Wait. Stop. We Need to Deschool First!

In my last post, I mentioned that we’ll be homeschooling my incoming 6th grader this school year and that we decided to try it out early to sort of figure out how it would be like if we are actually doing it. But a week into our trial, I began to think that this is a really BAD IDEA.

The Traditional Schooling Mentality

I guess we’ve been in school for too long. Despite all the reading and researching, I found myself assigning study load for K as if she’ll still be in a regular school. And my daughter worked, i mean study, as if she’s preparing for a final exam.

It happened a few nights back. It was a really late, so I went to the kids’ room to check if they are already sleeping. There I found T still playing with his toys and K in her bed answering her Math book as if it’s due tomorrow. I asked her why is she still awake and she told me that she needed to finish up to lesson 4 to be able to complete the whole chapter on the date I told her it was due.

Dear me! Did I just do that to my child?

I took the book and look it over again. I must be crazy! When I told her to finish the chapter in 2 weeks, I was only thinking that it’s the usual arithmetic and she’s just refreshing her memory. Of course, she reminded me that she had Filipino and English exercises to work on as well, so getting Math out of the way will make things easier.

I suddenly feel bad for her. She looks as if she’s still in school instead of enjoying her summer vacation. Well, on a positive note, she was doing it happily. She said she didn’t mind and and that we was just doing the extra work because she was planning to do other things afterwards.

Deschooling What?

The next day, I told her to forget everything. Stop answering the books! And stop thinking about any of her subjects. We both need to forget about classes and lessons. Let’s just chill and do whatever we want. She was taken aback when told her that as if she can’t believe that I’ll let her do whatever she likes. She is used to following mommy’s instructions or asking first before doing anything, so it was unusual for her.

I explained to her that I read somewhere that family like us who is transitioning from traditional school needs time to deschool. I shared this article about deschooling and she was all smiles. She went straight to her room, took all the notebooks and books I gave her to work on and put it back in the shelf. She told me she was going to empty her head of all of it.

Mommy needs to loosen up, too.

Since we decided to proceed with homeschooling, I’ve been researching and making plan non-stop about how we would go about with this. At first, it seems so easy. We’ll follow the DepEd curriculum, period. Given that we have control over our schedule, it’ll be easy to finish them in no time. Plus, we’ll have enough time to do other things that K wants to explore. Our only goal is to eliminate everything she hates about studying in classroom setting.

Then, the more I read, the more I feel like I also need to do this and that. We need to prepare this and that. No, maybe this would be better. No, I think that is better. STOP!  Obviously, it’s me who seems to need to chill.  K seems cool with everything homeschooling and she knows what she wants out of it.

Me? I had to collect myself and relax. I remember when they were younger, I would always hint to them that maybe we should homeschool and they were firmly against it.  Now that one of my child is actually willing to get our of school and learn on her own, I seems to have gone overboard with the planning.

The good news is, we’re haven’t actually started yet.  And yes, forget this trial thing.  There is no such thing.  Rather, I need to remember what our philosophy was when it comes to the kids’ learning – to foster their love for learning, without regards to grades and ranking. This applies whether they are in a traditional school or not.

So as of today,

  1. All academic books are back in the shelves. The only books you’ll see laying around the house are K’s JW books and T’s crosswords and sudokus.
  2. No checking for curriculums and attempting to schedule.  At least not for the next few months.
  3. And yes to having fun with the kids.  I realized that instead of looking at books, I should first look at my child and understand her better.

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