Yeah, I guess I know what you mean about homeschooling philosophies--it's been an interesting evolutionary process. Fifteen years ago when I was still thinking about homeschooling, my mentors were mostly the wild and wooly unschoolers that still predominated in the movement and with few exceptions even the canned curricula strove to avoid the too school-y model. Lately on the few occasions I hang out with local homeschoolers (I'm not trying to be antisocial, but we've really got too much else going on) it seems everybody's on workbook packages and video courses. There's something about the idea of sitting your kid in front of the tube all day--even for educational lectures--that just grates on me. Even if you're schooling primarily for religious reasons, it seems to me there are better alternatives to "school at home" with an electronic tutor, yet!This touches tangentially on something I've been chewing on for a while. I'm not delighted with the huge packaged curriculum programs I've run across, and specifically, I'm not delighted with what I've seen of their implementation in a homeschool environment. It seems (the BIG DISCLAIMER here to let everyone know that I'm not passing judgment, just articulating an observation) that these big programs make it a bit too easy to make the education process very hands-off for mom. But how can that be? you ask. Mom's at home all day. The kids are right there in the kitchen, doing their workbooks and their chapter fives and their coloring pages. And yet... opening the workbook to the assigned page, reading off the instructions, and then saying, "Okay, let's get this done by 11:00" while turning back to the phone call in progress -- heck, Junior might as well be at school. And (BIG DISCLAIMER again) I wonder if these programs fall into the "almost real school" category. The books are almost like textbooks at a real school! But without the "content"! St. Aloysius uses this math book! Our Lady of the Uber-Elite Academy uses this book, and they cost $12,000 a year!
This is vicarious education. This is "I would really rather send my kids to Catholic schools but I can't afford it/they might be corrupted". Undoubtedly Catholic schools are expensive. Undoubtedly there are bad apples even in the most orthodox settings who may teach your child uncouth habits, though a strong parental influence can lessen or overcome many of these types of ills. But homeschooling should be so much more than education on the cheap. And generations of Catholic mothers have impressed their values on their offspring despite oppressive educational conditions. Even the best Catholic schools won't be successful in imparting a religious spark if those lessons and values aren't lived and reinforced actively at home.