Read all “about us”

OK, so we’re not exactly NEW to the blogging scene and chances are you’ve come here because you’ve already been following one of our blogs (most likely Hands in Portugal) but, for the sake of background, a brief intro.

Since moving back from Portugal in December 2014, our lives have flip-turned upside down (as the Fresh Prince would say!).

We’ve gone from having 2 boys in school while we worked to having EVERYTHING under one roof.
School; work; play; everything.

The decision to home educate Jake (who was 17 in December 2016), in the first instance, was done for health reasons and, we believe, was most definitely the right thing to do. After much research and grappling our way around the home-ed resources on the world wide web, Jake studied a tutor-led course for iGCSE English Language and a self-taught course for GCSE Maths, both exams which he took at a local school in summer 2016.

We aimed for passes in both (well, we aimed for GOOD passes in both!) so he could do a college course from September because he wanted to become an electrician!

He worked hard (as well as holding down a part-time job) in the run up to his exams and scored good passes in both: a C in the higher maths paper and a B in English Language. We were thrilled!

The decision to home educate Eliot (who was 11 at the time, in May 2015), on the other hand, was a whole other thing. It was a choice based on abilities rather than not coping with school. Eliot actually liked school but we knew with absolute certainty that, due to his lack of knowledge from being 5 years in a Portuguese school (and learning, quite frankly, not much at all!) he was destined not to do well and was so far behind with little hope of catching up in a classroom environment.

His maths skills, for example, were non-existent. He couldn’t add two 2-digit numbers… or subtract… and multiplication and division? Not a chance!

After a lot of research, Maths Whizz and Maths and English work books right back from KS1 have been our relief! He’s learning fast. In fact, he progressed nearly 2 years in his “maths age” within 9 months, which was incredible. We can SEE how much he has learned and, perhaps most importantly, HE can see it too!

He learned so much maths and English and that’s what we’ve been concentrating on really. Other stuff is learned through life (and YouTube, it seems! Honestly, the things he comes out with that he’s learned on YouTube! Some very obscure knowledge!)

This year, we made the equally tricky decision that he will start back at school in September 2017, where he will enter year 10. This is so that he can take his GCSEs in a school environment as I really do NOT feel able to get El through these. He’s not an easy student. Let the school tackle that one!

So, home educating. That was one part of the “Everything” that home is.

Apart from that, Nik and I run our own motorcycle parts and accessories mail order business, Jesters Trick Bits so that takes up large amounts of our time also. It’s our sole source of income so it’s also good for our children to see. They often travel about with us to shows and suppliers etc.

So work is very much another part of home’s “Everything”.

And that’s all on top of everything that “home” already is, of course!


4 thoughts on “Read all “about us”

    1. Education wasn’t the reason at all.
      It was a personal reason based on health (that would have been difficult to deal with in Portugal due to the lack of provisions for dealing with teen mental health issues)


  1. I’ve only just found your blog about Portugal – and I have to say, I found it so interesting that I have literally spent all night reading it. I’ve recently moved to Central Portugal with my husband and I thought it would give me some useful tips and info but I really wasn’t prepared for it to be so open and honest. I just have so much admiration for all of you for the decisions you’ve made to try a new experience, the effort the boys put in and the difficult decision to move back to the UK when you did. Most of all for how amazing you have been with your boys and how incredibly they have flourished through your dedication. Just look at the results they’re achieving – not just academically. The thing is, I’m sure you have had many sleepless nights wondering what the best move was for you, your husband and the boys but just think, if you hadn’t had the time you had in Portugal, you may not have picked up on their needs so strongly. I don’t have children but have friends whose children have been helped by CAMHS when they reached their teens, one in particular after a very frightening cry for help. Their parents weren’t aware because they were getting on with life, going to school, getting the grades and as the only changes in their lives were hitting the ‘terrible teens’, they simply didn’t see the signs. Not every parent has the insight that you and Nik have – that life as a teenager can be a lot more complicated than studying for grades. Eliot may never have reached the level of education you’ve got him to because no matter how good the school, no matter how good the teachers, they have a class of students to teach and a certain amount of work to get through. If a child learns in a different way they can fall through the cracks and be classed as ‘under achieving’ when the real problem is the lack of time to be able to teach them in a way that works for them. You found the way to keep him interested and you adapted to his way of learning. It doesn’t seem to me that he is under achieving – he’s almost at his ‘expected’ education level after spending half his academic life in a none English speaking country and since being taught by you, has achieved far more than most children of his age and seems to have a much more rounded view of life. You should be very proud of yourselves as parents and your sons – they are both an absolute credit to you and you to them.


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