Reassurance From Beverley-Homeschooling Parents Are Only Human

I’m enjoying Beverley Paine’s blog posts especially this one. Here are some quotes:

Homeschoolers are human too. Sounds silly doesn’t it? Kind of obvious… However, I think it’s good to remind ourselves, and perhaps others, of this fact from time to time.

So about ten years ago I got brave and started to write about the not so happy days, the days where everything seems to be going wrong. We all have them, but there is this kind of taboo about talking about them. I could see how alienating this ‘stiff upper lip’ attitude was and wanted to reach out to other people like myself, help them feel ‘normal’ and sane, create the kind of community that would be there for them, and me, when the doubts set in.

Homeschoolers are human. And humans err. They also hurt each other. They get it wrong as often as they get it right. Like everyone they make mistakes. They have the same set of social skills as everyone else. I’ve never met anyone whose social skills were perfect or flawless…

There is this persistent image of homeschoolers, both in the homeschooling community and more generally, that we’re somehow above being typically human. As though having withdrawn our children from a flawed education system our intention is to give them some kind of utopian educational experience that will produce amazing super-people with perfect social skills and who will excel in just about any field they choose…

Reality-check time! We’re human, no different from any other group of humans with something in common that get together to support that commonality. Most of us aren’t at all interested in creating a better society through educational revolution: most of us just want to do the best by our kids.

We have our good and bad days and it is good to have someone well known in Australian homeschooling circles talking about it. I don’t feel quite so bad about the days I’ve been sick and haven’t done any formal schoolwork with Jess. Some days are taken up with other things and school work seems to be low on the agenda however these days can still be great learning opportunities.

For example Jessica is learning heaps from her job at Woolworths. She’s had to negotiate with her supervisors for days off, ring and tell them when she was sick and also go to the doctor and get a sickness certificate. She’s made mistakes at her job, as we all do, and she’s learning from that too. Sometimes I’ve felt that she isn’t getting enough time for her school work but every day definitely doesn’t have to be perfect for us to learn from it!!!!


  1. Leon Brooks

    Bev Paine has been a steady & reliable witness for the viability of home education for more decades than I care to remember.

    She was helpful when I was setting about educating my now-almost-18-yo daughter Aiyana, for example. Yani’s situation was a little more complex than I would really have liked, but for at least a few years was home-ed & did exceptionally well at it — a process which has remained with her to this very day (she has an uncanny ability to figure some things out with approximately zero real information, for example).

    WRT having bad days… well, it ain’t exactly unique to home education people. Your typical state-school teacher will also have days in which the pieces really won’t go together well now matter how hard one shoves them into place, but the system has many routines & excuses which can be used to paint the scene so it doesn’t look so bad.

    That’s not exactly a desirable skill-set to have, nevertheless it exists & is used, so keep quiet eye out for it, taking the occasional note for the day when some random moron tries to attack you for being imperfect (as in, “Hello? Look at the world around you. You want me — by what sequence of miracles? — to completely buck that well-established trend… how?”).

    The miracles do exist — as you well know — but the very nature of the situation means that they’re not exactly available in an on-demand manner. So a little quiet (non-provokative) preparation can establish a buffering set of records upon which you can draw on-demand as the situation requires it.

    He says, being the harbinger of a complete, perfectly-smooth lifestyle himself — not. Nevertheless the experience is real & has been useful, so I’m blathering on about it in the hope that others can also stop & make use of it also.

  2. Kylie Willison

    Thanks for your further reassurance! πŸ™‚ Yes there are skills we can develop to bring out on these ‘bad days’. Today I’ll be concentrating on not losing my temper. I’ve got a cold and am a bit grumpy πŸ™‚


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