Deschooling is a concept that is becoming increasingly popular among homeschoolers. It refers to the process of breaking away from traditional school mindset and beliefs, and instead, embracing a new approach to education.
The idea behind deschooling is to challenge the conventional ways of thinking about education and to promote, and prepare for, a more flexible, personalized and self-directed approach.
What is Deschooling?
Deschooling is a gradual , traditional process undertaken by the child who has been removed from the school system in order to be homeschooled. It is also a process parents go through when shedding the preconceived notions of what schooling is (the traditional school system) to a more flexible and individualized type of schooling that happens in homeschool.
Deschooling involves a time period of rest, relaxation and play instead of formal school work and to reprogram yourself and your child to be receptive to homeschooling.
It is adjustment period where you observe your children to learn their unique learning styles, interests and weaknesses, and for you to decide how to approach beginning formal homeschooling. It is also a time for the student to transition from the school system and get used to a home-based education instead.
Why is Deschooling Important?
Deschooling is important for several reasons:
1. It helps to overcome the traditional school mentality
Deschooling helps to break away from the traditional school-based mentality and beliefs that may be limiting your Child’s education.
2. Promotes a new growth mindset
Deschooling can encourage a growth mindset, where learning is viewed as a lifelong process and failure is seen as an opportunity for growth. No longer will your child be segregated by age or ability or grades and will be allowed to approach learning without fear. This can help to reduce stress and anxiety and increase motivation, creativity and self-esteem.
3. It can help improve educational outcomes.
Pulling children out of school can be a scary and stressful time. Deschooling can help fix the areas that are of educational concern by promoting rest, relaxation and play in order to reset your Child’s educational path.
This can help to lead to improved educational outcomes in the long run and lead to a lifelong love of learning instead of hating to go to school everyday. School can start to become enjoyable, especially after a student has suffered from bad educational experiences.
4. It can encourage self-direction.
When children are in the school system all day, every minute is accounted for. The are told what to learn, how to dress, what they can say, when they can talk, when they can go to the bathroom and so on. Deschooling breaks down those barriers and encourages children to take control of their day and their own education to become self-directed learners. This can help to develop important life skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and decision making.
How Long Should You Deschool?
The length of time required for deschooling can vary depending on the parent, the student and their past educational experiences. Some people may only need a few weeks of deschooling, while others may require several months or more. It’s important to approach deschooling as an ongoing process and to be flexible and responsive to your Childs needs and goals.
There is no hard and fast rule, but some recommend 1 month of deschooling for every year in public school. While this may work for some, it’s too long for others.
It’s important to listen to your child and to be supportive of their learning journey. You can reassess every week or so and adjust your approach as needed. You can start with no formal school work at first and then slowly add one subject at a time until you are fully homeschooling. It really is up to you and your child.
Is Deschooling and Unschooling the Same Thing?
No and yes. Deschooling is a temporary period of no school work (like a summer break), whereas Unschooling is a method of homeschooling that involves no formal school work like curriculum, planned lessons, grades or tests. Unschooling is completely child-led. Parents facilitate, motivate and provide opportunities for learning, but do not force learning academics onto their child.
While deschooling looks very similar to unschooling in practice, because it is a transitional period that is not meant to last forever, it is not the same as Unschooling.
Since Unschooling is a very unconventional type of educational method, deschooling is usually seen as a prerequisite in order to be able to fully embrace unschooling. So if you plan to transition your child from a school-based system or a parent-led homeschool method to unschooling, Deschooling can be a very helpful and enlightening period to prepare yourself for the change.
How Can You Start Deschooling?
Here are some steps to help you start deschooling:
1. Reflect on your own beliefs and attitudes about education.
What are your goals for your Child’s education? What are your preconceptions about the role of school and teachers?
2. Educate yourself about different educational philosophies
Read about different homeschool methods such as unschooling, Classical, Charlotte Mason, traditional, eclectic and Montessori to name a few. You can also research parent-led, child-led, unit-studies and project based learning. This can help you to better understand the benefits of a more flexible approach to education.
3. Talk to your child about their interests and goals
Ask them about the things and subjects they enjoy learning about and the activities they would like to pursue. Encourage them to time about their passions and how they can incorporate them into their education.
4. Create a flexible schedule
Start to develop a schedule that allows your child to become well-rested in order to pursue their interests and goals, while also incorporating activities in subjects that they love.
5. Provide opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning
These can include field trips, community service projects, hands-on projects and fun experiments.
6. Encourage self-reflection
Encourage your child to reflect on their learning experiences so far and to think about what they have learned and what could work better. This can help to foster a growth mindset and a love of learning.
7. Be patient and flexible
Deschooling is a gradual process so be patient and flexible. Encourage your child to explore and focus on their interests and let them try new things. Spend time reading books and articles on deschooling and homeschooling to help prepare you for your new journey ahead.
Remember, the goal of deschooling is to break away from traditional school-based beliefs in order to be able to embrace a more flexible, personalized and self-directed approach to education. Start by taking small steps and becoming more responsive to your Child’s needs and goals.
Deschooling will not set your child back educationally but will allow you to move forward with homeschooling intentionally.