What We'd Do Differently if We Could Start Again...
© Beverley Paine
We began homeschooling way back in 1986 when April turned six... of course we'd been educating her since her birth but we didn't know that then. Roger was four and Thomas a couple of weeks old.
Like most families we started off doing what we knew best, what we knew would work: school-at-home. Robin and I were classed as 'bright students' at school, who 'should do well'. Despite our brilliant start, he failed university and I failed Matriculation! This usually surprises people - most assume we're tertiary educated. Well, you have to be tertiary educated to even think about homeschooling your children, don't you? Not at all! Anyone can teach their children. Everyone has something of value that they can teach... But homeschooling isn't just about teaching. It's about learning. And that was the first lesson our very young teachers - our children - taught us, way back in 1985.
How we start homeschooling our children usually looks nothing like how we finish homeschooling our children. That's how it was with us. When our youngest was in his late teens I rather belatedly discovered the Charlotte Mason approach to education, and more recently think that Enki seems to blend the best of the Steiner and Montessori approaches. I'm envious of new homeschoolers - there is so much experience to draw on and so many curriculum resources available specifically written for homeschoolers. It would be so cool to be starting out now!
At the annual Home Education CampFEST we're going to talk about what we'd do differently knowing what we do now. It's a tough topic and in our usual style we're brutally honest about our journey. We're not an ideal family, we're a real family. We can't go back. We live with the consequences of our actions. Our children live with the consequences of our actions. How does it all turn out? Is it what we wanted or expected? For some families homeschooling is over once their children become adults. I'm still asking questions about the educational process.
Some people may know of me as a natural learning advocate. It's an interesting concept and I've got lots of ideas about learning naturally. I like to think I have evolved a different definition of natural learning, one that puts the parent in the centre of focus along with the child. I'm no 'delight-driven' 'child-centred' natural learning proponent! But I am a fan of John Holt's writing on the subject of education, and you'll find that blended with my particular brand of conservative parenting style.
We'd like to spend some time talking about the role of fathers in home educating families. For more than a decade we thought that Robin's role was peripheral to our home education experience. Even now Robin isn't convinced that he had much to do with the education of his children, despite the very real evidence!
I think that we tend to undervalue the people resources around us as we clamour to access bigger and better material resources. Once upon a time education was very people focussed: we learned through talking and doing together: through first-hand, hands-on, primary experiences. Little children still learn like that. Big children can too. So can adults. Homeschooling takes us back to real, effective learning.
I wrote before that we're a 'real' family. Homeschooling was easy: five of us living together under the one roof wasn't! When times got tough, as they often did, friends would urge us to take a break, put the children into school. My health let us down all the time. We lived frugally through necessity. We burned the candle at both ends. We didn't cope. For a long time we felt that we were blundering around in the dark with only a pin-point of light to reassure us. Would we ever get there intact? Would our children learn to hate us for homeschooling them? Hmmm. It's hard talking about our sense of failing, but it's real, it happened, you'll feel like that too, and it's not the end of the world and it's not the end of homeschooling either.
Twenty years is a long time to get something right, to make it work and work well. We'd like to share with you the things that worked well for us. The things that made homeschooling easy, such as how to create an environment where learning happens effortlessly, without anyone even realising learning is happening!
We've got a lot to say about homeschooling and a lot of experiences to share. But our way is simply one way - it's really only our way. Your way will be different. If you come away from chatting with us with a few tips and ideas you can use on your home educating journey, if we can help you solve a few nagging problems, it will make our day.
We probably won't get to talk to you all individually, but please come up and introduce yourselves - that way, when we email I can (hopefully) put a face to a name and then we'll truly be friends!
Beverley (and Robin) Paine
Was this article helpful? Was it worth $1.00 to you?
Your gift of $1 or more helps to keep this site operating
and reassurance to families
better outcomes for their children.
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." Vanessa
"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!" Davina
"Your guidance, understanding, support and words of
wisdom changed our lives. We now offer support and
organise many homeschooling events for others." Lesley
"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
in the morning, I 've been encouraged!" Louisa
"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." Gythaa
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 ?
Over 1000 reassuring and
informative articles to help
build your confidence as an Educating Parent
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
3 ESSENTIAL STEP BY STEP GUIDES
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!
"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
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.
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.
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!