you're a Jet all the way...
There are many different ways to homeschool. I'm taking the unschool approach. So far, I've found that we're learning what we're supposed to learn without lessons or direction from me. I'm a resource, I answer questions, I watch her interests and encourage her. I get books and toys and have them lying around for her to find. If I really want her to learn something, I might mention it and see if she's interested, if she is, I'll probably try to read her a book about something or show her something (like addition).
Sometimes, homeschoolers take a dim view of those who homeschool differently. Other times, they simply don't care and realize that all families are different and we're all trying to do what is best for our kids and our families. Some kids want structured lessons, some parents love to teach -- and for others, any attempt to teach is a power play.
Since I'm so new to homeschooling, my cohort and I tend to be more dogmatic. I'm sure we'll soften a bit with time.
I've mentioned I'm an unschooler. Another approach in homeschooling is the Classical Approach (aka the Trivium). While the earlier years students in this method are given a lot of leeway to play, it is a structured approach. One of the ideas behind the approach is that it is rigorous academically. I have a copy of The Well-Trained Mind, but I stopped reading it after a footnote said that young children should be given short reading lessons each teaching day. Even if they are crying. Sorry -- that doesn't work for me. Well, I'm just the kind of undisciplined person that the book later warns of. [With good reason, did you see that preposition at the end of the sentence?] I haven't read this far in the book, but have been told that in talking of support groups, the book advises that a support group filled with unschoolers is not the right support group for a Classical Approach proponent.
I'm in a field trip group that has mostly Classical homeschoolers -- the kids are all very young, so none have been homeschooling very long and they all take a more laid back approach because there are younger siblings in the house. I always feel a bit out of it with the group as I listen to them talk about what they use to teach what. I keep my mouth shut. I enjoy the moms and my kids like the kids.
We went on a field trip the other day. I felt like a rebel -- I almost immediately abandoned the group to go do the activities that interested us, instead of staying with the group and waiting through activities that didn't interest us. I thought it was an analogy to my educational approach, I'm not going to drag us through subjects that don't interest us before we get to what does.
We later caught up with the group and enjoyed our time with them and I don't think they held it against me that I jumped ship (why would they care?). It was funny though, Suzanne asked me about something she saw. I asked her what the sign said (this is how I assess what she can read). She read the sign aloud and I explained what it meant. One of the moms turned around and said "she's reading that much?" I got embarrassed because I felt guilty for showing off -- but I didn't alter my normal behavior and I didn't expect that anyone was paying attention to us. Anyway, I said, "yeah." She asked -- "what program did you use?" I love that. I said something dopey like "she's a sight reader. We didn't use anything."
When I told my DH about this and repeated the question "what program did you use?" He said "umm, ABBA Gold." It reminded me that when she was first learning to read, she'd always as for the CD case of the music that was playing in the car. I'd hand it back to her and she's pour over it. I never really knew what she was doing. Once she told me that Voulez Vous was number 13. I wondered if she read it or just recognized the "V" and figured it out. As DH puts it, not only was she reading, she was reading French! Who'd have guessed?
Next time I'm telling people our reading program is ABBA Gold. Given that I lucked out with an early sight reader for my oldest, I figure my youngest will probably start reading around age 9 or later and want phonics instruction (its so boring, I tried briefly with Suzanne and we quit after a few lessons. I hope it will be fun if thats what my younger child wants). I'll have to remind myself to be patient.