Ask Donna Vail: How Do I Transition From Traditional Teaching To Self Education?


This Week’s Question Answered:

Q: How do you make the transition from other methods – especially traditional textbook teaching?
A: This is a process I suggest parents take their time with. There will need to be allowance for what I call decompression. When a child is used to being pushed with education goals or on the go all the time to meet someone else’s requirements and suddenly stop it can create too radical of a change too soon. I suggest you allow light study to ease the child into self-education. You cannot move from one full-force into expecting them to manage themselves when not fully guided into the self-education mindset.
When we made the switch we stopped all curriculum, read lots of classics, wrote for fun, did art, projects around the house and basically had time to get bored. Then I gradually added one subject or task at a time, created the habit then continued to add the next subject. Remember, with children slow is fast and fast is slow. You will not lose time with them because once they get momentum as a self-educator they will quickly surpass their counterparts. It’s a rebuilding process. Take your time.
If you’re in a legal situation where you must maintain certain requirements try to make it as easy as possible for the student. If in a school outside of the home wait until year-end, decompress over summer (that means no over scheduling with tons of activities, remember to make time for boredom) then begin in the fall. Be creative.
If you are using a textbook approach at home then slowly transition from one textbook subject into self-study. Some students catch on fast and drop the other textbooks because they get so inspired with the self-education approach. Every family is different so stay true to your situation, for the student as a whole as well as the family. Give them the time and space for change, these things take time and the bigger the family the more time should be allowed.

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About Donna Vail

Donna Vail, Education and Parenting Specialist, is founder of An Inspired Education and the Mentor Mastery Inner Circle, the proven step-by-step program dedicated to maximizing the success in the human potential through homeschooling and life mastery for the whole family. She creates educational programs for homeschool children, “after-school” study programs for public schooled children and personal development for moms, while homeschooling her five children. Get free tips and resources from Donna Vail at:


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