This about section is long. It’s not optimized or polished. It’s wordy and is here for the sole purpose of you ‘getting where I’m coming from’ as a person. WYSIWYG. I’m not always this wordy, but I am this open and honest. I don’t have time for ‘drama-llama-ing’ at all… as you shall see! My passion in life is to help children to be free to learn. I do that by helping the adults around them to make that their reality. It’s a team effort, you and me. What I bring is the uncanny ability to remove the stress that comes when YOU’RE thinking “AHH!!! MY CHILD’S EDUCATION!!!!”
It’s all about the learning. When it’s not happening through school, that’s usually when we meet (or you meet another person… when it comes to helping children I leave my ego at the door… I’m very Montessorian in that regard). So let’s start with school.
I actually struggled in School-based learning initially, not learning to read really, actually properly until I was 11. I could read enough to fly under teacher’s radar, they assumed I ‘could try harder’, but the truth was I had missed out on learning decoding, phonetics and my life had been full of chaos at that time so concentration was a difficult skill to develop. Although I knew I loved learning and had wanted to be a teacher since I was 3 years old I didn’t arrive where I am through conventional channels. This is the kind of background that has made me a teacher who has never forgotten what it’s like to be a student, or more importantly, to be a child.
I went from the bottom of the class at the end of primary school to the top of a low class the next year at high school, and thereafter in the top 30 or so students in my year. How did I do it? I had to! I was bullied daily. Being bullied was both exhausting emotionally and motivating academically, although I don’t recommend it as a ‘studying strategy’. In year 11 I studied a TAFE course in Office Practice, Computer Skills and Keyboarding while still in high school and came first every year, at my high school, in Visual Arts. Because of the scaling system that was in use at the time I sadly had my final exam efforts undermined when my grades were scaled down due to another student failing. Unfortunately, the knock-on effect was that during the last days of High School it turned marks for three students from 93-97% to 60%, including me. So my final HSC mark made the whole exhausting stressful experience seem like a waste of time. I was still determined to become a teacher, though.
As a consequence of my marks, I missed out on University and was only able to attend Art School, TAFE. So, for 2 more years, I studied again, just to gain extra qualifications so I could get into Uni. I received A grades and had no concerns until one Teacher out of the blue failed me in the final assessment before graduation. I found out later that he had applied and was rejected from getting into an exhibition my mother was curating at a City Art Gallery. (That’s the giveaway for why I had been doing art. My mother taught me all about art at home). At TAFE I fought back and with my local MPs support the school allowed me to complete my Associate Diploma in 6 months extra time, just for that class and this time they passed me. How I had an A halfway through the year and then a failing mark was bizarre to an onlooker. Why did they then pass me with although only with a C? Perhaps my disclosure that I was aware they had hired two unqualified teachers and that my MP had ministerial papers drawn up helped? We’ll never know, one thing for sure – the system is not perfect! That was the backdrop for the time I walked through the chalkboard to the other side and started my teacher training; although I had really begun that when I was 3.
I attended the University of Newcastle (UON) for four years and was a student in the first year through an integrated double bachelor degree. It was bold and innovative, declaring that ‘teachers needed to be tertiary students’ and they rejected all notions of teachers churning children out of schools as though they were sausages in a factory. On the very last day the staff remaining in the course walked into the theatre where we all had attended the first lecture 4 years prior, and without a word they put a CD player on the podium (might have been cassette player actually) and as Led Zeppelin played Another Brick In The Wall they all put sunglasses on and walked out. So, I left there with a degree in Primary Teaching and a Bachelor of Arts in History. I then went on to work as a Casual Primary Teacher and continued tutoring students after hours. Then I became pregnant with my first child, decided to work as much as I could while I could and worked taking Santa photos, using that TAFE qualification!
