‘Gracie’s School’ Q and A Post + An Exciting Blogging Announcement

In my last post I introduced to you to my very own school, students and classroom. I shared my happiness at being able to fulfill my dream and making it happen through my own determination.  I  also asked you to submit your questions for my school themed Q and A. Well, many of you had lots to ask so read on…and enjoy!

Questions from Mukta:

When and how did you realize you wanted to be a teacher?

I’ve always loved learning and, to me, nothing sounds more like paradise than a place where young people can gather together to learn and share and pursue their passions.

School, and the modern education system, are supposed to provide that service, but I don’t believe they are. The majority of my generation view school as a negative place, a prison, something they’re forced to attend. School should be a place everyone wants to go to.

I am home-educated and the above is precisely the reason I don’t go to school. The reason I decided to become a teacher is because I want to create the school that I dream of, the school I want to go to.

What time do you begin/end teaching?

Nothing is set in stone yet, at the moment I’m being pretty flexible. Usually we start at about 10am and finish about 4pm??? 😀😀😀

Questions from Loren:

When you start a real school, will you want it to be elementary, middle, or high school?

I hope that my school will be a place where kids and teens of all ages can come together and learn. I want it to be an environment where they help and teach each other. I am from the UK so I’m not exactly that familiar with the US education system, we say ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ schools here!

Questions from Melissa:

Are your pupils allowed to direct any of your teaching and follow their own interests or are you quite strict in following your lesson plans?

There needs to be a balance. I do make lesson plans (which I try to stick to), but if I see that my students are interested in or enthusiastic about a particular subject, I’m more than happy to focus on it. I also welcome my students suggestions and ideas. I have certain parts in each lesson where I ask one of my students to lead the activity and I just watch. It teaches them teamwork, leadership and creativity, all equally important lessons!

Questions from The Girl With IronWings

Are you guys going to travel around the farm place and learn things practically or…..?

Yeah, I guess so. It’s important to include a bit of reading, writing, maths and theoretical science, but most of the activities we do are outdoors, hands on and practical. I find that my students learn better when out and about on the farm. For example, we went fishing in the stream and then identified and learnt about what we caught. They loved it! Way more than reading about the affect humans have on natural habitats! 😀 I bet they remembered more of the former too.

How is the teaching going to be – How different from today’s schools? 😊

Hehe. I would say it’s pretty different. Here’s a quick list.

  • All different ages and abilities taught together.
  • We learn about things that are important in life, like knowing and appreciating your surroundings and how to protect them. 
  • The learning (and teaching!) is FUN!!!
  • I try and think about what suits my students individually, what they need help with and what their strengths are. I keep that in mind when making my lesson plans, unlike school with its ‘one size fits all’ attitude.

Also, since it’s about the environment will you be using gadgets?

We have a few gadgets… a camera trap that we’ve used to try and capture the secret lives of wildlife on the farm. We don’t use a lot of technology, just the internet to research things and find information.

Questions from Misabella :

What is your favourite subject to teach?

I’m about to start doing a book club + English and creative writing classes. I don’t enjoy maths very much, just because I teach out of a book and have to follow a set system/curriculum. These ‘environment’ lessons are great, I get to be creative and come up with fun, unique ideas that really engage my students. 😁

Do you find particular methods of discipline more effective than others?

I’ve googled the different ‘methods of discipline’ and would say my style is a mix of them all! I do try to set boundaries, but I also try and be positive and humorous. I wouldn’t say I’m strict, I try to be patient and listen to my students – although that is something I struggle with. I think this is an area I need to look into a bit more – especially if I want to be a successful teacher!

Questions from Tom:

How long do you hope to be keeping up with this school for?

Well, we’re living at the farm over the autumn, winter and early spring so the lessons will probably continue through those seasons. After that my family and I are off on our travels, maybe into Europe, maybe even further, searching for a place to settle down and call home. When we find that place I have no doubt that my school will re-establish itself and begin again, stronger and better than before. 

