Did you pull a kid out of public school after school started this year? If so, you’re in good company. I am one of the moderators of a local Facebook group for homeschoolers. We’ve seen an astounding number of people join our group since public school began in August.
There are a variety of reasons that someone would withdraw a child from public school once the school year begins. Suffice it to say that jumping into homeschooling in the middle of a semester usually means that parents haven’t had much time to prepare for homeschooling.
The good news is that you don’t have to have all of your ducks in a row to begin homeschooling. In fact, it’s best for your student if you allow some time before you start formal schoolwork. In homeschool parlance, we call this deschooling. Don’t confuse this with doing nothing because you’re going to be doing a lot of wonderful things with your kid.
What is deschooling and why do so many veteran homeschoolers recommend it to families whose kids have been in public school? Deschooling is the process whereby you and your child discover the joys of a learning lifestyle, which is vastly different than studying to pass a test and doing hours of joy-killing homework each night.
What kinds of things can you do during the deschooling process? The sky is the limit, or maybe it isn’t if your child wants to learn to fly a plane. It’s often recommended that you deschool one month for every year that your child was in public school. In many circumstances this isn’t possible, so be sure to take at least some time to switch gears before jumping into homeschooling with both feet. Keep reading below for things to do while deschooling and for resources you can use when you’re ready to get back into more formal schooling.
Get out in nature– this gives parent and child purposeful physical activity and a place to detox from the pressures experienced in public school.
Go to museums- this will give you and your child a low-key way to learn but don’t make it an educational activity. Instead, use these trips to see what ignites your child’s interest and enjoy spending time together.
Cook together- cooking is a great skill to develop, gives you time to bond, and is a useful activity that gives your child lifelong skills.
Play together– play sports, board games, card games, and video games together. Playing games is a great activity for connecting. You and your child can each teach each other in areas of your expertise.
Go to movies, concerts, plays, and musical performances– just enjoy and discuss with each other what you saw and how you felt.
These activities will show your child that learning isn’t confined to books and a particular building. It will give them time to relax and get more in touch with their likes and dislikes. If you’re in a state that requires you to log hours and cover certain subjects, you can still do this while deschooling. Just be sure that you understand the rules where you live and get some advice from experienced homeschoolers on how to document your deschooling activities in an educational format.
If you pulled your child out of school quickly, you may not have had time or funds to purchase curriculum. When you’re ready to begin schooling, there are many no-cost or low-cost resources for all ages and grade levels.
Khan Academy has courses for students from kindergarten to high school They’re a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.
Crash Course has forty-five video courses in a variety of subject areas for learners in junior high and high school. They believe that high quality educational videos should be available to everyone for free.
Crash Course Kids is a bi-weekly show on YouTube from the producers of Crash Course that offers free grade school science.
Starfall Education is a subscription site that offers language arts and mathematices for Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade.
Prodigy Math offers free online math for 1st through 8th grade.
Outschool is an educational platform that offers a variety of engaging, small-group classes online. You can find anything from traditional school subjects to social clubs to special eduation, and more.
Utilizing these types of resources to teach your child will give you time to learn how your child learns best, research various curricula, decide on a teaching approach, and get your bearings.
The good news- thousands of families across the United States are homeschooling and you can too! Good luck and Happy Homeschooling!