Defining Natural Learning, Unschooling, Deschooling and School-at-Home
by Beverley Paine
I'm very interested in the discussion on definitions as I'm writing an introduction to homeschooling at the moment...
I've always felt that learning naturally is simply learning. It doesn't matter how you do it - what tools you bring to your life to help you learn what it is that you need to learn, or when you use them. I've always found that more conscious the process is the more effective it is. Learning can inlclude tutors, books, television, institutions and it can include fitting in with other people's agendas as all learning is in some way a social act. This understanding of natural learning I have uncovered through analysing the learning processes of myself and those around me.
Unschooling to me has always meant rejecting the notion that one has to be taught to learn. It perplexes me to see unschooling described as 'child-led' - though it is imperative that the child participate fully in the responsibility for his or her education. I see unschooling as 'family-centred'. I see the family - no matter how structured - as the central socialising unit, and thus cultural centre, in society.
Deschooling to me means that period of time between leaving school and finding one's innate learning style and preferences and working out the best way to move forward with educating outside of the school environment. It is the shedding of the assumptions about education and how it is delivered to both children and adults.
The terms Home Education and Homeschooling encompass not only children learning at home, but children learning in the community and the environment. For many of us this community has been broadened by the use of the Internet and cyberspace. Some of us are privileged to travel extensively with our children. Home Education is not HOME based in most situations.
School-at-Home - which is the most dominant form of educating children at home - is the application of school methods of education in the home environment. It's a very successful alternative educational approach and for many it is the first step in a wonderful journey that moves slowly but surely towards trust in learning naturally.
I personally embrace all kinds of education - even school education - and wish that all people had the ability to chose what suits their individual children and family situations. We have the ability to support, rather than judge, each other. I am wary of saying that one person's approach or choice is less suitable than what I do or what I see others doing.
I personally have moved through all the above 'approaches' and have settled on learning naturally as it allows me to do whatever I feel is necessary to learn. I definitely don't define natural learning as 'child-led' as at 46 I am natural learner!
Was this article helpful? Was it worth $1.00 to you?
Your gift of $1 or more helps to keep this site operating
and reassurance to families
better outcomes for their children.
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
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
You are invited to join Home Education Australia!
One well-organised space to find and share information,
resources links and
more to support all home educators
across Australia, including a directory of posts and threads , where you
can source all your needs related to home education and
find what others are seeking and finding within Australia.
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.
"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
and Unschooling Pack
Each Pack contains a copy of the following:
Natural Learning Answers
A5 or A4
Learning Naturally Diary
Learning Maths Naturally
A Sample Approved Natural Learning Program and Review
Only $29 or $33
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.
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!