I think it's safe to say that experiences differ with schools. I had left public school in the sixth grade to go to a Catholic school. By the time I reached Catholic high school some three years later, I had was one full year ahead of my former classmates (in terms of the subject matter taught and learned) who had stayed in public school and then gone to the Catholic high school.
As far as the experiences of the families you know in your area who home-schooled their children, I certainly don't question what you have written, but they would be the exception to the rule. Home-schooled children not only graduate college at higher rates than those educated in private or public schools, they graduate with higher GPAs. www.usnews.com.
(Assembling soapbox for a rant)
The blessing and curse of public school is we must educate every child. It is nearly impossible to differentiate for gifted, average, intellectually challenged, behaviorally disordered, and special needs simultaneously. Just try to imagine all these kids at your dining room table. It's impossible to have a meaningful, deep conversation with the gifted kid, give adequate pacing and support to intermediates and and intellectually challenged kids and try to keep the bd kid from hurting herself or someone else. Yet we ask our public school teachers to accomplish this task every day, day in and day out. No wonder teachers burn out.
If people live in an economically homogeneous area, the population will self select and the public school teachers will look effective, even tremendous. For those of us who teach in areas rife with poverty, gang violence, and linguistic and ethnic diversity, the job is impossible. Our scores will never stack up with wealthier schools because our kids start so far behind. My school averages 30% transience and we lose at least one kid a year to shootings. (I am so sick of kids' funerals.) Kids are bringing weapons to school; we just don't usually see them. When we do, we have procedures. The teachers I work with are called to minister to the poor, yet we have to have our prayer meetings before school and speak of Jesus in hushed tones. And No Child Left Behind wants to cut our funding? Put those politicians in my classroom for ONE DAY. The kids will eat them alive.
My particular ministry is teaching English to refugees. This is where my frightened, poor, shell shocked and disenfranchised students land, so this is where I will be, waiting to guide them. I love my job and my students and the ONLY thing I would trade it for is the ability to better care of my own two children.
I pay for Catholic school so my kids get the academic rigor, faith formation and respect for adults that I demand in my interactions with them. To return to the topic, I would homeschool so I could increase the rigor even more, focus on my children's unique gifts and spend the best part of my day with my kids instead of 4-8 pm, when I am already tired.
The next four I home schooled from
day one. While they are in public school now they hate it. However they all are 4.0 students in their respective grades. The youngest does well, but is emotionally behind most likely to the divorce.
Homeschooling works and works well if you are committed. Kind of like marriage.