When we decided to home school, my biggest concern was for my kid's social development. I also didn't want them to miss out on sports. That is also a common concern I hear from others. While this may be a valid question, I don't think my kids mind missing out on some of the common social interactions associated with Jr. High such as noogies, swirlies, wet willies, wedgies/melvins, titty twisters, cherry bellies, etc. There is a fair amount of babysitting that goes on in the class room. It happens in our home so it's bound to happen when you get hundreds of insecure kids together who are going through puberty.
One of the biggest factors in making the decision was that we didn't have time for all the homework. Homework seems to be geared to parents as much as it is to the kids. If you are teaching kids at school for 6 or 7 hours everyday why do you need to give them homework when they get home? I'm all for efficiency so one of the biggest advantages of home school is that it allows us to customize the time schedule and curriculum to each kid according to their talents and interests. My wife puts a big emphasis on their music education. I enjoy teaching them history, art, and humanities. I frequently use movies to teach about different time periods, philosophies, and historical events. They have math, writing, and science projects in addition to other practical things like learning physiology, gardening, business principles, current events, politics, and religion. We can also take field trips as often as we like.
We also don't freak out if a child is not at the same developmental stage in a given area as their peers. I remember the social stigma that came to some kids in grade school when they divided us up into color coded reading groups according to their reading competence. No announcements were made, but everybody knew the smartest kids were in the red group, the majority were in the blue group, then there were the few kids in the brown group who met in the basement with the janitors for their reading. I may be exaggerating, but I don't think kids need to be labeled as gifted or slow at an early age. Everybody develops differently.
My kids are involved in plenty of social activities. They are in scouts, church groups, basketball, dance, karate, art lessons, music academies, and they are constantly playing with their friends. One aspect of their socialization I've appreciated is that my kids don't look at their shoes and mumble when they talk to others or walk around texting while having permanent ear phones on to seclude them from the rest of the world like many of the "socialized" kids you see. My kids are not rude or obnoxious either. (At least not in public). I'm sure we are doing many things wrong when it comes to their education, but nobody has a greater interest in them than we do and I think that can compensate for the areas where we are lacking.
Home schooling has picked up a lot of steam over the years. More and more people feel drawn towards it and are compelled to check it out. It used to be that only responsible, concerned parents home schooled their kids but now not only normal people do but even immature parents like myself. I'm pretty sure the home school movement would not want me as a poster parent example. In fact some day my blog may be used as evidence in a court case against home schoolers. So the next time you come across someone who home schools, cut them a little slack because they just might be kind of normal. It may not be fore everyone, but remember that everybody home schools, they just may not realize it.