about the book

Sure, deschooling might be “fun”,
but it’s important and incredibly rich fun.
It’s fun that means something,
that gives you a sense of
who you are as a family.
--Tammy Takahashi

"When previously schooled children
begin homeschooling, everything changes,
and the entire family "decompresses".
Your children's lives transform from
competitive, coercive, and
to collaborative, self-directed,
and family-oriented.
Suddenly, there's time for privacy
and time to be alone.
--Cafi Cohen

Glorify who you are today,
do not condemn
who you were yesterday,
and dream of
who you can be tomorrow.
         -- Neale Donald Walsch

Sometimes you can only find Heaven
by slowly backing away from Hell.”
 – Carrie Fisher  

Though no one can go back
and make a brand new start,
anyone can start from now
and make a brand new ending.
– Carl Bard   

"Become the change you want to see"
-- Oprah Winfrey
Homeschool Diner logo - 1960's style sign with atomic starburst
Copyright 2005 Julie Shepherd Knapp

The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Homeschooling Basics
Getting Started

Getting into the Homeschool Groove

by Julie Shepherd knapp, copyright 2006

De-schooling, de-toxing, decompression time ... what's it all about?

Most homeschool books talk about children needing to "take a break" after leaving school and before
beginning to homeschool... is this really necessary?  You'll probably read that children need to
deschool for a period of one month for every year that they were in school!   Won't the children "fall
behind"?  Will you be able to get them back into doing school work, if they get used to doing nothing all
day?  Does taking a break mean watching TV or playing videos all day?  (...cuz my husband's not
going to like that! ;-)

The answers to this question depend on your particular situation.  You'll need to consider what type of
school experience (good or bad) your child is leaving, what is your child's current attitude toward
learning, and what type of homeschooling approach will you be starting out with.  

Most homeschooling parents would agree that if your child has had a really difficult time in school, and
you are seeing signs of stress, anxiety, or depression, then YES you need to let your child take a
break.   Your child needs some time to recover, both physically and emotionally... and may possibly
need some professional help to deal with what he or she has been thru.  If your child is already
stressed out by school, it won't help matters to jump right in with school work on your first day home.

Does decompression time include TV and video games?  That is a personal choice for each family.  
Some parents feel that it is important to allow the child some time for "zoning out" and doing nothing...
others never have allowed much "screen time" and never will.  What is important, is that children be
given the opportunity to relax, do pleasant things, get some sleep, and find their way back to being

If your child hasn't had a rough time at school, is in good spirits, and is actually looking forward to the
educational freedom that homeschooling can offer -- he or she may not need any decompression time
at all.  Though I highly recommend taking at least one day off just to celebrate your new journey -- go
to the movies or the park, or to a museum or the library -- and mark the beginning of your homeschool
journey with a joyful day of fun or exploration.

Will your child fall out of the habit of "doing school"?  Well, for many families, that is the whole idea.  
Homeschooling offers many options to traditional school... some time to "break out of the mold" may be
a good thing for all of you.  If you plan to recreate traditional school in your homeschool (an approach
often called "
School-at-Home") then your concerns are valid -- after taking some time off, your children
will probably need a few days to "get back in the swing".  You have no doubt experienced this after
summer or winter holidays, too.  They will re-adjust after a break, just like they did in school.  

As for "falling behind"... there will be plenty of good days ahead to get in your formal learning.  But, to
succeed in the long run, your children really need to have reclaimed their love of learning, and their joy
in discovery.  These are two qualities that make good students -- and give adults the edge they will
need to prosper in our ever-changing world.  As the homeschooling parent you are the one in charge
of your child's education.  You need to decide, for your family, if it is worth trying to recover and foster
those qualities in your children.     

Here are some good articles on de-schooling that may help you decide:

Deschooling is for the whole family, Mom included! Take a look at this thoughtful blog, More About
Deschooling, by Tammy

Leaving School and Learning at Home by Isabel Shaw

Making the Transition to Homeschooling by Serena Stout for ClubMom

Deschooling for Parents by Sandra Dodd -- children aren't the only ones who need to get away from
the whole "school" thing ;-)

Certificate of Empowerment from Sandra Dodd

Related issues

Institutionalization and Deschooling: The Death and the Resurrection of the Self by Kah Ying

Harm in the School System by Shaun Kerry, M.D.

Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich -- complete text free online
Deep Thoughts
The Homeschool Diner logo and all pages of this website
are protected by copyright law.
Copyright 2005-2012 by Julie Shepherd Knapp,
unless otherwise noted.

To request permission to republish, reprint, make multiple
copies of, distribute, or post a particular article of julie's --
please contact :

julie at HomeschoolDiner dot com
(simply replace "at" with @ and "dot" with  .  )
try out our
Yahoo! Group

join the conversation!