32 episodes

A celebration of homeschooling families living life according to their values in connection with the beautiful lands we are fortunate to call home.

Australian Homeschool Stories Australian Homeschool Stories

    • Kids & Family

A celebration of homeschooling families living life according to their values in connection with the beautiful lands we are fortunate to call home.

    Elisa - Sydney, NSW / Dharug Country

    Elisa - Sydney, NSW / Dharug Country

    “They spent their preschool years when they were three and four years old playing all the time. But then they went to school and they forgot how to play.”

    Elisa is a newly minted homeschooler. This is the episode you are going to want to listen to if you are on the precipice of taking the leap into homeschooling or you have found yourself deep in the trenches of deschooling your own children and yourself. The daughter of a teacher who became a teacher herself, Elisa is now a homeschooling mum to twin boys and a daughter (ages 6 and 3) bravely sharing how she’s navigating these new, unchartered waters. 

    SUMMARY
    Elisa was the child who loved school and thrived academically, enjoying the accolades and recognition she received. She grew up in suburban Sydney only minutes from where she & her husband are now raising their own family, with grandparents close by for extra support.Her mother was a teacher and despite discouragement, both she and her sister followed in mums footsteps and became teachers themselves. It wasn’t until her own boys started school at the same school she was working at, that her life did a complete 180.We shouldn't be preparing kids for school, we should be preparing them for life.Her own boys really enjoyed school. It wasn't that they disliked the concept of school and they were quite happy to go. They just really didn't enjoy the period in the classroom. They were happy to be with friends outside. They loved going to the canteen. They loved playing soccer. But it became quite clear that they weren't quite coping or enjoying what they were expected to do, sitting at a desk or table.Elisa believes the seeds were sown early on because she had started to question school, but almost didn't know that homeschooling was an option. Social media, podcasts and lockdowns gave Elisa the confidence to give homeschooling a shot. Overall her boys are enjoying being at home, they mostly enjoy learning. The challenge for Elisa has been to figure out how to teach without teaching or being a teacher. It’s a learning process for all of them.Questioning school has prompted Elisa to look differently at other aspects of life, such as food choices, low-tox living and commercialisation. She wants her kids to know that the important, wonderful things in life are not a pair of Nike Air Jordans.Elisa wants her kids to be kind and school as it is today isn’t the best environment to foster this.
    INSPIRATION
    Hunt Gather Parent - Michaeleen Doucleff
    There’s No Such Things as Bad Weather - Linda Åkeson McGurk
    A Matter of Principal - Mandy Davis
    1000 Hours Outside podcast 

    CONNECT
    Instagram - @learning.beyond.four.walls


    NOTE: This is an abridged version of the show notes.
    Follow the link below to find a more detailed summary of what Elisa shares in this episode:

    FULL SHOW NOTES HERE

    Connect with us:
    Instagram - @australianhomeschoolstories
    Substack - Australian Homeschool Stories

    This podcast is recorded on the lands of the Bunurong people of the Kulin nation. I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded. This always was, always will be aboriginal land.

    • 58 min
    Nicki - Sunshine Coast, QLD / Gubbi Gubbi Country

    Nicki - Sunshine Coast, QLD / Gubbi Gubbi Country

    “Children learn best intrinsically motivated, following their own interests and when adults step back.”

    One year ago, we hit publish on the first episode of the Australian Homeschool Stories podcast with Vicci Oliver’s story. I was a very nervous first-time interviewer and Vicci was the most gracious, kind and supportive first guest I could have hoped for! Today, to celebrate one whole year of sharing homeschooling stories from across our beautiful country, you are going to hear Nicki Farrell’s story. Nicki is an ex-teacher turned wildschooling, unschooling mum of two boys (aged 11 & 9), the co-founder of Wildlings Forest School and co-host of the Raising Wildlings Podcast. 

