View Full Version : deschooling

05-18-2015, 05:28 PM
I have heard this spoken about frequently and feel like I have a general idea about what it means, but not really how to put it into action. DS6 will be done with school June 3 and I just don't want the days to devolve into computer/tv blahs, but also don't want to stress him out by doing homeschool. How did you guys put this into action?

05-18-2015, 09:36 PM
Hi HawaiiGeek - like your new username!

So I did what some term "deschooling" pretty much by accident. I learned that term on this forum and people suggested that it might be in order. When I pulled my son (6yo at the time, almost 8 now) from school it was a crisis and we had no real plan. I was still working and had to have a sitter with him for 1/2 a day, four days a week. Far from ideal, but we got through it. DS did devolve into computer/tv and Minecraft. And I decided to let it go until I could address it, while still trying to get some plans and better routines in place. It was not easy to reverse that habit when it came time, but we did it and it's not a continuing issue for us. I think it was inevitable, and helped get us all through a difficult, but ultimately short, period.

In case this helps you think about your DS and your situation, here's some more about our experience:

The deschooling for us was time - we had come out of a stressful situation, we were all still stressed, and rather than start with figuring out schooling, we needed time to just be. Identify issues and start making plans for the future. Meanwhile, relax. Frankly, repair our relationship. I think we needed to build trust with DS. He had been in a situation that was bad for him, and he needed to see that we would help him, not just wreak consequences. We've gotten there now, 1 year and 1/2 later, thank goodness.

So we did no real school. I did try in the beginning to sit down with the kinds of worksheets that he had used at school. No go. I got advice to deschool here after posting about these epic fails. Later, when we did start again DS came out with "I don't want to sit in a chair, I had to do that at school and I hated it and I can't do it." It was an eye opening moment for me on how stressed and uncomfortable he had been. So I took it seriously. And we did not "do school work" at a table in a chair.

We did read a lot of books. On the bed, on the couch, with snacks, snuggling up together. He would bring me a stack of books. Especially when I suggested writing/coloring, lol. We played music on a CD player. Baked a lot of cookies. Took walks and went for hikes. I found games and manipulatives and we played around with very light addition/subtraction. He likes math, so this was mostly fun and informal. None of this happened everyday or all the time, but looking back, we did quite a bit given our situation in the beginning. He got interested in digestion and the human body and I got some books on that and we played a pretend act (over and over and over) that he made up about food going through the digestive system. Everything we did was optional and he led.

So I pulled DS in September, and I would say we pretty much "deschooled" - no formal, routine, no expected schoolwork, but lots of activities and fun reading - until January.

In January I started introducing more routine. Later I decided my DS is a great candidate for "delayed formal schooling". We do our weird hybrid of mom-led, interest-led, very light homeschool. But I've been learning as I go, so I reserve the right to change course again if need be. LOL.

I'd be interested in others' thoughts.

05-18-2015, 09:45 PM
I have heard this spoken about frequently and feel like I have a general idea about what it means, but not really how to put it into action. DS6 will be done with school June 3 and I just don't want the days to devolve into computer/tv blahs, but also don't want to stress him out by doing homeschool. How did you guys put this into action?

I have the same issue coming up: my son will be in a moderately formal schooling program till September and I plan to deschool him before starting homeschooling. I don't suppose there's an established way :) The way I'm thinking about doing it is:

1) ~10 min of math practice (not instruction) each day (Math4Today has excellent workbooks that you can use to give a child just 5-10 min of practice at a time; I think it's important to keep daily math practice, otherwise one may have to work extra hard to bring skills back from atrophy)

2) gymnastics class twice a week (he's not a very physical boy so he won't do any substantive physical activity on his own)

3) basically, letting him read or build or watch educational videos or experiment the rest of the "school" day (without doing too much of each). At the end of each "school" day, he'll have to note something about the day in the journal (he has a very weak hand, so that's another thing I don't want to atrophy, so I want him to practice writing every day; plus it makes a good habit of "summing up the day" and something to look back on). I'd keep the day fairly short, maybe 4-5 hours, and he can do whatever he wants the rest of the day.

