What is Deschooling?

This is the fifth in my Getting Started Homeschooling Series. Check out the rest of the articles in this series:

  1. Getting Started
  2. Why Should I Homeschool?
  3. What Do I Do First?
  4. Homeschooling Laws
  5. The Different Homeschooling Methods
  6. What is Deschooling?
  7. What is Unschooling?
  8. What is the Charlotte Mason Method?
  9. Homeschool Distance Learning
  10. Choosing Homeschool Curriculum
  11. Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum
  12. Abeka Homeschool Curriculum
  13. Creating Your Own Curriculum
  14. Homeschool Planning
  15. Homeschool Support
  16. Homeschool Socialization

Deschooling is a popular term that is commonly misused. Contrary to popular belief, deschooling is not a method of homeschooling. Deschooling has to do with "deprogramming" a child that has been withdrawn from the public school system.

The Public School Programming

Have you heard of Pavlov's bell? Children in the public school system are also trained by a bell; the bell rings, and kids know it's time to go to their locker or switch classes.

Kids also learn that there is only one way to learn: textbooks and worksheets, assignments and homework. Because there are so many different personalities, not all kids learn in the same way, so this system doesn't work.

The public school system has created what I like to call a "learning mold", and they expect every student to fit into that mold; students who don't fit into the mold receive lower grades, and feel less intelligent. This mold is what the deschooling process is all about. We need to break our children that have been in public school out of this mold.

Deschooling: Breaking the Mold

The deschooling process is nothing more than showing our children that learning happens all the time. It doesn't require a 42 minute class time, or a bell to switch classes...you don't have to try to learn the same way everyone else does.

Deschooling can be done in any manner you choose. Take some time after you withdraw your children from public school to play games, laugh, talk, relax! The most important part of homeschooling is teaching your children that learning isn't a chore, it's an adventure.

Deschooling the Parents

Many of us went to public school ourselves...so, while we may think we understand that the public school system has limits, we may have to deschool ourselves before we can deschool our children.

I went to public school from Kindergarten all the way through high school graduation. I still find myself trying to add "traditional" learning methods into my curriculum plans...without taking into effect how each one of my children learn, just choosing what the "norm" is. It's not easy!

I am still working at deschooling my children. They still think we don't do school unless I give them a lecture & a worksheet, or a textbook reading with some comprehension questions. However, I'm working with them all the time!

I have discovered that most of my children learn best by watching something and discussing it (both during and after the video). So, that's what we do! We watch a show on the History channel, Discovery Science channel and just talk about it. When something really interests them, we look it up further, either on the Internet or at the library.

The deschooling process can take a while. Just remember that deschooling is merely breaking the mold the public school put your child in, and letting them discover that there are SO many ways to learn!

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