I have a sensitivity to wheat. If I eat something "wheated" then something goes wonky in my body and I suddenly have difficulty responding to negative situations appropriately. But I didn't figure this out until I was in college.
And it took a while for me to believe that wheat did, indeed, throw me off.
In fact, it wasn't until a year of not eating wheat had gone by that I could feel the shift if I had any. And there were enough times when I ate wheat without realizing it--and freaked out; only to discover that, say, Teriyaki sauce contains wheat--that I came to accept the fact that I have a sensitivity.
But before that, I was pretty sure it was just a negative placebo. An excuse. Life was just really horrible when I had an "episode"--the wheat, just a convenient scapegoat.
My distrust of my body's signals was due in large part to the fact that I know placebos work. People really do get better taking sugar tablets they believe are a wonder drug. Which, I guess, further indicates how right my mother-in-law is: We know so little about how our bodies work, there are many things the medical world just doesn't know yet. Like, what's up with wheat sensitivities.
Much like my wheat sensitivity, I don't think education is a placebo. But there is something to be said for the mystery of how education works. Everything from radical unschooling to the most strict and mass-produced of public educations have lead to some wild successes as well as dismal failures.
What this does mean is that homeschooling is a fantastic option. Perhaps not a panacea, but also not a placebo. And homeschooling with Sonlight could be just what the doctor ordered...
(figuratively speaking, of course)
A Friend, Not A Doctor