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Always Learning Books is on a short holiday, all orders will be posted on the 5th of August. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Not Back to School DIY Homeschool Starter Pack

Learn how to write your own personalised
curriculum to suit your family's needs.

only $60.00

Each Pack contains a copy of Beverley's best selling do-it-yourself manual
Getting Started with Homeschooling and all 9 of her very popular
Practical Homeschool Booklets
(see details below). Over $70 value!

"Getting Started is very balanced in its approach to homeschooling methods and also covers so many of the areas and questions that I desperately needed to deal with." Joanne

"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." Wendy Priesnitz, Life Media


Natural Learning and Unschooling Pack

A collection of Beverley's booklets to help you to transition to a
gentler, child-led and self-directed form of home education

from $29

Natural Learning, Natural Learning Answers, Learning Maths Naturally
Learning Naturally Diary A5 ($29) or A4 ($33) format
A Sample Approved Natural Learning Program and Review

(only buy 1 pack: if additional diaries or reports required, select from catalog below)

Select A4 or A5 Diary

"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


Download The Educating Parent Resource Directory Beverley Paine's quick guide to getting started with homeschooling and unschooling, including comprehensive list of Australia wide online support groups, blogs and more!

comprehensive guide

Learning In The Absence of Education
Essays on Home Schooling

Beverley Paine

ISBN 9781876651626, 2017
first published in paperback 1999
illustrated with photographs and drawings
eBook only available

Purchase from Catalogue

Containing over 60 articles drawn from Beverley's first decade of home educating her children, this book covers a range of issues, such as late readers, value of play, socialisation, learning maths, testing, etc. An intimate, frank and honest look at day-to-day home educating life spanning several years.
The author's youngest child coined the title one day when he innocently asked, "Mum, I'm learning in the absence of education, aren't I?" meaning learning without school and the traditional methods of learning employed by schools. This book shows the transition the author family made from homeschooling to unschooling and natural learning.

Unschooling takes 'education' out of learning - allowing learning to occur in a natural way, led by interest, passion, need, want, desire, to satisfy some immediate demand or long term goal. Learning becomes personally meaningful to the learner. This doesn't take the 'teacher' or 'mentor' out of the picture - home learning, in whatever form it takes, is a family and community affair. Decisions made about learning activities are generally cooperatively decided after consultation and shared brainstorming sessions. Sometimes learning becomes an intensively personal affair; at other times the whole family will pursue an interest together with avid interest.


What readers think...

"I should say thank you for your wonderful book, "Learning in the Absence of Education".  About 3 years ago, I conveniently left it lying around, hoping that my husband, who was extremely doubtful about natural learning, would read it. I was outside in the garden a few days later, and he came out saying, "Have you read this?"  I thought he was angry about it, and I tentatively said, "Yes."  I waited for his reply, which was - amazingly - "It's BRILLIANT!" 
He loved your writing style and what you had to say, and it gave him the reassurance he'd been looking for. He's had a few anxious moments since then (as I think we all do), but nothing like it was. He's learned to trust in the natural drive to learn that children have, when they live in freedom with interested and supportive parents walking the road with them.
Thank you for your part in helping our family find joy in the freedom of learning naturally!"

"I really like Learning in the Absence of Education. It's so real. Discussing your life and feelings so honestly made me realise i'm not the only one.  I particularly liked 'The Ups and Downs of Home Educaton' and 'Why Home School'. Thanks for writing this book. " Anne-Marie

"Easy to read, with valuable insights and tested experiences. Great for someone like me who wants to know the mechanics and others' experiences before deciding to dive in."

"As soon as received your book 'Learning in the Absence of Education' I dropped everything and read it. I really enjoyed reading it and I am inspired to go on, finally with a more positive, less dominating and controlling homeschooling style... I am writing TRUST, FAITH and PATIENCE in big letters on my wall and starting again. I have wonderful kids and I am going to them shine, in their own way, in their own time. I appreciate being able to share these experiences with you, and thanks to your book and others like it, I know we'll get there." 
Deanne, homeschooling mum

"Learning in the Absence of Education is sending ripples through the international community of young families I am connected with here in
India who are looking into alternative means of education for their kids (the school system here in India is far more frightening than in Australia!) especially some friends here from Israel, Switzerland and Germany, we are meeting regularly to discuss yours and John Holt's writing. I will have to order some more of your books soon to share with them!"

