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

HomeAboutArticles Curriculum Resource DirectoryShopKids PagesFacebook

Registration - State by State - Guides: VICNSWQLDSAWATASACTNT

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
Introduction to
Home Education

Free download Beverley's huge list of books about homeschooling and unschooling in her special edition of The Educating Parent Resource Directory
BIG List of Books
about Home Ed

Download for FREE this huge collection of links to online Australian homeschool and unschool support groups in this special The Educating Parent Resource Directory by Beverley Paine
National and State
Support Groups

Help support fellow home educating families earn a living or add your business to this very popular The Educating Parent Resource Directory by Beverley Paine
Home Educating
Families in Business

Over 80 blogs by Australian homeschooling and unschooling families are listed in this FREE The Educating Parent Resource Directory by Beverley Paine, download and email to add your blog to the list today
Aussie Homeschool
and Unschool Blogs

Looking for support, reassurance and information?
Join Beverley's The Educating Parents Homeschooling and Unschooling Facebook or Yahoo online groups.


Unpreschooling, part 4 schedule versus routine

by Beverley Paine

The other day, as you were explaining that your little one wasn't enrolled in preschool because you intended home educating her, your sister-in-law asked how you structured your day and if you had a schedule. Her baby had been born three weeks before your little one's baby brother and she confesses that she often finds the adjustment to parenthood overwhelming, and sometimes longs for the calm structure and organisation of the office life she'd given up.

Her comment makes you reflect. Most people thrive on the security of knowing when things will happen: it offers them a sense of being in control. As an adult you feel happiest whenever everything you've planned slots into place without too much hassle. You say this to your sister-in-law and she says she finds it's the unexpected disruptions which delay planned activities that cause the most friction and frustration as she tries to catch up. You both agree that the best thing about becoming stay-at-home mothers was leaving the dreaded deadlines behind! You go on to say that the freedom from arbitrary schedules and deadlines was one of the things that attracted you to the idea of unschooling your little one. You love the flexibility of not having a rigid schedule that demands to be adhered to and prefer instead the natural routine that has evolved around meeting the needs of you and your little ones and your family life. You both ponder on the differences between schedules and routines and agree that, because they are not rigid but are adaptable, routines make more sense, noticing that little people naturally develop their own routines: things that happen at the same or similar times most days. Because the routine is flexible it is usually easy to schedule in specific activities with some notice. You mention that your little one seems to thrive when there is a basic pattern to each day and will often remind you that something needs to be done. In fact, lately she's been playing a game of guessing the time and asking you to check what the clock says it is.

Later, after your sister-in-law has left and it's time to prepare dinner, you are still thinking about the whole idea of routines and schedules. It would be convenient if your little one was ready to clear away the DUPLO blocks that have invaded the kitchen floor. She's happily humming a little song as she repetitively pushes a boat with an elephant back and forth by the fridge. You suspect from that far-away look in her eyes that she's thinking about something important and don't want to disturb her. Not just yet. Your time frame in which you want to cook the dinner is really an arbitrary deadline that doesn't have to be met: dinner time is a routine not a schedule. You think of all the times you've been interrupted when deep in thought and are glad to be able to give your little one these extra few moments. And sure enough, a few minutes later as you dig out the large saucepan your little girl returns from wherever she was and gets excited about helping you chop the carrots.

Sometimes you feel unbelievably frustrated and wish you can simply get on and do the things you need to do without waiting ever-so patiently yet again for your little one to let you go: you've read the book three times; pulled apart and built the same puzzle a few more; and sung and performed the actions to the nursery rhyme over a dozen times stopping only to catch your breath. It's boring! But for your little one, repetition is necessary and fun: it's one of the main ways in which she learns. She beams a huge smile up at you and says, "Again! Again!" and giggles, knowing that you are frustrated but enjoying this little moment of control over you. It's a game of give and take and it helps you bond, building trust in each other. And sometimes neither of you have a choice, sometimes baby brother's needs come first, and these moments with your little one is precious.

It's almost impossible to stick to a schedule with these little bundles of joy in your life. You pencil in appointments, shopping trips, playgroup and arrange a baby sitter for date night. Everything else slots in around these locked-in events and you're careful not to fill your calendar with too many outings. Between those and having friends over for play-dates you reflect that you really don't have time to have a schedule. Your routine is special and needs to be protected. You and your children need it. It provides a sense of security and calmness to your life, enabling you to handle and manage the unexpected and providing space for the spontaneous to arise and be enjoyed.

And without that space, those large chunks of unscheduled time, you'd never fit in everything you have to do into your day. Those precious free pockets of time - when baby is napping and little one is occupied - are yours to fill with whatever you want: a moment's snatched meditation, a few yoga stretches, folding the laundry, cleaning the mouth and finger prints off the sliding door glass, chopping the veggies or chatting to friends online. Sure, there are days when it all goes pear-shaped and any semblance of routine is tossed out the window. Days when you rely on your network of friends to help mind the kids, bring over a casserole, lend a hand and give you a hug, reassure you that these days will pass. Overall however, somehow it all seems to fall into place and work. The more relaxed you get about it and trust, the easier it is to slip into and maintain a routine that is based on your family's needs and works for you all.

See also Unpreschooler part one value of play, part two tuning in and trusting , part three the art of strewing, unpreschooler favourite toy shops

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

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 ?

Over 1000 reassuring and informative articles to help
build your confidence as an Educating Parent

Join Home Education Australia group: one space to share information, resources links and

You are invited to join Home Education Australia!
One well-organised space to find and share information,
resources links and more to support all home educators
across Australia, including a directory of posts and threads , where you can source all your needs related to home education and find what others are seeking and finding within Australia.

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

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.

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

Connect with Beverley and ask questions
through her online The Educating Parents Homeschooling and Unschooling Facebook and Yahoo support groups.

purchase Beverley's practical and common sense books on homeschooling and unschooling
"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

Teach Maths in the way that children learn with MathsUSee by MathsAustralia

30% discount for purchases from ReadyEd Publications when you use the code 'homeschool' at  the checkout

Help your child to learn how to play music with our app and children's books to them started - I Learning Music and Fun in the Music Room

Stocking all of Beverley Paine's, the educating parent's, books!

Click here for music lessons for students with autism and other needs Spectrum Music Studio

music lessons tailored to your home educating students needs in Joondalup Perth WA the only homeschool reading development which combines neurosciencebased exercises with voice recognition technology, platypus power reading program Click here to go to Learning Enrichment Studio Fostering Students Academic Potential

Natural Learning
and Unschooling Pack

Each Pack contains a copy of the following:
Natural Learning
Natural Learning Answers
A5 or A4
Learning Naturally Diary
Learning Maths Naturally
A Sample Approved Natural Learning Program and Review

Only $29 or $33
Select A4 or A5 Diary

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 Other: just for fun, general, etc 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.
Site Map. Text and images on this site © All Rights Reserved 1999-2020.