Since most of us have spent some time in school, we have to undo some of thoughts we have about learning. We often think about learning the way school presented it to us. Academically, we think about grades, testing, "keeping up," avoiding "gaps."
Socially, we think about making friends, learning from other adults, cooperating in groups, and even little things like "homeroom parties," etc.
These are the tips of the icebergs that can exist in a parent's head. Children, depending on how influential school has been on them, can suffer from these misconceptions as well.
Deschooling is the term we use when people are trying to get past the school version of learning and open to the idea that learning is actually much bigger than that. We create stories around these thoughts and often create hurdles we have to overcome.
If you had a less than stellar school experience it might be easier to walk away from all the schoolish ways of learning, socializing and connecting. Still, since unschoolers and homeschooers are such a small segment of the general population, things like back-to-school sales, football games, and prom season may trigger some wistfulness that you or your child harbors.
Your child may think they have to do worksheets to demonstrate learning, or that authoritarian top-down teaching methods are required to learn. It may even be a little scary at first to know that you are in charge of your own learning. But the benefits are SOO worth it!
How quickly a family moves through the deschooling process will be unique to your child, yourself, and your family. You may even revisit ideas that were buried but surface later when you child enters a new developmental phase. That's ok, you're human! And schools have been big parts of the average American life. Give yourself some time to get acquainted with this new way of approaching learning and shucking the shackles of the school's version of education!
DESCHOOLING - WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Sue responds to the question from a new unschooler, "I guess I don't really understand what "deschooling" is. I thought if we took a week of relaxing, we'd be ready to jump into unschooling. I feel like we're not doing anything educational!"
HOW DO I STOP WANTING TO SEE SCHOOLISH LEARNING?
Letting go of structure can make parents worry. Joyce tackles several different parent questions about how children learn practical skills without "being forced to sit down and learn."
DESCHOOLING READING LIST
ZAKIYYA ISMAIL | GROWING MINDS AND HEARTS
Reimagining Learning and Education: Thought provoking short reads and their links, exploring issues in education and schooling.
WHAT IS DESCHOOLING
PAM LARICCHIA | LIVING JOYFULLY
If school was a negative experience for your kids, they will need time to recover from that. Give yourselves time to adjust to the freedom of no school routines (stay up late and sleep in!); the freedom of not being told what to do every minute of the day. Everyone has lots of time now to relax and unwind, to try new things. To discover their interests and rediscover the joy of learning!
10 TIPS TO START DESCHOOLING
More about each of the tips in the graphic above at the top of this page.
DESCHOOLING A PARENT - LEARNING TO TRUST
JAN HUNT | NATURAL CHILD PROJECT
Parents must unlearn many unfounded assumptions about learning that we were conditioned to believe for so many years. If we can do that, we can rediscover the natural love of learning we were born with.
WHY YOU CAN'T LET GO
JOYCE FETTEROLL | CONFERENCE TALK
Joyce's first unschooling talk. Lots of discussion about math - since it's so hard to let go of!
DESCHOOLING - WHY IT'S IMPORTANT
MICHELLE CONAWAY | TEXAS UNSCHOOLERS
Deschooling can help us shed the belief that learning has to happen in a certain way. It opens our eyes to the learning that is happening in every activity we participate in.
DESCHOOLING FOR PARENTS
Sandra gives quick as well as gradual suggestions for the deschooling and moving toward unschooling.
"Stop thinking schoolishly. Stop acting teacherishly. Stop talking about learning as though it's separate from life."
WHY WE CAN'T LET GO
Joyce presented this talk live at the Live and Learn conference in 2002.
Do you need to read a little more about how unschooling can work?
Or Maybe You're Still Not Convinced...
We've collected a lot of articles about why school is not the best place for children. Sometimes we need a little help taking off those rose-colored glasses.