4) we'll go to the local homeschooling park days and invite playdates over so it's not so lonely.

5) I plan to do it for about 2-4 weeks (basically to give me time to prepare the curriculum and materials :)

05-18-2015, 10:54 PM
We did a lot of pdpele mentioned - lots of what I called 'cozy reading'. I pulled my kids out of public school at the end of last year, and they were 6 and 8 at the time. My 6 year old came out of an awful teacher situation, hated school, and thought he was dumb. I spent probably a good six months just reading to him. But I carefully selected all of the books. They were books from recommended reading lists, Caldecott winners, classic picture books, living science books, history books, anything he wanted from the library (fiction and nonfiction), basically anything interesting. We had stacks and stacks of library books all over the house.

He loves science, so I added in lots of experiments to his science readings. After a few months I started incorporating a bit of writing into science, as in, 'oh, let's be real scientists and write down what we found out on a lab sheet!' He hates writing but he was willing to do any sort of science related writing. We also went on lots of field trips (and still do).

05-18-2015, 11:28 PM
When I pulled my 6 yr old from school in January I tried to immediately teach all the things he'd been doing in school. I thought I was changing it up enough that it would work beautifully. And it did for 6 days. Then I found myself pulling him from under the table and sitting through epic "you will do this copywork" battles. Then I found out about this deschooling concept. But because I'm still me, I couldn't put school away completely but we changed things to more of a "learning is important, what are we going to learn about today?" This means lots of science TV to him, documentary is a big long word that contorts its way out but he does really absorb that material, so he ended up watching some TV. It was the dead of winter so we didn't hike. But we did things and made things, with a very clear articulation that we were learning, or that we were still using our fine motor skills even though we weren't writing. We experimented with lots of educational apps. Lap books were still too much of a fail -such pressure to glue! To keep math and reading up on the radar we've been trying out various computer/app approaches, being wrong to the computer seems to be much less a blow that being wrong in front of me.

He did seem to be a little put off by the lack of "centers" at this "home-school". And I still think he doesn't really get it. Sometimes I think he thinks he's been pulled from school because he's stupid. And that we don't really "school" because we don't have the school infrastructure.

Even before he started homeschooling I'd started with a phonics program for students with dyslexia, I dropped that during our deschool phase and I still haven't gotten back to that -and I've no plans to do so unless he asks for it. I also haven't reintroduced copywork, I'm going to wait on that one. I'll have him write his name but that is it.

But what is funny about pulling back, is that it totally does work. We watched TV, called it HSing and now he does things like sound out words -on his own. We've started RightStart Math and we've gone though 22 lessons without being dragged from under the table. Math homework had been SUCH A STRUGGLE that this is a huge leap.

I struggle with thinking I'm not doing enough but that is a different thread.

05-19-2015, 12:16 AM
OMG Lohavio I have done exactly as you described - said "you must" and "you will" and fetched DS (generally from burying himself in couch cushions rather than under the table).....You are bringing back memories...:^o):

05-19-2015, 02:32 AM
pdpele - I like the baking cookies idea, DS loves to cook and eat so we will definitely do a lot of this.
Lohavio: I am worried about battles, so we will avoid this
Elizabeth: good name BTW, my DS is reading at 3rd grade level, but because of a bad teacher this year he thinks he is dumb and bad. This is the number one reason we are going to HS him next year. My DD who struggles way more than her brother thinks she is doing really well and loves HSing so I know this will work so much better for him. I guess DD will get some nice unschooling for a while too. I am sure all will benefit from baking, games, hikes and field trips. My waistline might not do as well with the baking, but I guess we just have to hike more. :)

Thanks for all your help, as always, love this site and my kindred spirits.