Will our home educated kids turn out okay?
by Beverley Paine
Worrying about how our children will turn out is a natural aspect of parenting but I believe it's been exaggerated greatly by the cultural imperatives of the society in which we live. Our sense of trust and faith, especially in our own judgment, was largely shattered during our first five years of life, and then school finished the job! As a result, as parents we find it really difficult to trust our children. It's taken me many, many years to learn to trust myself again!
I can't let go of 'rescuing' my children. I want to make everything 'right' in their lives. I worry that they won't know the answer, or be able to do something. I HAVE to help them. Even before they ask! Sometimes even before they even see the need. Sometimes before the need even arises! I manipulate the environment so that a whole heap of problems won't arise - rescuing in advance!
This doesn't help my children develop the strength I want them to develop. It hasn't made them dependent on me, thank goodness, but it does mar otherwise wonderful relationships. They are frustrated with my 'interference' and unnecessary concern, and I'm losing their respect by continuously demonstrating my lack of faith in their ability to manage their own lives and learning...
The seeds for all this were set years ago. Learning to let go of the worry about their futures was something I needed to pay more attention to....
I am so lucky though. I fumble through parenthood and home educating. I make a billion mistakes a minute (so it seems on the worst days!) and my children forgive me. That is so cool! I put that down to the fact that we home educated. My children got to see the good side of me and the not so good side of me - all of me. They know I mean well. They know I am supermum and superbitch! And supersillywoman... And that's okay. They know I'm continuing to work hard on letting go of the impulse to be in control. And that I'm learning, little by little, to trust myself as well as them.
This trust is the key to unschooling and, I believe, parenting.
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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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