Natural Learning is something that happens, rather than something you do...
© Beverley Paine
I take a different approach from most parents who write about unschooling or natural learning. For me, working out what is needed is at the centre, rather than what 'should' be done. Natural learning isn't something you do or layer on, it grows out of a need. When we identify our needs we are more able to meet them, more able to find the resources and materials that will help us meet them. So often we are confused about what our needs are. Most people have been conditioned to confuse needs with wants. Sometimes we work hard towards getting what we want only to find out it isn't what we need and thus didn't really want it after all!
It isn't hard to work out what children need - they are unbelievably transparent about their needs. But most of us need to deschool ourselves to begin to see that.
So, a learning naturally life is one where we simply live, doing what we need to do each day to survive and thrive (grow). Our modern life often means we do a lot of things in very complex ways, which can alienate us from the process - for example, we don't grow our own food so creating nutritious meals is much easier than it was for our ancestors. It also removes us from a lot of learning opportunities about what we need to survive and thrive. Natural learning doesn't mean we have to grow our own food (though it is an enriching experience), but it does mean that we need to be mindful about how and why we do what we do when we prepare our meals. Talking about our choices, the origins of the foods we use, the different ways we prepare food and why we do it this or that way educates our children, as does giving them opportunities to work with food to prepare meals. We don't need 'lessons' - we simply need awareness, curiosity and interest in the whole of life.
Living this way is a very busy life but all actions are meaningful and in context with what we individually and collectively need.
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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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Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
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