If You Are a Parent You Are Already Educating Your Child!
© Beverley Paine
Beginning home education isn't as daunting as removing your child from school, which is almost another matter altogether! Most homeschoolers make the decision to homeschool as a result of unresolved school issues - usually their children's educational or social needs are not being met. However, some families begin consciously educating their children as soon as they are born. We did this, but always expected our children would go to school. Imagine our delight when we discovered when our eldest was four years of age that children could be taught at home instead!
Parents naturally teach their children, and have done from birth. Most of us don't realise it however. The curriculum we offered them in the first few years of life was complete and needed only tweaks here and there as we discovered more about parenting and adjusted to family life.
When our children needed stimulating materials to take their skills and knowledge that one step further we provided them. We didn't ask a toddler taking his first steps to climb a staircase, but we gradually allowed him to explore one step at a time, with guidance and support.
Teaching our children what they need to know and being there for them, finding the things that will help them grow, is what parents do. If we've helped them master some of the most difficult tasks in life - learning to walk, talk and get along with others, all of which are usually taken care of in the first five years - then why do we have doubts that we can teach them to read, write, calculate, become social beings, and eventually launch themselves into world of adult life?
Education has become a mystified process, available only to the 'experts'. If we don't have a piece of paper certifying us in some way then we're obviously not qualified. But what is education? Take a minute to define the concept. Isn't this something you're already doing - and succeeding at?
It takes four years at university to learn how to teach everyone else's children. But we're only teaching our children. We don't need degrees and qualifications. Our job isn't the same as a classroom teacher. We're lucky - as are our children. And what's more, we have access to just about all the resources available to teachers. And our children have access to their teachers all day, not just between the hours of nine and three.
It's easy to feel intimidated and worried about making the decision to home educate. I used to worry that I'd fail my children: this worry kept me on my toes, always looking for more effective ways of meeting their learning needs. For years my greatest concern was not whether my children were learning, but how I could prove that to others...
I found recording what and how my children were learning a great help to building my confidence as a home educator. My patchy records became a basis for my 'annual reports'. Most people seemed more accepting of the idea of home education once they looked through my collection of records. Over time I became adept at translating more of our daily patterns of activities into educational jargon, and began to teach my children things other people thought they needed to know. It took time, but eventually we eased back into the rhythm of learning that proved so successful in their early years.
Beverley Paine is a mother of three young adults and a prolific writer of homeschooling articles. More articles and essays can be found in her books, available from the Always Learning Books online bookstore.
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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.
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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
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This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.
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