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.

As a fourteen and fifteen-year-old homeschooler, the last thing I wanted to do was sit around the house with my mom all day. What kid wants to do that?

And people always whispered to me, “I could never do what your mom is doing.” They said, “So she has a degree in education?” No, not exactly.

The idea that being a homeschooling parent means being an expert on every school subject and walking your kids, day by day, year by year, though everything they would otherwise have learned in a classroom is a huge misunderstanding of the way homeschooling works.

When they’re very young, kids need a lot of attention and support. They need to be watched, in case they try to jump off the top of the stairs, to see if they can fly. But education doesn’t really need to be nearly as structured and guided as people imagine it does. Kids learn from being alive. And once kids develop interests, they can pursue them doggedly, on their own, for weeks at a time. For years.

But most adults don’t trust kids, even their own, to have the “right” interests. Adults worry that kids are always wasting their time. Or doing things wrong. But adults don’t seem that good at picking subjects for kids to learn. Sir Ken Robinson has a lot to say about how science and math get picked over, well, everything else. But even people like me, who haven’t been knighted by the Queen, can see that even the people who get A’s in science and math haven’t necessarily learned why science and math are important. So who are we, as adults, to tell kids what they should be learning and when they should learn it?

This guy emailed me. He said his in-laws live near our farm. He’s CEO of a homeschooling startup. So I took a chance on him and invited him and his family over for lunch.

He hung out with me in the kitchen and told me his company helps schools do project-based learning and “experiential” learning.

I said, “That sounds like homeschooling to me.”

He said, “It is. But not every family can do that.”

I went nuts. I told him that every family that is in a school rich enough to indulge in his software package has the means to homeschool. And, I said, “Why is a family that believes in project-based, experiential learning sending a kid to school anyway?”

He said, “Not every parent can afford homeschooling.”

I said, “That’s total BS. Every family with two college grads for parents can have one parent work and one homeschool. They can make enough money. If they choose.”

He was silent.

So I said, “This reminds me of the families that say they don’t have enough money for the mom to take maternity leave. It’s messed up values.”

He said, “My wife didn’t take maternity leave.”