I am completely overwhelmed by all of the homeschooling choices offered, and amazed (not in a good way) by all the controversy that not only surrounds homeschooling, but by people's different opinions regarding what homeschooling should and shouldn't be.
Here are the basic types of homeschool options that I've learned of so far (and a little bit about the controversy):
- Homeschool via a certified Charter School-You would enroll your child in the charter school, but you would teach them. You choose curriculum (either provided by them, or your own). A home visit takes place every 20 days to make sure your child is on track. You are also given an allowance for extra-curricular activities! "True homeschoolers" are not fond of this at all. Some will not consider this homeschool, they call it school at home. I am in complete disagreement. If I am choosing my children's curriculum and I am teaching them, then I am homeschooling them.
- Homeschool on your own-I'm not sure what all the laws are in other states, but here in California, you need to have your home registered as a private school before your child turns 6. There's lots of paperwork involved. You pick whatever curriculum you want, you can go as slow are as fast as you want when working on curriculum. You are not monitored by the state. There's not much controversy that I've heard of regarding this, but the downside is, if you are planning on moving your child through grade levels like at public schools, you really have no basic model of what to follow. Most people like this, because they go at the pace the child is comfortable.
- Unschool-You don't do formal lessons. You don't do curriculum. The world is your child's classroom. You try to focus on their interests, and guide them a little towards what they like, but you do not teach them. The basic idea is, kids are born to learn. If/when something interests them, they'll explore that on their own. Of course, there are ways you can help them in their exploration. I imagine lots of trips to museums, zoos and aquariums. Unschooling does lack the structure of the other two types of homeschooling. Some people think unschooling gives far too much control to the child. Unschoolers do not agree with choosing what a child should and shouldn't learn. It is all interest-based (on the child's part).