How We Balance, Home Educating With Sucessfully Freelancing.

How to step outside the rat race and live a life less ordinary in just a few steps.

Just over a decade ago myself and my husband made some big changes in our lives, we left safe, comfortable jobs, he was in sales, I worked in retail, running a deli. We retrained in completely different areas and began new careers at the same time as beginning home education.

Life beforehand had been a mad rush every weekday to get out the door on time, Sul rushed to be able to drop our eldest off at school each day before his long commute across London to work, not returning until well after our children, then aged 7 and 2 had fallen asleep. Family life was strained and we struggled to make ends meet, we hadn’t had a holiday together for years.

The change came shortly after September 2001. We made some major life differences in our lives after the tragic events of 9/11. Like a lot of people, we began to value our loved ones, time together and to reassess.

It ended up with us changing our lives for the better. Sul used his illustration and art background to begin building websites, doing graphic design, print layouts and video introductions. Every evening after work he’d work into the night to get good enough to secure a paying client big enough to quit the day job.

I trained as a professional Birth Partner/Doula and became an apprentice, I worked with numerous families across London and was privileged to help many mothers birth their babies, an absolutely amazing job. Constantly learning and training, every year I added new skills to my repertoire. Exhausting and ridiculous hours took their toll, though. I missed anniversaries, Birthdays and celebrations to attend mothers. I finally hung up my Doula bag for good in January 2014.

Our children are now nearly all grown up, they’ve each gone into an industry they enjoy. Home education and the freedom of working freelance has given us time to nurture their individual talents and for their confidence to grow.

Together we’ve enjoyed a holiday almost every year, sometimes more, trips up and down the country to museums and historical places of interest. Summer holidays that go on over 3 months and long winter evenings together.

It’s been wonderful and I’d like to share with you all how we’ve managed it, answering common questions along the way and letting you into our secrets, tips and tricks from:

  • Mistakes we made in business and how to avoid them
  • How to successfully time manage to ensure you make the most of every day.
  • How to de-register your child from UK school and where to begin with Home Education.

All this and more will be answered in detail in the following posts throughout January 2017.

Change is good 🙂

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Why and How we Home Educate.

Hiya all, If I had a pound for every time someone asked me for our schedule, home education resource list or How we home educate, I’d probably have about a tenner !
So why home educate instead of sending our sons to school?

Well mostly because our lifestyle and work methods mean we’ve been fortunate enough to have the freedom to spend time educating them. We value freedom, of expression, artistic flexibility and life.
We’ve home educated for many years and had many term time UK holiday! In fact, I think almost every holiday for the past five years has been in September, the weather is still warm and the lower prices make it very affordable.
Our children have developed their own talents, talents they didn’t know they had until we took them out of school, simply because school is quite rigid and can’t spend a great length of time on any one subject.
We currently have a budding computer coder who designs online, a skateboarder who is a talented urban artist and a budding engineer/inventor who can spend hours building and modifying toys, lego, electronic equipment.

We don’t have a set curriculum through we closely follow the UK National Curriculum for Maths and English, just because of convenience. We do intend our children to rejoin the U.K education system, our older son is at college so we need to cover essential subjects in our curriculum. We use a lot of online resources.
We are currently educating our two sons aged 13 and 8 years.
8-year-old uses
time4learning.com
for maths, science and English language.
An American site the only one he got on with, very well priced with great discounts for additional siblings and the added benefit of the stronger British pound over dollar, they also have curriculum for all ages up to 18 years. Fun and colourful with great lesson planning, clearly explains new ideas, he’s learnt a lot, has gained a surprising knowledge of American culture. Even on our most unproductive days if he does an hour on time4learning I know he’s had some brain food.

Fun and colourful with great lesson planning, clearly explains new ideas, he’s learnt a lot, has gained a surprising knowledge of American culture. Even on our most unproductive days if he does an hour on time4learning I know he’s had some brain food.
Some days are dedicated to whatever project they are working on, whether they’re perfecting a biscuit recipe or getting that kick flip on film, sometimes we just relax and go with it.
We use Letts workbooks for reinforcing lessons and practise, they have a wide range of books covering English, Math and Science for all ages from 3 years all the way up to A level.
We do a lot of science together, we buy kits from Maplin, over the past year we’ve built an engine, made our own crystals, amongst other projects.

Older son uses https://www.khanacademy.org/
for a lot of subjects, very accurate and covers subjects from medieval history to grammar and punctuation.
He often dives in and will follow a whole subject through to the end.
https://teamtreehouse.com/
is the resource we use to learn coding and design, the team tree house format is a series of interactive videos, you actually follow the video and build your code along with the tutor, you gain badges and build a portfolio that has value with potential employers. The lessons start at beginner level and are basic enough for a confident teenager to begin.
All ideas are explained and each step, so before you know it your teenager can be building a basic website themselves, I’m not promising the colour scheme will be great, though, teens seems to go for the brightest ad boldest looks, not easy on the eyes!
https://www.duolingo.com/
This site and app are how our children learn modern languages, it’s a nice resource that also has an app and teaches in small bite size pieces so they can do 15 mins a day and build confidence, the app means they can fit it in where ever and whatever we are doing. It has handy reminders and they can build a monthly streak, another great point is that it’s free and also that they can cover more than one language at a time.

So this is a basic run down of what we use on a day to day basis, obviously, I’ve not covered all aspects of our schedule, but in case you were worried about P.E, we go swimming regularly, play football, skateboard everywhere and climb a LOT!
Art is encouraged and usually something they do for fun as is cooking and gardening, building and decorating.

I sincerely hope this helps anyone thinking of home education but unsure about resources. We are not anti-school we are pro-freedom in education and everything else !

