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Topic: Has anyone experienced "deschooling" with an older child?

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Subject: Has anyone experienced "deschooling" with an older child?
Date Posted: 11/1/2007 8:00 AM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2006
Posts: 4,505
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We pulled our third grader out of school three weeks ago.  I think it's going well.  I can see lots of positives.  She's finally getting enough sleep, she's learning to play well with her younger brother and sister, she's helping out around the house.  But she is still very resistant to learning "school stuff".  Everything I've read says take it slow.  She needs time to decompress.  But I can also see she's getting a little bored, and maybe missing her friends a bit.  We do "afterschool activities" where she gets to see her friends, but I think I need to do a bit more with/for her.  After a couple of weeks completely "off" I've started giving her a small amount of school work to do.  Her choice of topics.  Maybe 30 - 45 minutes of "school" per day.  Very relaxed right now.  She's doing it, but I'm still finding a balance and she's changing.

We know a few other homeschoolers, but most are at least 30 minutes drive away.  Coop activities are difficult, but we are working on finding more of them.

Any recommendations, suggestions, stories about someone who's been there, done that?

I started this whole thing by homeschooling her 5 year old brother in kindergarten work.  He doesn't have the same issues and is doing well.  After learning about homeschooling and reading about what it can do for the family, we decided to pull my older one out.  It's made life so much less stressful in our house!  But I worry of course.  Any advice is appreciated!


Date Posted: 11/1/2007 8:18 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2007
Posts: 88
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I pulled my son out after 3rd grade and my daughter after K, and over the past 7 years we have had to de-school sometimes even from homeschooling!  I tend to want to do school but they resist, so I am constantly re-evaluating my priorities.  Right now we are concentrating on being more relaxed and letting them choose subjects to study and then writing some kind of report after they are done.  This involves research skills and language skills, and since the subjects are being chosen by them, they don't get as bored.

One thing I could suggest is to give her, or have her help make, a list of "productive free time" activities.  There are a lot of things that could be fit under "school subjects" but that do not outwardly resemble school work.  For example:  watch an educational video, read an educational magazine (nature, science, etc), go to the library and look for books, read a book, play a game, build something, etc.  I'm drawing a blank at the moment.  I have in the past found such lists on line.  I'll try and find them and repost here.  If you want to PM me, maybe I can send you a list that I have.

Other ways to document their learning is with notebooks.  There are lots of websites out there that explain this kind of thing, and so many ideas...scrapbooking what they find.  The concept is that they study what they are interested in and make notebooks with the information to show off to others or just to put on the shelf.  They end up making a "textbook" of their own.

What I would say to you is don't worry.  The facts show that when children learn on their own and learn "how" to learn, then they can take off and soar way beyond what we think they are capable of!



Date Posted: 11/3/2007 2:50 PM ET
Member Since: 8/6/2005
Posts: 66
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I took my son out in 4th grade. He is now 15. I was told to take one month off for every public school year. That was to much time I felt, but I did do a few weeks. He still has things that he "learned" at school that we are still dealing with.  My younger children who are schooling at home are 9 and 6. I have never had any problems with getting them to do things.  Well mostly :)  I am always told that deschooling works, but when I ask I am getting replies from parents whose children either did preschool or never went to public school at all.

My son still only wants to do what is easiest for him. He complains that he does not know how to do anything new.  They just made him feel that he was dumb that it is very difficult to show him other wise <sigh> He is better at home.  One thing I noticed is he use to have a lot of self-stim things that I believe he did to cope with a uncomfortable enviroment.  At least with homeschooling you can change your methods. For me this does get tiring. I would like to buy something and finish it. Oh well I know he is learning.



Date Posted: 11/3/2007 10:48 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2006
Posts: 200
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Try lapbooks or some projects for class instead of regular book learning.  My DS2 went to ps through second grade.  I've had to try different things to bring him around.

