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

HomeAbout Blog Articles Curriculum Resource Directory Shop Kids Pages Facebook

Download our FREE The Educating Parent Resource Directories today! Plus... more FREE resources!

Free download a quick guide to getting started with homeschooling and unschooling by Beverley Paine The Educating Parent in this excellent Resource Directory


Download for FREE this huge collection of links to online Australian homeschool and unschool support groups in this special The Educating Parent Resource Directory by Beverley Paine

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

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

Looking for support, reassurance and information?
Join Beverley's The Educating Parents Homeschooling and Unschooling Facebook online group.


The Art of Education

by Linda Dobson

Reviewed by Beverley Paine

My life's passion is summed up in Linda Dobson's opening to her anniversary edition of The Art of Education : " I'm forever a homeschool advocate, because I know life and learning beyond the confines of school make for happier, healthier, saner adults with a strong sense of purpose and the ability to thrive and attain success to the best of their abilities, and I want to see as many families and children benefit from the practice as possible."

It is said that we're lucky if, during our education, we have access to one or two teachers who have a special ability to 'switch on' learning in his or her students: Dobson is such a teacher, and continues to be one of my treasured home education mentors. For learning doesn't stop once we become adults and we need mentors of this caliber throughout our lives.

Why is Linda Dobson special? What does she have that other teachers lack? Trust. Dobson trusts that a learner can and will learn. And her respect and concern for children is genuine and heart-felt. Those characteristics, together with her ability to see and act beyond her own immediate interests and needs to that of a nation, give me hope.

And we need hope: while business reaps the benefits of information and communication technology, public education views it with suspicion or worse, misuses and abuses it to spy on children or reduce learning to meaningless and competitive league tables. Good intentioned but ill-informed educational reform adds confusion and cost. Public education in the USA is no longer sustainable. Her plea, for families to make sure their children 'get an education instead of schooling', is an agenda that will be increasingly heard as schools continue to fail.

A proponent of self-education, Dobson is convincing - path which will build confidence as autonomous learners. her message - "we, the people, must teach ourselves" - states the obvious, but it is a reality that society has been lulled into letting go while governments imposed a massive and failed experiment - that of compulsory public education - upon us.

The Art of Education begins with a consideration of the 'real business' of schooling: the "subsumption of the individual. the [modification of] natural, individual expression into a socially acceptable sameness." When home educated parents are asked 'aren't you worried about socialisation?' it is this that people are talking about, not the acquisition of social skills. It amazes me how often this is the first and most loudly voiced protest against the concept of home education - academic education, civic responsibility and personal fulfillment are sadly of lesser concern.

Few of us start home educating by defining 'education' or critically analysing the concept or purpose of schooling. Many families are refugees from the school system, reluctantly starting on this path because school has failed their children. The Art of Education questions the assumptions we make about schooling, the way it is structured and its methods and purpose. People who feel damaged by their personal school experiences will rejoice and feel liberated by the messages in this book. Those who enjoyed school or who found it to be a refuge from a less-than-happy home-life may feel challenged by its strident anti-school language. But if we put aside our personal biases and read the text objectively there is much to offer any parent, for the subject is not purely 'education': There is much in this book to guide our parenting practice towards a more holistic, healthy and happy relationship with our children well beyond their childhood.

" When education is art, the journey is the education." By drawing on the metaphor of education as art instead of business, Dobson makes a compelling case which, through demonstrating the huge differences between schooling and education, asks us to change our perspective about notions of 'success'.

An examination of the Self reveals those factors which create our lives: social conditioning, experiences, nurture, genetics, etc. Dobson places an emphasis on social factors, examining the imperatives these implant in our minds and which drive our desires - wealth, duty, compulsion, reliance and dependency on 'experts' and overly excessive administration and bureaucratization - to show us "how society's institutions cleverly encourage conformity and complacency".

Education to prepare one for adult life Dobson argues needs to be more than "feeble attempts at intellectual stimulation and preparation for jobs". How does home education offer more? Dobson answers by examining the gift of time, real connection with others, a focus on self-knowledge and self-understanding rather than selfishness, understanding the difference 'learning' and 'training', and the role of context and meaningful purpose, achievable within a home educating framework.