School is an interesting word, I wonder if it’s Greek?

Well, thanks to your research, Tom, we now know that it is a Greek word meaning ‘lecture place’. It would have looked like this in its original text: skholḗ or σχολή. Great fact! 

 I hope you all enjoyed that little Q and A! I loved sharing my thoughts and ideas on education, I even learnt a few interesting things in the process. If anyone still has any questions, please feel free to comment them and I’ll try to answer.

Okay, now I have an exciting and important announcement to make: I am getting some newly designed features on A Light In The Darkness soon! Not saying anything more, but watch out for a post revealing those. This is me at the moment: 🤐☺☺☺🤐 

Xxx

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Dwelling On The Darkness

 

Dear All,

Things have happened in this past week and they’ve made me realise a lot. I started this blog to be ‘a light in the darkness’ and I’ve become consumed by the very thing I’m fighting. I’ve been dwelling on the darkness, and that doesn’t make any difference to the world. Nothing is changed unless you’re positive and hopeful. Unless you actually take action. 

Blogging is a beautiful, beautiful thing with so much potential, but for me it’s turned into a part of the darkness. It’s taken over my life, meaning I haven’t been getting out there and actually living a life that makes me ‘a light’.

My Mum wrote this in my notepad:

“It’s the life you lead that makes you a light, not your awareness of the darkness”

She’s right.

I’m going to write more about my own life, things I’ve done and thought, things that I hope will inspire others. I believe that getting young people talking about things that matter is extremely important, but our world needs action too.

Signing off…..

Gracie ❤️❤️❤

 

Beautiful Ideas + Determined Bloggers = One Word: Change (An Equation That Can Mean Only One Thing: Another Blogging Project)

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I told you we’d celebrate with something special, didn’t I? Something fun and light-hearted, yet still staying true to the purpose of A Light In The Darkness?

I had a bit of a dilemma, but I really hope that you guys like what I’ve chosen. My blogging project A Passion For The World seemed to inspire so many people to think about how they could use the things they love to change the world. I saw the power of this creative project, the joy and the purpose it gave all my blogging friends. I want to give you another opportunity to feel this way. So……….

Without further ado, I present my NEW blogging project: Beautiful Ideas + Determined Bloggers = One Word: Change 

Here are the steps you follow, it’s simple.

  • Sign up for the project by emailing me at graciechick29@gmail.com If you like, you can invite a couple of other bloggers to participate by sharing the links to their blogs with me.

 

  • I will assign pairs, based in which bloggers I think will work well together.

 

  • You must then collaborate to come up with a campaign idea for using blogging to change the world. Note: if you don’t want to be in direct contact with other bloggers then I suggest you don’t sign up for this. Unless you can think of another way to do it…?

 

  • You can then present your campaign idea to me and I will launch the winning ones on my blog!

Tip:  They can be interactive (like an award) or they can be raising awareness of something, let your imagination flow like a waterfall…..!

I hope this gets you excited and inspired!

Now, there were a few of you who wanted a blog party and, I must admit, it sounds pretty fun. So gone on, leave a comment and join the party! Tell us about yourself, chat and interact, visit new blogs, have fun and SMILE!

 

300 Followers (Looking Back On My Blogging Journey)

Thank you. I actually can’t say much more. I may be a writer, but there are some times where these two simple words are the best way to express my gratitude. Every single heartfelt, genuine, inspiring comment you leave, every follow, every like, has made this blog what it is today.

I honestly wish I could give a shout out to every single one of you who’s made my journey unique and beautiful to be on. But there are hundreds of you and I cannot possibly reach out to you all, but even by you reading this now, it is making my day.

So, thank you.

Sitting here now, I wonder if I’ve achieved any of those crazily ambitious hopes I had when I began blogging? Have I really made any difference to anyone’s life? Have I become A Light In The Darkness, like I desperately wanted to? Have I been honest with myself?

