What is De-schooling?
Deschooling may be for you!
Deschooling is when you take a break from "school as usual". If your child has been in traditional school, the normal rule is to do one month of deschool for every year your child has been in school. Your child may not even realize that he is learning during this break. You would encourage your child to look into things that are of interest to him. There isn't a set time of day that you do "deschool"; you try to make learning part of life.
There are different levels of deschooling. You can go all out and abandon all traditional school work or you can choose to incorporate a small amount of structure into your day. (Such as, do reading and math in the morning and the rest of the day is self guided by the child.)
Recently, we took 2 weeks to deschool. It was winter, we had cabin fever, the boys (Espresso and Double Espresso) were bored in our school routine and I was feeling the need to switch curriculum. I didn't see the sense in continuing to tread unenthusiastically through our current routine.
If you are a hser, you may want to deschool for a couple of days to a few weeks. If you are doing a transfer, you may need to deschool for a longer period of time depending on how long your child has been in traditional school. Another thing to consider is YOUR mindset of what "school" is and what counts as "learning".
In our deschooling experience, we continued to do some of the math that we had been previously working on. I decided to take that route because they had both been in the middle of working on a concept and I didn't want them to loose what we had worked so hard to achieve.
I encouraged them to explore some things that they wouldn't normally do in our typical school day. Double Espresso decided to take some art lessons on youtube. He also decided to research different basketball stars that he likes. Espresso built things with Legos and even bought a brand new Lego kit to put together. He made many "movies" with his camera and has plenty of pics of the rest of us in our jammies and our dog snoring!
Other ideas for deschooling: read an exciting chapter book to your kids (they're never too old to enjoy family reading time), go to a museum or local festival, color, make jewelry, relax, paint, cook, write in a journal, sew, build something in the wood shop, garden, relax, visit an elderly person, create with modeling clay, watch nature shows, bird watch, play games such as Mancala, Monopoly, Sorry, Uno, Whoonu, cards, etc., relax, look at or collect bugs, go to the library and explore, nature walks, go fishing, and RELAX.
These are just ideas to help guide your child. He may not know what to do at first if he has been in traditional school/homeschool. You may have to encourage or do a little guiding at first. After a while, your child will get the hang of it and start to come up with things on his own! When that happens, it is soooo exciting!
Deschooling is also a great time for mom (or dad). You can begin to focus on yourself for a little while to get your mind into the concept that "learning is a lifestyle" not just books in a box! During our deschooling time, I started to journal again. I signed up for an online blogging class and researched how to make custom headers on youtube. I also got some dvd's about some Biblical topics that I was wanting to dig deeper into and learned more that way.
By focusing on my own learning, too, the Espressos saw that learning never stops. I was an encouragement to them. I showed them how excited I was to learn something new and they soon followed with their own enthusiasm.
During our deschooling time, I discovered that it was time to change our method of hsing. I went from eclectic/relaxed/with a bit of school at home to unit studies. I ordered the curriculum and set out with excitement on my own learning journey.
Learning is a lifestyle and is very exciting. Let me encourage you to try something different soon! Your kids will thank you for it and it may refresh all of you! You can always go back to your usual routine or style after a few days, weeks or months! (Beware, your children may think you've gone off the deep end at first!)
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