I’ve since studied Montessori education with MWEI, obtaining a Certificate IV in Small Business Management through NEIS and have attended Post Graduate classes at University, although much of that study remained incomplete due to being a full-time single parent, home educating, running a business albeit for free and volunteering for the Home Education Association (HEA) until becoming one of their admin staff members in 2017. After a recent internal dispute at the HEA, which lead members to initiate court action against us admins and two volunteers, and failing that against the association itself I remain working but unpaid for a year and now have no active affiliation with this association in its current form, although I’m listed as a life member due to the work I performed as a volunteer and still have an invoice outstanding. I had returned to UON in 2014 and although I worked hard towards a Masters of Educational Studies (Comparative and International Education), due to working for a year including with lawyers for the HEA, in my capacity as an admin, I had to step out with a Graduate Certificate. This happens when you have three assignments due at the same time as writing an extensive affidavit. Yet again, finishing qualifications has incurred disruptions. The training was to obtain a job that I could do from home and in that goal I was successful. In 2018 I began working at Australian Catholic University (ACU) as a Sessional Academic, covering subjects such as Creating Inclusive Safe and Supportive Learning Environments, Social Justice in Education, and Differentiating for Gifted and Talented Students. It was fantastic training student-teachers on ‘out of the box’ ideas for GATE and the importance of asking students and their families about what programs and resources would work or not. A lot of problems are solved by instilling an ‘ask, don’t boss or tell’ policy.
I have a swag of other in-service certificates, work experiences, and life experiences including working as a Waitress, Secretary, Tutor since 1990 in subjects from Piano, English, Maths, Science, Geography… the list goes on… French, Japanese! and I don’t speak very much French or any Japanese thus proving my theory that you really don’t need to know how to teach a subject to tutor it, because tutoring is not the same as teaching, and more importantly, it’s not even about that. Tutoring is about helping a person to learn and that’s not the same thing as ‘teaching’ which sometimes is really just telling students the information. Tutors help students to learn and their aim is redundancy. The teacher in this context is the student. Autodidactic is the ultimate goal. There is an overabundance of ‘teaching material and resources’, including people. Times have already changed!
So, I’ve been an exhibiting Artist, Photographer, Secretary, G-Suite & Zoom management assistant and trainer, Waitress, Shop Assistant, Tutor, Teacher and of course…
Since 2006 I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of observing and helping my two children acquire an education from the world, from each other, from their family, friends, and community. Online and offline.
I have lost count the occasions I witnessed, in a classroom as a student or prac-teacher, how teachers would interrupt learning with behaviour management strategies, such as ‘time is up’ and ‘stop talking!’ The reality is, when you work in a school you do have to obey the bell, the time restrictions, the location and resource restrictions. Learning about the world within a classroom with local children is limiting. Now add to that the extra load all teachers carry that has everything to do with justifying that system and very little to do with learning. Now I have the best teaching gig where learning happens all through the waking hours of my students, within the world. There is no scaling system, no bullying, no teachers with egos – they are totally free to learn what they want when they want where they want. Because they are not limited they thrive and the learning happens naturally, with only encouragement and not force. ‘Making children learn’ isn’t an issue when you home educate, it’s more about getting out of their way so they are free to learn. If you’ve just begun and you think I’m wrong, how much deschooling have you chalked up? It takes months to years to deschool completely, but helping them get back to learning can happen in an afternoon.
Because my children are happy, social, curious and active beings they drink in their world through their senses. Because they are free to learn without limitation they are free to be themselves, to enjoy life and learning, to live with joy on a daily basis. Their interests have become obsessions, then passions and now their directions for work and career.
Years of drawing daily, with no direct lessons from me, and countless cosplay costumes, 2nd hand clothes being modified and watching movies such as The Labyrinth had my eldest completing a Cert III and Diploma in Applied Fashion Design and Technology at TAFE from the age of 15. Now she is 18, working, volunteering to make costumes for a local musical, has been making Cosplay for commission for the past few years and she has plans to attend Uni to study Costuming for Stage and Film, which also covers props. I’ve been very impressed with how dedicated and responsible she has been with her formal studies, which she was more than ready for, even though the last time she was attending external classes she was 7.
So here is my website, somewhat changed from when I launched it 12 years ago. My abilities are not that uncanny after all, as I’ve learned from years of my own learning journey and through helping people for now decades during our collective ups and downs. In 2007 I began tutoryourownchild.com, a web-based consulting business. It was something I had been doing for free, at that stage for about 10 years, and I aimed to turn it into a ‘stay at home business’ and instead I volunteered for a further 10 years! Now I have had 22 years of helping parents with my tutor your own child methods, and until 2017 was remained totally free!
