Deschooling for parents

I had saved some posts from various boards/e-mail groups over the last year or so on the topic of deschooling for parents.

Each time another long-held assumption fell away, my reaction was, "Oh! Wow! NOW I see more clearly." It was the strangest thing. As those layers peeled off, one by one, the world got so much bigger and brighter!

I want learning to be a lifestyle, not just some thing we did for several hours out of the day.

As teenagers, my two kids educate themselves pretty much the way adults do. They read books, ask questions, try things out, practice and practice, look things up, seek out experts, search the 'Net, etc. In other words, they pretty much copy what they've seen us do! It's a far, far cry from what's happening down at the local high school.

Public school doesn't work at home mainly because it puts mom in a different role than what she was called to be. Now all the sudden, mom is not the nurturing MOM but a TEACHER complete with lesson plans, and a timer. This change in roles blows kids away. They have a hard time accepting it and this is why moms see their kids becoming intolerable.

I had to start looking at our lifestyle. I saw that our home was not conducive to learning and that "learning" and "life" were two separate things. "Learning" only happened during those dreaded school hours. No wonder my son was bored and unsatisfied. I was presenting an erroneous picture of how true, natural learning
is supposed to be.

I will never, ever forget the day I realized (I mean REALLY realized, all the way down to my toes) that every single curriculum in the world is drawn up by a human being just like me! There ARE no meta-people out there with a special genius for deciding what everyone should know. I live on the Earth just like those curriculum planners do, and I'm every bit as smart as they are! Now THAT'S empowerment.

I like the idea of, as a parent, following your own interests, because (1) you'll be setting a GREAT example, (2) your enthusiasm will, to a large degree, be contagious, and (3) you'll quickly see how one interest often fans out to include many "subject areas."

Children who have attended school frequently require a considerable amount of time to recover their innate curiousity and desire to learn, particularly if school was a negative experience.

Instead of focusing on whether or not your child is learning, during the detox period, focus on shaping your home into an environment in which it is easy to learn new things.

Most of us were taught at school to see a false dichotomy between "learning" and "fun".

The main goal of education should be for a child to learn HOW to learn, to become an independent learner and a lover of learning,

Check out Sandra Dodd's
deschooling page for more information and throughts.
You can also read
Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich online.
Part two of this post
is here.

If you've just removed your child from school or are re-thinking your school-at-home setting, take some time to relax and look at your children, and education, through new eyes.