It hopefully comes with no surprise that homeschooling has its own unique culture. It’s a lifestyle that looks very different from the more traditional route of public education, and that’s a good thing! Deschooling helps to bridge this gap.
We always suggest deschooling for families where children are being pulled from public schools to come home. But it’s also crucial for parents who weren’t homeschooled and want to homeschool their own children. Without deschooling first, we as parents instinctively try to recreate a traditional school environment at home. As you’ll come to find, that way isn’t necessarily the best way!
There are also many parents who start their homeschooling journey feeling defeated before even starting because they weren’t homeschooled themselves. Being homeschooled yourself isn’t a pre-requisite! (Read “The 3 Biggest Homeschooling Myths” for more on this.) By deschooling, parents get the chance to gain some confidence as you all detatch from traditional schooling.
Deschooling is an important step in the homeschool process that should not be overlooked. Skipping the deschooling step inevitably leads to discouragement, frustration, and stress for both parents and their children. And we don’t want that for you!
But what does it mean?
Deschooling is the period of adjustment and mental shift that both parents and students go through when they move away from the conventional system of education.
Basically – it’s a time where you step away from formal lessons and teaching so you and your child can discover how to love learning again!
It involves unlearning preconceptions and challenging some of your current and former beliefs surrounding what an education looks like. This is huge for parents who have a public school background and are now starting to homeschool, or kids coming from the public school setting. Homeschooling looks very different from public school, and a lot needs to be re-wired in our brains. Deschooling also allows you as a family adjust to a new pace and way of life.
In deschooling, the hope is that your child will rediscover a love of learning and find what interests them when they’re not stifled by the rigid structure of traditional school. This is a great opportunity for you both to rebuild trust in your own abilities and to foster self-directed learning!
What does this look like?
For some families, this looks like deciding how many weeks or months they will take “a break” from formal lessons. This “break” can include many fun activities like:
- Going for nature walks
- Reading aloud together on the couch
- Playing card and board games
- Cooking or baking
- …and so many other fun activities!
Don’t worry, your kids are still learning through all of these activities! It just gives them (and you) the space to find a love for learning again.
This is a great time for parents to research various curricula and see what would be a good fit for their child. Many curricula even have placement tests and sample lessons for free that you can have your child try to see if it’s a good fit.
This “break” is crucial for helping parents and children establish new rhythms different from those that are traditional. This also gives you time to unpack your old and current beliefs surrounding education and space to create new ones that will better serve you in your homeschool journey.
Deschooling is a wonderful way to help ease your family into homeschooling. Why not start today?!
For more homeschooling tips, download our free guide, “The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling!”