The other day, I bought my daughter a bubble science kit because she loves bubbles. She and I were both eager to open the kit and begin to play and learn about all the things you can do with bubbles! I opened up the kit and read the instructions, I was going to set up one simple experiment to do together because she is only 4. However, it did not exactly go as I planned. My daughter wanted to add glitter and slime glue to the bubble solution, which in my mind was nowhere in the "instructions", would be messy, and honestly just did not make sense to me. However, in that moment I realized I needed to release whatever feelings I had and let learning and creativity happen naturally. So, instead of making any negative remarks, look to criticize her, or try to take control, I encouraged her through it. It was hard, but in the end she created a cool glitter bubble slim solution, which to me was new and innovative. Moments like the one I just explained, I have recently learned is a part of the process of deschooling.
What is deschooling?
Deschooling is a process children and adults go through to change their mindset on learning once transitioned from public education to homeschooling. Since my dughter has not been in public education, I am the one who has been actively going through this process for a couple of months now. It's been 8 months since I resigned from teaching 4 years in public education, but I also take into account the 13 years I spent in public education, 4 years in college, and 18 months obtaining my master's in education that have shaped my ideas of learning. As a teacher, I am used to giving children instructions and helping them to complete those instructions within their best ability, that I find myself having to pause and breath when it comes to my own homeschooling journey. That's why I am happy I can put a name to what I have been going through after resigning from teaching and starting my homeschooling journey. It has not been as easy as I thought it would be because I did not take into account the deschooling process I would have to go through. I started off with "treating it like school" just at home mindset, but my daughter was not receptive to what I had planned. A few months in, I felt lost and confused, and decided to take a break away from my standards and expectations of learning. As an adult going through the deschooling process is not easy. Unlearning and relearning what I know and was trained to do is a constant battle between staying comfortable and trusting the process.
How long will it take and should I deschool?
There are certain expectations I have about learning and of my child that I am learning to let go of and let it happen when it does, and to be honest I don't think there is a time stamp on that process. Everything that I've learned and have been trained to do has not been beneficial to our journey and I visualize our journey being something new from my experiences. In my opinion, deschooling plays a necessary role in homeschooling and should be talked about more. Taking a mental break from what you know is vital to being able to visualize something new, and homeschooling is special because it allows that freedom. It is completely different from learning in a classroom and should not be treated as such. So, if you are reading this and deciding if you should homeschool or feel lost on your homeschooling journey take a break from it all first! It is a necessary period of time that you and your child need in order to readjust your thoughts on learning and what homeschooling will look like for your family. When you do, you will find that the possibilities are endless.