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.


Beginning to Home Educate Children with Learning Disabilities

© Vanessa Whittaker Dec 2007

When we began to home educate our children we discovered that our daughter could not read and struggled to recognise the alphabet. She was almost 8 and is quite intelligent individual and that intelligence had enabled her to develop all sorts of avoidance strategies when it came to reading anything. Following is a list of strategies we used to help her, and they were also very useful for her younger brother.

  1. We read aloud, together, everyday often several times a day. We would have them sit either side of us and use our fingers to track the words as we read.
  2. "Letterland" is a phonics program which was recommended to us by a teacher/librarian friend and a psychologist who did an assessment. Letterland introduces the letters of the alphabet with a rhyme. Eg 'K for Kicking King' and 'L for Lamp Lady'. It is amazing to me that my daughter found it easier to learn the alphabet this way than just straight alphabet. 'Letterland now have a range of resources available but can be rather expensive. We used the coloured alphabet book and I was given a copy of the blackline masters for my children to use.
  3. I bought posters of the 'first 100 words' and put them on the wall. (Then added the 2 nd and 3 rd 100 word posters. We left them on the wall for the children to use as a quick visual dictionary) We went through the words our daughter did know as I felt it was important to recognise them and from the others we supported her to learn five new words a week. (NOTE: we didn't ever call a word a 'hard' word, instead we used 'new' word, as we felt it was a word she didn't know, not a word she could not learn.) To learn these 5 words we did combinations of the following:
    • We provided magnetic letters for her to spell the words on the provided metallic board.
    • The children used Playdough. They made thin sausages and used them to form the individual letters of the words. This they did on the floor, on a table outside or inside. their choice.
    • I made up flashcards which s/he threw across the floor and jumped from letter to letter, saying aloud the name of each. OR we would throw the letters on the floor and she would jump from letter to letter spelling the words as s/he jumped OR we would throw flash card words on the floor and she would pause and spell each word as she jumped. If she spelled a word correctly it was taken from the pile, if not it was left in.
    • Using a glue spatula I formed letter shapes on card and quickly put sand on the top of the card, tipped off the excess sand and this left a rough alphabet letter on the card for her to rub her fingertip over and say the letter as she went. OR you could cut the letters from sandpaper and glue them onto card. Not as much fun, if the children helped make the sand letters.
    • She used thick chalk to write letters or her spelling list on the driveway cement. A chalkboard could be used as the reason is that they use their sense of touch in feeling the drag of the chalk on the rough surface. (This means a whiteboard does not offer the same advantage)
    • In her book, she would write out her words at least 5 times, each week.

      - as a word sum which would look like this jump = j+u+m+p = jump or kick = k+i+c+k = kick.

      - as a snake where the first letter is in the head and the last letter is in the tail with the letters in between in the body with lines drawn between each letter to make the snake's body segmented.

      - a train, with the first letter being the engine and each letter being a carriage. (The last letter may be the 'caboose' but not many of our trains use them anymore. )

      - using shape boxes. Can't do examples on the computer. J A letter 'h' would have a tall box on the line, while a letter 'a' would have a short box on the line and a letter 'y' would have a long box which goes under the line as well as in it. Each letter is written inside the box to spell each word.

      - she would look in the dictionary meaning, write it next to the word and then write a sentence.
    • When it came to word families such as adding 's', 'ed', 'ing' etc, we always did it big and in colour. I would used coloured A3 paper and put the base word in the centre using coloured texta and put a circle around it in a different colour. I taught them to put lines out from the centre, make a new smaller circle and add the new words in there. They would use the dictionary to help them if they got stuck.
  4. At the same time as this we introduced the "Phonics Fundamentals" Series. This is a series of four books, which are sequential and it is important to start with bk.1 and end with bk. 4. These are quite cheap, being about A$7-8 each. I purchased them from an education supply store here in SA but I have also seen them in Dymocks stores. These begin to introduce the sounds and rules of spelling phonetically. (For my children the 'whole word' method of teaching them to read and spell was a disaster but progress was made quickly with the phonics based programs) The books introduced a pattern in the activities and my daughter was so happy when she recognised the pattern and she could fly ahead and not need me to read the instructions to her.
  5. After these were completed we moved onto the "Spelling Matters" series. The student books cost about A$14. Again I usually bought ours from the local educational supply store but occasionally bought them from Dymocks for about the same price. "Spelling Matters", begins with a weekly spelling list and then activities for the week across a double page. The first page is for everyone with the second page considered extension work. We asked our children to complete both pages and again they had a pattern so eventually they were able to progress at their own pace. My daughter reached a plateau at the grade 5 book and so we had to find a different approach.
  6. At the same time as this, I bought the first set of "Fitzroy Readers" and the activity book. For people who want to know that their children are progressing, this set of readers are excellent. There are 70 reader divided into boxes of 10. Each box costs about A$55. Some may say expensive but if you divide it down each book costs just over A$5. And as we would prefer to buy books rather than ice-creams, lollies or those rides when we go out. money would go to books instead of the other things and occasionally I would buy bulk treats in the shopping list to have at home. The activity books cost about A$18 ea. They are not really photocopiable. In the activity book there were usually 7 activities per book covering spelling, grammar, etc and often included search words or crosswords which my children loved. At the end of the series the child should be able to cope at high school level.
  7. At about grade 5 we discovered "Lap booking". This is a type of unit approach where all subjects are covered under a topic. The children have a question to find the answer to and then create a mini-book to display the question and the information. This made the work appear manageable and not so overwhelming. There is a yahoo group for lap bookers and numerous sites for information if you want to do a web search. The yahoo group is very helpful in giving support and information, if you are trying to put a unit together, yourself. www.handsofachild.com sell lap books all ready to be printed off and then completed. There are also sites for freebies.

I hope that you have found this useful even though it is long. I guess I do need to say that for about the first two years of home education we focused very much on the reading, writing, spelling and math as we felt without those skills they would always struggle in the other areas of learning.

We still do lots of thematic units or topics and the children always have spelling lists related to the topics and most times still use some of the methods described above. We also still do a lot of reading aloud of books used in our work. The great thing that over the years instead of "MAKING" the children read, there came a time when they were confident enough to ask or tell me that they wanted to read the books to me instead. that was a moment where I felt huge satisfaction as it was always the unspoken goal.

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.