For 29 years I have been helping children to learn. While I am still home educating my own child, actively involved with the home education community locally, nationally and internationally I still feel the need to continue helping parents and caregivers directly, which goes on to help the children in their care. I’ve thought about returning to the classroom after my children have grown, and I still might, however, I love working parents and using all the skills and knowledge from my experiences within the community of parents and children. I’d really love to keep helping as long as I can. Whether you use a school or not is up to you. I offer consultations in finding solutions to anything causing stress so children are free to learn and parents and caregivers can enjoy their children’s childhoods. I also offer a lot of support for anyone wanting to Unschool AND register/have ‘schooly looking’ records.
The past few years I’ve been asked to present at conferences for Parenting and Home Education, which is both cool and fun… I helped out at the Raising Happy Kids conference (RHK) in 2016 as their resident ‘Single Parent – yes you can totally home ed’ and in a quiet private corner with a dozen parents, and their children, we gathered and shared information. That’s how spontaneous, immediate and ‘real’ it is when you home educate – got a problem? here’s a solution! here are 50 solutions! (I became a single parent shortly before our own home education journey began and there’s a large support community within the broader community. Feel free to contact me if you need to connect). Then I presented in the 2017 RHK conference for 3 talks, on stage. https://www.nurtureparentingmagazine.com.au/raising-happy-kids-expo-conferences/
If you want to check out two talks I gave at the last Australian Homeschooling Summit, presented by Kelly George from Fearless Homeschool, here is a link http://australianhomeschoolsummit.com/ref/Tamara/ (and thanks if you click and purchase as it’s an affiliate link… you get about 30 talks from about 20 people for $25… very affordable way to get a lot of information, and you have access for life).
My main connections with people, at the moment, is through consultations via Skype, Messenger, Zoom, WhatsApp, phone or email. At the core of my aim and passion is a desire to help children feel really listened to, understood and loved. To know they are supported by the people who chose to create them in the first place – their parents. In addition, though, I want to say a special thank you for anyone taking care of children they didn’t realise would be their responsibility. Sometimes this group of people come with additional challenges and I want to acknowledge that.
What I offer you the parent/caregiver is eliminating the fear of the unknown, and any fear of ‘authorities’ by empowering you to ‘tutor your child’. Of course, you’ll help their grades at school, their understanding of what’s being taught, or help them to escape that system and create their own pathway. What you’ll gain is more time for fun and more enjoyment of life, and a return to the natural ability humans have to learn. You’ll do that and will give them so much more. Something more valuable than an ‘A’… You’ll be giving them your time and your attention, and when a child needs help they really want their parent/caregivers to ‘get them’ and where they are at. A lot of the time you are the ONLY one who gets them, and all you need to help to know what you can and can’t do, and how to do it. I help parents to bridge that gap from frustration and angst into that feeling of connection you had when you first had them and first fell in love with them when time melted away, and life just happened happily. Sometimes school cuts that connection. Sometimes the hurry to get them out the door and into school before the bell comes at the expense of the quality of your relationship. When you can reconnect to that raw, real and loving connection helping them understand anything becomes joyful! It can be the reset button the family needs. If you want that or if you have that but want to get on with home ed now, feel free to contact me and I’ll help you where you’re at.
Another big love of mine is CONVERTING NATURAL LEARNING and UNSCHOOLING into Edubabble for registration. I dream about outcome codes! Sadly I’m serious!
This site is being upgraded. To come;
- Posts about the home education experience I’ve been sharing with my children for over 13 years.
- Short articles on Montessori education, Home Ed ‘Hacks’ and simple ways to cover content, keep records, write registration documents and much more.
- My experiences listening to other home educators over the years on best ways to tackle criticism as well as tips on making registration easier.
- Resources and reviews
- Some courses that you can undertake that hopefully will help you have a clear vision on how to help your child to learn.
I hope my journey provides you with some resources, encouragement, and support. If you have a question or request please send me an email. You can connect via Twitter, Facebook Email, or post a message on this website.
Thanks for reading,