A Quick Cuppa With… Eco Fluffy Mama

Today my guest is the absolutely lovely Tamsin. She is a fellow blogger who writes about green living, eco products and aiming for a zero waste. She is truly inspirational. Read on to find out some of her top tips…

A Quick Cuppa With, Eco Fluffy Mama, interview, Q and A, guest post, green living, zero waste, Living Life Our Way

Introduction

My name is Tamsin, I’m 29 and I live in Suffolk with my son and fiance. I used to work in the motorcycle industry, but sadly lost my job in 2011 before having my son in 2012. Before my son was born, I was really into power lifting but unfortunately had to give that up when my health declined suddenly. I suffer from multiple chronic health conditions and at times I find things hard. But lucky for me I have a supportive family and the most wonderful readers who constantly spur me on.

Name one random fact about yourself.

I hold a full motorcycle license.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

Amanda Tapping

Tell me about your blog. Have you always been passionate about green living and working toward zero waste? What inspired you to start the blog?

I’ve always been interested in natural skincare and holistic healing. But it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my son that I found out about cloth nappies, which opened my eyes to green living. I had no idea how truly wasteful our society is. Like many others, I never truly understood that there is no such thing as ‘away’, and that rubbish is a huge problem. After discovering cloth nappies, I kind of fell into the world of green living and have progressed towards a zero waste lifestyle (although I am absolutely not perfect or 100% zero waste! – I am still making progress, too!)


I started the blog as a diary of sorts for my working out and talking about my experience as a first time Mum. I wrote about cloth nappies and babywearing as it was something that I really wanted more people to know about. From there I expanded my topics to include reusable menstrual products. It’s what really what launched my blog from a little space of internet for waffling, to a trusted site for others also seeking information on living a greener life.

What is the best piece of advice you would give someone just starting out on their journey to zero waste?

Don’t panic and remember to start small. It’s all too easy to find out about zero waste, then realise about how wasteful society is and feel like we need to make loads of changes immediately. You will end up overwhelmed, stressed out and feeling defeated.

So my advice is to make a couple of changes at a time. Start with analysing your rubbish and work out what it is you’re throwing way – from there you can easily work out simple solutions. Also, invest in reusable bags and drinks bottles. You’ll make quite a big impact by just refusing single use plastic bags and drinks bottles.


Remember, it’s not all or nothing. Do as much as you are able.

How do you relax/ spend your ‘free time’?

I am a really keen amateur photographer, so I enjoy taking photos whenever possible. I also really enjoy reading and crochet. For me, crochet is a great stress reliever and I have found it has helped my mental health a lot.

Since Living Life Our Way is a family lifestyle blog, I’d love to hear more about yours…

What are your favourite family activities?

As a family, we really enjoy going on adventures (As my 4yo puts it). We pack a lunch, go for a walk and just enjoy the beautiful countryside.

Where is your favourite outdoor place to visit?

Clare County Castle – it’s in a little village and has a big hill with the ruins of the old Clare castle. There’s also an old railway and a park, too. It’s just a lovely area to visit.

Best family day out?

Gosh, tough question. I couldn’t possibly pin point one as I struggle to get out due to my health. So every time we’re out as a family is special to me. Especially the simple things like watching the sun set from our garden and the deer walking up past out back garden. Our place backs onto a field and all you can see for miles is fields and forests.

Find lots of useful advice, support and info on green living from Tamsin here:

Blog: www.ecofluffymama.com

Twitter: @EcoFluffyMama

Facebook: facebook.com/ecofluffymama

Insta: instagram.com/ecofluffymama/

This is the final Q&A in this series for now, but I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have… and do keep your eye out, as it might well make a return sometime! 

Imposters In Paradise by Maxine Barry – Blog Tour 

About the book

This standalone, gripping romantic adventure is the first in the Romantic, Passionate, Thrilling Escapes series. Fast-paced plots with strong heroines, sexy heroes and sinister villains in exotic locations – they’re the perfect escape!

Click here to purchase via Amazon.

