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Honesty: the Secret to Homeschooling and Parenting Success
© Beverley Paine
A friend recently wanted to know why I had such nice children - which is the generally accepted view around here! I had no ready answer other than I thought it had something to do with homeschooling, which is true.
However, not all homeschooling children are so nice, or so caring towards their parents and their siblings, the environment, etc.... so it had to be something else.
Honesty has always been big in my life, but I never really consciously knew it until this year. I used to fight hard against hypocrisy, as it was rather prevalent at home during my childhood. It's hard to recognise one's own hypocrisy: I found I had to be scrupulously honest and very critical with and of myself to reveal it. This is a major focus of my life, and one of the goals underpinning the home education of the children.
From the start I made sure that I told the kids as much as I could about how I felt, what I believed, and pointed out that there are other ways of being that are just as valid as mine. Tolerance seemed to me to be important in the development of honesty.
I tried as best as I could not to lie to the kids, to myself or to others. I tried not to 'hide' anything from them, except surprise presents, of course! If I talked about my children, and I do that all the time, the children know about it and what I say, etc. We didn't lie to control their behaviour. If we didn't want them to do something we said so - "I don't want you to do that because it (worries, frightens, annoys...) me, or will endanger yourself or others. Then we might talk about it. Often the children would accept my 'ruling' without explanation, far too busy to stop and listen, and confident in my judgement. I know that's because we'd been careful to trust and respect each other, both dependent on honesty!
Over the years I've found that talking to others honestly about how I live, how I feel, how things are like at home, now and in my past, has given them the confidence to talk about themselves. I would never have found out that most of us share the same worries, concerns and fears and that a problem shared is a problem half-solved, if I hadn't been so honest and revealing in the first place. I've made so many wonderful friends I can rely on for support during any kind of crisis, or for simply having a great time together. Life's too short to miss out on that!
This article also appears in the Family Times magazine Winter 2008 issue for home educating families.
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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.
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
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'.
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