homeschooling · Life Skills · natural learning · Parenting · Unschooling · World schooling

The Answer to the Question: Why did you choose to home educate?

It’s not easy to answer this question in passing! For a start, there are 100 if not thousands of reasons why I chose to home educate. My short answer was “I never imagined it any other way. Mostly for the freedom to travel and road school, but for many reasons.” Maybe I was keeping the cards close to my chest.

I edited the first paragraph to include my actual answer when someone pointed out how my original paragraph could have been interpreted vastly different. I did say it was no light decision. What I meant by that was…I’ve given this enormous consideration. I have great strength in my certainty. I sure hope to convey that…which “in passing” is not going to do the subject justice!

For one, I feel learning outside a school classroom, can be much less limited! I also feel you have far more potential to integrate into society outside of school than divided and segregated with a focus on conformity. I’m no fan of conforming for it’s own sake!

There are also a great many articles I have read that have done a beautiful job of explaining the benefits and advantages of home “school”, so I’m mindful that I really want to “do it justice” when I share the beauty of home ed to the outside world. But for now, I just want to scratch the surface. I guess that’s why I began this blog as well.

Aside from keeping a home ed journal for potential audit purposes, I wanted to keep these precious memories close at hand. Besides, I find that when you measure something, as in “keep a track of it”…you are more mindful, present and aware of it, AND you can see your performance, record the journey of changes and growth!

It’s a simple success tool that I’m really beginning to have respect for, using it in my own life more and more as I grow older. I’ve grown to LOVE spread sheets! Something only recent, BUT something I never thought I would…in a million years! This is also teaching me, that the love of learning just takes you to places that others find it hard and laborious to attain. You know…things like “maths”.

See when you love something…you naturally want to learn ALL about it! And numbers, language, history and EVERYTHING…every other subject are what you WANT to know ABOUT this topic that you LOVE! If you love Growing food and Self Sustainability for example, you are going to want to learn all the plant names, history of their discovery, distance to plant their seeds, how long it takes to grow and fruit.

Everything (every “subject”) IN REAL LIFE… is intertwined….NOT separate! Thats…in a nutshell, MY reason for home education (not school). But outside that nutshell, it’s many, MANY reasons that I chose home education! I won’t call it home school if I’m being honest! Because I’m not choosing “school”. I’m not bringing school into my home. I’m choosing something different. I’m choosing real life.

You have freedom to go MUCH deeper into a subject you’re taken by when you’re the driver behind the wheel of your own learning. You don’t get a bell that drills the message into you that “nothing is important enough, not to be interrupted by an outer authority”. What does a bell teach a child about their own autonomy? I want my children to REALLY learn that their say…matters!

Yesterday, my 5 year old suggested we just “ask” the supermarkets to stop using plastic! So simple! But WOW! So…I did just that! A seed was planted! Who knows where this fire in the belly may lead? She now knows that her ideas…can impact change in the bigger world! And I love that! She did NOT learn that on a superficial level! She owned that! It was HER learning…NOT my curriculum!

Stay tuned as I feel a part 2 coming on! That’s all for now…but it’s not “all”.

homeschooling · Life Skills · natural learning · Parenting · Unschooling · World schooling

Learning is Everywhere! Just turn your attention to it!

This week was full! We did a letter drop which was great for some exercise and number learning (letterbox numbers) for miss 5! We went to story time at our library, read lots of awesome books from local authors. We love that about our library!

After going to the pool, miss 5 asked about chlorine as we washed it off at home. This lead to some chemistry “youtubing” and a science themed night (by her choice). We read about the planets and the next day, we “researched” insects upon her request too.

She learned all about cockroaches and mosquitos. When her Dad got home, I overheard her telling him ALL about them! It was a proud moment. Such enthusiasm! You can’t “enforce” that! It is self driven. I just LOVE it!

We then had our unschooling group at the Sanctuary which was a beautiful day of endless play. Imaginations ran wild at the playground which was awesome to watch! We got to enjoy feeding the birds and us mamas got to hold! It was all about “experience” which I feel so strongly about as being such a driving force behind learning!

