Some parents feel that in order to teach their children at home, they absolutely must know a given subject inside and out. Others may have a certain level of competence, but rely heavily on the answer key or have their children complete courses online or with a little outside tutoring and lesson review to make sure everything's on track.
Most parents, however, will simply send for the yellow bus when they feel the time is right -- about when they have to start grading essays. :)
It seems sometimes as though there is a pecking order among homeschooling families. People who send their kids off to "government schools" after having them home are viewed askance as though they weren't committed enough. And why would you ever do that to your child, and having protected him this long, are you REALLY going to send him into that drug-infested cesspool to learn about how to wear baggy trousers and bad haircuts?
Are you committed enough? Do you love your kids enough? What's wrong with you, you second-class homeschool failure?
This is a thought that comes into play particularly for those parents whose homeschoolers are junior high or high-schoolers, because most of us don't run into major problems along the lines of "Do I know this stuff well enough to teach it?" in the first grade. Nowhere on the homeschooling blogs do I read about parents who are not *quite* sure how that addition thing works, at least, unless it's a parody of some kind. I've seen some nasty ones and I'm not linking.
Let's be honest, though. Homeschooling through high school takes a certain level of organization and credit planning that "let's glue macaroni noodles over the letter M" doesn't require. A good plenty of *excellent* teachers of younger grades find themselves popping their kids online for classes or otherwise at least partially delegating the teaching.
Sometimes even if it "looks" wrong to your homeschooling peeps, you just have to do the right thing by your child. I'm sending Elf to school next year, but I've been in contact with HSLDA and the second I'm not happy? He can come home. I have an email and a printed withdrawal form. The very second I'm not happy, the pen will fly on that thing.
So from my perspective, the "debate" over whether parents who want to homeschool only for a given number of years are real homeschoolers is a silly one. And I think that every parent who's homeschooled - even if it wound up only lasting a year - comes away with a different idea about the way things could be. They might enroll their child in school and truly appreciate the programs and extras the schools are able to do, or it might just make them better advocates for their children. Knowing your child's academic strengths and weaknesses - not just having them relayed at report card time - makes for more effective advocacy right there.
I think every parent who homeschooled and has sent their children into school later is also another number, another statistic, another proof that homeschooling works for almost every child. Teachers will get to know more homeschoolers and other kids' parents will see that we keep our third eye nicely covered under our bangs most of the time.