Deschooling is often described as the time your child needs to recuperate once you remove them from institutional education, but if you’re like me, your children haven’t spent even one day in school. However, with some quick calculations, I determined that I’ve spent about 3,500 days in school or roughly ten full calendar years.
Who needs to deschool in this situation?
Often, parents feel they’re being kind and understanding when they let their children take some “time off” once they’ve been rescued from a system that was destroying their love of learning, and they’re correct. However, after some supposed acceptable time, they believe they need to get serious and hit the books.
That’s how children learn, right?
Perhaps parents should use this time to examine how their school-colored glasses are affecting their beliefs about learning and life.
What do you Believe?
Do you worry about your child being behind or having gaps in their education? Are you concerned they stay on grade level? Have thoughts of them not getting into college kept you up at night?
These are all concerns originating from our societal indoctrination that school is the rightful place for children to learn, that the system has inherent value, and that benevolent experts know better how to educate your children.
Compulsory education has been a fixture in our society for only 165 years and yet during that time it has expanded to fill an ever-increasing portion of a child’s life. Parents wring their hands worried their eight-year-old is behind, yet never seem to question who determined the definition of a standard eight-year-old.
Deschooling is changing your thinking with regards to learning and education.
Learning is all around us and is a never-ending pursuit. There is no age or date at which a person must achieve this mythical gap-free education. I’m 43, and I have, and always will have, things to learn.
Help on the Deschooling Journey
So how should you embark on this life-changing journey of learning without school? Well, there are many ways, but I’ll give you a few things to help you down the road.
- Learn Something New. Take a moment to stop worrying about what your kids should be learning and find something you would like to learn. Are there classics you haven’t read? Have you always wanted to knit? Do you feel as if your knowledge of history is lacking? It’s the perfect time to try something new and bring your children along.
- Go Out in the World. Being free from school expectations is a great time to go to new places and see new sites. The zoo, museums, historical sites in your area, and the library all offer incredible opportunities for life learning. There’s no need to turn these excursions into teachable moments, just get out there and see what your kids learn.
- Reflect on your Learning Experiences. What have you learned outside of school? If you think about it, you’ve probably learned quite a bit. As adults, when we have the desire to learn something our first thought isn’t that we need to return to school. We’ll do research, find someone who can help us, or just simply try.
- Find Your Rhythm. The rhythm of your family that is. Do you sleep in or are you early risers? Do you love to be out and about or are you homebodies? All these differences affect the flavor of your homeschool. If everyone likes to sleep until nine, an eight o’clock start time will be hard for the entire family. Finding your unique rhythm and working with it rather than against it is key to a successful homeschool.
- Dare to be Different. Being different may be the hardest change, but the most worthwhile. When you make the unusual decision to homeschool, people will think you’re weird. Don’t try to convince them you’re not by replicating school-at-home. Homeschooling is genuinely a made-to-order education, which is so contrary to our compulsory system most people cannot relate. It’s okay; it is not necessary for them to understand.
It’s a Process
For me, deschooling was a process, which finally concluded a few years ago when I stopped having nightmares of forgotten classes and unwritten papers. Do you still have those?
It can be a complicated process since so much of society is constructed to support schools existence. Often it requires us to question what we’re doing on a daily basis and readjust our mindset.
However, the benefits of changing your mindset about learning and education are immense. Why should education be confined to within four walls when you carry the ability to learn wherever you go?