Does anyone else feel more comfortable when a new month starts on Monday? I know it is impossible for it to work out like that every month but a little bit of me wishes that it would. I do, however, think there should be a rule that the 1 January starts on Monday every year. When I start something new I have to start it on a Monday or the 1st of the month. This is the only reason we started our home school journey at the beginning of the new school year. You don’t have to wait thought, it is possible to start home schooling at any time.
I took Jack out of school last year before the term had ended. They weren’t doing anything and the older kids had finished so there was no point forcing him to go. In hindsight, I should have taken him out sooner and let him de-school for a bit longer.
What is deschooling?
The Homeschool Mom defines deschooling as “Deschooling is the adjustment period a child goes through when leaving school and beginning homeschooling. To really get the benefits of homeschooling, a child has to decompress and disconnect from “school” being the default and “school ways” being the standard expectation. “
This pretty much sums up the concept of deschooling. If you are considering home schooling and your children are in school currently, even pre-primary, this period is so important.
Home schooling is not about replicating a classroom set up in your home. It is about allowing your child the freedom to learn in their own time. This is a harder transition than I expected it to be but I am learning to let go of the expectations I believed where so important.
Traditional school life is so assessment and mark driven. The point of everything they do in school is to get them to do what the curriculum’s say they should be doing, whether they are ready or not. This puts a lot of pressure on the teachers and the children but when you are in that system you work with it. So for 14 years I have focused on getting the kids from one grade to the next, ready or not. The kids have also been so focused on just getting stuff done.
Deschooling helps your child relax and unwind from the constant demands school places on them. It is a time for them to not focus on anything but being a child. If they already have topics they are interested in, this is a great time to let them get lost in them. Let them read, watch YouTube videos, sleep, paint, swim – whatever helps them to completely disconnect from school. The older the child, the harder this may be because it is all they know. Give them a little longer to really decompress.
You many be wondering why this is important. Home schooling is not the same as traditional schooling and deschooling helps to make the transition easier. It helps your child start school on a clean slate, with no pressure, no anxiety and no unrealistic expectations.
When we started home schooling I started Jack on Grade 2 books because he was Grade 2. I researched what he should be doing at Grade 2 level and tried to get him to do that. He was struggling, I was struggling – it was not fun. Then I took a big step back and started from the beginning and found work for him that suited where he was at. He found the work easier and so was more willing to get through the work I had set each day. His confidence has started growing and we are now getting through things easier and quicker.
Deschooling is also important for you as the parent. In fact, I would say it is probably more important. I have not only had at least one child in school for 14 years, I was also in school. Traditional education has been ingrained in me. We get taught, we write a test, we move to the next grade. there are strict rules – 6 year old’s must write, 10 year old’s must write exams etc. I mean, how will I know if they understand what I am teaching them if I don’t test them? How will I know if they are ready to move in if I don’t test them?
It is pretty simple actually when you follow your child’s lead. Jack wasn’t a big fan of reading so I stopped asking him to read from books. Instead I found some fun ways for him to build words and then make sentences with them. I gave him a page to read a few days after doing this and he happily read it, now each day I introduce harder words and longer sentences. Nothing says you can’t do an informal (or even a formal) assessment of your child’s progress.