Deschooling: The Great Public School Hangover

homeschooling and autism

I’m closing in our first year of homeschool with our youngest son, and it’s been over two months since I dove headfirst into homeschooling Moose.  From what I gather around the interwebs and every single book I’ve read about homeschooling, there is a period of “deschooling” that occurs once you wave farewell to traditional school.

I figured, HA! Deschool?  Really? We have SO much catching up to do! There’s no time to waste! Hurry! Rush! Plan!  If I can teach a class of 30 8th graders in Chicago, I can handle my two hoodlums.  Let’s do this!

How wrong I was.  I needed to ease in, not dive head first.  Hence, the “deschooling”.

Homeschool is a different beast.  It’s not learning from the hours of 7:45-2:45.  It’s a hands-on 24-7 job.  I thought teaching was tough, but it doesn’t measure up to  Sometimes we have character education at 4:00 am.  Sometimes informal, but real world math happens at the grocery store.  Every homeschool is different, just as every person is.  When you throw special needs homeschooling into the mix, well, you have a responsibility that is as heavy as Atlas carrying the world.

I’ve schooled many children over the years.  Over a 1,000 by the end of my teaching career.  But your own?  The process is different.  The investment is far deeper.  School is school, filled with procedures, routines, grades, testing, and tight schedules. Homeschool isn’t that.  It’s fluid, adaptable, and real.

Don’t worry, kids.  This isn’t on the test.

There is no test.

In life, the test is first, and the lesson second.

In school, we have it backwards.  Teach the lesson, then test.

Homeschool isn’t school, it’s life.

Now that I have been outside the public and private school system for a few years, my perspective is far different.  They say hindsight is 20/20, but know I feel like I have x-ray vision when it comes to the education of children, specifically my children.

We are going about this ALL wrong.  I used to make kids sit for 7 hours.

Kids are built to move, not sit.  I have two sons who are literally allergic to sitting in desks.

Kids are natural learners, and we suck the life out of them with standardized learning and testing.

Deschooling isn’t a break from public or private schooling, for me, it’a reevaluation of what education is.  My real education started the day I finished graduate school.

I’m still in the process of relearning about learning. Still in the process of defining what our homeschool is.  But that definition isn’t up to me exclusively, my sons are the architects of their own learning.

There’s no out-of-the-box curriculum for either of my sons.

For now, I will look to one of the greatest minds in education, Maria Montessori.  Her words are simple, profound, and deviate from what regular school actually does, but something that every parent and teacher needs to hear:

Follow the child.

homeschooling and autism



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  1. Yea, what a lovely post! So happy things are going along so educationally (!) for all of you!
    “Don’t worry, kids. This isn’t on the test.
    There is no test.” to quote you and what my mind jumped to next was Life is the test.
    Too often those who do well in school think that Life should reward them in the same way that they were rewarded in class. I’m in my 60’s (hard to believe) and I’ve seen some very disappointed people who feel betrayed by Life. Your boys won’t be among them!
    Thank you for updating us!

    1. Thank you Susan for your insightful comments… I hope to have the perspective you do in my 60s… glad to have you reading along our journey…


  2. Some great thoughts on education and homeschooling! In case you haven’t run across her yet, Carol Barnier has some wonderful ideas for teaching out-of-the-box kids (especially the ones that have to move all the time) at her Sizzle Bop site.

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