I was never a big fan of homeschooling until I actually spent time with kids who were taught at home. My arguments about socialization quickly went out the window once I realized that these kids functioned better in public than most kids who attend regular school. And they were smart too.
I had certain unfavorable opinions about unschooling too, even after talking to parents who had done it, until I read this article. http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/nature/Unschooling-The-Case-for-Setting-Your-Kids-Into-the-Wild.html
I was against it because I didn't understand why a child would choose to learn something instead of just playing all day. And yet, that had been my argument against public school, that there was too little time for original thought and unorganized play.
I quickly realized the benefits of child led learning after less than a week of homeschooling. Our initial approach felt responsible; teach him as much if not more than he would learn at school. We dutifully set time limits and laid out math lessons and reading and writing assignments. We even bought a book about the past presidents of the US. We told H that play would have to wait until the work was done. And after 2 days he was already fighting us on the structure.
Day 3 of homeschooling found us traveling to Denver for my next Access Consciousness class. H can attend the class with me for free, and I was happily surprised when he decided to do that with me yesterday. Both Garry and I were still focused on finding time for his "schoolwork" during the day. By lunchtime I realized that he was learning more from this class than I could ever hope to teach him in a day by forcing him to do the required 2 pages of daily math. He was learning things like how to look for choice and possibility instead of concluding that something is impossible. How to not take on other people's thoughts, feelings and emotions and believe they are his own. And how to stay out of judgement, and not let the judgements of others affect him.
Learning how to read, write, subtract and multiply is certainly important, but I realize now we can teach that in more subtle ways than I originally thought. We also have the unique opportunity to expose him to so much more than the 3R's, tools that will actually help him function in the world with grace and confidence. Tools that would have made my life so much easier if I had known them at his age.
The best part of all of this - H keeps saying he's on vacation. What a blessing to allow him to view vacation as his classroom, and the world as his teacher.