Maybe not. I don’t know. I feel tinges of sadness, yet I’ve enjoyed every minute of this journey, every step. It’s opened up so many doors, given me amazing opportunities and I’ve made the best friends ever.

I’d like to celebrate in some way. If you can think of anything particularly special that ties in with the theme of this blog, please let me know. I thought maybe we could have a blog party? Or I could launch another blogging project? It’s absolutely up to you, my readers. I’m giving you the choice. Comment below.

I’m worried that I haven’t always been myself on here and one of my goals is to be totally me. I am naturally a serious person, but I’m young and I need to have some fun sometimes. Be more light-hearted. I hide in my computer, reading, writing, thinking. I never think about how it affects my family and those who love me. I feel the same way about this blog.

Being A Light In The Darkness isn’t about being articulate and serious all the time, it’s about being fun and spreading sunshine.

I promise there’ll be more of that!

See you all later, talk soon and thank you from the bottom of my heart. ♥️♥️♥️

Lots of love,

Xxx 

 

Butterflies…

‘Butterflies in your stomach. Butterflies in your stomach.’ It’s such a cliche but it takes experiencing it to understand how true it really is. I take deep breaths and stare down at the salted caramel cookies my Dad bought especially for today. I realise that this is actually happening.

The gentle rocking of the boat isn’t making me feel any better, I keep glancing up the towpath, nervously watching, waiting. I expect to see them any minute. I don’t really know what they look like. All I know, (well, all you’re allowed to know) is that I am being filmed for a casting development project for a mainstream TV channel. A London production company is coming to film me and my life.

This has all happened so fast and, although I’m nervous, I feel an elated anticipation. Suddenly they’re here, carrying a huge camera and looking professional. This is it, Gracie…..this is it……

It all goes so amazingly, I enjoy every minute. Every minute spent giving my opinions on big modern life issues, being interviewed on challenging topics like politics, feminism, social media, materialism, relationships and social care. Every minute talking about my life and the things I’m passionate about, reading poetry and stories in a voice that seems more powerful now there’s someone here especially to hear it. Every minute spent being absolutely myself.

It was intense and my brain whirrs just thinking about it now. But I was in my element, I like a challenge. I like people who value the perspectives of young people on modern society. I loved thinking about the questions and carefully wording my replies. I didn’t find it easy, but I had the opportunity and I wanted to make the most of it.

All in all, I may be accepted to participate in this programme or I may not. I would love to be able to share my thoughts on life even further, but if not, I am just eternally grateful for this experience and I’m proud of myself for making it happen and getting this far.

Please leave me a message in the comments box below, I absolutely love to hear from you all. Thanks! 

Remember Me

Remember me as I was before things changed and took a lifelong pause. Remember the me that was so sure that life could be shaped the me that was pure. Remember me back when we did not think that in a blink things would be so different I did not know what this meant. Remember […]

via Remember Me — Elsie L.M.C

I read this post and just had to share it. It is authored by the wonderful Elsie L.M.C, an inspiring blogger who genuinely cares about others. She wrote this poem about Alzheimer’s, a disease that affects so many of our older generation. It focuses on the fact that we so often judge people on who they are now, caught in an inescapable mess of muddled memories, sometimes unable to communicate or interact with others. But we forget about the person they used to be and still are, deep inside.

Me and my family cared for a 96-year-old gentleman for seven months and he had dementia, so I know what its like. It can be confusing, saddening and frustrating for everyone. But that just makes the moments when he smiled or laughed even more special and joyful. We need to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s, so I have shared Elsie’s post with you today. Please enjoy….

 

The Writer’s Ink Challenge

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Hey guys! I was nominated by the amazing Saanvi @ One Notebook,One Pen And Me for The Writing Ink Challenge. So thanks so much to her!

