Deschooling-What Is It?


Deschooling-What is it and does your homeschool need to use it?

Deschooling-What is it and does your homeschool need to use it? Deschooling is a common term for those who have been homeschooling for a while. But for new homeschoolers, or those just starting out, it can be new terminology without much direction. Let’s start at the beginning.

Deschooling is an adjustment period a child goes through when leaving public school, and beginning homeschooling. Let’s dive a little deeper into deschooling and explore both behavior you might see, and what deschooling can look like.

First, deschooling is not a time of doing nothing. Many homeschoolers will tell you that deschooling is a time to decompress from the public school mindset. While that’s true, it’s not a do-nothing time. Let me share some insight on what it COULD look like.

1| Explore Your Community.

Deschooling provides the perfect opportunity to take a few weeks to explore your community. As a public school student, kids may have no idea the opportunities available to them in the community. Businesses realize that homeschoolers are available during the daytime, when public school children are otherwise occupied. Take time and get out there. You may find a class, business, or great sports opportunity that you had no idea existed. Make a list of everything you want to check out.

2| Explore Curriculum…or Not.

Homeschooling isn’t public school at home, and we have so many opportunities to create a rich and engaging educational experience. Take your time when deschooling and really explore curriculum. Get your children involved and see what is resonating with them. The curriculum with all the bells and whistles for your, may be completely overwhelming for your child. Let them sample texts, chapter books, unit studies and topics. Explore different methods of homeschooling or, consider unschooling, or child-led learning.

3| Shed Public-School Mindset.

Gone are the days of lining up, raising your hand when you have a question, or asking to go to the bathroom. This newly found freedom gives kids a chance to find autonomy, to determine what life and learning looks like for them. Deschooling allows you to throw away the calendars, the life by subject mantras, the wasted time, and the learning inside the box. When a whole new world of opportunities present themselves, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with choices. Take your time with deschooling. Don’t worry about the kids keeping up or catching up. Once they are involved in their own educational goals, they quickly make up any time spent deschooling. Parents also need time to deschool. Read blogs, articles, ask for help from a coach, or speak to other parents. Remember, that homeschooling is new to EVERYONE. The whole house needs ample time to make sense of it all. If you still are stuck, read my book-Out of the Box Learning~Empowering YOU On Your Homeschool Journey.  It’s filled with so much helpful information for both new and seasoned homeschoolers.

Deschooling can be a confusing time too. 

Parents may find that kids rebel or have challenging attitudes and behaviors during deschooling time. Parents, realize that this is completely normal as everyone in the household adjusts to new freedoms.

Do I Even Need to Deschool?

A period of deschooling can benefit almost every family. But, not all kids respond to deschooling in the same way, or need the same length of time to deschool. Kids may be anxious to jump into their learning right away, others may need significant down time to regroup.

What changes can you expect during deschooling time?

1| Challenging Behavior from Kids

Remember that kids who are in public schoo,l are used to having their whole day managed, from early morning to late afternoon. Everything from when to eat lunch, to gym time, to free reading has been laid out by someone else. Now you are asking them to plan out their day, and take charge of their education. Suddenly, the kids have no idea what expectations are required, or what they are supposed to do. Mom (or Dad) has become not only their parent, but their teacher, mentor, curriculum provider, and lesson planner. New roles, new expectations, and new outcomes can send your household into chaos. Know that this soon passes, and settles quickly.

2| The Upheaval

When you first begin homeschooling, their is a period of adjustment for parents too. Traditional homeschoolers must figure out how to plan their day, how to develop a lesson plan, keep attendance, and manage a household at the same time. The overwhelm can feel heavy, and many want to throw in the towel in the first few months. Parents must also let go of that vision of what public school looked liked, for a more relaxed atmosphere. Many parents realize that suddenly, all the things (curriculum, teaching, field trips etc) that were some other educator’s problem, is now theres!

3| The Messy House

HA! One of the questions parents always ask, is how do you manage to homeschool and keep your house clean? Well parents, truth bomb. It won’t happen. You need to choose and here’s why. We homeschool. We’re actually living in the house 24/7. So get used to your sink being full of dishes, science experiments on the kitchen counters, dirty floors, and baskets of unfolded laundry. Give yourself a break, and get past the idea of super mom doing it all. Relish in the thought that you have provided your children with a top-notch education, and call it a good day. If the mess gets out of hand, grab an empty laundry basket (if you can find one) and make a run through the house picking up all the belongings, and putting them back where they belong. Don’t forget to involve the kids in helping to clean up.

4| Rethink What Learning Can Look Like

As you begin to deschool yourself, ask yourself some of the questions below. Create a new paradigm of learning.

  • Where should learning take place? Do you have a specific room or will you be okay with kids all over the house?
  • What will my schedule look like? Do we volunteer one day a week, or attend coop? Do we do better with a loose, or very tight schedule?
  • When will you do lesson planning? Setting aside time each week will keep you organized and on track.
  • What methods of homeschooling resonate with me? Explore unschooling too.
  • Is annual testing required? Check your local state laws.
  • Where will I get textbooks? Look online for used texts, ask in Facebook groups.
  • Do I need to assure my children are on grade level? Check your state laws for information.
  • What does my child want to learn about? What topics do they find interesting?
  • Who is my support system? A support system is critical for homeschoolers.
  • Am I required to teach certain subjects? Check with your state laws.
  • What goals do you have for your children and homeschool?

Considering the above information at the start of deschooling, will help you feel more confident once you begin homeschooling. Changes and hard days are normal in the beginning and deschooling can help set a clear path for any homeschooler.

Remember, help is just around the corner. Call a coach if you need help with these very beginning steps. You can find me here.

Happy Homeschooling!


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8 Steps to Take Before You Begin Homeschooling

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