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!

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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 

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!

A Quick Cuppa With, Hansla, blogger, guest post, interview, Q and A, Living Life Our Way

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 30 (Squished Blueberries)

Introduction

I’m Louise, a 29 year old Mum of three from Hampshire. I’m an ex Nursery Nurse, turned full time home educator. I live with my Husband Carl and our children, Mabel who is nearly five, Greta who is three and Ernie who is 1.

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

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

Well, Mabel could have started school in September last year but didn’t. Her compulsory school start date isn’t actually until this September but she hasn’t been to any preschool for about a year so we consider ourselves home educating. I was always interested in home ed and thought of it as the ideal way to bring up children, especially for their early years at least. I had a little wobble after I had Ernie, 3 children under four was quite a shock to the system and for a while I wondered if I would cope and if it would be fair on them all. In the end though our minds were made up by listening to Mabel. After a couple of months at preschool she started refusing to go and getting very upset saying there were ‘too many kids’, so we took her out. We gave her the option of trying school or trying home ed and she decided to go with home ed.

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

There’s no typical week! Because all of the children are so young we don’t really have a home ed style yet. If I could try to describe it I’d just say it’s mainly a lot of free play, outdoor time is a big part of it, books are a big part of it, and encouraging creativity is a priority of mine. Most of the time we just achieve that through free play and following their leads, allowing them free access to pens, paints, scissors, glue etc. 

We have recently started a little bit of structure to our week which is in the form of a weekly activity plan that I make up each week around a ‘book of the week’. There’s usually a writing/story telling prompt as well as a numeracy activity, a creative activity amongst a couple of other things. It’s pretty low key, in my eyes it’s just a way of getting my eldest used to some of the skills she’ll need when she’s a bit older and able to do more in depth topics.

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What was your highlight of home ed last week?

Probably acting out the story Whatever Next! by Jill Murphy with the girls. They dressed up in ‘space boots’ and ‘space helmets’ and flew to the moon in a cardboard box space rocket! That was really fun, but there were loads of little things too. Mabel was doing a bit of writing, she only does a bit here and there, and she wrote a word so clearly and her handwriting had improved so much and I just thought ‘she’s taught herself that’. It’s nice when you see proof that you don’t have to force children to sit down and practise things, they still learn if you let them go about it their own way.

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

The freedom, most definitely. I love that I’m not dreading Mondays every week, I don’t have to nag them every morning to get dressed and out the house before the sun is up. If we want to have a pj day we do, if we want to spend all day at the beach, we do.

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What do you find most difficult and why?

Getting enough time for myself, keeping on top of the house, balancing my blogging work with the kids. But it’s getting a bit easier as they get older. It’s just about organisation and setting expectations, when Ernie’s having his nap then I say to the girls that we’re all having quiet time and Mummy is working. So if they have anything they want me to do with them we save it till later when Ernie wakes up. It’s hard to juggle and I feel guilty and sometimes I put the laptop away and just go cut out paper crowns with them or whatever they want me to do… but I find I am a lot more content when I have an hour or so to get ontop of my to do list.

What advice would you give to other home educators?

I don’t really feel like I can give much advice, most people have probably been doing it for longer than us! I suppose I would say to anyone who’s children are under school age and are thinking about home ed… just give it a go! Keep an open mind, be prepared to be continuously changing your plan and readjusting your expectations and go with the flow. Nothing is ever set in stone and school will always be there too.

Find out more about Louise and their adventures here…

Blog: www.SquishedBlueberries.com
Facebook: squishedblueberries
Twitter: @blueberriesblog
IG: instagram.com/squishedblueberries

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 29 (Favourite Things About Home Educating) 

Ok, so for today on #100DaysofHomeEd I have something abit different; I asked a selection of home educators (all with SEND children) what their favourite thing is about home educating. Here are the answers…

Sharon Incidental learning is so much more enjoyable because it is fun to learn . Wish I had taken this path a long time ago.

Lyndsey  Hearing my son giggle, watching him smile and be proud of himself.