Loads of questions come up as we observe wildlife and it’s habitats as we roam around the Sanctuary. See, all of this learning, immersion, observation and experience of the week, was organic, not pushed one little bit. Just a part of life! This is how I see learning! In fact, for SO LONG, I had been wanting my little girl to be “into” David Attenborough! However, last night…finally as we flopped down on the couch after a massive week, We watched “The Blue Planet”.

We loved it! After many invitations to watch his documentaries, to no avail…we finally got to (much to my excitement). And the girls fell asleep in my arms on the couch together watching it! I didn’t move them til I was finished watching it:) I didn’t want to move!

From the Blue Planet, to “The Deep”…I was in AWE! And it was TV! See, in my eyes…you can’t STOP learning! It’s part of living! One doesn’t come without the other! Amongst all this, we baked a lot this week! The girls didn’t always get involved but when they did, it was enjoyed and by choice…with enthusiasm.

They built cubbies, tipis, sand castle, block towers and had water play. Between all that was lots of messy art. And with all the stress I see some parents admit to feeling around pressures to perform as home educators, I want to be a reminder. That you don’t need to create learning! You just need to welcome and be present to it! It just HAPPENS! You can’t stop it! I hope that helps you stop stressing!

Would love to hear how you observe learning in your children! Even watching the seasons roll by…there’s SO much wisdom being absorbed…sometimes hard to see until much later! So don’t forget that either! Much like seeds growing in the soil…sometimes you can’t see it for some time!

homeschooling · Life Skills · natural learning · Parenting · Unschooling · World schooling

Keeping it simple – Life Lessons & Natural Learning

We were doing a letter drop today in our local area for our business. That’s when it dawned on me how easy and simple learning can and should be! Instead of jamming facts down the throat of children, we could be simply exposing them to the language of life (numbers and letters) naturally. As we put our postcards in mailboxes, I was speaking out the letterbox numbers. There was no pressure for my 5 year old to pay attention or learn them. Just exposing her.

I figure this is a way for her to learn visually and see the relevance of numbers. Yesterday was also a great example of natural learning when we went to the pool! Of her own accord, our 5 year old asked about Chlorine and specifically asked to “research it”.

So…we did a little “youtubing” and watched a few chemistry experiments too. Last night we carried on with the science theme as she chose her bedtime stories. She selected the solar system space book and was interested in learning all about the planets. As I love Astrology, I have frequently dropped seeds along the way…however this was all her curiosity. I was pleasantly surprised as there have been many occasions where I have offered up the topic without her showing interest. So I don’t push.

I just feel it is a much nicer way of going about learning when it can be far more “absorbed” by choice as opposed to rigidly enforced just because. One of my favourite ways to offer learning is through not just play but observation. Just by being involved in and surrounded by the things we are doing as a family, such as food growing…I feel our children will take in a lot.

Being in the garden, literally JUST BEING in it…is something I feel the children can learn SO much from! If they are going to discover self sufficiency then they will do so with an understanding of just how much it takes! How much presence and patience, for one.

I’m philosophical and I feel you can learn a lot from gardening, which is why I’m so grateful for having that as a learning tool around our home. For anyone questioning their ability to “deliver” a home education for their children…liken that notion to that of “delivering” a baby! The baby plays a vital role of instigating it’s own birth! You don’t actually “deliver”…education is natural and a part of life!

We just need to get out of it’s way most of the time! Observe, make the environment “conducive”, turn down distraction, build a strong connection and use your intuition!

homeschooling · Life Skills · natural learning · Parenting · Unschooling

Subjects & Unschooling

How many snakes can you see? 😉

Today I received a message from a reader about how to work and unschool as well as address nervousness around subjects. Below is the question followed by my answer.

“I’m hoping you might be able to suggest possible ways a parent can work and unschool their own kids? My ex is nervous about ‘subjects’ he doesn’t know well like Math but I feel maths is kinaesthetic and you learn it through music and movement and art and if you like you read and do more..play games etc

I really feel home school can be achieved to a high standard but I want to know how to do it so we aren’t exhausted as well (Co parenting the home schooling situation)
I want them to learn real things not just curriculum and I want to be well balanced at home and work, give them what I need.”

Answer…

Firstly, this brings me to think of the audio I have on my phone that I listen to on bluetooth in the car. It’s a talk by Dr John Demartini on How to Awaken Your Genius. It was specifically a talk he did for Parents relating to their children. So many parents worry about their children’s learning! I highly recommend diving deep into Dr Jogn Demartini, World Leading Human Behavioural Specialist!

