A Shrinking World - A World Full of Words
© Beverley Paine, 2004
Fast cars and aeroplanes aren't the reason the world is shrinking at such an incredible rate. It all began with the printing press.
My homeschooling booklets will be read by hundreds of homeschooling families. My website is viewed by thousands. A daily paper may be viewed by millions. The information superhighway used to be a dusty track, used by a tiny elite. Now everyone can zoom along at great speed!
When I was a child and wanted to know something I could go to a library and access expert opinion from around the world. When my mum was a child, libraries weren't child-friendly places and she had to ask her mum, who had less education than herself, or her teacher, who was often too busy with up to sixty children in each class. When my child wants to know something he dials up the Internet: here he can find opinions from experts and experienced individuals, all keen to share their knowledge or skills. The information he can access is no longer culturally bound - with a click he can translate foreign language websites.
It all begins with a home that is equipped with the basics: a dictionary, a thesaurus, an atlas, a street directory, a telephone directory, a community directory and a relatively up-to-date encyclopaedia and regular trips to the local library. A child used to looking up information in these resources will naturally find her way around the Internet to source useful information.
If you can't afford a computer or Internet access, don't worry - you can always access one at the local library. Our tourist information office also has computer with Internet access people can use. Or you might have a friend that you can share access with, to cut costs. You could also lobby your local neighbourhood house or community centre to fund communal Internet access.
Learn to love the English language. Learn to relish in its delights. If you haven't read Shakespeare aloud since your school days, when you learned to hate it, borrow one of his plays from the library, wander home through a park and read it aloud. Watch one of the contemporary movies, or go to a theatre production. We saw A Midsummer's Night Dream at the Botanical Gardens - the children, some as young as four, were captivated by the play. Muck about with tongue twisters, puns, and riddles; chant and sing silly songs and rhymes; give speeches in a strong assertive voice. Horde old copies of the Reader's Digest and hone up on your word skills - or go on-line and test your skill. Look for unusual words wherever you find yourself and make a note in your trusty pocket notepad to find out their meaning in a dictionary. It will tell you how to pronounce them too. Write poetry in the garden with a thesaurus by your side.
In a home full of books, where reading and writing and listening and speaking are valued and practiced by you, the parents, every day, most children learn to read with very little conscious effort. Show them how much you enjoy and love to read and learn and they'll catch the bug soon enough. It may be at age three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve or thirteen. When they catch that bug you won't be able to stop them from reading, especially when you want the chores done!
Take a deep breath, sit back, curl up in the armchair with your adorable children, read them a book or two, and. relax. Reading in such an lovingly created environment will happen naturally.
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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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