You could say we began homeschooling as soon as our children were born, because as parents you are always your child's first teacher.
Officially we began doing preschool studies when our oldest daughter was 3. That was also when we joined our first co-op, the Bluegrass Homeschool Learning Co-op (BHLC). I am so glad we had 2 trial years to hammer out many of the details in regards to schedule and curriculum. Having the BHLC and a couple of close friends who are also homeschooling has boosted our confidence tremendously in our ability to teach our children. Other parents are by far the best resource for ideas as well as for expressing concerns and frustrations. Homeschooling is afterall a wonderful learning process for parents as well!
When people wonder if we can adequately teach and handle 3 small children we would say far more easily than any teacher trying to keep up with 20+ children in a classroom setting. We can find learning opportunities in virtually every aspect of our lives. While we do have dedicated school time it is easy to find lessons in everything we do and is a major bonus of homeschooling! We don't have to find time to work all the "extra stuff" into our schedule because all the "extras," such as gymnastics and violin lessons, make our homeschooling experience complete!
Having said all that, we are homeschooling for several specific reasons. The first is because I love my children! I love spending time with them and I love seeing their faces light up when they discover a new idea or master a new concept. They can be quite challenging to deal with at times, but at the end of the day there is no job I would rather have than teaching my own children.
The second is the freedom it provides. The freedom to learn and explore what is most interesting to us. The freedom to move at their pace (whether that is faster or slower than what is recommended - we can do what makes sense for them not for 20+ other children). The freedom to take advantage of extracurricular and travel opportunities which might be difficult to manage time wise if we had to account for school schedules.
The third is because of a lack of faith in our public education system. We know there are truly wonderful educators out there (my parents are two of them!) but in general we aren't sure our children's needs would be met academically by our public schools. We want to make sure our children are challenged and have a love for learning that strengthens and grows as they mature.