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Looking for support, reassurance and information?
Got a question? Need to connect with other families like yours?
Rest assured, you aren't alone! Tens of thousands of Australian children are learning from home. Help and advice from experienced home educators is at hand through one the many online support groups available.
Get to know and chat to Beverley online through her groups:
Also, be sure to download our FREE Support Group Resource Directory to find nearby groups in your town, region or state.
Beverley lives a busy life helping her children home educate their children. She also has a massive garden and is passionate about growing and propagating plants. She's also a little shy, not much into phone conversations, and prefers to connect with others through her groups, where she can share answers to questions with many other parents. Over the past 30 years she's probably answered your questions dozens, if not hundreds, of times...
To ask her a question please join The Educating Parents group.
Way back in 1988, after only a couple of years of home educating, Beverley started her very first support group, probably the first home educating support group in South Australia. With help from a friend she began the SA Home Based Learning Newsletter which has been in continuous production and still provides support and connection to hundreds of home educating families in that state.
There are many advantages to belonging to a homeschooling support group. The most obvious is the opportunity for children to benefit from contact with other children and to help them cope with being different. Because no matter how we look at it home educated children are different from school children, and can feel this keenly. Children need contact with other children to grow and develop socially. I am not talking specifically here about socialisation but about learning social skills, learning how to communicate and express themselves confidently and assertively. This is first learned in the home but as children grow they need others to practice on and to refine their skills to wider social settings. Homeschooling support groups offer the kind of environment that allow this to happen safely.
Another important advantage of a support group is the confidence it brings to the homeschooling parent. Groups allow the opportunity to share experiences, ideas and resources. Often parents are the ones who feel most different from their peers, shut off from many of the usual avenues of support available in the community, especially if there are specific health or learning problems in the family. Just hanging out with like minded others and realising that we all share the same trials, tribulations, joyful and insightful moments with our children help us to feel more 'normal'.
Continue to read about the advantages to belonging to a home educating support group, as well as other ideas about growing your own homeschooling or unschooling social network or community hub.
Starting and belonging to a group helps to grow the home education movement. Activism doesn't have to be loud campaigns seeking solutions to immediate problems; a softer form of activism exists in which ongoing education, mentoring, coaching and training, writing and journalism and facilitation of discussions work continuously to effect change. I take heart noticing the hundreds of organised events and activities by home educating families across Australia. Getting together and sharing our experiences is the simplest but probably most powerful form of home education activism.
Homeschool co-operatives (co-ops) are becoming more popular in Australia. It's easy to start a learning club. Two or more families get together to study and learn a particular curriculum subject. It can be anything: learning another language, geography, biology, nature study, even boat building! How many families become involved usually depend on the ages and number of the children.
This type of group can form spontaneously form in a group of friends whose children have similar educational needs or interests. They work best when the children in the group really want to be there, rather than simply tagging along to keep mum or dad happy. Groups can operate for a short specified period, depending on the learning tasks involved, or run for months or years. It's rare that new members will join a highly structured group that is following a sequential course. However, because most groups cater to mixed age range and developmental stages, they are fairly flexible. Some clubs may limit numbers and participants to suit the purpose of the club; for example, a teens' literature appreciation club, or preschool age homeschool playgroup.
List your group in The Educating Parents Resource Directory. Published annually this free downloadable e-book includes information about getting started with home education, support groups, competitions, the BIG book list, Aussie blogs, as well as a directory of businesses owned and run by home educating families.
Interested in starting your own support group? Grab a copy of Beverley's comprehensive and practical guide Building a Homeschool Community, How to Start a Group.
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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'.
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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Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
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