by Tim Hall

There’s no question that more and more people are becoming concerned with the quality of our education system in the United States. We, as a nation, have slipped to an “average” ranking among 30+ countries in reading, math and science. And while politicians debate when and how much money to cut from their state’s education budget parents are left wondering how to give their children the proper education they deserve.

For some parents, private schools or charter schools offer a nice alternative to the public system. However there is a growing alternative for parents who wish to educate their children outside of the traditional “brick and mortar” school setting. These parents are choosing to home-school their children.

There are many reasons to home-school your child. Perhaps you want to instill your religious, cultural and moral values into the way your child learns. Another reason is that you want to know your child is in a safe learning environment. (By the way, when did we, as a society, say it was OK to install metal detectors in schools?) And yet another reason could be related to the social settings you want your child in. As varied as the reasons are almost every parent would agree that they simply want a better education for their children.

Homeschooling can be an exhilarating experience for both parent and child. Bonds can strengthen. Relationships can improve. Discovering the worldBoy in the blue shirt together can be life-changing – for both parent and child. The only requirements are patience and a sincere desire to learn. You don’t have to be a credentialed teacher to home-school your child. But you must have the time and willingness to plan, explore, teach, tutor and adjust to your child’s individual learning style if this experience is going to be successful.

The best part of homeschooling is that there is no “typical” day. You can spend part of the day with a textbook; or you could spend it at the local park. You may want to utilize a specific curriculum or design your own. That’s the beauty of home-schooling – each day can be a unique learning experience. Imagine going to a local farm to learn how vegetables grow (instead of just reading about it in a textbook) or taking a hike in the hills to discover all the new plants you’ve just read about!

There are different approaches to homeschooling – and many parents find a combination of techniques works best. For example, utilizing a math book to learn how to multiply and divide can be enhanced with a trip to that local farm to see how many tomatoes can be planted in 5 rows of soil.  Whether you study one subject a day or several at a time, home-schooling offers parents and children the opportunity to make it come alive!

Home-schooling is on the rise! In 2010 it is estimated that there were about 2 million children who considered themselves to be home-schooled. While it can be a truly rewarding experience for both student and parent it is not something to be considered lightly. As with any major life decision this topic needs the time and attention it deserves if it’s going to be successful.

Each state has their own laws concerning education and homeschooling your child. You should check with your state’s legal requirements before you consider taking your child out of public school in order to home school. There are several websites available to help guide you – just Google “homeschooling laws” and you should be able to find several sites with good information. Remember, you must follow your state’s law as it relates to homeschooling.

Once you’ve figured out the legal requirements it’s time to decide what kind of curriculum to follow. Again, there are many sources available to help you with the actual materials you’ll need. You know your child better than anyone else. Ask yourself what materials will make this learning experience the best for my child? Do I need textbooks? Do I need videos? Can I utilize what I already have access to (my home, my office, my local library, etc.)?

When you have your materials together then what? Just begin teaching and learning together! Remember, there is no “typical” day – make each day a unique experience. While it’s important to have a plan don’t be surprised if you don’t follow it exactly each day.  And don’t elevate yourself to the position of “superior know-it-all teacher.” Even the best teacher doesn’t know everything about everything. You’ll need the help of other people with knowledge and expertise you just don’t have. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Remember you are not alone in this experience. There are also support groups available forJoyful blonde boy parents new to homeschooling. You’ll find you’re not alone in the home-schooling arena – whether you’re just starting out or in your 5th year of doing it.

It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that you, personally, are making a difference in someone’s life. To see a child connect with a subject, to have that “ah-ha!”moment together is life-changing. Education is the key that unlocks everyone’s possibilities. If you’re one of the growing numbers of concerned parents seeking another alternative to the public education system, home-schooling may be the choice for you. It’s not a decision to be made lightly as it will require time, patience and the desire to truly learn about the world around you. But if you’re ready for it, a new experience in education is waiting for you!

Tim Hall lives in Los Angeles and is a tutor who works with children and students of all ages (1st – 12th grade). He currently homeschools students in Language Arts and Math. He is CBEST certified and is pursuing his Math Education degree and credentials. For more information on Tim or homeschooling you may contact him at [email protected].

Raising A Conscious Child

For me raising a conscious child meant putting away all the parenting books, ignoring the advice from family and friends and just getting real, and real brave.  I believe that we are all conscious beings to begin with.  Fancy being arrogant enough to think that we are more conscious than our children and that we (as a parent or a society) need to teach them.  We are the ones, usually through not being raised consciously ourselves who are often living in the dark.  (I like to call it the Matrix!)

