DESCHOOLING FOR CHILDREN
Sometimes you’ll hear, even in traditional homeschooling circles, the phrase, “You should deschool one month for every year your child was in school.” This concept of deschooling is generally for the child. It’s basically taking an extended Summer Vacation of decompressing from all the stresses, expectations, schedules, etc. of school.
One of the problems here is that some families have embraced all that stress, expectation, scheduling, etc., and extend it to their Summer Breaks. With camps, enrichment classes, reading lists, educational activities, and more being an increasing “norm” – when Unschoolers encourage folks to “just enjoy a lengthy break” it can somehow still turn into school at home. So, take a deep breath. Let your kids take one too. While they’re gaming, reading what they want, binging Netflix, trying out crazy recipes in the kitchen, building a skate park in the back yard (only mildly kidding ) – take some time to deschool yourself.
DESCHOOLING FOR PARENTS
First, it’s acknowledging that we are raised in a society that considers school and all it’s ways at best, “the norm” and at worst, “the only way to learn”. It is in how we were raised, what’s on television & the news, it’s big business and heavily marketed. Even many homeschoolers are merely bringing school/testing/scope & sequence/best practices methodologies into their houses.
Second, it’s slowly peeling away at what we’ve always accepted as fact about how children cannot be trusted to learn on their own. Unpacking all those beliefs. As you may have guessed – this takes time. Some more than others. However, and I’ll keep repeating this. There is ALWAYS more unpacking to do. Even with grown and older teens we still find ourselves stumbling upon a supposition or recognizing that we’ve quashed an opportunity for our kids to discover something themselves.
As tempting as it may be to “dive right in” and “do all the things” – please do not apply something you don’t understand why you’re doing it… just bring things into your lives slowly. As you’re considering how to make these changes, feel free to join the Texas Unschoolers Facebook Group and ask questions. Those of us with experience will be happy to let you know how it went for our families.