Got to tell you, it works. We did this with our kids (now 33, 32, 28, 24) ... before it was a schooling movement. Our only three goals: 1. be able to read and comprehend (to find out any info); 2. do math (to calculate what you need); and 3. have good manners (help others and they'll be happy to help you. Yup, they answered the phone politely with, "Hello, this is ... speaking," let adults go first, and held the door for others.)
We spoke German (our native tongue growing up) at home, and taught them the German alphabet by inventing songs for each letter sound. They picked up reading English on their own, with great delight. (Two read at age 5, one at 8, one at 4.)
Starting with Grade 2, I handed them an "All you need to know in Grade X" workbook and asked them to do 10 pages a day. "Call me if you need me," but they never did. When they were no longer even picking up the book, I'd ask if they were done.
"Yes, Mom!" Upon flipping through, there were skipped pages here and there. They'd admit, "Well, we didn't do that page. It looked hard (or I didn't get it.)"
By the end of the workbook, they really understood those few missing math or science pages and whipped through them on their own. About January or Feb, we did MacMillan Mathematics (write-in text-workbook) - about 10 pages a day, like the other book. Interestingly, doing math in a month-long chunk rather than interrupting with other "subjects" really helped their speed and comprehension: they're all math whizzes ... through university and beyond.
Their textbooks were kid's magazines likes National Geographics World, Popular Mechanics, ZooBooks, Cricket (etc./ age-appropriate top literature), the odd French, Spanish, German course, a lot of field trips and fun chores (i.e. baking = measuring, math, manners, public speaking as in explaining to us "what am I doing now," reading comprehension, etc.) They learned responsibility and practical skills by cooking, baking, cleaning, painting, helping ouside, etc. All of them can run a household and pay bills on time!
The mandatory state testing was a breeze: no pressure. I told them, "Today's a play day. It's your chance to hang out with a bunch of kids you don't know. Finish the paperwork and have fun on breaks." They did best the year our fourth was born: they hadn't touched a worksheet since February; in June, they scored everything in the high 90s percentiles.
The unschooling capture-the-moment of spontaneous learning and occasional worksheets ALSO taught them to follow written and verbal instructions. They went in and out of public and private schools after Grade 5. Some years were at home; some were elsewhere. We took the youngest to England while dad finished his PhD at Cambridge. Our son had a great time in the British system, then came back to do IB in the USA, before entering college a year early.
The older siblings? the first went into university at age 15; he finished 7 years later with a bunch of majors (including an elementary teaching degree) - he schooled himself at his own pace. The second? She had severe arthritis and was in and out of hospital for joint replacements. Finished high school at a tough private school, finished college with outstanding grades in Business. The third went into college a year early, had a lot of fun socially, and came out with a Business degree. The youngest did Communications.
HAVE FUN. I'd be happy to chat with any parents getting grief from others OR wanting to know if the unstructured life of childhood learning produces functioning, polite, and contributing adults! www.peacefulones.blogspot.com