Karen  The empowerment!!!! Knowing that you don’t have to listen to a bunch of people who mostly don’t seem to give two hoots about your child and at times don’t even seem to know who they are talking about!!! It did me the world of good knowing I could make my own decisions based on what I thought was best for my child… but more than that, it has left them with the underlying knowledge that they can confide in me and I will listen to them and I will trust them… and I will NOT send them somewhere that makes them unhappy.

SamanthaFlexibility!

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

Christine Sharing the good times of childhood.

Sally I get to watch her face when she makes a connection or a discovery, not someone else who may or may not notice and it won’t be precious to them.

Josie  Not having to (try to) dress my son every morning and attempt to get him to school (which would never happen!) 

Samantha Not have the trigger points of bed time and get up time. Also I love how his natural curiosity means he is learning about so many different things.

Jo and AlmaFreedom!!!!

My answerThe freedom and flexibility that home ed allows; being able to go with the flow and adapt to her needs makes all the difference.


Thank you everyone for taking part!

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 28 (Rina)

Introduction

Hey! I’m Rina, 27, single mum to two beautiful, smart, caring, cheeky, energetic little dudes. L (Munchkin) is 4 almost 5 years old and E (Bugaboo) is 2.

I suffer with 6 chronic illnesses, Fibromyalgia, Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Obsessive compulsive Disorder and Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction are the main ones. I have a passion for acting, photography and learning… Whilst also having a love for nature, movies, music, crafts, Halloween, exploring, Autumn, Birds, science etc… You name it, I’ll probably find something I like about it! Unless it’s jelly, I don’t like jelly 😂

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Enjoying sunshine and nature together. Part of 30 Days Wild challenge last year.

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

Technically I’ve home educated since L was born, but officially been home educating since January 2015.

I’ll admit I was “peer” pressured into putting L into preschool. He started at the tender age of 2.5 just before E was born. I know right, still a bahby! I can tell you now, I wasn’t particularly comfortable with it but thought I’d at least try and it couldn’t be held against me.

Anyway over the year he was there we encountered several issues and difficulties, despite my constant attempt and effort – to cut it short the preschool was not at all helpful or supportive. So I withdrew him at the Christmas half term and haven’t looked back since. 

With my continued approach it is now come to light that L has suspected ASD and SPD. This was discovered shortly after I chose to do the right thing. 

Parents – you must ALWAYS follow your gut instinct no matter what others say! 

Apart from that side of it, I personally don’t believe in the school system. Don’t get me wrong it works for some people but it doesn’t bode well with me and since doing HE, L is so much happier and has learnt way more than he did at his year of preschool!

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Playing in the garden

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

At this current moment in time we adopt the Free Range Learning approach with a tiny bit of “structured” learning. In other words the boys are free to learn what they want, how they want, when they want, as they want and for however long they want to. However there are days or moments in the days where L will want to work on reading or writing etc… E might want to learn to balance his blocks or be taught how to use a scooter etc…

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Some structured learning
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Drawing and reading and putting together a 5 word sentence.

Then there are times where I will “set up” learning activities. For example I may put out a science experiment or say that we’re off to the woods to identify trees and birds.

Also not forgetting day trips, our most recent was a free lambing event with other HE kids. The children all got to learn about the lambs and have cuddles with them too! 🙂 🐑

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Home ed lambing event

What was your highlight of home ed last week?

Aside from socialising and having lots of fun with our HE friends and our School friends, one thing that stood out to me was when L was trying to help E and he recalled information that he had previously learnt last year. He made the connotation with what he was seeing, adapted it in his mind and then taught it to his little brother so he could learn to do it a different way, a way that would currently be easier for him and his toddlerness. It made me really proud!💕

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Playing in the park with school friends

What is your favourite thing about home edding your children?

Omgosh! Where to start? 😄 Everything! Haha.

There’s zero pressure (in various aspects), especially for the children. Freedom is a big one. You can do what you want when you want and that comes down to the tiny details aswell. There’s no unnecessary laws, silly school fines, uniforms, no need to ask permission to have a drink, no extra fees, restricted times, homework, you get the jist.

