Welcome to The Educating Parent Beverley Paine's archive of articles about homeschooling and unschooling written over a period of 30 plus years

HomeAboutBlogArticles Curriculum Resource DirectoryShopKids PagesFacebook


Download our FREE The Educating Parent Resource Directories today! Plus... more FREE resources!

Free download a quick guide to getting started with homeschooling and unschooling by Beverley Paine The Educating Parent in this excellent Resource Directory
Introduction to
Home Education

Download for FREE this huge collection of links to online Australian homeschool and unschool support groups in this special The Educating Parent Resource Directory by Beverley Paine
National and State
Support Groups

Join Beverley LIVE at the 2021 online Australian Homeschooling Summit, don't miss out on her workshops, What is my child learning and Inside Beverley's classroomJoin Beverley and friends
LIVE in February at the
2021 online Australian
Homeschooling Summit!

But you don't have to wait until then - grab this limited-time special offer for the best Aussie homeschooling help you can get! Get the recordings of ALL 78 workshops + 15 bonus sessions from the 2017, 2019, and 2020 Australian Homeschooling Summits.

Get instant lifetime access for only $49!

Looking for support, reassurance and information?
Join Beverley's The Educating Parents Homeschooling and Unschooling Facebook online group.


Home school or home education?

Beverley Paine, Jan 2014

Are we all just looking for the perfect school? How many of us would give up homeschooling if we found a school that answered our children's educational, social and emotional needs? Especially if it was within walking distance and didn't cost an arm and a leg to enroll.

Some of us, maybe those who've been home educating for years, will shake their heads - not my family. They are usually the ones that see education as a natural progression from birth, the responsibility of parents rather than schools and teachers. They have always considered their children's education carefully - what it is, what it means, how it will look, and how it will happen for their children. These families are content, happy with their home education practice.

But most of us come to home education because of a crisis - school isn't working for our children and we need something that will, sometimes urgently, sometimes after a long time of banging our heads against the wall trying to get the school to listen to our child's needs. We are the ones that continue in our daily homeschooling adventure, always casting one eye on mainstream education, still looking for that perfect school.

In this we aren't so different from parents of school children. The My School website and controversy over league tables bears witness to this.

What is it we think schools can offer our children?

Socialisation. For millennia children have played with children. In their neighbourhoods, in their homes. Playing freely. Growing as nature intended. For many of us there is nothing to replace this traditional role of peer contact in child development. Schools are to blame. They lock children up. They deny our homeschooling children access to other children. A wide range of children, to chose playmates from. For six hours or more each day they impose a strict curfew on the movements of children in our community. It's obvious to most people that schools offer the only easily available access to children. It's hard to kids compatible with our kids.

Academics. We've all been through school ourselves and brainwashed to believe that following a prescribed curriculum with outcomes identified and worked towards in a systematic sequential manner is the only way to learn. Even though most of our own learning was done after we'd left school, or on the weekend or school holidays, usually because of our hobbies, or our parents work, or whatever. We feel reassured by text books and learning programs, plus they are much easier to use and keep track of where our kids are up to.

Convenience: particularly in regard to access to a range of experiences and access to experts.

Certificates. This is usually not an issue until the children are in their teens, but one that undermines the confidence of parents of toddlers.

Well heeled home educators will argue that it is easy to provide all of these outside of school, but I'd argue that it isn't that easy. It's hard work. We have to think and plan and coordinate and research, and we have to do this continuously. We can't use last year's curriculum like a Year 3 teacher can at the beginning of the new year because our child is now in Year 4!

So we seek support from like-minded people. We form support groups that meet informally and then increasingly in formal ways. We compare curriculum resources and share experiences. We start drama groups and debating groups, organise sports days, excursions, homeschool camps. We organise ourselves to help provide our children with the educational experiences we believe they need and deserve.

In the US there are now homeschool cooperatives where parents drop their children at the door and pick them up after activities and lessons. One parent will teach the children something this morning and another will take over this afternoon. Tomorrow another parent is on teacher duty. These coops have gradually developed over a couple of decades from grassroots support groups.

Is this home education or home schooling? Not homeschooling, one word, but the grammatically correct version 'home' 'school'. A different type of school. Perhaps even a version of, or growing towards, the 'perfect school'?

I was recently challenged by a home educating parent who stated "what else is a homeschooling network if NOT a school?" He went on to say that a formally organised group of people following a 'school of thought' about education, with a management structure that involves leaders and educational facilitators, where the members trust the advice, direction and socialisation functions of the management structure, acts in a way very similar to a school.

This parent distinguished home education from home schooling - a home educator is simply providing learning experiences in his or her home. Once they move beyond this - into organised activities with others on a regular basis - they are forming small, community based schools.

Some of us have become so entrenched with our need to defend home education we're anti-school. We'll reject the idea that organised home education is just another form of schooling. The way I see it, it's inevitable. Children need to be in the community learning and for most of us we work hard to make sure our children get those opportunities.

