While cleaning out my youngest son’s clothing drawers,  I found a shirt he got last year in kindergarten. On the front it says, “I love school.”

I put the shirt in the throw-out pile.

When I asked my son what he thinks about staying home with me instead of going to school, I expected him to say something like, “What would we do?” or “Could I play my DS all day?” but instead he said, “Miss first grade? I can’t miss first grade. Everyone is going to first grade. That’s why I had graduation!”

School indoctrinates kids that school is good. It’s like any organized religion. It’s just that the federal testing guidelines are god.

What if all the parents who are telling me to homeschool are actually more uninspired teachers than the uninspired schools they are supposedly rejecting? Bruno Bettleheim told millions of parents how to raise their kids all while he himself was a child abuser. There is no watchdog when it comes to homeschoolers. There is only the cacophany of parents dissing the schools for failing to reach goals the parents may or may not reach themselves.

Melissa took my six-year-old to Texas with her. She is there for good, but he’s there for a week. I was thinking this would be a good method of homeschooling—sending my kid to go visit other people, and see how they live.

After all, it is not lost on me that last time we went to a Chicago suburb for a cello camp, my six-year-old said, “Hey, look at that truck! That’s the dirtiest truck I’ve ever seen!”

And I said, “Yeah. It’s called a garbage truck.”

I need to make sure this stuff happens when he’s six and not sixteen.

Also, I was thinking that maybe I could arrange with another homeschooling parent to send their kid to our farm and we send our kids to their city house. Like, an homeschooling exchange program or something. So I was really curious to see how things would go on this trip.

It went great because he was exposed to things I could have never shown him myself. He stayed in a boy’s house who has a movie theatre inside. He drove in someone’s truck who has a playroom in the back. He ate at a restaurant with a Confederate flag out front, and asked if that’s the flag for Texas.

When Melissa proposed the idea, I thought the scariest thing was that he had to fly back home by himself.

But now that  I see what the trip has done for him, I think the scariest thing is that he might grow up and live in Texas.

When I go to the city, and I tell people we live in a very rural part of Wisconsin, on a farm. People say, “Oh, are you homeschooling?” It happens so often that I almost feel like homeschooling is a logical result of living on a farm.

When I’m deciding if I should homeschool, I don’t need to decide if homeschooling is the answer to this country’s education problems. I only need to decide if, given the school district we live in, could I do as good a job educating my children as the school district could?

I have spent a lot of time with strong performing high schoolers from our district. I do not want my kids to have the education these kids had.  It’s not the education I had. There are different values. For example, the high schoolers don’t read for fun. They don’t go to enrichment programs over the summer. These are things I assumed every high school kid did before I moved here. I was ignorant, I know. But it doesn’t change what I want for my kids.

The problem is that my choice becomes a referendum on the school district. And then all my neighbors take it personally. I’m scared to publish this. I don’t want to be alienated from our community. But I’m not sure I have a choice.

I want people to think I’m making a good decision. I know I shouldn’t care. I know I should just do what I think is right. But I want to be accepted into some sort of community. I’m not sure what kind.

So I need to look into the homeschooling community where we live. I know there are families. Lands End is here and there is no private school. What do the executives do with their kids? I need to find out.

I don’t want to become a genius about teaching materials. I don’t want to engage other homeschooling parents in discussions about what worked for those kids.

I want to buy Rosetta Stone and learn languages with my kids. And then go to the country where we can speak it.

I want to hire everyone at My Learning Springboard to have things like customized tours of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and long-distance learning for bar mitzvah tutoring.

I want to have a fellowship program where I get amazing teachers in a wide range of areas to come teach my kids for weeks at a time. And I want to build a cabin next door to us so the teaching fellows feel so lucky they get to live on a farm.

I want the zillionaire version of homeschooling.

My friend Lisa Nielsen just put a post on her blog full of resources directed at me: a to do list to start homeschooling. Except she calls it home education. She says I should use that word on my blog but not in the titles, because homeschooling is better SEO. It comforts me that she shows this practicality in the midst of presenting material for the homeschooling idealist.

I scrolled through the list and I can tell there is no way I’m going to avoid reading everything on it. I compulsively read everything when I teach myself something totally new.

I have a son who shows aptitude for programming but I need to learn more to show him more. And, can I teach my kids history by doing it through literature? And have you read this book, Molly Bannaky? It’s lovely, and my boys asked questions about the slave in the book for a week. I cried when I read it. Maybe I had PMS but I think I would have cried anyway.

So I have to read Lisa’s list. And it’s a test, really. Because if I really believe in lifelong learning, and I really believe in self-directed learning, then I believe I can do this. I can become an expert on educational theories. I have to be. How else can I reject them?

I love the elementary school principal. I wonder if she will continue to have monthly lunches with me after I tell her I’m taking my kids out of school.

During an interview with The Washington Post, Vivek Kundra, the federal government’s chief information officer, was explaining how outdated the government is when it comes to technology. He said that people are assigned PDAs based on a how long they have worked for the government and the square footage of their office. He said that most school kids are carrying better technology in their backpacks than government officials have on their desks.

I live in a school district where kids do not get assigned homework that requires a computer at home because so few kids have home computers. At first I was shocked but then I told myself that my idea of school is messed up because I only have personal experience with rich districts.

I’m sure that most government officials are the same, but they cannot talk about most districts and kids like they are rich. It would not be politically correct.

And then it scares me that I just normalized the problems and the consequent behavior of one of the poorest school districts in the country.  I start to doubt my judgment.

Check this out: I am in a Title I school district, but the parents I have spoken to have no idea what Title I means, let alone whether or not they are part of that.

Title I means that my district — the Darlington, WI district – is estimated to be performing in the lowest 20% of the country. Why is there no serious discussion of this in the community? Why aren’t parents scared? How can we send kids into the world to compete with the other 80% for jobs?

There is no way that people in my community are going to accept me because I am not going to be able to shut up about this. The best way to make a community better is to talk about what needs improving. What are people talking about improving in Darlington? I’m not really sure.