My son had a pretty bad school experience in both kindergarten and first grade. By the end of first grade he was crying every Sunday night and begging to be homeschooled for second grade. Long story short, DH opposed homeschooling for both philosophical and practical reasons, so back to school he went.
Second grade has been a completely different story. DS (who is dyslexic) is still behind in reading, but he's making steady progress and the teacher is pleased (the school doesn't give him services for reading because he's not far enough behind, but the teacher is aware of his learning difference and pretty supportive). The tutor he goes to twice a week after school is responsible for his steady reading progress, but a combination of an effective teacher, a good program, and some kind of key turning in his head is responsible for the huge jump he's made in math. At the end of first grade he still couldn't count to 20 consistently. Now he's doing simple multiplication, and math is his favorite subject.
So I've made a big change this year from really wanting to homeschool to remembering why I wanted to send my kid to public school in the first place. DS's school in particular is pretty great overall. It has wonderful special area teachers who have spearheaded a stellar arts program. It's ethnically and socioeconomically diverse, but still gets good enough test scores to satisfy the bureaucrats. I like that my only role is as the parent who gets to provide homework support and cheer DS on as he makes progress in reading and math instead of the teacher who has to force him to slog through it every day.
All that said, since I have a foot in both the Evangelical Christian world and the attachment parenting world, I know an awful lot of homeschoolers. Some have always homeschooled, a couple pulled their kids out this school year, and a couple more plan to pull them out at the end of the year. They tell wonderful stories about how they can completely tailor each child's education, how their children can get individual attention in any problem areas and surge ahead in their areas of strength. They take vacations during the school year when the crowds are smaller. They put their kids to bed late and wake up late. Or they put their kids to bed at 8pm, start school by 8am, and are done by lunchtime. Even though my son is having a good year and all indications are that it will only get better, part of me wonders if I'm shortchanging my son by "groupschooling" him.
Even when I wanted to homeschool my son, it still rubbed me wrong philosophically. I like the idea of professional educators teaching my child. I like the fact that my child spends the school day interacting with adults who aren't in his family and with kids who look different from him and come from families different from his. I like the fact that my taxes are helping fund my child's education. The public school system isn't perfect. I can think of lots of ways it could/should be changed, but I still lean toward it overall. If something changes and public school is absolutely not working and there's little chance that will change, I'd look at private school before considering homeschooling.
So I've started this thread just wondering if there are likeminded people out there. Have you chosen school for your child(ren) (be it traditional public, charter, or private) even though you could potentially homeschool? What do you like about school in general or your children's school in particular? What do you think are the positive parts of a "groupschooling" education? If your children are in public school, do you believe your child can still get a good education in the U.S. public schools? On good days, I'm sure of this. On bad days, I still really hope so :).
Just so any homeschoolers reading this don't get riled up, I should add that I am not opposed to homeschooling. I'm glad that there are lots of educational options and that homeschooling is one of them. I personally think there are very good reasons to send my child to school, though homeschooling has looked very attractive to me in the past for practical reasons and it's always in my mind as an option if school stops working. There are some kids who are such asynchronous learners that school would probably never work well for them. There are some families who want the freedom to decide exactly how their child will be educated. For those kids/families, homeschooling can be an incredible gift.