What is De-Schooling and Why It Is Important…an excerpt from Leaping From the Box

What is deschooling?

We have many new members who have taken their children out of school to begin homeschooling.

I find this article relevant for all, no matter if you plan to use a structured format for homeschooling or a more relaxed format.

I have selected a relevant portion of this post from Leaping From the Box to put here and provide the link below to read the entire article.

What is Deschooling and Why It is Important?

By Leaping February 29,  2012

“…Deschooling is the time given and the process where children who have been in a formal school setting (such as public school) unlearn what the system taught them (often unintentional lessons), recover emotionally from any damage inflicted upon their souls and essentially rediscover who they are, what they like, and what they are capable of. This process can take quite some time, depending upon the number of years that your child was in the school system and how traumatic/damaging his/her time there was. If you went directly from the formal (public) school setting to “school-at-home,” then your child did not go through this deschooling process. You replaced the structure of the (public) school with the structure of school at home, so your child did not have to think for himself about what he liked, what he wanted to do, and what he wanted to learn. He simply had to follow the routine and schedule provided for him.

The general rule of thumb for deschooling is that it will take one month for every year in the public school system, but this process can take a much longer time if those years in the public school system were particularly traumatic or if your child really lost herself within the (public) school schedule and way of doing things.

When we first began to homeschool, we went directly to school-at-home, which lasted about four months before I burnt out. Then I learned about unschooling and deschooling. Our two younger children had only been in the system for a short time and never really gave themselves up to it (fought it at every turn) and they didn’t require much if any, deschooling. But our eldest had a rough time the last year of school, had spent six years in the system, and had really lost herself. She took a full six months of deschooling time – a time when she did nothing but sleep, read “fluff” books, watch television and sleep some more. I really became quite concerned … but, with the support of some unschooling friends, I held on and let her deschool till *she* was done. And I knew she was done with deschooling one morning announced she needed to go to the library to look up something that she was curious about. She was ready to go, full of ideas and plans and needing this resource and that resource.”

Thanks to Lisa for posting the link to this article, “Deschooling for parents” by Sandra Dodd,  in response to my last blog post on Deschooling. 

Even if you don’t plan to use an unschool approach to learning, parts of this article can be helpful to any new homeschoolers.  I thought I would share part of the article and post the link again here.

I copied this part about natural learning:

excerpt from:  Deschooling for parents by Sandra Dodd

  • Change your schedule. Some people like to see learning parceled out evenly over the year, over the week, or over a day. But life is lumpy. As with chaos theory, or statistics and probability, there are “busy” times and big quiet loops that seem to be going nowhere and actually have a destination. Think “leaps and bounds,” with rests in between.

    Instead of looking for “steady pace,” look for fits and starts. What if a child has a great piano week and practices two hours a day and then he’s tired of it for the rest of the month? It wouldn’t all be lost and over and ruined. What if, one day, he just GETS some mathematical concept. Will you recalibrate the level at which you want him to work steadily? Or can he take a break for a month or a year without you panicking?Kids at school each “get” multiplication once, and after that they’re just hearing the explanation over and over while the teacher rephrases and re-introduces and reviews in hopes that some of the other kids will “get it” that day.

    The “steady” pace schools simulate is 1) not real, and 2) not applicable to natural learning anyway.

    “Having history” 180 times a year is like trying to teach a pig to sing. In one good half an hour, an interested and curious (i.e. “ripe”) child might learn as much about the Civil War or Apollo 11 as she would in a week at school (if ever). And history is all around us all the time. We’re making it today.

  • Look directly at your child. Practice watching your child without expectations. Try to see what he is really doing, rather than seeing what he’s NOT doing. If you hold the template of “learning” up and squint through that, it will be harder for you to see clearly. Just look.

From Deschooling for Parents

and appeared in the Sept/ October 2002 issue of Home Education Magazine