Date Posted: 11/4/2007 8:31 AM ET
Member Since: 6/6/2007
Posts: 89
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My son went to ps through 3rd grade and then we took the plunge too - we started homeschooling (we are now on our 2nd year) and it is a blessing and and adventure every day.  I started out not giving him too much decompression time - doing the workbook thing and it sort of looked too much like "school" and he hated it.  I am now trying an eclectic/unschooling approach which is geared 1/2 towards things he I think he needs to know (some life skills, math, writing, etc.) and 1/2 towards whatever he is interested in. It takes time to figure out what that is but he is so much more excited about learning when he picks the subjects than when I say "this is what we are learning today" 

We use a combination of reading (he is an insatiable reader- thats why I'm on PBS!) websites, educational dvds, some field trips, games and I designate the morning for "school type stuff". (no TV, computer games ) My son is much more receptive to learning in the morning and we more done in 3 hours than he ever did in 6 hours of public school

Good Luck



Date Posted: 11/4/2007 10:26 AM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2006
Posts: 70
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Just a quick tip:  instead of doing work with pencil and paper.   I write with dry erase markers and let my kids write with them on the storm door, on windows, mirrors, etc...  I try and make a game of spelling words, times tables, etc... Like write as many nouns or verbs as fast as you can... My son had lots of trouble writing in ps but this is fun and don't seem like school work. 

Plant a garden, build a bird house, dog house, Look at the planets and then try and find and name them (Help with book or computer).  All of these things are learning - Everything doesn't have to be with pen/paper or sitting at a desk/book.

We take sidewalk chalk and tape measures and mark off measurements on the cement. (Math/Measure). Both Son and Daughter are learning to cook and both love it. 

Try and keep things open and work together.  I have learned so much from my kids as I ever did in school myself....



Date Posted: 11/4/2007 11:44 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2007
Posts: 9
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I need you homeschoolers opinion. I am not very happy with the schooling my son has been recieving at a public school and have been on the fence to homeschool him. The big problem is that I work part time and I unable to quit working at this point in time. My son is in the fourth grade right now and I basically give him my homework every night in addition to his regular homework that he recieves from school. I give him extra work in the areas that the school is lagging in. His math skills are a grade or two above his level so we also work at home on math at more of his level. How many hours a day do you typically have your children do some kind of school work? Is it possible for me to homeschool him?

Date Posted: 11/5/2007 7:37 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2006
Posts: 4,505
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Just had to share a FUNNY story that has to do with the whole transition from school to home.  We were in the car going shopping and my 3rd grader was trying to remember a word she learned in school.  She said it means the same as "the same"  She kept on trying to come up with this word!  I couldn't figure out what she meant, so I told her we would look it up in a Thesaurus when we got home. I explained what a Thesaurus was and started to explain synonyms and antonyms and she said "That's the word I was looking for MOM!  Synonym!"  LOL!  We laughed for awhile over that one!  It's funny how she keeps trying to remember stuff she "sort of learned" in school, but never quite mastered because she was dealing with all the other crapola that goes on in public school.  I'm glad we are home!  She will never forget what a synonym is again after today! LOL!

And in reponse to Christy.... if you can work out the scheduling (is a 4th grader old enough to be home alone while you work? Or do you work at other times besides during school hours?) I say go for it!  You can certainly homeschool and fit in part time work.  I work from home right now.  My time is tight, and I'm planning to seriously scale back on my hours after Christmas, but it can be done if you can work it out.  A 4th grader is old enough to do some work when you aren't around too.... then you can go over it when you are home.  I am so happy we did it because of the positive behavioral changes I already see in my daughter after just a few weeks!  Good luck and keep us informed!



Date Posted: 11/9/2007 1:09 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2007
Posts: 9
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Thank you for the response to my question. I do work weird hours 6:20 Am to 9:30Am and later in the day from 1;00Pm to 5:00Pm

As you can see I drive a school bus. The plus side of this is I have my mother in law who is at home full time and lives with us. She is the one getting my son on and off the bus now as it is. As with my son he does not have alot of toleration for the kids in class goofing off and wasting their time he wants to learn. I am forever supplementing what he doesn't learn at school at home.

