What does it mean to deschool? Basically, it is an undoing of our thoughts, actions, and mindset of what school is, and what learning looks like. So many of our ingrained ideas are passed to us from our schooling mindset. To deschool yourself would mean to go through a process of living your life without the restrictions put upon you by the mainstream education system.
Big Z and Lil’ Z were both homeschooled from the start. Before starting to teach them at home I still had to go through a process of realizing that I didn’t have to recreate the public school classroom at home at my dining room table. I didn’t need them to set at the table with their feet on the floor. Learning happens in so many different environments, but restricting ourselves to believe that education can happen in only one boxed setting is ridiculous.
You will find the school mindset is a part of our culture in many ways. So it can be disconcerting to some for them to not have an exact starting time to their “school” day or to not have everything scheduled out with time restrictions. However, letting go of these limitations is quite freeing once you can recognize them. Learning doesn’t happen only on Monday through Friday between the hours of 8-3, and not on the weekends. Learning happens all of the time, so allowing yourself to understand that opens up new paths for you to follow.
Perry and PeeWee, my step children, went to public school up until two years ago. So switching to a homeschool environment was very different for them. They are both now in High School, so they weren’t sure how to deal with this new freedom. If no one was telling them they had to do workbook pages 112-115 on the Civil War, then why would they ever want to learn about it?
In many ways, the mainstream school setting has squashed the desire to learn for children. Their natural curiosity has been replaced by a binge and purge education. They learned the information long enough to retain it for the test, then after that they forgot it, it had no relevance. I was a prime example of a binge and purge learner. When you learn something because you are curious and it has relevance to your life, it sticks with you. Now I feel excited to learn, and consider myself a life learner.
Many homeschooling parents have found that after leaving a mainstream school setting and switching to homeschooling their children do nothing, or what looks like nothing for awhile. This may freak out parents initially. This is all part of the process of allowing children to find out what they want to learn, letting them lead in their education. It’s also a process of trusting our children and ourselves, that we will learn the things we need to know when we need to know them.
Are these ideas new to you? What areas of your life have you had to deschool? Are you still deschooling? ( I am!)