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Deschooling is the mental transition a person goes through after being removed from a formal schooling environment. It usually refers to children who have been removed from school for the purpose of unschooling. But technically the term applies to any person leaving school, either by dropping out or graduating.

The term is sometimes used to mean the same thing as unschooling. Some parents who wish to home school their children consider it necessary to first deschool themselves. This avoids creating an environment of "school at home", in favour of fostering a less restrictive learning environment where the child largely directs his or her own learning.

Some people extend the concept of deschooling beyond the individual and call for an end to schools in general. This is based on the belief that children learn better by exploring themselves rather than adult lead instruction.


Deschooling is mainly accredited to ppIvan Illich]], who felt that the traditional schooling children received needed to be reconstructed. He believed that schools contained a “hidden curriculum” that caused learning to align with grades and accreditation rather than important skills[1]. Illich believed that the modern school is grounded on a foundation that is focused on growing schools as an industrialized system. Rather than focusing on the needs of the children, it is more heavily focused on the aggrandizement of the school system. Illich believed that the school system has formed a toxic industry that specializes in what families should be capable of forming themselves, namely education. Since schools align success on paper with academic excellence, he believed that schools, grades, and diplomas give false assumptions that the students have become knowledgeable in a certain educational concept.[2]

John Holt was another thinker who believed in deschooling. He impressed his thoughts on society by emphasizing that the state "has made education its business—and indeed as far as many people are concerned, its monopoly"[3]. His thoughts were closely aligned with Illich because neither were convinced that school was the place that taught students everything they needed to know[4]. Instead, they communicated that school was not the sole avenue for learning because students learn consistently through other facets [4]. Therefore, deschooling wants society to recognize the balance that needs to occur within education. Illich and Holt saw schools being insufficient because of their focus on strictly doing "skill drill" instead of other ways of learning. Ivan Illich in his book, stated that schools were insufficient because they were curricular, and that improving one skill was related to another irrelevant task[4]. For example, they stated class attendance determining the students ability to use the playground[4].

Deschooling society[edit]

Though the name appears daunting, "deschooling" a person does not mean disregarding the act of learning or studying in schools. Many subjects and topics, such as art, dance, language, and music, may be most beneficial to learn in a school setting. A deschooling society would ensure that everybody has his or her own decision as to whether or not they go to school. Rather than being forced to go to school, take a test before entering a school, be denied the opportunity to learn a desired topic, people would be free to choose how they learn. According to John Holt, an advocate for deschooling, "a deschooled society would be a society in which everyone shall have the widest and freest possible choice to learn whatever he wants to learn, whether in school or in some altogether different way."[3]


  1. ^ Weston, Anthony (Spring 1996). "Deschooling Environmental Education". Canadian Journal of Environmental Education. 1: 35–46.
  2. ^ Routray, Sailen (17 January 2012). "'Deschooling Society'". Contemporary Education Dialogue. 9 (1): 85–104. doi:10.1177/097318491100900105.
  3. ^ a b "Growing Without Schooling", John Holt, Continuum, ISBN 9780826484048, retrieved 2018-11-02
  4. ^ a b c d "DESCHOOLING SOCIETY". Retrieved 2018-11-02.

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