What Exactly Is Homeschooling?
© Beverley Paine
I've had a few phone calls this week from families interested in homeschooling but not sure exactly what homeschooling is...
How I define homeschooling usually involves talking more about how to go about homeschooling than actually coming up with a description of what it is... Simply because homeschooling looks different in every homeschooling home you visit!
Most families come to the idea of homeschooling with 'school-at-home' firmly in their minds and are surprised to learn that it isn't like the old school-of-the-air or correspondence school, where the child is sent a package of books and assignments to complete and send back. Some families are looking for a curriculum that they can apply, and some ask if I mark work and give grades.
It's not surprising that families begin with these thoughts because this form of education is often all we've experienced. In addition, the educational authorities, who will try to convince us that we must be 'registered' or 'approved', reinforce this image of education.
As home educators the best place to start is not by looking for answers out there - even from forums like this, though I hope that our chit chat will offer much reassurance that you're on the right path. The very best place to start your home educating journey is by asking yourself - and perhaps your child if he or she is old enough - what you think education is... Define 'education'. And then work out what you want education to deliver in terms of goals - goals for this week, this month, this term (if you must use school terminology!), this year as well as the kind of person you want your child to be when he or she turns 18!
This thinking task will keep you busy for at least a week! But it will give you a basis from which to develop YOUR family homeschooling philosophy - a solid place from which to start looking for homeschooling styles, approaches and resources.
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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.
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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'.
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