© Beverley Paine
I know a lot of unschoolers don't bother with writing out unschooling learning programs or a curriculum for the year ahead and tend to 'fly by the seat of their pants'. Some see writing learning plans a bit alien to the concept of learning naturally, but I never found it so. I was always a little paranoid and not very sure that learning naturally would get my kids to where I wanted them to be. Thus I went down the path of documenting the learning process - both as plans and as evaluation/anecdotal records. I put together an unschooling curriculum for Roger when he turned 13 to cover the next three years (developmental stage rather than age based). It was a comprehensive list that incidentally covered learning in all eight school based curriculum areas, together with a statement on philosophy, methodology and how we'd know he was learning. About five pages all up.
I did a similar learning program for April as a homeschooled Year 8 student - feeling worried that I'd need to justify our homeschooling as by then our exemption had lapsed and I figured they'd notice she was turning 13... They didn't. The plan we put together was largely unused. We found more interesting ways to learn what was needed and by the end of the year only a few things on the original plan had been touched on in the way we'd planned. Planning was good though - especially at the beginning of the year - as it helped focus my thoughts on our goals and the reasons we were home educating again.
I used to read through our philosophy statements, etc, at least once a year, to help me remember what not to do, how not to teach, what was most important, and to let go of the need to emulate other homeschooling families' approaches/methods, or copy what the schools were doing. Reading through our self-designed curriculum helped to centre us.
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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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Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
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