She offers a chilling summary of the damage to society inflicted by schooling: " Schools condition adults (parents) to raise capital instead of kids. Parents disconnect from kids. Schools take over even more parenting responsibilities. Parents disconnect further from kids. Schools call in social services to repair the trauma. Parents disconnect even further from kids. Schools do even more of what they already do. And then those children have children." She blames schools obsessive attention on competitiveness, reward and punishment and argues that we need to shift our focus to "family-centred, parent (adult)-powered lifestyle patterning". We can do this by noticing, examining and changing our priorities - what matters and what does not matter - and by taking conscious control of the actions which direct our lives. The Art of Education not only provides a tool for doing this, but takes you further by helping you develop, step-by-step, your own personal educational philosophy for your family. From there Dobson expands the horizons of homeschooling, dispelling some of the most persistent and inaccurate myths. Far from the concept of children learning in isolation at home with mom as teacher, home education is centred in community learning with interaction with people of all ages and from all walks of life.

Although aimed primarily at an American audience, this book has much to offer families around the world worried about the fate of their children or when considering their educational choices.

Dobson peppers this text with insights and advice aimed at making the transition from schooling to unschooling easier for parents, not with the authoritative teaching voice we are familiar with but as a friend, a mother, someone deeply concerned with our well-being. Her helpful attitude and personal, 'I'm on your side' tone is both encouraging and reassuring. The practical tips, advice and insights give the reader appropriate, achievable and immediate actions to take. Common sense starting points reveal just how easy and simple homeschooling can be.

The Art of Education is a powerful and passionate plea for parents to take stock of what's happening in their homes and communities. It's also a blueprint for taking control, reclaiming the lost territory of family and community responsibility.

back to Book Reviews

Was this article helpful? Was it worth $1.00 to you? Your gift of $1 or more helps to keep this site operating offering encouragement and reassurance to families wanting better outcomes for their children.

Thank you for your gift contribution!

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."

"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!"

"Your guidance, understanding, support and words of
wisdom changed our lives. We now offer support and
organise many homeschooling events for others."

"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
2am in the morning, I 've been encouraged!"

"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."

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

Welcome to the World of Home Education
and Learning without School!

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

Tap into Beverley's experience through her books

"Your books, your blogs helped me beyond words...
they helped me to find comfort in knowing it is ok to choose
exactly what is best for my family." Nisha

"Your books and information are mind blowing and already
I am feeling good about this new experience." Diane

Connect with Beverley and ask questions
through her online The Educating Parents Homeschooling and Unschooling Facebook support group.

purchase Beverley's practical and common sense books on homeschooling and unschooling
"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

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.

complete comprehensive step by step program that teaches you how to craft your ultimate homeschool

Australia's best home education consultant, let Tamara Kidd guide and help you prepare your home education registration application or review

Online science lessons for primary school aged home educating children

Teach Maths in the way that children learn with MathsUSee by MathsAustralia

30% discount for purchases from ReadyEd Publications when you use the code 'homeschool' at  the checkout

reset your mindset for homeschooling success with deschooling essentials a quick course to help build your confidence as an educating parent

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

subscription video art lessons by Australian artist

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.

animated Australian flag

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!

Beverley's books are excellent for building confidence as a home educator says Tracey, homeschooling mum.

Support Centre
Contact Us | Join a Support Group | Beverley's Books | Resource Directory | Blog | Donate

About The Educating Parent
Beverley Paine | April Jermey and Always Learning Books | Advertise with us


What is Home Education Why Home Educate Getting Started & Registering Different Ways to Home Educate
Life as a Home Educator Resources & Support Teens and Beyond Curriculum and Teaching Tips
Unschooling & Natural Learning Travelling & Home Educating Other: just for fun, general, etc Children's Pages

animated smiling face Thank you for visiting!

Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
The opinions and articles included on this website are not necessarily those of Beverley and Robin Paine,
nor do they endorse or recommend products listed in contributed articles, pages, or advertisements.
This website uses browsing cookies and conducts other means to collect user information in order to display contextual ads.
Text and images on this site © All Rights Reserved 1999-2022.