Practical Ways to Help You Deschool

When I say 'Homeschooling is NOT School at Home', I am saying homeschooling is "Learning At Home". I realize, of course, that for some children a "school-at-home" approach works very well. But, it is essential to understand that it is merely one way of teaching among an ocean of possibilities.

If "very well' is not how you would describe your current homeschooling experience, read on below.

School. It is not necessary & your children don't need it.

Now before you close out of this browser & declare me to be crazy, hear me out, ok?

When I say "school", I mean traditional school as in a classroom with a blackboard, desks & chairs. Traditional schooling invokes a certain sense of obedience. It is a place of instruction where teachers tell children what to do and what to think. When people say school is essential for children, they usually mean education is important for children. And it is along with self discipline, logic, critical thinking & problem-solving skills. With a little practice, I have found that we can most certainly teach our children these crucial skills, without trying to recreate a school environment at home.

It is not at all surprising that during the recent uncertain times, we are grasping onto what is known and familiar. When we attempt to follow lesson plans sent over by well-meaning teachers, we demand our children to sit still, be silent and pay attention, just as they would do in their classrooms. We expect them to focus on varying academic subjects in 30 minutes blocks of time. No more. No less. We expect them to stare at a screen watching a virtual class when the weather outside is delightful. If this past year has taught us one thing, it is this - School as in a physical institution is not the only place children learn. I say this because most of us experienced traditional (public or private) schooling before coming into homeschooling. We are accustomed to believing that "school" should be a certain way. The children are hunched over their notebooks furiously taking down notes while the teacher dictates passages from a standardized curriculum. There are desks, chairs, a blackboard, chalk and worksheets. 

So. Many. Worksheets.

Modern society trains us to believe academic enrichment reigns supreme and silence equals discipline.

May I suggest we clear our minds, just for a moment, of what we know should be, and open up our minds to what could be.



Deschooling is the interim period between leaving traditional school and settling into homeschooling. It is a time of adjustment for both parent and child. This transitional period could last a few days or a few months. It just depends on every family's circumstance. 

It is important to allow yourself & your family this time if you are new to homeschooling because a home environment is very different from a typical school environment. Standard expectations set at school need not apply to your children learning in their own home.






It starts with YOU.

Ever felt like your children respond better to others rather than yourself? Children learn more through modeled behavior rather than instruction. They also mirror emotions. If you are feeling uncomfortable with your current material, it's not going to inspire much confidence. But here is the secret - You don't have to be the "teacher". You are their parent. Infuse your homeschool day with your personality. You don't need to have all the answers or the best explanations. You just need to be there alongside your kids, learning with them.

Pro Tip: You got this! Smile at them, love them, hug them. Approach your homeschool day with love & patience. Set out to enjoy the process!

.Less is more.

Numerous studies have shown that children are naturally curious little beings. They need movement and space to foster healthy physical and mental development. They are on a quest for discovery from the very moment they open their little eyes. They are always learning. In fact, one would have to go out of their way to get children to stop learning. I remember when I had just started homeschooling, I met a mom who had been doing this for years. I told her my first few days of trying to homeschool my child were utterly miserable. When I asked for advice, she smiled and said, "Your only job is this - Don't Ruin It." 

Pro Tip: When you are planning out your day and week, try to include plenty of hands-on, simple activities. You don't need to buy expensive material or stock up on arts and crafts to give your child a worthy education. Give your kids plenty of free time to process any new concepts they have learned recently. 

Teach your child, not the curriculum. 

None of this is going to work well if you don't trust your child. Recall where I said, children are naturally curious. They are also born passionate & driven. They have their unique talents and skills which will manifest themselves in time. If your schedule doesn't allow you to do much with your child, then do this - Teach him how to find resources using a search engine. Talk to him about the importance of a growth mindset—brainstorm creative ways he can express himself & give him the tools necessary. Encourage journaling. Try to remember that all experiences can have an element of learning if you allow. Adopt a lifelong learning mindset as opposed to learning to pass a test.




Imagine you just finished a perfect day of teaching your kids. How would it look? Remember, this is YOUR ideal day. 

