Everyone can Homeschool: Intelligence and Educational Knowledge are not Prerequisites for Starting to Teach Your Children at Home
© Beverley Paine
A friend recently said, "It's okay for you to homeschool Beverley, you know what you are doing, but what about people who didn't finish school, who aren't so intelligent?"
I get this a lot and it bugs me. These people usually know me as I am today, not twenty years ago when I began homeschooling. They haven't been on the entire journey with us.
I don't think 'intelligence', or 'intelligent homeschooling' as a concept, is necessarily a prerequisite for homeschooling. I've met parents who haven't got a clue about how to educate their children and operate from a really basic position for the first year or so. They're refugees from the system, usually desperate and unwilling homeschoolers, but left without any other sane choice. These parents operate on one principle only in those early weeks and months: the need to protect their children. These are folks who haven't heard of attachment parenting or alternative educational approaches and philosophies. They just want their children to be able to learn to spell and calculate in an environment that respects their uniqueness...
Over time, with support, these families discover that home educating educates them - in short, they begin to use their natural intelligence, long since atrophied, often thanks to the kind of school experiences they endured. Ultimately 'intelligent homeschooling' evolves, but it can take several years!
The best thing about homeschooling is that we're always learning: if something doesn't work we don't have any compelling reason not to dump it and try something else. Schools don't have this freedom. We're answerable to ourselves and our children. We don't have to implement methods or teach our children things they don't need to know simply because it's in the curriculum, or because the parent body think it's a good idea (educational fashions and fads abound in schools, and once they take hold they're hard to get rid of, even if it's obvious they don't work).
Homeschoolers move much more quickly through the silly stuff and begin working with children on an individual basis, thus accelerating the learning process and making it more meaningful. Homeschooling is largely a self-correcting approach to education!
The other thing that all homeschoolers do, whether in a deliberate and conscious way like me, or simply because they come up against an problem and need to find solutions, is continually learn about the process of education. Because we're not teaching one age group every year, our understanding of how children learn and grow is constantly challenged - unlike school teachers. This keeps us on our feet.
Collectively we've built up a considerable knowledge base and most of what we've learned over the last 30-40 years is now online on the internet. There are hundreds of thousands of pages dedicated to how children learn in just about any enviroment, from homes, to caravans, to boats, to tents, to classes... We're at the forefront of educational research - a living laboratory experiment.
The world of school is beginning to sit up and take notice of our successes, while doing their level best to make us to conform to methods and ideas that have simply outlived their usefulness!
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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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Welcome to the
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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Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
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