An Introduction to Deschooling

From public school to private school understanding what is deschooling and how to overcome the conventional public and private learning system.

Are you considering homeschooling for the first time? In this post, you will learn more about the process of transitioning from public school to homeschool, known as deschooling, why you and your child need this process before making a transition to homeschool, and helpful deschooling examples.

Click here for 6 Questions to Start Your Homeschool Journey.

In short, I’ve always known what I wanted to do as far as marriage and family life is concerned. After college, I used my degree, entered the public school system, and taught general and special education for several years.

It wasn’t until starting a family that I realized the need to homeschool. 

I started homeschooling my children from an early age. My oldest is the only child of my four that has been in a typical school setting by way of private school. As I started our first homeschool year, I quickly realized both my oldest and I needed “deschooling.” 

What is deschooling?

Deschooling, in my opinion, can be defined more or less from a feeling rather than a definition.

Deschooling is the adjustment period or disconnect period a child goes through when leaving a typical brick and mortar setting to begin homeschooling. 

Let’s learn more about why this process is important to new homeschoolers.

a child playing with blocks during his deschooling process for homeschool

Why is deschooling, or should I say deprogramming, important?

Deschooling is needed when a child or former educator (speaking for myself here) leaves one school setting and enters another. For a child to maximize their homeschool experience, decompression and disconnecting from the ridged standardized ways an instituted school system provides is needed. 

Did you know?

We, as parents don’t realize when we send our child to a public school system to learn; we are not receiving a clear picture of how this learning will occur in and what type of environment.

Nor are we as parents given the opportunity to explore different environments suitable to our child’s learning style

For more information on learning styles click here.

an introduction to deschooling
A few differences between public and private school learning and homeschool are listed above.

For example, sometimes, parents fail to understand that a public or private school environment teaches children based on a set baseline standard with minimal deviation from structure or discipline. Therefore, only allowing each child room to learn based on average learning techniques and learning styles. 

To clarify, teachers teach from a set of standards and objectives designed only to meet the need of average learners, grade scale, and only one type of learning style.

Anything else an individual child needs will be deemed outside of the baseline and possibly result in behavior problems or boredom rendering a child the ability to learn the way they so desire. Not to mention any social norm a child may be forced to conform to for their voice to be heard or escape from bullying. 

That being said, deschool is the best course of action to understand the environment they came from and to allow for a transitional process to occur.

The next step in the deschooling process is to understand how long this process will take.

How long will deschooling take?

The length of a child’s disconnect or deschooling, myself included, can vary from the learner and the environmental transitions. It is important to remember both you and your child will need an adjustment period.

Please, allow yourself as the new educator to make mistakes and process time for this new life venture. 

Most importantly!

Remember, your goal is to re-calibrate, in other words, deprogram your child’s former habits, learning styles, structure, and previous ways of learning to form an organic natural love for learning and how to learn.

How does deschooling work?

By now, you’ve gained an understanding of what deschooling is. But how does deschooling work for both you and your child?

I like to think of deprogramming like a business. For example, say you have a company that runs off machinery, preprogrammed to perform a certain way.

Suddenly, your machines break, and you’re expected to meet both supply and demand. 

What do you do?

Both you and your employees re-calibrate and adjust. 

But how?

Previously your employees were focused on a system of delivery development designed to reach multiply purchasers at once, regardless of your customer’s individual needs. Your business must go on.

Now your supply has reduced, you, the employer, must focus on building a new business tailored to your customer’s individual needs.

How do you know what your customer needs?


How do you know what your child’s unique learning style is?

Understand that the process of deschooling is a time period where you do very little formal school work to re-calibrate, gain an understanding of, and develop an approach to your child’s learning style and learning needs. 

Need help getting started with homeschooling? Click here for a free 30-Minute Consultation and Ask Me Anything and I’ll help if I can.

Most importantly, when starting homeschool for the first time, it is not advised to begin a rigid structure or standard set of the curriculum.

There are best practices both you and your child can take to determine what learning style they prefer or how they like to learn without jumping right into a curriculum.

Let’s discuss some examples of ways to get to know your child during this deschool time.

An introduction to deschooling mother and child working on homeschool activities

Examples of Deschooling 

Get to know your child by;

  • Joining a homeschool co-op group or other social homeschool groups
  • Spending time enjoying the outdoors and nature journaling or hiking, fishing, swimming, camping, and even bike riding.
  • Learn a new skill together or introduce your child to the world of homemaking and housekeep or home organization.
  • Exercise together. Walk around the neighborhood or workout at home with your favorite YouTube workout videos.
  • Lots of unstructured time enjoying each other’s company.
  • Other activities: enjoy reading, arts and crafts, field trips, library visits, game nights, spending time with friends or family.

Or anything you can think of to get to know each other and learn how your child likes to learn and interact with the world. 

To sum up.

Remember, the public and private educational system focuses on a baseline education system to educate multiple arrays of students.

Your child may or may not have addressed or met their learning needs.

Your child, like yourself, may not even know what style of learning they prefer or how they like to learn.

For instance, I’ve even seen some homeschool students, utterly unaware that they can think for themselves and express their needs for creativity freely.

That having been said, take your time, don’t rush the learning process, and if something is not working, it’s okay to change things up.

Your daily schedule is up to you. Take as much time as you need. 

Happy homeschooling!


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