A Father Writes About Home Education
By Robin Paine
from Learning in the Absence of Education: Essays on Homeschooling by Beverley Paine
Homeschooling to me used to mean that whenever I got home from work the kids were always there. If I had a day off they were there. I really didn't have a lot to do with their education, but since leaving full time work due to injury I get more of a feel of what it really means to be a homeschooling dad.
Initially I thought I had to sit down with the kids doing endless, boring book work, but I am beginning to realise this isn't what education really means. Education is really just living, and doing. The best way to learn something is by doing it. If you need help find someone who can already do it, who can help and is sympathetic to your needs.
My kids come to me all the time asking for help with this project or that, or simply asking questions about all manner of things. I do my best to help them. I do recognise that I am not always sympathetic or tolerant, especially when I am busy with my own work. I think it is important to involve the children with the things that I am doing as well as taking an interest in what they are doing.
I have recently employed Roger to help me with various paid handyman jobs in the local area. I believe paying him an hourly wage helps him to value the work he does.
Roger and I are also studying Personal Computer Repair through a correspondence school and eventually we will start our own business. April and I are rebuilding a car, which she will be able to use when she learns to drive. Together we have assembled the major components and hope to have it up and running soon.
Thomas and I are slowly building a petrol driven go-cart, and I have helped him build his cubby house. At the moment we are all busy building a workshop and games room, and the children are learning to competently use power tools and carpentry skills. All the kids help with landscaping and gardening jobs, and take an interest in my hobby which is alternative power systems.
Their level of general knowledge surprises most people we meet. I attribute this to their wider learning experiences and their ability to involve themselves in discussion with people all ages.
I like homeschooling because it is flexible and allows me to be with my kids more, not just first thing in the morning and last thing at night. This has allowed us to be more than just parent and children, but real friends.
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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.
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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!
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