Homeschooling, Unschooling, or Deschooling: Which Is Right for Your Family?
When it comes to helping children learn at home, a wide range of successful methods exist. In this blog post, we look at homeschooling, unschooling, and deschooling as three popular topics related to families educating their children at home.
These three approaches have some important differences, but they also have some key similarities, and understanding what they are and how they work can be helpful for anyone interested in exploring alternative educational paths.
So, if you’re wondering what these three approaches are all about, how they might compare to each other, and how they can help you achieve your home-learning goals, read on!
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What Is Homeschooling?
- Is Homeschooling Right for You?
- What Is Unschooling?
- Is Unschooling Right for You?
- What Is Deschooling?
- Homeschooling vs Unschooling vs Deschooling
What Is Homeschooling?
Homeschooling is a type of education where children learn outside of a traditional school setting, typically in the home, under the supervision of their parents or guardians. It allows families to have more control over their children’s education, including the curriculum, teaching methods, and pace of learning.
Since the family can customize the educational experience to meet the unique needs and interests of their child, homeschooling can provide a more individualized and flexible approach to education. However, it’s important to note that homeschooling is subject to government regulations and laws, which vary by state or country.
“Homeschooling” is such a broad term that home education in one house may look nothing like home education in another.
Parents can choose to teach their kids themselves using a curriculum they create, buy a premade curriculum, use no curriculum at all, outsource their teaching by hiring nearby tutors, or they can start a homeschool co-op.
The options are virtually endless, but one thing never changes: parents are ultimately in charge of their children’s education.
Is Homeschooling Right for You?
Homeschooling is most likely the best option for you to explore right now if you agree to the following:
1. You want a structured learning environment that mimics traditional school.
Homeschooling gives you more freedom and options than traditional school, but it still follows a set plan for learning, which may be appealing to some families.
2. You are dissatisfied with the quality or offerings of your local public education system.
Homeschooling lets you be in charge of your child’s education and make sure they get the kind of education you think will be best for them.
3. You believe homeschooling will foster a more positive and productive mentality in your child.
Homeschooling allows for a more personalized approach to education, which can help children better understand and engage with the material they are learning. It can also challenge them mentally and encourage a love of learning.
You might like:
What Is Unschooling?
“Unschooling is a unique opportunity for each family to do whatever makes sense for the growth and development of their children.” – Earl Stevens, from the Natural Child Project
Unschooling is an alternative way to learn that doesn’t follow a set curriculum but instead encourages learning based on what each child is interested in.
It is a form of homeschooling that allows students to learn at their own pace and in their own way, using real-life experiences and hands-on learning opportunities as the primary means of education.
Unschooling recognizes that every child is different and has different strengths, passions, and ways of learning, and it gives them the freedom to explore and pursue their own interests and passions without the limits of a traditional school setting. This personalized approach to education is highly motivating and interesting for students. It not only creates a love of learning but also inspires a lifelong desire to explore and grow.
It’s important to note that if homeschooling is legal in your state, so is unschooling.
Unschooling is more like an ongoing personal project and a way of life than a method. Instead of giving their kids an education like what they would get in a traditional school, parents choose to teach them through natural and experience-based learning.
Unschooling is best for families who want their child to be exposed to a lot of different things and develop a wide range of interests. It’s also a great choice for families who travel a lot.
Here is a list of books on unschooling to guide you through the process:
- Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom, by Kerry McDonald
- Unschooling: A Beginner’s Guide to Connected Learning at Home, by Shasta Mott
- The Unschooling Handbook: How to Use the Whole World As Your Child’s Classroom, by Mary Griffith
Here are some excellent online resources to learn more about unschooling:
Is Unschooling Right for You?
Unschooling is the right fit for your family if you prioritize the following:
1. You want your child to learn at their own pace and in their own way.
Rather than following a predetermined curriculum or schedule, you want your child to take as much time as they need to fully understand a concept or skill before moving on to the next one.
2. You prefer to use real-life experiences and hands-on learning as the primary means of education.
Rather than relying on textbooks or lectures, you want your child to learn about a wide variety of topics in a way that is more engaging and meaningful to them.
3. You recognize that every child is different and has different strengths, passions, and ways of learning.
Unschooling allows your child to pursue their own interests and passions outside of the constraints of a traditional school setting. If you feel that your child would thrive with this type of self-directed freedom, then unschooling is likely the best fit for your family.
What Is Deschooling?
Ivan Illich, an Austrian philosopher, coined the term “deschooling” to describe the process of transitioning from a traditional school mindset to a homeschool-ready mindset.
Most families who are thinking about homeschooling or not going to school will go through this process. It’s the “buffer time” that happens after leaving the traditional system and before proper homeschooling starts.
More specifically, deschooling is the process of breaking away from the traditional expectations and structures of the school system and learning to approach education in a more flexible and individualized way.
This can be a difficult process because it requires both students and parents to let go of many familiar aspects of traditional schooling and embrace a new way of learning. However, it can also be a highly rewarding process, as it allows students to explore their own interests and passions and to learn in a way that is more tailored to their unique needs and learning styles.
The process of deschooling allows children to discover their interests and how they learn best. For a successful transition to occur, some kids take longer than others; some may need a week, others a month, and some more may take even longer.
If you need help with starting deschooling, have a look at Deschooling: A Homeschooling Journal, by Julieta Duval.
Deschooling vs Unschooling vs Homeschooling
Now that we’ve covered the differences among these three concepts, it’s clear that unschooling and homeschooling are educational methods, while deschooling is a stage of transition.
Homeschooling is a child-tailored, structured approach, whereas unschooling is a more relaxed approach that allows children to pursue their interests and learn at their own pace.
Deschooling is a transitional process that helps children and families adjust to the homeschooling or unschooling lifestyle.
Each approach has its own benefits and challenges, and it’s important for families to carefully consider which one is the best fit for their needs and goals. Ultimately, the decision to homeschool or unschool is a personal one that should be made after careful consideration and research.
If you need more information on different aspects of homeschooling, explore more Homeschool Spanish Academy articles on the topic.
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