Imposters in Paradise, Maxine Barry, book, author, blog tour, guest post

Guest post by Maxine Barry

The first book you ever have published is always special, and I remember it well and to this day. My agent had already told me that my debut romance had been given good reviews by the publisher’s Readers and would be up for consideration for publication at a specific meeting. And that she confidently expected good news. So I went out and brought a bottle of champagne (the first time I’d ever done so) in anticipation and waited all afternoon (the meeting was for 3.00pm) for the telephone to ring. They never said so, but my poor long-suffering Mum and Dad must have been fed up with my treading a line in the carpet. And when I finally got the call and learned that I really was going to be a published author, the feeling was utterly wonderful and amazing – and something that can never be repeated. It meant that all the years of hard work, hoping, trying, failing, and trying again had finally paid off, and that my stubborn self-belief and refusal to give up had finally been vindicated. And I could at last call myself an ‘author’. I then poured out two glasses of champagne for my parents, and a glass of white grape juice for myself (I’ve always been teetotal) and spent the rest of the day on cloud nine.

(Not that this is relevant to my life as an author, but just in case you were wondering why I’m teetotal, it’s because, as an 11-year-old, I inadvertently gave myself a dose of ‘aversion therapy’ where alcohol is concerned. On the occasion of my big sister’s wedding, my 10-year-old cousin and I found a pack of Babycham, and sneaking it away and around the back of the village hall – where the reception was being held – promptly proceeded to down the lot. And the next morning, as you can imagine … oh my. Take it from me – suffering a hangover when you’re not really old enough to understand what a hangover is – let’s just say, from that moment on, even the scent of anything alcoholic sets off alarm bells!)

Anyway, as I was saying, you never forget your first book. And when your complimentary copies come in the post, and you get to hold your first published novel in your hand for the very first time – well, let’s just say that it is an experience I can recommend to anyone! That’s why, when people who have yet to succeed in getting their first novel published ask for my advice, I always tell them not to give up. It can take some time (for me it was nearly five years from the moment I first decided to bite the bullet and seriously try my hand at writing, until I held my first published novel in my hand) but boy is it ever worth it. And if you have the writing bug, as I do, then you are going to write stories anyway – because how can you not – regardless of whether or not they get published. So it makes sense to keep on trying. Either in finding an agent, or in submitting your manuscript to publisher after publisher. And it’s always comforting to read how other, now famous and high-flying authors, were rejected by the first 3, 4, 5 or 20 publishers that they tried!

Imposters in Paradise, Maxine Barry, book, author, blog tour, guest post

About the author

Maxine Barry lives in Oxford. She is a full-time author and also practises calligraphy. 

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 37 (Tracey)

Introduction

I’m Tracey. Mother to 2 boys, step mum to 1 girl and wife to Dan.

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, Living Life Our Way, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education, interview, Q and A

How long have you home educated for and what made you decide to do it?

2 years. Deregistered Feb 2015. My eldest is autistic and has ADHD. School was not supportive at all and nearly broke me mentally with the constant fighting for help. My son lost a significant amount of weight and wasn’t sleeping. Verbal and physical bullying was being ignored by the school. I wish I had took him out earlier.

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

Unstructured except for the regular groups J attends. Weekly forest/coastal school, weekly media & history, weekly swimming and weekly Spanish. Everything else is based on whatever J is interested in at the time or going out on bike rides/beach walks/playing with his friends.

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education, interview, Q and A, Living Life Our Way

What was your highlight of home ed last week?

J teaching himself to solder by YouTube videos and making a little circuit to power a fan.

What is your favourite thing about home edding your child/ren?

Seeing him light up when finding something that inspires them. Seeing him become independent, happy and finally making real friends.  Having his community paed lower his medication due to his anxiety lowering and his concentration improving.

Living Life Our Way, #100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education, interview, Q and A

What do you find most difficult and why?

Having to defend my decision to HE and prove we are not weird hippy hermits.

What advice would you give to other home educators?

Relax. Have faith in the deschooling process when they are glued to screens and video games and never forget that children are ALWAYS learning.

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 35 (List of Art Activities by Squiggle)

​Today for #100daysofhomeed Squiggle has made a list of recent art activities…

Drawing ✏😄

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education, art, creative, activities at home

Spin art 🎨

Scratch art 🐶🌈

Clay 

phone app / dwawing  on the phone 📱✏

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, activities at home, art, creative, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education

Taking photos 📷

Painting 🎨

Colarge 💗💚 (collage)

Nature art 🍃 🌹

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education, art, creative, activities at home

Marbleing 

Bubble art 🎨

Modle making 😉 💖💚💗 (model making)

Paper modles (paper models)

A Quick Cuppa With… Abi Bumbles

Today’s cuppa is with Abi, who has one foot on either side of the blogging world. Yet both feet are also in Wales, and also often on skates! Read on to find out what the heck I am talking about 😉

A Quick Cuppa With, blogger, guest post, interview, Q and A

Introduction

I’m Abi. I’m 27 and live in North Wales. Not the super pretty bit with mountains and claims of dragons, but a sort of nice, large village. I share my abode with my husband and two Jack Russells. They’re all silly and I love them to pieces, even if between them they chew too many things and get annoyed at me for forgetting to do anything around the house. You might be able to figure out which does which.

