blue jeans

Homemade Education

We are now entering our fourth year of education otherwise, or as I like to call it ‘homemade education’. I am loving it. W would be entering Year 3 this year and B would be entering Year 1. But in our little Home Ed world, they are just entering a new cycle of learning. So, what does that look like for us this year? Education … Continue reading Homemade Education

child holding clear glass jar with yellow light

3 Steps To A Childhood Unplugged

Confession: I am BAD when it comes to using social media. I’m not the most tech savvy person out there, but I’m kind of okay with that. One thing I do know about is #childhoodunplugged. If you’re new to parenthood, or the concept of #childhoodunplugged this blog will give you 3 Steps To A Childhood Unplugged. Step One: Limit Screen Time We have a screen … Continue reading 3 Steps To A Childhood Unplugged

Know the signs of breathing difficulty

The ‘Great Mask Debate’ is upon us. Wearing, or not wearing, a mask is now a political statement. And all I want to do is shout JUST WEAR THE MASK! But I won’t, this post is dedicated to the people who claim that wearing a mask interferes with their perfect breathing systems. Today I am going to ‘teach’ you to know the signs of breathing difficulty. Because if you don’t wear the mask, you or a loved one may end up catching Covid19. And breathing difficulty is one of the more serious symptoms.

These Memes Remind You To Wear A Face Mask - StayHipp

What do you know about breathing difficulty? You’re not a doctor!

Yup, I’m not a doctor. I’m not a medical profession of any sort and I would never claim to be. You should always seek medical advice when you have concerns, I’m just sharing a piece of critical information that I received over 7.5 years ago that could save a life.

7.5 years ago, baby W was born at 28 weeks gestation. He was resuscitated, intubated and incubated almost immediately. When it was time to take him home from the NICU, I had to do a crash course in baby first aid, on what was a laughably large baby CPR doll. What I learned came in handy as I soon discovered W had a penchant for rapid deterioration after catching a virus, resulting in breathing difficulties and many trips to A&E. He got a reputation for being my ‘poorly/sick’ child as he was extremely vulnerable to any viral infection.

W, intubated & incubated (1 day old)

Knowing the signs

Fast forward a few years to 2016, and we were sat in A&E again waiting for some bloods. W had picked up a virus when visiting my mum in hospital. After a few hours of observation we were sent home and my mum lost her battle with cancer 24 hours later. It had been less than 2 weeks since mum has passed away and B was inconsolable. He had been very attached to her and at 1 years old, didn’t really seem to understand that she wasn’t coming back.

He was a little warm, but it was summer. The thermometer showed a normal temperature. I checked for rashes and his skin was clear. He had been crying since morning and it was now bedtime. I wasn’t convinced he was just having a grumpy day.

Suddenly, I remembered the signs of breathing difficulty and I checked him over. Sure enough, he was struggling. I called the ambulance and while we waited he stopped breathing. It was terrifying, we jumped into the ambulance and he was blue lighted to the children’s hospital. He had pneumonia and was hospitalised for 3 days. They told me how lucky we were that I hadn’t waited until the morning, he probably wouldn’t have made it. But, I know that I wouldn’t have called the ambulance if I hadn’t checked for the signs of breathing difficulty. And I wouldn’t have checked for them if I didn’t know what they were.

B waiting for his transfer to an isolation room.

Know the signs:

  • Retractions: this was the major sign for me. I’ve included a video below to show exactly what it looks like. I can only describe as their skin being almost sucked in as they strain to get enough oxygen. You can clearly see the muscles around their ribs and neck working hard.
  • Colour changes: while we were waiting for the ambulance B started looking blue around the month and his skin turned grey.
  • Breathing rate: he was taking short rapid breaths, that had increased in frequency compared to normal breathing rate.

You can find more signs listed here.