He’s one of the MANY inspirations that I know lead me to the choice to home educate! I have devoured much of his content and there is a WEALTH of it! The talk discusses that MANY ways so many people don’t realise they are already immersed in a “subject”…such as Maths for example.

In fact maths was indeed an example he gave in the talk, sharing a story of a young boy / teenager, who had come along to a talk with his mother and counsellor! The young man was being labelled by his mother and counsellor as unmotivated, lazy etc. But only minutes into John’s response and they realised they had it all sincerely wrong!

This young man was “into” hockey! They “thought” he had no math skills! Just as one example! He wasn’t “interested”. ALL he wanted to do was stick his head in hockey mags and play hockey video games etc. See, there was an epic failure to communicate in this young man’s values on their part!

Dr John took this young man through a few simple questions about the game of hockey! He asked about the rink, the shape, the scores, the jersey player numbers, the money they earned, the goals, the geometry of the goals and angle of the puck and stick. The thing everyone failed to realise WAS…Hockey is ALL maths!

You know what…In my eyes, you can’t escape it! Maths is the language of the universe! It’s everywhere! If you don’t use a certain “prescribed” text on the “isolated subject” it does NOT mean you don’t get maths! It especially doe not mean you don’t use and apply it in your life! Which is kind of the WHLE point and purpose of it taught right?

So, THIS young man and his mother and counsellor, realised in just a few minutes, that HE had a strong desire to do “math” when he realised what an edge it would give him in “hockey”. He was a hockey nerd! An avid learner! Being judged! Labeled! He was intelligent, but people around him failed to understand that and see it! THAT”S the problem with society and the schooling system!

To touch on your other questions, see they say an hour or two of home education or “school” is equivalent to a WHOLE day of school! WHY? That’s easy for me. In a class…your 1-30 where at home your 1-1 or 1-3 or however many children you have. BUT…the big difference is…you KNOW your child! You speak their language and not only can you read their body language BUT you can see it, because it’s not lost in the crowd. It’s right there in front of you!

How not to get exhausted and home / unschool? If you consider that you give a couple of hours and your children get their whole day of school done…then that should ease your mind:) It’s learning through life! The way I see it, impart the wisdom you WANT your children to have…and it will light YOU up too! As an example…I LOVE teaching my children about self sustainability and growing food.

All I do I simply talk about it and learn about it WITH them! It’s that easy to me! Learn WITH your children! If you or your children’s other parent considers a certain subject like maths their weakness as such…then look at how you can learn it and apply it to real life, along with your children. Make it fun! That’s how it’s supposed to be…because it won’t be true learning otherwise.

I wrote about “Maths and Science” in a previous blog which I feel you might like reading. I agree that there are SO many ways you can learn maths, for example. On the subject of working AND unschooling…again, work is a part of life, so your children learn THROUGH you working! If you can offer anyone in your trusted circle a trade for caring for your child/ren, WHILE you work, then I feel that’s the best way to be able to manage doing what you love AND unschooling.

If you can arrange work around certain people who can be with your child/ren, then absolutely do that. Also, just go with the flow. When your child is busy, don’t interrupt them! Get to work when you have the opportunity. It’s how I personally survive. I give myself permission to do this because when I finish work and they finish play…we are COMPLETELY together! It’s real and whole hearted! Because I’m not “elsewhere”… I’m done!

I hope this offers some food for thought. I’m SO grateful you wrote to me! I see this as a beautiful opportunity for me to open my heart and live in MY values! Talking about what one loves is the greatest gift! So thank you Tammy!

homeschooling · Life Skills · natural learning · Unschooling

Average & Standard or Authentic & Self-Driven

At the moment I’ve been reading “Dumbing Us Down” by the legendary John Taylor Gatto. Thanks to my dear unschooling friend Leandri for introducing me to him!

What I truly love about him is, he can talk about Unschooling as an authority from the viewpoint of how well he knows exactly where the school system fails…because he won awards as a teacher! What struck me was his language around “averages and standards” and how school is about exactly that!

