Back in June I felt elated as I handed in my final portfolio. All of the tears, late night study sessions, questioning about what I was doing and general stress had come to an end and I jumped for joy as I looked and realised – I had done it! For the first time in years I had actually stuck to something. I had found my passion (and possible career path) and I had seen it to the end. I had accomplished a course and It felt absolutely mint!

Since September 2017 I have been going to college every Wednesday night to study a Level 3 Diploma in Counselling Skills. Back in the Summer I came to the realisation that counselling (or Therapy of some description) would make a great career for me and would be great around the family too in these coming years. After a lot of thinking and praying about it, it just seemed such a clear and fulfilling path to take. It felt like it would fit me so well and it made me really excited.

The more I contemplated it as an option, I thought about how it would use both my natural talents and life experiences and bring them together to be something that would be beneficial to others. I thought about how it would be a job that really mattered and I would be doing something that was as varied as I am day to day. As I looked at everything I had ever done in my life; from after school jobs, to full time jobs, and from volunteer work and subject interests, it all suddenly became less random and seemingly indecisive, and came together under this umbrella of giving me various experiences, talents and interests that all had a common thread of preparing me to be able to be a therapist at this stage in my life.

I felt more confident and clear about my life and my life choices/experiences than I have ever previously done. And so I went for it – the first step – A level 3 Diploma in counselling skills … part-time!

I kept it a secret for a while. I suppose I didn’t want to have to tell a lot of people about it and then feel like a failure if down the road it didn’t go to plan. I wanted to avoid the awkwardness of if I did quit like I have done so often before, that people wouldn’t know and judge. I know now thats really silly but at the time, and the me back in September, that’s what felt right.

The difference this time though was that I was really invested. I knew deep down that however hard it was, this was what I needed to do and what I wanted to be.

It was something I enjoyed learning about and practicing and it was helping me grow in incredible ways too. I knew that, because of the things we were studying, that to push and fight through the hard things would eventually make me a better person and better capable in my life as well as being capable of helping and guiding others on their journeys.

I loved the theory – I found it super interesting. And I enjoyed putting my skills into practice and working with people. It felt good to know my limits and interests and comfortable with both.

I learnt from this course so much about me – my excuses, my fears, my weaknesses and judgements of others, and how to combat them and overcome them. I also grew in confidence as I discovered my strengths and who I really am and wanted to be in life. I learnt the tools to own my choices and how to handle worrying situations. And it was those latter lessons (amongst others) that made me more determined than ever to accomplish this course and progress to be more.

It became less about just doing this course and more about the future – A degree or diploma in a related field and eventual goal of being a therapist by the time all of my kids would be in full time school.

I experienced a lot of struggles but a lot of growth too and with that it has been great to see what I can become and offer to the world. It has felt good to discover parts of me that have been suppressed by difficulty or how I have taken others behaviours towards me and it has been so great to be more open minded and more self confident. I have loved feeling secure in myself and my life/day to day choices. I have enjoyed the freedom of being okay with where I am at and knowing how I can become whoever I want to be. I have felt fulfilled to be able to accept and be okay with my weaknesses and I feel empowered by knowing my strengths and talents.

I guess you could say this course has helped me feel accomplished because I have not only completed something around a  young family, but I found me in the process. And there I found how to be okay with all of my scars, weaknesses, flaws, choices, gifts and abilities – and that was a wonderful feeling.

Collecting my Certificate

Last Thursday I went  to collect my certificate – I had accomplished the first step. I had completed it and now to pass it felt even better than completing it in the first place.

I had accomplished my goal and it was so great.

It really wasn’t easy to study around kids (not easy at all) and it wasn’t easy to study for a topic that at times was hugely sensitive and heavy. A subject that resurfaced a lot of pain and highlighted a lot of painful things and insecurities about me, but I did it. I persevered, I worked through those hard times with my new friends and persoanlly and I smashed down the mental walls I had built up. I dealt with things I needed to that were holding me back…and then with lots of study and essays – I did it – I passed!!

I am so proud of my little certificate. I am so proud of my progress.

I haven’t just accomplished a course people, I have overcome great barriers and personal insecurities. I have found a purpose and passion beyond that of motherhood and something that feels so right for me to be doing in life. I love the vast options that being a therapist offers, and in the process of all of this discovery, I have made brilliant friends from all walks of life.

This certificate is a symbol of the power I have to do hard things and to be ever growing and being better on a personal level. It shows me, however hard it is some weeks with a young family to study, I can still reach my personal goals and I become someone to make a difference in the world. I can reach my educational and life goals.

This certificate represents hours of work, lots of tears, and it stands as a reminder that I have power!

