For brand new homeschoolers with children previously enrolled in a public or a private school, “deschooling” — not to be confused with “unschooling” — is a term you will want to learn about.
Although deschooling may look like unschooling, it is used to serve a specific purpose for both the student and the primary home educating parent.
The purpose of deschooling is to allow the child time to decompress from the previous classroom experiences, whether those experiences were positive or negative. The general recommendation is to allow one month of de-schooling for every year the child has spent in school.
So what does deschooling look like? It looks like what some people call child-led learning or delight-led learning. By giving the child space and time to connect with those activities of high interest, she can begin to recover her natural love of learning that traditional schooling may have depleted.
A gentle rhythm to the day and the week can support the entire family during deschooling. So for instance, perhaps one day a week is library day or park day. For your daily rhythm, choose a time to read to your child each day and perhaps another time when she reads to you. Keep any academics short and focused – maybe just 2-3x/week, 5-30 minutes long depending on your child’s developmental age, interest level and willingness.
The deschooling period also supports the parent new to home education. While your children pursue enjoyable activities that they can do independently, you can use this “down” time to explore various educational methods, philosophies and curriculum. There is no need to rush out and buy a full curriculum set! There are now volumes of resources for home educators to choose from, so it is helpful to find a philosophy/approach that resonates with you before making any major purchases. Also realize that your philosophy may change over time as you continue to learn and grow together.
There are numerous articles on the internet on this topic. Do a search or check out the links below for more information.
And welcome to the amazing journey of home education! Be patient with yourself and your children as you adjust to this new and exciting life and lifestyle. Over time, you will develop your family rhythm and rituals to support the journey.