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 Kids Pages Facebook

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

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
Introduction to
Home Education

Download for FREE this huge collection of links to online Australian homeschool and unschool support groups in this special The Educating Parent Resource Directory by Beverley Paine
National and State
Support Groups

Australia's annual premier home education ONLINE CONFERENCE Feb 14-25 over 30 workshops presented by experienced Australian home educators

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


"Can I go to school?" When homeschooled children asks to go to school...

September, 2012 by Beverley Paine

Today a friend was faced with a question that many of us dread: her child asking to go to school. This frequently happens when children are aged between 7 and 10, or at age 13. In this case the parent was against the idea but wanted to respect her child's choice. I know how she feels. Being a passionate advocate of home education there is no way I'd want to compromise my child's educational opportunities and development by enrolling her in school!

All we can do is talk about our fears and concerns and worries with our children as honestly and openly as we can without seeking to manipulate or guide their thoughts. That's hard. But if we preface our conversations with "this is my opinion, this is how I feel, I'm sharing my thoughts  and I don't expect you to do or think anything in response, just listen" it does a long way to removing that sense of obligation we all have as people to meet other people's needs, help them feel okay or do things we'd rather not to please them or seek their approval.

That's the natural learning/unschooling answer to the question.

As a homeschooler I was still learning to trust myself and my children. I understood the concept of natural learning but I had not yet re-grown the trust I needed to fully understand it. That was a long slow process.

Control is an illusion but it is one we cling to tenaciously in life. And that's okay. We need to feel in control so that we can learn and grow - we need to feel that we can master skills, actions, thoughts, 'be' and 'do' in the world. A sense of control is a stepping stone in the game of learning. Clinging onto the stepping stones instead of the lesson is where we go astray. And we're taught to cling on to control through reward and punishment and competition and fear, especially at school.

When the question of trying or going to school came up in our home I was lucky enough to be a position where I could attend all day every day with my child. We enrolled in an 'alternative' class set up on democratic principles with an emphasis on parent participation, where the teacher was a huge fan of John Holt. School became a second home for our family for eighteen months. But it was still school. It was still an educational compromise. It was still institutionalised education. And it was a lot of effort -- much more than homeschooling. In a way though, it was homeschool-at-school. I was there, doing what I did at home, attending to my children's needs (and the needs of lots of other people too!)

Our children don't have someone who loves them attending to their developmental, emotional and educational needs when they attend school. There are no parents at school, only teachers and staff members. And if parents are present they are thin on the ground and can't be attending to the needs of all the children all the time. That's the key to the success of home education. It's not the quality of our learning programs or the resources we use. It's our love and our attention, our desire for our children to be successful in what they need and want to do, to be safe and well all the time. We invest considerable emotional energy in our children: other people can like our children and care for them but at the end of the day they go home and think about something else.

School is a compromise. Compromise works. It's okay. Because we and they know that our children can come home and homeschool or unschool at any time, school for our children is experienced differently from other children. The coercion and competition is less effective on them. Reward and punishment only work if our children are willing to go along with it. Home education empowers individuals because it offers choice. Choice involves responsibility.

And that's how I looked at the question of going to school when our daughter was thinking of attending high school at the age of 13. It wasn't just a matter of her going to school. It would effect how life unfolded everyday for the whole family. Meeting her needs and desires had consequences for other people. Her choice entailed responsibility to work with others to meet their needs as they worked with her to meet hers. For me this meant making sure she understood the responsibility and consequences of going to school. Because of the disruption to the rest of the family her going to school would mean, we agreed that she could go, but that she needed to put effort into giving a reasonable go. We talked about not only the disruption to her family but also the teacher and the class: the effects of having a new student arrive and stay only a couple of days (which we'd both experienced and understood from our days in the alternative class).

I wish I could say I handled the situation perfectly without coercion or blaming or manipulating or being pushy with my values and beliefs and opinions. I wish I could say I was fair and respectful of her needs and feelings. But we did have enough open and honest conversations and although I never really approved of the idea of her going to school she knew she had my support. She knew that we'd do anything to help her meet her needs. It wasn't up to me to determine what those needs are - that was her developmental journey. My job was to be attentive, identify them and help her find ways to meet them, support her in that process. 

Home educated children want to give school a try - it's novel, it's different and all the other kids are doing it. However, I don't think that isn't an appropriate reason for doing anything. The questions that need to be answered is "will going to school meet my child's needs?" and if so, "can those needs be met any other way?". If not then all we can do as parents is support our children as they journey through and experience school.

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."

Want to learn how to write your own education plans to suit
your unique children's individual learning needs?

Looking for quality curriculum and teaching tips ?

Over 1000 reassuring and informative articles to help
build your confidence as an Educating Parent

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

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.


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 (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

Connect with Beverley and ask questions
through her online The Educating Parents Homeschooling and Unschooling Facebook support group.

purchase Beverley's practical and common sense books on homeschooling and unschooling
"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

complete comprehensive step by step program that teaches you how to craft your ultimate homeschool

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

Online science lessons for primary school aged home educating children

Teach Maths in the way that children learn with MathsUSee by MathsAustralia

30% discount for purchases from ReadyEd Publications when you use the code 'homeschool' at  the checkout

reset your mindset for homeschooling success with deschooling essentials a quick course to help build your confidence as an educating parent

200 pages of templates, planning pages, tables, prompts and record sheets to organise your whole year!

subscription video art lessons by Australian artist

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!

Beverley's books are excellent for building confidence as a home educator says Tracey, homeschooling mum.

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 Other: just for fun, general, etc 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 1999-2022.