I actually struggled in School-based learning initially, not learning to read really 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; 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 failure 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 of 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 theater where we all had attended the first lecture 4 years prior, and without a word they put a CD player on the podium 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’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 and volunteering for the Home Education Association (HEA) I’m back at UON and am currently working towards a Masters of Educational Studies (Comparative and International Education).
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’). So, I’ve been an exhibiting Artist, Photographer, Secretary, Waitress, Shop Assistant, Tutor, Teacher and now…
All of those times I witnessed in a classroom how teachers interrupted learning with their behaviour management, ‘time’s up’ and ‘stop talking!’ and now I have the best teaching gig where learning happens all through their waking hours. There is no scaling system, no bullying, no teachers with egos – they are totally free to learn what they want when they want. Because they are not limited they thrive.
Because they 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 directions for work and career.
Years of drawing daily, with no direct lessons from me, and countless cosplay costumes and 2nd hand clothes being modified have my eldest studying Applied Fashion Design and Technology at TAFE. She has just completed the Cert III and has enrolled in the Diploma. Now she is 16 and we’ll be sharing the driving as she practices for her license. I’ve been very impressed with how dedicated and responsible she has been with her studies, which she was more than ready for, even though the last time she was attending external classes was in 2008.
My 13-year-old son is doing very well and home education is still the best choice for him. He’s never attended a school.
Most likely he will attend TAFE and then University and is currently focused on coding, game design, and math.
So here is my website, somewhat changed from when I launched it. In 2007 I began tutoryourownchild.com, a web-based consulting business. I turned something I had been doing for free, at that stage for about 10 years, into a ‘stay at home business’. Now I have 20 years of helping parents and 27 years of helping children to learn. 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.
I offer consultations via Skype, Messenger, phone or email. My aim and passion are 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. What I offer you the parent/caregiver is a way of doing that through the use of ‘tutoring your child’. Of course, you’ll help their grades at school, their understanding of what’s being taught but you’ll also be giving them so much more than that. Something more valuable that an ‘A’… Your time. I help parents to bridge that gap from frustration and angst into that feeling you had when you first had them and first fell in love with them. When you can reconnect to that raw, real and loving connection helping them understand anything becomes joyful!
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. I’ll be writing posts about the home education experience I’ve been sharing with my children for almost 11 years. I’ll also be adding short articles on Montessori education, Home Ed ‘Hacks’ and simple ways to cover content, keep records, write registration documents and much more. I’ll share 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, FAQ and also 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, connect via Twitter, Facebook Email, or post a message.
Thanks for reading,