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

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


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.


Natural Learning, Simplicity and Survival

© Beverley Paine

What did you do today? Can you name the learning that occurred? Why not pick one incident and describe , in as much detail as you can, what happened, why it happened and what was learned - both intentionally and unintentionally.

Learning excites me. I am learning all the time. Those that know me witness the buzz of joy I experience at learning. I especially enjoy not knowing before each moment what I'm going to learn in the next. That is what makes learning so exciting.

Most of the time though I have a fair idea. As a self-confessed control freak I like to plan and organise my life. I like to deliberately imbue each moment with 'lessons' to learn. They aren't the kind of lessons we experienced in school and learning for the sake of learning isn't a game I like to play. The kind of learning I line up for myself every day is grounded in contextual meaning: I learn because I need to. Along the way I learn far more than I could have ever planned or anticipated and in this way life is always full of surprise.

I haven't met a child who wasn't hung up on control. The way I see it the need to control our environment and our reactions must be fundamental to survival. Human beings go to amazing extremes to control the environment, both social, spacial and temporal. Most of our behaviour is controlling in one way or another. Confidence and self-esteem seem to depend upon our ability to effectively control our path through each moment in life.

As well as driving our need to learn, this innate need to control also seems to be the one thing that can stop learning in it's tracks. The need to respond or act perfectly - to get it right first time - can act as a huge brake to even beginning the learning journey. I saw this happening all the time when my children were young, especially if they had an audience. Perfection is a hard task master and one that frustrates us as parents. We naturally want our children to do well, and encourage them gently, but often they won't even begin to 'have a go'. Their lack of confidence or their tardiness to 'do their best' worries us. We know they could better - more often than not we've seen them do better - and despair that they aren't progressing or performing as well as we think they could.

As a homeschooling mum I did my best - which wasn't never enough to satisfy my personal craving for perfection within - to stay focussed on our survival needs and not become obsessive about the many unnecessary distractions that grabbed our attention and usually diminished our sense of joy at being alive. My instincts told me that natural and simple living, and thus learning, was grounded by a focus on survival. I continually asked myself, "What do we need to survive?" I examined in detail the difference between our 'wants' and our 'needs' and chose to put our needs first. To do this I considered the needs of the living organism first: clean air, food, water; adequate shelter, safety and protection; social well-being. Anything beyond satisfying basic survival needs was a welcome luxury. I set educational priorities based on this premise. What I discovered was that by meeting my family's survival needs in a simple and basic way we were able to offer a natural and comprehensive education in a simple and satisfying way.

Think about it: what actually happens when we scale back our homeschooling curricula and learning programs to the absolute daily essentials based on what human beings need to survive? Like me, you'll find it useful to make a list of what we really need to survive, and then analyse how you meet those needs in your everyday life. I like to find what I call the 'bottom line' and build up from there. Our 'shelter' is much more than we actually need to stay warm and dry, sheltered from the searing midday sun. As a result a lot more energy is required to maintain it. I kept asking myself, how can I simplify my life? When my children built cubby houses, trying to emulate the fabulous structure we live in, they hesitated because the complexity with which we surround ourselves is beyond their skill levels. It was important for me to talk about and show that human endeavour begins with basic survival and grows from there. Perfection isn't really necessary. Getting it right, making it look what others think it should look like, isn't as important as making it work the way you need it to work, no matter what the 'it' is in life. We went camping in a tent and lived without the luxuries we took for granted. We built simple shelters in the garden and on the beach. We made cubbies under the dining room table. What do we need right now became our mantra.

Ask yourself this question often: "What does a child really need to know and be able to do on the way to becoming an adult?" I found reminding myself to focus on what we consider to be the most important survival tasks each day very reassuring as a homeschooling parent. Most of my worries grew from the unnecessary complexity of life, the many and varied distractions that I dragged into our lives thinking that they were essential to growth and development, when in fact they were luxuries. We don't have time to do everything in life, so doesn't it make sense to concentrate on the skills and knowledge that we really do need?

When I look at how I go about surviving each day I'm appalled at the way simple survival tasks are masked by unnecessary complexity and distractions. It's as if, in order to justify my existence to those around me, I need to create busy-ness. I've become addicted to complexity! And when I consider how much my addiction costs the natural environment of our planet, or how it binds my time so that I can't play and laugh with my family and friends as much as I'd like, or help those less fortunate than myself, I cringe. It's time to develop a natural learning lifestyle that truly focuses on the basics, a simple sensible and meaningful life that is built on need rather than want and is created in the present for the present. Such a lifestyle is amazingly exciting and satisfying!

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?

Access 228 plus workshops and presentations from all of the Australian Homeschool Summits subscription membership, expert advice tips and resources online in the comfort of your own home in your own time everything you need to plan and register with ease!

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.

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

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

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

Australia's premier online annual conferences, lifetime access to video and audio recordings, freebies, notes and associated resource guides.


$29 each 2023 2022 2021
$25 each 2020 2019 2017

"Biggest and best Aussie homeschool event of the year!"

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 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.