Holt's Instead of Education

I am currently reading one of John Holt's classics, Instead of Education, which he wrote in the 1970s and which advocates, as he puts it, not for alternative schools but for alternatives to school, like unschooling. I really like this quote, which I think is interesting when applied to our city's "controlled choice" public school model:

"After all, if the government told convicted criminals they could choose which prison they would go to, the prisons might in time become slightly better. But they would still be prisons."

I often think about what we'll do if/when the kids ask to go to school. Part of me thinks that our learning philosophy is child-centered so we should follow their desires, but the other, stronger part of me feels that we are the parents and we decide what's best for our kids. After all, kids also ask to eat extra cupcakes, stay up late, go outside without a jacket in freezing weather, etc. and we don't give in to those desires so why should schooling be any different. At least that's how I feel now.

Here's a great quote about the subject from a homeschooling mom's blog:

"Parents check out schools and decide which school and maybe even which teacher is best suited for their child. But, when it comes to homeschooling, society seems to think we should ask our little ones what they want to do. That's entirely too much pressure for the kid, and it also sets the parent up for a lifetime of the child calling the shots. Children are quite comfortable with parents making the grown up decisions, and there's a security in thinking your parent is taking care of things when you're young."