I wish I'd have known this starting out. I wish I'd have known that it's actually LESS work to just homeschool your child, than to be an "involved parent" at school.
We've enjoyed elementary school with our older boys. *Most* of the teachers were actually pretty competent and caring (the others, I save for another blog post, another day...). We had the children involved in extra activities like the Spanish Club or Service Club, or choir, and they got a fair bit out of the experience.
But it's a LOT of work.
You get about a ton of worksheets that must be done by a certain time. Usually on a day when you're sick or have no time. You get the phone calls about this or that, and about a zillion sheets per day that sometimes contain important news, so you MUST go through them daily. The schools also *love* to throw in half days, teacher in-service days and early dismissals. Not so bad, unless you have children at more than one school and the schedules are not co-ordinated. You've written "early dismissal" on the calendar, but don't know which child will show up early at your door until you see him.
Our son Elf is autistic, and by the time he got to first grade, it wasn't worth it any more to send him to public school. Combining the fundraisers, the homework, the sheets, the million conferences and the constant phone calls about my son's "choices," made for an AWFUL start to the school year. (Yes, he wakes up every morning and plots ALL these problem behaviours just to annoy you. Thank you for understanding the nature of autism. You dork.) Can you tell I found myself in an extremely adversarial position with the school staff? D and I began to seriously consider homeschooling.
Once we were in agreement, life became SO much easier. Yes, "hours per day," I suppose I spend more on homeschooling than public schooling. But they're hours *I* get to manage as I wish. Since Elf was in first grade, I was able to practice basic writing skills and math skills while I investigated the curriculum and materials that were available "out there."
And I found a LOT. I had no clue there was so much out there. Anyone even remotely considering homeschooling ought to just take a look and see what's out there. Go to the CBD website, or find a "teachers' supply store" near you if you prefer secular curriculum. Even if you decide to leave your child in public schools, there are just SO many materials out there that will be helpful to your family. You don't need $ylvan tutoring or anything like that to see marked improvements in your child's academic skills.
I hadn't realized how much energy I had been using to participate in my children's school life until Elf came home, either. No more fights about my child telling the entire kindergarten class that Santa is not real, or constantly being hit up for money (United Way, Scholastic book fair, fundraisers, teacher appreciation this, mitten tree that). I think I'm actually SAVING money by homeschooling, and I buy the good stuff from Bob Jones.
One more thing I found out: I *like* teaching my younger children at home. I found out that I can spend 24/7 with these little children and still enjoy their company (most of the time). It's not true that you'd go crazy having everyone home all day. I think after about two weeks everyone is well-adjusted to the new routine. The children DO learn when to go do something in their room and leave Mom alone. FYI, our older two children are still in public schools (8th and 7th grades), so we still have to work around that occasional half-day or teacher in-service.
Are you thinking of homeschooling, or do you homeschool presently? Feel free to share your thoughts.