August 26, 2016

Learning By Immersion: The Deschooling Process


For months I've been telling myself I need to start writing again.

I always have a gazillion blog titles floating in my brilliant mind.  
But...unfortunately... I always seem to make the excuse of...


"Yeah....I don't have the time." 


Ah-ha!  Another post topic for another time
..."Time and What we Value" 



Ok so what was I saying?...
Oh yes...I'll have to make that time!  
And that's what I am going to start doing again.  
Making that time to share.



Now for the Topic of this post:  Deschooling


So our Deschooling process began the last day of "regular" school back in the beginning of June. 
Actually it probably started earlier, in my mind and heart.
I've been mentally deschooling on a constant basis. 

Long walks...Deep thoughts.


According to Wiki...Deschooling is 


"Philosophically, it refers to the belief that schools and other learning institutions are incapable of providing the best possible education for some or most individuals. Some extend this concept beyond the individual and call for an end to schools in general. This is based on the belief that most people learn better independently, outside of an institutional environment, at a self-determined pace, using appropriate technical infrastructure. This is the meaning of the term as used by Ivan Illich."

Another definition: "Stop thinking schoolishly. Stop acting teacherishly. Stop talking about learning as though it’s separate from life." —Sandra Dodd


Wait a minute?  

All these years I've been telling my kids that if they want to be "smart", learn and be something one day they have to do their "schoolwork".




I, ashamedly confess, when we previously homeschooled, would throw "comparison daggers" at my kids comparing them to traditional school kids. 


Anxiety would grow and I'd feel lost....not sure if they were learning anything at all. 

"Ok...lets get the curriculum my kids need and teach them according to grade." 

Yes...there is flexibility in schooling at home but some still follow the "formula" of traditional school.  
We tell our children they are in "First grade", "Seventh grade", "Eleventh grade"...  

I have been guilty of shoving the academics down while clearly separating life from school learning. 



We had our "school hours" and a set "school year". 


I had a conversation with one of the kids the other day.  He was saying how he should be in "7th grade" but because I held him back now he's in "6th grade".  

I realized I had created a traditional school mindset in myself and the children.


During this conversation, I told him that we need to retrain our thinking of what we believe learning and "school" is.  

We should not look at ourselves in the respective grades we are in but look at it as our life.  I continued to say that if I had to give myself a label or a grade, I would be in the 39th grade.  
(With the understanding I began school back when I was 6 years old.)  




The kids laughed and thought it was ridiculous.  I told them "Yes...it is ridiculous!  Then why is it not ridiculous to be labeled a 5th grade when at a school? " 

They shrugged with not knowing why.  


I proceeded to tell them....

It's a way to place labels and to keep children "organized" in the school system.
It's easier for the system to place groups of kids the same age in a classrooms and call it grade 1, grade 2, grade 3. etc...

It's easier for the school system to pass out the same books to all the children no matter if they like it or not, how literate they are, or how "gifted".  

The quicker they teach a little one to read and write, the easier it is on the teacher trying to juggle 25 first graders.  

What happens to the child who is slower to process words in their reader?  Or the child who'd rather be playing than reading his book? 


This child would get labeled "special ed", possibly held back or lost in an oblivion of kids who feel so screwed up because they can't understand a concept...Thus believing a lie that they are inferior in this world with no chance to become successful.

Deschooling process makes so much sense to me right now. 

It's a way I have found to reteach my children that they can learn anything they set their mind to. 


The deschooling process looks much like a prolonged summer break....an average weekend.

We are spend a lot of time talking, reading, watching our favorite shows, playing with each other, making blanket forts, and learning.  


Yes...Learning. 

Learning in their play. 
Learning in our talks.  
Learning in their quiet times. 


I've been doing a lot of observing lately.  
Just watching what interest each one of them.  
At times, I'll interrupt and ask them to share what they are thinking about or what they find interesting in the activity they are doing.  



I honestly feel like I have a little shovel in my hand, digging deep within their souls, finding seeds of curiosity and helping them plant these tiny seeds in little pots hoping something will sprout into a tree of THEIR life. 


We're having so much fun deschooling.


2 comments:

Cinnamon said...

Hello Chris!! I just happened to stumble onto you tonight. How thankful I am. Missed you! Be back soon to read all about your deschooling and homeschooling and just plain ol' having fun :-)

~Cinnamon

Chris@Joyful Mother said...

Hey there Cinnamon! So happy you came by for a visit! So glad to hear from you! Do you still blog? I clicked on your name link but it didn't take me to any blog. I'm assuming you don't or it's private. Hope to hear from you again. :) Blessings!