Hi Heather, such good questions! by now you are probably all set up and decided but anyway…
I used to homeschool my children – 2 of them went all the way from K to 12, our last went through 9 but when his brother moved away to college it was just too lonely and he is now in 11th at a private school and I work what hours I can to cover that large bill.
My best advice is to know yourself and do what fits you. If you have to spend energy learning how to work with a program or making yourself do it, you spend what you’ll probably need to understand your child’s approach and mind bends,and it won’t be easy to keep learning fun.
The thing I have liked best about homeschooling was being with my children, watching and being a part of their growing and learning, seeing them develope into lovers of learning and reading.
A basic plan of what to cover for the whole of school, not a detailed scope and sequence but a general outline(counting to 100 and single digit addition and subtraction in 1st gr. math, the 10 commandments in 2nd gr. religion, world geography in 5th gr.- for example) can assure you that there won’t be too many “holes” in the childrens’ knowledge when they are through. But sometimes if children are fairly close in age it’s better to let them learn together especially the scienc and social studies areas. So sometimes my younger children had to revue a few topcs and expand there deepth in some areas in their later grades. Of course if you decide on a packaged course that will all be done for you.You seem to have done a lot of research already and to be a very planned and organized person. That helps especially when you have toddlers or are not feeling 100% (say-when you’re expecting-) The topics, or worksheets or games etc. are all purchased and you can just hand them out and watch. I found that my toddlers liked the idea of school and would work with a huge shape and color sorting game I found or would color a page or two, but then they would be happy to play with their toys especially if i called it “recreation” like it was a call name. “Nap time” is a class too. And their naptimes are the best for math and reading with the elementary children, they are interupted less.
Last speck of advice: find some other families who homeschool near you-together you can do more and your children will make great friends.
I LOVED my 20 years as a home school mom. You will be blessed.