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


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

Join Beverley LIVE at the 2021 online Australian Homeschooling Summit, don't miss out on her workshops, What is my child learning and Inside Beverley's classroomJoin Beverley and friends
LIVE in February at the
2021 online Australian
Homeschooling Summit!

But you don't have to wait until then - grab this limited-time special offer for the best Aussie homeschooling help you can get! Get the recordings of ALL 78 workshops + 15 bonus sessions from the 2017, 2019, and 2020 Australian Homeschooling Summits.

Get instant lifetime access for only $49!

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


Building Like-Minded Communities for Our Home Educating Families

by Beverley Paine, Feb 2014
This article may be reproduced if attributed with the above name and link intact.

The hardest most enduring issue in home education and although we quickly jump on the suggestion that home educated children are not socialised and cite plenty of reasons and examples why they are, we - the parents - crave social opportunities for our children and ourselves.

It's heart breaking when we put our children back into the school system because they are lonely. Or sometimes because we are lonely too.

I appreciate that many of us try and try and try again to find our niche in the local community and it's never going to happen. Round pegs in square holes. Been there, done that. And I appreciate that many of us travel or move, seeking to find a local community in which we will naturally and comfortably feel we belong. Been there, done that too. Some of us are successful, many - like me - are not.

I have a theory why: expectations. My expectations were this: I was looking for a like-minded community that would accept me as I am and support me. So far so good, nothing unusual about that. But my notion of what support is and was and should be was flawed and, to be honest, immature. I was operating from my beliefs and attitudes developed during my childhood, one of traditional parenting and schooling. I thought support was unconditional praise. I thought support was liking what I did and how I did it. I thought support meant not being objective or critical of what I did or how I did it. I thought support was walking my path with me, just like me, doing what I did and how I did it. My idea of support didn't tolerate difference or diversity: these things challenged my sense of security and confidence. I wanted support that reflected my life, offered a sense of sameness, so I didn't feel different.

Naturally I didn't find the support I sought. I found enough tiny pockets to sustain me though, and was silly enough to not recognise what was on offer and usually ended up rejecting them because I saw them as only fragments, not the whole thing (not realising, of course, that in doing so I was still looking for the mirror, which I didn't actually need, but craved).

A wise person - not a homeschooler, a mother - scoffed at my stated need to find like-minded community. She said, "Community isn't something you find, it's something you build around you." I was young, in my mid-twenties, and didn't want to know that, didn't want to do the work, wasn't well enough, was too busy, etc. I was still in the stage of life where I wanted to blame and project: I wasn't ready to take responsibility and control, didn't feel confident enough. Hadn't deschooled enough and was still convinced that the fault wasn't mine because others are supposed to provide all that stuff for us... If we've lived within the school system long enough that's what we learn: how to be passive consumers of life and learning, not creators of our own existence.

I knew this woman's words were wise and sensible and true and what I needed to do: we all do. But knowing something doesn't necessarily change attitudes and actions, definitely not overnight. It took me years to discover that I needed to continually challenge my thinking and behaviour, which had largely been trained into me during childhood. And to realise that most of the time my choices were actually reinforcing those old patterns and habits. I knew what I had to do but kept believing it was hard, beyond my abilities, etc. Plus, I honestly didn't want to be different, I wanted to be normal, like everyone else. I wanted what I thought they had!

I still find it difficult. I've learned some important lessons about finding and becoming friends: support is unconditional. That one still bites me now and then because I still don't want to do the work required of friendship and of building community. I still have self-esteem issues, still feel fragile, still need others to affirm that I'm okay, that they like me and what I do and how I do it. But what has shifted for me - gradually - is the focus. Support isn't about me as much as it used to be. It's about me supporting others. And creating a sense of community for others. Little by little I'm allowing myself to feel at home in the communities I'm helping to build by my support.

What feels good and right and proper about that approach is that it's organic, it grows from the centre, from the heart and works with what we have, rather than what we desire we have.

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

Join Home Education Australia group: one space to share information, resources links and

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.

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

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

Help your child to learn how to play music with our app and children's books to them started - I Learning Music and Fun in the Music Room

Stocking all of Beverley Paine's, the educating parent's, books!

Click here for music lessons for students with autism and other needs Spectrum Music Studio

music lessons tailored to your home educating students needs in Joondalup Perth WA the only homeschool reading development which combines neurosciencebased exercises with voice recognition technology, platypus power reading program Click here to go to Learning Enrichment Studio Fostering Students Academic Potential

Natural Learning
and Unschooling Pack

Each Pack contains a copy of the following:
Natural Learning
Natural Learning Answers
A5 or A4
Learning Naturally Diary
Learning Maths Naturally
A Sample Approved Natural Learning Program and Review

Only $29 or $33
Select A4 or A5 Diary

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 1999-2021.