So, you’ve made the decision. The hardest decision of your life, but you’ve made it. You’ve decided to homeschool. Now that the big decision is made, though, there are of course new questions without answers! Ah, so is life. Always a new problem, always a new question. One of those questions is: how are you going to transition your kids from 6.5 hours in a public-school classroom to your new homeschool routine? The answer (If I may be so bold) is de-schooling. Not to be mistaken with unschooling. I’m talking about de-schooling.
What is De-Schooling
De-schooling is giving your kids a break. No “school” at all. Nada. Zip. Zilch. No matter how flexible your kids may or may-not be, adjusting from “regular school” to homeschool is a big deal.
They’re leaving a place where they sat in a room with at least 20 other kids the same age. They’ve likely been conditioned to think that school is the only place to learn. They also may think home is only a place for fun. And snacks. Why? Why so many snacks? I digress.
Unfortunately for the homeschool parent, your child might believe their school-teacher knows absolutely everything. Also, as far as they’re concerned, you’re just a good hugger that bakes good cupcakes. And while I know you do more than bake good cupcakes (which is more than I can say for myself), your child will have to grow to learn that you are so much more than that. And they will, I promise.
They just need time to realize that Mom (or Dad) is more than the person that loves them, feeds them, and tucks them into bed at night. Through homeschool, they’ll soon see that you’re an individual with passions, knowledge and a desire to learn (just like them).
When we decided to homeschool, a friend of mine (4 years my veteran in homeschooling) suggested some time to de-school. After she suggested that, I didn’t really think we’d need it. My younger son had only been in Kindergarten for a couple weeks (so he wasn’t really in much of a school routine) and my oldest is super easy-going. I figured he would go from regular school to homeschool without much of a blink.
When Pokemon Ruined all my plans.
But, as it turns out, a few days before their last day at “regular school,” some kids introduced my oldest son to Pokemon. POKEMON. My son was hooked. Pretty sure he has no clue what Pokemon actually is… but someone lent him a few cards to start trading, and the rest is history.
Because of Pokemon, my oldest son informed me he no longer wanted to be homeschooled. Because he wouldn’t be able to trade cards with his friends at school. WHAT IS HAPPENING. That is all I could think. My plans to blissfully slide into homeschooling had been de-railed by a few kids and their Pokemon cards. I knew I now had an uphill battle to climb to get him excited about homeschool again. So, I decided at least a week of de-schooling was in order.
Our De-Schooling Activities
What that looked like for us is this: I baked (which I hate, but they love), I planned hikes, I planned a trip to the zoo with some homeschool families, and most important of all, I logged onto Amazon Prime and ordered some hockey and basketball cards. While I’m not a fan of Pokemon cards, I have no problem with trading cards in general. Apparently, I also have no problem bribing my children when necessary.
For you, it may not be Pokemon causing a difficult transition. In fact, it’s probably not, because that’s weirdly specific. Perhaps it’s that your kid loved his teacher. Or has a solid group of friends. Or perhaps the transition will be hard because they hate everything about school, and can’t see yet how homeschool might be different. Perhaps they’re having trouble adjusting to the fact that their “teacher” will no longer be a paid professional, but their parent.
Give them opportunities to see you in a different light. Allow them opportunities to see themselves in a different light. Give them a chance to start thinking about school in a different light. Depending on your kids, take a week (or 2, or 3, or more) to just have some fun together. Ask them what they’d like to do during these weeks off.
Discover What They Love
What they’re excited about may surprise you. Maybe they want to go to the zoo because they’re fascinated by flamingos. Maybe they want to go to the planetarium because the beauty of stars intrigues them. Perhaps they want to make a trip to the ocean to examine sea shells and play in the sand. Or maybe…. They just want to stay home. After all, home is the place where they’re happiest and can be themselves. Kids have to be so “on” when they’re at school, so it might feel good for them to just be.
The point of de-schooling is to go from that place of hyper-structure, to leaning into a more relaxed schedule. De-schooling is about giving their little brains a rest so that when it’s time to start homeschooling, they’re ready to go. And for you, as the parent, it’s the time to really look at what your kids are interested in. Then the trick is to figure out how you can use that in your homeschool to get them passionate about learning.
Now go! De-School!
If you’re looking for fun ways to fill up your de-schooling time and to embrace the transition from public school to homeschool, try some of the things I suggested. Also, check out the attractions that are local to you. I find there’s so much available in my area that I never take advantage of! Homeschooling and de-schooling gives you a chance to be a tourist in your own town.
Also, check out group-on! They constantly have great deals to super fun places that your kids will love!
If you’re already homeschooling, did you go through a “de-schooling” period? If so, how did it go and what sort of things did you do? And if you plan to start homeschooling soon, what will you do to de-school? Let me know in the comments! Remember- the transition to homeschool doesn’t have to be scary… In fact… It can be pretty awesome!