Deschooling is taking some time to get 'school' out of your system before getting started with homeschooling.

How to Deschool

Why Deschool?

School can be very stressful for children and can often take the joy out of learning for them. A break of anything 'schooly' gives children the time and space to explore their own interests, and settle into a less structured lifestyle.

If you have more than one child, it also gives them a chance to get used to being in each others company again.

Deschooling can also be for you, the homeschooling parent!

When you have been involved in the school system it is all too easy to measure everything by school standards. To think only in terms of curriculum subjects, grade levels and exams. Or to think that learning can only take place between certain hours, while sitting at a desk. In fact, learning can happen in lots of different ways, in a huge variety of subjects.

Just relaxing and enjoying being with your children can really help you to see things in a different light. Think about what education means to you, and to set some homeschooling goals.

How to go about Deschooling

They say that you should deschool for 1 month for every year your child was at school (I don't know if there is any research for this figure, but it sounds sensible).

During this time I would not do any formal learning with the children at all (I don't do much formal stuff anyway). You all need some space and freedom.

I think that going totally unstructured may be too much for some children - they are used to being told what to do and don't have the skills yet to cope with structuring their own time.

  • Start by filling their day with crafts, outings, picnics, movies and books (either read to them or listen to audiobooks - don't require them to read to you) - slowly allowing more freedom and space for them for themsleves. What do they like to do? What do they show an interest in? If they are sporty, go and do lots of sports. Or do lots of nature activities. Do they like to write, or do quizes? I think even loafing around is ok, providing they are not loafing infront of the TV or computer games ALL day. (But that is me! I know some would disagree).

  • Ask your child their opinion. What is the most exiting life they can think of for themselves (children find this quite hard. But even 'going for an ice-cream' can give you a clue where to start). What would they like to do while deschooling?

  • And finally, look to yourself. What would you like to learn? Letting the children see you learning is one of the strongest messages you can send them. Take up painting, or knitting, or writing - what would you LOVE to do? Homeschooling is about everyone in the family - not just the children!

I think a lot of parents can panic during this time because they are worried about the child 'falling behind' - but see it instead as a healing time. You are investing this time in the children - allowing them to pick up the reins for themselves again. And they will be learning - skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives.
Living is Learning

Homeschooling can be a very rewarding and life-changing experience - the benefits of homeschooling are often things you would never have thought of.

Take some time now to relax into homeschooling - I am sure you will look back and be glad you did!

Read Jenny's De-Schooling Story
Even Homeschoolers may need to Deschool - by Lori.


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