You get to be with your children, be a part of their education, see them blossom and grow. See their confidence grow with their understanding of the world. You get to create those beautiful memories with them and not only is it special for us as parents but it’s incredibly important and priceless for our kids! Oh what’s that? You want to take your kids to the beach tomorrow? Excellent off you go, have a great day!

Last week your kid helped you do the food shop whilst helping to pay for the shopping? That’s fantastic, I bet they loved having that independence and learning important life skills.

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Doing his shopping

I could really go on here, but I personally feel the positives massively out weigh the negatives.

What do you find most difficult and why?

People’s complete ignorance and judgemental opinions! Just incase you didn’t know, home education does NOT mean isolation! Seriously, it couldn’t be further away from that. My children socialise way more being HE than being in preschool and clicky baby groups.

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In the woods with other school friends

Also the assumption, everyone assumes my kids are in school and assume they will be next year etc… and they assume that putting them in school is “easier” but once again, for us that’s the complete opposite. Not only does L have his difficulties but E has multiple food allergies, So….

What advice would you give to other home educators?

DO IT! Those if you considering, do it! 😁 Ok, I know it’s a scary step and we worry if we can provide the right education or if we are skilled and smart enough etc… Yes to the above. Your child will guide you and at the end of the day if it reeeeeally isn’t working then there are other options. It doesn’t have to be forever if you don’t want to but I’d recommend it!

As for other Home Educators, relax, explore, make memories, laugh, take lots of pics, but mostly ENJOY! 📷

If you would like to follow us or see snippets of our adventures, the following social media is where you can find us. Come say hi, feel free to ask questions!

www.facebook.com/rw.pics.official

facebook.com/rinasrandomnessofficial



www.instagram.com/Rina_Wooly


I will leave you with a lovely selection of Rina’s beautiful home ed photos…

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Enjoying venturing in the woods together
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#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, Home Education, interview, Q and A
Big deep muddy puddle time
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More mud fun
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Enjoying the autumn leaves

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

Autumn leaves led to us making these beautiful autumn Munchkin Pumkins…

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

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

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

#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, Home Education, interview, Q and A
Window sensory activity
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Exploring and enjoying sensory time at the park.
#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, Home Education, interview, Q and A
Sensory messy play
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Indoor homemade slide
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Having fun at a soft play and gymnastics centre.
#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, Home Education, interview, Q and A
Park with friends
#100daysofhomeed, #LoveHomeEd, 100 days of home ed, freedom to learn, Home Education, interview, Q and A
Socialising with our friends

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

Thanks for sharing Rina!

Drive-By Shouting by Mark Chase – Blog Tour

About the Book

When Matt Mann grabbed showbiz success by the throat, he also trampled on the dreams of Gram Kane, his closest friend. Matt has ridden the gravy train for seven heady years, while successfully keeping a lid on his old friend’s resentment. That is; until now.
Matt’s moral vacuum has now seen him betray yet another friend – but this time, it’s one who has the power to ruthlessly punish him, and take away everything that he’s achieved. 

Drive-By Shouting is an exhilarating showbiz ride, with a bitter comic edge and a palpable undercurrent of malevolence.

Mark Chase, Drive-By Shouting, book, guest post, author, interview, Q and A, blog tour

Author Q & A

What is the first book you remember reading or having read to you?

The Oxford English Dictionary! I lived with my maternal Grandmother – and she was a stickler for finding out what words meant, whenever they cropped up. She came from a pretty humble background in South Wales – but know that good grammar and a decent vocabulary could carry you a long way.

Who is your favourite literary character?

Logan Mountstuart in William Boyd’s ‘Any Human Heart.’ Thoroughly irreverent – and a great companion through many of the 20th Century’s great events.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve just finished Kate Atkinson’s ‘A God in Ruins,’ the companion book to ‘Life After Life.’ A wonderful read – and I’m consistently impressed by her ability to weave alternative realities together at the same time.

