The revelation that homeschool was on my horizon for the next school year (2nd grade) had recently sunk in (recently meaning 10ish days). But just several days later, I was performing a sudden”classroom rescue”. It was evident that we needed to start NOW and so we made the decision on a Wednesday and never looked back. I was scrambling to figure out what to do when I came across the term “Deschooling” – it saved my peace of mind.
Deschooling simply means giving your just-removed-from-traditional-schooling child time to decompress before starting formal learning in your homeschool. The idea is that all children are born with a sense of creativity and a desire to learn and that these innate desires have probably been squelched by the institutionalized school setting.
We are the just-removed-from-traditional-schooling family. For many reasons (too many to go into here), we exited school just last week. The biggest reasons being, my son began to believe that he was a bad kid and he also needed one on one accountability. I saw this thinking forming earlier and tried many times to squash that belief that was attaching itself to him like a dark shadow. He didn’t believe me. When he hijacked a conversation between my husband and myself saying, “I wish I could change me because I am bad”, that was it. I didn’t send him back to school for one more day. (For clarification, his 1st grade teacher was AMAZING and patient and we appreciate all that she invested in our son).
The amount of peace I felt in this decision (to not go back to a traditional classroom) surprised me – being rushed and unorganized is not my style. And every morning since, when I drop off my other child at school, I feel relief that I have this little one tucked under my wing. Though this was the year my children were all in school full time and I was expecting copious amounts of quiet, still, blissful alone time, when your baby is drowning you don’t hesitate to jump in fully clothed and unprepared.
As I was rushing to interview homeschool households and scouring the web for information, I came across the term “deschooling”. It brought a calm to my heart and giddiness to my spirit because it gave me permission to breathe and gather my wits. This adventure is one I never expected to be taking but am excited to travel – who would have thought!
Deschooling means it’s okay to set aside the books for a time. That doesn’t mean your student isn’t learning. You can do things like:
- Take field trips
- Visit the library for biographies, historical fiction, non-fiction books on topics of interest
- Go to museums
- Watch documentaries
- Do a nature study
- Do cool science experiments
- Bake together
- Plink around on a musical instrument you’ve been wanting to learn (youtube is a wealth of knowledge)
- Go on simple and inexpensive dates where your child handles the money and budgets with cash and a check register
- Explore art projects with different mediums
- Play, play, play
Deschooling is a time for your student to decompress from the highly structured, teacher-directed learning style of a traditional classroom setting and rediscover his natural curiosity. It’s also time for you to explore his learning style, your teaching style, and the homeschooling method(s) that is best going to fit your unique family.
So, if you’ve found yourself with the realization that your child needs rescued from the classroom, rest assured that deschooling will give you the time to figure it all out.
And even more important, our children’s God given purpose is not tied up with what curriculum we choose, if we forget to teach them a skill, what college they attend (or choose not to go at all), their career or their net worth. We cannot alter their identity because it doesn’t come from us. Our mini warriors will be mighty someday, therefore, I can be at peace knowing that if I screw something up, I won’t change a thing that really matters . . . thank goodness because I don’t know what the haaaail I’m doin’!
Lil’ J deschooled today by asking me loads of unanswerable questions about zombies and regeneration. He then preceded to create a Lego war between zombies and humans. One of the first things (after World Warr II and President George Washington) he’d like to research is the anatomy of a zombie – I think we should start with fact versus fiction.