By Amber Wild

Amber Wild bio picture

Have you ever felt like it’s hopeless? Like there’s just this one subject that your child detests and fights you on? Like you’d rather pull your arm hairs out one-by-one than fight with this kid to get their _____ done one more time?

May I ask you a question? Have you deschooled or unschooled? Before dismissing this post and moving on, hear me out. Most children that come from the public school system need some time to deschool. What is this? Well I don’t always turn to Wiki, but I do like how they put this:


“It is a crucial process that is the basis for homeschooling to work, in which children should slowly break out of their school routine and mentality, develop the ability to learn self-determined again, and find interests to decide what they want to learn in their first homeschool days.”

How many of you coming from the regular school system just jumped right into “school at home” which you called homeschooling? How’s it working? If it’s great, then leave it, good for you. If you’re struggling like most do, it’s ok now to take some time to deschool. Do nothing. You read that right. Just play and do life like it’s summer break. Your child’s natural curiosity will lead them back into learning what they’re interested in. 


And that brings us to unschooling. I dislike that term because it sounds like you aren’t doing any school, or you’re undoing learning. But unschooling could better be called personalized learning, or out-of-the-box learning. We do a mixture of homeschooling and unschooling and I have to tell you, it’s fantastic. One of the big problems with the school systems today is they try to put the students in a box. “By this age you should be able to do this.” Except people are individuals, and so that doesn’t work across the board. Homeschooling allows for some flexibility. Unschooling allows for even MORE flexibility. Unschooling does not follow a curriculum, so it can be scary. How do you know if you’re doing it “right”? Well sista’, “right” is whatever gets your child to love learning! So if the curriculum is a fight that ends in tears daily, drop it. Just go without it. Think of how many ways you can learn that particular subject, without the curriculum. Think outside the box. Look for ideas on Pinterest, join unschooling Facebook groups, find locals who can offer you some guidance. Homeschooling is such a grand adventure and if you’re feeling more like it’s a nightmare, then please switch it up and try something else. 

Another benefit of unschooling is that the child gets to learn what they want to learn and you get to decide what subject(s) it covers. They love baking? There’s your science, your reading, and your art. They enjoy acting? Help them make videos to share with the family. Bonus points if they can be about important people throughout history. You’ve got your history, your public speaking, your computer sciences, etc. You can fit just about anything into one or more of the school subjects. Unschooling allows your child to go where their passion takes them and learn to love learning again!

So give it a try. As I said, we do a combination. We have some text books and classes and lots of time to explore and play. Make it work however you need for you and your family so that when your child looks back on this time they will feel grateful for a mom who supported their passion and helped them grow into a lifelong learner. 

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