    SUMMARY:
    Nicki grew up as a free range kid in country South Australia, spending all her free time roaming outdoors and climbing trees.Her tiny country school consisted of just 60 children. The teachers there knew their students on such individual levels and could cater for their differing needs.Nicki found her schooling experience as a teacher vastly different from what she had encountered as a child, and that was a big reason to not send her own children to school in the end.As soon as she had her own children she immediately thought: "For years I’ve been doing things to children I wouldn’t want done to my own."Nikki & Vicki met at a playgroup and instantly connected. Before creating Wildlings, they started out as a structured learning co-op. However after observing the kids in free play at the nearby creek afterwards they realised what they had been trying to ‘teach’ them, they were naturally just learning through play.Nicki shares what a typical week looks like for their family, with her husband working 4-5 days, Nicki working in her business 2-3 days, co-ops, forest school and slow days at home.20-30 years ago, homeschooling was really unusual. But here and now, it's it is absolutely booming on the Sunshine Coast which she is certain has one of the highest rates of homeschoolers in the country."AI has imploded education already. Absolutely, it is going to turn it on its head to the point that I'm wondering, why are we sending children to school?”If Nikki were principal for a day she would scrap traditional schooling, full stop. But she still loves the idea of families and children meeting, forming social friendships and exploring the world and learning together. Can we keep it that simple?Each child is different, so what works for one child might not work for the other and that's okay. That's the beauty of home education, you really can cater in a way that schools absolutely cannot.Comparison is the thief of joy - do what's best for your family, not what everybody else is doing.
    CONNECT:

    Website - wildlingsforestschool.com 
    Instagram - @wildlings_forestschool and @raising_wildlings_podcast


    NOTE: This is an abridged version of the show notes.
    Follow the link below to find quotes, links and references to all resources, books and inspiration Nicky shares in this episode:

    FULL SHOW NOTES HERE

    Connect with us:
    Instagram - @australianhomeschoolstories
    Substack - Australian Homeschool Stories

    This podcast is recorded on the lands of the Bunurong people of the Kulin nation. I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded. This always was, always will be aboriginal land.

    • 56 min
    Debbie - Brisbane, QLD / Turrbal Country

    Debbie - Brisbane, QLD / Turrbal Country

    “That's the beauty of an unschooling lifestyle, it’s just continuing what you’ve always done with your children.”

    Having always homeschooled and having been homeschooled herself, Debbie’s story spans across both analog and digital generations. Whilst she never set out to become a radical unschooler, she now confidently embraces the path her family have chosen. Along the way she has created a viable small business that has the potential to revolutionise the way we balance working and homeschooling, a dilemma many modern home educating families face.

    Summary:
    Homeschooling was a very unusual choice 30 years ago. She never thought of herself as weird or strange but looking back she could see how tiny the homeschooling community must have been compared to what it is now.Whilst it might have been true back then, the perception that people have of homeschooling today, that children aren’t going to be able to socialise and they will be stuck at home, is so inaccurate.School as it is currently laid out, is not very effective.Having a transformative VBAC home birth with her second child proved to be a catalyst for considering homeschooling for her own children.When your child is two and you are going to the local show that’s got diggers, you are unschooling. You’re following your child’s interests. You just keep doing that as they get older, ignoring that there's an arbitrary age where some people have decided that we should start doing learning only through doing book work and we should start learning only by doing a particular subject in a particular way.Debbie shares her interpretation of the differences between unschooling and radical unschooling. She doesn't believe anyone identifies with radical unschooling unless they actually are unschooling all of the time.Debbie created The Village Hub as there was no place that existed where you could take your kids and they could have some fun and you could also get some work done. The Village Hub is an unschooling friendly space. It is not structured. It is free play. It is messy play.With the homeschool community continuing to grow, this could be the way of the future - having hubs in every area of Australia is her next dream because it really does tick so many boxes. She would love to mentor others to open something similar to The Village Hub in other areas of Queensland and Australia.On the 6th of March 2024, legislation changes were proposed that impact homeschooling in Queensland and Debbie is working with the Free 2 Homeschool advocacy team. She outlines the major changes that are being proposed and how we can all get involved and do our bit to help.
    NOTE: This is an abridged version of the show notes.
    Follow the link below to dive deeper and find quotes, links and references that Debbie shares in this episode:

    FULL SHOW NOTES HERE

    Connect:
    Instagram - @thevillagehub.qld
    Facebook - The Village Hub


    Instagram - @australianhomeschoolstories
    Substack - Australian Homeschool Stories

    This podcast is recorded on the lands of the Bunurong people of the Kulin nation. I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded. This always was, always will be aboriginal land.

