Found an interesting article at Salon, of all places, on homeschooling by a non-religious homeschooling parent. The article is lengthy, but there are some great quotes, some of which are below.
“Some people seem genuinely disturbed by our decision, on philosophical or political grounds, as if by keeping a couple of 5-year-olds out of kindergarten we have violated the social contract.”
“As for the “why” question: We’re not ready to surrender our kids, and ourselves, to a 10-month-a-year, all-day institution whose primary goal, at least at this age, seems to be teaching kids how to function within a 10-month-a-year, all-day institution.”
“At the risk of gross generalization, there’s a hierarchy of responses when you drop the home-school bomb in conversation. Childless men don’t much care; the question is too remote from their consciousness. Childless women are often curious and even intrigued; the question is hypothetical but possesses a certain allure as a thought experiment. As for men with children, they may or may not be sympathetic, but they don’t experience the subject as a personal affront. Let’s be honest: It’s almost always mothers who react defensively when the subject comes up, as if our personal decision not to send our kids to public school contained an implicit judgment of whatever different choices they may have made.
As I say, I understand this a little bit better than I did at first. For one thing, I’m not sure any man can really grasp the competing and largely incompatible demands faced these days by American women, who are expected to be providers, power brokers, nurturers and sex symbols, either all at the same time or in rapid succession. Whether they’re working-class or middle-class, most working mothers feel fundamentally torn between home and the workplace. They get shunted into mommy-track careers if they seem insufficiently devoted to their corporate overlords while getting grief from mothers-in-law for not spending enough time with the kids. They’re doing the best they can and it’s not that much fun, and the last thing they want to hear is somebody telling them, in effect, that they must have missed the latest memo on hip 21st-century motherhood: You’re supposed to quit your job and spend your days reading your kids “Oliver Twist”! Home schooling is the new black!”