"How Do You DO It? (homeschooling)"
by Beverley Paine
I remember getting asked this question more than once when we were homeschooling our kids (now happily home educating their youngsters!)
It is daunting and overwhelming if we try to fit everything in... For me it was about learning to have realistic expectations about what we can actually achieve. I learned to base our life around our strengths and limitations... And the following set of questions:
- What do I want?
- What do I need?
- What does my husband want?
- What does my husband need?
- What does my daughter want... need? Each son want... need?
Often we get lost in what we perceive is expected of us, usually by other people or by society. We're driven by the messages we receive from others, particularly in the media. This conditioning goes incredibly deep and is often embedded within our values.
I am a naturally organised person, but I'm not tidy. For some, this seems oppositional. I've learned that it isn't, that it's just as natural as being organised and tidy at the same time. I married someone exactly the same, which is lucky! However, I often feel overwhelmed and get severely critical of myself because my father is very tidy and organised... I'm trying to live up to his standards instead of living within my own happy boundaries. Working hard to please and impress my dad instead of myself played havoc on my marriage in the early years as I tried to mould myself and my husband on my father...
If you need a neat and tidy house and a structured and organised learning program then you will need to build a solid routine based on a balanced lifestyle. It doesn't matter that it doesn't look like the homeschooling regime of other families. It doesn't matter that your friends do things very differently. I have many friends whose homeschooling children are either in their teens, twenties or thirties and they all come from very different family backgrounds and homeschooling styles. How we do it isn't what makes homeschooling successful - it's the fact that we are doing it at all.
Nurturing children through their developmental years is as much about who they are - their genetics - as it is the care and environment that is provided for them. Try to identify your stengths and limitations, and those of other family members, and learn to live within them rather than change them. That doesn't mean we can't build on our strengths or lessen the effects of our limitations, but always trying to change our basic nature can be incredibly draining.
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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.
Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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And I'm very grateful." Gythaa
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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
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