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How Do I Start Unschooling? (Free Chapter)

 

 

 

The following post is a chapter from my book “7 Steps To Beginning Your Unschooling Journey”. If you enjoy the chapter and feel like reading more, you can buy the book on Amazon.

 

How Do I Start Unschooling?

 

Deschooling with Ice cream:

Often, after only a few weeks of choosing unschooling parents can feel like life has been turned upside down and chaos rules the day. It may be helpful to know that children need to go through a period of Deschooling. For some children this takes a few months, for others, it may take over a year depending on how long they have been in a traditional learning system. It is not unusual for a child to spend many hours of the day in front of the TV or playing computer games or reading alone in their room. Each child is different and will have they own way of deschooling. This process can be rather unsettling for parents, who may wonder if their child is ever going to leave the house again! Children need time to “Chill out”, to debunk and to unlearn the way they have experienced education up to now. They are like a computer being stripped of all its old programs to be able to reboot, refreshed and renewed.

Some children can feel lost when they first start unschooling. They are not used to being allowed to make their own choices, to follow their own body rhythms, to explore their own interests. All this freedom might be a rather daunting prospect for them and they may not even believe the parent is actually going to follow through with this new way of living and learning. So, while your child is deschooling do not panic. Give them lots of space to find themselves, hang out together (if they want you to). In fact, our fourteen-year-old daughter hangs out in her room for pretty much most of the day, even after many years of unschooling. This is where she likes to be. Her room is her art studio, sewing room, dance studio and cinema. Our daughter will say to people who ask if she gets bored at home:

“I like my own company and being left alone so I can allow my imagination to fly”.

 

Some suggested activities for deschooling as a family are:

  • Watch movies in the middle of the day.
  • Stay in your PJ’s ALL day.
  • Go to the library and get the whole series of your child’s favorite book (I dare you to go in your PJ’s!).
  • Take a trip to the beach (And feel smug that everyone else is in school.)
  • Find new video games and play them with your child.
  • And eat ice cream while doing all of the above.

As a parent, you will also need time to Deschool. Take it easy on yourself, be patient even if things look crazy and out of control, trust in yourself and your children. Experiencing times of feeling things are not working out, that your child is turning into a couch potato, the house looks like a college dormitory and you are losing the plot is NORMAL. You need a bit of chaos (maybe a lot) to shake things up a bit and to break free from all the old patterns you have been stuck in.
Things will settle down, life will return to some kind of order or maybe, you will just get used to having no order and you will be free to enjoy the exciting journey of unschooling with your family.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this chapter. I hope it will help reassure those who are just beginning on their journey to Unschooling. 

You Baby Me Mummy

3 thoughts on “How Do I Start Unschooling? (Free Chapter)

  1. This has been my question for the last few days, how do I deschool and I was really worried at the idea that they would do nothing aside of watching TV and playing video games. We started HE in January, we are a Franco-British family expat in the US at the moment. I started with being very structured with the boys then I sort of let it glide because, frankly, we were all going a bit loopy. It is so much nicer now that I am more relaxed but I still feel reluctant to let go totally. I supposed I am very scared to see my kids do nothing very educational…

    1. Hi Peggy,
      I completely understand where you are coming from. I am a former teacher and come from a family of school teachers. When we first started home schooling 8 years ago, I had an idea of what education looked like and we did “School at home” for a while. Then our children got bored and so did I. As time passed, I started to see that our children were learning everyday in ways I hadn’t considered before. Here is a example:

      A few weeks ago my father came to visit. He is a retired state school Maths teacher, he believes in the school curriculum. Our 9 yr old son wanted to show his grandad his Minecraft world. He was very proud of his model of the Titanic, which had taken him many days to complete (he had to use some maths to get it right). This sparked a conversation about the Titanic and to my amazement our son started to tell his grandad all about how and why the Titanic sank. I could see my father was taken back and impressed by our son’s knowledge. The conversation continued with them both chatting and sharing knowledge about submarines, boats, tanks, airplanes and WWI.

      I had no idea our son knew all this stuff and later I asked him, “Where did you learn about the Titanic?”, he replied “From Youtube while I was researching how to build my Minecraft project”.

      This happens often. Both our children will have conversations with adult friends, family or even the shop assistant about things I had no idea they knew. They seem to be learning all the time through they own interests and by just being in the real world rather than being a classroom all day.
      Rather than teaching them, I now see my role as a facilitator to their learning. Meaning, I will seek out and offer them exhibitions, museums, books, documentaries and even find people who will support them in their interests.

      I think you are on an exciting journey Peggy. I would love it if you kept in touch to let us all know how your journey unfolds.
      Luminara x

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