As a homeschooler one of the most common things I get asked (after questions about socialization of course) is what if my kids ask to go to school? Usually phrased as ‘But if they asked to go to school you’d let them, right?’
Firstly, I’m not holding them captive over here people, ha! We’re all enjoying ourselves, we’re having fun, they’re learning lots, and we love our life. This question sounds a little like we’re depriving them of something, and that if I were to reply ‘No, I wouldn’t’ that I would be doing my kids a disservice.
Secondly, I think we’re all making the choices we think are best for our children, aren’t we? I hope we are anyway! Some people have decided that school is right for their children and that is the kind of education that they want for them. Others choose to educate at home because that suits their children/family/beliefs better. The key here is that the parents are choosing while the children are very young. The adult is usually the one who makes these big decisions on their children’s behalf.
So no, at this point in time I would not let my children go to school if they asked. There, I said it! I’m making the educational choices for my children at this stage of their life, just like most other people. I feel like home education is a better environment for them right now for many reasons.
If I asked a parent who chooses school ‘but you’d let them homeschool if they asked, right?’, I expect the majority would reply that they definitely would not. They would have their own reasons for thinking school was the better option for them and their circumstances. And so it is no different for me.
Now this is obviously not a clear cut answer! We value freedom and autonomy so I always want to respect my children’s wishes and I would never give them an outright ‘No’ and ‘because I said so!’
So what would I do if they asked? Right now, at this age, I would ask them what they thought school was like and what the reason was they wanted to try it. I would try to find out what they felt they could get from school that they weren’t getting at home and see if I could meet those needs another way.
As they get older, this will change. Just as it does with most things. The older they get, the more understanding they have and the more able they are to make these big decisions. But for now, I need to do what I think is best, just like you. As I don’t see school as a safe place for children, I would be working with them to find another solution.