Why Deschooling is a Critical Start to Your Homeschool Journey
You’ve decided to homeschool.
Feeling strong in your decision, you Google “homeschool curriculum” and watch as the thousands of options scroll before your eyes. Overwhelmed, you find some Facebook groups and start asking questions.
This new journey you’re on feels so right, yet so new and fragile. You want the path laid out straight, but you’re starting to see it might be a winding road and your confidence starts to wane. But your love for your child propels you forward and you keep moving towards the goal line, even if fear and uncertainty is gripping your heart and hanging on for the ride.
You’re sure this new adventure waits for your family and you just want to get started. It’s so exciting and you want so badly for your babe to start some serious learning, some serious bonding, with you as her guide.
Then in all your searches you come across the word—deschooling. And you think,
How can this be right?
How can this be helpful?
Why is this even a thing?
It’s October and we haven’t even started! We’re already behind!
You want to do the absolute best, but your child’s education is at stake and the fear of doing her harm is a powerful fear that has you held.
I know. I understand.
I remember these days very well and when I pulled my daughter out of school, the same fears gripped me. But education is also your ally and it can help you break the fear chains and move forward with confidence and certainty.
So what is deschooling?
Think of deschooling like this: the scenario I painted for you above is what most moms go through once they make this homeschooling decision. The hours of research we put into this is staggering, it would put any research professor to shame.
Us mommas are a force! The love for our children is not to be underestimated!
But as the fear tightens, you use control to help you battle. As the mom, you are in control, you get to make this decision, you get to see the other moms in the groups surrounding you and telling you it’ll be OK and help with this mindset shift. Even having the option to ask other moms is a privilege!
From choosing the curriculum, to choosing the schedule, to being able to reach out for comfort, those are all tools at your disposal and they help you feel better in this journey. They comfort you, guide you, show you the way and every step you take is one more step towards confidence.
your child's journey
But your children don’t get that. They have no control, no say, no ability to comfort themselves when you say the foreign word, “homeschool.”
Like you, they don’t know what that looks like, what it means. They have been in public school, it’s all they know and with our culture being a public school culture, it’s all any of us know until we open that homeschooling door.
And our kids are confused, they don’t know all of the why’s the what’s and the answers, the way you’re getting them. They can’t reach out to Facebook groups and have questions answered. They have no control over curriculum choices or schedules, and therefore the comfort you get from this doesn’t exist for them.
But they have the same questions you do, the same fears and the same “what if’s,” especially if they’re older. Their mindset is also shifting, but they have to do it alone.
This, momma, is why we deschool.
Deschooling gives your child this chance to move through the paradigm shift that has to come with homeschooling. Your whole family has to move through that shift, and it’s different for all of us, but we all must make that journey.
We cannot recreate school at home, everything about homeschooling is drastically different from what we know about school, so the mindset is extremely important.
Deschooling helps your child in this way. It’s the space in between his old life and his new life that he needs to walk through to be successful. Think of it as a bridge, from public school to homeschool. This must be walked over in order for him to feel safe, comforted and hopeful instead of fearful about this new journey.
The importance of deschooling cannot be overstated.
You love your babies, I know. So please give them this space to work out their own questions, fears and shifts that will help them be successful. You won’t regret it, even if it scares you now, you will reap huge rewards later. I promise!
So what do we do?
The general homeschool world advises that however many years they’ve been in school, take that many months off. So if you have a second grader, you take off 2 months. Sixth grade, 6 months.
I know. Scary.
It’ll be OK. I promise.
But if you choose that’s not for you, it’s also OK. You are the mom, you can do whatever you want. Maybe take off at least 4-6 weeks and see how it’s going after that.
Here are some ideas of things your kids could do during those months:
- read books
- talk to your child about what they like, interests, etc
- go to the library or watch Youtubes about these interests
- discuss current events based on age
- try to help them to think, express their thoughts, work through ideas, find out who they are and give them permission to take the time to explore ideas
- play, even for older kids
- give them permission to take the days off
- field trips, coops, join the homeschool community in your area
Deschooling for mom:
- establish routines, schedules—this can help you see what will work and not work
- get to know your child, what they like, don’t like
- you can get some kinks worked out you didn’t know were there, but can frustrate you—ie: library card was expired, internet isn’t fast enough
- gives you time to figure out how you’re going to clean the house, pay the bills, make supper, do sports, and homeschool. Take this space time before it’s filled with school and work this out. Establish some systems to help you.
- can help with your mindset shift of a small number of hours it takes to school. We think we have to do school for 8 hours a day and can’t believe it’ll only be 2-4 hours depending on age. By only reading a couple of books and then playing the rest of the day, it’ll help you see you don’t need a lot of time. So when you do start school, you’ll already have moved through that shift and it won’t seem so drastic.
If you need help with scheduling, I have many posts about it. I also have a toolkit available if you’d like more help. It’s a video tutorial and some printables, but you can check it out and see if it would be helpful. No pressure! I only want to help you.
The number one thing I would do during a deschooling period is train my child to a routine or schedule and getting that implemented. Read all about that here. In my opinion, it is the most important part of homeschooling. If you’re fighting with your kids all day about the actual homeschooling, you’ll be miserable, because that’s just not fun for anyone.
So let’s be proactive and start now getting your kiddos to understand a new schedule and structure. It doesn’t have to be military drill sergeant, you can be gentle, but it is important.
Friend, I hope I’ve helped you in some way to understand the importance of deschooling.
If you have any questions, please ask them below or feel free to message me on Instagram or Facebook.
I love helping new homeschoolers and it would be an honor to help you!
Thank you for your time and for being here!