I’m a PR with marketing agency and do my damnedest to not be one of the awful ones that gets ripped to shreds in blogger groups. I’m on both sides of the blogger world so end up with some pretty good insights. But that also means that no one really wants to listen thinking I might be biased. Still, it’s enjoyable and I’ve learnt a heck of a lot from all the flipping amazing bloggers out there.

I am, unsurprisingly, a feminist and am making efforts to live a more body positive life as well. These are topics I cover on my blog a lot because the conversations matter. I try to be as open minded as I possibly can, but hate for the sake of it is not something I can abide.

I’m also a bit tattooed because I think they’re super pretty. I’m starting on a half sleeve in February which I am excited and terrified about. I also blog about tattoos a lot because I find them fascinating and I think the more information available, the better..

Name one random fact about yourself.

I play a sport called Roller Derby, for a team imaginatively named North Wales Roller Derby. For those that don’t know, and that’s most people, it’s played on roller skates, on an ovaloid track, it’s full-contact, and no, you cannot elbow people in the face. It’s one of the most inclusive sports I have ever comes across, with women (and men) of every shape and size you can imagine coming together to make a team. There really is a place in the game for every shape of person, from super petite size 2s to big women who want to throw their incredible hips around.


I started playing at 23 and I couldn’t skate at all, could barely stand, and now I’m fully in the sport – on a team and learning to ref. If you’re up for the challenge and aren’t afraid to fall over then it’s the best thing you could get involved with.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

This is a hard question. I guess in recent years, my other half has had a massive impact on my life. We went through some tough stuff a year and a half ago which tested us to our limits and beyond. But we got through it. We survived and I can’t help but be inspired by him. He helps me find my better side when I forget it’s there.

Tell me about your blog. What is the main theme? What inspired you to start it?

I mentioned a bit already about the sort of topics I cover. It’s a mixed bag – well and truly a lifestyle blog. I do muse upon topics somewhat and maybe tend to border on train-of-thought writing, but I enjoy that.

I attempted to do Blogmas, with no prep, and that pushed me out of my comfort zone. I wrote a makeup review, stuff on days out, and even a film review or two. I failed Blogmas after 13 days, but I wrote a post about that too – silver linings and all that.

I’ve been sporadically blogging for the past few years but never managed to stick at it more than a few weeks, each time forgetting how much work it is. But I began my PR job in August last year and began blogging in earnest. I spent hours researching bloggers and matching them to campaigns, chatting to them, editing with them – the whole shebang. I realised that I loved it. I’ve always enjoyed writing and seeing behind the scenes made me realise I could do it. Thank you blogging world!

Do you blog full time or do you work as well? How do you juggle your time? Any tips?

I work full-time so my compromise with myself is to post a minimum of once a week. It’s about all I am willing to dedicate to it at the moment. I’ve tried to do it more in the past but failed because it started to feel like a job. While it’s be great to get the the point of earning from my blog it is primarily a hobby.


My advice, leading on from that, is – as fun as it is to throw yourself into blogging, make sure you keep the enjoyment. If posting once a week is all you can do without going mad – so be it. If writing about hair colour is what gets you going – do that. There are no hard and fast rules, so make your own.

What is the best piece of advice you can give to fellow bloggers?

I’ll put my PR hat on here and give some advice I’m dying to say but always hold back on – if you can’t do a post you’ve agreed to, tell them. Don’t ignore emails, or make up whatever excuse, or even ghost us (yes, it’s happened), be straight up and cancel on us. That way a PR can find someone else and not bother you for a month about something you don’t want to do. When a blogger does cancel, I’m not heartbroken and I don’t resent them. I’m actually really likely to use them again for a different topic – I trust them because they were professional. But when I’m put in a position to chase and pester, I probably won’t because I don’t have time and don’t want to peeve people off.


I always say that I’m willing to help in anyway I can, and I mean it. My job isn’t to yell at you until you do something, it’s have a professional relationship we both benefit from. Bloggers and PRs both need the other, so let’s be pals.

