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!
Feeling Overwhelmed By Choice
© Beverley Paine
"I have just removed my children from school. I have found my local home eduacting group so feel we have sorted to the social side out, however I am
overwhelmed by the choice of resources for home educators! Can you
suggest some places to start?"
It can be really overwhelming. When I began homeschooling I had the
completely opposite problem. There were no support groups or resources
readily available. This meant I had to start from scratch, which
although a considerable task actually is the very best place, even
now. It helps to clarify the mind and instead of simply applying a
pre-made curriculum to your children's education in the same that
schools do, you build a curriculum from the ground up that is
individually tailored to your family's needs and to educational needs
and learning styles of each of your children.
My book, which is available from my online bookstore http://alwayslearningbooks.com.au , Getting Started with Homeschooling
is a manual that takes you through the steps required to build your
own curriculum. It would probably take a week or two to go through the
book, thinking about what you want and need for the education of your
I understand that you'll want to get your children studying at home as
soon as possible. But it's not that essential and you have lots of
options for keeping your children occupied while you take your time to
look around and find educational resources and materials that suit
each one of them.
If you children are still in the early childhood education ages and
still learning to read and write you will find my Practical Home
Education Language Series booklets full of ideas of how to
teach these subjects at home. All too often 'fill-in-the-blank'
student work books give something for the child to do, but don't teach
parents or children much about the why and how of what they are
learning. The same goes for maths books. I've co-written a small
booklet about learning maths naturally - taking advantage of the
everyday opportunities such as cooking, etc that naturally teach your
While you are in this phase or working out what style of education you
will adopt you can purchase some simple and inexpensive workbooks to
help you feel confident that your children are learning at home (which
will happen regardless of what method or resources you eventually
chose - many families abandon the school style of learning altogether
and their children still learn the equivalent, perhaps not in the same
sequence but after 12 years most if not more of the curriculum is
covered this way). I'd start by looking in shops like your local
newsagent and picking up a 'homework' or equivalent student workbook
at your child's level. These usually cost less than $10 and will help
your child feel that they are still doing 'school work'.
Pick a one or two topical themes - a subject in which each child is
interested - and do unit studies on them. My booklet on Unit Studies
explains how to put one together and has a few examples, but
essentially unit studies are school projects.
Make sure your children are getting enough time to play with their
toys, run around the garden and park, play outside games, sing and
play board, dice and card games - all of these with and without your
company. Add attention to chores and you have a naturally rounded
curriculum that will help set the foundation for whatever method or
style of home education you eventually adopt.
Document your daily homeschooling progress (you can use one of my
prepared diaries which will guide you, or just jot notes in an
exercise book or similar). When you need to present you homeschooling
program to the educational authorities for registration purposes, even
though you haven't settled on your preferred curriculum just yet, it
will show that you are teaching your children at home. The authorising
officer may have some useful comments on different curriculum choices
- don't forget to ask. You have plenty of time to sort this out. Most
families aren't using the same method in six months after starting so
spending a lot of money at this stage is unwise.
I have hundreds of articles on my Homeschool Australia website on many
different aspects of homeschooling, drawn from my experience educating
my own children, now aged 21 to 27. You are also most welcome to join
our friendly online support groups https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheEducatingParents and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HomeschoolAustraliaFAQ
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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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I am convinced that your books are going to add
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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." Gythaa
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