Children are born connected to the Universal consciousness.  They are wise and all knowing.  They come here, choose us, to deliver us these great gifts of simply BEING ONE WITH ALL.

So the only way to raise a conscious child, to allow them to remain connected and wise is to join THEM!  You must be a fully Conscious Being yourself.  And here in lies the challenge.  It sounds easy.  But have you ever tried practising it 24 / 7?  With one, two or more children watching your every move and soaking in your every feeling, thought, action and word?

Being constantly conscious, being present, remaining loving, forgiving and filled with compassion, creativity and joy for life may be easy for some of you but it was a completely foreign concept for me a few years ago.  (and perhaps for a few minutes this evening as I was putting children to bed…..and perhaps yesterday…..and at times last week…..)

It is an ongoing challenge to be first what we want our children to be.
It is easier if we look to them first as our greatest teachers.

And they help us implicitly by mirroring our faults to us on a regular basis.  Whatever our weakness is it will show up in their actions every day.  Their behaviour issues, their weaknesses, their dislikes, allergies – whatever, are all triggers for us to look inside ourselves.   And on the flip side they show endless love, compassion, trust and faith.  They are the ultimate personal development tool.  But the master key for me was embracing this not as a burden but being thankful for this true gift.

My lessons took the form of my baby with severe sleeping problems.  I breast fed her every 2 hours all day and night for about the first 18 months.  With severe sleep deprivation and stress I became sick, depressed, resentful and fed up.  As she grew older she was clingy.  She wouldn’t play with other children, she wouldn’t leave my side.  She came everywhere with me and just sat on my lap where ever I was.  The hairdresser, the dentist, meetings, coffee with friends.  So I went to every doctor, naturopath, chiropractor, energy healer, (so called) health experts seeking answers.  What was wrong with her?  And what was wrong with me?  (I was really sick by this time – she was about 3 years old by then)

Well after a second pregnancy, another screaming baby who wouldn’t sleep and my health declining even more, I hit rock bottom.  Many of you mothers know this place I am sure!

One day I got it.  A shift occurred and I realised that there was actually nothing wrong with my child.  It was just my attitude to her behaviour (and to a lot of other things in the world) that needed to change.  A shift from seeking externally to looking internally.  The shift from blaming her to accepting my role in creating my own misery.   I began to work at BEING conscious.  Not at just layering new beliefs on top, but actually in changing my BEING.  It was hard work. It still is hard work.  I waited anxiously for the day she would start school and I would finally be free of her clinging and have some space to breathe and think.  It finally came (after much preparation) she started school in a Steiner (Waldorf) school but after one term I had to pull her out.  She was having nightmares and she was clinging again each morning and screaming in sheer terror at the thought of me leaving her at school.  She wanted to be there but she couldn’t leave me.  I knew what I had to do but I enlisted a counsellor to confirm to me my greatest fear.  I had to home school her.  She had to stay with me at home longer.  Funnily I didn’t feel horrified but a sense of relief.  I knew deep down that it was right.

It is now one year later.  I have homeschooled for one whole year and now enjoy good physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health – and so do my two children.

The world is in your hands. Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery ProgramI can’t believe the power of it (home schooling and being more conscious!) and how much I enjoy it.  I feel free because I faced my biggest fear and followed my Divine Path.  I have raised my own consciousness more in the last year than I did in the previous 40 years.  In every lesson I prepare and deliver for her, whether it be language, arts, numbers I am always blessed 100 fold with what I gain in return.   She is like the village Shaman, so wise and true with her words and feelings.  Not only have I had to learn to draw, paint and model (I am following the Steiner home school curriculum – Rudolph Steiner education philosophy is the only one I could find that truly treats the child as a spiritual being) but I have been faced with all my ‘stuff’ (how I play victim, how I focus on time too much, how I judge others, how I seek approval all the time, how I let my ego run my life).   Once all this is mirrored to me it is up to me to let it go of it or wait for the next lesson where she will show me all over again.

So now I get to live in a daily world of beauty, play, fairy tales, magic, music and dance.  Together we have created a lifestyle based on living consciously.  My challenge is to allow myself to BE in this world for longer each day – in a world of pure consciousness.  To live in her perspective of the greatness, awe and mystery that life beholds.  Instead of inflicting any of my unnecessary ‘beliefs’ based on my past fears and experiences.

