We knew people who did it, but my husband was against it COMPLETELY for the social aspect. We moved to the suburbs to be close to a pretty good school (vs. having to drive quite a distance in the city).
DD went to preK and loved it the first year-- very loose, plenty of time to play, and an amazing teacher. The second year (different teacher) was much more structured and academic. They said they were trying to prepare the children for KG. DD did not enjoy it nearly as much. Teacher had problems with DD. Said she would talk but still be able to answer questions, but her talking distracted her friends who did not know.
KG-- DD started to change. Became more introverted, even though she had friends. Became a little too preoccupied with one girl who was mean to her-- tried to get the girl to like her. (The teacher, tsk tsk tsk for confidentiality, said that the girl was intimidated by my DD.) Complained almost daily about school. Was pulled out all yr for reading and liked that. Skipped her to 1st grade math by the end of the yr and she seemed much happier. Seemed more challenge = happier child.
NOPE! We skipped her to 2nd grade and it got even worse. Lost sense of self-- started talking about "not matching" (she is 1/2 Korean, 1/2 Irish). Could never figure out if someone was saying things to her or what. Went to observe her class. In the 3 hours I was there, almost all of it was teacher-directed w/very little time for talking or anything not "on task." No creativity. DD knew the answer to the "mystery" science assignment immediately (before even completing the work to get the answer). DD looked totally absent in math class and had to STAND for the entire lecture (no room on the rug to sit). Was called in to observe her because DD was "not keeping up" and the teachers "were out of ideas." Turns out that it meant-- no joke-- that she was not cleaning her desk fast enough and putting her papers into the right place. DD was pretty unhappy. Did not want to hs but no other options for us based on $. (The gifted school here is about $20K PER CHILD + donations.) Against my husband's wishes (he was pretty mad!) I pulled her out.
DH is still not in favor of hsing but does not argue about it. Says she is much happier. However, 2nd DD wanted to go to school. She went to one yr of KG. Loves structure, though she told me a few weeks ago, "My teacher looked pretty bored sometimes when she was teaching." Why? Well, probably because they make ALL children, regardless of level, do just about the same thing. Whether your child is just learning letter sounds or reading 4+ grade levels ahead-- they will all be completing the same darn worksheets, that are the same every single year. (They do get pulled out for reading, but even that is generic. Librarian was AMAZING, though, in how she took care of my kids and gave them more challenges.) Ditto for math. Even if your child can add double digits, they will still (at that school) be required to count 10 objects and fill out a worksheet to prove it. 2nd DD also had non-stop "illnesses" that suddenly went away when not in school.
However, the social aspect is a problem. Where are all the children? We go to parks, even in the summer, and they are empty. School friends are all in camps. I put the girls in camps this summer and they all made friends fast-- but we won't see them again. Even the hs'd kids are too busy "doing school" to come out (I guess? I do not know what they do.) OR, they are in their groups which are religious (my area) and all set. Sometimes I wish I could be that way and be in. But recently, one girl was SPANKED by her mom at a club. All of the kids knew about it since they could hear it happen. The girl was almost 11. Certainly not all Christian mamas do this . . .but it made me question if I really want to be part of groups that are OK with this sort of thing.
Classes for hsing can also be tricky. Oldest DD loves science, but the ones that are for her age are too easy. Or, they have religious content that my DD would argue with forever.
So, we are not sure what to do this coming year. When I think of the day in, day out drudgery of school, I say, NO WAY. But then I want more friends for my children-- just a small group that they can count on for the most part to hang out and play. No idea how to establish this!
Sorry for the novel, and good luck!