Deschooling is the word that describes the transition from school to a life of educating ourselves. It is usually the parents who need a helping hand in trusting their own children. That is because we have all been told that children need to be forced to learn, that school is the only place it happens, and many more lies. Ned Vare and Luz Shosie, July/August 2008, HEM Interview

My children were born natural learners, constantly exploring, questioning with a curiosity that gave me sheer joy to be a part of. Trouble was, as they progressed from being toddlers and ventured toward compulsory attendance and school age, instead of being a joyous participant, I began to lose some of that joy as I began to pay more attention to societal educational standards. Eventually those standards and the drive to test children younger and younger led my family to the homeschool choice. Still, it took many years for me to deschool and I’d like to share some past articles and deschooling resources for anyone looking to reach that deschooled spot sooner rather than later. If you have any questions or need help.

HEM Deschooling Articles

Decompression – Frequently Asked Questions by Cafi Cohen

Go light on the teacher aspect of home education. Don’t be the nightmare homeschooling parent, the one who insists on researching the country of origin of every piece of produce in the grocery store. Yes, it can make you – the parent – feel good to point out the educational aspects of everyday life. Your teenagers will probably find such antics more boring than the school they just left behind.

Instead consider spending time on activities both you and your kids enjoy. You have very few years remaining to share the same household. Learning occurs as a by-product of fun events – like travel and playing games and cooking together and outdoor sports. Enjoy – and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Luz and Ned

Interview with Luz Shosie and Ned Vare by Mary Nix

Whatever you do, be flexible. Kids’ needs and desires change. Be ready to let go of your ideas and go with theirs. They will always love you for the trust you give them.

Live with your children as though school did not exist. If your kids have been in school, take time off before starting any homeschooling routine. Children may appear to be “doing nothing,” but they are actually healing or detoxing. Parents may need an activity during this process. Find something you enjoy doing, learn something new. Your kids need to see that you have a life. You will probably be surprised at how much they are doing and learning. Do not hover.

I Am An Unschooled Adult by Susanna Wesley

Knowing what I know now, it is clear that those years were a time when I was “de-schooling.” I was growing up. I was figuring out that I had always lived from the outside-in instead of the inside-out. I had never heard of the disadvantages, much less the detriments, of formal schooling, so I had no logical explanation for why I was feeling completely lost in a great big world which was supposed to be full of opportunities. I felt stuck in time, as if I had no past and no future.

Dealing With Doubts by Janet Keip
Dealing with doubts
When we first began homeschooling six years ago, I felt a raw defensiveness when someone challenged or questioned my choice to homeschool. Now I feel that same surge of defensiveness when someone questions unschooling. In the beginning, my conviction of the rightness of homeschooling for us and our daughter was firm. However, homeschooling was still too new and too fresh for me to easily articulate our philosophy.

Gaining Confidence In Our Homeschooling by Larry and Susan Kaseman

Homeschooling works because children learn well with the help and guidance of parents who know them well and care deeply about them. They can learn at their own pace, when they are ready and eager, so learning is easier. They can spend extra time on things that especially interest them, which motivates them. They often discover interests that lead to their life’s work. They do not have to deal with disruptive schedules that interrupt their learning, peer pressure, humiliation or failing grades if they make a mistake or haven’t learned something yet, teachers who do not understand or appreciate their strengths, a curriculum that does not suit their needs, approaches to learning that do not work for them, and other inevitable parts of standardized schools run by the government and designed to try to educate many children at once, regardless of their individual differences.

Dear New Homeschooler by Mary McCarthy

Notice how many ordinary people have written books about their successful homeschooling program. They’re just like you, having once stood in those same shaky shoes. that’s what you should be getting out of all those books: That ordinary parents, just like you, can achieve success in homeschooling. Each one found little tricks and experiences that helped them, and may help you too. But the basic message is that they all succeeded.

From Homeschooled to Homeschooling by Dawn Colclasure

If anything, the experience of being homeschooled gives these parents a source to turn to in times of distress–their parents. “I know from watching my mom and others that all homeschoolers go through the same doubts and if they just persevere, they figure out a comfortable and effective way of doing it for their family,” Humphries says. She adds, “That gives me courage on those doubting days.”

