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What Is Deschooling?

Updated on March 16, 2011

What Is Deschooling

Understanding deschooling

You may have been told that your child who use to be in a traditional school environment but is about to be homeschooled, needs to be deschooled. This term may sound foreign to you and with good reason: It is not a term that we use or encounter through our lives each day. However, the simplest definition available for deschooling is to say that it is the process by which you and your child adapt to having abandoned the traditional concepts of learning. This is done in 2 very different ways because not only does your child involved have to deschool, but you as their parent need to deschool yourself as well. After all, as a parent you are probably now going through some stress. You may be wondering just what you should do now that your child is not in the public or private school system any longer.

Luckily, most children will generally be able to cast aside any notions of school without very much effort. However, as a parent, you may be scared because thoughts of your child sitting in front of the television all day or playing all day long enter your mind. If this is what you are thinking, then you should know that most children will naturally gravitate toward observing their environment if you allow them to do so. As such, your child will want to do whatever they are passionate about. This could include such things as art, music, reading, building, cooking, listening, talking and watching television.

Whenever you are going through the process of deschooling, your child will have to learn how to allocate time to each of these endeavors so that everything that they love to do can be accomplished. In this way your child will be able to learn that rushing through a project just to get to another one is not necessary anymore, even though this is what they use to have to do in school. Your child will then thrive on the fact that learning is an every day, hands-on experiment with life.

So, how long should you deschool your child? A lot of homeschooling veterans feel that a child will need about 1 month for each year that they were in school. This will be enough time for the child to be able to "recover" from just how stifled they were by organized education.

On the other hand, deschooling the parent will take much more effort. This is because most parents have "survived" the traditional education that they received. As such, it can be difficult for them to abandon the notions that go along with organized education. With this in mind, you should know that you are going to have many days where you simply cannot believe that you opted out of traditional schooling to allow your child to have the freedom of real-life learning. Each day that this happens you will need to remind yourself that homeschooling life is "real." You will also need to come to the realization that sitting in a classroom where all the children are of the same age and learning things that simply are not important to your child right now is not how the real world operates.

So, as you can see, deschooling is a bridge that will lead your family from the traditional school setting into the reality of how learning takes place.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago


    • Carletta profile image


      10 years ago from Texas

      I agree that deschooling the parent is more difficult than deschooling the child. It has taken me quite a while to lose the public school mindset.


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