by Iram Shaukat, edited and re-written by Eaman Elhadri
Are you ruining your homeschool? I doubt it! But read on to find out what you may need to do, if you haven’t done so already!
My entire life, up until I started our homeschooling journey, I’ve only experienced one way of schooling – the traditional school system. In fact, my schooling story started at the very young age of three years old.
Many years of formal school plus many years of university meant that I was only used to the system. Next thing you know, life went full circle and I was a parent with children in a traditional school setting.
My idea of education was study hard. Period. The only classroom I ever knew was one full of students, desks, chalkboards, loud bells, and exam horror.
My deschooling story
When it comes to deschooling, most people think about the children, however my children, like many, transitioned pretty well, mashAllah and alhemdulilah.
Afterall, who’s going to complain that they can wake up later in the morning and not have to rush out the door. 😊
When mama needs deschooling
Children are pretty neat, subhanAllah. They are flexible and know how to adjust in new situations.
If you’ve read my WHY to homeschooling, you’d know that when we first started, my kids were in fourth grade, second grade, and kindergarten.
We passed the decision making stage, alhemdulilah, and jumped right into homeschooling…
But there was my mistake.
Life before homeschooling
To give you a bit of an understanding, this is how my life looked prior to homeschooling –
I was a stay at home mother. After a rushed morning routine, I would come back to an empty house and take a nap, and sometimes I’d hop over to a breakfast and chai party.
As you can see, this all had nothing to do with children, therefore it’s difficult to adjust from an empty house to a loud, boisterous house!
I felt like a failure
After a few months of homeschooling, I began having negative thoughts about myself. I felt like a failure.
But it wasn’t true.
I just made one mistake.
I was ruining our homeschool
I didn’t realize at first that I was the problem and that I was ruining our homeschool. I treated my children like students and myself like an overworked educator.
I was anxious, guilty, and making myself and the children miserable. Our homeschool was running to the ground…until I finally realized something.
I finally realized my mistake –
I was treating our home like a school.
I cracked the code!
All Praise and thanks is to Allah SWT for His Great Guidance.
Alhemdulilah, I finally realized that I needed to change my perception, and alhemdulilah, by Allah’s SWT Great Mercy, I finally did.
The definition of deschooling is as follows –
Deschooling, a term rooted in the beliefs of Ivan Illich, is the shift from a traditional, government-influenced institution of schooling to a less-restricted method of learning that focuses on being educated by one’s natural curiosities.Wikipedia
In common terms, deschooling is the adjustment period a child goes through when leaving school and beginning homeschooling.
But here’s the thing, it’s not just for children!
6 Deschooling Tips for Mamas
Below are deschooling tips for you mama, the one who probably needs deschooling the most! 😉
Tip 1 – Trust Allah SWT
Firstly, we must trust Allah SWT with our homeschooling, just as we must trust Allah SWT in all circumstances.
Tip 2 – Make Dua
We must also pray to Allah SWT every step of the way and make dua.
- “O Allah! Indeed I ask of You, guidance, piety and chastity and to be free of depending upon anyone (except You)” (Muslim)
- “O Allah! Benefit me through what You teach me and teach me what is beneficial for me and increase me in knowledge.” (Ibn Majah)
- Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to supplicate, “O Allah, there is no ease except what You make easy, and you alone can turn a difficulty into ease.” (Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 4, #131)
The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said –
Strive to do that which will benefit you and seek the help of Allaah, and do not feel helpless.”Narrated by Muslim, 2664
Tip 3 – Un-learn what you have learned
“Unlearn what you have learned” means that some of the knowledge about education you “know to be true” may not be true, and could be blocking your ability to homeschool well.
You will need to see education in a whole different light. Hang in there, you will get through this, inshAllah.
Below are some books that have helped me with this. –
To start off with, read books about how children truly learn and how we learn through living and life.
I’ve found the following books to be most helpful at that time. –
Tip 4 – Don’t treat your home like a classroom
Change your perspective of what home and school means. Understand that we all learn through living and that learning doesn’t need to look like what we went through when we were in school.
Home is home, not a classroom. And it shouldn’t be a classroom.
Your relationship with your child will suffer if you treat her like a student and not like a human being who already knows how to learn.
“What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children’s growth into the world is not that it is a better school than the schools, but that it isn’t a school at all.”John Holt
Tip 5 – Transition out of old routines
The first thing I needed to do when starting the deschooling process was transition myself out of old routines. Remember, this was more for me because my kids transitioned quickly and easily, mashAllah and alhemdulilah.
I’m going to admit, this was difficult for me. I used to sleep during the day, but not anymore, because the kiddos are still there in the morning. 😊
A change to mama’s routine
I decided to sleep during the night 😊 and reserve our days for living a beautiful homeschooling life. Alhemdulilah.
If you’re a night owl, that’s OK because you’re a mama. However, you will need to actually be awake during the day at some point. 😊
Try setting your bedtime earlier by about 15 minutes every week so that you can be up earlier and ready to roll.
Your kids will already be used to waking early so this tip is more for you, mama.
Tip 6 – Find support
I understand what you are going through and I am here for you. We are here for you mama!
Don’t forget, you need a local tribe too! Read Sister Eaman’s Story if you want more tips on how to find your local tribe of like-minded support, and watch her LIVE VIDEO of why she homeschools and gives 6 tips for finding your local tribe of like-minded support!
