I can envision children feeling like they are missing out, socially, by not going to school--was that ever a source of conflict for you/children?
I have learned that "socialization" is subjective. Is socialization hanging out with people of your exact age, similar socioeconomic status, in one building, 30+ hours a week? Or is interacting with many different people in the world around you socialization? I don't say that to be a jerk, instead I offer it as something to ponder. My kids who are not attending school certainly don't hang out in a cardboard box by themselves all day. We find lots to do in our community to fill their "plays well with others" quota. And my big kids have had no issues interacting in the typical school scene when they arrived. Maybe kids are better equipped than we give them credit for? As my older ones got closer to high school, we met less kids their age and they expressed their interest in going to public school. That being said, my oldest daughter spent a ton of time hanging out with the mamas as a young teenager, genuinely being accepted and loved by them. This is *huge* for a teenage girl in my opinion. To have this sense of belonging in a circle of women. She had such a different attitude heading into the high school scene because she felt confident and comfortable about who she was as a young woman. This is vastly different than my own experience at her age.
Have/Had they asked to go to public school, but high school was the planned time for entering public school?
It's been decided as each child has brought it up. My oldest son was not happy at home & wanted to do something different. My oldest daughter was happy at home, but wanted a new challenge. The younger two aren't expressing any interest in attending public school currently. If at any point before high school the younger kids really wanted to do something different, we would certainly discuss & explore options. One of my main reasons for educating my kids at home is to teach them to be in charge of their eduction. That learning is something they do & seek out, not something that "happens to them". If they needed something I was not providing for them, I would honor their voice.
Have you utilized tutoring for math or science? Practiced test taking in general?
Because we have only home schooled up to a jr. high level, my husband (who has a background in electrical engineering & environmental science) has been able to handle all of the science & math so far. When my older daughter knew she wanted to attend high school, we prepared her by studying very traditional math & science in 8th grade that required her to take tests & notes.
Lastly, I can't tell you how much things have evolved in the last seven years. The reasons we began this journey are far from why we continue it. I'm more laid back about what gets done and what we do. I have more confidence that despite my many imperfections, my kids will turn out just fine. (Regardless of Bill Nye's suggestion that they might lack the ability to interact socially. Phooey Mr. Nye) It turns out my current number one reason is freedom. Childhood is fleeting. You can catch up on math later in life, but not hours spent exploring who you are. I'm in no rush for my kids to grow up. It happens fast enough. I love that they get to be sort of unplugged from pop culture. Plus I really get a kick out of spending so much time with them. They're way cooler than I will ever be.
ps ~ If you missed the first post. I want to recap one important thing : We all choose to educate our children in different ways. I don't think one is the only or right choice. I totally support and honor my fellow mama in the decision she makes that works best for her family. I truly mean that.