Producing a cookie cutter “average” or “standard” student, ready to go out into the world and do “standard” things. Well, see, for me that just doesn’t sit well. I, along with everyone else who allows themselves to be authentic…am a Unique Individual! And I do not want my children to be judged up against others for a measure of standardisation. That’s what school about! Comparing and competing and I don’t want a part of it because I see no point.

We are all SO gifted in our OWN unique ways and we need to honour that in order to be happy and have clarity and perspective! If we are judging ourselves against others, we are so to compare and either put ourselves down or on a pedestal! Why? Because according to our own values, they either will or will not be living up to our standards.

Thats just the thing…someone else will achieve according to what THEY want in life! To measure ourselves against that is to fail. Fail in seeing our own unique gifts, failure to see where we are accomplishing things according to what WE want in life!

To say that someone has little wisdom in such early days in life, because you are measuring them against a rule that each student should know a little bit of every “set” subject content, by a certain schedule, is to miss the point, that we are all so differently skilled by DESIGN! Nature has wisdom in making us all different, because whenever there are two people the same, one is not needed!

We need diversity by nature! This is one of my great inspirations for unschooling! Some people misunderstand the meaning of unschooling to be a rejection of education. But that couldn’t be further from the truth! Unschooling is about honouring ones unique passion and supporting their learning in whatever there heart chooses, so it becomes authentic, self driven ,(autonomous and organic) TRUE learning. Learning that is deeply embedded, not imposed memorisation for a test!

Learning that is lifelong and useful! Applicable and insatiable! When that is how a child or person learns, they can’t get enoug and you can’t get in their way! School get’s in the way though…because it hardly allows for self chosen subject study! It’s all laid out! Unschooling is about getting OUT of the way of learning! That’s how I see it anyway! Would love your thoughts.

homeschooling · Life Skills · Parenting · Unschooling · World schooling

The Beauty of Home Education

Because most people go to school, you will most often hear only of the benefits of going to school, so I’m here to champion home education! Because, given most people in fact “were” schooled…it can be hard to have faith in yourself to do something so huge without “being directed what to do” all the time…as you are in school.

See, the big thing I want to say upfront is… school does not equal education. Going to school, does not amount to education. School and teaching are different to learning and education! They may take place together but they don’t always! See, one…is being done “to you”, while the other, you take ownership of! Very different things!

I want to take a moment to share some of the reasons and inspirations behind WHY I choose to home educate. Because not many people understand it, because it’s not very common. I get that. I understand. What I want people to understand is…my inspiration for home ed / unschooling is … choosing something VERY different to what I see!

I don’t want my children to be “normal”, like everyone else. I am NOT bringing them up solely to “get a job”…Gosh! I want WAY MORE than just that for them! I see the possibility for an entrepreneur, someone who does something that HASN’T been done before! So in my eyes…why limit my children to just “getting a job”???

Why I’m so grateful for unschooling, natural learning, home education or whatever you prefer to call it, is…

The time with my children…not being rushed. I grateful I won’t be losing that couple of hours a day packing a lunch box and school bag! I also truly grateful my children will be wearing whatever they want too.

I am grateful for home education giving me the ability to be the one “modelling” for my children…how to “do life”, with LOVE. See, I don’t know where a teacher has come from and what attitudes they will show up in the class room with! What I do know is that my attitudes and insights in life have served me enormously!

My greatest accomplishment will be the “gratitude” I impart onto my children as I instil it as an essential foundation for fulfilment in life! How do I know that that one single fundamental learning will be offered to my children in a classroom lead by a stranger???

One of the best things I feel home education offers is…the possibility for random, organic and DEEP connections we make as we weave in and out of each others spheres throughout the day. The most beautiful aspects of home education for me is that message that is communicated to my children that they are more than what other’s perceive them to be. More than a mark or a grade and much more than a report card or test result!

My wish for them is that they learn that their voice matters and that they have control over their lives, freedom to choose and the right to be respected. What I do not want for them is a learned dependance on an authority figure to direct them when, what, where and how to think!

I am grateful to be here with my children for the thousands of hours instead of not knowing what they are going through. I grateful to be their greatest example… Not someone I do not know. How can that be a promise of joy for my children? That is my greatest purpose in home education! My children’s fulfilment!

homeschooling · Life Skills · Parenting · Unschooling · World schooling

Birds of a Feather Fly Together

Please stop saying how important “socialisation” is for children and how that’s the important thing about school! My beautiful homeschooled (unschooled) friend messaged me today with yet another mention of this common misconception from a nosey stranger when learning of her homeschooled child.

