Meet Jen from Barefoot Bliss and Books
Inspiring life long learning while savouring the everyday: writing about home education, motorhome adventures & allotment gardening.
Welcome to Barefoot Bliss and Books! My name is Jennifer and I am a wife and full time mum to 4 kids aged 11 years and under. We live in Northern Ireland and love to try new things. This blog is where I will share about my families experience with home education, my experiments at our new allotment garden with a baby in tow and our family adventures in our motorhome. My goal is to provide useful information and resources on each of these topics; Home Education, Allotment Gardening and Travelling with Kids in a Motorhome.
In 2019 my two daughters, then aged 5 and 7, left primary school and the public education system at the end of their third and first years, our intention at the time was to Home Educate for 6 months and then settle them back at school. That initial 6 months turned into 4 years and so started our Home Education Journey. After 4 years and some changes in circumstance they both agreed to try school again and so we enrolled them along with our 5 year old, who had never been to school before, at the local schools. We will always be open to Home Educating again if and when the need arises. Even though we are not fulltime Home Educating anymore, as someone who has always had a love for learning, teaching and making resources I want to share what we did during those Home Ed years and what we continue to do now while we co-educate alongside the schools, afterall education begins and ends at home.
When we were home educating we followed a child-led eclectic approach to teaching and learning and so you may find recommendations for anything from Waldorf to Montessori to Classical to Charlotte Mason to Unit Studies. The photos and documented activities on this website are from work my children and I completed ourselves and my hope is to provide a realistic view of what home educating with multiple ages can look like. In my opinion there is no "right way" to home educate and there is no one education solution that suits every family so please take anything you find useful and leave the rest. We are based in Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom and so any advice I provide is for the UK in general and Northern Ireland specific.
I have always had an interest in growing my own food but I had no experience of doing it to draw upon. I started small back in 2010 in my own back garden with fruit trees, fruits bushes, potatoes, peas, herbs and lots of strawberries. After a number of years growing different foods and learning what we enjoyed growing, and of course eating, I applied for an allotment garden in my local council area. In September 2022 I was accepted and my first year on the allotment was not what I expected at all. It took a lot more work and organising than I initially thought it would but not one to give up easily I now have a 5 year plan for my allotment and this year, 2023/2024, I am going to start putting those plans into action. Follow along and provide any feedback you can. I will be recording my trials and triumps as I go.
We bought a motorhome when I took my redundancy from fulltime work to be a stay at home mum back in 2019 and we have travelled extensively around Ireland and Great Britian. We have plans to travel further afield around Europe in the next few years. We have had trips for as long as 3 weeks and ones as short as one night and along the way I have streamlined our motorhome and our packing to ensure we always have what we need but we don't spend too long thinking about it. Less time worrying about the packing of course means more time enjoying our travels. Both my husband and myself love the motorhome and it has meant we can still travel as a family of 6 whenever we choose, the cost of hotel rooms and flights would make frequent travel impossible for us. I have lots of checklists and travel hacks to share on the blog which I hope you will be able to use.