While families who have always homeschooled may have never needed to “deschool,” those of us who pulled our children from a public or private school could (and did!) benefit from having a deschooling period.
Deschooling is not be confused with unschooling. Per Wikipedia, “Deschooling refers to the mental process a person goes through after being removed from a formal schooling environment, when the school mindset is eroded over time. Deschooling may also refer to the time period it takes for children removed from school to adjust to learning in an unstructured environment.”
I know when we pulled our son out of public school in the first grade, we jumped right into homeschooling and we tried to recreate that classroom experience at home. We spent several months completely miserable. It wasn’t until later in the year when I came across an article about deschooling that we decided that was something we needed to do. It did take a couple of months for both my son, and myself, to really wrap our heads around having so much flexibility in regards to our homeschool.
What about you? Did you take some time to deschool?
Unschooling is a method of homeschooling that seems to stir up controversy whenever it’s mentioned. Those that unschool will tell you that unschooling doesn’t mean that there is NO school. It just means that the learning that goes on in their home is child led, or interest led. Rather than following lesson plans or textbooks, the children learn about what interests them at the time. They focus on hands on activities and/or reading, but at their pace and only as much as their interests carry them.
There are radical unschoolers who feel like anything assigned, or even suggested, by the parent isn’t true unschooling. Then you have families who follow a more structured homeschool schedule and plan that feel like unschooling isn’t a method of homeschooling at all; it’s just a word lazy parents use to justify not doing anything with their children.
Regardless of whether you fall on one side of the unschooling fence or the other, I feel like every homeschooling family follows and practices a little of the “child-led” mentality. Even following a lesson plan and a curriculum, we still allow our children the opportunity to spend extra time on what interests them most, don’t we?