Always Learning Books
The Homeschooling Trail...
ISBN 1 876651 31 8
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Faced with an uncertain financial future, Michele Hasting, a Christian unschooling mother of seven years experience, begins to doubt her ability to continue teaching her children at home. Her insecurities lead her to begin to question her faith and her ability to provide an adequate education for her two boys. The Homeschooling Trail is an intimate and detailed account of how the children in one family learn at home using an eclectic mix of methods and resources, finely tuned into the passing seasons of school work, community participation, and family life. Share Michele’s quest for faith in this revealing ‘warts and all, fly on the wall’ account of daily homeschooling life.
Michele's insights into the developing character of her sons and their strengths and limitations allow us to see more clearly how learning unfolds in the homeschool environment. One of the most valuable aspects of Michele’s account of daily homeschooling life is the constant name dropping of books and resources… In her quest to provide the best education possible for Asher and Tymon, Michele never tires of seeking out new and relevant advice, tips and activities from those more experienced on the path…
What readers think...
“We don't adhere to any particular curriculum or scope and sequence – our homeschooling recipe is an eclectic blend of styles and theories. Mary Griffith, author of “The Homeschooling Handbook” refers to eclectics as ‘balancing exploration with basics.' As much as possible, we allow our boys to follow their interests, as we consider any interest of educational benefit.”
And thus author and homeschooling mother, Michele Hasting, describes her homeschool. After reading her journey, a description of one year in their “unschooled” life, I feel it is an apt description. It also probably describes the homeschooling journey of many others – and is precisely why the book is a satisfying read. We see ourselves, our doubts, our experiences in Hastings ' description of her homeschool.
Hastings is a Christian homeschooling mother of two sons. Both Hastings and her husband are drawn to the unschooling end of the homeschooling spectrum. They believe that children, growing up in a loving and responsive home, will reach their full potential as adults.
This is, however, not another book about picture perfect homeschoolers. Instead, the author invites us to “be a fly on our wall for a realistic day-by-day glimpse of homeschooling life”, including sports, video games, chores and some angst over covering academic basics.
Michele Hastings reminds us that ordinary people, living ordinary lives, can homeschool. Indeed, can provide a learning atmosphere for children surrounded by ideas and learning and growth, even in the midst of financial and other concerns.
The intimate details of Hastings life are strangely reassuring – we see that others have “good" days and “could be better” days; we see the importance of free time and exploration in the growth of children; we see the individual differences between siblings and how unschooling can address these differences.
Most of all, the book is about trust. Trusting children to learn. Trusting ourselves as parents and as mothers – our intuition and our personalities are important in our homeschooling adventure. And, for Hastings , the importance of trust in God – she quotes Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
Hastings discusses her research into homeschooling and the resultant belief that it important to pay attention to not only a child's individual learning style but to his/her timetable for growth. She incorporates activities into a daily “table-time”, where she and the boys work on reading, writing, and mathematics. The children are fee to choose the aspect of these skills that they may wish to tackle that day, and to accomplish such work in ways that make sense to them, and at their individual pace.
In addition to table-time, the family works together on chores and then the bulk of the day is free – typically her children choose to attend homeschool activities, to play sport, to play with friends, watch television, play computer games….
Doesn't this describe the homeschool day of many families? Even in our differences there are similarities and this theme of familiar companionship along the journey of homeschooling/unschooling makes the book an easy and enjoyable read.
I left it in the book box by my bed and read a bit here and there – the book is easy to pick up, read and digest; it made me smile in parts, grimace in others and wryly commiserate at some points.
Upon finishing the book, I felt sadness at parting with Hastings and her family – the sharing of their life throughout a year of homeschooling made them seem like friends. I also felt renewed and refreshed as I continue my own homeschooling trail. This book is a good companion for the trail."
"What I sometimes find in the home schooling community is a false projection of perfection that makes me discouraged. I love the way Michele tells it like it is—walking me through her days and sharing with me her passion for home schooling. Her delight-centered learning approach offers me freedom to do home school in a more laid-back, child-centered way."
What's in this book? Contents...
About Michele Hasting
Michele's first published piece was an essay along with a few quotes in Christian Unschooling: Growing Your Children in the Freedom of Christ by Teri Brown and Elissa Wahl. She then began a column on a website called Themestream, followed by regular items in the Christ Centered Unschoolers forum.
"Thank you... The information you supply is real and generous - fantastic reading. I am so inspired... Your honesty is rare. Most books do not really explain 'how' as well as you do." Tracy
"I cannot seem to get enough of your writings on the whole home ed subject! You portray a lot of wisdom, knowledge and experience..." Marie
"A fabulous source of information and inspiration. I am very pleased to have some of your titles on my bookshelf... providing me with wonderful, detailed information and resources." Faye
"Whenever I read your writing I always come away with increased confidence in my ability to provide and share a wonderful learning journey with my family. Thank you!" Maaike
"I appreciate that your book Getting Started is very balanced in its approach to homeschooling methods and also that it covers so many of the areas and questions that I desperately needed to deal with." Joanne
"Your guidance, understanding, support & words of wisdom changed our lives." Lesley
"I have been so grateful for the texts I have read from you so far. They have been so helpful as we entered our first year of official home schooling." Sue
April Jermey took over the reins of Always Learning Books from hr mother, Beverley Paine, in 2011. A stay-at-home part-time working mum of two young children, April experienced a mix of education, including homeschooling, unschooling, part-time attendance at school, completing her high school certificate at school. She supports the right of families to choose the education that best meets the needs of their children.
Beverley Paine home educated her three children, now all adults, between 1985 and 2004. An active volunteer supporting and promoting education choice for families for over two decades her legacy continues in her books and articles.
About Home Education
Home education is a legal alternative to school education in Australia. State and territory governments are responsible for regulating home education and have different registration requirements, however homeschooling families are able, and encouraged, to develop curriculum and learning programs to suit the educational and developmental needs of their individual children. For more information visit
Beverley's manual on how to write your own homeschool curriculum! The ultimate DIY guide. Still only $25...
"Beverley's patience, experience, and understanding of both the questions and the answers make her a wonderfully helpful guide to the adventure of helping children learn without school."
"Beverley's lengthy experience in the homeschooling community is legend. Thankfully for all involved she continues to share her deep thinking and acquired wisdom..." Linda Dobson, Parent at the Helm
A refreshing practical approach to unschooling based on the needs of the child and family which demystifies and simplifies the philosophy and practice of this style of home education.
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The Home Education Association produces monthly newsletters, a quarterly magazine, an online resource directory for its members, as well as providing an email and phone answering service and online forums.
Meet Beverley each year at the