gift of homeschooling, not being stuck in a group of people that are the same age as you for hours a day. Getting to know people of all ages, and walks of life. How many teenagers do you know that would think an elderly couple are "so cute"?
Wow, I have gone on much longer than I intended. I say, if you feel called to homeschool. Go for it. Take it year by year but I don't think you will regret it. I think the key is developing a love of learning in your children no matter what educational choice you make for it will serve them well and that way they become a more independent learner.
We started homeschooling because the tuition at the private school became too much. We wanted our son to get a biblical foundation in his education which wouldn't happen in public school, where you can't mention God. My ds10 is currently doing 4th grade, we started homeschooling in first.
It fits our lifestyle. My dh is self employed and there are days when ds can go run errands with him, the time they have spent together is priceless. My husband's dad died when he was 9, so he never takes those extra moments for granted.
My ds is wiggly learner. He learns better while moving. Had he continued in a traditional classroom it would have been labeled a "distraction". I have learned to accomodate it as necessary, he uses an exercise ball for a chair.
In first - third grade homeschooling took less than 3 hours per day. The other time was spent just being a kid. This year is taking a little longer. We start school at 11:30 am. My ds can focus better in the afternoon and neither one of us is a morning person.
We originally planned to homeschool for a few years then send him back to private school. He has flourished so much by being at home, I doubt he'll ever return.
I am a grandmother and I home school my grandson. When my children were in school I did not know about homeschooling. I wish I had. I have four children. I had two children that were leaders made stright A's and fought all the pressures of public school. From teachers to students. I had two that lost the battle. One got into drugs and destroyed his life. One well she couldn't stand the pressure and quiet school. I didn't know what my children were doing durning school. My daughter skiped school a whole month before the school informed me. Lot more things happen. They had a bom threat at their school. They locked down the school, I couldn't get to them. My daughter did not want the things that happen to her or her sister and brother to happen to him.
We also belive in God and want him raised that way.
We feel the PS is worst today than then.
Yes it takes a lot of time, to prepare lessons, field trips, keep up with records. It takes a lot of research to keep it fun and them learning. It is worth every second we spend with him. He is close to us, he is happy. He is not afarid to get up and work on his lessons. There is nothing here for him to be afarid of. We know he is safe here, we know he is happy, we know he is learning, cause we can grade it, we know what he needs extra work in, and we go the extra mile to see he gets it. The homeschool children don't fail because we don't go on to something else till they get it. We do feel like it is our job. The whole family is in on it.
I dislike that the state makes me report to them anything concerning him
If I had one wish, it would be to go back in time and teach my own children.
Let me start off by saying that I am currently homeschooling my sons, aged 2 and 3. Yes. I am ALREADY homeschooling. It may not be formal, but my my 2 year old can already identify all of the letters of the alphabet, knows his shapes, and can count to 15. I read to them everyday. There is a saying that YOU (as a parent) are your child's first teacher. It's true. And I just view homeschooling as an extension of that.
For us, homeschooling was a no-brainer. I was a public school teacher before quitting to have, raise, and teach my own children. I can honestly say (and I often do) that there is NO WAY I would send my children to public school. All of the complaints/ observations/ experiences stated by the posters above me are valid.
My biggest problem as a public school teacher was discipline. I easily spent 98% of my educational time dealing with the same handful of discipline-problem students. Example: I once had a 12 year old boy stand up in class and curse me out. I was raised in a Navy family and , no offense meant, this language would have made my father and grandfather blush. It was bad! I sent him to the office. He was back in my room less than 5 minutes later. Smirking, sauntering, king of the hill. The secretaries had sent him back because they didn't have anywhere to "put" him. The waiting area to see the dean was already full. When I asked the dean later what I should do about this student the response was, "Call his home." I'd already called his home nearly every day for the last 3 months, to no avail. The school systems have their hands tied when it comes to discipline. Unless discipline happens at home, there is nothing a school can do. (And too often, discipline is NOT happening at home!) A teacher in the room next to me was punched in the face by a student. (Bad enough that she had to have dental work done.) That student was not suspended because his parents go a lawyer who found a loop-hole in district policy. (Student was spec. ed.)
Our other big reason is that schools have become so anti-American!
Actually... I could rant forever about this.... I'm going to stop myself before I really get going here...
All I can say, is that I'm a firm believer and supporter of homeschooling. Always have been. (I was not very popular with many of my colleagues because of this!) However, I also have to say that it isn't for everyone. It is a big commitment. Not just for you and your children, but your family and lifestyle too. I think, Amber, that you're smart to ask as much as you can before making the decision.
You can read why we began homeschooling in an old blog post of mine, here.
Thank you all for the weath of information. I have not had time to look at all of the links yet, but I wil! I am excited about all you have said so far.
