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!
Unschooling = Un Schooling
Unschooling is effectively the act of deliberately not schooling someone, which isn't to say we're tossing education out of the window, just school and everything that goes with it.
Unschoolers reject the way that schools organise education. We don't see that it is necessary to break the day into arbitrary segments, telling children when it is time to play, work, eat, relieve themselves, etc. It is dehumanizing to make another individual ask permission to meet their basic human needs.
Unschoolers reject the notion that it is necessary to structure children's learning, telling them to stop and start to suit an arbitrary schedule which has little meaning in that child's life.
Unschoolers revel in the freedom unschooling allows: learning anytime, anywhere, everything and every moment is an opportunity to learn something... Taking advantage of what is happening now in the world, exploiting the ability to be flexible, change tack, adapt...
Unschoolers are passionate about learning and want their children to enjoy that too. They don't want others dictating to their children what, why, when or how they should be learning. They know their children are capable and eager learners able to have a say in those things. Learning is meaningful and in context for the learner.
Unschoolers reject the doctrine of testing, grading and year levels, of comparison and competition between children and their abilities and development that is endemic in schools as unnecessary in the learning process.
Unschoolers value children as people, as is, in their own right, and seek and value their input into what happens to them in their day. Unschooling is a democratic process, unlike what happens in most classrooms and schools.
Unschoolers don't see their children as commodities, products to be moved along a chain of educational attainment to suit the goals of unknown politicians or industry leaders.
Unschooling parents trust that their children will learn what they need to learn in the way that meets their learning needs and is adapted to their personality and temperament. Learning can occur at any time of the day, week, month or year - there are no arbitrary time frames or schedules or need to explain what one is doing or learning. Commitments are respectfully made and met.
Unschoolers know that their children prefer to play with children and adults from a wide cross section of society, not just same age people. They love watching their children thrive under these conditions.
Unschooling is efficient: children are not required to wait in lines, or for a turn to use a scarce resource. Their time is as precious as anyone's. Time saved in reducing meaningless management strategies neccessary for managing large numbers of students in classrooms is spent learning.
Unschooling children enjoy the mindful and intentional attention from parents totally invested in the child's welfare and education, not because of the pay cheque at the end of the week, but driven by love. Problems and conflicts encountered are not let to fester or be resolved without guidance due to this investment.
Unschoolers reject the carrot and stick approach to learning, and question the current obsession with making everything fun, the 'edu-tainment' approach to education. They understand that children are capable and keen learners from birth and don't need external incentives.
Unschoolers are keen on helping children develop sane and sensible and humane habits that will stand the test of time, providing them support and resiliance throughout life. They avoid activities designed to marshall and control and coerce their children to do other people's bidding without explanation or appropriate meaningful rationale.
Unschoolers don't isolate their children from society and the world of work. Children participate in a natural way as they grow in competence, confidence and independence, supported by nurturing loving parents and caring adults. Unschooling children participate fully in family life, the ups and downs, happy and sad moments, living busy, productive and constructive, emotionally meaningful lives.
Unschooling is a lifestyle choice: many unschoolers travel, many work from home. Children enjoy access to learning opportunities and situations and a vast array of resources that teachers in classrooms only dream about.
Unschoolers love learning alongside their children: learning is life long and we have a lot we learn from each other. Communities are built with families, societies are built with communities, family relationships build love, peace and trust in the world.
And although it is often not a conscious expression of desire, unschoolers are happy to protect their children while very young to the pressures of conforming to a world which perpetuates and perhaps even celebrates bullying. The under-supervised school yard is not a safe place for many children.
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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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Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
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