What is deschooling? Simply put, it's taking the time to let go
of the idea that the "school" way of doing things is the only way -
and it's often necessary for both the kids AND the parents!
Very often, kids come to homeschooling as a last resort, when it becomes obvious that the school system simply cannot meet their needs. By this time, they may have spent several frustrating years in a classroom where they are not challenged. They have little or no input into what they learn or how they study it. They may hate even the thought "school" and "learning" - words which have become synonymous with boredom. This attitude will carry over into their homeschooling, and prevent them from enjoying their full potential. This may show up in different ways. Some kids rebel against the lessons their parents prepare for them, others obediently follow Mom or Dad's plan but never regain their 'spark' - the joy in learning that is so characteristic of kids.
"Deschooling" is an adjustment time. Don't worry about what the child is learning. Some parents give the child total freedom, others put some, preferably minimal, restrictions on their choices (no online games during the day, for example). If the child is given the freedom to choose his or her own activities, they gradually regain their enjoyment of learning. Sooner or later, they find something that will rekindle the spark, and the damage of that frustrating school experience begins to repair itself.
The amount of time needed for deschooling varies greatly, but may be surprisingly long. Many parents recommend allowing a full year, and some whose kids have had particularly neagative school experiences have been told by psychologists that it might take two or more years to fully recover. On the other hand, many kids quickly regain their enthusiasm for learning and settle down to interesting, challenging studies within a short time. The average is one month for every year in public school.
Parents, too, may need to deschool. Ever since we were children,
we've been told that we must go to school to learn. And even after
we make the difficult decision to pull our child out of school, we
may find it hard to let go of the school methods. It can be
frightening to trust your child to learn without worksheets, lesson
plans, text books, and all the other trappings of school. I suggest
first you take a nice vacation from all schoolwork. Rest, get to
know one another again, do some fun things, enjoy the holidays. Read
up on homeschooling, join a group and attend their field trips and
park days, get to know the new folks and ask questions. You
will find the right philosophy that works for your family, probably
about the time your child comes up to you and ask if you can teach
them about something they are wanting to learn.
Some great advice and great games for your deschooling time here at Redwood Games.
site is for gifted children, but the information is just as
valid for all children
Books and supplies can come along at any time, but they simply will not be effective if your child is not receptive.
To find local support, here's a link to some e-mail lists, which will likely assist you in hooking up with someone near you and check's Ann's pages for your state.
"The mighty oak was once a little nut that stood its ground." ~Unknown