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The Educating Parent
Children learning and living naturally... at home and in the community.
formerly Homeschool Australia and Unschool Australia

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Getting Started with
Home Schooling
by Beverley Paine
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Since 1989 Beverley Paine has steadfastly promoted and supported home education as an educational choice for Australia families. Her books and websites aim to demystify education, gently deschooling families so that they may meet their children's individual and unique educational and developmental needs. Her honesty, insights and wealth of experience continues to bring hope, reassurance and confidence to families.

Home education is a legal alternative to school education in Australia. State and Territory governments are responsible for regulating home education and have different requirements, however home educating families are able to develop curriculum and learning programs to suit the individual needs of their children.
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Slaving Away in the School Factory

Wendy Priesnitz, guest columnist
November 14, 2011

One of the criticisms of families who live as if school doesn't exist is that the kids "aren't doing anything". or at least not anything they couldn't be doing on the weekends and going to school too. I used to try and convince these people that school is harmful, that there's not much real learning goes on there, that learning happens best as a by-product of living, and so on. But I've come to realize that it's a no-win argument because the criticism is based on emotion - in this case, resentment - rather than on facts.

You see, the problem is that unschooled kids have fun. They play. They noodle around inside and outdoors, at home and in their communities, messing with projects, indulging their passions, and generally having a good time. These kids are continually demonstrating that learning isn't hard work when it is need- and interest-based, and when the learner is in control.that, in fact, learning (not to mention life) is fun, even exciting. They are showing that there is no need for being processed by means of mostly irrelevant prepared curriculum, stressful tests, or long hours spent listening to boring lectures or memorizing monotonous and out-of-context facts.

Another part of the problem is that many adults feel like they are working longer and harder than ever before. And the message from government and those who want to "fix" our education system is that school kids need to work longer and harder too. Something not working? Then do more of it! Make the school day longer, eliminate recess, get kids into school at three and make 'em stay there until they're eighteen, assign more homework, give more tests, tighten up the factory quality controls.. At the end of the long, miserable process, the sausages kids leave the factory molded to work long and hard, in the same highly structured environments, doing the same boring work.

To compound the problem, the skeptics and resenters are scared to death because those exhausting jobs that they slaved so hard in school for and paid so much tuition to prepare for - and cautioned life learners they wouldn't be suited for - are disappearing. At the same time, it looks like self-motivated, flexible, passionate, creative thinkers are doing just fine . And those are traits that are not well nurtured in the school factory.

The cure, of course, is simple. People can expand the ranks of life learners! They can let their kids quit the factory, begin to enjoy life and learn ing . Unfortunately, what is simple is often not easy. And I understand that rejecting long-held beliefs and admitting you've been lied to and taken advantage of can take time. And it can be painful. But if you are moving in that direction, please believe that the way to ensure a happy future for your kids is to ensure they have a happy present. Living as if school doesn't exist pr ovide s the possibility for that and much more.


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Welcome to the world of home education - learning without school! We officially began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were each 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. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
Beverley Paine

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After 20 years of being a home educating contact and support person Beverley continues to suppor and advocate for home education. She participate by adding new articles to this site, so bookmark the site or join the newsletter to stay in touch. Please join one of the many support groups she started to help home educators (see links above): Beverley remains available to offer advice and help to members of the groups. Don't forget to use the search function or browse the contents of this site for specific topcis, advice and information on over 1000 pages!

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