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Covering 'English' in a Natural Learning Way During the 'High School' Years

by Beverley Paine

A friend recently expressed worry that her unschooling teenage son wasn't doing enough reading or writing to satisfy the educational authorities.

For parents considering home educating teenagers I recommend reading Grace Llewellyn's The Teenage Liberation Handbook as a starting point. It is hard to get hold of, but you might find a copy in the library through interlibrary loan. I love the way it expands the concept of education.

From a learning naturally point of view, for a teen I would start focusing on adult related language tasks. As adults we need to navigate our way through lots of paperwork. Get him involved in that side of family life. I knew a mum whose nine year old filled out the tax form. Anything is possible! Our son managed our phone and internet connections/bills in his late teens. Give your son responsible task and help him learn how to manage and do them.

Current affairs - listening, viewing and reading - offer great scope for fantastic conversations that often cover many topics across the curriculum. We purchased a weekly science magazine while our children were in their teens. The kids remembered and understood way more than we did from their occasional dipping into this magazine. Newspapers (if you can tolerate them) are also great. I remember spending Saturday afternoon as a teenager reading the paper from front to back. Only did it for a few months but I learned a lot about journalism and world politics!

Writing - the internet seems to be the place young people write and communicate.
Perhaps a blog about his projects? Thomas started taking photographs of the different stages of his projects. His aim was to write 'tutorials' that would show others how he did them. This could be the foundation to a later career as a writer of 'how to' books - the most enduring of publications. He began his own forum - www.offroadingsubarus.com - which he continues to manage and to which he regularly adds articles, photos and videos (another way of recording and communicating).

If you've used and are a fan of living books (and who wouldn't be?!) continue with that tradition. Share great books with your children. I read Lord of the Rings to Roger and Thomas when they were teenagers - people of any age enjoy storytelling, it is in our DNA.

In fact, share what you read with your son - read the paper or the magazine article aloud. Talk about what you hear on the radio. Debate and discuss topics.

Writing, reading, listening and speaking are simply aspects of communicating. Children and teens love to communicate what they think and are doing and have done to us - if only we'd stop to listen and pay attention! We can show them different ways of communicating. For example, we spent four days at the Adelaide Arts Festival and Fringe wandering around installations and exhibits, talking about what the artists intended to communicate via their work. My children didn't turn into artists but they certainly appreciate the art and craft of
others and can relate to the works in a personal way.

Be a hands on parent and stay interested and involved in your son's projects. I became a racing car enthusiast for half a dozen years to help me understand more about motor mechanics and vehicles. I followed racing car driver careers because I'm interested in people, not cars. My interest was real and my children appreciated that.

In short, don't worry too much about 'covering the curriculum' the way schools would - live a busy productive life and keep talking and sharing and communicating the way normal people - adults - do. The teenage years are a wonderful transition from happy-go-lucky childhood to responsible citizen - there are plenty of things our children need to learn in order to be able to take care of themselves responsibly. Just focus on those!

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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 support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

"You've been an inspiration to me, I love the way
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with increased confidence in my ability to provide and
share a wonderful learning journey with my family!"

"Your guidance, understanding, support and words of
wisdom changed our lives. We now offer support and
organise many homeschooling events for others."

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I am convinced that your books are going to add
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at home! Just from studying your website, until almost
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"Thank you for all your many,many reassuring words
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."

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Welcome to the World of Home Education and
Learning without School!

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

The information on this website is of a general nature only and is not intended as personal or professional advice. This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.

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