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

HomeAboutBlogArticles Curriculum Resource DirectoryShopKids PagesFacebook

Support Groups: NationalSAVICNSWQLDTASACTNT
Registration Guides: VICNSWQLDSAWATASACTNT

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

Essential Step by Step Guides

#1 Create Your Own Curriculum
#2 DIY Lesson Plans & Unit Studies

Getting Started with Home Educating Series of
PARENT WORKBOOKS,
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!

Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent 
April Jermey, Always Learning Books
Tamara Kidd, Tutor Your Own Child,
B.Teach(Primary)/B.A.,GCertEdStud

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

 

Unschooling and 'Doing Nothing'

by Beverley Paine

The following questions were asked on an online unschooling support group. My unschooled kids are adults now but I had go at answering the questions anyway.

1. How do you ensure your children get enough stimulation?

Life is busy and productive, lots of things happening, sometimes too much. Hard to get bored in an environment like ours... And I was always on the lookout for over-stimulation because that brought conflict and issues into our lives.

However, from the outset, unschooling means that it's not my job to ensure that my children are being stimulated.

My job is to meet their needs, not second-guess what those needs are based on my perception of what others think they need (which is what schools do). Close attention and observation of my children are the tools in my toolbox I used to get to know my children so that I could be more responsive and helpful in meeting their needs.

I'm mum, not chief entertainer. And I trusted that they are learning, and when my trust got a little wobby I'd start recording what was happening (like a scientist or a teacher) - this worked every time. My kids were learning so much every day it was impossible to write down everything!

2. Do you have outings everyday?

Sometimes we went for months without 'going out'. It may have helped that we live on four acres and the children had a huge backyard abundant in wildlife and nature. But they did accompany us to the shops, doctors, post office, etc, so they weren't isolated. And at times we did socialise with like-minded families and lots of other children every day (exhausting for all of us, but fun).

Children don't need to be with other children every day unless they explicitly ask for it. Encourage your children to understand their own needs and learn to ask for help meeting needs they can't meet by themselves. I once experimented with my children because I felt I was organising their social life. I told them that we'd only go out on play dates if they specifically asked for it. Three months later one of them did. My children were best friends with each other. It would be different with a single child, and I do know that parents of single children get less time to themselves, so social activity with others is definitely more on the agenda. Everyday though? That might be too much.

3. What about days where you simply cannot be bothered to do anything? What do the kids do?

We do 'nothing', although there is no such thing as doing nothing. Give it a try. Sit there bored for hours... doesn't happen.

I had a go at my boys for sitting doing nothing for hours and my youngest replied tersely that they were 'thinking'. And so they were. They did a lot of brainstorming and daydreaming. What child doesn't?

What people generally mean when they say someone else is doing nothing is that they don't value what the other person is actually doing. I would fret because I thought my children were doing nothing 'educational'. I had to broaden my ideas about education. Life is educational. We can learn from anything and everything and we do. Learn to see the learning that is happening in each moment. Become aware and self-reflective. Make comments about your own learning each and every day - that helps you learn to see what your children are learning when they are supposedly doing nothing.

4. What do you do if they complain they are bored?

Like most mums I used to give them things to do, or make suggestions. Then I wised up. Mainly because that never worked. My youngest appeared bored but he was actually 'waiting'. Waiting to save up to buy the next LEGO model, waiting for the next computer game to come out. He spent his childhood waiting! It was tiring. Once I'd worked out the cause of his 'boredom' though I could help him learn how to cope and manage these long periods of waiting. One year, when he was little, three days after his birthday he asked when it was his birthday again... I would often sit and point to every day on the calendar and count down the days (I think he learned about months and weeks this way!)

See also:

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."
Vanessa

"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!"
Davina

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

"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!"
Louisa

"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."
Gythaa

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.

have your best homeschooling year ever by watching all of the aweome videos from over 30 Australian Homeschool Summit workshops featuring Beverley Paine, Kelly George, Tamara Kid, April Jermey and more

Over 30 presentations!

2021 Australian Homeschooling Summit

For $29 you get lifetime access to recordings
of all the workshops, all associated resource guides, dDownload all video and mp3 files
Amazing homeschooling help!

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 groups.

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

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

Sitemap

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 1999-2021.