This is a guest post from Kate Fridkis, whose family did homeschooling when she was growing up. She blogs about body image at Eat the Damn Cake and she blogs about homeschooling at Skipping School. The photo is Kate as a girl.

Adults are afraid that kids will fail at life if they don’t learn all of the basics. And adults believe that the basics are things like math, rather than subjects that naturally center around a kid’s interests.

My parents believed that their kids should get the chance to find out what they were really interested in, and to take a lot of time finding it out. But letting their kids do that wasn’t always easy, because my parents had gone to school themselves. So my parents were scared.

At her best, my mother didn’t try to structure our education. When she was bravest, we read all day. Or played outside all day. Or we read all morning and then played outside all afternoon. We were totally unpredictable;  we were experimenting and our lives themselves were utterly experimental. There were a lot of those days.

And then there were a lot of days when it seemed like she was nervous, and she asked, “What have you accomplished?” which meant that I should make sure I did something that looked a little more like traditional school. Math, for example. From a textbook.

I fake-learned when I had a textbook, and I really learned when I was reading, or playing outside, or writing a book, or starting a little business.

I already knew what was interesting. Homeschooled kids already know.