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What Is Deschooling, And Why Do It?

What Is Deschooling, And Why Do It?

Homeschooling has been on the rise since the pandemic. According to the National Home Education Research Institute, there are nearly one million more homeschooled students. Different communities, such as black families, have greatly embraced homeschooling. 

With more and more families new to homeschooling, there are different methods to choose from, Facebook groups to consider, co-ops to think about and much more! Additionally, there are new concepts to also learn about that are essential to the homeschooling journey. One of them includes deschooling. 

Have you ever heard of deschooling? In this post, we will discuss what it is, why to do it, how to do it, and the advantages.

What is deschooling?

Deschooling isn't a new concept; it has been around for some time. It became popular in the seventies when Ivan Illich, a philosopher, published his book "Deschooling Society." In his book, Illich advocated for a learning model that encourages children to discover what they want to learn, making them an active part of their learning process. He pushed for self-directed learning.

When it comes to homeschooling, deschooling is a phrase that describes the transition from moving out of traditional school, which could be public or private. Deschooling is not a required step in homeschooling. However, it is recommended as the first step to help your child transition from a traditional school setup to a relaxed homeschool environment.  

Why deschooling is important

It is a crucial part of the homeschooling process because it involves undoing the learned behaviours from being accustomed to traditional school. It also allows parents to adjust to how their child learns.

As a parent, you may probably notice that the traditional education system is not always the best fit for your child. The curriculum in most schools is set before the school year even begins, and most of the learning happens during the hours that kids are at school. It doesn't mean that children won't learn outside of school, but it does mean that they don't get much time to explore what they're interested in learning on their terms.

Some students feel like they have to wait until they become adults before doing what they want without any guidance or restrictions. In many cases, this can lead to a lack of motivation when it comes to learning new things later in life—especially if someone else is telling them what they should be learning and when they should be doing it.

When you deschool your child, you allow them the freedom to explore what interests them most while still guiding them with intention toward goals that matter most to you both as individuals and as a family unit.

What does deschooling look like?

If you're in the process of deschooling your child, you might be feeling some anxiety about how best to support them. 

Your child is going through many changes. They are learning to become their own person and discover what they want out of life. It's normal for them to fall behind on schoolwork during this time.

But don't worry! The benefits of these changes will be worth it in the end. You'll be able to see your child grow into a confident and happy person who is ready for whatever comes next.

And remember: if you feel like you are falling behind too, that's okay. It is a time for you and your child to relax, connect, and enjoy each other's company. 

Here are a few activities to help you through this transition and make the most of the space and time that being out of school provides. You could:

  • Do chores  
  • Go out for picnics  
  • Visit museums
  • Play video games  
  • Play board games 
  • Read books  
  • Go for nature walks 
  • Make arts and crafts 
  • Join a homeschool group
  • Take music lessons 
  • Watch documentaries 
  • Take time to have long, in-depth conversations
  • Relax in the backyard
  • Bake or Cook 
  • Do nothing

Facilitating such activities will help kids develop their natural curiosity and love of learning. You don't need to push or force it, as doing so can lead to resistance from your children. If they aren't interested in a particular activity, choose another one. The main point of deschooling is practising modelling interest and curiosity yourself, and they will follow.

Advantages of deschooling

Throughout the post, we have mentioned some of the benefits of deschooling. To quickly summarize, they include:

  • It eases children into homeschooling. 
  • Children rekindle their natural curiosity and love for learning.
  • Parents get the chance to discover their children's learning styles/methods and interests.
  • It saves on cost because the parent will not spend too much money on curricula.
  • It gives parents and kids a chance to bond and spend quality time.
  • It builds children's confidence and decision-making skills.

Allowing children to explore their environment is the first step towards learning how to learn. The goal of deschooling is to give your child this freedom, freeing them from preconceived notions of what they should or shouldn't be learning. It can be a slow process especially if your child has been accustomed to traditional school settings for a long time. 

By observing your child's unique interests, you can guide them towards lessons that will teach life skills, help develop their intellectual abilities and increase their knowledge of the world around them. All in all, deschooling is not an overnight process, so allow plenty of time for observation and carefully consider each lesson before moving on to the next one.



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