Any Unschooling Regrets?
© Beverley Paine
It's hard to be rigid about definitions of unschooling, natural learning and hoemschooling because I honestly believe that all families approach home education by using all of these approaches in a wonderful homogenous blend. In some areas learning is definitely natural, in others it is through unschooling, and with others it definitely looks exactly like what children would be doing at school.
I was recently asked if I had any regrets about unschooling our children. Elsewhere I've written extensively about how we actually educated our children, and my book, Learning in the Absence of Education gives a reasonably detailed account of a decade of our homeschooling life. We aren't purists to any particular approach to homeschooling.
Throughout our journey as home educators I foudn that as unschoolers we learned from books, even text books. Always have done. I also wrote lesson plans and we did structured learning in all subject areas. I believe that we use whatever tools we need to do the job.
I tended to look for tools that I know will work for my individual children. Recognising which tools they were took time - in my case several years as I'm a bit of slow learner (my arrogance got in the way - I always figured I knew best before I found out that I, too, am a learner!).
At some stage I began to learn about learning styles and that helped quite a bit. Thomas challenged me as he developed his language skills later than his older siblings. What worked with April didn't work with Roger and then Thomas. I was forever learning new tricks!
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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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