Deschooling- On-the-Job Homeschool Training

When giving advice to new homeschoolers, many veterans recommend deschooling.  I often give this advice to new homeschoolers, and have even devoted a Facebook Live to the topic. Sadly, deschooling is one piece of advice that new homeschoolers often ignore. Today I’m going to tell you why you shouldn’t overlook this critical piece of advice, and why you should consider deschooling as on-the-job homeschool training.

What is Deschooling?

Deschooling is a transitional period that allows you to ease into homeschooling.  It’s a period where you either do little formal schooling or formal schooling on a limited basis. You may ease into homeschool by letting students play board games or learning games, watch educational television, or read whatever strikes their fancy.  Deschooling is very important for students coming from traditional schools. It serves as a time to decompress from traditional school expectations.  

Many new homeschoolers write off deschooling it as “fluff” to skip or something done only for younger students.

Won’t Deschooling Put Us Behind?

Don't stress deschooling! It's on-the-job homeschool training.
Don’t stress over deschooling! It’s on-the-job homeschool training!

Many new homeschoolers worry that they need to check all the boxes of traditional schools. They’re concerned if they don’t start schoolwork IMMEDIATELY, then their students will be behind.  Some parents skip deschooling because their students are suffering or failing in traditional school. They feel they need to plunge into schooling immediately to “catch up” their child.   These parents need to start right now and not waste time playing games.

Homeschoolers shouldn’t consider deschooling as fluff or useless time filler but on-the-job homeschool training.  Let’s compare starting a new job to the idea of deschooling.  

Why is Deschooling Necessary?

Let’s say you start a new job. You’re doing work you’ve done before, so you have an idea about what you should be doing.  Your new employer tells you that there are deadlines to meet, and the company is VERY behind, so there is no time for training – you need to jump right to work.

You take the employer at his word, and you get right to work.  This company does things a little differently than the last one.  You can’t quite remember how to do some things, but you don’t have any training, so you push forward and keep working.  The boss comes back to you and asks you why you aren’t completing projects correctly or following company procedures. You’re frustrated.  One of two things happen. One, you keep working, but the frustration keeps building because the boss keeps telling you’re doing something wrong. Two, you quit work.  

Deschooling As On-the-Job-Training?

Now apply this same scenario to your homeschool.  Let’s say you skip deschooling because you don’t see the point in wasting time on playing games or easing into learning when there’s schoolwork to be done.  You jump right into homeschooling.  At some point, both you and your child are frustrated.  You have expectations that your child isn’t meeting, and your child is frustrated because they don’t understand WHY they aren’t meeting your expectations. By ignoring the deschooling process, you skipped the on-the-job homeschool training. 

Deschooling is a period to set up expectations for your students.   Things are done much differently in a homeschool atmosphere than public school.  Your students need time to understand the difference and make the transition from one type of schooling to the next.  Your students need time to adjust to your expectations.

How Can I Deschool Without Feeling Like I’m Wasting Time?

Plan field trips, either in person or virtual that correspond with current or upcoming schoolwork. 

You can deschool by introducing formal academic work but on a limited scale. For example, you might do abbreviated lessons each day for a week or two before delving into full days of academic work.

Walk your student through their curriculum before you jump into homeschooling. Look through your homeschooling books together. If you’re using an online program, walk your child through the program first. You may even want to sit and do a few lessons online together.

The essential part of deschooling is your mindset. Remember, this is on-the-job homeschool training for both you and your student. Taking the time to deschool will establish expectations for both you and your students.

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