9 tips to help your child adapt to homeschooling
If your child is the one who is struggling or needs help navigating the transition, here are some suggestions that may help –
Tip 1 – Take it slow
This is a big change for everyone and the deschooling process may take a few weeks to about a few months!
Hold up on the formal lessons, mama! Be patient.
What you can do until then
That doesn’t mean you have to sit around and stare at each other’s faces. 🙂 Try this out! –
- Take daily walks.
- Read a lot!
- So you might as well walk to the library!
- Get out into nature and just breathe!
Tip 2 – Be Flexible
SubhanAllah, homeschooling almost never looks the way you might have imagined. In fact, each day might be very different!
You may need to try new things for a while, to get an idea as to what your child needs.
Tip 3 – Open the doors of communication
Chat with your child. Try to understand what matters most to him.
Encourage him to talk about what he disliked about his previous situation, and use your listening ears.
Don’t speak until you feel that it is needed, but usually it’s not. You’ll find that he probably just needs someone to hear him out, not necessarily someone to tell him what to do.
Tip 4 – Know your reason for homeschooling
You’ve obviously already decided to homeschool, but did you write your homeschool “why” down? I suggest discussing your homeschool “why” as a family and writing it down together.
If you’d like to know my homeschool “why”, read about it here and if you speak Urdu, watch my LIVE VIDEO about why we homeschool plus five tips!
Your homeschool “why” might be one item or it might be a list of things that led you to take this journey.
Trust me, you will need to see it often because when things get rough, and they will, it’s the perfect time to look at your list and affirm why you made this choice to begin with.
May Allah SWT Make it easy. Ameen.
Tip 5 – Allow your child to help drive the change
InshAllah, it’s best give your child as much ownership as possible. Always try to sit down as a family often, and allow your child to express himself to the fullest.
Pay attention to what your child is saying. Stop looking at your phone and thinking about house chores and all of your other problems. That can wait. 🙂
You want your child to feel comfortable enough to express what is most important for him to have as a part of his homeschool experience.
It’s best to help him differentiate this new adventure from his previous experience.
Perhaps your older child wants to create his own homeschool schedule. You should allow this, as long as his schedule accommodates salaat, and that he completes his formal lessons for the day.
Tip 6 – Make comfort a priority
Kids are flexible, and alhemdulilah Allah SWT Helped me immensely with this regard.
However, if your child is having issues adjusting, understand that change is hard.
InshAllah, we can all reduce stress with certain comfort measures. Do what works to help your child rest and relax often.
Tip 7 – Offer safe space for your child’s feelings
Allow your child to talk about their fears, worries, and/or frustrations. They might be missing friends at school and need to talk about that.
Listen attentively to allow them to process their feelings and don’t jump into trying to find a solution.
Tip 8 – Keep your sense of humor
Loosen up and laugh a little bit, mama! In fact, this is one way to relieve yourself of the stress you might be under at any point, especially if your kids are involved.
They’ll see you laugh and it will be contagious. Then everyone will loosen up, inshAllah!
Tip 9 – Acknowledge all kinds of progress
Just as you used to celebrate your child’s correct answer or honor roll in school, you should celebrate your child’s every positive step.
Does she show more curiosity? Celebrate it!
Does he have a greater willingness to ask questions? That’s worth celebrating, too! Alhemdulilah!
You are the expert!
Even if you’ve never homeschooled before, trust Allah SWT about what your child needs. You may consult with us, if needed, in our (FREE) Forum, and you might seek support in areas where you have more to learn.
But you know your child better than anyone else, so open your heart to Allah’s SWT Guidance!
May Allah SWT Open the way for your family to adjust and embrace a new rhythm. Ameen.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should you deschool?
As usual, it depends on your family’s circumstance. If your child was in traditional school for most of their life, the adjustment period may take a lot longer than a really young child.
It’s ok to set a limitation to your deschooling time. You run the show, mama. 🙂
What are the benefits of deschooling?
There are many benefits! InshAllah and Alhemdulilah. Here are just a few!
- The more I allowed my children to explore and even be “bored”, the more their natural interests became apparent. For example, I discovered how much my children loved experiments and art.
- InshAllah and alhemdulilah, deschooling allows your entire family to reform and strengthen relationships that may have been strained, or even damaged, by the daily demands of fitting into the school system.
Is deschooling and unschooling the same thing?
No. Unschooling is a philosophy of learning outside of the norm that often allows the child to choose how and what he or she wants to learn; while deschooling is the process of decompressing from the traditional methods of education.
The Last Thing You Need to Know About Deschooling
- Trust in Allah SWT, and He SWT will never let you down.
- Deschooling is a blessing that helps you discover yourselves and the beauty of learning and living!
- Remember, the first year is typically the hardest. It’ll get better, mama! InshAllah!
- New to homeschooling? Read our Beginner’s Guide to Homeschooling for Muslim Families and watch Sister Eaman’s LIVE VIDEO on how she can see a new homeschooling mama from a mile away!
- Want to know why I homeschool? Read all about my reason for homeschooling and if you speak Urdu, watch my LIVE VIDEO about why I homeschool, plus 5 tips!
- Want to know why Sister Eaman homeschools her children? Read about Sister Eaman’s “why” to homeschooling and watch her LIVE VIDEO about her story, plus 6 Tips!