I have been homeschooling continuously since 1995 and I see many differences in then vs. now.
We did not have PC's. We did not have iphones. We did not have online courses. We did not have the plethora of materials and curricula to choose from.
We could get Sonlight, BJU, A Beka, Saxon Math & if we were lucky some public school discards :D I opted back then to make my own....we used our library card, a math program and loads of lined paper and pencils.
Our focus was HOME. There were no co-ops, homeschool gym, homeschool library classes etc. We were home-centric. Our days were filled and we did after-school activities such as sports or music and art lessons....but for the most part, my older kids learned by reading and writing....and reading some more and writing some more.
As Christians, our goal was to grow closer to the Lord and to have our children learn to love and follow His will for their lives.
My kids had many days of down time. They were not so rushed or stressed out as my youngers. They would wander the woods, shoot targets, take care of their rabbits, dogs, cats, etc. They learned to sew, bake, craft, paint, run electric, plumbing, stack wood etc. They stayed physically fit by play and work....not sports teams (at least not until they were older.) They were and are close to eachother.
Back then, not everything we did was to prepare them for college or for a greater career....we were more in the present of the time.
Somewhere, somehow....these days got muddled and our focus shifted. As my older kids began organized sports, college preparations etc., our stress level and fear of failing our children came into view. Yes, we wanted them to follow their goals and life's purpose....Had we prepared them adequately? Was homeschooling really the magic bullet to produce happy, God-fearing, intelligent, thoughtful adults and citizens? Here was where the rubber hits the road...and of course the result rested upon my shoulders. I could not place blame of the PS, or a bad advisor, or peer pressure or anything or anybody. I only had myself to look at, and to a lesser degree dh, who was supportive, but busy working to allow us the "luxury" of our lifestyle.
After 18 years....many things have changed, grown, evolved...
We have moved into a quicker paced life.
We have moved into a more technologically based lifestyle.
We have more programs to choose from than hours to review them.
We have forums, blogs, e-zines, tweets...lol....somehow we are not so cut off from others, their opinions and judgements as we were back then.
Our original goals have morphed a bit too....academics are and always have had a front seat in our homeschool, but I think they are much more forced now. I do not feel the free flowy days as I once did with my older set. Maybe I know the stakes better now.
I think my older kids might have actually had a better education than my younger ones are getting despite the fact that we were much poorer and had many fewer books and supplies.....hmmmmmThat is definitely something to consider.....