Friday, May 29, 2015


We are coming to the end of our 'deschooling' semester. After getting my son's testing done in January I came home feeling quite overwhelmed and sure that most everything I had been doing as a teacher was not good for my son.  I didn't feel like I had any energy left to fight the 'curriculum monster' and find a way to cram more information down my son's throat. I pretty much gave up on producing work samples and just went for reading and experiencing life together with my children.
I was going through was the 'deschooling' process.

I have a masters degree in education. I did very well in school. I taught high school mathematics. I have been engrained in the educational system my entire life. It was very hard to see my son through eyes other than those of someone who has relied on the education system to guide my life. I kept referring to the 'list' of skills that should be achieved at his age and the things we need to work on to get him up to speed. Although he is way ahead in many areas I was most concerned with the areas of weakness. I focused on his weakness and tried to get him to 'work' on that weakness.  I kept seeing him through the eyes of the public education system not the eyes of an educator.

It was not working. It was painful. It made him angry and me angry. It made us both want to cry. I had to stop. I had to stop just about everything. We cut 'school' down to about 10min a day.  One page of math (3 problems), maybe one page of handwriting, maybe one vocabulary, or reading and only a couple times a week. We did the bare minimum needed to produce work for our ES. We calmed down. We found time to read together and go hiking and play games and build legos.  We found the calm center of our being together of our enjoyment of one another. This was my deschooling experience and it felt good. I was enjoying being home with my children.

Now it is May. I am looking toward September and wondering if I will be able to maintain this sense of calm and joy when we start up 'school' again. I need more structure. I need to feel like we are making chartable progress. I need some of the reassurances I get from school structure, feedback telling me we are 'on track'. I want to feel my child will have choices when they get to the age they are ready to choose for themselves. Will I be able to create a curriculum that both fills my needs as a parent and the needs of my very different children and their learning styles? Will I rise to the challenge? Can I become a true educator?

I think I can.

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