100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 54 (Lynne)

I’m Lynne and I home educate B, my only child, who is 7. We love to get out and about and cram as much as we can into our lives. We’re big nature fans, and spend a lot of time outside walking our crazy beagle Stripe. When we’re not roaming the fields, you’ll probably find us in London in the museums.

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We’ve been home educating for a little over a year. It was on my radar before B started school as a potential option should we not get the school we wanted. Bullying, and some issues with supporting B with potential dyspraxia, led to us removing him from our chosen school in the end anyway.

I’ve dipped in and out of styles. We tried unschooling and its not for us. We both end up a little stressed and B asked me to provide more structure for him. He find out it really tricky to direct himself, although he has always been very confident in making his own decisions. I think because he knows he’d like to go to secondary school, he worries he may not be doing enough. We’ve looked a little at Charlotte Mason, but have settled into our own semi structured routine. We have goals of work we’d like to achieve over a few week period, and we factor in plenty of days out and hands on learning. Should a fabulous opportunity pop up we wouldn’t turn it down in favour of our routine, but without the structure we both end up feeling a little lost.

B has a lot of hobbies so our week is roughly scheduled around swimming, ballet, modern dance, drama, ice skating, performing group and tap. We normally meet up with other families once or twice a week, either for something planned like an educational trip, or for some informal fun. I usually look at where we can fit in some formal maths, English, and science during the week to make sure we stay abreast of where we want to be. B absolutely loves sitting down with his books, learning from an educational app or working with me so its never a chore.

A recent highlight of our home ed life would be a trip to the Celtic Harmony Camp in Hertford. It was arranged with a group of home edders we’d not met before, and we had the best time. New friends for both of us, and an opportunity to do something we wouldn’t have previously considered.

Personally I love the freedom that home education gives us. We can follow so many of B’s interests, and he can learn at a pace that suits him. He works a few years ahead in maths, and I love that he can explore as much and as far as he likes at home. Being solely in charge of your child’s education can be daunting, as the onus is on you to get it right, but its worth the challenge.

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 53 (The World Is Their Classroom)

I’m Nicola from Yorkshire and home ed my 5 children ages 13, 10, 8, 5 & 2. 

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They have never been to school. I met another home educator before I had my first child and decided it was something I would love to do. My inspiration comes from my parents who brought me and my brothers up with lots of fun crafts and activities. I love watching them learn new things and bond as siblings.

Our home ed is structured Mon- Thurs with lots of practical activities as well as following our workbooks. Fri- Sun they have lots of free time as well as their sports activities and visiting family.

My advice to other home edders would be that everyone’s home ed journey is different. Follow their interests and take it from there.

You can read more about their fab home ed adventures on Nicola’s blog: The World is Their Classroom

You can also follow them on instagram to see their lovely photos, including their own 100 days of home ed challenge:

The World is Their Classroom

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 52 (The Penny Three)

My name is Francesca and I’m Mom to nearly 5 year old Xanthe, and 3 in a fortnight Hugo. We live in the West Midlands. We have a blog that records our home ed journey called The Penny Three.

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Xanthe and Hugo

Xanthe was diagnosed with Autism, development delay, learning difficulties and severe anxiety around a year ago. To begin with she was in a mainstream nursery. Rated outstanding by ofsted and with myself as a parent governor, they tried really hard to make it work. She had one to one support and small group work, they put emphasis on her making friends and becoming integrated but Xanthe’s anxiety just continued to grow.
When it came to choosing a school for her Reception year and onwards, I began to worry about how she would cope. I did some research and discovered that due to her birthday I could possibly get a “Summer Born Deferral.” I approached the local authority and armed with evidence from the senco at the nursery and Xanthe’s consultants – they agreed.

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Picking daisies

I thought that was the answer to all our problems. Sadly that wasn’t the case, when Xanthe went back to the nursery after summer, they had changed things such as the room her group met in, the children had changed too and they left her pretty much to her own devices whilst they settled in the new children. Her anxiety became so extreme that she began to regress, and could no longer count to 10 for example. Getting her to Nursery became a huge battle. I spoke to her consultant at CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) and they agreed that the nursery was causing more harm than good.

#LoveHomeEd,100 days of home ed,freedom to learn,guest post,Home Education
Finding ducks to feed

So in November 2016 I removed her from the Nursery. I was really anxious about my decision, and questioned whether it was the right choice – I soon discovered that I really didn’t need to worry.

