I Was Homsechooled and I'm Okay
by Sunshine March
This is usually how the conversation goes....
"Well, actually, I didn't go to school"
"Oh, really, so what did you do? School at home?"
"Errr. Sort of. We didn't really do anything formal, just learnt the same way we learnt before we were five. It was all rather fluid."
And this is the point where they look at me with new eyes, amazed that I can read and write and make myself understood! So, what is my story?
I grew up as the third daughter in a family of seven girls. I went to school until the end of year three and then my parents decided to pull all of us out of school (my eldest sister stayed to finish year ten). We then went on a family holiday, which was just wonderful. Blackberry picking, making pies and ice cream, writing and recording songs, games and endless hours down at the creek. After that, we lived in various communities around Australia and travelled a fair bit.
My Mum is trained as a teacher but Dad was pretty keen for her to not "formally" teach us girls. After a few failed attempts to get us to sit down and "learn", she gave up anyway! At various times I went to school with friends for a day here and there, some teachers were supportive of this, others were not. I remember being told by a year level co-coordinator, "we're not a baby-sitting institution!" I didn't have the presence of mind to disagree at the time but it got a laugh from my parents!
During my growing up, I had been involved with lots of community arts projects, sometimes with my family, sometimes not. When I was about 15, I was invited by a family friend to join a theatre company in Adelaide that performed in schools in a Religious Education context. I worked full-time with them for three and a half years and married one of the other performers (our 10th anniversary this year!).
After a few years of waitressing, etc. I became interested in pursuing Visual Arts. I tried to learn Ceramics at home and found it too lonely in the suburbs. It was difficult to find someone who would take me on as an apprentice so I enrolled in North Adelaide School of Art and did first year full time. I am still studying for that degree, 5 years later! I have been part-time since the birth of our son, Celso in 2001, and took a semester off to have our daughter, Daisy, in 2003. Second semester of this year will be deferred for the birth of our third child!
We have decided to not send our son Celso to school at this stage. We are being pretty flexible about it, especially as he's keen to go to school. We had always said that we wouldn't home-school if we were just living in the suburbs, which is where we've found ourselves. However, the thought of Celso in a school, one of 25 kids being fed information, away from us and Daisy for a huge chunk of the day and learning all about how he "should" behave in this increasingly selfish, consumerist, gender-specific society makes me cringe! So we will just have to see what God has in store for us and hope we're open enough to hear what is the "right" thing to do.
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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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