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  • Writer's pictureSarah

Homeschooling 101: Deschooling

Updated: Jul 29, 2023

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

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:

Links to Amazon are affiliate links. If you use these links, your price remains the same but I may earn a small commission. Thanks for supporting this site!

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