To begin with we thought about purchasing a Waldorf Steiner home ed curriculum, as certain aspects of the philosophy I really like. The emphasis on child led play, and using natural resources, reducing screen time and being outdoors… but I soon learnt that sitting down with a set routine of work, was not the best way to reach Xanthe. So we firmly headed into Unschooling territory. Unschooling means that I very much follow her lead and interests and I’m pleased to report that her ability to count to 10 came back, and further breakthroughs have been made. She now is attempting to write, and will listen to stories.

#LoveHomeEd,100 days of home ed,freedom to learn,guest post,Home Education
Reading in a cafe

We spend a lot of time outdoors, as that is where both Xanthe and Hugo feel at home. We have a number of home ed groups that we join in with as and when we can – Forest School, Trampolining, Science events. We also have other clubs that we want to get involved with – swimming, horse riding, ice skating and craft club. There are many more to choose from!
Our highlight of home ed last week, was getting out into the garden now the weather is improving and Xanthe being able to identify a number of different flowers. We also headed to Norfolk for a few days and stayed on the Broads. In a couple of weeks we head to North Devon for a week and having just bought a tent, we have lots of trips planned for the summer. We have a couple of festivals booked and some uk based trips,  and then next year we are planning on a longer European trip with the tent. We are currently thinking France/Italy/Switzerland. We can’t wait!

I love that Xanthe and Hugo get to learn at their own pace and explore their own interests. The hardest thing is making sure that as their education falls solely to me, that they get a well rounded view of the world and grow up with love and tolerance at the forefront of their personalities. My role is not to “teach” them, but give them the tools to explore, learn and discover.

My advice to other parents considering home ed would be… do it! It seems like a big leap, but you soon fall into your own rhythm and routine, and no decision has to be forever – you can always go back to school if that ends up being the right choice for your child. Throw yourself into the home ed community – we have so much going on, that we can’t possibly join in everything! Give yourself a few weeks to settle into your new life and then watch your children blossom -the really will. It was the best decision that I’ve ever made, and for Hugo he will go straight into home education.

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 51 (Sam)  

Introduction

Hi, my name is Sam . I’ve got six children, spread over a quarter of a century. Currently, three older ones are married and left home. Three are home educated. They are 14, 10 and 4.

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How long have you been home educating and why did you decide to?

We began by flexi schooling in 2005. We started home educating in 2008 ,and we had removed all our school aged children in 2009. Initially we started in 2005 flexi, as a temporary measure, because of bullying. We then started removing children from school to home educate full time because our children’s needs were not being met with school. The younger two have never been to school because we now believe that home education is the best education, for our children.

Briefly describe your home ed style. Do you have a ‘typical’ week and what does it include if so?

I think our style varies as much as our week. Each week is very different. I am somewhere between structured and child led. Depending on the child’s age and learning style.


Each week we tend to have a couple of meet ups arranged. My children have aspergers, so they like to know what they are doing each day. I usually write up the days tasks on the whiteboard because they like that.

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What was your highlight of home ed last week?
Hmm we have a few highlights.

My non artistic son took a clay sculpture class and couldn’t wait to show us his work.

We finished reading a Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Parks. That book created a lot of good conversations.

This week, my four year old wrote my name.

We went to An Owl and Reptile sanctuary and that was fun.

100 Days of Home Ed, freedom to learn, #LoveHomeEd, home education, interview, Q and A

What is your favourite thing about home edding your children?
Being flexible to meet their needs. Getting to be with them and them getting to be with their siblings.

What do you find most difficult and why?

Having to be flexible, being with them all the time (see, it’s a plus and a minus!)

What advice would you give to other home educators?

Relax and enjoy your children.

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 50 (A Welsh Unschooling Journey) 

My name is Emma my son is Jordan but every one knows him as Jay. 

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Jay is 17

I’ve home educated since May 2011. My son was failed educationally at school and was 6 yrs behind in Maths and 2 years behind in everything else. He was also very badly bullied and the teachers refused to deal with any of it and in fact on occasion they themselves made fun of Jay. I pulled him out when he was suicidal at age 11. Had I not I firmly believe he would not be alive today.

We are radical unschoolers. We never have a typical day or week, everything is 100% child led, no structure, no timetables, no arbitary rules, no screen limits, no set meal times or bedtimes. He has chosen to sit GCSE exams but they are totally his choice as are any subjects…..he started out looking at 3 for June but dropped it to one exam. He has decided to do another next year.

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There’s so many highlights it is very hard to pick just one. Jay is disabled plus has a chronic illness and uses a wheelchair. So what may seem insignificant to others would be a major thing to us. Despite being disabled Jay does a lot…..he is a Level 1 golf coach. He volunteers at Hensol Golf Academy at various times through the year and volunteers with Golf Development Wales. 

