Deschooling means your children receive little or no formal learning for a while after leaving school and then gain a fresh start by homeschooling. The process is especially valuable if your child has had a difficult learning experience in school. Deschooling can help your child develop better learning habits, reset from the pressures of a traditional school model, or recover from difficult or painful relationships at school. You can take time to change your and your child’s expectations for learning. No matter your previous educational experience, deschooling can help smooth the transition into homeschooling.
The Benefits of Deschooling
Going into a classroom every day is a very different experience than homeschooling. If you or your children have spent a significant time in a traditional classroom, it may be hard to unlearn past habits. In a traditional model, children are not used to having learning customized to their learning style. Questions from other students, bathroom breaks, transition times between classes, and other disruptions take up a significant portion of the school day.
Homeschooling, on the other hand, is tailored to the needs of each child. Children won’t have to fight for the teacher’s attention, and they also can’t fly under the radar. In a homeschool setting, you’ll find it takes less time to complete lessons. Your children will need to adjust to more independent learning and time management.
One of most important goals of deschooling is the development of a child’s natural curiosities. You’ll find that your children will learn every day, even without structured learning time. Through this time of deschooling, you can observe your students’ learning styles and natural interests. You can also use this time to develop strong communication with your children. Good communication skills will help your transition into homeschooling.
Deschooling also gives you additional time to research curriculum options and make informed decisions about your homeschool materials. A curriculum is an investment, and you want to feel confident that you’ve made the right decision for your journey.
How to Deschool
Deschooling offers parents and children the opportunity to reset from the traditional school mindset. It’s important during this time to engage your children in multiple different activities. You can go to museums, play outside, have quiet time, and spend time with friends. Deschooling doesn’t mean you don’t have a schedule. You can still set expectations for wake-up times, cleaning responsibilities, screen time, and bed time. No formal learning is the only requirement. But even though you won’t be teaching formal lessons, informal learning will happen organically.
How Long to Deschool
There is no set rule for how long you should deschool. A helpful time frame is one month for every year your child was in school. This may seem like a long time, but if your child has been in traditional school for years, it will take more time to unlearn habits and become comfortable with new ones. However, you can take as much or as little time as you’re comfortable with. Whenever you decide to officially begin homeschooling, ease into it! Don’t feel like you need to jump in all at once. Start with just a couple lessons a day, or just do lessons three days a week. Remember that deschooling is only temporary and view it as a transitional time.
However long you take to deschool, make sure you enjoy and savor this time with your children! Your family will share quality time together, and you’ll grow in confidence as you enter this new stage of life.