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

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Introduction to
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Homeschooling Summit!

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Beverley's Blog
week ending 2nd Jan 2021

The Gardeneers

1st Jan, 2020

Sharon, from Loose Parts Press, emailed me about "The Gardeneers", early chapter book series for children ages 5-9. The first book "The Cicada Detectives", written by an Australian mum, we meet three friends and a passionate educator building a garden together.

"Each of the 12 books focuses on a different principle of permaculture and shows how it applies both in the garden and within the group of friends. Each book also concludes with a bit of history - both on indigenous land care and permaculture practices, as well as a DIY project. It's the perfect tool for school teachers, homeschoolers, community gardens, or parents just looking for a way to get their kids involved and their hands in the dirt.

The books are available for pre-order via Kickstarter. And 25% of all profits go to the Indigenous Literacy Fund!

Bistro Bella 2021 Home Education Planner

There is a new homeschool planner available by a home educating family Bistro Bella, available in hard copy posted or as a download file. Christine is currently offering home educating families a 20% discount [use discount code "20offRRP"].

2021 Home Educating Planner

The planner is illustrated throughout with simple and engaging drawings which might engage the kids and help them to become involved in recording - a skill which covers learning across a few curriculum subjects.

Covers all the normal things you'd expect in a homeschool planner package - calendar pages, unit study and activity planning pages, books read list, etc, as well as a novel (to me) recording idea that should make it easier to keep track of learning throughout the year and help to build confidence.

There is also curriculum checklists to help plan and evaluate you can refer to drawn from the Australian Curriculum (which is incorporated into some state syllabi and used as is by others).

She's including all the pages you'll need to print, which means some repetition in the file, but you can print out individual pages as you need them instead.
You'll need Dropbox if you don't already have it for the download files.

We're going to give it a go and will definitely use some, if not all of the pages, in 2021.

Chores come naturally, why do we condition that out of our kids?
1st Jan, 2021

How come really young people, aged 1 to 4, love to get stuck into helping us adults do the housework, gardening and chores but by the time they are 5 they've lost interest, and worse still, run a mile or ignore our pleas for help? Perhaps it is because we're constantly telling them that it's work, and that work is a chore, something you HAVE to do and don't WANT to do but NEED to do... It's not something we actually truly really value. But these really young people seem to be born knowing that the stuff we do every day to look ourselves, our belongings, each other and our environment is essential important and truly worthwhile and valuable work, it's what they know they need to do to grow up and be like us, important and valuable people. It is time we adults start valuing the little and big jobs we do each day in much the same way that these tiny youngsters do - perhaps we'll regain some of that enthusiasm and joy we must have also had when we were young. And maybe, fingers crossed, we can break this unintentional conditioning passed down from generation to generation.

Photo by Robin: two children using a wash board

Interview with Schooling Discoveries

In 2020 Addy from Schooling Discoveries recorded an interview with Beverley using Zoom which was made into four videos. Beverley covers a range of difficult topics including anecdotes from home educating her children and grandchildren.

What kind of words do you use to describe your child?

Dec 30, 2020

Came across this poster as a meme on Facebook today. I'm not so keen on using 'positive' as a descriptor for the words in the right-hand column - I think they are simply a more appropriate choice. Although, having said that, I'm strong-willed and stubborn, can be emotional, etc, etc, etc and I'm okay with that, but that's beside the point. Labelling anyone as their behaviour or temperament probably isn't conducive to building connection, trust and respect, so being mindful of what words we choose and how we use them is wise.

Join Beverley and friends at the
2021 Australian Homeschooling Summit

Dec 29, 2020

Schools use words all the time to describe children and these words can have a powerful effect on self-esteem. They can also follow a child throughout their school life, passed on from one teacher to another at the end of the year, recorded in reports, and so on. This can lead to prejudice, especially if used as stereotypes.

I'm guilty of describing my children and grandchildren in this way - something I keep trying to be more mindful about. Never too old to learn different ways!

I'm really excited to be presenting again at the 2021 Australian Homeschooling Summit.  Today I signed up with Summit producer Kelly from Fearless Homeschool along with many of my awesome experienced home educating friends!

But you don't have to wait until February to get all the help you could possibly want to help you make up your mind if home education is the right path for your family, or get started planning your 2021 curriculum and activities today, or to give your existing home educating life a lovely refresh and boost!   

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.

They include all my previous workshops: 
  • Tune into how your child learns
  • Deschooling for Homeschoolers
  • Oh no! I forgot to Socialise the Kids!
  • Eyes Wide Open - Home Education Benefits and Disadvantages
  • Choosing Homeschool Curriculum
Get instant lifetime access for only $49 - that's 35% off!

I'll be presenting two NEW workshops at this year's summit:

What is my child learning? Monday 22nd Feb 2pm AEDT

Your child is learning all the time, some of it planned but most of it unplanned: it simply happens as they process, reflect and evaluate how their actions affect what is happening around them and what they are doing.  Let Beverley help you to recognise some of those moments by sharing some examples from home educating her kids and grandkids. Capture a few of these learning moments every day to build your confidence as an educating parent. 


