This interview is with Alexandra, who used to live in a village not far from me! Alexandra is living what would have been my dream as a child and then as a teenager – mother of a large family that is home educated. If I am honest, I have definitely thought about home educating my little boy, because, as a teacher, I often hugely dislike our education system. However, it isn’t an option for our family for a number of reasons, so exploring Alexandra’s Instagram has been a bit of a guilty pleasure for me!
Although I am often very critical of the British education system, especially at primary school level, the teacher in me questions how effective one untrained woman can be in schooling eight children of different ages and abilities, but the work Alexandra shows on Instagram demonstrates how home schooling can work well in the right hands! Alexandra is also the first woman I have interviewed to mention making an active decision about things like Vitamin K and vaccinating – all things that I took for granted that we would do (and have done) for our son up until very recently. Read on to get to know Alexandra and her family a little better.
1) Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?
My name’s Alexandra, I’m very happily married and I’m a mummy to eight children ranging from two months old all the way up to nineteen years old. I home educate my children and have a YouTube channel called Life of Mummy.
2) If you could give one piece of advice for an expectant mother, what would it be?
I would tell any expectant mother asking for advice, to appreciate every moment, to not worry about what other people think, to not follow the crowd, to do your own research and to trust your instincts. There are lots of things expectant mothers should think about: how they’ll feed their baby, where they’ll put their baby to sleep, whether or not to vaccinate, whether or not to have the heel prick test, vitamin K etc.
3) All of us parent differently and have different values. What is your most important parenting value?
My most important parenting value is for my children to grow up thinking for themselves. I want them to question everything, not to believe things just because they’ve heard a few people say the same thing. I want them to do their own investigations and then feel fully confident in their beliefs and convictions. I also want them to know that everybody has the right to believe and think what they like, they should not try to force their opinions upon others.
4) what motto do you try and live by?
The motto I’ve always lived by since I was a little girl is that for every action there is a reaction. Therefore you can do as you please as long as you understand and accept the consequences. Another favourite of mine is ‘lazy people work the hardest’.
5) What are your hopes for your children?
I have three main hopes for my children and they are that they will be happy, confident and know they’re loved.
6) It’s fair to say that you have a large family. Do you find that people feel they have a right to comment on the fact that you have eight children?
People have the right to their own opinion, if they feel the need to comment about how I have eight children then I am more than happy for them to do that, it opens up some great conversations. I’ve only ever had people be positive about my large family which I find quite strange when I compare it to how big families are spoken about in the media.
7) You have chosen to Home educate your children. Could you tell us why you made this decision and a little bit about how your organise your days?
I chose to home educate my children for so many different reasons, the main reasons are: I wasn’t happy with the standard of education even though my children were going to some of the best state schools in the country, the subjects they were allowed to study were very limited and it seemed to be mainly focused on being able to pass exams rather than learn about things that interested them and that they enjoyed. Also I was not happy about certain politically correct agendas being forced upon children as facts before they’ve had a chance to think for themselves (e.g. over population, global warming….).
I also got this underlying feeling that schools are becoming more and more like day prisons with all their strange rules and punishments, teachers are akin to prison guards that children have to seek permission from if they wish to take off their blazers on hot days. It seems strange to me that children are segregated by age rather than ability so the bright ones are held back all the time.
Our days are not rigidly planned, we have a timetable which shows what lessons each child needs to get completed each day but it takes as long as it takes. We are usually start around 8 o’clock and are finished by lunch time.
8) Do you think one to one time with a parent is important to your children? If so, how do you organise this in such a busy household?
I think it is nice to have one to one time with my children. The good thing about having so many children is they always have company, someone to play with, someone to chat to. They have constant attention from either a parent or a sibling so they learn to talk earlier than a lot of children do.
I take a child out for one on one time on rotation and so does my husband, we don’t have set times to do this it just happens naturally.
9) You practice attachment parenting. Was this something you researched and chose to do or something you fell into?
I’m a big believer in following your instincts and that’s just what I do, I don’t seek out a parenting label and then think there are rules I need to follow, I just do what works. I do have a degree in child development, I found it fascinating researching all the different parenting techniques.
10) Parenting is tough and beautiful all at the same time. Can you tell us about a tough time and a shining moment that you’ve had as a parent?
The toughest time I’ve had as a parent is when one of my children was born with talipes, she had to have an operation when she was a tiny baby which was terrifying. She then had to have her whole leg put in a plaster cast and then each week I would take her to hospital for physiotherapy and a new plaster cast would then be put on for another week. That went on for 7 months, then hospital visits were every few weeks while she wore special boots on a bar for 3 years.
I can’t define a single shining moment, everyday I am proud, amazed and in awe of my children.
I hope you have found reading about Alexandra as interesting as I have!
Instagram – life of mummy
YouTube channel – life of mummy