How do you relax/ spend your ‘free time’?

I pretty much like being sedentary when I have free time. And eating. Telly, lying down and eating. I suppose this is where I should say more about my love of blogging and roller derby, but I’m going to go with laziness instead.

Since Living Life Our Way is a family lifestyle blog, I’d love to hear more about yours…


What are your favourite family activities?

My family consists of two hyper dogs and big, slightly clumsy, man, so our favourite things to do together are play fight and take long walks. I guess that works for kids too if they’re particularly feisty.

Where is your favourite outdoor place to visit?

My grandparents live along a canal just down from the World Heritage site The Froncysyllte Aqueduct. I also used to work on one of the boats doing tourist trips across it and when I visit still like to go for a wander along it. Despite knowing it so well I love walking across it – the views are amazing all year round and there’s always the fun of people terrified of the heights.

Best family day out?

I don’t know if I’m qualified for this question but I am very eager to try Bounce Below. It’s an old mining cave that has been turned into a multi-level trampoline park. It’s beautiful and fun and scary – what kid wouldn’t love that?

Thank you for taking part!

Read more from Abi here:

Blog: www.abibumbles.com

Facebook: facebook.com/abibumbles

Twitter: @AbiBumbles


Bloglovin: abi-bumbles-18188781

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 34 (Becky, Self-Directed Homeschooler)

Introduction

I tried, and failed, to come up with some catchy intro, so we’ll just have to make do with the plain vanilla one.  I’m Becky.  I blog at www.selfdirectedhomeschooler.com.  

I’ve been married to my college sweetheart, Clint, since 1996.  We have three kids: Jarrod is 18; Erica is 15; and Jillian is 8.  

We’ve lived in Arizona for the past 11 years.  Arizona is a fantastic state to homeschool in – the government doesn’t meddle and there is a ton of resources available for homeschoolers!

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education, interview, Q and A

How long have you home educated for and what made you decide to do it?
Our first official year of homeschooling was the 2003-2004 school year.  Jarrod, having a late fall birthday, didn’t make the cut-off to start kindergarten that year like many of his friends.  I was sick and tired of being a slave to the preschool calendar, so I decided to spend that year as a trial run of homeschooling. 

Way back when, I remember that my biggest concern was, “will he demonstrate that he will learn from me?”  In hindsight, as a seasoned homeschooler, that concern was really actually silly.  It completely discounted all of the learning he had done for the first four years and ten months of his life.  But, back then, I was approaching homeschooling from a very schoolish mindset and I was focused on making sure I didn’t “miss anything” that he needed to know.

By the end of that year, Jarrod already knew nearly everything the school district reported that he needed to know at the end of kindergarten and a lot of stuff he needed to know by the end of first grade.  I decided that my son being bored in school would be a recipe for disaster, so we kept going with the homeschooling…and we’ve just never stopped.

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education, interview, Q and A
My teenagers in the US Naval Sea Cadet Corps uniforms, in Hawaii for the 75th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing.

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

My kids are self-directed learners.  They learn the same way we all learned before we reached school-age, and the same way we all learn as adults.  They recognize a need or a desire to learn something or acquire a skill.  We locate the best possible resources for them to learn the knowledge or acquire the skill of interest.  They study or practice until their need or desire has been satisfied, and then they move onto the next thing. 

It’s basically “just in time” learning – they learn what they need to know as they actually need to know it.  A need to know something is personal; it typically ends up meaning that there’s a gap between where they are right now and where they want to be, and in order to bridge that gap, they must learn additional information, a new skill, or improve upon what they already know or can already do.

I don’t really have a “typical” week, other than having several standing commitments for activities and groups my kids are a part of throughout the week each week.  We generally operate on a loose, flexible schedule.  

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education, interview, Q and A

What was your highlight of home ed last week?
For Jarrod, it was having him get through the second phase of his application to Praxis.

For Erica, it was seeing her finished product after a four session bronze sculpting class she took.

For Jillian, it was hearing her admit that maybe reading isn’t so bad after all.

And because I believe it is crucial for parents to be modeling lifelong learning themselves, for me it was publishing an article based on an interview I did with Isaac Morehouse, the founder and CEO of Praxis, and getting a hugely positive response to it.  You can read the article, called “Rethinking College: How Isaac Morehouse and Praxis are Expanding the Options Our Young People Have” here: https://selfdirectedhomeschooler.com/rethinking-higher-education-isaac-morehouse-praxis-expanding-options-young-people/

What is your favourite thing about home edding your child/ren?