Who is your hero or heroine (real or fictional)?

Without wishing to be sappy; I really do think a lot of my wife; Jacqueline! She’s whip-smart when I need advice or critical analysis – but also has the kindest heart I’ve ever encountered. If it has to be somebody notable; then it’s David Bowie. At his 1970’s peak, he was lyrically and musically, just about as good as it’s possible to get.

Where are you happiest?

On the Beach in East Sussex; near Rye. Whatever the weather, I always feel glad to be alive when I’m there.

If I joined you on your perfect day, what would we be doing?

We’d wake up in a cottage on the beach in East Sussex and walk along the wet sandbanks at low tide. We’d have lunch at ‘The Globe Inn Marsh’ and a wander around Rye (an amazingly beautiful medieval town), before taking the train to London for a Blues/Jazz gig at Ronnie Scott’s, followed by coffee at Café Italia – and a late night walk down the South Bank. We’d be a bit knackered; but happy!

What do you think is the best thing about social media?

It gives you a great sense of community. It’s like being able to pop into 6 different pubs simultaneously; each with a different group of friends in it.

Why did you write a book?

I have known that I would write for a long time. I was a songwriter for quite a few years, where brevity is the key. I liked the idea of turning that discipline on it’s head – and stretching and exploring ideas, rather than reducing them down to their pithiest elements. It’s one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done. So, I’m doing it again…

Why did you choose your particular genre?

I don’t think I fit neatly into a genre (which is either a virtue or a weakness). I felt compelled to write about the music business and particularly the random nature of success in the arts, which is unlike any other area of life. You don’t see many exceptionally talented dentists struggling to make a living; but the world is awash with brilliant musicians, actors, writers and artists, all desperately trying to pay the rent. The idea of exploring this within a thriller seemed natural and instinctive.

What’s the best thing about writing a book?

The sense of adventure that you get from thinking, “I wonder what would happen if…” and then being the one who gets to decide everybody’s fate. There’s more than a hint of ‘God complex’ to it.

guest post, author, interview, Q and A, blog tour

About the Author

Liverpool born, Chase has been a TV Presenter on a variety of shows, including; The Survivors Guide, Sextalk (both C4), Breakfast Time, Going Live! (BBC1), Wideangle, Country File (ITV) and Toyah & Chase (VH-1). On Radio, he has hosted BBC 5Live’s After Hours and The Chase is On. Behind the scenes, he has worked as a Producer on both Comic Relief & Sport Aid and has written for several publications, including Esquire, the NME, Melody Maker, Maxim and Red.

Mark was the leader of the notorious 90’s band World of Leather, who released 2 albums and numerous singles through Sony Records. They toured extensively in the UK and Europe and sold respectably in Japan & Scandinavia, whilst skillfully avoiding the UK charts.

Prior to this, Chase had been a successful session musician & session singer, working with numerous artists including Belinda Carlisle, Taylor Dayne, Big Trouble & John Barrowman. 

He lives in East Sussex with his wife, Jacqueline, and their 4 children.

Drive- By Shouting, Mark Chase, guest post, author, interview, Q and A, blog tour, Living Life Our Way

A Quick Cuppa With… Just Average Jen

Hi all, I hope you’re having a good weekend! Today, I have a wonderfully inspirational lady ‘over here’ for a cuppa. She writes a lifestyle and food blog after going on an immense weight loss journey. You should see her before and after pants! (Check out her IG for that!) But before I pass you over to Just Average Jen for our Q&A, I just want to take a mo to say a few things before I forget lol… 

Firstly, I hope you are all enjoying the guest series! Do leave them a little love if you get a mo and/ or hop over to find them on their own sites too. And thank you to everyone who has taken part so far, I love reading about different people!

Secondly, the next cuppa will be this Wednesday rather than Tuesday. Myself and Hansla will be doing a little interview swap too, so my own answers to this Q&A will be published over on her blog then – so fun!