    • 1 hr 15 min
    Anna - Rockingham, WA - Whadjuk Country

    Anna - Rockingham, WA - Whadjuk Country

    “I hope at the end of all this I’ll have raised two kids who love learning.”

    If they are not home, chances are Anna and her kids (ages 9 & 4) can be found in their local library. So great is their love for this community haven of literature, living within walking distance of it strongly influenced where they chose to reside in Rockingham, Western Australia. Homeschoolers from day dot, this musical, book loving, nature appreciating family value time together and connection over curriculum. 

    SUMMARY:
    Anna was born in Kalgoorlie but has lived in Perth since she was 6 years old. She met her husband on a trip to South Africa and convinced him to move to WA where they are now raising their family together.Being the recipient of a high school music scholarship didn’t equate to Anna loving school. She would have loved to have been homeschooled herself.Seeing the best and worst of kids lives, working in school chaplaincy prior to having kids herself, was a contributing factor to choosing to homeschool.Homeschooling was always on her radar. It wasn’t a really ‘out there’ decision for them, which made the choice easy, and they also didn’t experience any negative reactions from friends, family or their larger community.Anna loves the efficiency of homeschooling - particularly the one-on-one learning aspect of homeschooling, which schools aren’t able to replicate.Theirs is a literature based homeschool - books are at the centre of everything they do. Literature is the spine.Letting the kids loose in the library can lead to tangents of learning they may follow for a week.Being a one income family, the library is an incredible resource that she utilises to the utmost. Nature Discovery is an Australian nature study curriculum she wrote because she couldn’t find a resource that addressed the things that her kids saw around them.Connection drives all that they undertake and she loves being able to learn through experiences together. All life is learning.Books are wonderful, but there is a big world to experience out there beyond the books too.Her favourite thing about this lifestyle is getting to hang out with her kids and learn alongside them. Learning does’t stop at the completion of grade 12. Homeschooling extends childhood and play, and you can keep playing as an adult too.Wanting her kids to have a tree climbing childhood, pottering about in the garden and being part of the natural world.
    CONNECT

    Instagram - @naturediscoveryau
    Facebook - Nature Discovery
    Website - Nature Discovery



    NOTE: This is an abridged version of the show notes.

    Follow the link below to find quotes, resources and inspiration Anna shares in this episode:

    FULL SHOW NOTES HERE


    Connect with us:
    Instagram - @australianhomeschoolstories
    Substack - Australian Homeschool Stories

    This podcast is recorded on the lands of the Bunurong people of the Kulin nation. I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded. This always was, always will be aboriginal land.

    Original Music by Daniel Garrood @garroodcomposer
    Listen on Spotify here

    • 42 min
    Richa - Melbourne, VIC / Bunurong Country

    Richa - Melbourne, VIC / Bunurong Country

    “Don’t let fear guide you. You’ve chosen this path, lead it with love.”
    Richa and her husband, who were both born and educated in India, now live in Melbourne and home educate their two children, aged 7 and 2. We cover a variety of topics in this episode including Montessori, minimalism, community building, sibling dynamics and fostering a love of reading, nature and kindness.

    SUMMARY:
    When Richa and her husband were house hunting in Melbourne they were ironically drawn to Bayside for the schools, but it was the solace and peace of being next to water that solidified their choice to call this area home.Early on people would point out that her child had a lot of anxiety and that she was so attached, but isn’t that how humans are designed to be? We are supposed to be close to our caregivers. They migrated to Melbourne without any support system, all their family live in India. Finding other friends who homeschool has been an incredible help and given their family both mental and physical support.There is chaos in bringing a younger sibling into the mix of homeschooling but it is also enriching for the sibling connections and bonding - if her daughter were in school right now, her son would hardly see her.Open your house up to welcome friends in, share a meal together, do a craft together. It can be hard finding the people with whom you can connect with on a deeper level.Intentionally not over-scheduling their week. Letting them be, giving them free time to tinker around - she values that more.Homeschooling minimally means not having more things and more materials. Not overwhelming yourself with the multitude of curriculum choices out there. It’s very easy to bring overwhelm into your space. It’s about prioritising less. She is looking forward to seeing the beautiful people her children turn out to be and the joy they bring to othersRead more, talk to people who have been doing this for a long time. It’s easier and less daunting than it seems.