I am really excited to do this as writing is my main passion in life. As a writer I extremely dislike clichés (anyone else?), but I can honestly say that writing is one thing I couldn’t live without. It is my way of expressing myself and being myself and I can’t imagine not being able to dig into my bank of inspiration and imagination and then into my vocabulary to find the right words to tell a story.

Now, onto the rules:

  • Thank the writer who nominated you (that’s you Saanvi, so much appreciation. It means the world!)
  • Answer the amazing writing-related questions. Cannot wait!
  • Nominate at least five writers/bloggers to do the tag. Warning: I know too many awesome people who would eagerly accept this challenge to nominate only five.

The Questions

When did you first start writing?

In all the photos of me growing up from a baby to a toddler to a kid to the thirteen year old I am now, you can never see my face. Why? Simply because it’s always stuck in a book. My love of words has fuelled my desire to write and I have been writing since I can remember. 

Have you always been interested in writing?

Yes, I have many other interests, but writing is the most important to me. Without it I don’t know what sort of person I’d be, it is so much a part of my personality, it fuels my confidence and it allows me to grow and be myself whilst doing something that feels like magic to me.

Why do you like writing?

My mind is filled with beautiful ideas, with characters good and evil and intriguing. My life is a story, a memory, an echo. I have to let it out onto paper or it will swallow me into its depths. No, I am its master, I will create it and then I will control it, not become a part of it. It is a part of me. 

I hope that makes sense for it is the reason writing is personally incredible for me. I also love it because it means I can share and connect with others, transport them into my world for a fleeting moment. Make them feel how I feel through the character. Show them things perhaps they never saw before.

What genre do you write in?

I think my style is quite unique. I enjoy to weave stories with a lot of emotion. I would say I mainly write realistic, yet creative fiction with poetry mixed in when I feel like it! 

Do you write poetry?

Yup! I love how something so short can be so powerful. I actually started my own campaign combining poetry with changing the world. I’m still looking for new participants so click here to find out more.

Have you ever written a story with a friend?

No, sadly not. I find the idea quite strange actually, it would certainly be a challenge. Has anyone else ever done this? 

How do you write your stories? First tense or second? Past tense or present?

I try to think of what will suit the piece, what will enhance it. I often write in the present tense, it is my go to form. Most of the time I just write what’s in my mind and see where it leads me. Someone once told me never to change tense during a piece of writing. Top tip there! 

Where do you see yourself writing-related in one month? One year? Ten years?

In one month I hope that I will have experienced many more things to write about and add to my ever-lasting bank of ideas. I hope to share many more with you all on this blog too!

In a year, I want to have met many other writers who I will be able to continue my wordy journey with. We’ll advise and support each other and exchange ideas and experiences.

Ten years is a long time to look ahead, but I know I’ll still be writing. Write on forever!!! 

Right, that’s done! Now for my nominees:

Rainbow Girl @ The Fabulous Rainbow Blog

Aqsa @ Aqsa Says What?

Little Helper @ Thoughts In Life

Elsie L.M.C

Emma @ Book Emma

Sumzoe @ The Unshackled Thoughts Of A Dreamer

Mintie Freshie

Adoma @ Girl From Ghana

Grace @ From The Tip Of Grace’s Pen

Grace @ The Girl Upstairs

Mirra @ A Young Writer’s Dream

Okay, I hope all of you guys are able to do the challenge and enjoy it! I also want to remind all you fellow writers of my writing competition that you have until May 1st to enter! Please, please, please submit a piece! I can’t wait to reveal the winners, but first I need more entries from you, wonderful writerly bloggers! Click here now to read more and submit your entry.

Goodbye for now and looking forward to reading all your posts!

Gracie

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Into The Sunset: My Purpose In Life And My Dreams For The Future…

Hi Everyone! There’s something I’ve got to tell you all. In a few weeks, me and my family are setting off into the sunset in our unusual, slightly cramped, but quirky and beautiful Morris Traveller. Some of my readers may be classic vehicle enthusiasts, but for those who aren’t (including me!), a Morris Traveller is a 50-year-old British car.