My sister had problems in school starting in jr. high. and in high school, she rarely went. She was a straight A student with severe anxiety issues, and my parents did nothing but encourage her to continue on. Now she is gearing up to make her second attempt at college, and I start to think that had they pulled her from public school and started her in home schooling they would have had a different outcome. She is only 19 so she does have time yet to learn her way through the college years, but I just think there could have been a very different outcome for her had she been in a different environment.
Cloi, I am impressed with all of the work you have already done with your own young children. My daughter is just starting to learn her letters, but I feel that she is already so far more advanced than some of our friends' older children that I want to be sure to consider all of our options when I make an educational decision. I know I shouldn't compare her to other children, but I think this is the best way to asses the teachers and daycare providers.
I hope you all don't mind if I keep prowling the blogs and threads to learn more! I am sure I will have more questions as we go!
THANKS AGAIN for all the info!
About your sisiter, she sounds alot like my son. Yes, homeschooling would have been nice as then she would have had the gift of time to work on the issues she had. But, I would recommend that you encourage her to try a smaller university. If she has been formally diagnosed, then most universities have accommodations available for "special needs" students. Depending on what triggers her anxiety, she could have things available that make success more likely for her.
I hope you all don't mind if I keep prowling the blogs and threads to learn more!
Good for you! Homeschooling isn't just about your children's educations, it's about yours too. There's few things better than raising your child with a lifetime love of learning and one major way to do that is to show them how much fun it is by doing it yourself.
Here too our public schools are really not that good. I noticed that my son, who is now 11, was so advanced for his age. I began reading to him at age 3 months that he would really not reach his full potental in a school enviroment. Your child is at a perfect age. Read read and read some more. I read a lot of non fiction to my son. We also would watch a lot of nature specials and I really never placed any thought to, well he is too young to do this or that. He was reading on his own by 3 and chapter books by 4. He has a higher reading level than his mom. :) I guess I want to encourage you in that teach your child whatever and not focus on the fact that she is so young. Kids really do love to learn. When my son was in kindergarden we "schooled" like 45 mins but I can tell you that learning never really ends. We even now learn all day. That is what life is a learning process. There are hard days, days you don't know what to do but those days are forgotten when your child really gets a concept you have been working on or you find you just enjoy thier company. When my son was that age I read and read about home schooling and tried a few diffrent techniques but you will find your way. Hope I was some help
I like that I feel free to design my son's curriculum around his interests and what I think are the skillsets that are needed today.
Does it take a lot of time? Yes, for me it does, but it is worth it. That time though, is mostly as 24 hour caregiver - NOT all teaching duties. The teaching duty is no problem. lol It is the school cafeteria and janitorial service and shopping service & being a chauffer that takes all the time - but I'd have a lot of that no matter what.
RoniB - thank you for the link to the information on public schools. I aways wondered how our local schools stacked up and I was surprised by some of the results.... and not surprised at all by some of the others.
LadyElaine - how wonderful that you get to home school your grandson. I was sorry to hear about your own children and their problems at school. I know that one of my husband's concerns as our daughter gets older is that she is treated well at school. We are a mixed race family, and even though my daughter has light skin, he is concerned that children here might make fun of her. Our city is about 98% white I would say. I don't know that something like that would be a problem for her, but I can see my husband's point on this.
ChristineMM - thank you for the link to your blog. I am going to go check it out now!
Nina - I tried to help my sister through her first attempt at college a few months ago, but she only managed to stay for 2 weeks before she came home. Luckily she is planning to go back in January. She has been lucky to have alot of help through everything so far, but since we live in such a rural area, my parents had to learn as they went as to what sort of help was available. They learned that there were not alot of programs here for kids with her "disability"
MichelleN: Thank you for the advice to read to our baby. I already to that alot, and I think that her books are some of her favorite toys. It is so much fun to see her learn new concepts from them and to watch as she comprehends something new that she never noticed before. We do alot of "learning play" and already I get comments on her advancement so I feel very blessed for that already!
Here's my story...
we had my dtr in private school through 1st grade and she was doing really well, however we could no longer afford it and to us public wasn't an option. So I (reluctantly I have to admit) began homeschooling. To be frank the first 2-3 years were rough. It took me a long time to find curricula we both enjoyed and felt good about. Also, our personalities would clash a lot, so teaching her was often very difficult.
She is now 13 and actually (contrary to the norm I suppose) even through hormonal changes etc our relationship is better than ever. We get along better now than we ever have and I put it down to not only us both growing in the Lord (big help!), but that we can spend so much time together and work through the difficulties instead of trying to squeeze in the time only in the evenings when we're tired. If I feel we're getting mad at each other or something, we can stop what we're doing and really talk about what's going on and work it through. Also I can do special things with her I couldn't if she was in school. we took a whole day last week to go to the Mall just the two of us (I hate to shop and she knows it so it really blessed her).
