Highly Sensitive and Anxious: managing stress and home educating
By Beverley Paine, 26th Sept 2013
As a highly sensitive person (once was a highly sensitive child!) my path to home education was, I think, inevitable. I used to think I was simply a control freak, then an over-protective paranoid parent (and proudly so) but now I see (in hindsight, the best kind of sight!) that all roads led to growing and living as naturally as possible. School increases stress. I never realised as a child how stressful school was for me - I actually enjoyed school. As an adult and parent I came to realise that just because something is enjoyable or fun doesn't mean it ain't adding a bucket load of a stress to a life that can't cope or manage with that much stress.
So for me, I'm not focusing on anxiety, or depression, or any other signs of dis-ease, I'm focusing on stress loads and factors which increase stress and whatever it takes to balance stress in our lives. I've accepted that being highly sensitive is okay and normal, not weird and freakish. That it isn't something to be hidden or got rid of as quickly as possible or even grow out of...
I tend not to write about highly sensitive people as a home educator because my approach is one of meeting individual needs. Not treating everyone like they are the same, abandoning the one-size-fits-all, or one-expectation-fits-all, or one-standard-fits-all attitudes helps. If we work to identify and then help to meet the needs of individuals, we'll naturally work with whatever sensitivities, etc that individual has. I've seen how labeling conditions, etc, have been helpful to other parents, but it's not the way I think or operate and when I've done it I've tended to end up missing important information (about the individual) because I'm not focusing on the evidence (needs), but on what others have said or written about the condition. My focus on identifying and meeting needs is my shortcut.
When I was writing my booklet on Motivation in the Homeschool ( http://alwayslearningbooks.com.au ) I was thinking about all the things that worked for me and my children - and in particular what removes the stress that gets in the way of functioning and learning because it causes confusion and disease. Hard to feel motivated when completely stressed!
I am acutely aware of how different levels of stress effect me - heading off major episodes is important for me.
Anxiety and excitement go hand in hand. Both my son and me end up unwell if we get too excited. That was a hard lesson to learn as children. I trained myself to not get excited by the age of 13. As an adult I learned to do the same when getting anxious. I'm a spontaneous emotional kind of person so most of the time I feel a tad suppressed. But it's a management technique that works for me (and my son). I felt very sad helping my son deal with his body's physical response to excitement and anxiety.
Because we're wired this way, and because I spend a lot of time thinking and reflecting on why I do things and think things the way I do, it simply made sense that I'd base our home education experiences around the principle of what works, what doesn't work, identify and meeting individual needs. I write about what I think and discover and share that because so many parents have responded positively, affirming that this approach helps to make their lives make sense too. Have a wander though the Maintaining Confidence, Managing Homeschool Life, and Motivation categories on this site.
Was this article helpful? Was it worth $1.00 to you?
Your gift of $1 or more helps to keep this site operating
and reassurance to families
better outcomes for their children.
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." Vanessa
"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!" Davina
"Your guidance, understanding, support and words of
wisdom changed our lives. We now offer support and
organise many homeschooling events for others." Lesley
"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
in the morning, I 've been encouraged!" Louisa
"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." Gythaa
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!
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'.
"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
Advertise with The Educating Parent
||DIY Getting Started with Home Schooling Pack
Beverley Paine's best selling comprehensive common sense manual detailing how to write your own curriculum tailored to your children's educational needs
PLUS 9 of Beverley's popular practical home educating series booklets!
Great value $60
and Unschooling Pack
Each Pack contains a copy of the following:
Natural Learning Answers
A5 or A4
Learning Naturally Diary
Learning Maths Naturally
A Sample Approved Natural Learning Program and Review
Only $29 or $33
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.
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!