Your letter was very interesting. It is apparent that many homeschooling families are indeed interested in the quality of the education that their children will receive in the homeschool environment.
My feelings about this originate in the ability of the parent/teacher to stay with whatever program they choose to use. In other words, if you choose a program that is far too demanding or tedious, then it is highly likely that you will abandon the studies and seek something that is more suited to your tastes.
My philosophy about homeschooling is much the same philosophy I have about most of the things I take on. Less Is More. Less tedious work leaves More time for better one-on-one instruction.
I feel that it is far better to use a curriculum that makes the parent/teacher feel empowered to teach. It is nearly impossible to duplicate the private Catholic school experience in the homeschool. To try and do this many times leads to frustration and burn out.
Considering that all individuals learn in different styles, the foundation of the learning experience is working to determine the style that best suits the learner. Public schools are teaching to the masses. I admire teachers who have the talent to teach many different types of learners at the same time. Their training and hands-on experience makes this possible. They work within guidelines and formats and within reason are able to indulge the different styles. The advantage of the homeschool is that I need only concern myself with my children. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, creativity, and patience, I pray that I am able to meet the needs of my children. I want to concentrate on the material and present it in the best way possible. Again you need a curriculum that allows you that flexibility. I suppose the best curriculum is the one that you will stay with, enjoy, and takes into account the real needs of individuals (knowing that only the parent/teacher really knows those needs). A family chooses a curriculum because it will be used within the family. In my opinion, CHC curriculums are totally Catholic, user friendly, and academically sound. The parent/teacher makes the curriculum work. Choose wisely to meet your needs.
As a parent/teacher in the homeschool, my goal is to prepare my children to learn. I want them to develop a love of reading and a thirst for knowledge. Learning is a life-long process and must be nurtured and encouraged to remain fresh and brand new every day.
As far as the paperwork involved in the accountability of teaching in the homeschool, the bottom line really is—what does your particular state require? This is the most important guideline that we as parent/teachers must follow. If my children should have to reenter the public system it will be because it was God's will. If I am moving in God's will then it just stands to reason that He will clear any obstacle. My children were in the public system for a number of years. I met compassionate and loving lay persons who were truly dedicated to teaching. My own daughter is a 4th grade teacher. Certainly the Lord will ensure that such persons are there for my children if the need arises. I am the type of parent that will work with teachers to help in any way possible for my children. There is no need to cross that bridge until I get there. :)
When I am confronted with the question about why I chose to homeschool I have found that only one answer is adequate and only one answer helps people to understand my reasons. I homeschool because I feel that it is God's will for me and my children. We are the only homeschoolers in our parish and like yourself there is a Catholic school close by. I believe that it is a real witness for a family to be active and involved (to whatever capacity they are able) in their parish community. Homeschoolers are in general very eager to work in their parish family and be that loving witness. Any time someone lives out the Lord's call for them, they are giving a powerful and positive witness.
This was a very long answer and I appreciate your patience in reading. I admire your steadfast heart and desire to do the right thing for your children. I hope that the difficult pregnancy brought about a beautiful baby. Congratulations!
Lord, we come to You at this time with the concerns and needs of this mom. She is faced with choices to make and needs the guidance of Your Holy Spirit. Shower her with the peace and understanding necessary to hear Your voice in this matter. Light the way, that her family may follow in Your will. We love You, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Sending out a prayer,