This post is the second in our deschooling series. Make sure to check out One Powerful Way That New Homeschoolers Can Thrive and Recommended Resources & Support for Deschooling.
Deschooling is the process of taking a break from formal lessons and activities as your family adjusts during the transition from public school to homeschool. Many new homeschool families are unaware of this practice and how it can benefit all members. Other factors, like fear of falling behind, can deter a new homeschool family from essentially taking a vacation from traditional learning.
In One Powerful Way That New Homeschoolers Can Thrive, I shared my family’s experience with pulling my two older boys out of public school and bringing them home to educate. Unaware of the term “deschooling”, we did what we felt was necessary to help our boys learn to love learning again.
Through our experiences and research, I’ve gathered helpful deschooling tips that make the adjustment period go smoothly. As with any change, anticipate bumps in the road, for you and your kids. These deschooling tips are provided for reassurance and guidance as you take the time to reconnect and ignite the love of learning once more.
- Breathe: Relax! Release tension. Let go of expectations. You got this. For real. No, I’m not joking. I share my approach to this simple tip for this powerful practice.
- K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Sweetie): I give this advice for a lot of things because it is easy and effective. Don’t overthink it.
- Journal: You will very likely be going through a roller coaster of thoughts and feelings. All perfectly normal! Self-doubt and anxiety will intermingle with joy and excitement. Jot down your thoughts and feelings in a personal journal. If you struggle with staring at the blank page or would like some guidance, I created these free printable weekly journal prompts for self-growth as a homeschool mom.
- Community & Support: Find a group (in real life or online) that you feel comfortable voicing your deschooling concerns and issues. I recommend my Rock Your Homeschool! Facebook group. Such amazing homeschool moms who are gentle, encouraging, and nonjudgmental!
- Explore your home and community: Rediscover all the amazing resources you have in your own home and yard. Books, videos, games, puzzles, and toys can provide hours of learning fun and ways to connect. Pop over to the library and take some time to explore all that it has to offer. Enjoy an afternoon matinee at the movie theater just because you can! Head to the park for some fantastic outdoor fun. Ask yourself this question: What types of activities did you miss doing with your kids when they were in public school? Go do them!
- Plan: The idea of deschooling is often associated with unschooling. Yes and no. Yes, you want to allow your child to explore their interests and the world around them. Deschooling, however, is what your family needs at this time. It is not some prescribed notion with exact steps to be taken. If your family thrives with plans, go for it! A well-planned trip to the library, museum, or roller skating rink can be just the ticket to help you have a successful deschooling experience.
- Set a start date: Some homeschool families benefit from selecting a specific day to begin their homeschooling adventures. While not all families may choose to use this tip, I wanted to reassure you that it is okay to set a limitation to your deschooling time. A few common questions are, “What if the deschooling process never ends? What if we are never ready to get back to more formal lessons?” (If so, I encourage you to learn more about unschooling!) To alleviate that concern, pick a day and fully enjoy your deschooling time. When your start date rolls around, you will be ready to go.
- Allow your kids to talk about public school vs. homeschool: Some parents fear that once the decision to homeschool has been made that public school becomes a taboo word. Your kids most likely spent a good deal of time at public school. Naturally, they may want to process what happened during that time. Your kids may want to compare being at home to public school. They may even like a few things better from their public school days. All of that’s okay. I wouldn’t say you need to go digging for information but allow the discussion to occur if it presents itself.
If you’re considering homeschooling or are a new homeschool family, I hope that you’ve found some helpful deschooling tips to help your transition from public school. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below:)
And if you’ve gone through this process yourself, I’d love for you to add your personal tips in the comments below to provide further encouragement for new homeschoolers.
Find more tips & resources on deschooling from Rock Your Homeschool:
Check out more tips and ideas on how to deschool at Homeschooling 101 Blog Party at Kingdom First Homeschool.