Deschooling is the process of moving away from the ideas of school and towards a broader definition of what learning is and how it can happen.

If your child has been in mainstream education for any length of time, they will need a period of adjustment commonly recognised as one month per year of schooling to deschool themselves.

It is a similar recommendation for adults but most likely you will have been in the school system, or even school at home, for a much longer period of time. The biggest change will occur in how you view learning.

How do you deschool?

The easiest way to start is to continue life as if it was the summer holidays. No requirements to learn anything, no homework, no school projects, just speding time together and doing things you chose to do.

Spend time with your children and get to know them.

Let them play and play with them. Go to places together that they are excited to go to. Answer their questions and have conversations with them. Relax and have fun together.

And notice things as you observe your child.

Watch your child’s natural curiosity. See the new skills they are developing. Listen to the myriad of questions they ask and the things they are telling you. All without school. All without lessons and curriculums.

Slow down and relax.

And then slow down again. Life does not go at school pace anymore. And nor does learning travel in the same trajectory as set out by school objectives and targets. Slow down and enjoy your time together. Go at your child’s pace. This will vary depending on their school experience. Meeting and being responsive to their needs is putting in place fundamental building blocks for a healthy future.

And then gradually you will continue to move forward in the same vein, without school. It is likely that your children will move on seamlessly and you will continue to struggle with wobbles and fears for a while. Wrestle with those fears and unpick them. Get to the route of them and measure them up against your unschooling perspective. They probably belong to schooled thinking and need rephrasing in your mind.

Find the things your children love to do.

And do them repeatedly. Watch that film for the third time today. Read the same book over and over again. Go to the museum and revisit the same exhibition weekly for a whole year. Bounce on the trampoline for a whole morning. Paint pictures and pictures and pictures until your surfaces and walls are covered with original artwork. Play computer games until you have defeated The Boss or become the ultimate winner. And see the joy it brings to your children, your relationships and your family.

Published by heiditsteel

Teacher turned Unschooler: passionate about autonomous education and supporting our children's natural inclination towards learning through play.

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