A homeschooling mum’s job can be long and tiresome.  Fifteen hour days usually of cooking, cleaning, playing, teaching, prepping lessons, washing, singing, dancing, gardening, hosting and feeding.   But every minute I stay conscious is another minute of pure heaven.  The closest connection to God that I have ever felt.


Every day I feel like someone on a journey with no map, no guide, no sniffer dog and often no outside companions!  A constant, unknown, unravelling one step at a time.  But of course this is what life is for a young child so it makes sense that I, as the mother and home school teacher, should walk that path also as they learn from mimicking us.

But for me little security blankets and comfy cushions to assist the journey are a necessity. I have a husband who keeps me grounded and a dear friend who

“Peace In Our Land: Children Celebrating Diversity” featuring A World Of Difference

isan awesome, and often needed, energy healer.   I have nearly all the Bunny Hull CDs and Books now which we use constantly.  I have also found some fantastic Steiner inspired resources for teaching and many lovely story books that help remind the child on their inner spirit.  Since we don’t watch TV, go to movies or the like, inspirational songs and books are my life line.  It is both funny and heart warming to hear the children flip between an upbeat church song, a Bunny Hull song and a yoga chant.  And I have to admit I do the same.  At circle time with our Friday playgroup I tend to deliver a mixture of Steiner songs, Bunny Hull songs and activities and kids yoga.  And the great thing is that coming from three completely different countries and philosophies they complement each other beautifully.  Of course why wouldn’t they?

After all, we are One in a World of Difference.


Heidi Robins lives in Adelaide, South Australia and is a mother of 2.  Bianca aged 7 and Junah aged 4.

In 2007 Heidi commenced a not for profit organisation called Future Families to inform families on alternative choices such as natural health, gentle birthing, conscious parenting and sustainable living.  Heidi ran this organisation for over 3 years but has now slowed down its operation to dedicate her time more fully to raising and educating her children.




I am trained in child psychiatry, and can say that most of the children and teenagers with whom I work do not feel good about themselves. I’m reading a book by Wayne Dyer, and just read this passage:

“A child’s self-image is the most important factor in his or her happiness and fulfillment. Children who believe that the world is a good and miraculous place, and that they are special and loved, have a tremendous advantage over children who are doubting and negative. The garden of being a no-limit person blooms from the early seeds that you plant in a child’s mind about who he is and what he can become. When you send highly charged positive signals to children they begin to have an expectation of happiness and success, they become eager to meet new people rather than being judgmental of or intimidated by others, they enjoy challenges, and are open, loving and generous toward others.”

Bunny Hull’s books and CDs are a wonderful and fun way to teach children core values and life skills. My children have learned about friendship, peace, and the “special powers” of love, wisdom, courage, and creativity that lie within them and everyone. The “Dream A World” homeschool curriculum provides activities, projects and worksheets that make teaching these concepts easy and lots of fun for everyone. Bunny’s books are beautifully written in language that children can easily understand. Her music is incredibly uplifting and something the whole family can enjoy. Bunny’s books, music and curriculum are a “must have” for anyone who is homeschooling their children. These materials are also wonderful for parents who wish to supplement their child’s traditional school curriculum that may not include “life skills” training.

I see the work you are doing with schoolchildren. I know that you are truly changing their lives in an incredible way. It would be great if schools around the country could adopt what you are doing as part of their curriculum. Too little attention is paid to the emotional/spiritual needs of young children.

Thank you for giving me such a perfect way to plant the seeds of love, kindness, and belief in self in the minds of my young children. I know they will benefit tremendously.  Your books and music have brought so much joy to my family!

Pamela Beasley, M.D.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Dream A Worlds Curriculum for homeschoolers is available for free by clicking here.

School has been in session now for several months.  Students are busy learning their ABC’s, new vocabulary words, writing skills and math skills.  Teachers are busy assessing each student’s progress by observing learning styles and test results.  Inevitably questions must be asked of every student’s ability and achievements, including:

Are they at grade level?

Are they mastering new techniques for learning?

Are they understanding and comprehending new material?

Perhaps your child is performing well in most subjects.  But, if you’re like the majority of parents, your child is behind in one or more subjects or could use a little “refreshing” of concepts and applications.   If your little star is to succeed and keep up with their classmates (and California State Standards) it may be time to consider getting some extra help.

