Deschooling: What Is It and How to Deschool - Deepstash
Deschooling is vital for starting homeschooling

Deschooling is crucial if you want to have a successful homeschooling experience.

Deschooling is a way to deinstitutionalize the child or disrupt the institutionalized mindset created in a typical school environment. It is necessary to allow your child to adjust from the public school to a more friendly and interactive environment and also develop positive feelings and motivation for learning in your child.

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Ivan Illich is known for his critique of the modern schooling system.

His writing struck a chord with many people. In "Deschooling Society", he wrote: "The pupil is thereby "schooled" to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new. His imagination is "schooled" to accept service in place of value."

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People usually have trouble differentiating between deschooling, homeschooling, and unschooling.

Deschooling: A temporary process that aims to prepare the student for an entirely different learning environment.

Homeschooling: It is an alternative to the traditional school system where parents or tutors act as teachers in a classroom and follow a particular curriculum

Unschooling is an alternative learning approach. It is child-led, where the child learns what they want, when they want, in the way they want, for their own reasons.

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Reasons why people decide to do deschooling:

  • Deschooling is more important if your child has been in school for many years. Fourth-graders might resist the changes while first graders will adapt quickly.
  • The importance of deschooling depends on the child's character and temperament. Some children are more emotional and not open to change.
  • Whether deschooling is necessary depends on if your child will follow a traditional curriculum or follow other educational approaches.

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In school, children have to follow a specific curriculum regardless of their feelings toward the subject. Homeschooling allows for a customizable education that fit your kid's interest and preference for learning.

You won't know what your kid wants to learn if they don't get the opportunity to familiarize themselves with a wide range of topics. During deschooling, children can discover these topics and decide what they want to learn.

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Many kids experience bullying, discrimination, or other types of trauma by their peers during school years. This can affect a child's social and emotional development.

Deschooling provides the opportunity to deal with the trauma directly before continuing education.

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During deschooling, listen to your child's thoughts about their school experience, what they liked and disliked. You can experiment with different learning methods to see what will best suit your child's character and learning style. 

You can evaluate their strengths and weaknesses to ensure that your child can realise their full potential.

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In schools, children learn to memorise information, pass tests, regardless whether they're unwilling, or find the subject too easy or too hard. This brings stress and makes study an external process - they learn because they are told to, not because they want to.

In home education, this can change drastically. Deschooling helps children become aware of why and how the learned material will help them achieve their goals in life. They then learn because they want to, not because someone told them to study.

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The rule of thumb: One month for every year a child has been in school. But this can vary depending on the child's temperament, previous experience, and life-stage.

Your child might need a longer deschooling period if they:

  • Don't like changes or react emotionally
  • Have been bullied or discriminated against
  • Don't know what they're interested in
  • Have struggled with school assignments
  • Develop slower cognitively
  • Have an aversion to studying and school work
  • They are at the end of their high school studies

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The deschooling process can be divided into three steps.

  1. Initiation Phase: Relaxation and de-stress. The first few weeks after getting out of school, children need to take time to let go of the pressure built in school and the negative feelings associated with studying. Let them sleep in, go out with friends, play games and have fun.
  2. Active Phase: Discovering interests. Plan several different activities that will help children find their passion and discover new ways to learn.
  3. Transitioning Phase: Beginning with learning activities. A month before starting with homeschooling, start introducing some of those activities and see how your child is doing. If it's too easy, that's an indication that you need to plan something more challenging, and if they're struggling and losing interest, try something easier and more fun.

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  • Take walks in nature. Go to the park or any natural attractions. Use the time to bond with your kid. Talk about what you see in nature. You can have a relaxed conversation about your child's interests.
  • Plan gardening activities. They'll learn responsibility and patience by taking care of the plants, and lots of educational information about plants.
  • Visit museums.
  • Go to the library. Show them how much knowledge there is and let them browse for as long as they desire.
  • Start an art project together. Arts and crafts are the best way to stimulate creativity and curiosity. Take an online course together about drawing, painting, sewing, photography, etc.
  • Take up a new hobby. Building puzzles, learning a new instrument or learning a new language, motor skills.
  • Organize a picnic with other homeschooling kids.
  • Plan holidays and family trips together to encourage bonding.

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Deschooling will only be beneficial for your child if they perceive it as a positive experience.

  • Praise your child when they show interest in something new or learn something independently.
  • Create a close bond with your child. Encourage them to speak openly.
  • If they struggle to learn something, be on their side. Tell them you understand and that it's going to get better.
  • Involve your children in the decision-making processes - the course matter and future activities.
  • Don't criticise your child if they fail at something. Instead, encourage them to try again or in another way.
  • Encourage children to try new things and meet new people.
  • Show children that the process of learning is what really matters and that they can enjoy it.

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