Updated: Jul 29
If you are new to homeschooling or struggling to find joy in your homeschool, this post is for you!
Check out my 10-minute video about Deschooling below. This video and post cover:
Deschooling for new homeschoolers or struggling homeschoolers
Purpose of deschooling
Negative lessons from school or pressured homeschooling
I had to deschool our homeschool, too
What to do during deschooling
Two recommended books for finding a vision for a sustainable homeschool
How long to deschool
The Purpose of Deschooling
Deschooling can be such an important part of getting off to a good start or rebooting your homeschool. It helps kids (and parents) let go of the negative feelings and attitudes towards school and learning which will hinder homeschooling. Some of these negative attitudes include:
Learning is forced upon me
Learning is something I only do when people make me do it
If I don’t learn this now, I will be behind for the rest of my life
My self-worth is tied to how well I can read or do math
My own interests are not important
I hate math (or science or whatever subject)
Through the process of deschooling, kids are able to re-gain their curiosity and excitement for learning. This will make everything else flow much smoother when homeschooling.
I Had to Deschool Our Homeschool, Too
Deschooling isn't just for people pulling their kids out of public school. I had to deschool our homeschool, too.
I started out homeschooling as a Type A mom, with too much focus on getting ahead and too much structure. It crashed and burned, big-time. By the end of first grade, my relationship with my daughter was damaged because of negative interactions about school work. My daughter also thought she hated writing and math, and she was only 6 years old!
Deschooling helped us push the "Reset" button to get back to a joyful experience of homeschooling and learning. You can read more about our experience with deschooling here: Why I Stopped Pushing In Our Homeschool
What to Do During Deschooling
While you are deschooling, you can focus on establishing loving relationships with your kids, learning about homeschooling approaches, and creating a vision for what you want to achieve in your home school.
Two books I would recommend for creating your homeschool vision are
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling by Gatto - This book will help you learn what NOT to do in your homeschool
A Thomas Jefferson Education by DeMille - This book will help you find your child's inner genius, support your child in finding their life mission, and teach your kids *how* to think instead of *what* to think
Give your kids space for their curiosity to be re-ignited while you deschool. It will work best if you do NOT require school or academics during this time. Limiting screen time is also very important because videos and video games can get kids *stuck* in a space of craving easy entertainment. This cycle can make it very hard to move into the creative space where learning happens.
Enjoy your deschooling time together. This is a great time to go on field trips and nature explorations, visit museums, play board games, read beautiful stories out loud, cook and clean together, and connect with other homeschoolers. Make sure to leave plenty of unstructured free time for relaxation and the establishment of a calm, peaceful mental state.
How Long to Deschool
I've seen some recommendations to deschool one month for every one year that the child was in a stressful schooling environment. However, it will really depend on your child and how much baggage they have towards learning and school. Be patient and gentle, as it takes time to establish a clean slate.
I like this quote about deschooling:
"wait for them to celebrate their freedom, then get bored of their freedom, and then actively make use of their freedom"
The boredom part is important! Don't give up when this happens. Boredom is often the precursor to the child moving into knowing how to re-engage in creative learning and projects.
Learn More About Deschooling
Here are some links for learning more:
Deschooling: Starting Out Right at Home - from The Homeschool Mom
Core Phase of Childhood Education - my article that has lots of practicaltips which you can apply to the deschooling time
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