Of course, I would prefer everybody wore a mask to help protect people like my children or my mum. As a result of W’s prematurity and B’s pneumonia, they both suffer a bit more with common viruses than other children their age. We were on first name basis with most of the staff at our local A&E, and they’ve been put on oxygen more times than I can count. Pneumonia is one of the most serious side effects of Covid19, which is why I wanted to share our experience with you today. I hope you find the information above and below useful. Stay safe!

Useful Links:

Learn First Aid for Babies and Children with the British Red Cross.

This educational video showing respiratory distress in an infant.

NHS 111, if you have any concerns about somebody aged 5 or older.

Continue reading “Know the signs of breathing difficulty”
back to school supplies

Back to School

After 3 years of eclectic home education. The children will be joining the school system this September. Or so I thought. With the Covid19 pandemic it’s uncertain what going back to school this academic year will even look like.

Many families across the world are opting for home education in the midst of this pandemic. I’ve put together a list of useful links and resources that we will be using for our English education, regardless of the official decision. Their school is bilingual French/Arabic so we will continue English education at home.

book shelves book stack bookcase books
Photo by Pixabay on

Back to school: useful links/resources

Normally I would be making a trip back to the UK to pick up workbooks, reading books, or anything else I feel would be useful for the year ahead. But this isn’t possible during the pandemic, so I am relying heavily on ebooks and online resources for our English education.


B (5) is just starting the Biff, Chip & Kipper books from Oxford Reading Tree. We will be using Oxford Owl to access FREE ebooks and educational activities to support his learning.

W (7) is beginning to read for pleasure (Harry Potter, Diary of A Wimpy Kid, Captain Underpants etc.) so we will be focusing more on comprehension skills and story writing. Twinkl is a great resource for this.


Both boys are signed up to The Maths Factor by Carol Voderman which complements the British National Curriculum. The children watch a video and them complete a related activity. There are games and rewards available and even ‘Summer Camps’ to focus on skills learned from the previous academic year.

Maths is a universal language and they will be having maths lessons in both French & Arabic, so there is no obligation from me for them to do this on a regular basis.

Other Subjects

Nature Studies/Journals: I purchased the ‘Exploring Nature with Children’ curriculum several years ago, but have always found an excuse/reason not to follow it properly. With the lockdown and being forced to stay inside for several months, it’s the perfect excuse to get out of the house at least once a week. Especially if schools will be online, we will all need a break from the screens. You can purchase the curriculum here.

Computer Skills: With W starting to dictate his own blogs, we both thought it was fitting he learned to type so that he can write them himself. English keyboards use the QWERTY layout, which is different from other language keyboards. We are using the Dance Mat Typing game from BBC Bitesize to help his typing skills. And I am teaching him how to search for information on the internet using the DK online encyclopedia.

We will also be doing various projects throughout the year, that I can share with you. If you’re interested, sign up for email updates below.

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Continue reading “Back to School”

Raising Global Citizens: Global Food Security

Raising Global Citizens is no easy feat. The boys are now firmly part of the Third Culture Kids ‘Club’. They speak two languages and are learning a third. They’ve lived in a foreign country for nearly two years. Forming friendships with local and international children. They are open minded. They recognise and respect those from different cultural and religious backgrounds. But, and there’s always a … Continue reading Raising Global Citizens: Global Food Security

20 reasons to home educate your kids (and 5 reasons not to)

You’re probably asking yourself “Are there really 20 reasons to home educate?” and my answer to you is no, there are more! Home Education was on my radar since I was a teen, I was determined to home educate my future children. Unfortunately, life didn’t turn out as I expected. Being a single parent I felt forced to put W into primary school which was … Continue reading 20 reasons to home educate your kids (and 5 reasons not to)

Black History Month: Week 5 – The Future

Black History Month for us, is not just about celebrating and learning about Black History. It is also about how the lessons learned from Black History can help shape the future of the black community. Here are my top three for the week: Then, Now, Next The Black Lives Matter Global Network is a chapter-based, member-led organization whose mission is to build local power and … Continue reading Black History Month: Week 5 – The Future