Do I have to pick just one thing?!  In all seriousness, I was never that mom who just knew she was going to homeschool her kids.  I came to it rather hesitantly, because I saw it as the better of two options the year my eldest turned five.  

But I’m telling you, it’s been one of the absolute best decisions I have ever made.  I have two teenagers who love me and want to spend time with me, rather than being embarrassed by me or pushing me away.  I have three kids who genuinely like and love each other.  All three of them have had lots of freedom and flexibility to pursue what makes them tick.  All three of them have spent years making meaningful decisions about their lives, under our guidance.  I got to be the one to see all the “ah-ha” moments.  I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had homeschooling my kids for anything.

What do you find most difficult and why?

13 years and counting into it, I don’t find homeschooling difficult at all.  But, when I first started, feeling like I had to duplicate what Jarrod would be getting if he was in school, worrying about gaps in his education, and wondering if I was doing enough…that kind of mental and emotional stuff was probably the most difficult thing about homeschooling for me.  It took me several years to work through that, and once I did, it was smooth sailing.

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education, interview, Q and A

What advice would you give to other home educators?
First, don’t buy anything right away. Nearly everything you will buy at the beginning of your homeschooling journey will be a waste of money.  You don’t need as much as you think you do, and most of what you do need can be found for free online.

Second, make sure you figure out what you believe about education before you start homeschooling.  Everyone has heard about learning styles.  Everyone probably knows that homeschooling exists on a spectrum from school-at-home to radical unschooling.  But, what many people fail to consider is what they believe about education.  By this, I mean your personal answers to questions like:

• Whose agenda should drive the scope and sequence of education?

• How would you define the roles of student and teacher?

• What makes a “good” education?

• What do you believe your kids need to know?

That’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s enough to get you started.  Knowing what you believe about education will guide you to the right spot on the homeschooling continuum for you. Knowing what you believe about education will save you lots of money and aggravation because you won’t waste either on things that don’t resonate with you. I have free resources available on my blog for helping with this.  

For traditional or eclectic homeschoolers, I have a free e-course called “7 Steps to Becoming a Confident, Successful Homeschooler” and that can be accessed at ogdenonline.leadpages.co/7-steps-to-becoming-a-confident-successful-homeschooler

For people with a more self-directed or unschooling bent, I have a free e-book called “The Fast Start Guide to Unschooling” and that can be accessed at selfdirectedhomeschooler.com

Find out more about us here:


Blog: www.selfdirectedhomeschooler.com


Facebook: facebook.com/The-Self-Directed-Homeschooler

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 33 (KJ)

Introduction

I’m Katie-jo, but my friends call me KJ. I have two gorgeous children (not that I’m biased); a boy, William, who is nine, and a girl, Lila, who is six.

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education, interview, Q and A

How long have you home educated for and what made you decide to do it?

We have been home educating for nine years! My husband and I got married in second year at university and graduated five months pregnant with Will. He was hoping at the time to be playing rugby for his career and the travel would have left me alone for a large portion of the year; so we felt it would be better to home educate and take the family on the road with him.

Unfortunately, he suffered a very serious injury which meant that he could no longer play at a professional level, so plans changed, and we started working in private schools, but our plan to home educate never wavered. We love it!

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

I would say our style is eclectic… and evolving!! The children really enjoy choosing their own activities and my six year old will often say ‘can I make this my home school?’ meaning – ‘am I allowed to do this with you every single day please mummy?’ She loves art and is really into fimo at the moment. 

My nine year old likes to have work books. He loves independent learning and gets frustrated if he feels like you are watching him. He rarely asks for help, so when he does it’s tears and frustration that have brought him to me. I’m always amazed at how much he accomplishes on his own. I shouldn’t be. His favourite book when he was four years old was a Haynes manual about steam engines!

We have a ‘no screens after 3pm’ rule in our house (to protect sleep patterns) and also a ‘no screens until something productive has been done and we’ve been for a walk’ rule. It’s super important because both myself and Will struggle with low vitamin D levels in the winter months and getting out and getting some sun light helps to set us up for a productive day. That and Lila is obsessed with nature and insects, so she likes to go and inspect the local park for changes each day. In the winter William will race through his workbooks and show me because he is desperate to join some of his other home ed friends on a minecraft server, but in the summer he frequently chooses to forego screens in favour of playing outdoors. 

