Welcome to The Educating Parent Beverley Paine's archive of articles about homeschooling and unschooling written over a period of 30 plus years

HomeAbout Blog Articles Curriculum Resource Directory Shop Facebook

Download our FREE The Educating Parent Resource Directories today! Plus... more FREE resources!

Free download a quick guide to getting started with homeschooling and unschooling by Beverley Paine The Educating Parent in this excellent Resource Directory


Free directory of Australian homeschooling and unschooling support groups organised by national, state and territories

Plan, record and report all in the one document! Always Learning Books planners available in each year level to suit your homeschooling needs, includes curriculum checklists
Australia's original homeschooling manual from veteran home educator Beverley Paine, how to write your own learning plan and curriculum to meet your child's needs
Let Beverley and friends help you design and write your own curriculum to suit your child's individual learning needs, learn how to prepare lessons, unit studies and more, record and evaluate your children's learning in this series of 3 parent workbooks developed on Beverley's popular homeschool manual Getting Started with Home School Practical Considerations
Introduction to
Home Education
  National and State
Support Groups
  Yearly Planner, Diary & Report Beverley's Original Home Ed Manual Series of How To
Parent Workbooks

Support Groups: National SA VIC NSW QLD TAS ACT NT
Registration Guides: VIC NSW QLD SA WA TAS ACT NT

Looking for support, reassurance and information?
Join Beverley's The Educating Parents Homeschooling and Unschooling Facebook online group.


UN-schooling, a deliberate rejection of school, more than self-directed learning

by Beverley Paine

Natural learners

"Learning is as natural as breathing." John Holt

We probably will never know the exact moment we start learning but I believe it's in utero, before we're born. There's no doubt that a newborn baby is already busy adjusting and adapting to her environment, taking in the new sensations and working out what they mean. Children are born with the ability to learn: they don't need to be taught how to do it.

Rather than consider childhood as a preparation for life, look at it as your child living life to the full right now. Instead of focusing on the your child's 'potential' and how you can help them realise that at some future date, help them live fully in this moment, today. Think of education not as a preparation for life but as an ongoing, never-ending joyous opportunity to continue learning.

Until they are convinced otherwise children understand and trust that they are capable thinkers and learners. Just because they don't call it thinking or learning doesn't mean it isn't happening. Recognise and celebrate the learning that underpins their every action and response.

If our trust in our ability as innate learners is never dented or undermined we won't ever buy into the myth that we need to tap into those popular learning and thinking enhancing strategies which have been developed to help students obtain higher grades. We will instinctively know that we're capable learners with exceptional problem solving abilities because that's part of the condition of being human. Learning is as natural as breathing. We are all life-long learners, learning every day, for the rest of our lives.

"Children come into the world with instinctive
drives to educate themselves." Peter Gray

Led by nature

"When we work with nature instead of trying to impose our will,
the solution is often found within the problem." David Holmgren

Natural learning is led by nature: we draw on our emerging understanding of the nature of ourselves and the world in which we live, how things happen and why. Roland Meighan, author of Natural Learning and the Natural Learning Curriculum summed it up as a set of existential questions-who am I, who are you, who are they, where do we belong, who gets what, how do we find out, where are we going, how am I doing, who decides what, and so on-"that stays with us permanently with the answers being reviewed constantly throughout our lives, as we assemble our tool-kit of knowledge."

Natural learning is not 'child-led' learning, it is 'nature-led' learning. Unschooling parents seek to understand and work with the nature of their child, to help her understand and work with her nature, and to help her successfully achieve her dreams, visions and goals within the context of family and community life. Allowing the process of learning to unfold naturally, respecting and in response to the nature of the elements present, is more than an educational choice, it's a lifestyle choice.

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." Lao Tzu

"Look deep into nature, and then you will
understand everything better."
Albert Einstein

"The latest research on the brain tells us that
babies 'hit the ground running' as active learners.
Their brains are already programmed to begin their
lifelong course of study by interacting with their environment...
Indeed, one definition of what it is to be human is given
in the title of a John Holt book-we are human because
we are Learning All the Time."
Roland Meighan

Deliberately Un

Unschool: as in not school, no school. I like that. It says exactly what I mean.

Education and school don't mean the same thing. I think it is sad that people recognise that education happens outside of school for everyone except children.

The word school isn't synonymous with learning either. People recognise that learning happens throughout life, not just when we're at school.

It is a laziness of habit, promoted by ignorant people, to swap the words education and learning with the word school. However, I'm not lazy or ignorant when I use the word unschooling. I'm saying something very deliberate.

Unschooling describes my approach to education and learning. It removes the assumption that people learn only when taught, in a particular way, in a particular place and at a particular time.

I call myself a natural learner, a whole life-learner, and a self-directed learner... in fact, I use many words to describe what I do, but when I say I am an unschooler I am telling everyone that I don't think school is the only place children learn or become educated. It's a deliberate statement about my thoughts and beliefs about schooling, education and learning.

School isn't just a place: it's a way of thinking about education and learning. As an unschooler I reject the philosophy behind schooling. The word unschool is deliberately provocative: it challenges people to think about what the words school, education and learning mean. It challenges them to redefine education and embrace the nature of learning, consider them in the context of no school, living and learning everyday without school. A typical unschooling day is busy, constructive, and interesting but it won't look anything like school, it will look like life.

