Before reading this post, please take a look at my previous post Deschooling: What It’s All About where you can learn more about the deschooling concept.
“The formal schools are the only ones capable of teaching my child(ren).”
Fighting the centralized formal school script takes a concerted effort on our part. After all, it did take a plan and many years of effort for that script to be ingrained within our minds. It will take the same to remove it. Unfortunately we don’t have the benefit of time, as we are already in the thick of homeschooling (and if you aren’t count your blessings because you have more time!), but we can get around that by consistently following our plan. So here are the 10 Steps to deschooling momma!
1. Go to a Really Good Library
I don’t care if it is down the street or far away, if they have an extremely large selection of books and they will allow you to have a library card make the trip.
Recently I discovered the main branch of our local county library and I can truly say that I have fallen head over heels for this branch. It blows our city branch way, Way, WAY out of the water with their selection and vast amount of books! I really do think that I could learn anything I wanted there. The only thing that sucks about it is they charge for parking after one hour everyday except Saturday, so be sure to check out parking options before you make the trek. If it is far away make sure you only take out items that have a check out time of 2 weeks and make sure to go to the library Every 2 weeks. If it is pretty far away make sure you go as a family once a month and make sure you are signed up online for renewal services. Just remember that every two weeks you must log on and renew your books to prevent excess fines! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Click Here to Find A Library Near You!
2. Try Something New
You ever heard the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”? I think that saying was made by a lazy person who just didn’t want to work to get the dog to move! The only reason why an old dog can’t learn new tricks is because the dog is tired. She’s looking at you like “are you serious? I just want to sleep.” If you give in now, she’ll have won. But what if you are persistent, you keep trying everyday multiple times a day to help your dog learn a new trick and give treats. I’m willing to bet that you’ll have won her over and she would have made the step to learn.
The same goes for us. We’re tired, we’ve, just today, said 50 times “Get your pencil.” or “Put your shoes on.” We dream of one day saying something once and it gets done but until that day… well I can tell you that today is the day to try something new, something different, something exciting, to you! By doing new things you will awaken the desire to learn that you thought was killed while in school. That desire becomes contagious and will inspire your children to learn. And a little sorbet as a reward won’t hurt either. 🙂
3. Move Your Lessons Outside
I remember, as a little girl there was the very rare time when my teacher would take the entire class outside for a change of scenery. As a child I found it so refreshing, but I never thought to think about it from my teacher’s perspective. Yes, there was always the danger that one of the crazy children would pick up a stick and poke someone’s eye out. There were a few more reasons to be leary of leaving a safe confined place in exchange for fresh air. But, as an adult, looking back I think my teachers needed that change of scenery more than we did. They were willing to trade stressors in order to provide an opportunity for their students and themselves to chill out. This is what we need to do as a homeschool teacher, except we need to do it way more often. When you’re outside in nature, it is easier to relax and go with the flow of learning and you’ll find that your children will focus better too!
4. Learn on the Go
With today’s technology it is much easier to redeem the time that we would normally count as lost. Utilizing our ipods, mp3 players, or cd players we can easily listen to different books or audio dramas. And here is where our wonderful libraries come in again! Most likely at least one of the libraries near you has an ebook service like Hoopla or Overdrive, where you can gain access to audio books. Pop the book onto your vehicle’s speakers and you will have a few hours of peace and learning. A good book I recommend to start is Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis. You’ll be surprised at how much you and your family will learn and enjoy this historical fiction.
5.Take a Chill Day
Sometimes, when you have been awaken in the middle of the night not once or twice but three times. Somehow your oldest children used all the bread to make toast and ate it all before the rest of the family could awaken and failed to let you know that they drunk all of the milk the night before. There is a trail of juice from the fridge to the table, and your toddler is screaming and hitting. You’re trying to hold it all together but the heat is rising. It’s time to take a chill day. Don’t even worry about letting your children know why or even when it’s happening. Just do it! You won’t regret the peace that will come.
6. Use Games
Watch your children have fun. When they are playing Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders, they are learning counting skills, colors, how to read, take turns and be a good sport. When playing Monopoly they are learning addition, subtraction, and strategy as well as the previously stated skills. Battleship teaches coordinates, Guess Who? and Guess What I Am teaches deduction skills. The Scrambled States of America Game teaches all sorts of facts about each state and it provides competitive fun as well! Repeat after me: “My children are learning. Games are our friends! ”
7. Learn Something You Hate
I hate history. Let me rephrase that. I hated history. In school the history books were dry and boring. They were often one sided and they often had nothing to do with me. My mantra was
“History is just about stupid people who repeated the same mistakes made before because they didn’t learn from the past.” But while teaching my children history in chronological order, things started to make sense! It was like history was actually starting to come alive for me and I am loving it! Learning what you hate or strongly dislike or disagree with helps you to think outside of your self-made box that you never knew existed and helps with developing patience, research, and reasoning skills. These skills will then be easier to pass on to your children.
8. Research and Network
Other learning methods and styles combined with other teaching methods can help to change pace. For example, a family that uses the Robinson method coud shake things up by doing a hands-on Unit Study for a day or so. Montessori could try videos and Classical could use Unschooling. Even the Eclectic method could benefit from a change because the family normally relies heavily on one method with a smattering or many others. Find other homeschoolers in your area using Yahoo groups and Facebook then get together in person over some commonality. You may not always agree, and not everyone will agree, but if you stick with it you will develop an excellent group of friends that understands you. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!
9. See What Is Happening
There are myriads of ways your children are learning Every. Single. Day. and you just don’t realize it. Check this out. The next time you see one of your children helping the other by reading
to them or some other way, take a picture. When they are learning to bake or cook take a picture. When they are watching you do something try very hard not to tell them to go away and help them understand what you are doing and why. (I’m preaching to myself on this one.) You can look back on those memories during the tough times to keep you going.
10. Change The Talk
When your children come up with an idea, do you smash it down, with a “That won’t work” or “Someone has already done that.”? If you have said these even once then you have likely said the same to yourself. That negative self-talk stops you in your tracks and leaves you feeling cold, uncreative and unproductive. Instead of saying “I can’t”, “It’s a stupid idea”, or “It’s already been done”, say “Why not?” Then go do it! This will bring you confidence and will spill over to your family, creating bonding experiences you all will look back on for many years to come.