Do people even KNOW who they’re sending their children to school to “socialise” with??? I mean STOP, pause and PONDER THAT for a moment! Just a moment! Do you know that old saying “Birds of a feather fly together”? Well I feel it comes in very handy right about now! First…the teachers firmly insist that class is NOT for socialising! Children must wait until the bell rings to say it’s lunch time to be free to chat (with their mouths full;)

I love the birds of a feather saying, because it’s a stark reminder of just how influential the company you keep can be! And besides, why on earth would you want to send a child to school for the sake of being “normal” and like everyone else? I for one, don’t actually care for that! What is normalised for your family, is not what is normalised in mine and that to me is perfectly ok, in fact honouring of nature…in being perfectly uniquely “you”, true to YOUR family!

See this socialisation thing bothers me. I want to play a part in the company my child keeps while so vulnerable and young because you don’t get that time back! When you send your child to school, you have zero control over who they are surrounded by each day for the most part of the week and year/s! Get your head around that!

When you are living life WITH your children, you can be there to help them understand the world, digest it, unpack it and process it in ways that prevent your children from carrying subconscious baggage from unknown sources that potential hinder their confidence and clarity.

I just thought I would bring this up, because I for one have had enough! The “socialisation” concept of schooling is like the herd immunity concept for vaccination! It’s nonsense! What if…I don’t want my children to become immersed in what is now becoming so normalised? What if I want something else for my children? What if my vision is vastly different for my children to that is society’s definition of “normal”?

Ponder that for a moment. Would love to hear your thoughts on this!

Life Skills · natural learning · Parenting · Unschooling · World schooling

When the bell rings

What does it teach a student to have most of their time directed by a bell, dictating when to change focus, attention, activity, seats or classrooms? Is it a subtle suggestion that you are not the governor of your own destiny? Does this bell directed life offer insight into how to go deeper into learning, uncovering your own discoveries?

Or does it teach you to wait for direction, not to bother going too deep, for time will soon be up. For you will soon be directed elsewhere by a higher authority over you. Does this teach you to accept that authority easily? Does the bell that rings every so often, teach you to follow the crowd, be directed, not to lead your own quest, not to question?

I wonder, when that bell rings, what is the higher purpose to it? If one is not entrusted to govern their own learning, what does this teach them about trusting themselves? When interrupted by a bell before going too deep, how much deeper learning can truly take place? If one finds themselves truly inspired to learn, and suddenly are told to move on, what does this teach them about how much their values matter in this world?

What if the next class “subject” has little relevance to you? How does it relate to you? Why are subjects taught in isolation rather than in relationship to one another in real life settings? Why are schools mostly in age segregated classrooms? How then is one able to learn from a variety of life experiences if they only have peers of the same age?

How are students to learn how to self regulate and be self driven if they are hardly given the opportunity, being told what to do for so much of their life? How is one to become independent if they are constantly taught to depend on instructions from an authority? What does this do for their confidence? How much creativity can come from merely being able to search for a predetermined answer, in order to be graded in a competitive pressured environment?

How are we to learn if we are taught not to question he “fill in the blank” test papers from rote memorisation. How are we to learn the art of self directed learning and the birth right of autonomy, if we are hardly given the opportunity to. These are just a few questions that enter my mind when I think of the school bell. What do you think it teaches? I’m open to learning;)

Life Skills · Parenting · Unschooling · World schooling

Sacrifice – To make Sacred

To sacrifice is to make sacred. The question is often asked, “how does a family afford the privilege of homeschooling?” This is a great question and one that I am driven to be creative around, especially being a minimalist.

I am a firm believer in the importance of sustainability and being waste wise. This means in financial ways too. I work from home and we have our own business so we have not completely made a sacrifice of a whole income no…but we do manage our working hours around our children and are continually looking for better ways to minimise working “around” our children!

Some of the ways we reduce our expenses that have helped us a lot include!

