It isn't for everyone, but it isn't all that mysterious, either. I think this is the best article I've read on the subject in a long time. It's basic, it's friendly and it's realistic. Perfect for forwarding on to your homeschool-curious friends.
"At one end of the spectrum, there are families who take a child's curiosity and interest in a topic and help the child explore the topic. The idea is that, in any area of interest, there are opportunities to explore math, science, history, geography, etc. Those concepts are woven into the child's natural exploration of a topic. Over time, all of the topics covered in "normal" schooling get covered, but they happen in a much different order and at the child's own pace."
"At the other end of the spectrum, there are families who buy all of the books and follow the state curriculum just like a normal school would. The material is simply taught at home in a smaller setting."
I suppose a third group of parents are like me. We buy two different kinds of curriculum. We want to get every activity done in BOTH SETS done over the course of the year. We also want to take several weeks off at a time to find out about bugs or octopi or whatever. Then we wonder why we're so far "behind" on everything. I can just imagine my children applying to college in about ten years and proudly informing the admissions officer that they've just completed the fifth grade curriculum and are ready for classes in September.