Coffee, a computer and community.
I'm privileged, and I know it: Holding a Home Ed space.
I mean, do I even need to write anything else?
This will be the first article I write for this section and in it, I aim to set out my perspective and be fully transparent as to what I have to offer. It’s to get you on my current page, so to speak.
As I sit here, I have a delicious black coffee in my Newcastle Writers Festival mug. It reminds me I have jobs to do today for my books. My still new laptop is allowing me to write in front of an amazing view. I have a home I’ve fashioned out of what was my grandparent’s garage. It is full of gratitude, and I’m chipping away nicely on loan repayments for its conversion. My Familial Hemiplegic Migraine condition is not too bad today. And I have a community of subscribers to this Substack only hours after I started it, including a paid subscriber and a founding member! The first to subscribe came from the community of home educators I’ve been hanging out with over the past 17 years of my life. I take all of this in as I appreciate my current situation.
I have a voice, a community, and a responsibility.
To you, and to myself. How I treat us both makes all the difference.
We don’t need another person monetising help when it costs them nothing to help. And we don’t need another person volunteering and giving away all of their time, energy and ultimately health when they need to support themselves physically and financially. Bodies require care. Living on earth, unfortunately, does cost money. For now, at least!
Free help and then promotion for things that support me
This is my balancing act, as I move forward. Help as much as is reasonable, offering good quality content and also books, services, and presentations people will want to buy. I want to both welcome people into the community, and be a welcomed member of the community. How we treat each other matters.
So here is some free content that might help you out with your home ed journey, and then I’ll post a promo about some books and services that are available now.
Hope this helps
I'm currently working on picture books that show what real home ed looks like. When you imagine homeschooling, what images come to your mind?
Often it's the spaces we 'set up' for our children, in our homes. But it's also the spaces we access outside of houses.
Because we're choosing to not use a school for 200 days of a year, our children access a broader variety of spaces. We do also access classes, and our children can experience group work, sports carnivals, sports days, plays and musicals, band, science lab work etc, alongside park days, hours in a library, play dates during school hours, play dates with school using friends after school hours, travelling locally, Nationally and Internationally. There's literally no limit. It's just that parents will need to put the work in to organise 'opportunities for learning'.
Recently, a parent asked what real home education setups looks like. What does an average day look like?
It's one of those questions where you get to see home education for what it actually is: a process.
On the outside, the physical look of it can be messy or Pinterest worthy, and it will tell you nothing about the actual 'process' of learning going on.
First, when looking at it, there are TWO broad categories.
The aspirational and the real.
We are all both.
If you're a home ed parent dropping into my house, you'll see my real.
If you're the AP (I'm in NSW) you'll see the aspirational.
When you're looking at any lovely pic, you're likely to see the aspirational, especially on Pinterest.
When you're asking what most days are like, you'll see the real. THERE WILL BE A LOT OF CRAFT throughout your home.
Teens will become young adults without rebellion if they're allowed to find what interests them, and they are supported in a very real way.
It's an awesome journey.
Take photos of the pretty set-up spaces, smiling faces, the learning and all the awesome stuff.
Take photos of the mess and the real and the funny.
The days are long. The years are short.
Some of my best photos of my now 19 and 22-year-olds, of our 16.5 year journey, were the messy ones, where they are relaxed, and enjoying their childhoods.
It's less about what you do for and to them, and more about their freedom to learn. It's holding space for them to 'naturally learn' because learning IS a natural human process.
An analogy is giving birth. With the right conditions, a woman's body will birth a baby. Any intervention or over thinking can get in the way of that natural process. Sometimes she will need assistance, but only when and if required.
With the right conditions, a child will learn. Any intervention or over thinking can get in the way of that natural process. Sometimes they will need assistance, but only when and if required.
What do you think? Let me know your thoughts.
Did you know that I offer booked consultations?
From 2007 they were almost exclusively free and bookings were not necessary. If you tagged my name or pm’ed me, I was there. And then! That stopped! From 2016 people insisted on paying me and now, my life as my Aunt’s full time carer means that bookings with 24 hours notice are essential. My community has taught me a lot about myself. Can you relate? They collectively pushed me into self-care mode.
New paid offering
I’ll provide additional support to paid subscribers of this Substack. It will be the kind of stuff that you’d pay a consultation for, and additional content about my writing progress for those wanting to support me as an emerging Author/Illustrator. I deliberately made those paywall prices as low as the Substack allowed.
Best value to access Australian Homeschooling Summit presentations
Kelly from Fearless Homeschool has now got a $12 per month all access pass/$59 for 6 months/$99 for full year to every presentation that has been made from the many years the Summit has occurred. The easiest way to understand what the membership offers you is via a video Kelly made to explain it all. Included in the video is the actual content you’ll see when you have purchased it, so you can get in and out and ONLY pay the amount you want to.
My Current Books
The first books I’ve contributed to are 3 parent workbooks. Beverley Paine, April Jermey and I collated together Beverley’s vast wealth of information. She will say it was a group effort, and it was, but it was also a wonderful opportunity for me to be part of creating the only type of workbook I was interested in making.
I’ll show you my view, and post a link to where to find the workbooks. I’ve copy/pasted information about each of them, again including the price because being upfront matters in our community.
Create Your Own Curriculum
Part 1 - The authors walk you through HOW to create a learning plan that that works for YOUR family, ticks all the registration boxes, and creates a solid foundation on which to grow your home educating experience! Designed to help build your confidence as an educating parent.
D.I.Y. Lesson Plans & Unit Studies
Part 2 - Learn how to help the kids get the most out of homeschooling with these tried and proven home educational strategies. Create your own lesson plans and unit studies to suit your individual children' learning needs and watch them thrive as their motivation for learning grows! Packed with ideas and examples.
Recording & Evaluating Made Simple
Part 3 - Learn how to record and use authentic and continuous assessment of your children's learning to help plan and implement activities that meet their immediate learning needs. Real examples.
$10 for each as e-books, and $17:50 if you want them printed and bound.
(A4 plastic comb bind splines used instead of illustrated coil bind splines.)
All of these workbooks, and more, are found at: https://alwayslearningbooks.com.au
Consultation bookings via email: email@example.com