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Getting Started with
by Beverley Paine
A comprehensive common sense manual detailing how to write your own curriculum tailored to your children's educational needs! $25.70
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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.
Join the Home Education Association of Australia.
Natural Learning Answers
Learning in the
Absence of Education
Natural Learning Diary
What is Natural Learning?
© Beverley Paine
Natural learning is very similar to unschooling. Natural learning builds upon a belief that learning unfolds naturally from within the individual and grows to include social settings, such as family, close friends, community and society in general. Natural learning follows closely the patterns of activity already existing in daily life, building a rich and comprehensive educational experience. Children become intimately involved in all aspects of family life, often including family working life. They are not closeted away from the world of adults, but are welcomed, in 'apprenticeship' roles, and valued greatly for their contributions. Where skills and knowledge are needed, within these rich social contexts, resources are always found.
On the Learning Naturally mailing list support group I asked the question:
"What does learning naturally look like at your place?"
For me natural learning is giving myself permission to learn; to recognise and honour that no matter what I'm a learner, can't stop myself learning, and that each and every moment of every day I am learning something and it's up to me to work out what (if I want to!).
Often I find that I'm learning several things all at the same time, and on different levels of understanding, as well as in different parts of my being.
I can consciously learn: that is direct my brain and body to learn something that I want or need to learn. Most of the time the whole learning process goes on without me being 'in control'. That's why I like to spend a lot of time reflecting, to work out what I've learned.
Often I find that I seem to be learning the same thing over again. I'm a slow learner! :-) Sometimes I am learning the same thing over, but in a different way, so it's actually a little bit new, or from a different perspective, or to a deeper level of understanding. I love it when the 'aha' moment happens in my head.
I've found that by examaning closely how I learn I grew in understanding about how others learn, especially my children.
What I don't think natural learning is ... is a style of homeschooling. Or a homeschooling method or approach.
I believe that school kids and uni kids are anyone studying from a book or a teacher is learning naturally.
One of the list members posted that learning naturally is allowing oneself to live totally in the moment...
It's very much a child-like state, isn't it? I don't think we have to worry too much about our children not learning naturally. What I learned from reading John Holt et al is that our job is to get out of their way, to stop interfering in their natural learning process.
I think a lot of people interpreted this as to mean "let the child do and learn whatever he wants". I don't think it's that at all. Children don't learn in a vacuum. They live within social units and their first lessons in life are about how to secure what they need from their parents in order to survive and thrive... Those first few months of life go so much easier when we, the parents, cue into the needs of the child rather than try to force them into fitting into our way of life.
The dance between new born and parent is a wonderful one to observe. I love the way this aspect of parenting is honoured among many new parents - and wish I knew 20 years ago what I know now!
It doesn't seem to matter at what age/stage we recognise the need to join this dance, honouring the needs of the child nestled within the social units of family nestled within social units of community and culture...
What babies desperately seem to need is time... Time for us to take a breath, calm down, put away the imperative to fix, soothe, solve NOW and take the time to see the situation from a different perspective, empathise with others, pause and let a different section of our brain
evolve the solution...
Children need us to pause too... We're in so much of a hurry for them to grow up, get it right, do the right thing, be successful, achieve, do the best they can, make us proud, make themselves proud, finish what they are doing...
Living in the moment is taking the time to notice time passing...
"What we need to do, and all we need to do, is bring as much of the world as we can into their lives; give them as much help and guidance as they ask for; listen respectfully when they feel like talking; and then get out of the way. We can trust them to do the rest." - Lisa Wood
Natural learning ... allowing the process of learning to occur, unhindered by interference, in a social context where the learner is not isolated from the world of meaningful action. Natural learning ... is simply following common sense.
See also - What is Unschooling - it contains a list of links to great unschooling and natural learning sites, newsletters, magazines and forums.
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the information on this website is of a general nature only and is not intended as
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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!
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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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