Revelations of a Homeschooling Mom by Carol Wanagel

It seemed like I wasn’t teaching them anything anymore, and yet they were learning at a furious pace. It became very clear that every time I started up with my assignments and lectures I was interfering with their education. Whatever I told them they had to learn, they slowly and painfully memorized, then quickly forgot. Whatever they wanted to learn, they learned instantly and for life.

On Self-Doubt Lenita Harsch

Albert Einstein, The greatest minds of our century, felt held back in school and was considered a poor student. (I wonder if his teachers ever doubted their abilities when trying to teach him?) He later spoke of the need for freedom in education – the freedom to be curious and inquisitive, and to explore independently. His own education blossomed only after he took charge of K himself. No longer held back, his curiosity led him to new and wonderful discoveries about the universe.

Peaceful Unschooling – Charlotte C. Monte

Yes, I definitely have an opinion that unschooling, or child-led learning, or whatever similar term parents choose, is best for children. And I’m sure that for every person you ask, you’ll get a different definition of what unschooling means, and it may look vastly different from house to house, and even child to child. What I really think unschooling boils down to, in whatever form, is this: A peace, a harmony and a love of learning that does not get squelched over time.

Other Deschooling Resources

Deschooling for Parents by Sandra Dodd

Deschooling Society – Ivan Illach

Tags: , , , ,

2 Responses to Deschooling

  1. Steven Machado on August 8, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Please visit my website and give me some feedback on if my NEW learning tool qualifies as an exercise in deschooling skills. I would enjoy feedback. I have samples if you want then.


  2. Testing Homeschool Knowledge | Corn and Oil on October 1, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    […]  As an aside, our middle two left the public school to homeschool and I found deschooling helped tremendously.  While you're deciding what style works best for your family, […]

Do you have a question?
We have several answers!

Search HEM's 10,000+ page knowledge base.

Home Education Magazine

Home Education Magazine is available by subscription in either print, digital, or a combined format.

(Preview a digital sample.)

Subscribe Today

Print - One Year Sub $26.00
Print - Two Year Sub $48.00
Digital - One Year Sub $13.00
Digital & Print - One Year Sub $36.00
Print US domestic only. HEM is no longer accepting print subs to foreign addresses.

Since 1983 Home Education Magazine has been a trusted name in homeschooling.

RSS Home Education Magazine

  • Class Dismissed: A Film About Learning Outside the Classroom
    An HEM Interview between filmmaker Jeremy Stuart and HEM’s editor, Barb Lundgren, published in HEM’s September-October 2014 issue From home study and kitchen table math, to perpetual recess and park days, Class Dismissed follows the story of an ordinary American family in their quest to educate their children outside the school system. As they struggle […]


RSS News & Commentary

  • Wisconsin Virtual Academy Must Adhere to Public School Requirements
    Wisconsin Virtual Academy Must Adhere to Public School Requirements Over the years, there has been intentional word mixing by some officials in order to draw independent homeschoolers back into the public schools.  Across the board, confusion often reigns as to who or who is not a homeschooler.  It usually lies on the homeschool community’s back […]

RSS HEM Resources

  • Hands On Science Kits
    Hands On Science Kits Tumblehome Learning, helps kids imagine themselves as young scientists or engineers and encourages them to experience science through adventure and self-guided discovery. Exciting mystery Adventure Fun experiments Hands On Science Kits All carefully designed to engage students. Learn more about how to engage and satisfy your kids scientific curiosity GO to […]

RSS HEM Closer Look

  • Unschooling, what is it?
    Unschooling, what is it? Unschooling, Un schooling what is it? Defining unschooling is a little like describing a color, and every bit as elusive. You can rely on commonly-held descriptions; for example, we generally all agree what blue looks like, but what about cobalt, aqua, navy, cyan, sapphire, azure, indigo, cerulean, turquoise or cornflower? It’s […]