It’s that time of year! Parents of frustrated children may be looking for alternatives to the traditional schooling system. While doing research, parents may stumble across the world of homeschooling and want to find out more information.

The journey of homeschooling can often be a learning curve. Along the way, you may encounter some new and sometimes confusing vocabulary words – some of which sound the exact same! The most common confusion comes up when discussing unschooling and deschooling. While similar in sound, these two concepts are different. Read on to learn more!

Deschooling

If you are a parent who is beginning to transition your child from traditional school to homeschooling, deschooling is often the first step. Simply put, “deschooling” is the adjustment period that students go through when leaving the school system to become homeschooled. The traditional school environment is nowhere near the same experience as the homeschooling environment; children need time to decompress and unlearn habits that the rigid school environment has taught them.

During this time of deschooling, children may find it difficult to jump right into your ideal homeschooling schedule. In fact, transitioning from a rigid school day to the freedom of homeschooling is foreign to children, especially if they have been in the school system for a while. The longer that a child has been in school, the more time will be spent in the deschooling transition.

It is completely okay for this process to take some time! Every child is different, and some may take more time than others. During the deschooling process, however, there are still ample opportunities for learning. Take time to learn more about your children, especially academically; what are their interests? What subjects are their favorites? Who was their favorite teacher and why? How do they like to learn? This process can be enhanced by fun trips to the library, exploring the outdoors, or creating art. Finding a homeschool group is also extremely beneficial and can help smooth the transition from school to homeschool.

Unschooling

During the deschooling process, parents may stumble upon various homeschooling methods. One of the most common methods that deschooling can lead to is unschooling.”Unschooling” is a homeschool style that is focused around child-focused learning without a formal structure. In other words, unschooling is natural learning, based on a child’s interests.

The process of deschooling complements the unschooling method well. While a child is decompressing and unlearning the rigid schedule of traditional schooling, new discoveries are often made. Now that there is ample time in your child’s day, he or she may want to explore these newfound interests and discoveries. Overtime, these interests can continue to evolve and lead to more discoveries down the line.

For example, a child may observe you cooking a meal for the family. Say you are boiling a pot of water to cook pasta, and you salt the water for taste. Your child may observe that the salt completely dissolves into the water and may question why. According to the unschooling method, your child should be encouraged to find the answer to his or her question in whatever way works best! This could be accomplished through checking out a book from the library, watching a video, or engaging in an interactive online curriculum, such as Time4Learning. The beauty of unschooling is that it is up to your child to decide! Perhaps the simple observation of salt dissolving into water could turn into a lifelong passion for chemistry.

Of course, unschooling isn’t for everyone. Parents may want to explore other homeschooling methods, while others may have a set plan in mind. The wonderful thing about homeschooling is that there are no wrong decisions, as long as you keep your child involved during the process.

In summary, deschooling is a process that nearly every child – and parent! – will go through when transitioning from school to homeschooling. Unschooling, on the other hand, is a potential path that deschooling may lead you down. Do not be afraid to experiment and try new things with your child! Homeschooling is a learning experience, but it is also a fun one. Time4Learning offers a flexible curriculum for all grade-levels that can start, stop, or pause at any time. We strive to make your transition from school to homeschool as seamless as possible.

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