Now I haven't even mentioned my 9 yr old son. He's my treasure and I love being with him - he's so easy to school and I love that I've taught him everything he knows LOL. But he's a very sweet, kind of sensitive boy and I don't think he'd handle bullying or anything like that well - and why should any kid have to handle that?
Another benefit is my husband is about to start getting Fridays off. If the kids were in school he wouldn't see them and because he works Saturday nights they'd have practically no time with him... now we have a whole day to do whatever we want and nowhere will be crowded. Of course there's the great benefit of taking vacations when schools are in so you miss the crowds there too.
I don't want it to sound like it's always perfect and there are draw backs too. Homeschooling can be expensive and if your budget is tight, like ours, extra-curricular activities are at a minimum. So my kids do miss out on many of the sports etc they would have opportunity to do in school. we try to be creative with that but honestly it's hard to fit it all in.
Yes, it's time consuming but like others have said it's a way of life. It's what I do. I am also very busy with ministry so sometimes it's a juggling act, but I find life goes so much better when I have the right perspective.... my relationship with the Lord first, my husband next and school has priority all day. I need to fit everything else in around that. I'm also glad I live in the great state of Texas that makes it so easy for us to do this.
Let the Lord guide you... His was is always the best
We had felt that we led to homeschool before my son entered kindergarten, but were talked out of it by some people whose opinion we respected. First mistake. So we enrolled our son in PS. He went through 3rd grade and our daughter went to kindergarten. At that time a lot of things were happening, he was having trouble with bullies in school, the school district ahd made a decision to merge with 2 others. We could see what was coming down the road and didn't want to be a part of it. So we said, "Enough" and pulled them both out.
What we were afraid of has happened, the students from my small town are traveling over an hour on a bus to school everyday and they have closed our school completely, after spending millions of dollars renovating it! AND then building a new high school that also cost millions of dollars. But that is another story! :)
Since we began homeschooling, the Lord led me to the real reasons HE didn't want my children in school. He has been speaking to me ever since and I began to do research on it for real. (You are so fortunate to be studying this now before your daughter is ready for formal schooling.) Now we are grounded in what we believe about education and why, and here we are 7 years later and love what we do.
I would suggest that you pray for leading and also research all the different ways of homeschooling. I started that too late, but we finally have hopefully arrived at what will work for us. There is everything from "school-at-home" to "unschooling" and somewhere in there you will find what works for you, even if it is a mixture of all of them! :) And it may change from year to year depending on their needs.
I agree with the person who said that homeschooling is no more time consuming than parenting. The main thing is to teach them how to get along with their siblings and how to function in an adult world. My children come with me wherever I go, running errands, going to doctor appts, etc. They are learning how to walk into the bank and post office and ask for what they want. I let them do as much of it on their own as they wish. They are learning how to do chores and run a household. They learn how to manage money and grocery shop. Most importantly, they are learning how to have a daily relationship with their Lord and Savior and that is of more value than "socialization"!
I praise the Lord most mornings when I hear the bus go by, that we are able to teach our own at home. I admit that I hate the struggle over math sometimes! :) But for the most part we thoroughly enjoy having our children at home. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
I love your blinkie " Home schooling is a lifestyle". Can we all steal it ? ;-) I agree with all you have said (everyone has made wonderful points). I want to add to not stress about "how will I ever be able to teach x or y". God led us to a wonderful tutor for my son (future Engineering major) for Calculus. My dh could not teach that level as his high school experience didn't give him that foundation, but God provided.
I encourage you to find a homeschool convention in your state even though yours are small. They usually have wonderful speakers and vendors. If we know what state you are in, maybe someone here can point you in the right direction.
Regarding your sister: The student llife office should be able to provide some help. Your parents might need for your sister to sign a waiver so the school can contact them if she's having problems. I can't remember what it is called but if they are over 18, the school cannot by law give out any info to the parents unless the student has signed a waiver. My son attends a community college and even this school has provisions for "special needs". It may take some work, but she could get accomodations that would lower her stress and thereby lower the anxiety. Such as, if she has test anxiety - longer time on tests. just some thoughts. I learned a long time ago, that you have to be an advocate for your special needs child (one of the many lessons from public school). If she can make it through this, it will be so helpful to her. She can manage other anxiety-triggering situations with some self affirmation. "I got through college, I can get through this". I have her younger brother here and know what it is like for her. Man, I would like to give her a hug and a "atta girl you can do it".