I look forward to my next course, whatever that will be! I know it will be harder and it will require more commitment and dedication … more work and balancing of family life. But I am looking forward to more personal growth and more knowledge.

Thank you so much to my friends and family that helped me power through and accomplish a course that was both challenging but hugely satisfying!

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Last week was quite a week indeed, which I thoroughly enjoyed! From afternoon tea on the Monday, to a mini steam railway at the coast Thursday, our week has been filled with joyful things, little outings and now a 4 week countdown to the Summer holidays!

This coming week, whilst I have nothing in my diary as yet, also looks set to be great one too. With a forecast of bright sunshine and 21+ temperatures, I can’t wait to embrace the Summer and be outside some more with Alice having fun!

Grateful For …

This week I have been really grateful to live near my sisters and mum – Firstly because it was lovely to go out last Monday for afternoon tea and enjoyed the usual banter. Secondly to have a little tea party yesterday and wander/chat on Friday with my youngest sister. And finally I have been grateful that my mum came and had the kids on Wednesday for a couple of hours so that I could go into college earlier, and that sister babysat on Thursday so that Nathan and I could go out!

I am also incredibly grateful for the lovely students I have worked with these last few months on my course. I have found in each of them kindness and friendship and I am especially grateful for the little crew/team I had that offered so much motivation, help and encouragement. I couldn’t have done what I have without them and the support of Nathan at home and my local family with spots of childcare!

Succeeded At …

My biggest and most wonderful success this week was by far finishing my Level 3 in counselling skills. Gosh there have been weeks I have felt so far behind, or generally like I was ready to quit, but here I am on the other side of all of that and completed! I was so so happy to finally hand in my portfolio – nothing prepared me for how good that would really feel and I relished every moment!

Next I am hoping to get on the Counselling level 4 and then hopefully be practising in 2 yrs time.

This week I also managed to organise and declutter the girls room (though you can’t really tell now) and got on top of house work after neglecting it in order to prioritise my college work!

Found Beauty In …

Oh so many things this week. It always is the case when the weather is nice – my mood is better and therefore I notice more!

For me this week I have seen beauty in the moments wandering around the animal park with my friend on Wednesday and then seeing Alice loving the animals (mostly) and having a little picnic with her pal!

It was riding the little steam engine in Scarborough with Alice on Thursday and seeing her glee and excitement over it. And then, whilst she rested her head on my chest, we watched the sea beating down on the sea and looked over the bay as the world went by and we chilled on the little train. It was gorgeous!

Finally it was seeing my kids having fun with their cousins on Saturday… and then again yesterday! This week I have felt so fortunate to live around so many beautiful things and people and I am excited for another week of sunshine and adventures – and not college to rush off to!

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As we headed down the M62 on Saturday Morning I witnessed a rare occasion between my oldest 2 of love, friendship and harmony. It began with a sweet little voice saying “Let me help you Megan”, and was far from the usual battles, screeches, crying and fist fights we experience on journeys any longer than 10 minutes!

“Let me help you with your reading, your sums and your writing” he said, and she agreed! They giggled, praised and even had brief moments of silence whilst they concentrated on the “tricky” words and sums and it was one of those moments where family life just feels wonderful and the universe is in harmony. It’s a moment you look at and wonder why everyday isn’t this lovely? And why are these moment feel so brief and rare? It was an ordinary moment, something easily overlooked but one that made us smile to see them being the best of friends! It was an ordinary moment you imagine when you dream of your family and soon realise it is very rarely this normal!

Theses two go through phases (as most siblings do) of either being little nutters and the best of friends, or winding each other up and fighting – there is rarely a middle ground and both extremes send me mad! Then there is the fact that Ethan is a school year older than Megan, and Megan being at the younger end of hers, obviously isn’t anywhere near Ethan’s level of understanding and ability. Ethan knows this and has a tendency to pick on her, laugh at her and shout the words out before she has a chance to decode them in her reading book. It makes me sad and snappy, whilst he finds it hilarious, and whilst she gets mad and upset. It so annoying and revenge is always just around the corner from Megs!

I laughed when the school suggested I get him to help bring her on at home with her reading, writing and numbers, because I knew what a mean big brother he could be to her and I thought it would be counterproductive and end in tears…but Saturday proved to be quite the opposite, and even more amazing was that it came from Ethan as a desire to help his little sister, and Megan was so chuffed with what she was doing!

Our Saturday was far from the action packed day we had originally planned due to a family emergency, but it was a day of great importance/necessity and family time all the same. Whilst I can’t wait for a 7 seater again (for longer journeys especially), to give them a little more space (because the scraps they have are painful to listen to). Looking over my shoulder and seeing their cute little smiles, and being a witness to the love and bond between them in that moment was just beautiful.

