The idea of this discussion alone is enough to make even the most stalwart educator turn and run screaming, private, public, home or otherwise.
Seriously. There are just 24 hours in a day. We stuggle to balance academics with hands on activities, focus heavily on literature and the "Great Conversation," instilling a sense of wonder and awe about the most amazing scientific stuff, and still have time to revel in the Truth and Beauty of God and all that He has done.
It's been a 2 decade + balancing act. Some years/kids/seasons we've done better than others. Which is how we landed on a classical pedagogy. It's fits best. Even with that, it's a difficult balancing act; WE weren't classically educated. We live in a world that tests for lots of stuff we don't focus on and little that we do. Ds 17 can talk intelligently for 2 hours straight, without notes, about the Punic War (along with many other topics) but still struggles with spelling. Any guess about how that tranlates on the Iowa Basic?
I have lofty goals. I know how to be rigorous. I get unschooling. I love the idea of autodidactism. I love the idea of raising renaissance men and women.
Reality: our house burned, 1/2 my family died, my gram is going a little nuts, we are re-building a house, our older kids are struggling to make their way as adults, our cars die and demand beaucoups $ over and over again... if it wasn't all of the above it would be something else. And I'm sure your reality has a host of challenges sitting, like a big white elephant, in the middle of your life as well.
IRL: I look at my older kids and can tell you, in living color, all of the many ways we've failed them. I look at the family we've sacrificed to create and wonder (on bad days) about just how crazy we were to have more than 1.6 kids, one income, advanced education, a vocation instead of a job with security. Catch me on a bad day and I will talk you out of homeschooling, home-making and living by faith. I will lead you, by the hand, to a secular, 2 income, 1.6 kid life that is safe, secure, and has lots of perks, including vactions, health and dental and a 401K.
Irl: We have wanted more for our homeschooling than we've been able to afford.
Irl: homeschooling is expensive, financially, socially, emotionally
Irl: It's a lonely road
The reality is that we don't get it perfect. We've failed. We've let things slide. We didn't call some things right. And we are still homeschooling.
The reason is that homeschooling, for us, stems (pun intended) from our belief that we are called to train up our kids in the way they should go. We call it wrong, they have their own ideas, there are no assured outcomes. That's one of the things that drives me nuts about a certain branch of homeschoolers. They advocated doing "A" and make statments to the fact that it will insure "B".
Irl: We know families who have tried to live up to that ideal and it has broken them, ruined their families and alienated their kids.
Irl: kids don't cooperate, are willful and have a zillion other voices screaming at them for attention and approval, including the enemy of their souls, who is cunning, decietful and determined.
Irl: Parents struggle and can't be all that their kids want or need. There is little grace in the world for families that sacriifice to do anything out of the ordinary.
So, education. One of the biggest concerns of most parents with kids. There are no easy answers. Homeschooling is one. It's a good one. It's made better by a methodology that delivers on what it promises, (like Classical, but also like the Government Schools -honestly, that have, until recently, delivered on their promises- we just don't happen to agree with their secular starting point). It's made better by parents who understand the limits of homeshcooling and are realistic about those limits. It's made better by folks who don't hold homeschooling out as a panacea to all of the world's ills. It's made better by folks who actually educated their kids at home.
Truth, Beauty, Goodness, STEM focus, the Great Conversation? We address these various points, through various methods. Our goal is not to be perfect at any of them. Our goal is to understand our children, their unique personalities and focus on training them, body, mind and soul, to embrace LIFE and the truth and beauty it promises.