What is 'on topic' on an unschooling support group?
by Beverley Paine
The question was asked what's 'on topic' for an unschooling support group?
We share all sorts of experiences, thoughts and opinions on this group and that's wonderful because it is through social exchanges such as this that we learn and grow: what stops that learning and growing process is judgment.
Replies that express judgment on another member's unschooling or parenting practices, or their beliefs, are not supportive. They aren't helpful. Approval or disapproval is not supportive.
Some topics naturally press people's emotional buttons: they are topics in which we have invested considerable emotional energy and feel very strongly about. We are ready to defend our views and opinions or feel duty-bound to promote the idea. We feel rejection of our views, ideas or opinions as personal criticism. We react defensively.
Conducted with respect debates are valuable as tools for learning and growing: trouble is, we're all at different stages of recovery from our personal schooling and parenting experiences and many of us find it difficult to not react defensively to comments that can be interpreted as judgments on what they say, do, and believe, their values.
So what's 'on topic'? I suggest that members ask themselves how much emotional energy they have invested in a subject before posting. Or ask why they want to post a comment on a topic. If the answer is 'very invested', or 'because others should know about this', perhaps the motive is less about being supportive and more towards promoting personal beliefs with the aim of converting others to the cause.
It's not the topic that flags some subjects as 'off topic': it's the tendency for responses to wander in disrespectful and non-supportive tones or content; and the potential for emotionally invested judgmental comments and reactions.
Once again, it's about support. Ask yourself, how will this post support others in their unschooling lives? Focus on the word 'support': being told something is good for us rarely feels like support whereas someone sharing how something worked or met a need for them, gives encouragement and reassurance. Personalise your posts if you are linking to an article - not just with a comment, but how the topic affected your unschooling life, how it helped to reinforce your unschooling practices and beliefs.
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
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.
"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
and Unschooling Pack
Each Pack contains a copy of the following:
Natural Learning Answers
A5 or A4
Learning Naturally Diary
Learning Maths Naturally
A Sample Approved Natural Learning Program and Review
Only $29 or $33
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!