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He was an ambassador and mentor for Swansea Inclusive Futures when it ran, and he is a member of the Golf Development Wales National Youth Panel. He has been a Rhondda Cynon Taf Future Champion for 3 years, he is a Gold Young Ambassador, and he is on the Disability Sport Wales National Youth Board. He has played for the disabled Welsh team 3 years running. He has won awards for all he does for and in disabled golf off The PGA, ISPSHanda, The Golf Foundation Presidents award and more. He was a finalist in the BBC Sport Wales Young Coach of the Year category in their awards in 2015. He has played in ProAms with famous golfers. 

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Giving an award at the Golf Union of Wales annual awards at Celtic Manor

He is a total cat whisperer and can tame even a feral cat. He is straight edge by choice so no drink, no fags, no drugs etc… He is totally open to anyone and is anti racism, anti homophobia, anti cruelty of any kind to anyone, etc… He is a huge gamer and has his own You Tube account. He has taught himself to play the electric guitar and taught himself to draw/art. None of this was forced on him, he chose to do whatever he wanted to do, no timetabes, only time we work to a time is for hospital appointments. He has had 5 offers of jobs including at big places where it’s hard to get a job.

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The best thing about home education is the total freedom and its 100% what fits you and your family not a cookie cutter class room where they are just another kid going through the system. Theres nothing I find difficult about home ed and I never have found anything difficult. 

My biggest advice to other home educators is please don’t just do a school at home with heads in books and strict timetables. Let your kids be kids, let your teens be teens, let them follow passions and interests. Trust them and they will amaze you.

My blog though woefully needs updating is A Welsh Unschooling Journey

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 49

​Introduction

I have 3 children: my 15 year old transferred from reception in Sheffield to years 1 and 2 in a small school in a Hertfordshire village. I then home educated him from ages 7 – 12. He then went to a small secondary school in Ireland before moving to a local secondary for year 10 in Hertfordshire again.

My 7 year old and 5 year old went to my aunt’s preschool for a couple of years and then into home education.

100 days of home ed, #LoveHomeEd, home education, freedom to learn, creative, Living Life Our Way
Painting feathers

How long have you home educated for and why did you decide to do it?

I’ve been home educating for 8 years. My younger siblings all experienced various amounts of time in home education and I was always a little bit jealous of that! For me, it was the fact that my son had already moved schools twice and was likely to move schools at least twice more in primary alone. I wanted him to have more stability. Also school left him grumpy and irritable by the end of the school day which was affecting our relationship. Home education sorted all that.

My older daughter was very introverted and cautious and I knew she wasn’t ready for reception. I never even considered school for my youngest.

Briefly describe your home ed style. Do you have a ‘typical’ week and what does it include if so?

My older daughter does a core of violin practice, reading a page of her book, a little maths and a little spelling workbook. Altogether it takes about an hour and a half. If she wants to, we do work in other areas like comprehension, music theory etc. My younger daughter is a very self directed learner. She chooses activities from maths, jigsaws, writing and pretty much directs it herself. I have a few Montessori materials which she uses. I was expecting her to play or colour or draw so this desire to formally learn these more academic subjects has taken me by surprise. I also try and do some sort of art thing with them regularly. Recently they did printing with feathers and egg decorating.

We’ve recently combined with a couple of other families to set up a French and history group that I host on Mondays. My older daughter does ballet and a violin lesson on Tuesday and swimming lesson on Thursday and stem science on Friday. My younger daughter has a Bollywood class on Wednesday. I’m trying to persuade the teacher to set up a home ed Bollywood class but I think she’s hampered by personal circumstances at the moment.

What was your highlight of home ed last week?

I always love the Monday french and history group but my daughter’s enjoyment of the science class surprised me. My younger one has decided to write numbers in order. She is now up to 60 which I find entertaining.

What do you find most difficult and why?

The pressure from well meaning family members who loved school and believe their children loved school and even if they didn’t, you’ve got to go to school to “have your corners knocked off” and learn how to “integrate into society”. Very frustrating.

What is your favourite thing about home edding your children?

I always love seeing them learning new things. I love that if my children feel a bit under the weather, they can have a day off. I love the freedom they have to enjoy the weather and outdoors whenever they want for as long as they need. I love not having to structure my life around terms and for my children to learn at their own pace.

Learning Success System: Review and Giveaway

The Learning Success System uses various approaches to overcoming learning difficulties, using new findings in neuroscience, as well as tried and tested techniques developed by experts in the field. New exercises are delivered daily via email, and there is also a support forum too.

