1. The fact that we choose to homeschool is not an indictment of your choices. (I have bolded this because I believe it is the most important thing I will say in this entire post) We are not sitting in judgement of you because you send your child(ren) to public or private school. As a matter of fact our children were publicly schooled for several years before we started this journey and we are both graduates of the school system who turned out just fine. We do not have an us vs. them mentality. We are doing what we believe to be best for our children and assume that you are doing the same. We feel blessed and lucky to live in a country where we have the freedom to make this choice.
2. Contrary to popular belief (and media portrayal) not everyone homeschools because they are religious whack-a-do's. We do not sit around the table in our matching denim jumpers dissecting scripture all day. We, like many others, homeschool secularly and for academic reasons.
3. Yes, what we are doing is legal. In fact, homeschooling is legal in all 50 states and has been since 1993.
4. Yes, there is oversight. Even if there wasn't or if we lived in a less regulated state we would still be educating our children in a way that fulfills the deep responsibility we feel to make sure that they are adequately prepared to make their way in the world.
That said let's take a look at what we must do each year to homeschool our kids here in the great state of PA, one of the 6 most highly regulated states for homeschooling in the US. Prior to beginning our studies each year we must send in a notarized affidavit that includes the supervisor's name (me), all children's names and ages, our address and phone number, certification that no one living in the home has been convicted of a crime, a statement that all subjects are being taught in English, immunization records and a health certification form from our pediatrician, and last but certainly not least, educational objectives ("an outline of proposed education by subject area") for each child. All of which must be approved by the school board. PA also gets to dictate to us what subjects must be taught and when. As you will see, this is not something we can be ill-prepared for.
Then, at the end of each school year we must submit a portfolio of work that has been reviewed by an evaluator. In grades 3, 5, & 8 the kids are required to take standardized tests. Copies of these results must be included in our portfolio in the appropriate years.
the process by which a human being beginning at infancy acquires the habits, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge of society through education and training for adult status". We believe that you don't need to sit in a room of 25 kids your own age to be properly socialized. Being part of a family, a sports team, volunteering time to help others, interacting with people of all ages at the store, library, and in other public settings are all good ways to acquire this knowledge.