I have been doing tons of research on homeschooling. I joined email groups and bulletin boards and I'm reading several books on the subject. All of it looks amazingly positive for J. Mom thinks it's great but worries about how the other 2 kids will react when they know J is going on lots of field trips and getting to be with me all day. K told me she would never want to homeschool and I believe she has the kind of personality that fits school. She is very happy and her teachers are happy with her. In the case of W, I don't know yet. He will be 4 in 2 months and is in preschool. So far, he is doing well and has been pegged as the smartest boy in the class. He enjoys school and except for some minor behavioral problems is doing great.
The local HS group has some wonderful trips and get-togethers planned. Although we cannot participate as of yet because J is still in school, it's good to get a sense of what they do. I am also reading a few blogs from families who are homeschooling - and one even in my city. I never knew how much there was to do in my town!
I wish I can get rid of my lingering doubts about this decision. I don't want J to resent me in the future for removing her from her friends and "fun". I dont' want the kids to compare each other in a negative way. I don't want J to "miss out" on things like dances, student council, and learning an instrument for free...and recognition for achievements - whether it be certificates, scholarships, even gold stars. I know she'll get such a better education when it's self directed and based on her own interests and drive. I know she isn't going to make it into the next GT grade and going back to mainstream classes will be disasterous for her. She picks up bad attitiudes, acts out when made to do busy work, and shuts down when slower learner are given the most attention (and she has to tutor them during class - God, I HATE that!!). Being as smart as she is, she will once again feel isolated and will probably be in an accelerated pull-out which adds to the already too many transitions from 1 subject to another. The local public school is mainly hispanic and has many ESL learners which will put her academically even more ahead. These schools do not separate advanced learners - they combine all levels in one class - and this all is just not a good idea for J.
My decision is actually getting easier and easier. I need to trust myself more. I need to declutter and organize my home. I need to get myself on more of a schedule with daily activities. If I do what I'm supposed to do, I know J will excel at homeschooling. It's so hard to see her in this GTprogram every day knowing she couldn't care less about the work, knowing they push these kids terribly, and knowing there's so much more for her in store.