The other day I was reading about deschooling. It is the idea that we all need to let go of the concept of learning that was programmed into us while we spent time in the educational system. It is a time to decompress and rediscover our natural curiosity.
The theory goes that for every year of schooling and/or teaching you have done you need about one month to recover. This really made me stop and think back over the years of my life and just how long I have been a part of the world of education.
I come from a long line of educators. My mother, my father, my grandfather, my aunts and uncles... mostly educators and in all levels and, yes, even administrators. It was almost expected, without even a second thought, that I would become a teacher. I started school, just like everyone else, in kindergarten after years of day care. I went my twelve years (plus one summer... curse you Algebra!!) and then headed to college. I finished one year and then got married and traveled with my husband to Germany. A few years later I went back to school and after another 4 or so years I received my bachelors in English and Writing with the intention of going to get my Masters in teaching. But I didn't like what I saw in the high school classrooms. What I found there was depressing and filled me with dread. So I did not get my masters. I graduated and within a year was homeschooling my children.
13 years later, I look back on a life filled with the educational system. At least 30 years. 30 years. According to the deschooling paradigm, I need almost 3 years to rediscover my natural born curiosity.
I am really hoping it doesn't take quite that long.
Truth be told, I don't think it will take that long. I do think there is value in the idea of deschooling. It seems to me like a period of summer, where there is nothing to think about but what you are going to do that day. Sometimes we need that. Sometimes, as homeschooling parents, we need to step back and just be for awhile. Charlotte Mason talked about it, calling it Mother Culture,
“If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children when these are overdone, we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play!”
Truth is, I want to relax and make our homeschool a more joyful space. There are no plans to throw the baby out with the bath water. I refuse to let my kids run amok and spend their days playing Lego Harry Potter on the Wii. I don't think that would help in the least. I like the idea of unschooling but I am not ready to just trade one method for another, one ideology for another.
We are going to do our thing and the next few weeks or months will be dedicated to finding our very own groove. Our very own homeschool. And it better not take 3 years. Just saying.