Deschooling is a popular way to help with the transition to homeschooling. This is because deschooling can act as a reset button to help you and your child look at education differently and avoid that old pitfall of bringing school home instead of embracing all of the wonders of homeschooling.
What is deschooling?
The process of deschooling involves putting formal education on hold for a period of time so your child can adjust to a new way of learning. Readings, discussions, outings, and hands-on learning replace worksheets, essays, and textbooks, during this time. Through deschooling, you can break your family from the social norms of the traditional educational system and allow your child to develop a lifelong love of learning.
Why should you deschool??
It is even more important to deschool your child if you pull him or her out in the middle of the year than if you start him or her in school at the beginning of the year. It is due to the fact that your child has spent the first half of the year in school and has not had the long break kids who homeschool after summer vacation have been able to spend learning and exploring before starting to homeschool. While your child is away from formal learning, you can teach your child that learning can be fun and can be part of a way of life, along with breaking unhealthy habits that your child’s teacher has instilled in them all year.
During this time of deschooling, you can teach your children that the more they ask, the more they will learn, and that meeting their needs, like eating and going to the restroom, is not a problem. You can use your deschooling period to teach your child that learning can occur in new and exciting ways that simply cannot happen in a classroom full of students. So much more than you imagined can count as a homeschool day.
How to deschool when you start homeschooling
Deschooling is easy to do and can make a world of a difference in making the transition to homeschooling in the middle of the year easier. Your child is used to the way things are done in the classroom they have spent the first part of the year in for more hours than they have spent at home with the family. You can make the transition to being at home for learning easier by using deschooling rather than bringing school home right away.
Prepare before you begin deschooling your child. Put together a list of places you can take your child to learn. This can be achieved by visiting local farms, historical sites, hiking trails, and participating in local activities. With this in mind, you will be able to plan plenty of fun activities for you and your children.
Make the most of your time by reading. Make sure you and your child read as much as you can. Deschooling is a good time to let your child read what he or she wants as well as books you loved as a child so you can discuss them with them. Talking to your child about favorite books you had growing up is a great way to connect with them. I had a great time talking to my kids about the book My Side Of The Mountain when we did a bushcraft unit.
During those afternoons when they are snuggled up with good books, you can spend some time reading about homeschooling or topics you will be teaching your child, or just reading for fun because when our kids see us reading, they will be more likely to choose to read as well.
Join a community of homeschoolers. When you begin homeschooling, and going out to play sports or participate in activities with others may not be possible. Consider joining a local co-op or a group online where the kids can chat, play educational games, or find activities to do that will allow your kids not to feel so isolated. Having experienced homeschool moms for advice, in addition to building a community, can be extremely helpful for navigating the challenges of homeschooling.
Make learning fun for your child by finding fun activities. From doing fun science experiments to having your child help you in the kitchen, you can do all sorts of fun things. In addition to learning math, following directions, and basic life skills, baking with your kids is a lot of fun. By utilizing these fun learning methods, your child will fall in love with learning.
Build a relationship with your child. Because children spend so much time in school, many parents who switch to homeschooling find that they have lost some of the bonds they had with their children in their younger years. The deschooling process is the perfect time to spend getting to know your child, making memories, and rebuilding the parent-child bond that keeps your family together.
Find out what your child is interested in. The best thing about homeschooling is that your child has more time to explore interests. During your time deschooling, you can explore and try out new things with your child. You can integrate your child’s passions into his or her education during the deschooling period as he or she discovers new passions through exploration.
How long should you deschool with your child?
There are several factors that determine how long you should deschool your child. If you and your family are enjoying learning in a nonformal setting and your child is thriving in this style of learning, it may be worth continuing. If your local government has firm rules about homeschooling, you may need to return to formal learning sooner to prepare a portfolio for your child’s evaluation or to prepare for tests.
You should follow your gut when deciding how long to deschool since this time is all about making homeschooling and the education of your child a part of your everyday life so that your family can thrive and your children can walk away from these years with a lifelong love of learning.