Lastly, please drop me a line if you want to take part in this series; artists, authors, musicians, bloggers, charities, self- employed/ independents… you are all very welcome to take part! I would love for you to get involved!!! Drop me an email on livinglifeourway@outlook.com Thank you 🙂 x

Right, over to the interview…

A Quick Cuppa With, Just Average Jen, weight loss, dieting, fitness, blogger, guest post, interview, Q and A, lifestyle, inspiration

Introduction

I’m Jen, I’m in my 30’s (and even when I am not I will stay that way forever, I really do not want to be 40!!). I live with my partner Stuart and my 11 year old son Ben. We are an average kind of family. My son has special needs which of course does add an extra dimension to life. I am a quite self conscious person and have depression.

Tell me about your blog/ business. What is it, what inspired you etc…

Just Average Jen is a lifestyle and food blog. I started my blog in 2015 after people kept telling me I should write a book or write a blog to share my story. The idea of writing a book scares me a little so I decided to start a blog!

I lost over 10 stone in weight dropping from a whopping size 30 to a size 6-8 by healthy eating since I joined Slimming World. I didn’t do any exercise and lost the first 8 stone of my weight in just 37 weeks. This weight loss has completely changed my life as I am sure you can imagine. So many people say that I am inspiring and look to me for tips and recipes to help with their own weight loss journeys so this is one aspect of my blog. I also talk about running as since I lost my weight I have started running and completed a half marathon and I am planning more races this year too.


My blog doesn’t just cover weight loss and running, it also looks at improving confidence and as such clothes, make up and other ways to become the “real” you. I review items linked to the subjects of my blog, so pretty much anything from food, to household items and clothes to make up with the odd other random item thrown in there too. I am just an average person and my blog aims to come across as that, the girl next door kind of blog about things that affect average women like me!

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

I love to run when the weather is reasonable, I don’t mind when it is a bit chilly or a little wet but I do draw the line and do pick and chose a little when I can! My blog is also something I enjoy doing for me and spend a lot of free time doing.

What is your favourite family activity?

I love playing board games with Stuart and Ben, not because I like board games because to be honest I am not a big fan of them but I love the way they bring our little family together away from electronics for an hour or so just having fun together!

We love outdoors and nature here at Living Life Our Way… What’s your favourite outdoor activity?

On my own I love to run, but as a family my favourite outdoor activity has to be when Stuart and I take Ben to the airport to watch planes taking off and landing. We love walking around there, Ben loves watching the aeroplanes and getting all excited about our next holiday or remembering the previous holiday.

Where is your favourite outdoor place to visit?

I love the River Trent at Gunthorpe bridge not far from me. It is a beautiful place to walk and so very relaxing. I also love going on holiday to Majorca but I guess that doesn’t really count as a place to visit as such.

What’s your favourite animal and why?

I love hedgehogs, they are cute but spikey and I find them intriguing in the way they curl up to protect themselves.

And finally…


Tell me one random fact about yourself.

My waist now measures less than one thigh did when I was at my biggest!

Lastly, is there anything else you are bursting to share with us all?

No, but thank you for letting me share my blog with your readers.

Find out more about Jen and her amazing journey here…

Blog: www.justaveragejen.com

YouTube: www.youtube.com

Facebook: facebook.com/justaveragejen

Twitter: @justaveragejen


Instagram: justaveragejen

100 Days of Home Ed #LoveHomeEd – Day 27 (Melo)

Introduction

My name is Melody Dixon, most call me Melo. I have two boys, Gabriel who’s 4 in April and Noah who’s 18months. Along with hubby, Tom, we live on a narrowboat and move up and down the Grand Union Canal. We lived on the boat since Gabriel was 18 months.

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

We have been home educating for the last year or so. I met a fellow boater who informed me a bit more about what it all is and suggested joining some community groups on Facebook and meet some more families who home educate. I attended a few of the meet ups and decided that it would make life on the canal so much easier and I could stop worrying about what school I should pick and where. I could stop worrying about how I’d get the school run done.