    INSPIRATION
    Simplicity Parenting - Kim John Payne (book)
    Unconditional Parenting - Alfie Kohn (book)
    The Secret of Childhood - Maria Montessori (book)
    Good Inside Podcast - Dr Becky Kennedy
    @bigmothering (instagram) 
    @mainly.montesorri.homeschool (instagram) 
    @wonderled.life (instagram)


    RESOURCES
    Blossom & Root - Nature based, secular homeschooling curriculum 


    CONNECT

    Instagram - @waliaricha



    NOTE: This is an abridged version of the show notes.

    Follow the link below to find quotes and read aloud recommendations Richa shares in this episode:

    FULL SHOW NOTES HERE


    Connect with us:
    Instagram - @australianhomeschoolstories
    Substack - Australian Homeschool Stories

    This podcast is recorded on the lands of the Bunurong people of the Kulin nation. I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded. This always was, always will be aboriginal land.

    Original Music by Daniel Garrood @garroodcomposer
    Listen on Spotify here

    • 49 min
    Sara - Brisbane, QLD / Turrbal Country

    Sara - Brisbane, QLD / Turrbal Country

    I can think of no better spokesperson for unschooling in Australia than Sara, whose four daughters (aged 15, 13, 10 and 8) have never been to school. This inspiring family of six who call sunny Queensland home, have collaboratively and creatively designed their lives. As well as unschooling, she is a passionate advocate for respectful parenting and children's rights. 

    SUMMARY
    Growing up on the Sunshine Coast, Sara went from being private schooled herself to zero percent school for her own children. Once she became a mother, admiring her curious, happy, carefree children, all she could think was that school would wreck this.If you had asked her as a child whether she enjoyed school herself she would have said she loved it, but looking back she can only remember the bad things, such as being overwhelmed and stressed by assessments and carrying everyday anxiety that she might get in trouble.The stereotype of teens being lazy is not her experience at all, they are on the go all the time, the have a million ideas and projects. They are not what people say. As a result of starting young and never sending her kids to school, they have grown up being in control of their own interests and learning for so long they are experts now.Sara defines adultism/childism and how this is perpetrated throughout modern day society. There is a way to do things better, where we can all be equal.We all have different responsibilities based on our age and our relationship to children but that doesn’t mean we have different rights.Unschooling is an extension of respectful parentingDeschooling never ends. There is always more that comes ups and every age your kid gets to there is something else. She and her husband got to a point where they had read too much and could not knowingly send their girls to school knowing what they knew. Once you’ve gone down the rabbit hole, there is no turning back.More people need to talk about homeschooling and unschooling, so more people know this in an option, because so many still don’t.The importance of having a community and feeling like you belongHow her community has evolved over the years from early years to teens - book club, project fairs, talent show, markets, monthly excursions and lots of hanging out and playing.Why we need to stop using the word sacrifice when it comes to choosing home education.There is no end date to learning. Her own teenage daughter’s perspective is that nothing’s really going to change when she turns 18, they’ll just keep living like they are now and life will carry on as it always has.You have a lot of time. You don’t need to know what you’re doing, you can just start and work it out as you go along. All of us are making it up as we go along.No one is an expert. You can literally do whatever works for your family.NOTE: This is an abridged version of the show notes.

    Follow the link below to find quotes and references to all resources, books and inspiration Sara shares in this episode:

    FULL SHOW NOTES HERE

    Connect with us:
    Instagram - @australianhomeschoolstories
    Substack - Australian Homeschool Stories

    This podcast is recorded on the lands of the Bunurong people of the Kulin nation. I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded. This always was, always will be aboriginal land.

    Original Music by Daniel Garrood @garroodcomposer
    Listen on Spotify here

    • 1 hr 11 min

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