Deschooling the Mind

Not from this last full moon, but still beautifully out of focus

Last year, I homeschooled my Piscean daughter. It was an interesting experience brought about by a lot of school stress. Before beginning the homeschooling process I had learned about a process called deschooling, and we actively used this process through the majority of her homeschooling experience.

Deschooling is basically a process of giving yourself a break from school culture in order to figure out who you are outside of what the school culture teaches you that you should be. It is a process of slowing down, learning to listen to yourself, and learning from what your body, mind, and soul teach you about who you are. It is a very deep, introspective process that a lot of us do not have the opportunity to go through. We get so caught up in what society tells us we should be and what we should care about that we do not take the time to listen to ourselves and learn about what we truly care about. Deschooling gives us a chance to learn about ourselves and root ourselves in our unique identity. We then become stronger when it comes to dealing with society’s messages of how we should act and be.

I was really fortunate to be able to give my daughter that experience, but learning about deschooling told me that it was okay to question the beliefs that I have been carrying around that are not mine. I have been able to do something as simple as tell myself that it is okay to dress in a way that I am comfortable with and not feel guilty or “less than” because the way that I like to dress doesn’t follow current trends. When I was in my early twenties I didn’t carry a pocketbook because I didn’t like to. A friend of mine seemingly made it her mission to make me more socially acceptable and encouraged me to start carrying a pocketbook. I stopped recently because I still don’t like carrying a pocketbook, despite all of the years I have done so. And then there are bigger things, like dropping out of college because I recognized that I was not getting anywhere with that and it was one factor leading to burnout.

Deschooling also led me to experiencing this path in a greater, more public way. It led me to realize that it doesn’t matter what other people say about what I believe. Other people will say negative things about this path because they do not understand what it truly is. While it would be better if they educated themselves before they talk about something they know nothing about, I know that the odds of them doing that are slim, but in the end it doesn’t matter. I know the truth of my beliefs, and going through the process of deschooling has given me a strong foundation for those beliefs and others that define who I am.

I would encourage anyone to go through this process. If you would like resources, look up Akilah Richards. She has a great podcast about unschooling and deschooling, and talks about the process in some of them. Most of her work is about unschooling children, but she has a few podcasts about deschooling that were very helpful for me.