This question has 2 answers. One answer you save for acquaintances, strangers, distant relatives, and one answer you save for people who are really interested.
I am terrible about answering questions about personal matters. I stutter. I answer something lame, that probably isn’t even half the truth. And I get this question a lot, so I decided I needed to come up with a short, honest answer that really gets down to the heart of why I don’t send my son to school. I came up with one word:
I want him to be free to pursue his own agenda. I want him to be able to wake up when he’s rested, to run when he needs to run, to ask questions when he is curious, to go to the bathroom without having to tell 20 or 30 other people about it. To travel regardless of the season. To be free from someone judging him all day long.
But to the casual questioner, I’ll simply reply: “freedom.”
This is the first and foremost reason we avoid the schools. And it is a positive answer. So many people start homeschooling out of fear: Fear of evolution, sex-ed, bullies, mean or incompetent teachers. Fear and freedom are not compatible. Fearful people homeschool to protect their children from the world. I homeschool to introduce my son to the world.
I disapprove of the methods and goals of forced schooling, it is true, but primarily I’m motivated by those warm October days we spend happily at the lake. Those rainy miserable days that we play Acquire all day long and bake muffins.
I don’t want my son to waste his energy on bullies or mean people that he’s incapable of escaping, but mostly I just want to honor his desire as a child to be with people that love him. To be explore the world from a place of safety. He can run around the neighborhood with kids that can be rude and hurtful, but he is always free to leave, free to come home whenever he’s had enough.
I disagree with the nutritional guidelines of schools, but more importantly, I want my son to have access to real food whenever he is hungry. I want him to be free to eat a sandwich in 5 minutes or to make himself a gourmet feast if that’s what he’s in the mood for.
At school, his options of what to do, what to eat, and what to say, are reduced to almost no options at all. At home, his options expand exponentially.
People are meant to be free, and kids are people too.