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.


book review The Work of Wool a Montessori Handwork Album by Carol Palmer reviewed by Beverley Paine The Educating ParentThe Work of Wool, A Montessori Handwork Album

Author: Carol Palmer

Book Review
by Beverley Paine

Parents frequently ask what activities their children can do for technology. Most people immediately think of computers and other information technology but my first thought is craft. Craft is defined as an activity involving skill in making things by hand. Learning to grasp something in our hands is one of the earliest skills we master: we're hard wired to use our hands to help us learn about and experience our world. Early education celebrates this but by about eight years of age the emphasis has switched from hands-on learning to using our eyes, and to a lesser extent our ears. Reading, writing and arithmetic become all important and the most efficient way to track learning in these areas is usually through screen or paper based activities.

However children still enjoy mucking about making, creating and building, using their hands to help them express their ideas and materialize concepts provided they are provided with the space, time and materials to do so.

The other important ingredient necessary is company. We don't learn in isolation: being around people who are busy making, creating and building helps children discover, practice and hone new skills. And this is where Carol Palmer's book helps: she noticed how little craft work takes place in schools. Recognising the importance of working with our hands to children's overall development, she also believes in the need to preserve the skills of our collective heritage, and to help pass them onto the next generation.

As a school kid in the 1960s I remember doing craft as a separate subject: mostly I remember learning how to embroider and sew, although I do remember making all manner of things that I'd take home and give to my parents as presents. At home I would busy myself making dolls' clothes and furniture, and model houses and layouts for my trainset. I enjoyed making and creating props for our various pretend and role-playing games, as well as 'sets' for our impromptu concerts. I remember learning how to cut and polish semi-precious stones and make gem trees and rock critters. Some skills I remember being taught, others I seemed to pick up by osmosis. Fibre crafts - mostly knitting, sewing and embroidery - were taught to me at school and by my mum. As an adult I've learned there are so many more fibre crafts and that's why Carol Palmer's book, The Work of Wool, caught my eye.

The Work of Wool is a manual that sets out in clear detail how to introduce and teach fibre crafts to children. Carol is an advocate of Montessori philosophy and people with knowledge of that approach to education will appreciate the way The Work of Wool is structured. Those new to the Montessori method will find it very easy to read and use.

The beauty of the Montessori approach for home educating parents is that the lessons are explicit and structured, beginning with an introduction that can be read or told to the children giving them some background about the activity, concept or idea. How to talk to the children about the activity is modelled, with what to say at every step. Carol illustrates the text with clear photographs that help to make it easy to follow each step. The text includes what to say and what to do as the parent works with the child. There are also pages and illustrations that can be photocopied and used with the children.

The manual begins with an introduction to wool, beginning with a brief history, and then covers the science of wool to give the children an understanding into the nature of this fibre. Beginning with spinning the manual moves through chapters on weaving, making pom poms, finger knitting, knitting, crochet, nalbinding, felting and dyeing.

This isn't your typical lesson plan you'll find for craft activities online, with a list of materials and a brief 'how to' description. This is a comprehensive study of the art of working with wool, building a thorough understanding of the nature of the material and what it can be used for and done with it. All too often the reasons why we teach our children anything - the context - are lost in our quest to cram as much we think they need to know and be able to do into those years before they become adults. The Work of Wool adds back that context.

It's 259 pages - not something you'll pick up and use all at once, or even get through in a year. And it isn't meant to be used like that. Take your time to work your way through this manual with your child. Read ahead and get a feel for how to present the activity and lesson and enjoy learning new skills alongside your child. Explore and practice each new skill before moving on. If you are already at working with wool you will appreciate the measured and thoughtful way Carol introduces the art to children; but if, like me, you are a relative novice and are a bit insecure, read and work through the lessons yourself, practicing the skills before introducing them to your child. I am planning on taking a couple or three years with my young grandchildren to get to the end of the manual.

As a teacher's resource the manual represents a fair investment and would probably suit sharing the cost among a group of home educating friends, or as a resource for a home educating cooperative.

Carol is offering readers of The Educating Parent a 10% discount using this code TEP2018.

"The satisfaction of creating something that is both useful and beautiful is part of human heritage. Children who are adept at handwork, who have the gift of fine finger control, have a world of possibilities open to them - they are our future surgeons, artists, and engineers."

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.