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Deschooling - What is it and do you need to do it?
Deschooling is a period of time where children who have previously been to school, take some time to adjust to home education and get school out of the whole families' system. It's recommended within the home education community that you should take one-month deschooling for every year the child has been to school. During the deschooling phase, the idea is to avoid any formal, school-like learning, but don't think that means you can't have any structure or plans for their day at all if you want some structure then try, days out, crafts and fun experiments, films and games. Simply take some time to re-connect with your child and discover their interests more in-depth; have some fun together.
If you plan to have structured learning after your deschooling period, then this is also a good time for you to put some plans together and to try out any local Home Ed groups. It is not usually only children that need the deschooling, but parents too, it takes a while to change how you react to things and to get out of school habits.
Find a support network
Not every day will be a good day, and on the days that aren't so good, it's great to have a group of people who understand your situation for advice and support, it can really give you a confidence boost. The Home Education Facebook groups and local Home Ed groups in your area are great for this, as well as for sharing ideas and finding out about events and groups near you and meeting other home educating families. Come back and check out our useful links and resources page that I'm currently working on, there will even be links to other great Home Education blogs on there for you to have a look at.
What do you need to Home Educate?
There's no correct answer to this question really because it depends on what learning style you end up choosing to use and how much space in your home and budget you have got. The one thing I can say is that you don't need to go out and spend hundreds of pounds before you've even started, in fact you're probably better off with a few basic things such as, stationary, craft things, outdoor/messy clothes and maybe some storage to keep everything, then try not to get anything else until you're all comfortable with the learning style you're using as you learn to adapt to Home Education. Here's a blog post showing what Home Education resources we have used the most so far.
Starting out if children have never been to school
If your children have never been to school, then there will obviously be no need for deschooling, but you can join Home Education support groups and local meetups, even if you only have a baby you plan on home educating in the future, as well as getting an insight into home ed life, your child will get to meet other children who won't be starting school at the school starting age, seeing other families may even help you decide on your families preferred learning style.
Here are some words of wisdom from fellow home educators
'Join online groups, read books and blogs on lots of different ways to home ed. Relax. Home ed does not need to be school at home. Home ed does not take all the time your child is at school, or anywhere near it. Take time to deschool, for both child and parent'.
'Don't go rushing out to buy anything and everything you think you need. There are children who are visual/hands-on learners who just don't get on with workbooks, maybe they had a negative experience of school and this reminds them too much how much they struggled. There are other ways of learning in a more practical way, think of creative ways. Don't doubt your own abilities, what have you taught your kids from birth? It doesn't stop when they go to school. Learn beside them or let them 'teach' you. You will be surprised just how much kids learn in a way that is not a traditional way of learning'.