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


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.


Thoughts About "Thinking" and "Working" in Education: Natural Ability or Nurtured Skills?

© Beverley Paine

I'm starting to believe that 'nature' has far more to do with how we are than 'nurture'... I haven't done any research or study on the subject as that's not my learning style - I tend to think and work things out for myself and then seek confirmation from others that I'm on the right track. Interestingly enough, Thomas (youngest, 19) learns in much the same way.

I think that if we'd stayed in England (emigrated at the age of 4) and if I'd known my relatives I probably would have worked out if the above theory is true or not... Being totally isolated from my genetic family it's hard to see or find out which traits and interests run in the family, and which are encouraged purely by lifestyle, circumstance and opportunity.

Once upon a time I believed that learning to think was important - as in obtaining a general and liberal education. However, I now believe this is the quickest way to deaden a person's ability to think. It's a bit of an insult to tell anyone that they need to learn to think: thinking is something that we naturally do. Using our intelligence to create or problem solve - these are skills that can be built on and enhanced. From birth we've been brainwashed by well-meaning folk (a nice way of saying 'patronising') that we need to learn to think, thus we come to the conclusion very early on in life that we aren't very good at thinking, if we know how to do it all, that's it's a difficult task that must be learned carefully, and that there's a good chance we won't make the grade. It's actually much better if we rely on people that already have, the so-called 'experts'. We find these experts in great abundance as we grow up... The ones I distrust the most are the ones that tell us that we need to learn to think...

Okay. So I'm not keen on the learning to think idea. But what about learning how to work? Same story here. Look at any baby: is he or she not working hard to grow? To learn how to do many things? To conform to social custom and expectation? Is not her or his day packed with this kind of work? Look at a small child. She looks like she's playing, or even day dreaming. But we all know that she's trying to make sense of the world around her, imitating the 'work' of adults, practising so that she too can complete meaningful tasks as she grows. We all day dream - the genesis of brilliant creative ideas, problem solving, reflecting on emotional and moral issues, and so on.

From infancy we think and we work. It's all we really do. It's how we're made. That's what life is about. The 'how' of thinking and working is a reflection of our natures together with the cumulative effect of experiences. I suspect that how we learn from our experiences is coloured by our innate nature. Which is why I'm beginning to think that nature is more dominant in the nature/nurture debate.

Some of us like to 'think' more than 'work'. I'm an ideas person and I like to sit around dreaming up work for others. It's what I'm good at. But I'm good at working too, and what's more, I see my 'thinking' as 'working'.

I suspect that extensive knowledge has much less to do than the way in which we are educated, and more to do with an innate thirst for knowledge and understanding, which will lead us to quest after education in the first place. Not all people are born with this thirst. I suspect that small children with this need are probably known for their inquisitiveness and/or attentiveness as small children...

The way I see it, what many people call their ability to 'think' - especially in respect to common sense and common knowledge - is probably actually more accurately termed the ability to 'reflect': this is something I find undeveloped in many people. It's not surprising. Evaluating - a closely related concept - is something we are not really encouraged to develop as children. We are taught to rely on experts. We're not encouraged to test our own theories of life, the universe and everything. That would make schools just about redundant!

The more schools try to get close to a curriculum that encourages children to reflect, evaluate, and test their theories, the harder it is to determine if education, en masse, is effective. Societal need to measure the educational progress of children dumbs down the whole school system. Progressive curricula are replaced by 'back to basics' teaching methods. For some reason, it's not possible to do both at once... in a school setting, anyway. It's dead easy if children are allowed to learn in a natural environment such as the home, surrounded by a community with it's immensely rich array of working folk, all of them thinking and doing everyday!

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."

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?

Access 228 plus workshops and presentations from all of the Australian Homeschool Summits subscription membership, expert advice tips and resources online in the comfort of your own home in your own time everything you need to plan and register with ease!

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.

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

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

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!

Beverley's books are excellent for building confidence as a home educator says Tracey, homeschooling mum.

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.