This is a subject near and dear to my heart because I educated my children at home for 16 years.
We didn't do it to "get out of" doing work as some implied early on -- are you kidding me? Home school moms are "on" 24/7 for all the years they teach their children ... that is, we have our kids with us constantly. When I hear parents complain that summer vacation will never be over soon enough because they are so sick of their kids being at home, I find it interesting and, no, not everyone is cut out to home school.
My kids and I actually enjoyed being with one another all those years. That's not to say we didn't have our days when I was about to pull my hair out ... or they were miffed at me for making them do yet another 20 math problems just to be sure we understood the concept.
Home schooling caused our family to have a stronger bond with one another. When my children hit their teens, I would hear parents of kids in public school discuss their teen's embarrassment at being seen with their parents. My teens actually enjoyed participating in our family activities. We camped together, shopped together, traveled together, schooled together. Even to this day my 19-year-old daughter will link her arm in mine while we're shopping at the mall. She's not embarrassed by being seen with us ... and neither is my college-senior son.
Because of a mutual respect, I set high educational standards for my students ... and they met the challenge. They could not pout to get out of their studies but they could put their noses to the grindstone and get the task finished early and be done with school for the day! We were usually finished by lunch time on a regular basis.
How, you may ask, could you possibly do that?
One-on-one education. A willingness to work both on my behalf and theirs. Every assignment they read was read first by me; every math problem they worked was worked first by me. I had to research and set out lesson plans and know the lessons before assigning them to my kids.
It helped me as much as it helped them. I re-educated myself.
I decided on my choice of curriculum when I researched "home school curricula" way back in 1990 (before computers were around to check through a search engine; I had to mail away for informaton). An independent source had deemed that particular curriculum as one that would have students as educated by the eighth grade as a high school graduate. It put much emphasis on the ability to write, something sadly lacking in today's employee pool, but it also emphasized all the other basics including math.
Best of all, I was able to tailor any curriculum to each child. My son hated writing when he was young ... so I cut back on that (choose your battles) ... but after learning to keyboard through computer classes he began to "write" chapter books by typing instead of writing long-hand ... and that was when I realized he had had the creative ability all along but didn't like the mechanics of having to long-hand it onto paper because it made his hand cramp.
Did it work? He is now a college senior majoring in Computer Science and minoring in English and math ... and he has received glowing feedback and excellent grades from instructors about his writing throughout college.
Which leads me to this CNN.com article: Some colleges courting home-schoolers in quest for the best.
Home school students have a work ethic and willingness that is lacking in some public school students. They are more social than many of their public school peers, in my opinion, because they have to interact with all ages from adult down through infants. Home school families, after all, are families so baby sister and older siblings live, study, and work together. Through home school sports groups they are able to play soccer, basketball, baseball ... and they pursue other activities on their own such as ballet or, in the case of my daughter, gymnastics.
It is because of the work ethic, the ability to get along, the self-paced studying that many colleges have realized home school students are an asset.