January 16, 2023

Nature Journaling

Rebecca Gelsi My daughter and I have only just begun our home ed journey. She’s autistic and school has been challenging for years. She’s in Year 10 but I’m resisting that panicky (and unfounded) feeling that she’s somehow going to miss out. We’re unschooling and waiting for learning interests to emerge – in the meantime I’m encouraging her to enjoy and extend a couple […]
June 6, 2022

Montessori Writing

By Sarah As educators, the age-old adage ‘reading, writing, arithmetic’ either strikes a pleasant chord or strikes fear into our hearts. We want to make sure our children are capable, that goes without saying, and results show home educated children are very capable. But sometimes we feel the pressure and expectations on us as home educators. We may not like how we learned, or […]
February 14, 2022

Structure and Home Education

There are many reasons to incorporate structure in your home education life. Common reasons include: Children who need a framework in order to feel less anxious Parents new to home ed who need reassurance and an element of familiarity Children who need help with executive functioning skills Many people might think home ed structure would replicate school; timetables, set lesson times, scheduled breaks, but […]
March 2, 2021

Unschooling ain’t the Boogie Man

Kathleen Humble Every now and then, usually when news is a little slow, prominent papers like to do little fluff pieces on the edges of the educational world. One week might be about lambasting ‘pushy parents,’ another week an angry remonstrance on the horrors of alternative education. Personally, I find it deeply amusing that, depending on the flavour of the month, our little family […]
July 14, 2020

Natural Learning – a Brief History

John Barratt-Peacock The other day I was proofreading an article on home education when I came across a statement that equated Natural Learning
 with Unschooling and Unstructured Learning. This is quite a false association. By their nature unschooling and unstructured learning are merely a valid reaction to schooling but natural learning is different. It is scientifically based on the anatomy and physiology
 of the […]
July 14, 2020

LOTE in a Natural Learning Home

Gnat Atherden In our family there hasn’t really been an attempt
 to learn ‘a’ language. One language would be a bit limiting. Having said that, I’ve always been keenest to learn German and it’s the language other than English (LOTE) I knew most of before I became a parent so, on reflection, it’s been a big part of our LOTE education. In this article […]
July 6, 2020

Unconventional Learning

Kathleen Humble   We’re a geeky kind of family. With me being a mathematician and my husband an engineer, it would be hard to not be geeky. We’re also not going to score high on the ‘doing things conventionally’ test, if one of those existed. But sometimes, just sometimes, the paths my kids take to learn are so unconventional that they leave me with […]
June 15, 2020

Why am I Home Educating?

Amy Conley   It comes to my mind often these days. The demands of the little ones, the unpainted bedrooms, the list of to do’s longer than both my arms; and so the thoughts of whether to continue to home educate, or send my children to school, come to mind. They come with all the many questions. Am I spending enough time with my […]
November 21, 2019

Unschooling Works, Says the Emerging Evidence

By Arthur Grant We often notice how little prompting kids require to learn outside the classroom. Simply setting them free in nature does wonders for their curious spirits, as each overturned rock and never-before-seen leaf piques new interest and inquiries. Their instinct is to explore and learn, and structure isn’t always needed for learning to be meaningful and beneficial. The term “unschooling” puts a […]
November 10, 2019

Teaching Your Children Naturally

By Wendy Morriss I spent 30 years home educating my three children who are now 32, 29 and 19 years of age. It was an amazing experience; one that I will always remember and would recommend to anyone. I liked going to school myself because I was raised in a violent household, so school was an escape. My husband, however, constantly talked about his […]
July 8, 2019

Confessions of an Unschooling Cheerleader

By Marshall C When my wife Brooke and I first met she was raising her four children as a solo Mum and had been homeschooling for the better part of a decade. My first impression of Brooke’s children was of confident, well spoken kids (on their best behaviour to be sure after Mum made it clear that this one was a “keeper”).  As I […]
June 4, 2019

Dinner Conversation

By Sue Wight If there’s one aspect of informal learning in home education that stands out above all others, in common with infant and adult informal learning, it’s conversation. On the face of it much of this is social, everyday talk of the kind that normally goes unnoticed. But it’s surprising how much of this kind of talk contains opportunities for learning, especially as […]
May 21, 2019

Just dribbling along

By Cynthia McStephen “Hello there from Radio Home Ed Land, where there are a million different reasons and styles for every million home-edders. Today the topic is ‘Why we do what we do’ and sitting opposite me in the studio today is … hmmm. Actually that person looks remarkably like ME.” It can be a strange experience to want to interview yourself, to have […]
May 18, 2018

Capturing Natural Learning as it Happens

By Gnat Atherden My father recently asked me to describe how my children learn. I hate getting caught up in validating natural learning by comparing it to formal learning, so I ended up telling him that ‘lessons for us never begin and never stop’ and ‘natural learning happens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week’. I think that whilst these statements are true, […]
November 6, 2017

Unschooling is not Unparenting

By Sue Wight Something odd is happening in the world of unschooling. Sarah has heard that if her children want chocolate biscuits for breakfast, they will eat a balanced diet over time without well-meaning interference from her. Meanwhile, she’s struggling to buy enough chocolate biscuits to keep up with them and is torn between her concerns about nutrition and a reluctance to impose restrictions […]
October 14, 2017

Learning by Immersion

By Sue Wight We all learnt to speak via the immersion method. Babies become aware of vocal patterns and connect them with visual cues from facial expressions and body language and are on their way to cracking the code of their mother tongue. The process is driven by the desire to understand, to communicate, to be part of the group. Watching babies and toddlers […]
July 25, 2016

Learning Maths Naturally

By Sue Wight Our family follow a natural learning style of home education and feel quite comfortable that the children are learning all the time but, like many home educators, we have the occasional doubts about maths. Recently these doubts led me to persuade one of my sons, Matthew, to do some maths on paper. As a small child he loved maths, in fact […]
May 10, 2016

Just Playing

By Susan Wight Play is children’s work and yet it is curiously undervalued in our society. Many adults fervently believe that there can be no ‘educational value’ in something that children choose to do. Their concern about home educating without a curriculum is that children might ‘just play’. Adults are sceptical that play, which looks to them like merely a pleasant pastime, can really […]
August 28, 2015

Informal Learning

by Alan Thomas Infants start learning informally from (or before?) birth, mainly through interaction with the mother or other caregivers. Part of this is learning how to behave in culturally appropriate ways, e.g., how to deal with emotions, how to interact with others in the family and wider community, and the acquisition of cultural values and attitudes. This alone requires a vast amount of […]
August 28, 2015

Natural Learning in Action

By Susan Wight Natural Learning is not ‘Doing Nothing’ Confession time: Sometimes I get ‘the guilts’ and think I’m not really educating my children at all. This feeling usually creeps in following someone’s wide-eyed response when I tell them that I home educate. “Wow, I could never do that! You must be so organised!” The overawed responses vary but the words ‘busy’, ‘dedicated’ ‘organised’ […]