Unschooling is an attitude: it's saying "I'm learning because that's the nature of me, I'm a learner, and I'm learning what I need to learn from this situation, not necessarily what you or anyone else wants or needs me to learn." Empowering our children to continue to think like this, from birth onwards, is our role as unschooling parents.

One of the things I love about the way my children were educated is that they now remind me that learning is life-long. I can learn whatever I want to now or at any age. If the need to learn is there and it is important to me, then I will either be motivated or motivate myself to learn.

Unschooling and natural learning unfold from the centre: ours, our children's and our families'. The question we need to ask each day is what is central to our needs, as individuals within the family, as a community and society, and within the family of humanity. Keep it honest and frank and we will naturally meet our needs in a timely and satisfactory manner.

Life-long learners start their education at home. As unschoolers we are guided by principles. There are no arbitrary or rigid rules as to how we unschool or live our lives, only a collection of principles that build and support peaceful and respectful relationships and nurture our love of learning. In this booklet I've collected together a handy list of tips and reassuring quotes that guide me as an unschooler. I hope you enjoy them and find them useful too.

Was this article helpful? Was it worth $1.00 to you? Your gift of $1 or more helps to keep this site operating offering encouragement and reassurance to families wanting better outcomes for their children.

Thank you for your gift contribution!

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.

"You've been an inspiration to me, I love the way
you really listen to people."

"Whenever I read your writing I always come away
with increased confidence in my ability to provide and
share a wonderful learning journey with my family!"

"Your guidance, understanding, support and words of
wisdom changed our lives. We now offer support and
organise many homeschooling events for others."

"Thank you once again for your prompt and friendly service.
I am convinced that your books are going to add
quality and peace of mind to my journey of teaching my kids
at home! Just from studying your website, until almost
2am in the morning, I 've been encouraged!"

"Thank you for all your many,many reassuring words
over many, many years. You probably don't know exactly how valuable you are to the Australian Home Education community. I've been reading your stuff for maybe 8 years or more now. And I'm very grateful."

image is 3 workbooks for parents set on a background showing bushland, DIY home ed curriculum planning, recording, evaluating, write your own curriculum
Want to learn how to write your own education plans
to suit your unique children's individual learning needs?

Or you are looking for quality curriculum and teaching tips...

Comprehensive 3 workbook 'how to home ed' course
covering the essential skills you need
successfully home educate your children



Welcome to the World of Home Education
and Learning without School!

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


Getting Started with
Home Educating Series of


#1 Create Your
Own Curriculum

#2 DIY Lesson Plans
& Unit Studies

#3 Recording and Evaluation Made Simple

$10.00 each (includes postage)

let experienced home educators Beverley, Tamara and April walk you through HOW to create a learning plan that builds on solid foundations that works for YOUR family AND ticks all the boxes for home educaton registration with part 1 of this getting started with home educating serioes of parent workbooks, Create Your Own Curriculum!
Let experienced home educators Beverley, Tamara and April walk you through HOW to create a learning plan that builds on solid foundations that works for YOUR family AND ticks all the boxes for home educaton registration!

To see the full range of Beverley Paine's books on homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning visit Always Learning Books

Tap into Beverley's experience
through her books

"Your books, your blogs helped me beyond words... they helped me to find comfort in knowing it is ok to choose exactly what is best for my family." Nisha

"Your books and information are mind blowing and already I am feeling good about this new experience." Diane

"Your guidance, understanding, support & words of wisdom changed our lives." Leslie

"I feel specially inspired by Beverley's words and, the more I read her comments, the more inspired I feel, since my need for support, respect for different parenting styles, and information are fully met." Marijo
purchase Beverley's practical and common sense books on homeschooling and unschooling
Connect with Beverley and ask questions
through her online The Educating Parents Homeschooling and Unschooling Facebook support group

The information on this website is of a general nature only and is not intended as personal or professional advice. This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.

The Educating Parent acknowledges the Traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Owners, the Custodians of Australia, and pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people viewing this website.

Advertise on this site.

say goodbye to home education registration stress with this ultimate rego bundle from Fearless Homeschool

make homeschooling a lot easier, zero to homeschool's excellent course is here to help

Australia's best home education consultant, let Tamara Kidd guide and help you prepare your home education registration application or review

Twinkl downloadable Home education resources helping you teach confidently at home

Online science lessons for primary school aged home educating children

Home education is a legal alternative
to school education in Australia.
State and Territory governments are responsible
for regulating home education and have different
requirements, however home educating families
are able to develop curriculum and learning programs
to suit the individual needs of their children.

animated Australian flag

Without revenue from advertising
by educational suppliers and Google Ads
we could not continue to provide information
to home educators. Please support us by letting
our advertisers know that you found them on
The Educating Parent. Thanks!

Support Centre
Contact Us | Join a Support Group | Beverley's Books | Resource Directory | Blog | Donate

About The Educating Parent
Beverley Paine | April Jermey and Always Learning Books | Advertise with us


What is Home Education Why Home Educate Getting Started & Registering Different Ways to Home Educate
Life as a Home Educator Resources & Support Teens and Beyond Curriculum and Teaching Tips
Unschooling & Natural Learning Travelling & Home Educating Record Keeping Children's Pages

animated smiling face Thank you for visiting!

Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
The opinions and articles included on this website are not necessarily those of Beverley and Robin Paine,
nor do they endorse or recommend products listed in contributed articles, pages, or advertisements.
This website uses browsing cookies and conducts other means to collect user information in order to display contextual ads.
Text and images on this site © All Rights Reserved 1999-2023.