It so often seems that its all about the he said, she said, and it drives us mad! I forget how good these too get a long the majority of the time and it is always a lovely and heart warming moment in life to be reminded of that and see your kids getting along. It is a beautiful moment to see them helping one another, laughing together and praising each other. It’s lovely as a parent to hear the sweet and mighty words of “Let me help you”…

The Ordinary Moments
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It became apparent to me at the start of this half term that Ethan seemed to be falling short when it came to his spellings. He has gone from an impressive and acceptable 7/8 to getting none at all right and not quite able to see the errors either. Their education is obviously important to us and so with this my worried mother mode well and truly kicked in and I have since been trying to increase our frequency of practice tests and spontaneous words to spell out loud. But, with 2 other demanding little people in the mix you can imagine it isn’t always productive or even possible (Que mum guilt)!

His maths are great and he always gets top marks in maths homework too – he just seems to click with that…and science too is something he talks about endlessly on those days, but English? Whilst he enjoys writing he seems to not be clicking as well with it. He isn’t particularly keen when it comes to school generally and found the new school year/new teacher set up a little worrisome, and now with his depleting test scores each week in spellings he seems to be feeling more awkward and I have hoped to find something that would ignite a learning desire and help him to improve in the process.

Discovering Education Quizzes

We were asked recently to review Education quizzes, which is the most comprehensive online source of UK National curriculum to help support children’s learning and revision throughout their various stages of education. It is used by students, teachers and tutors alike with a key focus to help kids be successful at school and once you have access, you can use it across several devices at once!

Quizzes are formulated by teachers and so go along with what the kids are leaning in class and discovering it has meant that I have a source rich with fun learning materials to support both kids at each of their individual learning stages. They love it and so do I….Ethan especially has been rather passionate about it and it certainly seems to be the answer we were searching for for that extra “kick”.

Whether for fun together around the table after school, or to test them in the areas I know they seem to be flunking, it is a valuable tool that follows the curriculum and enables us to work together to test knowledge and build upon weaknesses. Because it is written by teachers and follows the various things they have been doing in class, it instantly helps them feel comfortable as they have some recollection when faced with the questions.

I love it and have found it great for me as a parent to not only see where they are at and get a feel for what I should be doing with them outside of school (lets face it kids rarely go into depth on what they are learning once they leave those school gates), but also to know how to help them. It has given me better understanding of what they should know and be able to understand rather than me expecting too much or making tasks too simple…you can clearly see what type of questions they should be able to answer from what that have been learning at the ages of 4 & 6!

Another great thing we love is that they get a big green tick when its right and then rather than just saying whether the answer is right or wrong, it shows the child where they went wrong and teaches them more in the process too.

Both Ethan and Megan have enjoyed showing me what they know and having me help them figure out what they don’t or “can’t remember”. Ethan at 6yrs old is able to use it independently which was good for him and his confidence, and great for me to then work with Megan on reading, baking or letter formation. He also enjoys when we all sit together and discuss the tricky ones and then having the opportunity to do it again to try and do better! He has already gained a lot from the spelling quizzes and counting in 10’s and 5’s and its great to know that whilst on screens and having fun, they are also being productive!

For Megan at 4.5 she loves to do the 2D/3D shape quizzes from KS1 and upper and lower case letters. It is not only helpful for her education, but it has been great for some sibling bonding too. Their teachers have suggested recently getting Ethan to help Megan with her writing and letters, since they moved her up a level (and thought he would be useful in getting the potential out of her), and he has delivered. He reads them out and asks her the questions…they discuss and he is never shy of praise when she gets it right…

Our kids don’t have Ipads or tablets and rarely use computers at home either…their screen time simply comes in the form of films or children’s TV whilst I frantically prepare dinner, or need an extra 15 min snooze on a morning, so being allowed on my precious laptop after school  to “work” (study) has been both exciting and helpful for us all. Its great to get a balance of fun, screen time and education and I can already see the benefits of this site for sats and GCSE revision too in the future.

Subscription is £9.95 a month and can be cancelled at any time – useful for spontaneous revision sessions with older kids. But for me with 2 kids (one in YR1, one in Reception) I find that broken down over a month really isn’t much at all to help them in their learning and education and to have a source to bring us together to support them in their work. It is something that could come out with us to pass the time on journey’s too, but wherever we choose to access it, we are confident it is good and coinciding with the curriculum they are learning at school!

If you are your kids are interested in Nature too, then why not check out Education Quizzes daily nature blog here.

*This post is sponsored by Education Quizzes and is our honest thoughts and opinions of their site. 

 

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