  • Not spending money on hairdressing
  • Mostly eating at home and making most meals from scratch
  • Buying bulk cleaning products including laundry powder, dish liquid (we use Abode)
  • DIY cleaning sprays using vodka, water and essential oil.
  • Buying bulk whole foods like nuts, dried fruit, baking goods
  • Cloth nappies and elimination communication (saving nappies)
  • Op shopping in advance for children’s clothes (bigger sizes)
  • Not buying new, opting for second hand wherever possible & healthy
  • Composting to reduce household waste by an estimated 50% (read Waste Not) – saving on fertiliser for the garden
  • Taking a thermos to playgroups or outings with hot tea (minimise single use coffee cup landfill) or take a keep cup
  • Use a jar with rubber bands around it for a keep cup rather than buying new

There are many ways you can become more frugally sustainable in the pursuit of making homeschool less financially stressful.

I feel that If you understand the value of homeschooling and it’s right for you, then you will make it happen. You will find a way! We have not had a single day of childcare in 5 years and we actually feel this saves us money. Why? Well…we don’t mind buying a once off piece of children’s furniture here and there to make our home more child friendly.

The way we see it, we are still ahead, saving far more on childcare expenses…not that we could do childcare even if we wanted to, as we have a “no jab no play” legislation in Victoria. And we wouldn’t vaccinate just to be able to use childcare or for some extra money anyway. We have too many reasons we choose not to vaccinate that it’s absolutely not worth it (the risk) in our eyes.

Other ways we save money for this is by growing food, not buying packaged food very much and when we do, we commit to recycling everything possible! We avoid using more than we need of any/all resources and certainly avoid buying new at all costs! We are not perfect. There are times when our children grow so fast that we forgot to op shop in time or found the op shops just didn’t have what our little ones needed.

There have been a few times I forgot my keep cup and didn’t bring a drink on the run, since becoming more waste conscious. But hey, even Greta has been seen eating packaged take away food! Just being honest.

We do our best with the time we have and we are working towards doing “less”. We feel this really helps keep unwanted stress at bay. I would love to know your cost and time savers.

If you’re a homeschooler, how do you make it happen? What creative ways do you have that help reduce financial pressure? Share your thoughts. I would love to have more of a conversation around this!

Life Skills · Parenting · Unschooling · World schooling

“Doing the Math” Adding Up The Time In School

The first thing many people ask about homeschoolers is “but how are you going to teach them maths and science?” That’s my personal experience and I also find it a rather odd question! Firstly, numbers are the language of the universe so we can’t avoid learning it no matter what we do! And science, that’s also in everything from cooking to art, anatomy, physiology and medicine (natural and otherwise).

But just for a moment now, I want to turn your attention to the THOUSANDS of hours spent mostly seated in a class room that a school student will spend being fed information for rote learning.

Firstly a disclaimer… I liked school! But I lived my childhood in a VERY different world to my children! School was my escape, but that was my journey. My partner and I… are entrepreneurs, who love our girls dearly. I want my children to be exposed to our very much open mindset, attitudes and philosophies, much more than those of 30 other, same aged children. 30 children who are likely to be parented quite differently.

That’s not to mention their potential teachers. I can’t imagine my children spending 1200 hours a year that way, for 13 (school) years! That’s 15600 hours AT school alone! Not counting any childcare, kindergarten, after-school care OR the mere hours of travel to and from and preparing packed lunches for their only social time (outside of class).

So, let’s ponder those numbers for a moment. Count the number of hours in that time you could have spent reading carefully selected books to your children, how many hours in that time your children could have spent active, exercising, climbing, building strength, co-ordination, outdoors, learning about real life by being in it, talking to people of ALL ages, from all walks of life.

Imagine how many of those hours your children could have been focusing on what they love, rather than being made to memorise facts that will very soon be forgotten, due to them not being important or relevant to your child. Imagine how many of those hours your child could have been developing actual life skills, survival skills, relevant to this modern world.

See, I like looking at those numbers. The numbers of possibility! An that is the love of numbers I want to share with my children. I won’t be “teaching” maths and science as isolated subjects to my children. I will be immersing them in the world where numbers are all around, relevant and useful…where they will fall in love with understanding them, of their own accord.

This is my answer to that question I keep getting. I hope that clears things up for those that REALLY truly ask because they want to know or care;) Thanks for reading if you got this far!