In this edition of Homeschool Hangout, Sara and I discuss Deschooling, a concept developed by Ivan Illach in his 1971 book “Deschooling Society”. Deschooling as a practice has been embraced by eclectic home schoolers, but most particularly unschoolers.
Deschooling is about the process both learner undergoes after leaving school. School as a setting for education is necessarily different than learning at home – there are large numbers of children with a single teacher (perhaps with a teaching assistant, but this is by no means common). In the current institutional construct of school, teachers are trained in equal parts to facilitate content learning but also in “classroom management” – or, as I like to call it, herding cats.
This process leads to the familiar factory style of education most of us grew up with, where the subjects and timing of learning is controlled by the teacher or the system in which the teacher operates – including school wide, district, state and national frameworks – and students are intended to be the largely passive receptacles of this didactic form of teaching and learning.
When a child is deschooled, she goes through a process of letting go of this type of education in order to reconnect with her internal enthusiasm and natural curiosity which have been largely quashed through the process of schooling. The longer a child has been in school, and thus the longer she has internalized its processes as the “right” way to learn, the longer she will need to deschool. The usual recommendation is 1 month for every year in school. So the average child deregistered after the 5th grade would need 5 months to deschool.
During deschooling, parents often become worried that the child is doing nothing constructive and certainly nothing educational. But as Sara and I explore, there is actually quite a bit going on if only the parents will let go of their own expectations and conceptions of what education is supposed to look like.
During our conversation on deschooling, Sara and I explore our struggles, our triumphs, the differences between deschooling a child who liked school and one who left suddenly because of difficulties, and our hopes for our children after they deschool and learn a new way of learning.
What do you think of deschooling? Do you have any experiences you’d like to share or tips? Leave a comment!
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