History, everyone has one, and every person you admire has a story of their journey and how they came to be where they are. Previously, I discussed the enormous shift that occured when Aria was born, for those that haven’t read it, you can read it here.
However, it occured to me that we had never really explained why we set up Growing Up With Nature and what had made me in particular, decide to pursue this particular path, a complete contrast to my previous lifestyle.
It is so important to us that we build a friendly community with all of you. So I thought it would be appropriate to dedicate a post to explain exactly why we chose to do what we do, where we aim to be and how you all fit in!
Motherhood changed me in more ways that I could ever imagine. Choosing to homeschool was one of these major changes. The specific reasons as to why we chose to homeschool can be found in our previous post here.
My plan to homeschool meant that I would not be returning to the museum or academic life any time soon, if ever. That, I was fine with. But being someone who has always constantly been driven and passionate about my ‘career’ I felt like I needed something to work towards. Call it a personal itch I’ve always had.
Obviously, there is a lot of work involved with planning to homeschool. This meant months of building a curriculum, lesson planning and working out a balance that worked for everyone. Fantastic, that gave me something to work for until we started.
But I still had that drive to do more, it wasn’t enough, I needed something else to work on. At this point we had decided we would love a sibling for Aria, and I was in the nauseating throws of the first trimester. So I devoured my local library. I ordered in parenting books from all around the county, from mindfulness to psychology and learning, I read it all.
It was at this point that I realised so much of the content in these books goes unsaid, how I wanted to connect with the community and find other parents like us. We couldn’t be the only ones keen on giving our family a gentle, balanced, home educated lifestyle right?
I followed a few pages, and got inspired to start my own parenting blog. I’d always had a flare for writing since a young child, it was something I loved and it gave me a focus to channel all of my drive into.
Through various connections, I got offered an opportunity to write a guest blog for New Generation Parenting, a fantastic community of inspiring mothers! I couldn’t believe my luck. My writing was being taken seriously and I loved it.
My passion grew, and whilst unconfident in some areas, after all I was new to the whole parenting thing, I quickly realised this was an area I wanted to grow in. It was at this moment that I decided to embark on making a career out of blogging.
I will always remember sitting in Frankie and Bennies with Rory pondering over possible names. We needed something that got the message across, represented our parenting approach and was memotable. After a while Rory just said “what about Growing Up With Nature?”. I loved it. He loved it. Simple yet perfect. Excitement ran through my body and in that moment GUWN was born!
Once I knew that GUWN would be my main project and hopefully a future income, I spent lots of time learning how to set up a blog and navigate the maze of options available.
At this point in our journey, my main goal was to build an audience over the period of a year and just to enjoy writing. No pressure about finances. Just simply write and connect with others.
Even now approaching a year later, this is still our main focus. Through sharing stories, tips and connecting with others we have made a fantastic community of parents and inspired others to start new paths of their own. Connecting with others will always be at the forefront of GUWN. We may be a business but first and foremost we are a supportive community.
Months went by, our community grew. The more I connected with homeschooling families and as Aria started to explore the world around her, I started to become interested in providing her with learning resources focussed on nature. I found Forest Schools amazing and had fallen in love with Montessori, Waldorf & Charlotte Mason ideologies. This was the start to life I wanted my family to have. But I wanted to do it myself. There in lied the problem.
Neither of us were working so we had no expendable income to stock up on all of the resources I wanted. Whilst second hand is a great option, and one we take advantage of, I just couldn’t find the type of resources I wanted. So I got creative!
I came up with a whole host of nature themed resources, perfect for homeschooling or in addition to conventional education. I loved them and Aria certainly loved them. It was at this point that I decided I would love to set up an Etsy shop. From there I could continue creating resources, monetize Growing Up With Nature and help other parents teach their children with confidence. It was a win win situation.
Within a month our store was open! For me, this was never about making a tonne of money, obviously an income is needed to support our family, but more importantly it is about creating fantastic resources that bring nature back into the classroom and allow more parents to see homeschooling as a feasible option. It’s a passion that I feel honoured to be able to pursue.
For me, it is an adventure we are on together and I feel privileged to be able to help other parents out on their own journeys.
That sums up our journey to this point. I couldn’t be any prouder of how far we have come in a year! We have so much more planned for the next 12 months!
I am so excited for what this next year will bring. More products, a very exciting announcement and more people to meet and welcome into our fantastic community! Who knows where we will be next year!
So thank you everyone for supporting us and helping us to reach this point. It means more than you will ever know!