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.

 

Zen and the Art Of Clutter: Embracing The Mess

© Michelle Kennedy, 2006

Clutter. Disorder. Disarray. Believe it or not, I have come to respect these words and their meanings as I stumble and trip through my house.

Let me explain. I have a friend who is an incredible housewife (stay-at-home mom, domestic engineer). When I walk into her beautiful, freshly redecorated house, there is always the smell of something healthy and loving simmering on the stove. Her house is always spotless; clothes are always neat, wrinkle-free and put away.

Drips are promptly wiped up; dishes are done after every meal; floors are swept and the bathroom sink is completely lacking of toothpaste... um, er, are those balls or gobs? I am never quite sure what to call them. She also doesn't just mow her lawn: She landscapes.

Her children always look like they stepped out of a Tide commercial. There are no holes in the knees of their pants, and their faces are free from ice cream beards and milk moustaches.

My friend finishes her needlework projects promptly, and her husband always finds time to frame them. They are added to the wall with the promptly framed school pictures (rotated yearly) and the framed projects the children have brought home from school. She is the pre-eminent volunteer, a crafts woman extraordinaire, a Martha Stewart in the making and is always home when the kids get home.

Either my husband or I are also home with the children, but that is just about where the similarities between my friend and I end.

Somehow our clothes never seem to make it past the dryer. Well, that's not entirely true. They make into a basket in front of the dryer and then everyone pushes their way through to see if their favorite clothes finally made it out.

Choruses of "Hey, those are my socks!" and "I don't have any underwear!" are frequently yelled as the day begins.

Will someone please explain why they can put a man on the moon, but they can't make pants that kids can't wear longer than three weeks without putting holes in the knees? By February, my kids are all out of pants, but they have mounds of cut-offs.

If there are enough dishes clean to have a meal, this seems to be good enough. The dishes don't always match, but ... hey, who said chicken had to be eaten on a plate? And oatmeal is just as easy to eat with fork as a spoon, and besides, I am not giving up my coffee spoon for anyone first thing in the morning.

Our lawn is landscaped ... with the remains of trip to Toys 'R' Us. Lovingly strewn throughout the lawn are a variety of plastic shovels (I think the Latin term is Shovolius Ijusthavetohaveitius), a couple of bikes, a skateboard and socks. Don't ask me about the socks; I have no idea.

The lawn is mowed just often enough to keep the neighbors from calling the selectboard, and we did hang up Christmas lights last year.

Now don't get me wrong. I hate dirt just as much as anyone. Despite the clutter, I am proud to say that there is nothing growing (currently) in my refrigerator.

I have simply developed my own "Philosophy of Housework," otherwise entitled "Zen and the Art of Clutter." Don't be fooled, there is an art to it. It takes a long time to learn to leave well enough alone.

There are many righteous people out there now, telling us to "simplify." To get rid of our stuff, our debt, our desire for things. And I agree with a lot of it, but... I like some of my stuff. So I decided to simplify my mind. As Thoreau once said, "Simplify, simplify, simplify," and as Bob Newhart added, "Wouldn't it have been simpler to only say it once?"

Ask yourself: What can I live with? With a household full of active readers, my office in the house, and who knows how many craft projects, science projects and birthday presents in progress going on, I long ago decided that piles of books and magazines were acceptable. It's OK for the bookshelves and cabinets to be disheveled and for the kitchen table to be a virtual "inbox" for the plethora of papers that make their way into our home.

However, I do not tolerate leftover crumbs, food left out, unswept floors, etc.

Also, make your kids work! Most people are amazed when I tell them the things that my kids do to help. My 8- and 10-year-olds do very simple chores that save me loads of time, and it teaches them what it means to contribute to the family -- or at least, what they can do to not make Mom angry. My teenagers take on more physical chores like stacking wood or feeding the sheep -- and I have learned to tune out the standard heavy sigh, and I don't even see frequent eye-rolling anymore.

And they do not get paid for these chores -- sweeping, wiping counters and tables, picking up toys, folding laundry, sorting recyclables and taking out trash, wiping down bathroom fixtures, etc. -- any more than I get paid to do the dishes or scrub the tub.

Many parents feel that it's easier and faster to do most of these things themselves. I don't -- do you know why? Who cares if it takes them three hours to clean the bathroom? If they are dawdling and that's how they want to spend their day, then too bad for them. It only took me a half-hour to clean the living room and now I get to do what I want.

And no, maybe Junior won't sweep "properly" behind the piano, but he probably got everything he could see, and if he can't see it and you can't see it, why look for it?

There are some days when I am just frustrated with the whole idea of housework. Why bother? There will just be more tomorrow. Housework never ends ... and that is why I have decided not to dedicate any more of my life to it than I have to.

Yes, I am still jealous of my friend's immaculate home and hopeful that no one has white gloves on when they come over to mine. But mostly I am happy when there are enough clean dishes for the next meal, and I'm happy when everyone has something clean to wear. When kids start telling me there is no clean underwear, then I know I've ignored too much!

Michelle Kennedy is an author, activist, shepherd, organic farmer and mother of five. She is also the Founding Editor of Real Living -- a new 'zine for the organically inclined. Contact Michelle directly by visiting www.mishakennedy.com.

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.