Welcome to the World of Home Education and Learning Without School!
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!
Learning Materials for the Homeschool
Part 1: Keeping the Cost Down
© Beverley Paine
If, like many homeschooling families, you find yourself suddenly educating your children at home after many frustrating years in the school system you may not feel confident about your ability to provide adequate resources and materials to encourage successful learning.
Many homeschools begin by using the materials they already have within the home and supplement this extensively by using their local community as a learning resource. Others feel more secure if they 'set up' their home learning environment to look and feel more like a classroom. Either approach ma nd anywhere in between, is fine.
It's not a good idea to rush out and spend a lot of money on homeschooling supplies: there's a good chance you'll find most of them barely touched used in the coming months. A collection built up over a steady period of time will prove more useful as you evaluate your learning program and your children's learning styles and needs. Plus, you'll be surprised by the variety of learning aides you already have at home. Most people don't recognise the measuring cups in the kitchen drawer as maths equipment; the bubble bath in the bathroom as science resource; or the sticky clay in the garden bed as a valuable art supply... Life is full of resources and materials for the homeschooling family to use!
To keep costs down and to preserve our natural environment, consider using recycled materials before purchasing new items where possible. Lateral thinking comes in handy - a friend of mine cut up the pizza box after dinner one night and made a scrabble game for his children. We've salvaged magnets from old car speakers, giant lenses from old lamps, mosaic tiles from a builder's yard, rolls of paper from newspaper printers... And it's worth remembering that a lot of art and craft materials can be sourced, with care, directly from nature.
It makes sense to only buy what you can sensibly use, or predict that you'll need. You'll find plenty of bargains at markets, trading tables, garage sales, cheap shops or sales, but it's worth remembering that your children deserve the best quality learning materials you can afford. If you have a budding artist splash out on quality paper, canvases, paints and brushes. A writer will appreciate beautiful notebooks, textured paper, old typewriter or word processing program on a suitable computer. If you have a potential astronomer on your hands, invest in an appropriate telescope, or learn how to make one... Don't forget to drop hints on these expensive resources - they make wonderful birthday gifts from relatives, instead of the usual collection of uninspiring toys.
If you're like me you'll find that the acquisition of new materials will spark interest in creative learning activities, or motivate your children to investigate and explore new areas of learning. The introduction of new materials can also inject new energy into tired learning tasks.
Learning Materials for the Homeschool is a booklet designed to give you an idea on what kinds of materials and resources you are likely to need. You won't need everything listed - you'll find that what you need will depend upon your children's particular interests, hobbies, and learning styles.
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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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Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
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