Top 10 Tips for Deschooling

Inspired by this great post at LifeLearningToday on the top 10 tips for Britney Spears and anyone feeling lost in life, I offer a parallel list.

Top 10 Tips for Deschooling

1. Slow down and let learning happen. Our culture encourages us to push our kids to learn faster, better, more. What if we said, “It may take a day, it may take a year, it may take 10, but they will eventually learn. We’re in no rush?”

2. Let go of our grip on fear. Fear is a natural emotion. It tells us things. But if we let fear control us, we don’t make wise decisions (or we don’t make any decisions at all). Feel the fear, explore why we have it, then walk right on by it and discover our own path to education.

3. Let go of the notion that making mandates on our kids’ learning means we’re good teachers. Good teachers are listeners, watchful, adaptive, curious, supportive, non-judgmental and accepting. Not controlling.

4. Create a circle of supportive people. Whenever we make a major life change, it’s important to have people around us who support our decisions and trust us. Create a group of supportive people around us by going out and supporting others and accepting them.

5. Seek out help, but don’t follow advice blindly. There is an infinite amount of literature out there about learning, homeschooling and parenting. Seek it out, learn and explore. But remember the final decision on which advice is appropriate is up to us individually.

6. Have a concrete understanding of why we want to homeschool. Create a list of positive reasons to homeschool. That list can remind us why we are putting so much effort into our new life when it seems like nothing is working. It can also help us refocus on what’s important so we don’t get lost in the details.

7. Find a mentor or someone to emulate. LifeLearning said find a life coach. I think that’s fine too, except, that there really aren’t any life coaches in the homeschooling community. (Would you use one if there was one?) Instead, we can find role models or mentors to help us on our way.

8. Take baby steps. Lasting change is easier to accomplish with small changes. Also, pick one thing at a time, instead of working on everything at once. Big changes and working on too many things is the psyche’s way of setting ourselves up for failure so that we don’t have to change, since it’s so easy to give up with such overwhelming self-imposed demands.

9. Exercise daily. Good advice for anyone.

10. Get involved with something outside of homeschooling. School is restrictive because it keeps kids insulated in the world of “education”. Get involved with things that have nothing to do with education, and teach kids what life really is about.

Got something to add? Any of these tips resonate with you?

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17 Responses to “Top 10 Tips for Deschooling”

  1. tobeme Says:

    Great tips! I love the freedom of de-schooling.

  2. Summer Says:

    Great list! I’m going to have to print this one out. 😀

  3. Joanne Says:

    Great post Tammy. 🙂 Can I suggest submitting it to Unschooling Voices?

  4. Colleen Says:

    Are you sure this wasn’t inspired by telepathic brain waves you may have picked up from me? This is just what I needed to read today! Thanks. 🙂

  5. arun Says:

    i enjoyed these tips. The number 11 that i would add is to create an “Open in Case ‘Freak Out’ Folder”. In this i placed a bunch of articles, exerpts from egroup discussion and cut & pastes from blog pages like this one. And in douglas adams style it should have a lovely & large “DONT PANIC” and my addition “do breathe” on the front…

  6. Tara Says:

    Arun, great advice!!

  7. Sheri Says:

    I particularly enjoy (or maybe just need to keep hearing it) number 3.

    “Let go of the notion that making mandates on our kids’ learning means we’re good teachers.”

    The best teachers are the ones who facilitate learning, not mandate it.

    Great List.

  8. Gina Says:

    This is a great list Tammy. I particularly like number 6, have a written out list of why I am homeschooling.
    I think having this list, along with some articles in the suggested Freak Out folder would help me greatly in those moments when I wonder why I am doing this.
    As my kids get older, it is easier to worry about what they are learning and how they compare and easy to forget my reasons for homeschooling in the first place, i.e. to nurture the love of learning and empower them to follow their passions and be the greatest expression of who they are. Thanks for the reminders!

  9. Gina Says:

    one more thought on number 10
    I prefer to say “academics” rather than education as everthing is educational (yelling at our kids is educational, it teaches them how to handle stress or how to not handle it:), i.e. we are educating them even when we do not want to be and we are always being educated by them). I have been using the word academics to refer to The 3 Rs and any traditional school subject but I try to reach beyond subjects and see our learning as part of our life and therefor homeschooling is a lifestly choice and not a separate part of what we do. On this note, I would say for number 10, if you have structued “school time” be sure to include other life learning experiences outside of the curriculum or general lesson plan you follow. And for those who this does not apply, remember to try new things and reach beyong what is comfortable and find the adventure in everyday life.

  10. Tammy Says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments!

    Colleen – I’m a secret psychic. Didn’t you hear? Glad this was helpful for you. One day, you’ll be the one writing all of this kind of stuff. 🙂

    Arun – great advice! It’s like a rabbit’s foot.

    Sheri – yes! Absolutely.

    Gina – Excellent point. Education as it is in school has a whole different definition than what it means in homeschooling, or in the world as a whole. Thanks for the observation.

    tobeme, Summer and Joanne, thanks for the support 🙂

  11. Sham @ Enhance Life Says:

    “Let go of our grip on fear” Easier said than done 🙂

    Others of course I don’t think I’ll have trouble doing .

  12. RISEOUT Says:

    Your article drives home the simplicity, yet sincerity of what deschooling is all about. These insightful tips certainly offer words of wisdom for those beginning to plunge into the deschool waters, adjust your feet to the warm waters before diving to deep. Above all else, follow your gut instinct in knowing and learning about what your kid(s) need to optimally thrive.

  13. Tammy Says:

    Sham – Fear is an old friend. It’s hard to not pay a lot of attention to it. Perhaps, it’s part of the human condition to struggle with that?

    Riseout – You put it so succinctly. Exactly what I was trying to say.

    Student – You’re welcome!

  14. Relaxed Homeskool » Unschooling Voices #12 is here! Right here. Says:

    […] at Just Enough, Not More has ten tips for deschooling which any new-to-homeschooling family might want to tape to their fridge and rearview […]

  15. Home Education Week Day One- How It All Began « A Woman On Purpose Says:

    […] the possibilities that home education could offer. That was the beginning of my deprogramming and deschooling. My son didn’t need as much deschooling as I did, having only been in school for a couple of […]


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