Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thoughts on Deschooling

What is deschooling?  The best definition I found is this - the process by which you and your child adapt to having abandoned the traditional concepts of learning.

After completing 7 weeks of school and everyone being a little burned out, I felt like we needed to go back to the beginning and allow ourselves a some time to relax and deschool.   So we have shelved the school books for the week in favor of some more relaxed, natural learning and fun.  The kids are loving it.  So far this week they've done an art project, been detectives, played a million games, built a fort, and watched about 20 episodes of Beakman's World on Netflix instant streaming.  They are learning through play, they are using their imaginations, and they are having fun.

Yet here I sit, discouraged and feeling like a failure for not insisting they do their math, vocabulary, science, and history lessons.  It's not like they're behind and I certainly haven't abandoned our books forever, just one week.   So I have come to the realization that it is me that needs to deschool.  It is me that needs to let go of the traditional school mentality and remember than we are homeschooling for a reason.  Public school was not working for us so why am I trying to recreate it at home?

Now is the time to for me to give the love of learning back to the kids.   Now is the time to embrace this journey we've decided to take.  Now is the time to change my thinking and discover that learning can be accomplished in many different ways.

Deep breath, relax, and here goes nothing...


  1. I feel like that too Amy!! I feel so guilty if we don't get the traditional schoolwork doneeven if instead we did something really cool that the kids definitely learned from. I like the idea of a week "off". We might have to try it.

  2. Thanks for your honesty - its refreshing to read about the real struggle parents who homeschool face, and it's clear that you're moving toward accepting that, "unconventional" as it may be to not only allow, but also to encourage your children to explore, play, and let their creativity shine and guide their learning, what you're allowing your kids to do is learn in ways that are meaningful and real, and that will teach them life lessons that more traditional test-driven approaches simply can not. Bravo :)

  3. My kids have never been to traditional school. Even so, I feel like you do sometimes. So are you going for a second deschooling week? Or are you embracing what they have done this week?

  4. I am a new homeschooler and I feel like I could have written this post myself....since taking mine out of public schools all mine want to do is play, play, play...and that is what they are suppose to be doing...they don't care about the tv anymore or the video games...they just want to go outside and pretend play....they are so creative this way...even my son with autism who the doctors told me would never have an imagination. So who am I halt the creativity and call them in to do workbooks? We have done a lot of "school" with them outside swinging and me simply readng to them and asking them questions. I feel so guilty when we cannot get all of the "assignments" checked off our list each day, but really my job is to make them want to learn...not to force them to.