Finding the 'Right' Path... Allowing our Children to Teach Us How to Teach Them
© Beverley Paine
Second guessing is natural for homeschooling parents. Our levels of confidence go up and down, sometimes within minutes! It's not as much about educating our children as it is about parenting... I felt the same way when my children were babes and tots. One minute I was sure that whatever I was doing was the 'right' way (I'd read a book, was given some sage advice, or had thought things through logically) only to have the child react in an adverse or obtuse way. Parenting and home educating is like dancing on hot coals: the minute you feel you've picked the safe or right path - ouch!!
I like that. It was hard to get used to, but eventually I came to see that the real lessons were for me, not for my children. I'm the learner! They are my teachers and they teach me about life and about learning and why I am here, on this planet, right now. I have lots of other teachers too, but for a long time it seemed that I the most to learn in life from parenting them. It's still happening even though they are 19, 23, and 25!
What we're doing is hands on learning: we're learning about learning, at the 'coal face', where learning is happening at a fast, enthusiastic place. Sometimes we can't see the coal for the coal dust and feel a little lost, but it's there, all the time, happening whether we're attending to it or trying to make it happen or having a short break or holiday from learning. We can't stop our children from learning - they're like sponges soaking up whatever learning is meaningful to their lives that is floating about in each and every moment. As homeschooling parents we get overly paranoid about satisfying other people's conceptions of education and end up working much harder than we really need to. Our children usually put up with our misplaced enthusiasm: children are amazingly forgiving!
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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.
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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
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