Deschooling

May 15, 2008 at 9:39 am (Uncategorized)

I got an email from a reader yesterday asking:

Hi Jamin,

Your Mother’s Day card was so special and precious.  I have just started receiving your emails, so I am just now learning about your family and homeschooling.  I know you are busy with just moving, but I wanted to ask you how you help your children to love or enjoy homeschooling.

She goes on to say that due to circumstances beyond her control…( adding 2 new babies to the family, moving to a new State, Mom having 2 surgeries, etc.) the decision was made to put the children in the local school for awhile.  While the kids liked the school, Mom and Dad made the decision for them to return home to get a Christian education.

Now the kids are yearning to return to school and Mom is struggling to make homeschooling easy and peaceful.  The kids are repeatedly asking to return to school. 

The email continues:

 
I really want my children to love being at home, to love learning.  I have so much to pray about.  Some days I just want to give up, and call it quits.  But, then, I remember that I said to myself that this first year homeschooling with the babies would be hard, that there is a greater goal in view, and that my children’s hearts are worth the battle that I must face–in whatever form it comes to me.
 
If you have any tips for helping your children love homeschooling, please send them on.  I was so impressed that your child said that you always make him smile everyday, and that your other child said that you are so kind to them, even when they misbehave.
 

The main thing I want is a peace-filled, and enjoyable day as I teach and train my children.  Is this an unreasonable desire?  Am I expecting more than I should?  Anyway, I would love any bits of wisdom you could send whenever you have time to send it.

Here is my response:



Hi,

 
Thanks for writing.  I can completely understand what you are saying about being overwhelmed.  I have had 2 babies while homeschooling too.  And we moved when my youngest was 3 weeks old.  Homeschooling is a daunting task without having babies in the house.  Then you added 2 surgeries.  Oh my!  What a load you have had! Whew!  
 
The first thing I would say is don’t be hard on yourself.  You have done the best you can and for awhile that included putting your children in school.  My situation is a little different from yours because my kids have never been in school.  They have thought of it as an option, nor have I.  So therefore they don’t compare it or really know anything about it.   With that said here are a few things I would do in your situation.
 
First of all I would sit them down and tell them that going back to the local school is not an option.  (Only tell them this if you really mean it!) Explain to them that going to school was something that you all choose because of the situation of having new babies and surgeries but that is over.  Let them know that you and Dad are in agreement.  You are now a homeschooling family and that is not going to change.  The reason I would do this is it will set boundaries and put their minds at ease.  Kids want to know Mom and Dad are in charge and know what they are doing.  I think by letting them firmly know that door is closed that it will set the stage for more successful homeschooling.
 
Next I would work on what is called deschooling in the homeschooling world.  Deschooling is a process of "unlearning" to think of school in terms of traditional public school and beginning the process of thinking of homeschooling as a means to gain an education.  Deschooling is also a time to re-connect as a family.  This is a time when Mom and Dad establish themselves as the educators of their own children.  This is done by NOT doing traditional school for a period of time.  Unschooling is a great way to work through this process.  Basically you would just spend time having FUN with your children.  Let them pick what they would want to learn about and spend time doing a unit study.  Do crafts, take field trips, read books together, act out plays, go out to lunch, go to the park  Set aside the curriculum and have fun and learn together!  Show them the benefits of homeschooling!  Show them that there is more to life than bookwork and enjoying time together is important.  Make them like homeschooling better than the local school!
 
Something else that is SUPER important is to get connected with other homeschoolers.  Humans are social creatures, the kids need friends that are available in the day when they are.  It is important for your children to have peers who are living and learning the same way they are.  Once they see that they that their are other "normal" kids out their being homeschooled just like them it will help them with the transition. You need Moms to connect with and lean on. Once you see that other people surviving this you will feel better!  LOL  But seriously, it is good for you to see what other people are doing, get support, share ideas and know that we all have bad days!
 
I hope that helps.  I have always said it is much easier to homeschool from the start than to take kids out of school and start homeschooling.  I have seen many people make the transfer to homeschooling successfully though.  It is a lot more effort than just homeschooling from the start though!
 
Hang in there.  Please know that every day is NOT a bed of roses at our house.  There are days I just throw my hands up and hope tomorrow is better!  LOL  But, in the long run it is SO worth it!  Having my kids think I am smart, nice, kind and funny makes it all worthwhile!
 
Here are some articles on deschooling if you want more information.
 
http://justenough.wordpress.com/2006/10/09/deschooling-gently/
 
http://homeschooling.families.com/blog/the-deschooling-series-the-fallacy-of-traditional-school
 
http://homeschooling.families.com/blog/are-you-ready-to-quit
 
http://www.homeschoolzone.com/faq/deschooling.htm
 
http://www.indigoriveracademy.com/deschool-before-you-homeschool.html
 


Happy Homeschooling,
 
Jamin

 
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2 Comments

  1. redaredding said,

    I just wanted to Amen your response. When the children know there is really a set answer they will quit asking about going to school.

    Also, when it is too hard for you to take them places just invite a family or two over during the day. Ask everyone to bring a snack. We have done this for years because it was so much easier for me to have everyone at my house than for me to go somewhere with all the children. (for a while I had a baby every year, now I am out of babies:( We found compatible families and made this a weekly event!

  2. westward said,

    Very excellent response!

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