The title of this post certainly doesn't reflect the way I've always felt about the 8 years of homeschooling I've done with my children. My oldest child did attend public school for K & 1st; however, I did teach him to read at 4 before he even went to school and I didn't follow any expensive reading curriculum to do it either. I went to the library, found a simple little book called "Phonics for the Young Reader" & the rest is history : ) Having taught him to read did give me a little confidence in my ability to homeschool.
Through the years I've used many different types of curriculum & textbooks and learning approaches....never completing one & not following them to a T ...just in case your wondering ; ) I have to say my favorite way of teaching is by taking the unit study& child interest learning approach. As my kids have gotten older (13+) I still take that approach but have pushed more academics...although I still think I've been a little more relaxed then most homeschoolers I know. Of course kids need guidance and need mom & dad to decide what might be interesting to learn about;however, it is still important to really notice or take interest in what it is your kids like, enjoy doing, or are good at , because you never know...that particular interest maybe a God given gift or ability that the Lord wants to build upon.
I have always been a little more of a relaxed homeschooler....rather bake cookies with the kids & go on a field trip with them then sit all day doing worksheets. Although I often wondered if I was doing a disservice to my kids by not having them crack open the textbooks day after day. I wondered if they were learning enough or at the right times. The only thing that I have had confidence in during this homeschooling journey, has been emphasizing to my kids a love for learning....a love for reading. I have come to realize that my kids have learned so much more by visiting the library often & checking out many books to read.
In our state we have to turn in a homeschool portfolio review (this is a portfolio of work they've done through out the year) each year to our local school district, that has been approved by a certified teacher or have them take a standardized test also administered by a certified teacher. I've always done the portfolio reviews ,until this year , I had them tested. I am so glad and relieved that I had them tested. They did better then I could have imagined. Their grade equivalent scores were all above their grade level. As an example my oldest child who is finishing up the 9th grade had an over all grade equivalent score of a 12th grader. This has given not only them more confidence but has given me the confidence that homeschooling that doesn't follow the "typical schooling method" really does work!