Unschooling Really Does Work!
Honestly folks, unschooling or non-schooling, or learning in the absence of education (the title of one of my books, suggested by my at-the-time young son) really does work.
Our son played most of his childhood. The amount of 'school' work he did could be easily compressed into a year, maybe even half a year. And that's being generous with me including projects I suggested (as opposed to the ones he naturally initiated on his own) as 'school' work.
So he didn't get into university at age 18. He didn't want to. He didn't get a job at 18. He didn't want to. He kept learning and living. He worked around our property, building things for us, gardening, landscaping, repairing cars and computers, helping me with writing and publishing as a way to meet his responsibilities. And when he was re ady he did a TAFE course in engineering, decided it wasn't for him, switched to an IT course and is working towards a diploma. We are in awe of his problem solving abilities, practical and technical skills, confidence, general knowledge.
This is someone who didn't really put reading and writing together until his teens. Whose maths education consisted of working his way through a third of the problems in one year 8 book. Who, at the age of 12, would have been failed by teachers and schools, labelled and rejected.
This is someone whose mum spent most of his childhood unwell, not always available or incredibly attentive, who made lots of mistakes and usually felt incredibly out of her depth. However, one thing we do have in bulk around here is passion and drive and ambition to do what needs to be done in the most efficient manner and in a way that makes the most sense. I guess that helped.
And this kid is only one of my kids - the other two are just as awesome. Sure, they aren't 'pin-up kids for educational success'. They are adults living normal lives, just like their parents did. And life throws them curve balls too and they cope with it and make do. But I love their confidence and common sense and 'go for it' attitudes - and especially their deep understanding that learning is something we're all doing, all the time, that it is natural.
John Holt talked about trust: have faith in your children's ability to learn. Have faith in your ability to learn. Stop over-thinking education: living is learning.
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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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