The first principle of the Learning Success System is small steps. In Japanese culture, it’s called Kaizen. It comes from the idea that crash learning doesn’t work, at least not long-term; continuous improvement over time is more effective. Therefore the tasks are only brief but to work well, the programme should be carried out regularly, although the exact amount in terms of length of time and frequency are flexible. Tasks can be approached in the way that works best for your child/ family.

There is a huge wealth of information over on The Learning Success Blog but as a very brief summary, the programme works on the following strategies for better learning: 

Build up micro-skills

Trigger neuroplasticity

Build confidence

Brain integration

Build grit

The exercises focus on developing different skills such as working memory, auditory discrimination, cross- lateral coordination and other skills that help across many areas of learning. The exercises are quick and simple, but also fun and engaging. They are all very much active learning techniques, not passive teaching. (This is a good thing!)

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The Learning Success System is available at the discounted reader price of $197 for a 12 month subscription, with a 90 day guarantee. You can purchase it here. (This is an affiliate link. This means I get a fee for each person that signs up, this does not cost the buyer anything extra. Thank you for supporting me in this way!) 



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One lucky reader can win a 12 month subscription to The Learning Success System. Enter via rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition closes 1st May 2017. Open worldwide. Other T&Cs apply.

*Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links. I was given a free subscription for the purpose of this review and giveaway. 

Easter Bunny’s Garden Adventures by Squiggle

Ever wondered what goes on whilst you are still asleep in bed? This, apparently…

Easter Bunny really should jump to it getting those easter eggs delivered…

Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

But there is always time for a quick game of tennis with a friend…

Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

And badminton too…

Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

Oh look! Bunny height basketball…

Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

Shhh! He won’t spot me up here…

Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

Now for a spot of tag rugby. Doh! So close…

Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

Volleyball anyone?

Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

And always time for a quick sack race too…

Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

Now, must dash! Someone is coming and I got things to do…

Living Life Our Way, Easter Bunny, outdoor activities, Easter, events, freedom to learn, Home Education, childhood unplugged, activities at home, creative, photography, sports, stories

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!!!! 

Credits: 

Concept, photography, set design and director ~ Squiggle

Assistant ~ Andy (daddy)

Captions ~ Katie (mummy)

Global Guardian Project

Global Guardian Project is an inspirational digital multimedia resource – called a learning capsule- designed to educate children (and adults!) about caring for our planet, and to empower children of any age to take action and be change-makers. 

“Our mission is to create learning tools that support the entire family in making simple, daily changes that will become positive habits.”

Each learning capsule is delivered monthly to your inbox. Subscription costs $14.99 per month and can be cancelled anytime. You will only ever pay for what you receive. You can also buy one-off capsules for $16.99. 

The capsules are beautifully presented, and contain a wealth of information and activities. They include things such as endangered species, interviews and spotlights, DIY and art projects, recipes, and guided meditations.  Each one focuses on a different country. The current one is about Sweden and coming next, on 15th April, it will be Israel. Here are some page samples from this month’s Sweden learning capsule…

Global Guardian Project, learning subscription, home education, activist, global citizen, green living, sustainability, our world, freedom to learn, childhood unplugged, affiliate

Global Guardian Project, learning subscription, home education, activist, global citizen, green living, sustainability, our world, freedom to learn, childhood unplugged, affiliate

Global Guardian Project, learning subscription, home education, activist, global citizen, green living, sustainability, our world, freedom to learn, childhood unplugged, affiliate

Global Guardian Project, learning subscription, home education, activist, global citizen, green living, sustainability, our world, freedom to learn, childhood unplugged, affiliate

I cannot express how much I love the aim and approach of this fabulous initiative. As home educators, we are always excited to find awesome new resources. But this one is an absolute dream because it matches our own values so perfectly. So I am genuinely SO delighted to have teamed up with them to offer 10% discount on subscriptions using my code LIVINGLIFEOURWAY To subscribe, click here and enter the code at checkout. Remember you can cancel anytime. 

If you are not sure if you want to commit and would like to try it out first, you can get a free India capsule, worth $14.99, simply by signing up to the newsletter here. They send out useful emails once or twice per month. No junk. Promise.

You can also download the free Oceans capsule here. This is a mini capsule, about 50% of the content of the full size subscription version. But it gives you a great idea of what the capsules are all about. And I am so happy that this one is dedicated to the ocean!

Remember, if you decide to subscribe, my code is LIVINGLIFEOURWAY for your 10% off discount! I hope you love it as much as I do!!!

