Why is deschooling important? Here’s what we discovered…

We’re at almost one and a half years of homeschooling. Suddenly, in the last two weeks, it feels like we’ve turned a corner. I’ve been wondering why this is the case. And then by chance I saw a post that said you should deschool for at least a year. I’ve come to realise that this is so true! So why is deschooling important? This is what we’ve discovered in the last 18 months.

Starting with homeschooling

As parents we have diverse reasons for deciding to homeschool. You can read about our reasons for starting homeschooling in this post. But whatever your motivations are, if your kids have been to school, then deschooling is an important part in ensuring a successful homeschool. It might seem like a counter-intuitive way to teach your children. But you will be rewarded with kids who love learning. And a much more peaceful household.

Why is deschooling important for kids?

For our kids, school was super traumatic. And it’s taken this long for them to get over the effects of traditional education. The school they went to tried their best, but it really just didn’t work for the kids. The system was too rigid for their unique needs. If you’re taking your kids out of school, then you probably have a good reason for this too. But with any system, it takes time to adjust to a new way of doing something or to a new reality. Even though kids are generally more adaptable and flexible than adults, they also need to come to terms with not being at school anymore. If it was traumatic, then they are going to need time to heal. They are also going to need space to discover their own interests and strengths. And this is vital in ensuring a successful homeschool!

And what about for parents?

I think deschooling is hardest for parents. The majority of us have been through the entire schooling system. Who doesn’t still get the Sunday blues that have carried over from school days? And who doesn’t still fear a teacher shouting at us? Check for both of these things for me! So it took us a while to ditch the idea of recreating school at home. We were afraid to try something different because school is all we’d ever known. But when we let go, the kids started to relax. And we were able to as well! We spent the last year and a half unschooling, more than anything. And now the kids are ready to learn in a more structured way. And they are right on track too!

So what can you do to help the deschooling process?

My advice is to take a year or even two off. Spend this time getting to know your kids. And find a routine that works for you. This was one of the hardest things we had to get used to. Being with your kids, homeschooling, working and having a life are all difficult to fit into one day. It’s best to be as flexible as possible in finding a schedule. And if you give your child a lot of learning opportunities, you will start to see their strengths and weaknesses. Then when they are ready to start learning, everybody is going to be so much more prepared to make the most of it. There’s no need to worry that your kids are ‘wasting’ time. Kids are generally curious. Foster their interests during unschooling and you will be surprised by how much they absorb naturally. They are going to have so many years to grow and learn. And with the personal attention they get at home, they’ll probably progress in leaps and bounds when you decide to be more structured.

What are your thoughts on deschooling?

I would love to hear if you deschooled or of it’s something you are considering. It’s always great to hear about the experiences of other homeschooling families!

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