Homeschooling: True Stories

Starting Out: Deschooling

Posted with Permission - Edited for clarity

I began homeschooling my dd [darling daughter] for 5th grade. I pulled her out of a private school that she had attended since Kindergarten.

We used curriculum for that first year because I was concerned that I didn't know enough about what I was doing yet, to go it on my own as I do now for the most part. I used a curriculum that she had been using in school for almost all subjects because she was comfortable with it.

Neither one of us knew what we really wanted or needed to do at that point so we pretty much coasted through for a while. We had heard about deschooling but we didn't really experience it then.

About halfway into the year she began talking about how she wanted to go back with her friends and she began to have an attitude about doing her work. She didn't feel that she needed to do it well just for Mom! That lasted about a year and a half -on and off!

So I think the deschooling process can also be different in that it may not come right away and may take other forms. I didn't realize this until her attitude changed and I had time to reflect on it a while.

Now she doesn't want to go back to a regular school and is very comfortable with her studies and with me as her teacher. She still has the teenager attitude on occassion, but that is to be expected at this point.

I think what helped us through this was the fact that I asked her each year what she wanted to learn and how. We both went through the curricula and the ideas or books together and made a mutual decision about what and how she would study.

I told her that she could come to me if it became difficult to do something in a way we had planned and that we were then free to change it. She began to feel that it was mostly her choice and if it didn't work out, she couldn't blame anyone--just deal with making it better.

The other thing that happened was a bit of a surprise to us.

We knew that she was ahead in reading, but the private school told us that if she skipped a year, she would be behind in other subjects like math and history. We were able to "catch up" and surpass this restriction in homeschooling.

She loved it!

She loved being ahead of her traditional school peers and she loved the challenge of the work that was above her "grade level". This too helped her to become more of a homeschooler than a misplaced traditional schooler!

Each year I would go over the traditional guidelines and set curricula for the grade level and see where there was a subject that was too much review and not enough new material. I found this in the 6th and 8th grade curricula mostly. We simply skipped 6th and 8th grade math and science.

She is a self directed learner for the most part and just loved being able to skip all the review. And I must tell you that I didn't miss all the eye rolling that usually accompanies the review periods!!

Kelsey is 13 now and doing high school and college level work. This is our 4th year of homeschooling.

In Him,
JoJo Tabares
Art of Eloquence
Teaching Effective Communication Skills
To The Christian Community

November 16, 2005