*Disclosure: I am an affiliate. This means I get paid a referral fee for each person who subscribes using my discount code. You save money, I receive a fee, Global Guardian Project gets subscribers and our planet gains a tribe of protectors. Everyone wins! 

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 48 (Katherine)

Introduction

I am Katherine. Iain and I home educate our two girls – T(10) and E(13) (and ourselves).

#100daysofhomed,freedom to learn,guest post,Home Education,interview,Q and A
How long have you home educated for and what made you do it?
We had decided that E, our eldest wouldn’t be going to school by the time school admission forms came around, and have been involved in the online and local home ed community since she was four, and her sister T was a few months old. That is now ten years ago.

We had three main reasons for choosing home education:

E was not ready to spend the day away from me. She wasn’t ready to separate having just turned four. She is also very chatty and we didn’t want her to have to tone that down to have to fit into a classroom.

I am an info-junkie by nature so when it came to thinking about about education I read up and talked to friends about the various options. It just so happened that a work friend was the daughter of education academics, and another had gone to Summerhill (a very different kind of school) – so I discovered autonomous education. A.S. Neill’s idea that the aim of education is to be happy and interested in life, and that children need freedom to find their interests struck a chord with us.

A couple of my friends from baby groups had already decided to home educate and it seemed to be a natural progression for us.

Briefly describe your home Ed style. Do you have a typical week and if so what does it look like?

We are autonomous, or unschooling.

That applies to me and Iain too, not just the children! We aim to meet everyone’s needs and interests. We each do our own thing, or do things in pairs, or as a family, in a very fluid way. We are a techie family and we take full advantage of the opportunities for fun and learning provided by gaming, Youtube and other techie things!

So our youngest gets lots of opportunities to play, and do her own thing. Time to play online with friends, and run around the park, interrupted with bursts of watching her favourite TV shows and creating and making wonderful things.

Our eldest is now 13 and doing some structured learning most days. She is studying for Psychology GCSE, and developing her study skills.

Iain is catching up on some gaming, and playing the guitar. I can often be found satisfying my info-junkie needs by going off on my own tangents when topics come up, and running a Big History group.

We have a core group of friends we see one day a week. And in the summer the girls kayak once a week.

The other things vary from week to week. The girls go to a couple of tutor lead groups for drama and creative writing. Monthly youth group, and soft play. Then a couple of small groups with more structure where we share topics.

What was your highlight of home ed last week?

We are having a few unusually quiet weeks at the moment. Lots of time at home, each doing our own thing. Lots of photography for a daily challenge, gaming, and enjoying the warmer weather.

The highlight has been board games evening. 

One thing I hadn’t expected about home educating was that it has given us a whole new extended family. Because my girls and I are making friends with whole families rather than individual people. So Tuesday evening we went round to a friend’s house. Most of the children disappear to play, and the rest of us play board and card games. Iain works full-time so it is always nice to do things with home ed friends that include him.

Another highlight has been the day E spent baking and decorating a cake in the shape of our rabbit for a friend’s birthday, and then the house full of people chatting, and playing, and eating the cake.

What is your favourite thing about home edding your children?

There are so many favourite things – I can’t narrow it down to one!

Definitely the social side, as you can tell from the last week’s highlights.

Apart from that – it is the freedom we each get to follow our own interests, and live and learn in a less stressful way. I love how each of us develops in our own unique way – that we can get involved in something, whether in short all consuming bursts, or over years of exploration. The girls really value the freedom they have to be self-directed, and independent.

It is fascinating how disparate things, and going off at tangents can years later turn out to be an in depth exploration of something we parents hadn’t seen at the time, but for each child was the obvious line of inquiry.

What do you find most difficult and why?

I find this a really difficult question to answer. Since our girls have never been to school we don’t have that to compare it with. The hardest parts are often just parenting, rather than related to home educating. Things like continuous tidying and laundry.


At points it is easy to become caught up in concerns about a child’s ability, or progress. Is this normal? Is my child doing OK? But then again every parent has these concerns, and we have the freedom to find ways through this that aren’t bound up in the school model.

What advice would you give to other home educators?

I’ve found it vital to get a good support system – one that values home education.

Make friends with other home educators online and in your local area. Make sure that you include yourself, and supporting your needs as well as your children. We have had a huge amount of support from other home educating families, and a big part of that has been that the parents are my friends too.

It can really help to talk to home educators whose children are older – their experiences can be a great source of knowledge and support. Finding out about a range of different approaches and experiences gave us the ability to try different things if something isn’t working, and the confidence to see that things are working but not in the way we assumed they would.