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Why I Home Educate
by April Jermey, 2016
Initially I chose to home educate because I knew that our son would never 'fit' in the public education system, and that I couldn't bear to see him broken by a system that wasn't made for him. He was born aware and bright, and as I watched him grow and learn, absorbing information like a sponge, I knew that not only was he different, but in many ways exceptional. He was a challenging toddler. He bit his baby sister and other children out of frustration. He went through a six-month long stage of banging his head on hard objects, and had a permanent bruise on his forehead. He crawled and walked early, but lacked coordination, and was often frustrated by that. He was often frustrated by many things, including myself and my inability to understand his needs. As I parent baby number three through the toddler years I recognise how little I understood my first born, not because he struggled to communicate, but because I was inexperienced in understanding him. As he got older, it became more obvious that he was highly sensitive, and reactive to stressful situations. He finds loud noises physically discomforting. Now six he still struggles with too many choices, he finds it stressful to make up his mind about simple daily tasks such as what to have for breakfast, or what to wear. He's an endless fount of knowledge on all things dinosaur, prehistoric, and fauna. He absorbs facts that interest him, like how many toes a microraptor had, but will have forgotten the three breakfast choices immediately after having heard them.
So as he got older, I soon came to realise how damaging the school environment would be for him. In order for him to fit in, there would be too much of a loss of who he is, and what makes him the way he is. As my peers' children started school, and the stories of how they were treated trickled through, I knew this was no place I could send my son. I couldn't let this system break my son's spirit in order to mould him into the sort of person who could get through that system.
I used to think and say that my daughter would be 'fine' in the system, but that I would home educate her because I was home educating her brother. As time has gone on, I have realised that while she'd be 'fine', there are so many better outcomes than 'fine'. She's a free spirit that never stops moving. She sings and dances constantly. At almost five she is only just learning some caution, but otherwise will give anything a go; climb any tree, catch a wild duck, introduce herself to anyone. She's fiercely independent, but with a strong affectionate streak, she loves fiercely without reserve. I just can't imagine her sitting in a classroom for hours on end, without becoming 'disruptive', and constantly getting into trouble would not be good for her spirit.
On the few occasions that my youngest and I have had a quiet few hours at home without his siblings, he has been distraught, he misses them dreadfully. While I know he'd acclimatise if this was his daily grind, why should he? His feelings highlight the very thing that makes home education so very special. We are a family unit, why should we be separated?
And so while I initially decided to home educate because I felt that I had to in order to give my son the best opportunities that he could have, I have come to realise that I want to be doing this, and so do my kids. We home educate because we want to, because it is the best option for us right now.
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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.
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'.
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