Welcome to The Educating Parent Beverley Paine's archive of articles about homeschooling and unschooling written over a period of 30 plus years

HomeAbout Blog Articles Curriculum Resource Directory Shop Kids Pages Facebook

Download our FREE The Educating Parent Resource Directories today! Plus... more FREE resources!

Free download a quick guide to getting started with homeschooling and unschooling by Beverley Paine The Educating Parent in this excellent Resource Directory


Plan, record and report all in the one document! Always Learning Books planners available in each year level to suit your homeschooling needs, includes curriculum checklists
Australia's original homeschooling manual from veteran home educator Beverley Paine, how to write your own learning plan and curriculum to meet your child's needs
Let Beverley and friends help you design and write your own curriculum to suit your child's individual learning needs, learn how to prepare lessons, unit studies and more, record and evaluate your children's learning in this series of 3 parent workbooks developed on Beverley's popular homeschool manual Getting Started with Home School Practical Considerations
Introduction to
Home Education
  National and State
Support Groups
  Yearly Planner, Diary & Report Beverley's Original Home Ed Manual Series of How To
Parent Workbooks

Support Groups: National SA VIC NSW QLD TAS ACT NT
Registration Guides: VIC NSW QLD SA WA TAS ACT NT

Looking for support, reassurance and information?
Join Beverley's The Educating Parents Homeschooling and Unschooling Facebook online group.


The Stages of Learning

Susan Priolo
First published on Kerugma, 27 Jan 2007

We don't use grade levels in our home. They are distracting and quite irrelevant. The labels of grade/year level can be of some use but I prefer to view things in stages of learning, rather than grades. Stages of learning is much more individual and personal, allowing for uniqueness to shine in the various subjects and topics of interest.

There are three definite seasons (or stages) in the learning process. They sometimes dovetail with each other and they do not follow a chronological timing. Once an awareness of these stages is understood then knowing how to move on with the learning process is made easier.

While there is a transition that occurs when a child enters from a 'Collecting Knowledge ' stage to the next stage, ' Understanding '. I actually believe that it is the next stage ( Wisdom ) that is very important and most enjoyable.and the one that we parents, need to recognise.

Collecting Knowledge
(Introduction to ideas)

In the Collecting Knowledge stage the child is young, curious and eager to learn as much about the world and the people around him as he can. He is taking it all in, observing as much as he can. This is like the first building blocks in his educational foundation. It is in this stage that memorization is important. The basics of English and Maths may often be learned by rote during this stage, but don't expect them to completely understand it - it is the 'collecting knowledge' stage, not the understanding stage, regardless of how it may look to a first- time parent. (In our home, we prefer to memorise beautiful literary forms like God's word, poetry and various worthy selections of literature, rather than dates, names and events that will one day perish.) This is a time, a season of preparation. The planting of many seeds that will one day bear fruit.  Children need exposure to the best things in life via the modes of reading, hearing , seeing - experiencing with all the senses. This stage often is around the K-3 range, although all children are different and may accelerate at different rates.

Understanding Information and Ideas
(Digging Deeper, Examining and Elaborating)

The next stage can start to become apparent around grades 4/5 and developing to around grade 8. After the child has some basic information and rote knowledge in his mind, he is able to piece together those fragments, to make connections of his own.this is when he starts to understand that knowledge.to participate in that prior knowledge. As he matures, this processing of knowledge also starts to manifest itself in the form of discernment . The basic subjects are still studied but it is the student who will view them differently this time around. He will not only know the basic phonographs but will be able to discern when they apply and why. The same concept applies for Maths and History, Science, Geography, etc. The material need not be much different than the earlier years, which is why unit studies and literature based methods are wonderful for many large families, but the student is able to receive and process the information at a different level. Here is where you are watering the many seeds that were planted in the previous stage. This is where exercises or activities such as comparing/contrasting, discussion, debate can be helpful, within reason and under the authority of a parent. Time is also a big factor during this stage. Children need lots of time to think, to process information, to 'join the dots'. This stage or process can't be rushed. Knowledge and Understanding are starting to work parallel-toward the next stage.

(Application or sharing of information)

This next stage usually occurs from grade 9 onward through to grade 12, although individual children are all different. (Are you getting the idea that this is all a very individual approach?) It cannot come before knowledge or understanding as the two stages go together to form the ' Wisdom stage'. Building upon knowledge and understanding/discernment, the student is able to make choices, form opinions, express ideas and thoughts that are based on knowledge, understanding and wisdom. Of course, as Christians, we believe that true wisdom comes from God and so a relationship with God is important in this stage. The later years of this stage are where you begin to harvest the fruits.of course we continue to see this over the course of their lives. It is in this stage that we most desire to see some quality output of some type - creative output of some form, performing,, discussing, writing, etc. Here is where we apply all the information that we have collected , the relationships we have made, the ideas we have connected with, in a meaningful and helpful way.

Do you know someone who is knowledgable in a subject or an area? Do they parrot information or do they actually understand the topic? Are they able to apply their knowledge in a real way? Are they able to coherently share their knowledge in that area with others?

Many people have knowledge of the Bible yet know not God. Others may have knowledge of the Bible, may understand how the Church should operate, how to live a Christian life yet have not wisdom. Wisdom is what we desire most for our children to grow and develop into.

All children, youth and adults go through all these stages when trying to learn new material. These are seasons - there is a season for everything.


