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Talk to me about deschooling

651 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Dar
I come to these boards to get my shot of encouragement. I plan on HS with a nod towards unschooling, but I fear that when the time comes I'll just follow the standard route of school, sicne I can probably get dd into a good walking distance co-op K-8 school.

I come here every so often to remind me that I really want something different and better for dd. I've read a lot of threads, but I have never heard the term deschooling until today when I read it in two different threads. I suspect that once I read more Holt, I know what it referes to, but perhaps you guys can give me a breif understanding.

What is deschooling?
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Well, I'm probably not the best person to attempt an explanation b.c I haven't read Deschooling Society (Ivan Illich), but I think that's the origin of the term. What the hell. Deschooling is, i think, is reclaiming education as something internally inspired, liberating, joyous, social. To be schooled seems to be trained in submission to "authority". An authority that decides what gets learned when and by whom. The same vague authority that demands everyone be on the same page at the same time. Schooling seems to be all the other stuff one is taught while the interesting, important content is dissected, reconfigured, pre-digested and spoonfed back in SAT-sized bites. I think there's probably a fair bit of anarchy there, but anarchy in the best sense of the word. Deschooling seems to be much more about working within a real community, rather than the contrived community one finds in schools.
Actually, the term deschooling is generally used differently in the homeschooling community than Illich used it in his book (which is wonderful and I read to pieces, BTW). He was envisioning a society without schools, where people would be free to hire "teachers" who were experts in any subject they wanted to learn, and they woud be paid and hired based on the quality of their knowledge and their instruction - a real free-market thing. Barter was a big part of the idea, too. This, he thought, would be useful for skills such as learning ballet or learning to put up wallpaper, where an actual person demonstrating is often a lot more useful than books or videos. He also envisioned a network of "peer learning", so if you wanted to explore and learn about Yoruba art you could find someone else also on the same path, and the two (or more) of you could get together and discuss it, share resources, and maybe go places together. He wasn't quite able, in that book anyway, to envision a society without mandatory teaching of he "3 R's"... but his idea were well ahead of their time.

So, enough on the Illich tangent... in unschooling circles, "deschooling" generally means getting out of the school mindset, along the lines of what lilzmama said... it means seeing value in all learning, not just traditional achool-type learning... it means you stop expecting kids to learn in school-type ways, to pick up workbooks or decide to study the Civil War, and instead enjoy the paths they are taking. Deschooling applies to kids, too, especially kids who have been schooled... they need to start seeing that there are other ways to learn, that know knowing the 50 states and their capitals by 5th grade or cursive writing by 3rd grade doesn't mean they're dumb. The longer kids have been schooled, the longer it generally takes for them to get out of the school-mindset. Often they seem to "do nothing" for months as they deschool, and often that's when parents are freaking out the most... but hey, if you unschool from the start you don't really have to worry about it

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