I think I'm done reading about how other people homeschool. No one else out there seems to do things the way we do. One of the things I've learned is that pigeon-holing yourself into a certain homeschool label is rarely beneficial. You have to be flexible. Most of us follow more than one philosophy and method. I've come to the conclusion that we are probably 80% unschooling (W pursues his interests all day long with only an hour or so of parent led, but child requested formal academics) and 20% Charlotte Mason (narrations, short lessons, lots of outdoor time). I'd like to say we are 100% unschoolers, but I feel it's my job to make sure he's prepared for college (and/or anything else he may choose in the future). I've been through this twice already and I know what good colleges want to see. And being cute and fun will not get you in. Kids unfortunately do NOT know best (I know I'm getting the stink eye from radical unschoolers right now) and I plan on seeing to it that W is fully prepared for any number of post-high school choices so he can comfortably make a decision on what he'd like to do. This doesn't mean 6-8 hours a day of rigorous academics. It means making sure W is proficient in high-level math, can read well and critically with understanding and interest (and hopefully joy), and that he can write creatively and with purpose. Everything else, like history, geography, and science will be incorporated into W's reading and writing and will be covered via many field trips. As a matter of fact, we started on more independent reading and written narrations this week. I feel the written narration is better than note-taking/copying out of a book. It allows W to summarize the whole section and put it into his own words. It improves not only his reading and comprehension, but his writing, grammar, and paragraph mechanics.
There are so many other great things W has and will learn as a homeschooled teen: public speaking, volunteering, goal-setting, team work, and being a part of the real world now, not when he's out of college. Yeah, many of these can all be done in public/private high school, but kids get so much more out of them when they're self-initiated and in context to their lives.