Date Posted: 11/9/2007 5:08 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2006
Posts: 4,505
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If your MIL is there it sounds like you have a perfect situation!  You can work with your son in the mornings between your shifts, and if you need more time, in the evenings or on weekends etc.  If your MIL is willing she can help too.  You can set up the school projects and MIL can help if he needs it. I'm still working on finding the best curriculum choices, but the side effects of having all my kids home is wonderful!  My kids play together well, and get enough sleep for once!  My five year old is learning to read (Wowza! It's so cool to see it in action!) And my 8 year old is losing the "attitude" she always seems to carry during the school year.  It's been a really good thing for us as a family.  Good luck and keep us posted on your decision!


Date Posted: 1/27/2008 9:45 AM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
Posts: 3,220
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Last Edited on: 1/21/09 2:10 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/29/2008 2:02 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2007
Posts: 445
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ive never heard the term de-school..is this the same as unschooling?

Date Posted: 1/29/2008 4:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2006
Posts: 312
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Deschooling is a time of adjustment after leaving the public school because kids have gotten used to the PS system and homeschool is so diffrent. I pulled my children out of PS 2 years ago my oldest was in 4th, my middle child was in 2nd, and youngest in kindergarten and we only did fun learning for the first year mostly board games with a learning element to them and computer games, educational videos we bought an instrument for each child to learn music, we got some books on art, took trips to craft fairs where people demonstrate their craft. We had fun learning without books because my kids got frustrated with book and paper learning. When we work on spelling or written things i let the kids use dry erase boards or chalk on the sidewalk  outside anything to make the learning process fun in their eyes.

Date Posted: 1/29/2008 4:48 PM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 10,401
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We did the same thing when we brough our daughter home. Here is a sampling of what we did for the first two months:

  • cooked. I had my daughter help me with a variety of dishes.
  • played games, like charades, hide & seek, monopoly, chutes & ladders, trouble, boggle, life, and sorry
  • read lots of books
  • played outside several hours a day
  • did simple science experiments
  • worked on habit training
  • let her sleep in
  • went to the zoo, the park, and the art museum

After a couple months, we added in one subject at a time: Three days doing science, then add in math. Three days later, add in history, etc, etc. It was the best decision ever.

patticom - ,
Date Posted: 1/31/2008 11:21 AM ET
Member Since: 11/3/2007
Posts: 416
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We pulled out my eldest after 4th, but he had the whole summer to de-school so we just started on 5th grade work in August doing our own thing.  :)  Two things we did that helped my own son a lot, both recommended from other homeschoolers we knew at the time who knew my son! 

1. We did 3 subjects in a computer based learning program (Switched on Schoolhouse)--not only did that make it easier for me to ease into it with self-grading and recording keeping (and even computerize "nagging" if he got behind LOL), but doing work on the computer felt like a game to him and he was much more willing to jump right in and do it!!  After that first year we dropped back to one or two courses on the computer per year, but still kept at least one each year because he really likes working on the computer.  :) (This might be an especially good option for you working part time Christy--he can work the computer lessons whil you are gone!)

2. We used a 4-day workweek the first year with no additional outside classes or coops (except church things and swim team that he was already doing).  We needed that year to adjust to him being home full time, and that was our decompression.  :)  If he finished the work I (and the computer) assigned in 4 days, Friday would be a fun day and we'd play games, watch movies, go to the park, etc.  It was a huge incentive for him to keep at it, and after the first couple of months (had to see if I really meant it) he rarely had school on Fridays.  :)

Welcome Home!!

Subject: 3 kids to deschool
Date Posted: 2/1/2008 11:49 AM ET
Member Since: 2/7/2007
Posts: 83
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I took mine out as well DD was in 3rd DS in T-2 and DS in T-1. My DD was in "reading lab" and after a year her reading score was 2 mo lower than when she started the year. That was it for me. We really just took the first year off I put some books out there for them to read and read alot out loud, not school books just books.I tested her after that first year ( I will not test them again) and her reading level went up 2 1/2 years. Just take that time off and let them relearn loving learning.


Date Posted: 2/1/2008 9:13 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2007
Posts: 445
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sounds like unschooling to me.

Date Posted: 2/1/2008 10:33 PM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 10,401
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Deschooling is done as a cool-down period. Unschooling is a method of education. I suppose you could say that someone unschooled for a period of time.