Deschooling: Question Your Motivations
by Beverley Paine
Much of what I learned about educating my children at home came slowly, almost painfully at times, as I learned to let go of what I thought I should do and began to listen to what my children needed, and reflected on how they were naturally learning despite my clumsy attempts at teaching them.
To be lasting change needs to be slow and considered, and achieved with mindfulness. Change also happens without any effort at all at this speed. All you really need to do is challenge your motivations regularly, remind yourself of what needs are actually present.
Ask yourself "Why do I want them to learn or do this?" frequently. We focus too much on the how and the when, grow anxious or obsessive about either.
Don't restrict this constant questioning of your motivations to the obvious educational lessons in homeschooling or unschooling life. I questioned things like cleaning teeth three times and day and why children should wear shoes...
I continually test my assumptions by imagining if I'd do and think the same thing if I lived in a different era, place, culture or if I were a different person. I accept and celebrate that my beliefs and attitudes are forever being adjusted in the light of my new understandings: this is the essence of learning!
In those early days our homeschooling learning programs weren't centred; they weren't grounded in what each of my children needed to learn next in their lives, based on who they were. They were based on what society said they should be, and what I should be... and how what they thought I should do for my children's education to be 'successful'.
I was surprised by how much work my children did each day. I used to think that they played all day, but when I stopped trying to organise their time so much, I saw that much of their play taught them the very lessons I'd spend hours meticulously preparing and documenting! Learning, play and work soon became inseparable.
For children, learning is invisible. It's a pity we make it visible because that can lead to confusion and stress, and stress has an unhappy knack of reducing our ability to learn!
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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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