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

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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

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A Personal View on Being 'Gifted'

© Beverley Paine

I've alway found being gifted a burden - I'm convinced I'm not gifted enough and that sucks. I'm somewhere between normal and extraordinary - I never ever truly 'excel' at anything and that bugs me. I've been brought up to always do my best, but habitually only ever achieve 95%, which for most people would be brilliant and they'd be ecstatic to be able to do what I seem able to do with ease. But for me, because I'm driven by this external motivation to please others, deliver perfection (100% or A++) and always do the very best I can, achieve my potential, whatever that is, etc, etc, etc... I feel like an eternal failure.

I was identified as 'bright' and 'gifted' as a child. The teachers despaired because I looked eternally bored at school. I wasn't. I was somewhere else - in my head. I just have that kind of face. I look bored, or sad, or tired, unless I'm thoroughly engaged in a learning task, which is when I am truly enjoying myself. How can anyone be in that state in a classroom?

I remember, with absolute clarity, the look of disappointment on my year 11 teacher's face as he handed me back my assignment, with an 'A-'. 'A-' was always a failure to me. I was an 'A++' student, no less. A 'B' grade horrified me. A C and I felt depressed, ready to chuck it in. Failing year 12 hurt - but I'm so glad I began to abandon the need to fit into other people's ideas of who I should be halfway through that year and discover who I really am. People like me try to overcome the damage for the rest of their lives.

Although my abilities were paraded (Beverley as merit badge! - look at me, aren't I clever, I have a clever daughter!!!) no one took the time to help me identify my true strengths and value them enough to guide me into developing those abilities further. I found that as a bright kid adults had their own agendas about what was good for my future. Spending all day reading and writing fiction wasn't part of that. I had to be a scientist, a brain surgeon, or something along that vein - fame, prestige, university degrees, and a high paying job was the perceived end point of 'brightness'.

I remember desperately wanting to fail in grade 5, not only to win the kind of attention my not so bright (but artistically talented - again, not valued) sister had. Failure seemed the only way to be free of the pressure to perform.

I was one of those kids that enjoyed school, but year 12 was enough to put me off writing for a decade. It wasn't until I did a creative dance class as a young mum that I finally found a few words of poetry bubbling up from somewhere deep inside. I hugged those words and danced around the house for about an hour! It's been a long journey from there to published author. The wounds bite deep. I don't want to be gifted or talented because when you get there, when you do your best, they move the bar higher. If you are an author you have to be a JK Rowling or Steven King - the interest drops when people find out you're not on the best selling list.

I hate the cultural imperative in our western society that says we have win gold, nothing less. If you aren't first then you are a loser. I hate the phrase 'achieve his or her potential'. It's never enough. Bright kids work really hard to get there. It's not something they chose to do, they are driven by some innate force they can't turn off. I've spent my life wanting to turn that force off.

All children, from the tiniest babe, are alive with potential - but it's potential to grow and be and do, not anything in particular that we value or determine, but who they are. Given unconditional love, given selfless attention, a young person will spend his or her life learning about who he or she is, what they can do with ease and what is challenging. Given patient understanding and the time and space to discover this without external pressure to perform, he or she will learn that it's the challenging things that provide the most pleasure and satisfaction. Growing and learning and changing are exhilarating, breathless. Discovery and invention make the heart beat faster.

Kids naturally push themselves to grow - in all directions. We are the ones that place limits on that growth - consciously and unconsciously. I always feel the need to back off around children. I've intervened and pushed my face into their time and space, thinking I was 'helping them learn and grow' all too often. Kids need us to back off more than anything, but to be there, beaming our unconditional love and faith all the time, quietly in the background. They need that reassurance that we care enough to be there for them, like a safety net, to catch them sometimes, to let them fall at other times, and always to pick them up and set them on the course again, without judgement. That's what makes parenting the hardest job in the world.

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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.

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I've been reading your stuff for maybe 8 years or more now.
And I'm very grateful."

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It's been and gone but you don't have to miss out! Purchase the full set of recordings of the 2022 Australian Homeschool Summit, expert help from experienced Australian home educators, all you need to get your started and continuing on your homeschooling or unschooling adventure with your children! Over 30 workshops, downloads and more.

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

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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.

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200 pages of templates, planning pages, tables, prompts and record sheets to organise your whole year!

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