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The Homeschooling Trail...
a Journey of Faith

Michele Hastings

ISBN 1 876651 31 8
Paperback, 140 pages

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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…

"This book has been my attempt to share our homeschooling journey. In its pages I’ve revealed many of my deep-seated convictions, innermost thoughts, and most challenging struggles in the telling of our tale. Not only will you learn how we went about homeschooling our children, but what it actually looked like – on the good days, and on the bad. My hope is that everyone who reads this book will reap what he or she needs from it. If you’re looking for inspiration or ideas, I hope that thoughts are triggered as you peruse its pages. If it’sreassurance, I pray you’ll identify with our struggles as well as our victories over our struggles."

"Although our style of education — home and community based, hands-on, exploratory, service and project oriented, multi-sensory, and with integrated subjects, is as old as the hills — it is considered cutting edge in today’s society!"

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."

Leonie Westenberg © 2007

"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."

Paula Moldenhauer,

What's in this book? Contents...

  • It Takes Faith
  • A Journey Toward Identity
  • Up and Down the Homeschool Road
  • What Is Education?
  • Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
  • Roses Amongst the Thorns
  • Holding Onto What Is Precious
  • The Battle Belongs to the Lord
  • Being ‘Real’
  • Healing A Faith Full of Holes
  • A Balancing Act
  • What Is Important?
  • The Road Ahead
  • About The Author

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.



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.


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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:

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About us: When you order, you deal with a real living person who is familiar with the products we sell. This is a small mum and daughter family business, the books we write and sell are based on personal lived experience. We understand our subject, having built empathy and understanding of the needs of home educating families over 30 years of volunteering and advocacy in the homeschooling and unschooling community. Our aim is to encourage you on your home educating journey and to help you find ways to meet your family's educational needs. We wish to empower you as an educating parent and the nature of our books is to build your confidence to help you teach your children: we are not suppliers of fill-in-the-blank curriculum materials for children to complete. Our books give you information of the why and how of home education, what has and will work for you as an educating parent.

Prices are in Australian dollars and subject to change without notice.

Postage (within Australia) is included in the prices of individual items. Please expect between 1-2 weeks for delivery. If your order has not arrived within two weeks please let us know, but please be patient and give Australia Post a chance to deliver, especially if you have ordered in December or near a public holiday when delays are much more likely. Your order will normally be shipped within 2 business days of us receiving it, however we are a small business, run from home, around the busy life that is parenting and home educating three children. We run on a very small profit margin, so will always ship your order in the most economical way, by either Post or Courier. Large orders maybe shipped and marked as separate parcels. Unfortunately, Australia Post is fickle and we regularly see unexpected delays in delivery times, especially during peak post times and public holidays. Also unfortunately, Australia Post no longer offers any kind of compensation for lost orders, so any losses are worn by our already small profit margins. Thank you!

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Refund Policy: Refunds are available on items returned to us in 'as new condition'. Your return postage costs will not be refunded.

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More help: If you have any questions about the ordering process only please email us. Questions about home educating your children should be directed to one of Beverley's support groups:

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