Growing Up in My Family
by April Paine
A lot of mothers with young children that I speak to relish the thought of the 'time out' they'll get once their kids start school. It's a day to look forward to, apparently.
My parents made an amazing choice before I reached school age. They chose to keep their kids at home, and gave us the best start to life that they could, home educating us. It was both a selfless and self gratifying decision. They should feel proud of what they have accomplished, and know that I am grateful for what they did for us.
My mum always encouraged us to play together. It didn't matter that we are a girl and two boys, or that there is 6 years between eldest and youngest. It wasn't a case of dolls for the girl, and cars for the boys. We all played with the same toys, and we all had our own toys that could be played with co-operatively. Together was a concept that our family 'got', and not a lot of families pull that off successfully. I believe it was a combination of home educating, and my Mum's approach to co-operative play, that made us this loving family unit.
School divides children into categories based on age. School then labels children with 'gifted' or 'special needs'. School then heaps praise on 'gifted' (but doesn't do much else for them, after all, they don't need any help) and then school puts 'special needs' into special attention programs, so that other children can identify which children need to be picked on.
My mum sat us together at the dining table (or the floor, or lawn, wherever!), and worked with us at each of the required subjects at whatever level we each were at. Regardless of age, she worked with our differences and encouraged us to succeed in the areas we excelled at. She helped us through the subjects that were hardest in different ways to make them easier to understand. My dad did a series of science 'lessons' with us and our friends, which were more in the nature of experimental excitement, coupled with verbal theory. The nature of the subjects and their presentation made for memorable learning material. We were also always 'helping' dad with building projects around the property, or vehicle maintenance, giving us extremely valuable productive life skills.
My brothers were not naturally competent readers; Mum nurtured their needs, and encouraged them to read with their interests (car magazines, forums, lego catalogues and computer related material). At 22 my youngest brother is now more literate than most adults I know. His use of the English language, grammar, and spelling is A grade material. He accomplished all of what a school teacher would label 'potential' with the love and support of our mum.
My family was involved with Trees for Life for a number of years, nurturing our love of nature, and the environment in which we live in. The four and a half acres on which we grew up was a diverse space combining older growth vegetation with new, sheds, animal enclosures, and the budding orchard. Our idea of a great afternoon was to nick off with one of Dad's hammers, some nails, a plank, and build a 'cubby' in one of the gum trees - hours of imaginative entertainment from a mere plank nailed into a tree fork.
Now, we live 'conventional' lives, but are not unaware of the impact our lives have on our
planet, and make an effort to minimise this impact where we can.
We always had a lot of pets. Pets are a very important part of childhood, they teach children
responsibility, how to care for something that is completely dependent for its survival on the carer. It wasn't always fun cuddles with the guinea pigs. The pets required twice daily feeding, regular mucking out of their enclosures, and dealing with death on a fairly regular basis (stillborn babies, old age, spider and snake bites). We weren't always as good pet owners as we could have been, and sometimes our parents had to help out, along with a stern talking to about our responsibilities. The skills that we learned from having pets included valuable life lessons.
We were a class of three, and we had two excellent life teachers. Our parents shaped us into the people we are today, and of that I am glad. I value the lessons they helped me to learn, and I love and appreciate my parents and my brothers for the role they played, and continue to play in my life.
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.
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 support 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
I am currently giving this site a much needed facelift!
If you experience difficultiess accessing any page can you
please email me the link? Thank you.
Welcome to the
World of Home Education
and Learning without School!
We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment 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. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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'.
Advertise with The Educating Parent
Without revenue from advertising
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!