We attend a few clubs, and these have changed over the years, but they have included art classes, parkour academy, gymnastics, trampolining, swimming, skiing etc… and the co-op we are in allows them to go on a trip most Wednesdays. This week we went to see Fantastic Mr Fox at Milton Keynes theatre. I highly recommend it, it was fab!

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education, interview, Q and A
Playing in the forest with friends

What was your highlight of home ed last week?

My home ed highlight last week was William asking me for help with programming his Arduino board. Like I said, it’s rare that he wants help with stuff. He usually likes to figure it out on his own, but with Lila out an art class, we got two hours alone together and he eventually conceded that he would like my help 🙂

That and we hatched some new chicks. One of them was born with a malformed leg and was clearly dying. Lila made her a ‘private nest’ in a tissue box with a wheatie bag and fed her from a syringe. I told her the chick was going to die anyway, but her response was very of factly, ‘she doesn’t need to be thirsty whilst she’s dying mum.’ She even diffused essential oils to help her be less scared (because ‘you’d be scared if you knew you were going to die’). I love that she is learning compassion and emotional intelligence – way more important to me than curriculum ever will be.

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education, interview, Q and A
Lila with her favourite chick ‘Topo’

What is your favourite thing about home edding your child/ren?
My favourite thing about home ed is how much time we have together. My children are so close. They fight sometimes (all siblings do) but mostly they are best friends (true fact. Lila even made a poster with both of them on and ‘You’re my BFF’ on it). I love watching them grow and plan together. When they are adults they plan to own a farm (with their cousin Ruby) and adopt children to live with them, who they will home educate, obviously.

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, guest post, Home Education, interview, Q and A
Will teaching Lila how to bowl

What do you find most difficult and why?
Second guessing myself. I’m a researcher. I love to research EVERYTHING and make sure that I’m being the best mum there ever was. Unfortunately, I don’t have that capacity. I do believe I am the best mum for my children, and I try to be the best mum I can be, but sometimes the pressure of that can lead me to feel very stressed. Then I have to let go, and remember, that God placed these children with me because He wanted them to be raised by me. All I ever have to be is what I was made to be, and that is enough.  

I think the pressure to be ‘perfect’ when you are doing something a little different is immense. If my children went to school, no one would think very much about their faults, but because they are home if they are shy it’s because they are home educated, if they are too boisterous it’s because they are home educated. It’s not true, but it can sometimes feel like that. 

I have to remind myself regularly that most people probably aren’t judging me, but even if they are, so what? 

What advice would you give to other home educators?

Relax, have fun, and enjoy your children wherever possible. Be gentle with them, nobody learns well from somebody they’re scared of. Relationship is always more important than academic outcomes. 

Katie-Jo blogs at www.katiejogracie.blogspot.co.uk and/ or find her over on twitter at @KJGracie 

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 32 (Jo) 

Today for #100DaysofHomeEd I have a guest post from Jo. Here is her home ed story…

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I am Jo, single mum to two boys aged 7yrs (T) and 12yrs (C ). I am diagnosed ASD (PDA) and both my children are on the spectrum, one with other complex issues. We have been HEing for 5.5 years, my oldest being removed from school and the youngest never having been. I realised when my oldest son was in reception that the state school provision just wasn’t suited to him or his needs, he was often confused by the interactions there and would be upset for hours after and before school times, yet the school claimed to have no issues. 

As time went on, my son was getting hurt standing up for other children who were being bullied and on one occasion he came home having been hit in the face with a rounders bat and having been given a detention for kicking the child who hit him (the child who hit him went unpunished). After rounds of meetings with head and class teachers talking bout how my son “wouldn’t listen” and finding out just how ‘behind’ he was, as well as being miserable, I started to look for alternatives. I considered a range of ideas including home education, but was concerned I wouldn’t be ‘good enough’ to meet my sons needs due to my own health. The school he was in turned down my proposal for flexischooling so I bit the bullet and  deregistered. 

We have not looked back for a SECOND! I can hand on heart say choosing Home Education has been the absolute best thing we could have done. My child became the happy, bubbly boy he had once been and he (eventually!) began learning; and not just about how to write out sums or reciting poetry but REAL learning……learning about life and happiness. 

