Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen has revealed she is teaching her nine children ‘responsibility and life skills’ by getting them to count sheep on her farm rather than formal lessons during lockdown.
Amanda, 45, who runs a 2,000-acre tenant farm in Upper Swaledale with her husband Clive, 66, said when it comes to teaching her nine children at home during the pandemic she ‘makes it up everyday’.
Appearing on This Morning, the shepherdess explained she tends to apply subjects like maths to everyday life, and said while her kids may be missing some academic lessons, they have ‘a lifetime to catch up’.
Viewers were quick to praise the mother, calling her outlook ‘brilliant’, with one writing: ‘This woman is my hero.’
Amanda explained: ‘We’re trying to prioritise and work out what is important. Kids well fed with a smile on their face, doing some work, getting some fresh air, and we will get through it.
‘Now is not the time to try and be tiger mother and be competitive.
‘The only thing I would say to people is have the courage to go with what you think is right for your kids, every child is different.
‘Some of my kids are better at their school work. Edith has been getting star performance. That’s down to her.
The shepherdess continued: ‘What I like to teach them is responsibility.’
She added: ‘As part of a big family, we all have things to do other than school work but it’s pretty much about teaching them responsibility. ‘
The mother-of-nine appeared with daughters Edith and Violet, who revealed that they don’t usually do all their lessons everyday, and have been spending time learning practical skills like cooking.
Amanda explained: ‘They’ve logged in, they know what their topics are.
‘I know that there are some parents who will dress them up in their uniforms and do it from 9-3 – but I’m not a big believer in screen time.’
She continued: ‘We make it up everyday. There are so many variables things that can go wrong and as long as these guys have smiling faces, then it’s okay, who cares if it’s porridge for lunch.’
When asked whether she worries the children will be behind in their academics, she explained that while they may have some catching up to do in the future, she’s valuing the mental health of her family above all else.
Amanda explained: ‘They absolutely need their maths. But everyday skills – they use them an everyday kind of way.
‘When we’re totting up numbers and looking scanning the sheep and what the percentage would be, we’re just putting it in a real life situation.’
The mother-of-nine continued: ‘I just feel at the moment parents are really struggling to cope, I’m really fortunate I have space to let these kids run around outside.
‘I think as a parent you should value what you can give to your child not in an academic sense. Mental health is going to be a massive issue.’
She added: ‘I think sometimes taking your foot off the pedal and say “Look I’m working, why don’t you take a turn, get in the kitchen, make some tea”.
‘It can almost re-stimulate their minds. I have nine kids, some of them more academic than others, there may be some catching up to do and they have a lifetime to do it.’
Viewers were quick to praise the mother-of-nine for her attitude, with one commenting: ‘Love the Yorkshire lady on this morning re homeschooling!
“There might be some catching up to do, but you’ve got the rest of your life to do it”. Brilliant!’
Another wrote: ‘One family that can survive anything it’s Amanda and Clive on their Yorkshire Farm with nine children.
‘Happy children, talented in their own ways. We were taught cookery, science, biology, history, maths, woodwork, art. Not all things can be learned in theory.’