Deschooling is a process rather than a style and has value for children and parents whatever their home ed style. It’s the transition from thinking of education as it relates to school, to seeing education as part of life. For children who have lost the love of learning, it’s a time to reconnect, to follow their own interests– like taking a holiday before moving on to a different type of education. For parents, it’s a time to talk to your child, go on excursions, try new things, and to work out what your child needs from their education. It involves questioning the value of testing, being forced to learn things which are not relevant or interesting, requiring written ‘proof’ of learning and so on. Even parents who think they are thoroughly deschooled are wont to have lapses now and then, so deschooling is just as necessary for a parent as it is for a child.
Children who have suffered in some way at school and are take out for home education often required a period of adjustment especially if trauma is involved. This is not the time to hit the books and try to continue with ‘school’ (unless your child is asking for that of course, in which case try to facilitate in a supportive and collaborative fashion). It’s a time to simply let your kids be, and to be there for them. Don’t look at it as ‘the kids are doing nothing’. If your child is lying on the couch for an hour staring out the window, their mind is still active and for all you know they may be calculating something in their head.
When kids, especially teenagers, come out of school, there is a process they need to go through in order to work through the stress of school and to regain their love of learning. Many experienced home educators say to allow one month of recovery time for every year of schooling that the child has had, though your experience may vary.
Be kind to yourself during this transition phase and factor in time to do things that are fun for your family, whether that is picnics, a walk on the beach or in the country, trips to the playground, quiet time– whatever you need as time out.
HEN has some blog posts referencing deschooling, which you can view here.
For HEN members, we have a video on deschooling. To access it, please log in to your HEN account and select ‘member talks’ under the Members Menu.