I agree 100% with Rosey-Posey (as well as all others on here!) LOL My main reason for starting the adventure in homeschooling was not my decision but his. He begged me to homeschool him all thru his first grade year...but I listened to "others" who thought what was best for us...and BOY was that wrong! How in the world, unless it is a product of divine intelligence (i.e.God sends a messenger to help you out in time of trouble) does ANYONE know what is best for someone else and their lives???? Although difficult at first (because i had actually forgotten how I had taught him...or rather let him teach himself to a certain point with only my intervention and help when necessary.......)I tried curriculums, etc, but the best that has worked for us has just been an eclectic mix. As someone who has come from that scary starting point....let me be one to encourage you and support you in the decisions you make "curriculum" wise regarding YOUR child.
My prayers are with you and I hope you have a wonderful journey :)
I haven't been on in a few days, but yes, anyone can "steal" my blinkies! :)
I'm reading a book called Brave New Schools (which I got here!). If I had had this book and others like it before I made the decision to put my children in PS I never would have. They say hindsight is 20/20, right? Well, looking back we realize it was the Lord telling us to homeschool before my son was ever old enough for kindergarten, but both of us being new to our faith, we figured that others who were more mature knew best. It wasn't until the problems with the school that God really got our attention.
Anyway, what I am saying is to seek the Lord in your decision and follow what He says, not what anyone else advises. He is the only one who knows that plans He has for you and your child(ren). And those plans will be the best for you. And if you have any doubts, don't do anything unless you are absolutely sure. Just speaking from personal experience here.
If you want, I have tons of websites and book recommendations, as I'm sure everyone here has, that I 've gathered over the years. I'm sure all you have to do is ask and anyone on this board can offer what they've discovered. My prayers are with you also.
I started researching homeschooling when my eldest child was about 3 - I wanted to thoroughly research the educational options so that when the decision was made I knew it would be a well-informed and thought-out decision rather than being swept away with the culture.
The local private school is a "white-flight" school - it was established so that the families who did not want their (white) children going to school with the black children after desegregation (in the 70's) - unfortunately that is the history of many "Christian" private schools. Let's just say I have issues with that reasoning, so it was not an option.
I taught in the public schools - one day I had an epiphany - it occured to me that I would not want my children in my classroom. I had relatively effective classroom management - but there was still a lot that happened under my radar. The local public schools really aren't that great.
My eldest child - by temperment is a sensitive, people-pleaser - in public school (or any classroom setting) she would be the proverbial lamb thrown to the wolves. So my husband and I decided that homeschooling would be the best option. It truly has been and our thinking has evolved from "this year"-mindset to long-term.
It is a time commitment and some days are challenging - but anything worthwhile requires thought, perserverence and hard-work.
I decided to HomeSchool when I ended up reading a Book called HomeSchool Burnout.
I didn't understand the title and have heard they republished with a diffrent one but it really inspired me to take the chance. My 25 year old son is through college and in a career job. My daughter 20 is in college studying child develepment. I'm very happy I took the challenge, but even happier I'm all done, LOL.
Good Luck, You can do it!
I echo everything Nina and Paula S. said. (Down to the fact that my dh's dad died when my dh was 8. Weirdness!)
My oldest went to ps from prek through first. He was very ahead academically, but had what I *KNEW* to be social issues. They were viewed as behavioral and I could just "tell" there was something else going on.
Turns out my son, all three of them actually, are high-functioning autistic. Autism is specifically a social disorder. My kids happen to also have a speech delay, none of them severe. My oldest has a lot of Asperger's symptoms. My middle one is almost certainly dealing with sensory integration stuff. My youngest is an insomniac. It was never behavioral, and the schools would never have seen it. My oldest was even diagnosed - in the ps speech program - with a language disorder that turns out to be highly associated with autism. They never mentioned a follow-up eval. Never once in three years.
With three different levels of kiddos (my boys are almost 9, 4 1/2, and barely 3), school takes us consistently 3 hours a day. We dont do all of that in a single block sitting, and we school six days per week so that two of those days can be half days to allow for extra curricular activities like a library day, park day, scouts, and a fun science co-op.
Schools don't teach socialization. I've never known my kids better. I've never been closer to God. (I didn't have patience before. Was my biggest hesitation. I've learned it. Not perfect, and it's something I work on continuously, but it's tons easier. We've been hsing for a yer and a half. I'm learning just as much as my kids are - about history, about science, and about ME and GOD.) Plus, I can teach things the way we believe them. Our religion was not a major reason to start homeschooling, but it is icing on the cake for us. I dont have to teach my kids evolution if I don't want to. I'll show it to them eventually, after they have a firm foundation in what the Bible says - then they learn what other people think and why we believe otherwise. Again, this was not a reason we started, but it certainly added to the list of perks.
So there's my schpiel on it all. :) It's the best thing we ever did. For the kids. For me. For our family. For our relationship(s) with God. Period.