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


Free directory of Australian homeschooling and unschooling support groups organised by national, state and territories

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.


Low on Cash and Worried that Homeschooling Will Cost Too Much? Unit Studies Could Be the Answer You Are Looking For!

© Beverley Paine, March 2008

Robin wasn't working the year we started homeschooling. He'd quit work a couple of years before when we did a 'role reversal': I went back to work as a bank clerk part time and he stayed home to finish building our home and to look after our two young children. At the same time we started a small retail business in a local shop only opening on the weekend.

Unfortunately, I became unwell and stopped working. Living on a really low income while we slowly built up our business was intimidating and stressful. In addition, we were fairly typical owner builders, which meant that we'd moved out of our caravan into in a half-finished house just before I became pregnant with our third child... Not exactly the best time to start something completely unheard of like homeschooling our children!

With a newborn baby, a four year old and our six year old daughter, homeschooling during that first year often felt like we'd taken on too much. I worried that our decision would ultimately harm our children and jeopardize their future education and opportunities. We couldn't afford school books or expensive learning materials, and every day I felt guilty that we were denying our daughter access to learning aids and programs her friends were using at school.

However, as it turned out, none of that was necessary! My fears were unfounded.

After fiddling around trying to find my feet for a couple of years we gradually relaxed into an unschooling style of home education, with a huge emphasis on unit studies. What are unit studies, I hear you ask? Back then I called them 'projects' because that's what I knew them as when I was a student. Pick a topic and study it, record what you find out and present it to others in whatever way you want.

I would usually choose a topic I thought the children needed to learn about or something that interested them. Hanging out with my kids all day meant that I had a good idea what switched them on, what they each liked and were interested to know more about. From there I'd sketch out a rough learning plan using low cost or free resources.

Unit studies typically span several subjects of the curriculum and make efficient use of materials and time. Because the children were usually engaged in one or more creative activities the time passed quickly: everyone enjoyed doing unit studies.

And it was largely through doing these ad hoc unit studies I slowly began to identify my children's individual learning styles: that is, the dominant ways in which they each learned, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. It was easy then to devise activities that helped them individually, challenge them and help them grow. Building activities around their learning styles made learning flow even more effortlessly.

Most of the time the children didn't realise they were doing 'school-at-home' because they were fascinated by the topic or were really interested in the activity.

Unit studies allowed us the flexibility to choose materials that best reflected their abilities, needs, developmental stages, academic levels and learning styles at that point in time. Plus, anything that wasn't striking the right note was rejected fairly quickly: we didn't waste time doing things that weren't working to achieve our goals. Sometimes this mean the unit study or project was dropped, usually because it had led us to a different or new one!

Our little toddler grew up thinking that life was education: as an adult he is truly a life-long learner!

The flexibility of unit studies allowed me to help each of my children learn at the same time: a management strategy often asked about by new home educating families who worry that having different aged children will make teaching from home difficult. Unit studies are ideal in this situation because you can offer the same activities or content but take into account their different levels of expertise, or you can cover different aspects of the chosen topic at the same time.

I found it relatively easy to adjust the content and materials to suit each child. For example, studying life-cycles I could give the older child are more detailed worksheet or activity, selecting something simpler for her younger brother, who usually sat beside me, and provide a puzzle for the toddler on my lap.

An added bonus was that the older children often tutored the younger children, or vice versa! Homeschooling evolved into a truly cooperative adventure.

One of the lasting benefits of using an unit study approach is that it helps to naturally enhance memory and skills retention. I put this down to the high interest level as well as the huge array of different activities we accessed. True holistic learning at work! My children weren't aware that they were studying science or social studies, it was simply doing projects on things that interested them. Life and learning were in context and meaningful in their lives, that made a huge difference to their motivation.

So you don't have to spend a fortune on curriculum or books or learning materials if you don't have the money. By using an unit study approach to homeschooling you can save yourself a lot of money.

If you want to know more about how to write your own unit studies take a look at Beverley's Practical Homeschooling Book on the subject: it's inexpensive and packed with useful and practical ideas from her own experience and that of others to make unit studies easy and accessible.

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."

CLICK HERE if you want to learn
how to write your own education plans
to suit your unique children's individual learning needs?

Or you are 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

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.

Advertise on this site.

say goodbye to home education registration stress with this ultimate rego bundle from Fearless Homeschool

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

make homeschooling a lot easier, zero to homeschool's excellent course is here to help

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

Twinkl downloadable Home education resources helping you teach confidently at home

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

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!"

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!

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.