I came up with this idea about five years ago.
After speaking to many homeschooling parents and reading posts online, books and magazines, I believe that it really comes down to three main reasons that is the prime reason a family starts to homeschool.
Yes we can make a list, maybe a long list of the many reasons why we choose it or why we homeschool now that was not necessarily on our list when we first began.
Here are the three main reasons, in a random order:
1. The Rescuer Families. These parents are now homeschooling but never planned to. Heck, some never even knew it existed. They found out about it and dove in for one reason only: to rescue their child from the school system. Some had high hopes or even past good experiences with older children of theirs, or with this same child, but this one child then had something different happen and the best solution and sometimes the only viable solution to "save the child" was to begin homeschooling.
I have heard these cases:
child suffering in school due to a learning disability not being helped enough by school staff or special ed services
gifted child bored to tears by slow pace or "not enough challenge"
parent says child bright and eager to learn but whatever is going on with 'school learning' is killing the child's motivation, altering child's behavior and having too many negative consequences
child being bullied terribly verbally, school not helping it stop
child being bullied physically, school not helping it stop
child bullied so badly they now suffer from anxiety mental disorders or anxiety caused physical ailments
child has a medical disease or condition that makes them miss too much school. Keeping up is too hard. Easier to just homeschool, on all concerned parties.
child has an allergy that is related to school, such as mold or mildew allergy that acts up when in the school building, or a severe food allergy that puts them at a health risk too much at school
school pushing child to take a drug for ADD or ADHD and parent doesn't think the child really has it or doesn't want to medicate the child
2. The Religious Families. Plain and simple the family wants religion infused into school topics more than the public schools do. Some families do not have access to a religious school for their religious preference. Other families who do live near a private religious school cannot afford to send their children there while living on a single income. The family may also seek to protect their children from other experiences or school agendas or perceived negative influences of school teachers or from other students.
3. The Alternative or Superior Education Families. These parents believe a range of things that all mesh together so I consider them one and the same general topic.
These families accept that learning does not have to happen inside of a school building. They realize ther are other ways to learn and other things to do.
Some use homeschooling methods which are similar or identical to alternative education methods used in private schools, others use other methods such as unschooling. Some feel their homeschooling method teaches 'more and better' things than can be offered in schools, such as due to cost limitations or logicstics for the school. Some dive more deeply into their child's interest areas such as the arts or the sciences. Some use older schooling methods such as classical education which the parents feel is a more rigorous and gives a more solid liberal arts education than what public schools presently offer.
Some families use alternative teaching methods due to their child's learning style, learning disabilities or medical conditions (neurological conditions that affect learning like Tourette's or ADHD for example.)
Some families would be willing to use private schools to access similar programs and alternative education methods IF a school was near them and IF they could afford it. In the absence of an available and an affordable private school that can meet their ideals or the child's needs the family homeschools.
The rarest occurance is the child who is a serious competitor in athletics, has celebrity parents or is a child star. They homeschool due to their training and career schedule clashing with traditional school attendance.
After thinking about this for a long time and discussing it with my friends, everyone has agreed that you can really boil down a family's reason to homeschool to one of these three main categories as the largest reason. As I said before, once the journey begins, our list of reasons why we are happy to be homeschooling grows, and the reasons may then fit into two or even three of these other categories as well.