How to begin Deschooling
Deschooling is essential to any and all homeschoolers. It helps us to release our traditional school mindset and rethink education and how learning takes place. We have discussed why deschooling is essential in a recent post you can check out here. Today we are going to jump how to begin deschooling in 15 easy steps. Before we begin, please take a moment to pin this post to your homeschool board.
15 Easy Steps to Begin Deschooling
- First, take it slow. Things need to slow down as you switch gears, you need to slowly build up momentum. It takes time to settle into a new way of doing things, especially when it is such a big change.
- Follow your child’s lead. This is something I learned when I first started my journey with early education. It is so important to follow their lead, jumping into whatever interests them for a while.
- Celebrate! Each day that goes by, you are growing and learning even if it doesn’t feel like it. Celebrate the fact that you are progressing, that health and healing are taking place instead of more trauma, that your family has a stronger sense of togetherness and that your morals and values are taking precedence in your child’s life.
- Gratitude is another great thing to focus on. Focus on being grateful that this is possible, that you are together and those wonderful opportunities for learning and experiencing are available.
- BE FLEXIBLE! I have mentioned this already, being flexible is always front and center. Be flexible when it comes to your expectations, home education never looks the way you may have imagined or like others you have seen. Each day is different and a new experience than the day before. Be flexible by trying out new things, eliminating what doesn’t work, and exploring what does.
- Talk to your children. Find out what is important to them, what they need, let them in on the planning. Ask them what they liked or disliked about their previous situation and create a more comfortable way of doing things.
- Remember the reasons you chose to homeschool. Try making a list with your child of all the things that led you to this homeschooling journey that you are on. On days when you feel like it isn’t working, look at the list and remember and affirm why you made this decision and focus on the things that are going well and on the progress that you are making.
- While grades and meeting milestones in school are a top priority, make comfort your top priority. Change can be difficult. Help reduce stress with comfort. Make room for plenty of rest, relaxation, and play. Comfort is different for everyone, so talk openly about what everyone needs.
- Let your children know they are safe, let them know they can come to you and talk openly about their fears, worries, or frustrations. They may be grieving things they liked about school, they may also feel relieved to be leaving some things they didn’t like behind. Listen supportively as they work on processing their feelings.
- Get support for yourself, finding someone to lean on and process your own feelings is essential. You would like to find a person who is open-minded about educational choices and who isn’t in your household. Finding like-minded support whether in a homeschool co-op or on social media can help you when you are struggling.
- Keep your sense of humor and whimsy. Laugh as a family, don’t take everything too seriously. Keep things playful, fun, and most of all positive. Chances are your children will follow your lead.
- Pay attention to all kinds of progress and celebrate it. Celebrate that your child has a good attitude or is showing effort. Even if they didn’t get the answer correct, celebrate the fact that they tried and the steps they did correctly. Celebrate them asking questions and having an open curiosity about the world around them.
- Celebrate their curiosity and support it, in any way that you can. If your child is really interested in horses, you may not be able to go purchase riding lessons but you can read up on it, watch shows and movies and research local places and prices and make a plan, so dive deep into their interests. All of that is learning.
- Give yourselves a pat on the back for all the progress you are making and for making it happen each and every day as you and your family adjust into a new rhythm.
- Remember that you are the expert on your own child. Even if you have never done this homeschooling thing before, trust your instincts about what your child needs to thrive. You may consult with others who are experienced and encouraging and you may seek support or assistance in areas where you may have more to learn. But ultimately you know your child better than anyone else, remind yourself of this often.