I think all homeschoolers ask that question at one time or another. Sometimes, in my case, several times a day, as I wing my way through this great experiment on my kids, so inadequately called homeschooling.
Then bam! Five-year-old Cece nonchalantly slips in some juicy vocab: “Giovanni, please don’t utter another word.” Or seven-year-old Giovanni insightfully compares a real life situation to a scene from Huck Finn, which we just finished reading a week ago. Or nine-year-old Stella prattles on about Shakespeare and the reference to Puck in the novel she’s been reading ALL DAY—then wakes up this morning, just now as I’m writing this, and the first words out of her mouth, kid you not, are, “Mom, can we go to the library today?”
Or, when our 86-year-old friend and astronomy teacher comes with his telescope and tent for the weekend to watch the Perseids meteor shower with us (aside: I want to be Bob when I grow up), and the kids jump up and down and say, “Yay! Astronomer Bob’s coming!” I mean, how many school kids would do that if you told them their teacher was going to come for the weekend so they could do some more studying?
Or when the kids show you the museum they’re curating with their archeological finds, and point out the skull’s long incisors, a term they learned from a skull workshop one of our homeschooling families put together last year.
With enough of those moments sprinkled throughout our lives, we get our doses of reassurance. Yes, she is learning (and likes it)! He was listening! It helps to have tried public schools, so we know what that was like (or more importantly, what it was NOT like). Most of the time, though, it’s just a visceral feeling that homeschooling is right—for us.
On the other hand, it also helps to have that occasional anecdotal reassurance and gut feeling backed by facts, which I got from a homeschool list and from here.