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

Our home ed journey is just beginning and we don’t have a style as yet. For now, the day goes around what the weather is like, what transport we have and what Gabriel wants to learn about. He likes doing workbooks and making crafts. I try and see the learning in everything we do as there usually is and you don’t have to look very hard.

What was your highlight of home ed last week?

This week we were exploring shapes, how they can fit together and what we can build with it. A lot of lego was involved with the shapes of squares and rectangles.

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

What is your favourite thing about home edding your child/ren?
At the moment it is getting spend time with them when they are young. Not missing out on their development for 6-8 hours a day. I also like that we don’t have to be at specific location at a set time every day as we’re usually always late!

What do you find most difficult and why?

Equally to liking all the time together this can also get a bit much, especially on super wet, cold days as we are all in such a small space. There are often squabbles about “squishing me” or models from duplo or lego getting broken as both boys try and claim some territory for themselves, often the same patch in front of the toy storage.

What advice would you give to other home educators?

Don’t be afraid to be more structured in early ages, e.g. pre-school. If your little one shows interested in learning then help them, facilitate it. Just because they are not “meant to” start school or nursery till they’re 3 or 4 doesn’t mean they can’t learn. My experience has taught me that they can learn so much at this age if you help them and you don’t have to be a teacher or have all the answers. Google and pinterest is great for helping you to give them answers and fun way to learn.

A Quick Cuppa… Me, Him, The Dog and A Baby

blogger, A Quick Cuppa With, guest post, interview, Q and A, Living Life Our Way

Tell me about yourself…

I’m Lyndsey, 30 and I live in North Norfolk with my husband, one year old daughter Erin and crazy dog Jackson. I blog over at Me, him, the dog and a baby although I didn’t start off that way. I think I’ve had three blogs before this one, on and off since 2010. I used to be a book blogger but decided to change direction since becoming pregnant with Erin. I certainly don’t have time for anything other than picture books any more!

A Quick Cuppa With, blogger, interview, Q and A, guest post, Living Life Our Way

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My family. Every day they inspire me to work harder and do better at everything.

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

I would describe my blog as a family blog. As you can tell by the name, I write about all members of my family so I can’t class the theme as parenting. I also love to talk about our home and anything we do to it, days out, food and other random topics.


As I said earlier, I used to have a book blog but the time I had to read changed and other things became more important in life. I wanted to write about those things instead!

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

I guess really I should say that I blog part time and work part time. I work three evenings a week in a supermarket as we have no childcare for Erin during the day. I also hated my old job so decided not to go back when my maternity leave ended.


However, I blog A LOT. I generally do something to do with blogging from about 8pm until about midnight on days I don’t work and then for an hour or so a night on the days I do work.

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

Don’t compare yourself!! I think it’s really important to blog for you and do it exactly how you want to, especially when it comes to opportunities and paid work. Bloggers can get so caught up in how much other people get paid, me included at times, and can feel pressured to do something they don’t really want to. It also takes all of the fun out of blogging if it causes stress and upset.

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

I honestly don’t really have much free time. Erin and I spend all day together until I go to work 3 evenings a week. On the evenings I don’t work I still don’t really sit down until about 8pm when Erin goes to bed. This is when I usually start doing anything I need to do for my blog, sometimes until midnight or later. My one thing to relax though is a nice hot bubble bath!

What are your favourite family activities?

My husband probably wouldn’t agree but we love a trip into Norwich for the day. I know he doesn’t like the shopping part of those trips but we do always get to go and have nice food and maybe some Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Where is your favourite outdoor place to visit?

If I had a choice of somewhere to go outdoors I would always pick the zoo. It doesn’t really matter which zoo it is either. The thing about zoos is that you can walk around them in any weather and still have a good time!

Best family day out?

As Erin is only 1 we don’t go out and do big things too often. However, we went to Banham Zoo recently and we had loads of fun. The food was terrible and that let it down a bit but the zoo and the animals were amazing.

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Read more about their adventures here…

Blog: www.mehimthedogandababy.com

Twitter:@fiction_fan

Facebook: Mehimthedogandababy

Instagram: linzeeloulabelle