We quite quickly realised that our lifestyle and general outlook leans itself to us being unschoolers and we have been that way since the beginning. It is an approach that fits in with my needs and my childrens needs and allows us to be exceptionally flexible about what we all do on a day to day basis to enable us to be happy and healthy. I learnt a lot from the ‘mistakes’ I made in sending my eldest through nursery and school and my younger son did not attend those things but instead has been immersed in the unschooling HE world from being very small. Although he has fairly complex issues he is thriving in a world where he can learn as he needs too and at his own pace, with no pressure or timescales. 

He recently decided to start learning to read and within 2 months has progressed from letter recognition to reading books by Roald Dahl and Dr Seuss; this learning has been entirely self-guided with my input when and as requested. T enjoys flashcards, its been a funny one trying to fathom as his older brother loathed them at school! T likes to do some work with flashcards every night in bed before he reads part of a book, then I read him a story. He currently has 6 packs of various flashcards, most of which contain sight words, and games piled up next to his bed! T also enjoys workbooks when he is in the right mood, he gets great satisfaction from completing them and will choose to use them a couple of times a week. 

This is a distinct difference to his brother who was partly schooled and whom generally has negative feelings about anything that looks like “formal learning” and whom chooses to do a lot of his learning through reading and asking questions, as well as visiting places of interest. Both boys are free to pick and choose what they would like to do and pick and choose how much input they would like me to have with those things, we have no timetable or structured “must haves” in any one day and I have found this has lead to a desire for knowledge in both boys that means they often seek out the answers and problem solve for themselves. 

Both boys enjoy a range of activities which keep us all very busy! We regularly enjoy meeting up with other similar minded Home Edders, many of whom we have become long term friends with and our children have formed close relationships with, as they have similar attitudes and likes, regardless of age. We always find that breaking up our week with trips out is helpful; we all enjoy museums and art galleries, as well as community farms and National Trust. I feel we are privileged to be living in an area of beauty with an abundance of resources on our doorstep from ancient woodland to old railway lines to monuments and a rich local history. 

I may give the impression that Home Ed is all starshine and fairy dust, and for the most part, it is! We all need realistic expectations however, and with two children with additional needs who are both very different, it can be a struggle to effectively balance these needs and ensure that both children are always getting what it is they require in the moment. What I have found is that Home Ed has opened up our relationships and made us a great deal closer, meaning these harder days where one or both children are struggling are not just fewer and further between but that they are not the sort of days that result in anger or upset; instead they involve duvets and hot chocolate with films and hugs. 

I often feel that Home Ed has been a dream come true for us as a family; to have the freedom to pursue our collective and individual talents and abilities in a supportive and calm environment, without the strain and pressure of exams and meeting targets. It has certainly developed who I am as an individual and as a parent, and I also strongly believe it is leading my children to be confident, self-sufficient individuals in their own rights. 

I am often astonished by, and incredibly proud of, my oldest son and his strong moral compass and his underlying desire to help others and propel others forward. He is a genuinely wonderful person whose personal and group achievements speak volumes, and the respect he has from both peers and adults in everything he does is touching and inspiring. Hearing my 7 yr old explain to me why he believes racism is wrong or listening to him being cross about a misunderstanding of feminism on the News report, watching him be passionate and concise about those things he loves and cherishes gives me all the hope that he too will turn into a rather spectacular individual who will be strong, moral and HAPPY. 

A Quick Cuppa With… Hansla 

Today’s cuppa is with 20 year old Hannah. She is a student studying medicine, and is a massive formula one fan! And you can find my Q&A answers over on her blog now too – thank you Hannah for having me over!

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Introduction

I’m Hannah and I’m 20 years old from Yorkshire in England. I’m currently living in London while I’m studying Medicine at University College London. I love my family, animals (growing up on a farm will do that!), books and most of all, babies!

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Name one random fact about yourself.

I’m a massive, obsessed Formula One FAN!

Who is your biggest inspiration?

Jenson Button is a massive idol for me. He’s a Formula One driver and he’s been through so much. When I read his autobiography of his 2009 winning championship season I saw how much strength he had behind the scenes to even secure a drive for the season, let alone a win.


The past few years, his courage dealing with his father’s death in such a public way has been awe inspiring and then in addition to that, his simple positivity while driving a non-competitive car has shown his commitment and dedication to his career and passion. I hope I can only continue to apply the same to my own life and career.

Tell me about your blog. What is the main theme? What inspired you to start it?