Can I get a Whoop Whoop?

Life Changes

Over the past 2 years, my life has changed dramatically from what it was, I was a stay at home Mum, home educating three of my children whilst working occasionally as a Doula.I love my profession and had the privilege to attend births of many women across London.

Fairly comfortable and had my weekly routines which involved shopping for groceries and visiting friends.I was also suffering from anxiety,  depression, palpitations and about 30 lbs overweight. I was frustrated with myself and often took this out on my long suffering husband.

Since then a lot has changed, my husband’s company went through major problems when his main client pulled out of a massive job at the last minute, leaving us with serious financial problems. All part and parcel of being self-employed, some might say but it meant we then had to rely heavily on benefits to pay our way which is soul destroying.

Long story short we pretty much lost all our material possessions and home. The anxiety got so bad I began to feel as though I was losing my mind, maybe even having a breakdown. I began to run to get out of the house, away from the bills and reminders that no matter how many jobs I’d applied for that week I’d not got a reply. I ran for 30 seconds at a time then walked for 2 mins. My life was a whirlwind my anchor was my religion, my husband and my running.

I threw myself into making life fun for my children, trips to museums and long walks, parks and art in the garden, bonfires and sparklers to shelter them from our stress.

I’m pretty sure my kids would say they were well aware that we were under pressure, but I hope they didn’t feel it.

We moved out of the town we’d lived in all our lives, wow what a relief! We had a great summer in a small town in Essex where we all made some awesome friendships.

Moved again to another town and began all over again, we literally started here with nothing, we got jobs quickly (Thank God) much easier to find employment here than in London where we were before.Working minimum wage jobs at our age was hard but we determined to be independant, never again do I want to have to ask the government for help, they royally let us down before.
I kept praying and running, now I was up to running for 5 mins after some great advice from my brother, “run slower than you walk, to begin with, running uses different muscles and you need to train them”

The running kept me sane, along with prayer, people don’t like to talk about religion these days especially how it feels to turn to God and beg for help, for assistance and being grateful for everything.

These days I juggle work, home ed, running and lately the gym as well, I’ve never been so fit or content. Sometimes we have to be put through a mangle for the negative stuff to be squeezed out of us, we appear leaner and with less baggage, looking on the bright side.

 

 

What to look for in a Doula.

I’ve been working as a professional birth partner or doula for nearly 10 years, heres my top ten tips for choosing the best doula for you.
Congratulations you are making a smart choice by deciding to hire a doula.


1, Word of mouth, if you’re recommended a doula by a friend or family member then make sure to contact her.

2, Avoid any doula with hidden extras, the doula who charges you for the cab to the birth or who will add costs to your bill for her food and drink during the birth. Ask about costs.

3, The doula with “DOULA” branding, its fine to pass a card or leaflet but I’m suspicious of doulas who wear t shirts with their logo and number on.

4, A control freak doula, I’ve witnessed a doula tell a women “your birth will be s*** if you don’t hire me ” eek run, run from this kind of doula.

5, The same goes for if your doula has a negative attitude to anything you want, its YOUR birth not hers.

6, The doula who talks endlessly about how perfect her births were, this is YOUR birth. Its your story not hers. Good doulas try to never mention their own births incase it influences their clients choices in anyway.

7, Hire a doula who has trained with a respected expert, I did my course with Michel Odent a retired OB who attended thousands of natural births as well as medicated births,There are many great courses but there are also lots of crap ones, do a bit of research, many many people are “training” doulas, the truth is there is no course that can prepare your for working with women the way actually getting to births will.

8, Consider whether you need a doula, do you need to hire a doula? I’m not suggesting you substitute your mother or sister,(many a birth has been stalled because the mothers mother is around!) eeek ! I’m suggesting that after reading about birth, watching videos on natural birth and believing in your body’s ability to birth that you might find that you hire a doula and when you go into labour never get round to calling her ! This isn’t an issue for most doula’s as they usually cover this in their contract or agreement. As the client you need to ask about what if I don’t call you to the birth? Some doulas will charge full price, some a percentage and some just the deposit, take into account that the toughest part of the job of birth partner is being on call, 24/7 for weeks on end its exhausting.

9, Do NOT hire a doula who has a negative attitude to midwives or other health professionals, i’ve heard of doulas telling clients to go against the recommendations of midwives, its ok to question why a decision is being made or ask for time to think but to refuse on the say so of a doula is not on. Doulas are NOT health professionals, we are hired to secure your emotional well being.

10, Be wary of doulas who don’t use a contract or agreement of any kind, they often change their minds or fail to turn up when called to a birth and you could be left out of pocket.

I love love love attending births its an honour and a privilege and I remember every single birth I’ve attended.

Being Happy.

Happy, whats being happy?
Being happy is being Grateful.

Think about it, the most content people are the most appreciative. They are not ungrateful, no matter how little they have. The most miserable of humans are those who take their blessings for granted and are always picking faults in their loved ones or their belongings. Longing for things they don’t have, these people will truly never be happy because they will never have enough. It seems the more we have the more we want, we all know the anecdotes about the poor children who play contentedly with whatever they can find and fashion into toys while our own kids demand the latest games consoles, but the same goes for us adults. We lose things and people we love, do we take the time to think of what we have before its taken away?

I’m sometimes the most ungrateful wretch on this earth so don’t think I’m preaching, I’m mostly talking to myself, reminding myself, least I sit and feel sorry for myself and count the things I don’t have instead of looking around at the amazing amount of richness of my life.

The secret to happiness is to always appreciate the blessings you have. This makes it easier to weather the hard times, and times do get very hard. Life is one test after another, how we deal with these is the real measure of character.

“So which of the favours of your Lord would you deny?”
Surah Rahman.