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

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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

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Permaculture Activities for Children

Gardens provide so many learning opportunities in every area of the curriculum and make homeschooling the natural way so easy! Every house needs a garden: it doesn't matter if the garden is perched on a window sill four stories from the ground; is a collection of pots on a balcony or gathered around an aquarium inside; or a tiny courtyard garden. a thriving garden is a good indicator that your children are thriving too.

I hope you enjoy this collection of garden inspired activities.

Compost Bin in a Bottle

Here's a great way to teach children about decomposition AND make compost at the same time!

You will need:

  • a couple 2-litre drink bottles
  • a Stanley knife, or sharp scissors (use with supervision, or let Mum or Dad do the cutting)
  • newspaper
  • bucket of water
  • a small amount of garden soil
  • a few red or compost worms

Carefully cut off the top of the drink bottle and then punch holes around the bottom for aeration. Cut the bottom off another bottle to use it as a lid. Shred newspaper into strips or small pieces and place in the bucket of water and squish it into a mush messy. Drain the water, squeezing most of it from the paper pulp, then add the soil from the garden and mix the paper and soil to a damp consistency. The soil is important as it has micro flora necessary for the worms' health and survival. Put a couple handfuls of the soil/paper mixture into the bottle. Gently place a few red or compost worms on top and cover with a couple more handfuls of soil/paper. Your compost bin is now ready for some kitchen scraps. It's best not to add egg shells or citrus peel and don't put meat scraps into your compost bin. Place the bin on plant pot saucer in a gloomy corner away from direct sunlight. If the compost is getting too wet, add some sawdust or more paper/soil mixture. Don't forget to check each day to see what your worms are getting up to!

Healing Herb Windowsill Garden for Winter

Grow this healing garden right on your windowsill!

Peppermint, chamomile, and sage are three healing herbs that you can use to soothe a sore throat, help you sleep more soundly, energize, and lots more! Plus, they're easy to grow in a small space-you can grow this healing garden right on your windowsill! Print this page, turn off the computer, and get planting.

You will need:

A planting box or recycled plastic container about 15cm deep, 15cm wide, and 45cm long.

  • Potting soil
  • Compost
  • Pebbles (to help with water drainage)
  • Peppermint, chamomile, and sage seedlings

To build your planter:

1. Place a layer of pebbles in the bottom of the planting box.

2. Mix the soil and compost together. Spread a layer of the mixture on top of the pebbles. Place the seedling evenly in the box. Spread more soil mixture around the plants to cover the roots-do not cover any of the plant itself.

3. Water the plants over the sink and let the water drain out. Then set the planting box on a sunny windowsill or outdoors in the sun. Remember to water regularly. If may want to start your plants from seed. If so, follow the planting directions on the seed packet.

Tips for growing herbs inside:

The temperature during the day should range between 17-30°C, and at night the temperature shouldn't fall below 12-16°C. When you water your herbs, keep the temperature of the water between 17-30°C, too.

Give your herbs the most light you can, like on a sunny windowsill. You can also buy grow lights for additional lighting.

Hungry? How about some Creepy Crawly Food!

Peanut Butter Caterpillars

You will need:

  • bananas
  • peanut butter
  • grapes
  • chow mein noodles

Peel and slice a banana. Join the slices together by 'gluing' them with peanut butter. Carefully poke two chow mein noodles through the top of the grape. Use more peanut butter to attach the grape head to the front of the banana body, with chow mein noodle antennae pointing up. Enjoy!

Learn About Your Garden with a Garden Journal

A garden journal is a wonderful keepsake and is something you can refer to year after year. I used an A5 spiral bound art notebook and decorated the cover with colourful autumn leaves covered with clear self-adhesive covering, but you could decorate yours in any way you like. Everyday, when you go outside to check on your garden, or simply for a wander, take your journal, or fill it out when you come back inside or have a quiet moment. Draw and write in things you see that are different or are interesting to create a record of your gardening experiences and activities throughout the year. You can write the size and colour of each plant, or create a page that contains a rain or watering chart. Another page could contain pressed flowers or leaves.

You could adopt a plant and keep a journal on it: record things like measurements, characteristics, what the class likes about it, drawings, etc. You may want to work with a sick plant and then revive with worm castings, light and regular watering. Or plant a seed, or a seedling, in a pot and watch it grow. You could experiment with various positions in the garden or house, or if you plant several seeds in several pots conduct an investigation on the effectiveness of different types of fertiliser.

A Backyard Nature File is another great idea that Mum or Dad can help you put together. Make a list of the trees, animals, birds and insects that you see in your garden on a regular basis. Using 75cm x 125cm cards, find pictures or draw each item on a card. You can use the cards in several ways. One half of the card can be used for writing a description of the nature item, and the other half can be used for writing your observations of that thing. For example, find a picture of a wattle tree and glue it to the front of the card. Do some research in the library, on the Internet or from your own gardening books about wattle trees and record some information on the back of your card. Also write about your tree, what it is like - how tall, the size and shape of the leaves, flowers and seed pods, and the changes you notice during the year.

Store the cards in a card file or box made to suit in your Backyard Nature Learning Centre. This can be a shelf or table top with nature books, pencils, binoculars, to display things you've found in the garden and your card file. A nature card file is a great family project and teaches organization, observation and research skills.

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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.

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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


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