It disturbs me to see so many sweeping generalizations posted about this topic. It is also disturbing to see the high levels of hatred, bitterness, and bigotry (as well as the low levels of education) contained in some of these postings, especially Katherine's.
The "real truth" (as opposed, perhaps to the "unreal truth?") about ALL education--be it public, private, or at home--is that it is administered and carried out by human beings, each of whom has his/her own faults, frailties, talents, biases, strengths, goals, accomplishments, and failures.
At one point in my family's life, we had one child being home-schooled, one in a private religious school, and one in kindergarten at the local public school. Every one of them went through some very hard times, and all of us had seasons of frustration and doubt, excitement and joy.
The home-schooled daughter went on to obtain two bachelor's degrees at MIT and a master's degree at Harvard. She is employed in a software engineering firm, is happily married, and hardly considers her life ruined.
The private-schooled son spent about five years after high school wandering about trying to find his place in life, having many adventures (including living in Alaska and working in a children's home, caring for kids with serious emotional problems). Then he went to aviation school, became a pilot and flight instructor,and is now supporitng his wife while she attends college to become a teacher.
The third child, a daughter, became pregnant during her senior year in a public high school. She got married in April, graduated in May, and gave birth to her little girl in August. She is now a sophomore in college, making the dean's list while taking honors level courses in education.
We are born-again Christians, and would probably be regarded by some of you as extremists or just plain "whackos." What we want for our children is that they (1) learn to know, love, and serve God, and (2) find the satisfaction and joy of discovering the purpose for which they were created and carrying out that purpose. Along our educational journey, we have run across public school teachers and administrators who had their own agenda (such as making sure they collected every penny of our tax dollars while doing absolutely nothing to educate our children). We have met public school teachers who whispered to us that "I wish I could do what you are doing." We have met public school teachers who did everything possible to help and encourage us, because they genuinely care about kids. We have encountered "home schoolers" who were only keeping their children home to do hard labor in the fields and earn money for their parents. We have met home schoolers who are so ignorant I could weep. We have met college professors who are so ignorant I could weep. We have met home schoolers who have so much dedication to their children's lives, and have given their children such amazing and wonderful opportunities, that they make me ashamed of my own efforts. We have had to overcome obstacles placed in our path by public school administrators who were angry at us for withdrawing our daughter from school because "smart children should be held back, and not allowed to do any better than the average student" (this from a county superintendent of schools!).
As I look back on it, there are many things I wish I had done better, and many memories that bring a smile to my face. Each of my children is now responsible for his or her own life, and what he or she chooses to do with it, but I recognize that their father and I have had much to do with the shaping of their lives.
That brings me to you, Katherine. You are obviously a very bitter and angry person. I am sorry that your parents failed you--or, at least, that you feel that they failed you. But your life is not over, and what you do with it from this day on is entirely up to you. I don't know your age, but I suspect you are fairly young. There is still plenty of time for you to get a better education, take pride in your accomplishments, and to turn your attitude from one of vengefulness and self-pity to becoming someone who takes charge of her own life and uses her life experiences to help others avoid the mistakes your parents made. That could be the value of a book about the "real truth" about home schooling.