Natural times of growth

Think back to when you were first considering learning at home. There may have been a seed planted in your mind or conscience. Then, through some discussion or reading those seeds were watered . For some, this process can take longer than others but that's fine- it's the way it should be. Then you start working through homeschooling, tweaking schedules, buying curriculum, trying every new idea that comes along before you come to the Wisdom level where you are more confident in your knowledge and are able to express your ideas, opinions and knowledge of homeschooling in a concise and clear manner. ( Harvest ) You know WHY you are doing WHAT you do. I have been on my own journey of education, through all of these processes or stages, over the last 10 years. There are some aspects of home education that I may finally be entering into the Wisdom stage and other aspects where I am still in the knowledge stage. It doesn't matter- I'm on a journey of self-education and it's fun! But, the point is, it is education .I have tailored my education to suit me, based upon the natural stages of development and learning . Oh, that we should do the same for our children.

Just as a child's knowledge level of one subject may be greater than another subject, so may his transition into the next stage - Understanding and then Wisdom. I believe that an Identity-Directed Approach accommodates and allows for this even more so than a structured, grade leveled approach . It is, I believe, important not to try and rush each stage lest you end up with prematurely grown plants whose root system in not deep or fully established.

There are particular methods for learning about a subject which fir perfectly with the stages of learning. It is called the 4 step learning process and is beneficial for all students, regardless of age or aptitude. If you follow this link , you'll see how it all ties in together.

Read more of Susan's writing on her blog, Kerugma, and also on AussieHomeschool

Was this article helpful? Was it worth $1.00 to you? Your gift of $1 or more helps to keep this site operating offering encouragement and reassurance to families wanting better outcomes for their children.

Thank you for your gift contribution!

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.

"You've been an inspiration to me, I love the way
you really listen to people."

"Whenever I read your writing I always come away
with increased confidence in my ability to provide and
share a wonderful learning journey with my family!"

"Your guidance, understanding, support and words of
wisdom changed our lives. We now offer support and
organise many homeschooling events for others."

"Thank you once again for your prompt and friendly service.
I am convinced that your books are going to add
quality and peace of mind to my journey of teaching my kids
at home! Just from studying your website, until almost
2am in the morning, I 've been encouraged!"

"Thank you for all your many,many reassuring words
over many, many years. You probably don't know exactly how valuable you are to the Australian Home Education community. I've been reading your stuff for maybe 8 years or more now. And I'm very grateful."

Want to learn how to write your own education plans to suit
your unique children's individual learning needs?

Looking for quality curriculum and teaching tips?

Welcome to the World of Home Education
and Learning without School!

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


Getting Started with
Home Educating Series of


#1 Create Your
Own Curriculum

#2 DIY Lesson Plans
& Unit Studies

#3 Recording and Evaluation Made Simple

$10.00 each (includes postage)

let experienced home educators Beverley, Tamara and April walk you through HOW to create a learning plan that builds on solid foundations that works for YOUR family AND ticks all the boxes for home educaton registration with part 1 of this getting started with home educating serioes of parent workbooks, Create Your Own Curriculum!
Let experienced home educators Beverley, Tamara and April walk you through HOW to create a learning plan that builds on solid foundations that works for YOUR family AND ticks all the boxes for home educaton registration!

To see the full range of Beverley Paine's books on homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning visit Always Learning Books

Tap into Beverley's experience
through her books

"Your books, your blogs helped me beyond words... they helped me to find comfort in knowing it is ok to choose exactly what is best for my family." Nisha

"Your books and information are mind blowing and already I am feeling good about this new experience." Diane

"Your guidance, understanding, support & words of wisdom changed our lives." Leslie

"I feel specially inspired by Beverley's words and, the more I read her comments, the more inspired I feel, since my need for support, respect for different parenting styles, and information are fully met." Marijo
purchase Beverley's practical and common sense books on homeschooling and unschooling
Connect with Beverley and ask questions
through her online The Educating Parents Homeschooling and Unschooling Facebook support group

Australia's premier online annual conferences, lifetime access to video and audio recordings, freebies, notes and associated resource guides.


$29 each 2023 2022 2021
$25 each 2020 2019 2017

"Biggest and best Aussie homeschool event of the year!"

The information on this website is of a general nature only and is not intended as personal or professional advice. This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.

The Educating Parent acknowledges the Traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Owners, the Custodians of Australia, and pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people viewing this website.

complete comprehensive step by step program that teaches you how to craft your ultimate homeschool

Australia's best home education consultant, let Tamara Kidd guide and help you prepare your home education registration application or review

Online science lessons for primary school aged home educating children

30% discount for purchases from ReadyEd Publications when you use the code 'homeschool' at  the checkout

reset your mindset for homeschooling success with deschooling essentials a quick course to help build your confidence as an educating parent

200 pages of templates, planning pages, tables, prompts and record sheets to organise your whole year!

subscription video art lessons by Australian artist

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.

animated Australian flag

Without revenue from advertising
by educational suppliers and Google Ads
we could not continue to provide information
to home educators. Please support us by letting
our advertisers know that you found them on
The Educating Parent. Thanks!

Beverley's books are excellent for building confidence as a home educator says Tracey, homeschooling mum.

Support Centre
Contact Us | Join a Support Group | Beverley's Books | Resource Directory | Blog | Donate

About The Educating Parent
Beverley Paine | April Jermey and Always Learning Books | Advertise with us


What is Home Education Why Home Educate Getting Started & Registering Different Ways to Home Educate
Life as a Home Educator Resources & Support Teens and Beyond Curriculum and Teaching Tips
Unschooling & Natural Learning Travelling & Home Educating Record Keeping Children's Pages

animated smiling face Thank you for visiting!

Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
The opinions and articles included on this website are not necessarily those of Beverley and Robin Paine,
nor do they endorse or recommend products listed in contributed articles, pages, or advertisements.
This website uses browsing cookies and conducts other means to collect user information in order to display contextual ads.
Text and images on this site © All Rights Reserved 1999-2023.