Inside Beverley's Classroom Monday 22nd Feb 2pm AEDT

Come on a tour of The Educating Parent's home, see how Beverley creates an environment that nurtures and feeds enthusiasm for natural and structured learning. An organised space makes accessing all those resources and planning activities easy. Packed with ideas that have stood the test of time. 
2021 is shaping up to be so much better than 2020! Let's get together and make that happen! 

Join me on my online support group - The Educating Parents Homeschooling and Unschooling .

* Thank you for signing up for the 2021 Australian Homeschooling Summit or for purchasing lifetime access to past Summit. As an affiliate, I receive a percentage of ticket sales. Your support for the work I do is appreciated.

Gold standard in education?

Dec 28, 2020

Chatting with the lead officer responsible for a team of people assessing home education applications and reviews a couple of years ago, it was made clear that the school system believes it offers world's best practice in education to children, often claimed as the 'gold standard'. And that home education is seen as stepping away from the opportunity to provide that level of excellence, thus disadvantaging them. This was expressed despite the personal knowledge and experience of the officer that demonstrates otherwise, and I took it as a 'must say' defensive comment. 

Early in my home educating experience I came to realise just how much of our economy is embedded in the school system, from child care centres through to universities and online learning colleges. It is a massive industry that employs many. For a long time, we home educators were seen as potentially undermining the integrity of that system: as one home education manager said "operating outside of the school system" (and therefore the system was not responsible for providing support or funding). However, that's the no longer the case, if it ever was... The education industry has finally recognised the potential of serving 'micro-schools', individual families and groups engaged in home education. And technology is enabling that. 

The challenge for home education is to stay free to continue to develop diverse educational practices that meet the needs of individual learners and not become subsumed by the outdated school culture, simply because it is hard for the educrats to think outside that paradigm and take in the rapid and exciting changes taking place in how people learn today.  

Stark Raving Dad sums it eloquently in his post yesterday, where he talks about two different approaches to social development, asking are we truly happy with the widespread 'gold standard' practices in school, suggesting that if asked the next generation what they thought they'd ask us to tear it down. 

Looking after yourself: applying permaculture design principles as a guide

Dec 27, 2020

I came across the idea of home education at the same time as permaculture so the two have always been intertwined in my mind: permaculture principles and ethics informs my life and actions. It is still an imperfect practice as I'm still learning, even after 34 years! There is a fair bit of resistance to changing thought habits to overcome and in home educating vernacular we call that process 'deschooling'. The link goes to a module from a free permaculture course and I wish I'd had access to this 34 years ago! It reflects much of what I've learned from personal experience muddling through life, slowly learning to take better care of myself as I more or less applied the permie principles to my inner life as well as my outer life. I am a slow learner and I'm okay with that. I'm currently exploring the many links embedded in this article. ??https://www.freepermaculture.com/inner-landscape/

Image: Beverley picking cherries at Fleurieu Cherries

Holiday blues - dealing with relatives who disagree with home educating December 26, 2020

FAQ: How do you deal with relatives who quiz the children to see if they're 'behind' academically and compare them to schooled children? We no longer enjoy seeing the relatives because of this and we're seeing them less often as a result. 

For years I wanted people around me to acknowledge and respect and in some instances with some people even approve of our choice to home educate our children, or at least respect our children. I was very attached to that want: it felt like a need. It is a need, but all the time I was actively seeking it, and that combined with the expectation based on past experience that it wouldn't be there which provoked anxiety and anticipation of disappointment. I was setting myself up to be reactive and irritated. I was setting myself up to allow the opinions of others to affect me - I still had considerable emotional attachment to their thoughts and opinions.

Way back when our kids were young I'd prep them beforehand - let them know that some people have no idea, aren't prepared to let go of entrenched views and attitudes, have different values, etc. I'd let them know that some people have no idea what it means to respect children, don't consider children as people just like them, worthy of equal respect, and that it is up to them (our kids) if they want to engage socially with people or not. And that just because we're related to people doesn't mean we owe them more social interaction than we would with strangers. In the beginning, I felt obliged to coax our children into being polite and responsive but the more I saw our kids being disrespected by certain people the more I backed off from doing that: if the adult wants a relationship with the children the adult needs to respect them and do the work that is required to maintain one.

Photo by  cottonbro  from  Pexels : extended  family sitting around table

I understand that the people that feel bonded to us and our children in some way have concerns, and many want to be helpful: perhaps we can give these people suggestions that will help them get more involved in our children's education and well-being in a more hands-on direct way. Instead of nagging us parents about our choices or covertly or directly testing the kids, they can play cards or a board game, or kick a footy with them, read a book to them, or build a LEGO set, or play Minecraft or whatever. Take them to the museum or wildlife, to exhibitions, science expo, etc. That's what I do with my grandkids. It's not hard. Building a relationship with children, getting to know them, treating them like people, isn't hard. Sometimes people need to know it is okay to support and contribute, rather than sit on the sidelines worrying about the children's education.

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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
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with increased confidence in my ability to provide and
share a wonderful learning journey with my family!"

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wisdom changed our lives. We now offer support and
organise many homeschooling events for others."

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"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."

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Welcome to the World of Home Education
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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'.

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