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 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


Free directory of Australian homeschooling and unschooling support groups organised by national, state and territories

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

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


Self University

by Charles D. Hayes

Reviewed by Grace Chapman
Grace, homeschooling mother of three, edited and produced Stepping Stones for Home Educators, a national Australian homeschool newsletter, for over a decade.

"The price of tuition is the desire to learn. Your degree is a better life."

With our eldest child fast approaching adulthood our attention has naturally been drawn to more practical consideration of what to plan for her adult life. Natural learning, that is, following the children's and family's interests, has been our way of life. I don't see why anything should change. I think the children should continue following their interests. But our eldest child is not so sure! Now that her teenaged school friends are talking about choosing university courses and/or jobs in the pursuit of a career, she's wondering what she should be doing.

Thus I was drawn to this book written by American, Charles D. Hayes. By the way, this book is a result of the author's own self-education. He attended school but by the time he was seventeen and dropped out to join the Marines, he found school had not prepared him for the Marines or for work life afterward. He had left school with a strong dislike for formal learning.

In a sober, easy manner Hayes outlines, explains and supports his ideas simply, with the support of theories and real life practical examples. He closes each chapter with a brief summary of his main points. I appreciated following his train of thought, he is balanced in his reasoning and presentation of information.

The book is presented in four parts. Part One discusses why we are the way we are.

Part Two discusses the personal sciences and the people sciences, including theories of human behaviour, motivation, life stages, the search for meaning, sociology, politics, management and a range of topics associated with being human. Part Three looks deeply at credentialism: its effects on us personally and on our society. Part Four offers practical advice ranging from understanding personality theories and improving your memory to creating your own credentials and deciding whether or not you should go back to school.

The book doesn't have to be read from cover to cover. I still turn to it now, flicking through pages and settling in wherever the page opens. The book is not prescriptive nor is it flippant. Its underlying philosophy is that when self-knowledge is at the hub of our life's focus, anything is achievable and that is the style in which Hayes presents his ideas. He gives a broad base of information, encouraging us to make our own informed decisions about how to plan our lives through self-knowledge.

Here are some of my favourite quotes from the book:

"I am convinced that there is no greater way to learn than the process of self-directed inquiry." (Preface, page xiv)

"The great paradox of self-education is that when you think you know, you don't; when you know you don't, you do and the more you learn, the more comfortable you become with how little you know. Meanwhile you gain an extraordinary amount of intrinsic satisfaction with the whole process." (Preface, page xvi)

And this is one of my favourites; especially for the numerous people I meet who feel so inadequate because they didn't get a high school certificate.

" A person need not be apologetic about any lack of "formal" credential, because what's possible through self-education can be so much better." (Introduction, page xxi)

"It is my belief that self-education through self-directed inquiry is a natural way to gain control over your life. Self-education leads to self-empowerment. Self-empowerment is the ability to provide your own definition of success, thereby allowing you to know when you have reached your goal and have become a "graduate student" of Self-University." (Introduction, page xxiv)

".. learning in an authoritative environment taught us to be dependent upon that authority, but when we begin to search for knowledge for its own sake, we find ourselves immune to intimidation of those in authority. Learning for its own sake has a very natural reward - the thrill of understanding." (Page 45)

When reading through Part Two (The People Sciences), I was impressed to see that Hayes addressed the "should" issue that has driven our daughter to think she must conform after so many years of living freely. It's a life stage!

Hayes looks briefly at the major schools of psychology. It's good to see so many familiar names (Such as Freud, Adler, Jung, Watson, Skinner, Maslow) briefly condensed and compared with each other in order to relieve us of the confusions that come from so many different theories. On page 65 he reminds us that many of these theories underlie assumptions we make in our society. For example, Harry Chapin's song "Cat's in the Cradle" - the song of the father who is too busy for his growing son finds that in old age the roles are reversed and his son is too busy for the father - an example of the theory of behaviourism.

Hayes points out that "An understanding of the personal sciences, their limitations and their truths, significantly reduces our vulnerability to the various forms of mysticism. A major thesis of this book is that belief must be based on good reasons. It does not mean we can never trust authority, but simply that we should not do so blindly. It is neither practical nor desirable to think we must go through life having to prove everything to ourselves, or that we can never place our trust in others. But it is equally impractical to assume that we will not often require proof or that we should not question the authority in which we have placed our trust. The object is not to weaken belief, but to discover and strengthen it through the maturation of conviction ." (page 77) and

"When we examine our cultural conditioning, the theories we hold about human nature, and our personal experience, and then consider their effects, we are able to see more clearly and objectively in our search for meaning. When we try to understand psychology, the process inevitably leads to philosophical questions which in turn leaf to the development of a constructive philosophy of life." (page 82)

Part Three discusses credentialism, particularly relevant to us as home educators is Haye's discussion of tests. (page 150) "Tests can be a valuable aid in determining what remains to be taught or what may have been misunderstood, but they are inadequate as an indicator of the student's future ability." He points out that "The process of self-education is free of grades and tests. It is based on cooperation. But we are still faced with offering proof of our competence if we expect to use the knowledge we have acquired in the workplace."

