I was asked this question recently. Here is my unapologetic reply:
The atmosphere in schools, indeed the atmosphere in our country, is very different today than it was even five years ago.
It was once possible for a young person to have a different point of view about the world and about the hotly debated issues in the world, and still find contentment and friendships and fulfillment and safety in schools. However, the more hostile and tribal we become, the more hostile and tribal our schools become. I think it is naïve to believe anything other than this.
I have been a DIY educator for over 20 years. That means my kids did not go to school, until they went to university. At university they were (naturally) surrounded by students who did attend public school. They were very surprised by lack of diversity in the experiences of the other students, prior to attending university. The corridors of their conversations on current events were very narrow. It was immediately evident to my kids (in their university lives) that the other students they spoke with had never met or spent time with the kinds of people whom they were ready and eager to savage for their worldviews.
Kids who attend school spend most of their awake hours in that school. Schools must be streamlined and must manage enormous populations. This is an administrative imperative; they have to manage the masses whether they want to or not. They cannot allow every student to say and to do whatever they want. The content of the (necessary) censorship will change based on geography, but censorship cannot be avoided. So one situation at a time the school begins to paint it self into a position of indoctrination.
Fast forward to today… that indoctrination’s appetite has grown ferocious. It might have been possible in the past to counter wrong ideas presented in school with correct ideas presented by parents. Personally, I do not think that is the case any longer.
I have read estimates on the number of adults who will be working from home by the year 2020 as running between 40 to 60%. Learning at home, or creating DIY education for your kids is no different than working from home. It is a model which acknowledges that things are not as complicated as big businesses would have you believe. Whether you are a software engineer or a second grade student learning the times tables, it’s not that hard. All of these things can be done from home with good Internet, attentive parenting, pencil, papers and books.
Small group learning, decentralized learning, mixed with some tutoring and online resources can produce a very learned individual. Children do not need to be placed in a school in order to learn and grow and thrive. Children need love, access to good teachers, attentive parenting , friendship and time spent with other children, nutritious meals and plenty of exercise. None of these things need include indoctrination. All can be done outside of a school building.