My blog is simply about me. I started writing 2 blogs originally, one more public and one more personal (diary entry like). It began as something to document my life but over time I fell in love with sharing my thoughts and ideas and I liked to hear back from other people.


Now, it’s a whole array of topics including reviews (products, movies, TV shows, books, hauls, recipes, DIYs and my personal favourite, my Thursday Thoughts Series. I also include behind-the-scenes of my youTube channel vlogs. Anything and everything; a lifestyle and beauty blog all rolled into one!

Do you blog full time or do you work as well? How do you juggle your time? Any tips?

I blog part time but I don’t make any money out of it. I’m pretty busy with university study on a packed course so it’s defintely hard to juggle my time but I just write what I want, when I want to. I think that’s key. At the moment, it’s a hobby and when it stops being fun, I’ll stop writing.

What is the best piece of advice you can give to fellow bloggers?

Everyone has a different opinion on everything but don’t let others change the way you think.

How do you relax/ spend your ‘free time’?

I love hanging out with family and friends. My favourite activities are bowling, eating out and going to the cinema…all in one day if possible! Usually, I have some downtown before bed and I either spend it catching up on TV, watching a film or reading a book – if I haven’t already exhausted my brain that day!

What are your favourite family activities?

I think being so close to my family, everything can be a family activity. I think my favourite is probably when we play a board game. Yes it usually ends in fights and arguments but that’s where we make the memories.

Where is your favourite outdoor place to visit?

Oh gosh…my favourite place is the Sky Gardens in London which is like an outdoor place but inside. I’m not really a fan of the cold so it’s hard to pick in England but I defintely enjoyed the Yorkshire Sculpture park that I recently went to with my father and of course, every year I’ve been to the Great Yorkshire Show which I LOVE!

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Yorkshire sculpture park

Best family day out?

I feel like I’ll have more of an idea of this when I have my own family and I honestly can’t wait until I have children of my own. I’ve loved seeing my niece grow up in the 4 short years of her life and I can’t wait to see her little sibling (due June!) growing up right alongside her. I loved when we went to the zoo because she was in awe of the animals and seeing that joy is amazing.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to write in this series. It was so fun to read some of the previous bloggers answers! I would love if you came to visit me on any of my own social media! I hope you all have a great day 🙂

Find Hannah here….

Blog: hansla1000.blogspot.co.uk

Instagram: instagram.com/hansla1000/

Twitter: @hansla1000


YouTube: youtube.com/user/hansla1000

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 31 (Charlotte)

Note: This guest post was originally written and published back in 2015, and has not been updated.

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We have been home educating now for nearly 2 years, our decision was based on the ill-health of our twins and the school’s inability to support them. It’s not always been easy (having to fit my counselling and meditation work around the boy’s needs) but I am so glad we have, the boys are both more confident but also more competent.

When they first left school, they needed to be directed to do anything. So much of their time had been taken up with people telling them what to do it was ridiculous; for example they were told which order to eat their lunch in and if it wasn’t obeyed you could get sanctioned in some way!?!

As time has gone on they are much more independent, they have learnt how they study best, what interests them and have taken an active role in choosing what subjects they study. They are now 15 and have sat their first 4 IGCSEs, we are currently waiting for the results.

We decided together last year that they would take four subjects each year and we would do them as 1 year courses. This was in part to give them a real in-depth exploration and understanding of a subject as we knew, due to repeated medical absences from school, that they would have knowledge gaps. So we do one subject per day for around 4 hours, 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours after lunch. This means their learning day is shorter but much more intense. They enjoy having 3 days a week off but I now find they fill it with their own research.

Projects they have done that were not linked to our formal study but were of interest to them include: building and calibrating a 3d printer from scratch (one wants to be an engineer), looking into a favourite illness of the month (the other wants to be a doctor), illustrating their own cartoons/writing and model making.

We socialise through a home ed meet up every few weeks at one of the local adventure playgrounds, they have air cadets and they are learning German with a few friends.

We have just started on next year’s IGCSEs which are physics, maths and German. For our fourth subject we have decided to do an AS level in thinking skills as it will help with both medicine and engineering.

We really enjoy learning together, discussing the important topics of the day and the science experiments. The hardest things are fitting in hospital and doctor’s appointments and finding exam centres that will do a modern foreign language exam at a reasonable cost and distance.

Hopefully next September they will be well enough to continue their A levels at a sixth form and go on to university.

Charlotte also does counselling and meditation work; her website is www.infinitedimensions.co.uk