There are several resources available to parents who wish to improve their child’s skills in learning new material (or re-learning older material).  Learning centers such as Sylvan, Huntington and Mathnasium are most likely in your neighborhood or within a short driving distance.  They typically charge by the hour and usually recommend lots of sessions, depending on what your child needs help with. You can also buy “packages” of sessions at a discount so don’t be afraid to ask about this option.

Learning centers may want to test your child before recommending a tutoring package.  There are fees associated with these tests in addition to the tutoring fees.  I have a simple rule when considering utilizing learning centers: do your own homework and research and ask questions.  Go and visit a learning center in your area.  Ask if you can just observe for a half-hour or so.  Check online (just Google the name of the learning center), ask other parents, ask teachers – the more information you have the better!

While most learning centers advertise the “one-on-one” tutoring benefit, don’t be surprised to see a classroom setting in the center. There may be single desks or workstations.  Students may receive some “one-on-one” tutoring and also receive small group tutoring.  Both of these can work for your child if they’re able to focus.  There will be distractions from other students working with other tutors, people coming and going in and out of the centers, and books and papers being ruffled.  For some students these stimuli simply aren’t a bother.  But for others they can be a huge distraction.

Another resource for struggling students (and their parents) is the private tutor.  Private tutors may work for tutoring companies or be self-employed.  They typically meet students in the student’s home or public place, such as a library.   They may be high-school or college students or even a certified teacher earning some extra money.  Finding and hiring a private tutor is not difficult.  However you want to be proactive and, just like working with learning center tutors, you want to do your own research and ask questions.

The tutoring industry has exploded in the last 5 – 10 years.  One of the causes of this growth has been the No Child Left Behind Act that was passed into law in 2002.  In simple terms the NCLB Act requires any school that receives federal funds to meet standardized testing scores in order to continue receiving those funds.   Within the parameters of meeting these “standards” is the opportunity for students of a struggling school to receive free tutoring.  With so many struggling schools required to offer free tutoring to its students, a multitude of tutors was needed.  This spurred the growth of Supplemental Education Service providers, companies set-up to specifically tutor under the NCLB Act.   It is these companies that desperately needed tutors.  As with any industry there are some great SES providers and some not-so-great providers.

Hiring a private tutor (outside of the SES provider route) is an easy process – if you take the time to do a little research.  Ask your friends and colleagues for recommendations.  A simple Google search of “tutor” will produce lots of prospects.  Visit each company’s website.   Do they specialize in a specific subject?  Do they offer one-on-one tutoring or group tutoring?  Do they come to your house? How do they hire their tutors?  What qualifications are important to you?  By the way, it’s not important that the tutor has a doctorate degree or a master’s degree.  There are plenty of wonderful tutors out there without these credentials.  You also don’t need a tutor from an Ivy League school.  Having a doctorate from a prestigious school doesn’t necessarily translate into a great tutor for your child.

Whether you choose a learning center, an SES provider, or a private tutor it’s important to be involved.  Do your homework and ask questions.  Be prepared to discuss money too (unless you’re hiring an SES provider as they are paid by the SES companies directly). You’ll find a whole range of hourly rates – averaging from $20 to $100 per hour.   You’ll need to pre-determine your budget, planning for at least one tutoring session per week at minimum.  You should also think about how long each session should be and how many weeks or months you would like your child to be tutored.  For children under the age of 8 years I recommend sessions of 30 minutes to an hour;  for children older than 8 up to 1 ½ hours.  You will need to monitor sessions to see how your child is doing and when he/she is losing their focus.  You’ll know when it’s time to stop.

So what should you look for when you hire a tutor?  The goal is to help your child improve their understanding and knowledge.  Obviously you want someone who knows and understands the material to be tutored.  However, you want more than someone who can add numbers together or spell a word or write a sentence.  You want someone who can teach these things to your child.  It’s one thing to know how to do something; it’s quite another to know how to teach it.   That requires an understanding of how we learn.  The ancient Greek philosopher, scientist and physician said it best, “Those that know, do.  Those that understand, teach.”  Look for a tutor who “connects” with your child.   You may have to try a few tutors before finding the right fit.  It will be worth it, however, in the long run.  Your child will feel more confident, increase his/her self-esteem and excel at school.  Tutoring is an investment, and every investment requires its own due diligence.

Tim Hall lives in Los Angeles and is a tutor who works with children and students of all ages (1st – 12th grade).  He is CBEST certified and is pursuing his Math Education degree and credentials. For more information on Tim or if you have any tutoring questions,  you may contact him at [email protected].