But Kylie from The Homeschool Sweet Spot has dragged me out of my cave and onto the screen to participate in her Meet the Teacher series, so you can get to know a wide range of Australian homeschooling parents.
And I have to admit, it’s been pretty fun.
Here I am – talking about everything from why I started homeschooling to my LEAST favourite thing about it!
Keep scrolling if you prefer the transcript, it’s at the bottom of this page.
And you can see other Aussie homeschoolers answering the same questions in the series – check out the playlist to get the nitty-gritty on all of us.
Enjoy! And if you have any other burning questions (or completely frivolous ones) just drop them in the comments below.
I’m a bit of a behind the scenes person and if you don’t come along to the Australian Homeschooling Summits or you haven’t done my Zero to Homeschool or Deschooling Essentials courses you probably don’t know a great deal about me.
But Kylie from The Homeschool Sweet Spot has dragged me out of my cave and today I’m joining a whole bunch of Aussie homeschoolers on YouTube to introduce ourselves so after you’ve watched this video be sure to check out the link to the entire playlist in the description box to meet lots of the other Australian Homeschoolers here on YouTube.
So you can get to know us and our similarities and differences we’re each going to answer the same set of questions. So let’s jump into the questions so you can get to know me a little better.
1. When did you start homeschooling and why?
Well, I had my first four children very close, they’re 26 months apart and my fourth was diagnosed with a rather severe syndrome so he was a year old when we said you know what, school will not be good for him, school will actually be a total disaster for him so we’ll homeschool him. And we had no idea what that meant at the time, we thought it would be school at home but we still thought it would be better. And then I looked at my eldest who was 3, and I also looked at the prep curriculum and said you know what she has all the academic knowledge required by the end of prep but she won’t finish for it 3 years. And we hadn’t actually taught her! We read aloud and sang songs and talked about things and she had just learned her numbers and letters from that. So school seemed kind of pointless for her too, we could see her getting bored and into trouble like I did, so we decided we’d try homeschooling with all of them and now none of them have ever been to school.
2. How many children do you have and what are their ages currently?
5, we ended up having another one a couple of years after the first 4. They’re currently 18, 17, 17, 16 and 13
3. What is your philosophy around home educating?
We don’t really have a philosophy, we just do what works. So maybe that’s our philosophy, do what works! We don’t stick to a style, we follow interests and see what works and go with that. And that’s meant that over the years we’ve dabbled in the classical method, borrowed bits of Charlotte Mason and project-based homeschooling and we’ve done unit studies and we’ve been pretty heavily influenced by unschooling. So we’ve just taken what we needed from different philosophies and homeschooling styles and patched it together so that each child is hopefully getting what helps them the most at that time.
4. Do you work or study whilst homeschooling?
Yes, I like doing different things and having projects so I’ve worked or studied pretty much continuously but doing quite a few different things. I ran a cloth nappy and tie-dyeing business from home for years, then I studied externally and got my nursing degree, and I started Fearless Homeschool during a break from that, have worked nursing for a few bursts since I finished it, while also running the Australian Homeschooling Summit each year and I’ve recently started a YouTube channel about tie-dyeing. So yes, in a random hodge-podge, non-traditional way I’ve worked or studied virtually the entire time I’ve been homeschooling and my husband has done the same thing a patchwork of work and study and underemployment so we can spend lots of time with the kids, go travelling and have a very flexible lifestyle.
5. Do you have any formal qualifications related to children or education?
No. The idea of looking after other people’s kids sounds awful, so no. Nothing. I don’t think it would have been useful anyway because from the sounds of it most of it is based on class management and paperwork anyway, so I just read a lot of books relevant to the stage we’re at the needs we have, I know lots of amazingly knowledgeable parents, like the others in this series so there’s always someone to discuss problems with or brainstorm, so no, no formal qualifications but I don’t feel it’s ever been a disadvantage because homeschooling is so different and we just learn what we need as we go, just like the kids do.
6. What type of schedule do you keep for your homeschool?
We don’t do schedules. If I have a schedule and I’m meant to be doing certain things at certain times I immediately want to do something different, my personality is very anti schedule and anti long term planning. We have weekly lists, we do them when we have the time and inclination, and I’ll link to another video and details of how we do them because they’re very simple and flexible but very effective and they don’t send my inner rebel into rebellion.
7. What is your favourite thing about homeschooling?
I can’t do one, I’ve got two and the first is the relationships we all have. We’re all very close, we mostly get along pretty well and I enjoy all of my children. My eldest daughter says we’re the Durrells from My Family and Other Animals, and I think she’s pretty spot on. The book though, not the TV series. Don’t watch the TV series.
And the second is the flexibility. If something doesn’t work, we can try something else. If an interest appears, we can instantly change plans and follow it. We can take off travelling without asking permission from a school because I do not have the right temperament to ask permission from school. We’re not stuck to their schedule and their expectations. You can’t have child-directed learning at school even though they pay lip service to the idea, but it is so easy at home.
8. What is your LEAST favourite thing about homeschooling?
It goes forever! We made this decision 15 years ago and we are still going with 2 children. As I may have mentioned earlier, I’m not good at doing the same thing over and over, so I’ve had to get pretty creative at times to keep myself motivated, and people ask me now whether I’ll feel sad when it ends, but honestly, I can’t wait, I’m looking forward to change.
9. Three things you wish you knew when you first started homeschooling.
This may be suprising but I can’t really think of anything. I did have two years to prepare before any of my kids hit school age, and I spent those reading and experimenting and learning as much as I could. So by the time we were actually meant to start, we were comfortable with what we were doing, we just carried on doing what we were already doing because I already knew it worked beautifully and as we’ve continued we’ve just grown with the kids so we were lucky that we had a pretty soft start.
10. One thing that you want new homeschoolers to know.
That homeschooling works. You really can ignore the national curriculum and follow interests and you will end up with a well-rounded and educated child even if what you do looks nothing like school. IF you put the time and effort in they will be able to socialise quite well, they will be able to go to university and do really well there, they can be great employees, kids can be homeschooled and end up as very awesome adults. School and education are two totally different things and even if you’re not a teacher or you’re not especially educated yourself you can provide a great education for your child, if you give them your time and effort you can overcome pretty much any obstacle with the resources and help that’s available.
Alright, so that’s me done! Don’t forget to check out all the videos in this meet the teacher series. There will be a link to the playlist in the description box below along with links to relevant stuff I’ve mentioned in the video, so head over, check it all out, and happy homeschooling, I’ll see you next time I leave my cave.