One of my favorite parts of homeschool is the deschool. It is such an important part of successfully homeschooling your kids.
You’ve made the decision to homeschool – Yay!!
So, now it’s time for curriculum shopping, right???
Not so fast.
Curriculums are an advanced homeschool activity that is only for those who have spent hours of their lives pulling their hair out as they browse endless online options.
You don't have to know what you're doing just yet. The beauty is that neither do your kids - and that is where deschooling comes in.
I spent more than a year in the “I have no idea what the homeschool I’m doing” category before figuring out that’s normal and I’m not failing my kids – and then eventually getting my shiz-nit together.
So, let me say this about curriculums – because I know you’ve been Googling:
There is a reason you decided to homeschool – and it mostly likely wasn’t because you always dreamed of being a teacher but were just waiting to reproduce your very own classroom full of students.
If you started homeschooling because you wanted something different from traditional school – then don’t start with a curriculum. Instead of jumping in $1,000+ deep into a curriculum with both feet – it’s time to deschool first.
Deschool is like a traditional school detox.
Because there are a lot of daily habits, preconceived ideas and standards that traditional school puts into us that have no place in homeschool.
There is no walking in single file with your finger over your mouth to remind you to be quiet here. No lunch boxes. No bell to tell us there’s a fire drill.
One of the most beautiful things about homeschool is establishing the rhythm of the life your children and you can most benefit from.
And this looks different for every person, every family. If you try to make homeschool look like traditional school you are going to end up as one big ball of frustration and stress by the end of the day.
What's a Deschool and Where Can I Get One?
Deschooling is an important part of homeschooling sanity. And it isn’t something you buy. It’s something you do.
It is a slow-start period at the beginning of your child’s homeschool career where you learn about HOW they learn, WHAT they enjoy and WHEN they learn best.
Here are a few deschool tips to help you out:
Go Curriculum-Free at First
Don’t start a curriculum in the first month (or even semester) of homeschooling.
This doesn’t mean they aren’t learning or doing anything. It just means the expectations are for learning, not grades, not completion
Let Your Kids Be the Guide
Let your kids tell you what they enjoy learning about. Both with their words and their actions.
Make notes of the things that they seem truly interested in for later, more formal lessons.
Keep a journal or planner and jot down notes. Write down their activities, times, attitudes, problems, outbursts, eating habits – everything.
This way you can start to see some patterns.
My ten year old is incapable of doing math before eating breakfast or she will devolve into tears. But my nine year old rarely eats breakfast and prefers to get her school work done ASAP.
Spend Time with Your Kids
Interact with your children a lot. Take them places (your backyard counts). Talk to them about the world.
Teach them about their world. Show them how to use a screwdriver or a hammer.
Let them help you cook and clean and be responsible for their pets.
Get Used to Constantly Teaching
Find teaching moments in everything you do. This is that time-consuming, exhausting part I was referring to.
Now is the time when you answer all.the.questions.
Let Your Kids Be Kids
Let them play, run, jump, sleep in and snack. Sit on the couch with them and watch a show that they pick – not an educational program, and have a conversation with them.
Because as a homeschool parent you are now responsible for their education and their interpersonal skills.
You are teaching them about people, themselves and the world – and Algebra.
Extend Some Grace
Leave room in your plan for forgiveness – for yourself on the days when you feel like a failure, for your child on the days when they are being difficult and for the world that will most certainly do something you need to forgive them for.
Become the Student
Learn everything you can about your children before you try to formally “teach” them anything.
This deschooling period can last as long as you need it to. And if you really enjoy it, you may be more of an unschooling parent than a homeschooling parent. And that’s ok too.
Now that I’ve given you my complete “Do Not Buy a Curriculum Yet” speech, I’m going to appease the control freak in you and tell you how to choose the right curriculum for you….when the time is right.