Have you decided to start homeschooling? If you’re like many new homeschool families, this process involves making the transition from public school to homeschool life. For both kids and parents!
Now that you’ve made that decision, you may be wondering what comes next. You want to do what’s best for your family but you’re not sure what to do. You may think you have to jump right into homeschooling but somehow that doesn’t feel right. All of you have been through a lot and need time to process while you set the stage for enjoying learning at home.
What if I told you there’s another option?
An option that could help your family make a peaceful transition from public school to homeschool.
An opportunity for your family to become closer as you reconnect over relaxed activities that help you forget all the negative from public school experiences.
A chance for a public school detox, cleansing your minds from rigid thinking and compartmentalized approaches.
Deschooling is the process when new (or experienced) homeschool families take a break from traditional educational methods to allow natural learning to unfold. When you deschool, you release the preconceived notions pounded into your brains from public school as you accept and acknowledge the unique interests, abilities, and personalities of each family member.
Basically, you open the door to creativity, outside-the-box thinking, and establishing a growth mindset. You create a safe environment where your kids can rediscover that spark of learning fun. All within the comforts of your home as you build relationships, memories and set the stage for successful homeschooling.
Sounds awesome, right? And probably a bit out there.
Because if you’re used to public school life, deschooling (and its opposite approach) are going to feel way off!
Let’s look at reasons why you might feel unsure about deschooling and if it’s right for your family.
Common Questions & Concerns about Deschooling
Deschooling sounds pointless. How can taking a break help my kids ____? (catch up, rediscover their interests, be less anxious, etc.)
Deschooling may look like nothing is happening. But, there’s a whole lot of learning and processing going on! Plus, a habit can take 21 days to break. Breaking from public school mentality is no exception. Providing your kids with opportunities to shed negatives from public school life can help them emerge refreshed and ready to go.
How long do we have to deschool?
There’s no exact formula to deschooling. I’ve read suggestions of deschooling for one week (or month) for every year of public school attendance. Others say to deschool as long as necessary. And another suggestion is to set a specific date and end deschooling then.
I say don’t stress it. You know your kids and yourself. If you’ve been through a lot due to public school or feel entrenched in that mentality, you may need a longer time to deschool. I do suggest doing a check-in once a week to get an idea where everyone stands. And, ultimately, you’re the parent so go with your gut.
But, I live in a state with homeschool requirements! And I have “concerned” family and friends asking questions? How can I justify deschooling?
Depending on your state, you might not need to justify it. Check out HSLDA’s reference for homeschool laws in your state. If you live in a state that has some regulations, I encourage you to find out how unschoolers make it work where you live. Here in Pennsylvania (a highly regulated state), I recommend Unschool Rules, a fabulous resource for unschoolers in any state.
As far as concerned family and friends, how you handle that is up to you. You can find some great tips in How to Conquer Homeschool Joy Suckers.
Eek! I’m afraid my kids will have huge gaps in their learning. Won’t they get behind?
Possibly. They may already be “behind” or ahead of their public school peers. And we all have gaps in your education. Between you and me, I can’t remember a lick of Honors Physics!
I know it’s not easy to trust the homeschool process, but all will be well. Deschooling will help your kids rediscover their love of learning, remember? Don’t be surprised if they suddenly become super motivated after a break from traditional learning. And then, you can enjoy watching them soar!
Does every family making the transition from public school to homeschool need to deschool?
Nope. Some families will do just fine without every experiencing deschooling. Don’t feel like you’re missing out if you choose to skip this step.
And don’t feel bad if you opt to jump into homeschooling and discover you need to backpedal. That’s what our family did and it all turned out just fine.
Who Can Benefit from Deschooling?
In my opinion, any family who has had experience with public school and its mentality can benefit from deschooling. The effects of modern education have permeated our culture. The regimented ideas about what school “should” look like have become part of our society.
If your kids have been in public school (and that includes preschool!), your family could benefit from deschooling.
If you attended public school but homeschooled your kids from the beginning, you may still benefit from deschooling if some of your past experiences continue to influence how you view homeschooling.
Even if you were only homeschooled and have only homeschooled your kids, you can still benefit from deschooling! The process of deschooling is really about rediscovering the joys of learning and everything that comes with it. And those joys can easily be lost in busy schedules, to-do lists, and high expectations.
Could Your Family Benefit from Deschooling?
Deschooling will be a different experience for every family. You are unique, as are your kids. And not every family needs to deschool.
Your public school experiences may have only had a minimal effect on your educational ideas. Or maybe no effect at all. Maybe your family is totally open to trying and embracing a different educational lifestyle at home.
But, maybe you’re just not sure if you totally get this whole homeschool thing. It sounds great in theory but does it actually work? And will your family be able to let go and let learning happen at home?
To help new homeschoolers or families curious about starting to homeschool or the deschooling process, I created this “Do We Need to Deschool?” checklist. It contains questions designed to get you thinking about where you are in public school mentality, how it’s affected your functioning, and if your family and you could benefit from deschooling.
To get your deschooling checklist, simply click on the image below. You will receive an instant download (click and print!) to use at your convenience. You might want to print off a few copies, one for each member of your family. Take as much time as you need to truly consider if deschooling is a good choice for your family.
If you decide that you could benefit from deschooling but need a bit of help, Deschooling 101: For a Peaceful Transition from Public School to Homeschool is your next step. This resource contains a PDF guide, videos, and printables to lead your family through a smooth and successful deschooling process. Because you want to start homeschooling with a strong foundation to help you enjoy your new learning adventures at home!
And if you know of any new homeschoolers or families interested in making the transition from public school to homeschool, please share this post with them!
So, what questions do you have about deschooling?
Do you think you could benefit from deschooling?