In Part 1 of this series, Parental Deschooling: Finding Your Non-School Normal, I wrote about the need for new homeschooling parents to learn to think about education without relying on school defaults. That post gives a broad overview of all the things that we take for granted as part of “schooling” that can be different if you are homeschooling instead. It’s a big paradigm shift, but there are some things you can do to personally to help you move away from equating “schooling” with “education.”
One of the most important things you can do is to read about homeschooling, education, and de-schooling. Read books, magazines, and online articles, blog posts, and websites.
Stretch yourself and read some things you don’t think apply to you, that are outside your comfort level. You don’t have to accept the premise of each homeschooling book or article you read, but even if you don’t agree or find certain ideas too radical, you’ll educate yourself about the many approaches to home education.
Suggested Books to Help with Deschooling
(Links to Amazon are affiliate links)
Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything by Laura Grace Weldon
The Art of Education by Linda Dobson
Deschooling Gently by Takahashi, Tammy (2008) Paperback by Tamala Takahashi
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, 10th Anniversary Editionby John Taylor Gatto (former NY Teacher of the Year)
How Children Learn (Classics in Child Development) by John Holt
Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense by David Guterson
The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling by Rachel Gathercole
Suggested Magazines to Help with Deschooling
Home Education Magazine
VaHomeschoolers Voice (not just relevant to Virginia)
Online Articles and Websites about Deschooling and related issues
Living Joyfully’s article, “What is Deschooling?”
Leaping from the Box article, “What is Deschooling, and Why is it Important?”
“What to Do When Homeschooling Doesn’t Look Like You Imagined” at The Homeschool Classroom (be sure to read the comments, too)
TheHomeSchoolMom’s “Deschooling: Starting out Right at Home” collection of deschooling articles.
To take your reading a bit further, you may want to read at least a few other things that are more about the other possible meaning of the term “deschooling”– which is the idea that society could benefit from reducing the influence of schooling or even eliminating government-funded schools altogether.
Homeschoolers vary in their opinions on this issue — some believe schools are necessary and expect some of their kids to take part in some school at least some of the time; others believe that schools represent a universally poor approach to educating children and that “schooling” should be eliminated. Some homeschoolers are in the middle, thinking that with the right reforms, school could work well for many children. And just to keep things complicated — they probably disagree with one another about what the “right reforms” would be.
One of the best known books in this category is Deschooling Society (Open Forum) (affiliate link) by Ivan Illich.
An online article that presents an overview is “The Promise of Deschooling” by Matt Hern, published at Nothingness.org, an anarchist website.
Again, these ideas may or may not seem right to you, but they will let you know that not everyone has accepted centralized schooling as a desirable status quo. Homeschooling is funny this way — a lot of the initial ideas that cause you to consider homeschooling your own children may be connected to broader political ideas.
You don’t have to decide what you think about those bigger questions when you are first homeschooling, but learning more about the questions helps you step “outside the box” of what you have always been sure of regarding school. This can help you truly understand that you do not have to do things “the school way,” encouraging you to truly customize your children’s education.