If you’ve been around the homeschool community (or doing homeschooling research), you may have heard the terms unschooling and deschooling.
Homeschool terminology is confusing sometimes (even if you’ve been homeschooling for a while).
You may be wondering what is unschooling vs homeschooling vs deschooling?
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What’s the Difference Between Unschooling vs Homeschooling vs Deschooling?
Homeschooling is taking control of your child’s education and facilitating learning in a home environment. Both unschooling and deschooling fall under the broader umbrella of homeschooling. Unschooling is often seen as a homeschool method or educational philosophy where a child is allowed to lead in their learning. Deschooling is the decompression period that you allow your child after switching from a traditional public school environment to homeschool.
Let’s take a look a closer look at unschooling vs deschooling and why they are important to you for homeschooling.
We’ll first look at unschooling and then deschooling.
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UNSCHOOLING 101 | What Is Unschooling Homeschooling?
Some in society may think that unschooling a child means that they receive no education or learning.
Others may equate unschooling to NOT parenting. and kids run wild doing whatever they want. They spend hours playing video games while their friends are in traditional school.
Unschooling doesn’t mean “no school” or “not parenting.”
So, What Exactly is Unschooling? [VIDEO]
Unschooling is child-led learning or natural learning.
With unschooling, children take the lead in what they want to learn and how they want to learn it.
Unschooling is a method of homeschooling supported by educator John Holt, who believes that children learn subject matter naturally.
For example, instead of learning from textbooks and worksheets, an unschooling approach might incorporate a child’s interest of cooking as a way of learning science and math naturally from recipes.
Cooking is great way for children to naturally learn basic addition and subtraction when determining how many cups or tablespoons are needed, as well as a way to learn about more advanced concepts like fractions.
Additionally, cooking is a fun way to learn science principals like chemical reactions and about liquids, gases, and solids.
With an unschooling approach, the child will learn concepts naturally as they spend time cooking and reading recipes.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be cooking. It can be anything that you child is interested in!
Is unschooled legal?
You may wonder, “Is it illegal to unschool?”
Homeschooling is legal in all 5o states in the US.
Since unschooling is one of the different styles of homeschooling, it is also legal in the United States.
However, every state has different homeschooling laws. You will need to check your state laws to see the specifics for your area.
If you live outside of America, you will need to check your country’s homeschool laws.
HOMESCHOOLING FUN FACT:
PayPal and Tesla Motors mogul Elon Musk admitted to unschooling his children.
What Is Deschooling? [VIDEO]
What Does Deschooling Mean?
Deschooling is a decompression period when switching from traditional public school to another method of education, like homeschooling.
For example, if a child attended public school, he or she has been conditioned to raise a hand to speak, ask permission to go to the bathroom, sit at a desk quietly for several hours on end, and eat lunch (or do other things) on a specific schedule.
This is very different from homeschooling.
Getting out of those traditional habits and disconnecting from the traditional way of schooling doesn’t just happen on the first day of homeschooling.
Jeanne Faulconer, author of TheHomeschoolMom.com, states, “Parents who are new to homeschooling and have taken a child out of school should expect the first days, weeks, and months of homeschooling to be hugely affected by the process of deschooling.”
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How do I Deschool my child?
You just let your child “be” and work on what he or she wants.
There is no set time for deschooling.
For some homeschoolers, they may deschool for a week or two before moving on to scheduled activities.
Other homeschoolers may find that one to three months (or more) is necessary for deschooling and becoming accustomed to learning at home.
It’s up to you and your family to determine what works best for you!
Every family is different and there are no wrong answers when deschooling.
(GO HERE to learn more about deschooling AND get tips for deschooling!)
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Unschooling vs Deschooling
Remember, unschooling is a philosophy of learning outside of the norm that often allows the child to choose how and what he or she wants to learn; while deschooling is the process of decompressing from the traditional methods of education.
During deschooling, you might let your child sleep in, choose his or her own books to read, and direct if they want to go to the zoo, a nature hike, or the museum that day.
Or, maybe your child wants to watch some videos on learning to draw cartoons.
Or, maybe during your deschooling time you travel to different areas and experience different cultures.
During the deschooling process, you may actually use the method of unschooling.
For example, your child expresses an interest in learning more about birds in your state. During deschooling, your child may naturally gravitate toward library books about birds, or ask to see the traveling Audubon exhibit that he saw on a commercial, or maybe your child wants to go on a bird watching nature hike.
Jan Hunt, of NaturalChild.org, writes, “Unschooling children, free from the intimidation of public embarrassment and failing marks, retain their openness to new exploration” — which is something that many of us lose during traditional schooling.
The unschooling method is helpful during the deschooling process of switching from traditional thinking to a more open educational concept like homeschooling.
However, after deschooling you may decide to choose another homeschool method that is not unschooling.
After deschooling, you may decide that you want to follow the Charlotte Mason method or an eclectic method or even another method or learning style.
Or, you may decide that unschooling is a good fit for your family!
Unschooling and Deschooling Books You May Find Helpful