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The World Is Your Classroom!

© Beverley Paine

As an educating parent embarking on homeschooling you'll be relieved to learn that you don't need to turn a room into a classroom, unless you really want to of course!

Experienced home educators will happily tell you that most of your children's learning will happen in the family room or outside in the garden or the community - basically whereever you spend most of your time. Home educating kids thrive on the connection with their parents, enjoying the ability to chat and ask questions throughout the day. This 'conversational learning' forms the backbone of home education and shouldn't be undervalued.

A few well chosen educational texts and materials are all you generally need to buy. These are easy to find: department stores often stock popular grade level student workbooks, and this are usually of a reasonable quality and will get you started. If you want something that is specifically linked to the Australian Curriculum or state syllabus chances are you'll find something in your local bookstore, or going online and search for a specific subject, eg "Year 8 Science", to find a selection of educational suppliers. Subscribe to their newsletters - many have regular sales, including ebooks from as low as 99c each. Home educating doesn't have to cost much! Quality workbooks usually include instructions for the child to follow and may have test pages for evaluation too. You don't need one for each subject: aim to cover the basics for starters, for example spelling, grammar, science and maths.

Most of us have come to recognise school as the place where learning happens, but in reality our children learn wherever they happen to be! Obviously the home is important but it's not the only place: your child's learning environment also the local park, playground, shops, businesses, friends, educational institutions, in essence the whole community is one huge, expanding learning resource your child accesses to learn across all subjects in the curriculum.

Naturally this means that you aren't your child's only teacher... you're one of many! Learning is a social activity and children will learn from their siblings, friends, relatives, family friends, tutors, even strangers as they get out and about in the world.

A good question to ask yourself when preparing to home educate is "does my home look like a place where learning is valued and is always happening?"

Reasonable indicators that it is are:

  • book shelves with both fiction and reference books
  • supervised internet access
  • a space or place where children can work on their projects
  • educational games, toys and software
  • children's work and art on display
  • a place where children can leave their 'in progress' work
  • adequate and varied writing materials
  • places to play outside, outside games and equipment

It's also a home where children are listened to, have a say in their learning activities, and are happy to ask questions. You'll find that home educating children generally join in the conversations of adults, contributing information and asking questions confidently. They see adults as learning resources, people that help them understand the world and how it works.

Home educating doesn't have to cost much at all: it can cost as little or as much as you want. Some tips to keep the costs reasonble:

  • take advantage of the hundreds of free places to visit and enjoy
  • borrow books from your local library and games from the toy library
  • download free worksheets and lesson plans on the internet to suit whatever activity or topic your child is focusing on
  • refer to the Australian Curriculum, you'll find there are samples and sometimes even complete lesson plans
  • join a buy/sell/swap homeschool resources support group (find them listed in the national section of The Educating Parent Support Groups Resource Directory)
  • regularly visit your local op-shops for cheap pre-loved games and books
  • write on your calendar the date of any up-coming library book sales
  • buy resources when they are actually needed
  • start or join a cooperative to buy in bulk or share resources: the Australian Homeschool Collective Resources is such a group, where members organise group discounts to many online educational resources
  • join your local home educating support groups for ideas and activities
  • subscribe to home educating newsletters and magazines for support, encouragement, ideas - follow Beverley's blog on The Educating Parent

And when considering the cost of home educating, don't forget the money you save on school fees, lunch money, uniforms, etc! This can be put towards special educational purchases or experiences. For a rough idea on how much you are saving by not sending your child to a government or private school read The Good Schools Guide Survey.

For ideas on what resources you might need or want to help turn your home into a vibrant exciting place where learning continuously happens, buy a copy of Beverley's inexpensive but very comprehensive booklet Learning Materials for the Homeschool. Set out under curriculum subject headings are lists of materials and items that Beverley and others have found useful or helpful over the years. Use it as a guide - don't feel you have to have everything listed. Your resources should reflect your values and what is important to you and your children as they grow and learn.

For more articles related to this topic see:

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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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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

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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.

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