What sort of activities would your kids enjoy? 

Do you imagine your children strolling through woods, inhaling fresh air, observing symmetry in leaf patterns & fallen pine cones? Perhaps they find a low tree trunk to climb or a refreshing stream to catch minnows. Do you picture them sitting comfortably on your couch engrossed in classic literature or a biography of Nikola Tesla? For me, I imagine my kids moving with purpose and enthusiasm, playing make-believe and building structures with their legos. 

Pro Tip: Make a list of all these activities you would like to do with your child. If your child is old enough, do this exercise with your child. Ask them to list out a few of their favorite learning games too.  

How much time is spent on these activities? 

Here I want you to focus on the word, vitality. A beautiful word, it stems from the Latin word "vita" meaning life. And I do not say life as in dry existence. I mean a life of vigor. We would call a child who engages in meaningful or purposeful activity a child living with vitality. 

By contrast, continually engaging in unnecessary or unimportant activities would mean living a trivial life. So when you picture your day, think only about the essential work and let go of the "busy" unimportant tasks you may have assigned to your child. 

Pro Tip: Typically, homeschooling families spend no more than 4 hours on school stuff. If a child is younger than 10, plan for less time. It doesn't even have to be all in one stretch. Break it up into morning, afternoon & evening to allow plenty of free play in between lesson time.




Include games & manipulatives.

If asking to focus on what you are teaching is too much for your child, change it up a little. Try to carry out activities that involve more experimentation & less memorization.

And if memorization is important to you, please remember, it doesn't have to be boring. Use songs or games to teach things like skip counting, names of presidents etc. 

Pro TipIf your child shows resistance & refuses to cooperative with your current teaching style, scale back. Do less formal school and spend more time observing your child. Note down interests, observations & ask your child open-ended questions. Modify your teaching style based on your own observations.

Go on field trips, everyday.

Homeschooling is not school at home. You're not restricted to a particular space at all. If you are the sort of person who likes to be out and about, then I encourage you to take your "homeschool" out with you. There is much to learn at the zoo, at science museums & at nature conservation centers. Simple things like a walk around your block can spark inspiration for learning about things like civics, city infrastructure, architecture, electricity etc. Even a trip to the grocery store can be educational!

Pro Tip: Carry snacks with you and eat outside. The more time your children spend outside, the less cleaning up you have to do inside.

Disguise learning by reading storybooks

Cozy up on your couch and read books with your kids, both fiction & non fiction. Books like the Magic School Bus series can be your entire science curriculum and your children won't ever know you are subjecting them to "school". 

Pro Tip: Ask questions like "what was your favorite part" to test retention. It's also a trick to get them to narrate back what was just read. 

And there you go, Three easy steps to implement while you are transitioning from school at home to homeschooling - change your mindset, visualize your day & have some fun with it. 

Please remember, it is absolutely ok if you tried to mimic a school-type environment at home and then fell off the bandwagon. Changing it up now to pursue a more relaxed form of teaching might seem confusing at first, but I assure you, it is well worth it. Almost all of us who started homeschooling for the first time have gone through this confusing & overwhelming phase in our homeschooling journey. Rest assured, you are not alone. And with time and experience, your confidence will grow! 

Grab Our FREE Guide on Choosing Curriculum!

"What do I teach my children? Where do I begin?
There are so many options & I'm totally overwhelmed!"

This step in the homeschooling process can be so paralyzing. I have received these questions more times than I can count & I can remember having the same questions myself.

I have created this guide to help you weed through the options. I want you to have some focus and direction when you are scouring the internet for the best options for your family.

Yes! I Want the Choosing Curriculum Guide!

Grab Our FREE Guide on Choosing Curriculum:

"What do I teach my children? Where do I begin?
There are so many options & I'm totally overwhelmed!"

This step in the homeschooling process can be so
paralyzing. I have received these questions more
times than I can count & I can remember having the
same questions myself.

I have created this guide to help you weed through
the options. I want you to have some focus and
direction when you are scouring the internet for the
best options for your family.

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