"To be dealt with effectively, the problem of credentials must be understood. Today many people pursue credentials that make little economic sense. The pursuit of the credential often costs more that can be recovered, and in some cases will not even produce a job. The fast times we live in are full of brick walls, though some have large windows of opportunity. Before you can recognize opportunity, you must understand yourself well enough to know what it is you want to do. Not knowing what we really want to do exacts a penalty. Unless we discover our right livelihood by accident, we are condemned to engage in work activities for which we continually run out of enthusiasm. People who approach employers with little idea of what they are looking for have little hope of being perceived as a valuable addition to the staff. Experienced employers know that credentials are not always a reliable indicator of future performance ."( page 209)

Practical advice on how to document your credentials, looking at personality theories, tips for improving your memory, learning through our environment, books and resource directories are included in Part Four.

As homeschoolers we talk about documenting our children's studies. Hayes recommends that adults who need to prove themselves (for promotion or application for university or a job, etc) attend a course on Portfolio Development. Once again he reinforces that one of the most powerful gains from conducting such an exercise is that you acknowledge who you are through your goals and your achievements. A brief outline of the steps he took through a course:

Portfolio Development

In my opinion, the best way to prove your competence to gain employment or a promotion is to follow a method like the one used in pursuing non-traditional degrees: simply identify and then document your experiential learning.

  • Formulate a goal statement
  • Prepare a chronological resume
  • Write an autobiography
  • A worksheet
  • A reading list
  • A competency statement
  • Submit a request for college credit in recognition of the experiential learning that you have documented.

Your goal statement would simply be an effort to clarify your intentions by describing specifically what it is you want to accomplish. If you have difficulty beginning, start by eliminating what you know that you don't want to do.

The next step is a chronological resume that is a complete history of your work life. This is for you, not an employer. List each job that you have ever held and what you did specifically. It doesn't matter how many pages it takes.

The next step is to write an autobiography. I thought this was silly and almost talked myself out of doing it, but I am glad that I went ahead. Writing your own autobiography in ten to thirty pages is an exercise that takes a lot of discipline, at least it did for me. It is, however, an extremely valuable experience to help clarify your basic orientation to the future by putting the past in better perspective. After you write your autobiography you may have to go back and adjust your goal statement because of the insight you received from your experience.

Whether or not you intend to follow such a plan, I highly recommend three books. Two are by Richard Bolles: What Color Is Your Parachute? and The Three Boxes of Life. The third is Self-Directed Learning by Malcolm Knowles. There is no need to try to repeat the advice that they have already given so clearly. Besides, it would take three more books. These guides will be invaluable to you in making career decisions."

So, what did I gain from reading Charles D Hayes book? A healthy respect for living intelligently. I have naturally chosen to learn through Self-University. His words reminded me to always maintain a balance between using my head and my heart to make decisions. First and foremost is the importance of self-knowledge. I think he reinforced this on every page in one way or another. It's the foundation of living a full life. Know who you are, know how you think, know what drives you, know everything about yourself, then you will understand others and you will be able to act with conviction.

In closing, as a further example of how open minded this writer is and winding us back to my original concerns when I began reading his book, "With all the negative effects that I have attributed to pedagogy you might expect me to denounce traditional colleges and universities and advise you to avoid them, but I will not. On the contrary, I believe that for today's adults, colleges and universities become treasure houses filled with never-ending rewards." (page 133)

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."

image is 3 workbooks for parents set on a background showing bushland, DIY home ed curriculum planning, recording, evaluating, write your own curriculum
Want to learn how to write your own education plans
to suit your unique children's individual learning needs?

Or you are looking for quality curriculum and teaching tips...

Comprehensive 3 workbook 'how to home ed' course
covering the essential skills you need
successfully home educate your children



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


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

"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
purchase Beverley's practical and common sense books on homeschooling and unschooling
Connect with Beverley and ask questions
through her online The Educating Parents Homeschooling and Unschooling Facebook support group

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.

Advertise on this site.

say goodbye to home education registration stress with this ultimate rego bundle from Fearless Homeschool

make homeschooling a lot easier, zero to homeschool's excellent course is here to help

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

Twinkl downloadable Home education resources helping you teach confidently at home

Online science lessons for primary school aged home educating children

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!

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 Record Keeping 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 1999-2023.