Anna Jahns, India

"Thank you for putting down in words your journey with homeschooling. All your 'ups and downs of education' are very well written, I like remembering/going over these things which reinforce why we home educate... your book has certainly given me food for thought!"
Karen Collins

"I had the pleasure of reading your book "Learning in The Absence". I really loved it and it gave me some great ideas and lots of confidence. I still have my moments of "oh my god can I really do this!!" but I guess that helps me to keep on researching and learning about learning. I found your book so honest and the love you have for your family radiates throughout. Thank you for sharing what has made my experience easier."
Davina Sayed

"These essays are the real life experiences of a long term home educator and activist and make inspiring reading. I really enjoy Beverley's writing style in this book. It is very direct, sometimes even challenging the reader. She tries to be scrupulously honest always so we read of advantages and disadvantages of whatever topic she is discussing. She will also point out the ideal situation and how she thinks she falls short. Sometimes she is self-deprecating; sometimes she glows with enthusiasm for their successful lifestyle. There are touches of humour and sometimes wry cynicism.
Hopefully this book will answer many people's questions and fears about natural learning. It is all in here: how right it feels when natural learning is working well, what happens when we have insecurities ourselves, and the results so far. By presenting the natural learning case in this essay style, Beverley has been able to reflect the different moods, the ups and downs, that make the book a valuable resource for all those interested in home education, whatever their current style."

Janine Banks

What's in this book? Contents...
  • Introduction
  • Reasons, Characteristics and Outcomes of Home Education
  • Why Home Education
  • Values
  • A Day in the Life of A Child ‘Damaged’ by the Modern World
  • On Doing Nothing...
  • Conversation is Learning Too!
  • Learning Maths Conversationally
  • Seriously Questioning the Importance of Reading
  • Movies As Curriculum
  • Worrying About Writing
  • Ideas for Helping Children With Writing
  • Thoughts on Spelling
  • What is all the Fuss about Reading (Fiction) Anyway!
  • "Is Thomas Reading Yet?"
  • Worrying About Late Readers
  • Computers and Home Education
  • Setting Up ‘School’ At Home
  • Finding Time
  • Better Than Average
  • Thoughts on Educational Experience
  • Natural Learning Defined
  • Practical Tips for Natural Learning
  • Learning At Our Place - August 1997
  • Home is Where Learning Happens
  • A Day at Home with the Paines
  • Home is Where Our Learning Happens
  • A Week With Thomas
  • Dads and Home Education
  • Robin and Home Education
  • Fathers in the Home School
  • Reflecting on Home Education
  • Dispelling A Myth - ‘Practice Makes Perfect’
  • Girls In Education
  • Home Learning Schools?
  • Time Spent at an Alternative School
  • Should I Give Grades?
  • Thoughts on Testing
  • Profile on a Teenage Homeschooler
  • The Role Diet Plays
  • The Grass Is Always Greener
  • Patience!
  • Children Learning At Home The Permaculture Way!
  • A Radical Educational Alternative
  • Homeschooled Kids Are Children Too...
  • Rites of Passage?
  • The Ups and Downs
  • Addressing the Problem Of Labeling - Learning Disabled
  • A Lego Curriculum
  • The Value of Play - Lego!
  • The Human Inclination to Mischief!
  • The Gobble Guts Pizza Game
  • Learning the Times Tables
  • More on Learning Times Tables
  • To Teach or Not To Teach!
  • Being On Call
  • Socialisation or Social Development
  • Problems with the "Learning Must Be Fun" Approach...
  • Flexi School
  • Life After Home Education
  • Socialisation
  • Home Education Continuity
  • Recommended Reading



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.


"The information you supply is real and generous. 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

"Your guidance, understanding, support and 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

"Fantastic reading. I am so inspired...
Your honesty is rare." Tracy


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:

Have a question about home education?

Read Beverley's latest blog post!



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!

Privacy: At Always Learning Books we do not share, in any way, with any one or third party, your personal information.

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

Orders outside of Australia: Please email us before ordering to obtain a quote for shipping rates.

Payment Methods

  • Credit card payments available only through PayPal. Please use the shopping basket provided and complete the transaction as directed. Payments made through PayPal are 100% secure. You do not have to become a PayPal member to make payments to Always Learning Books.
  • Direct Debit Transfer is available upon request.
  • If paying by personal cheque or money order, download and print the Order Form; complete, printing clearly. Do not send cash in the mail.
  • Keep a copy of your order for reference purposes.

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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Always Learning Books