In Hindsight: Tips for Those Early Days
by Beverley Paine, April 2005
I asked a couple of friends what tip they'd give families just starting out on the homeschooling adventure.
Tess said "read everything you can on different types of homeschooling styles and learning styles."
When she first homeschooled her kids six years ago it was a disaster. Following in the footsteps of a homeschooling friend, Tess fell into the trap of thinking there was only one approach: school-at-home. That approach wasn't suited to her kids' learning styles, or their family culture. Sadly she gave up and sent the boys to school. The second time around Tess researched home education. "It has made all the difference. I read endless articles on line, borrowed every book I could get my hands on, and bought the ones that I couldn't. I asked lots of questions about what others used and found useful." The family uses a very eclectic approach, taking what suits them from many different styles of home education.
Rebecca recommends joining a network or community of home educating families. "There is nothing quite like sitting down with a cuppa and a good friend and venting when you need to, knowing they understand." People that don't home educate don't quite relate, or if they do, they don't know why you continue to keep going, especially on the days it seems too difficult. Rebecca insists that she wouldn't have survived
without the friends she has made over the years and that "as the years go by these friends get closer and we share more."
Michele advice is to "follow your heart. Walk in freedom. freedom from others' expectations". Despite the inner turmoil and outside pressures homeschooling parents experience, Michele believes listening to your heart will tell you what's right for your family at each stage of the journey. "Allow yourself to be "in process". She said, "while homeschooling, the entire family is learning.not only academically, but also in other ways". She stressed the need to 'use' whatever homeschooling methods you choose, rather than allowing the methods to control you .
Defining what "education" really means and learning to be true to where you are right now is one of the lessons she learned from eight years of homeschooling. "Give yourselves the freedom to change your mind about things as you walk this unconventional path. If you would like your kids to be able to follow their own hearts, but you worry that they aren't "doing enough" or "learning enough", set some limits and boundaries that you're more comfortable with."
Her final comment resonated with my experience and sums up what the three of us believe to be the most important thing to remember when starting out your great homeschooling adventure: "Enjoy your kids! Relationship is what it's all about. If your style of homeschooling does not focus on relationships everyone misses out on what's really important."
The final and most import thing I have learnt is to wakeup each day and be happy that I am spending precious time with my children that would have been lost to a system of education which often brings about more problems than successful education and personal fulfilment.
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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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