Just a waste of time?
If your idea of homeschooling looks like either of these options, you need to deschool!
Deschooling is a necessary and beneficial step toward your homeschool journey.
The process will help you remove your expectations.
According to Wikipedia (and the word’s creator Ivan Illich), It (deschooling) is a crucial process that is the basis for homeschooling to work, in which children should slowly break out of their school routine and mentality, develop the ability to learn via self-determination again, and find interests to decide what they want to learn in their first homeschool days.
Deschool until your child(ren) stops telling you, “That’s not how my teacher does it.”
Deschooling is NOT a time away from learning.
Deschooling is a time for you and your household to:
- Relax from the stresses of traditional school
- Actively remove expectations
- Spend time learning with your child(ren)
- Discover what they truly enjoy
- Find out how they learn, and what they need
This is absolutely not a time of slacking off!
While the time required for deschooling will vary greatly from family to family, you and your household will gain confidence as you go.
Go slowly! By adding in structured educational goals a little bit at a time, introducing new concepts and ways of learning one by one, you and your child(ren) will be ready for this great adventure.
Just before the pandemic hit, a very good friend was fed up with the public school program for her child. The parents decided that they would pull the child at the next school break, not waiting until the end of the school year. There was one quarter remaining in the school year. The family opted to deschool for the remainder of the school year.
During this time of deschooling, they investigated different curriculum options, worked on some assessments to discover the child’s true level, and to find any learning holes that needed to be filled before moving forward, The family also learned that their child needed a different schedule.
It was better for this family to have a later start in the morning. Soon, the family also realized that the child had better focus and more enjoyment in learning when able to go outside to work.
Shortly after leaving the public school system, the pandemic hit, and the family discovered that the new way was a better fit for them, and definitely a better fit for their child than distance learning was. In time, they also realized that homeschooling was a richer experience, where all members of the household can participate in learning.
Deschooling is a useful tool for everyone who has traditional educational styles in mind when they think of homeschool. It also provides an opportunity for you and your household to learn to be homeschoolers.
Take a breath
Take a walk.
Visit local museums, historical areas and learn what your community has to offer.
Spend days in the library and allow your child(ren) to choose anything they want from their reading level down. YES! Comic Books Count!
Sit together under a tree and read for thirty minutes.
Ask them questions about their reading, what they liked or didn’t, what it was about. Get them to share more and more about each book. You pick up a book too and describe it to them.
Watch a movie and do the same.
Play video games. Yes – I said it – but some are amazing games that are both fun and educational! Even Minecraft has educational mods.
All these things are learning; they are educational. They are moving you forward in your homeschool journey.
Every few weeks, introduce something new. Once you’ve determined what help your child may need in math, add ten minutes of flashcards or math facts practice each day.
Once that has been added, try out a math curriculum. Try it out for a couple of weeks. If it isn’t for you, scrap it and move on. Try something else.
In another two or three weeks or so, add a non-fiction book and ask for a short written or verbal synopsis of the book each day. When they’ve finished the book, ask your child(ren) to put all those together and to create a storyboard, a slideshow, or a longer written essay about what they read.
As time goes on, you will begin to feel more confident in yourself and your child(ren).
That is the gift of Deschooling.