This diary began as a reply to Le Champignon's diary about his disastrous experience with home-schooling. I had much the oppossite experience. I don't intend this as a rebuttal or criticism - his experience is both very real, and probably more normative than my own - but rather as a compliment and supplement. Home-schooling can be done right, can be done well, and can save a child's education and emotional well-being.
I was pulled out of high school by my highly educated parents due to severe educational deficiencies at the school I was attended, and due to severe and ongoing bullying (which I diaried about, here). Both socially and academically, home-schooling (and early college enrollment) was one of the best things to happen to me. It definitely can be done well, but it's hard. I had a number of advantages:
1) My father is a PhD-educated scientist. My mother is a college-educated artist, and, because of my families fortunate financial situation, could afford to be a stay-at-home mother.
2) At the time, internet education programs were just beginning. Stanford offered the EPGY online education program, which was excellent - AP level math, physics, and english classes, with personalized attention over online chat and phone. I have no idea if the program still functions at that level of quality. The larger-scale modern online courses are certainly nowhere near as good.
3) I live at a nexus of excellent universities (the RTP area), and about 15 minutes away from NCSU. I was able to enroll as a 'continuing education' student there at the age of 15, taking a couple courses a semester in an 'organized' environment. This also was very healthy, socially - I formed a number of lasting friendships there.
4) The internet, NCSU, and a decent (relatively non-religious) homeschooling social group provided a substitute for the social life High School provides. Considering how utterly destructive my semester in high school was (and how hard four years of that hellish nightmare were on my other geeky and queer friends), this was far, far better than I could have hoped for from traditional schooling.
5) I, myself, am a voracious consumer of knowledge. While I hated the busywork of homework, I actually enjoyed the online lectures of EPGY, the reading for my literature class, and the NCSU courses.
Is homeschooling a good option for everyone? Definitely not. Is it a good option for most people? Definitely not. Is it a good option for parents with the resources to do it right and children with special needs? Absolutely.
I appreciate Le Champignon's sharing his experience. In my own experience, I saw other homeschooling attempts that were being done in wrong ways or for wrong reasons, so I can certainly see where he's coming from. I suspect that his experience is more the norm than mine - but my experience is still real. I feel I owe my life to home schooling, and I hope that readers here on dKos can learn from my experience as well.