Conference Speaker and Workshop Presenter
This page outlines useful information for event organisers interested in me participating at their event.
My first homeschooling speaking engagement was at the inaugral Adelaide Home Education Conference in 1995 and since then I've enjoyed visiting many parts of Australia and talking to thousands of homeschooling and unschooling families at conferences, seminars, trade fairs and workshops.
Ultimately I feel have nothing to say that parents don't already know: I see my role providing reassurance and to help parents build confidence to home education. I hope to help them give themselves permission to listen to their hearts and reconnect with what - deep down - they know to be true: that children need and want their parents to be involved in a hands-on way with their education. My goal is to help people peel away the layers of conditioning that compels them to put their faith in the voice of 'experts'. I am no expert, I am simply a mum that stayed at home and played and lived with her children... That's what I share with parents - our experiences as a family learning and living together, finding ways that work, overcoming obstacles, and growing as individuals within our family and community.
As a speaker I draw on over two decades of experience as a person supporting and promoting home education in Australia. The 'big picture' is important to me and frames my experience of home education. My aim is to answer parents' questions in a genuine and honest way, drawing on my personal experiences as a home educator as well as what I have learned from others. I believe it is important to build empathy with the audience in order to understand their needs - my aim is to help them find solutions that work for them and their families, not simply tell them what I have done or what worked for me.
My approach to home education is a broad one that encompasses the right of families to teach their children in whatever way works best for them. I do not advocate any one style as more 'right' than any other, although I describe myself a natural learner. As a home educating families we moved through many styles and approaches, including 'school-at-home' and 'unschooling'. I am sympathetic to religious and lifestyle philosophies different from my own. My desire is to help families find the confidence that lies within them so that they may home educate successfully.
Small workshops suit my comfort zone best, although I am willing to talk to large groups of parents. I'm best when answering questions rather than giving formal, planned speeches but can do both. I am able to give my best when allowed time to connect with, talk with, and respond to individuals and small groups of people. Circles work well because I'm able to connect with each individual in the group better, although this usually restricts the size of the workshop to no more than fifteen. Talking and writing are two of my favourite ways to learn and the workshop experience allows me to learn and receive as well as give.
When giving a talk or workshop I generally chose topics which challenge me, so that I too learn something profound from the experience. The people I interact with are my teachers... Although I am happy to talk on just about any topic related to home education and parenting.
Parents often find the opportunity to talk to me one-one beneficial and I am happy to do this at a table signing my books during breaks or at a specified time.
I have had extensive experience giving workshops and speaking at homeschooling conferences since 1995. These have included formal keynote speeches as well as structured classes offered through TAFE as well as small and relatively unstructured workshop sessions. I have personally organised and managed seminars and homeschooling expos.
Over the years I have learned what works best for me when going to conferences and seminars. Although I may appear publicly for a couple of hours, the amount of work that goes into preparing a speech or a workshop presentation is considerable and because I care about my audience and want to meet their needs in the best way possible, I take my role as a workshop presenter or speaker very seriously. A one hour speech or workshop usually involves at least eight hours of planning and revision.
In precise terms, this is what I can offer:
1. Up to 3 workshop or question and answer sessions a day, of not less than half an hour, but not more than one hour each, on any of the following areas of interest:
- getting started with home education, legal requirements, different approaches, resources, etc.
- staying motivated (learning styles, etc) and organised (avoiding burnout, etc)
- learning naturally (unschooling, informal learning)
- writing and publishing (self-publishing, being published, fiction, non-fiction)
- a permaculture lifestyle
- the educational advantages of a do-it-yourself lifestyle and pitfalls to avoid
2. Question and answer session as part of a group panel.
3. I am happy to attend dinners and other social events organised as part of the event.
4. I will consider participating in events other than homeschooling events.
This is what I require:
1. Full reimbursement for travelling costs for myself, including air fares, bus or taxi fares to and from venue and accommodation, or reimbursement for fuel costs if I need to drive to and from the location.
2. Full reimbursement for accommodation. Type of accommodation to be negotiated. I normally accept billeting with home educating families, sleeping in a private bedroom; or can stay in a caravan park cabin or a three star (minimum rating) hotel/motel room. If we are travelling by car to the event we usually have our campertrailer with us and are happy to stay with homeschoolers, provided they have sufficient space to park the campertrailer, or at a caravan park.
3. A free table (one trestle will suffice) where I can sell and sign my books, with access for power so that I can plug in my computer and play a slideshow of our homeschooling life, together with a specified time of least half an hour (other than lunch and coffee breaks) to sign books and talk with people individually.
4. If any of the sessions or presentations at which I appear are to be video or audio taped and subsequently sold a negotiated royalty as well as appropriate attribution including links to my web sites and contact details. If there are to be distributed freely I require rights to do the same through my online networks, with attribution to the creators included. If any photos are taken of me at the event I would like copies emailed or sent to me, for me to use at my discretion.
5. The opportunity to get to know the organisers in a relaxed situation either before, after or during the event.
6. An advertisement in your event program for Homeschool Australia. Please let me know the parameters (size, black and white or colour, etc). If no ads are included, then I require the program to provide my website URL wherever my name appears.
8. The availability of a volunteer who will take care of my table when I am unable to be present, if needed. Usually my husband will accompany me but if he also presenting workshops we will need someone to supervise the table. This person will be responsible about keeping track of what is sold, charging the correct amount of money and making correct change, etc. I will provide a calculator, a clear list of prices, plenty of change, etc.
9. If I am travelling to the event by plane, I will need someone I can ship boxes of books to and who will transport them to the event and then ship them back to my home after the event. I will reimburse the cost of shipping.
If all of the above sounds like a perfect match for your event, and if you can provide the things I've asked for, please contact me. If your event works with my calendar, I'll do my best to make it!
Past events have included:
- 1995 Adelaide SA, Home Education Conference
- 1996 Adelaide SA, Home Education Conference
- 1997 Adelaide SA, Natural Learning Seminar
- 1998 Victor Harbor SA, TAFE Home Education Workshop series
- 1998 Adelaide SA, Home Education Fair
- 1999 Adelaide SA, Homeschool Expo
- 1999 Perth WA, Homeschool Seminar
- 1999 Sydney NSW, Home Education Conference
- 2000 Adelaide SA, Home Education Expo
- 2004 Brisbane Qld, Homeschool Conference
- 2004 Noosa Qld, Homeschool Conference
- 2007 National Home Education Conferences (Alice Springs, Darwin, Melbourne, Portsea, Adelaide)
- 2008 Auckland, New Zealand Home Education Conference
- 2008 Perth WA, Homeschool Conference and Trade Fair
- 2008 Adelaide SA, Exploring Approaches to Home Education Seminar
- 2010 Albury NSW, National Home Education CampFest and Conference
- 2010 Australian Homeschool Network Online Conference (NHEW)
- 2011 Adelaide SA, Schools Education Expo
- 2011 Albury NSW, National Home Educaiton CampFest and Conference
- 2011 Airlie Beach Qld, Australian Unschooling Conference
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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. Beverley publishes her recent articles, tips and links to resources in her quarterly magazine, Homeschool Unschool