The difference between our home schools and schools is that our children are not forced to attend. And unlike schools our home educating networks do not strive to force everyone to think or act the same way. We're not in the business of social engineering. We need to keep this in mind as we continue to develop models of community learning, just in case we inadvertently begin to replicate the very structure we abandoned because it wasn't meeting our children's needs. The perfect school is a free school, where true education - not a list of outcomes - is valued. Children (and adults) are free to learn what they will, what they need to, and what they want to when they want to and in their own way.

Was this article helpful? Was it worth $1.00 to you? Your gift of $1 or more helps to keep this site operating offering encouragement and reassurance to families wanting better outcomes for their children.

Thank you for your gift contribution!

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.

"You've been an inspiration to me, I love the way
you really listen to people."

"Whenever I read your writing I always come away
with increased confidence in my ability to provide and
share a wonderful learning journey with my family!"

"Your guidance, understanding, support and words of
wisdom changed our lives. We now offer support and
organise many homeschooling events for others."

"Thank you once again for your prompt and friendly service.
I am convinced that your books are going to add
quality and peace of mind to my journey of teaching my kids
at home! Just from studying your website, until almost
2am in the morning, I 've been encouraged!"

"Thank you for all your many,many reassuring words
over many, many years. You probably don't know exactly how
valuable you are to the Australian Home Education community.
I've been reading your stuff for maybe 8 years or more now.
And I'm very grateful."

Want to learn how to write your own education plans to suit
your unique children's individual learning needs?

Looking for quality curriculum and teaching tips ?

Over 1000 reassuring and informative articles to help
build your confidence as an Educating Parent

Join Home Education Australia group: one space to share information, resources links and

You are invited to join Home Education Australia!
One well-organised space to find and share information,
resources links and more to support all home educators
across Australia, including a directory of posts and threads , where you can source all your needs related to home education and find what others are seeking and finding within Australia.

Welcome to the World of Home Education
and Learning without School!

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

The information on this website is of a general nature only and is not intended as personal or professional advice. This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.

The Educating Parent acknowledges the Traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Owners, the Custodians of Australia, and pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people viewing this website.

To see the full range of Beverley Paine's books on homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning visit Always Learning Books

Tap into Beverley's experience through her books

"Your books, your blogs helped me beyond words...
they helped me to find comfort in knowing it is ok to choose
exactly what is best for my family." Nisha

"Your books and information are mind blowing and already
I am feeling good about this new experience." Diane

Connect with Beverley and ask questions
through her online The Educating Parents Homeschooling and Unschooling Facebook support groups.

purchase Beverley's practical and common sense books on homeschooling and unschooling
"Your guidance, understanding, support & words of wisdom changed our lives." Leslie

"I feel specially inspired by Beverley's words and, the more I read her comments, the more inspired I feel, since my need for support, respect for different parenting styles, and information are fully met." Marijo

Online science lessons for primary school aged home educating children

Teach Maths in the way that children learn with MathsUSee by MathsAustralia

30% discount for purchases from ReadyEd Publications when you use the code 'homeschool' at  the checkout

Help your child to learn how to play music with our app and children's books to them started - I Learning Music and Fun in the Music Room

Stocking all of Beverley Paine's, the educating parent's, books!

Click here for music lessons for students with autism and other needs Spectrum Music Studio

music lessons tailored to your home educating students needs in Joondalup Perth WA the only homeschool reading development which combines neurosciencebased exercises with voice recognition technology, platypus power reading program Click here to go to Learning Enrichment Studio Fostering Students Academic Potential

Natural Learning
and Unschooling Pack

Each Pack contains a copy of the following:
Natural Learning
Natural Learning Answers
A5 or A4
Learning Naturally Diary
Learning Maths Naturally
A Sample Approved Natural Learning Program and Review

Only $29 or $33
Select A4 or A5 Diary

Home education is a legal alternative
to school education in Australia.
State and Territory governments are responsible
for regulating home education and have different
requirements, however home educating families
are able to develop curriculum and learning programs
to suit the individual needs of their children.

animated Australian flag

Without revenue from advertising
by educational suppliers and Google Ads
we could not continue to provide information
to home educators. Please support us by letting
our advertisers know that you found them on
The Educating Parent. Thanks!

Beverley's books are excellent for building confidence as a home educator says Tracey, homeschooling mum.

Support Centre
Contact Us | Join a Support Group | Beverley's Books | Resource Directory | Blog | Donate

About The Educating Parent
Beverley Paine | April Jermey and Always Learning Books | Advertise with us


What is Home Education Why Home Educate Getting Started & Registering Different Ways to Home Educate
Life as a Home Educator Resources & Support Teens and Beyond Curriculum and Teaching Tips
Unschooling & Natural Learning Travelling & Home Educating Other: just for fun, general, etc Children's Pages

animated smiling face Thank you for visiting!

Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
The opinions and articles included on this website are not necessarily those of Beverley and Robin Paine,
nor do they endorse or recommend products listed in contributed articles, pages, or advertisements.
This website uses browsing cookies and conducts other means to collect user information in order to display contextual ads.
Text and images on this site © All Rights Reserved 1999-2021.