My Dad converted it into a camper van, affectionately known as Mo,  that will house me and the rest of my crazy family for the next stage of our life. We’re journeyers, literally and figuratively. We’re searching for the way forward, a way to contribute to making a better world, a way to come even closer together, a way to learn and teach, give and take.

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Home Sweet Home!

Being the enthusiastic, maybe a little mad writer that I am, I decided to sit down and write my life’s ambitions on paper. I needed a plan in my head, I needed some sort of map, a way to let my feelings out, be completely and utterly honest about going away and starting a different life.  For me the only way was writing, and I mean serious writing, pages and pages. I sat up long into the night, head bowed over notepad, scribbling furiously until I was happy with it.

 

And I’d like to share bits of it with you guys today.

I’ll start off near the beginning:

I was born a writer, but I always wanted to teach. I love the sense of empowerment and delight that learning gives me, I thrive on it and want to share it with others, even those who find hard and unrewarding. I want to bring out the best in every person I teach.

I’ll have to learn a lot, teaching doesn’t come naturally to me. But I’m willing to work hard, make sacrifices and be determined if it means I can have my school one day. The one I’ve planned for years and years. You wouldn’t believe the amount of excitement and motivation it gives me, just thinking about it.

I don’t know exactly what shape or form the school will take, but I know that people will be central to it. It will be based around a strong, fair and kind community who want to teach the next generation the skills they need to live in the world and make it a better place.

This is all I want, it’s simple really. Just to live in place where I can learn and teach, make a difference in the world and be surrounded by people who care about the planet and each other.

I then go into the future, describing the school that I want so much:

I can hear the sound of laughter getting closer, the kids pile into the large, homey kitchen. The tinkling of water mixes with their joy to create the perfect melody as they wash their hands. I can feel the soft smoothness of dough as I knead and they copy, studying my hands in concentration. They are so eager to get it right, this will be their lunch.

We sit down around the table and I begin to read them a piece of poetry. I taste the words on my tongue, rolling them out into the air, popping each one like a giant gum bubble. Their young faces are filled with wonder and fascination. I tell them to write their own, using the emotions in their bodies to inspire them. They put their heads down and start scribbling.

Some of them take longer, savouring the language they use. Others rush through it, dashing to put on their wellies and run outside into the sunshine.

When they come back in they’re smeared with mud and grass stains and they smell like summer. They’ve been chasing each other around the meadow, foraging some salad ingredients from the hedgerow. They argue over who’s going to tell me about the lamb they saw being born.

We all sit down for lunch. Warm, happy voices and friendly, but passionate debates mingle together, filling my heart with contentment. The pasta is delicious and the children feel so proud of their work.

When darkness falls and they’re in bed or they’ve gone home, I log onto my computer and sign into WordPress. I type furiously, my fingers flying over the keys. I whip up a whirlwind of words that challenge, inspire and inform the reader. I become graciechick, writer, blogger, Light In The Darkness. Changing the world from her desk.

Then I talk about the struggles of leaving everything behind and going out into the world:

I’ve got  friends here, I’ll have to leave them behind. In a way I feel like any other thirteen year old, the idea of having friends over and carrying on all the fun activities is quite tempting. But I want to teach and I’m dedicated to my future.

Going away will be enriching and I’ll experience things I never imagined was possible. I’ll learn from life and learn to teach. I’ll gain the experience and knowledge needed to be a good teacher. I want to quench my thirst for understanding. I’ll meet people who already possess the wisdom needed. I’ll visit places that will inspire me and push me to the limits, but it will all be worth it. I’m working towards that dream of starting my own school and changing the world.

I don’t want to travel forever. When I find a place I feel I belong and an environment where I can grow and flourish, I’ll definitely think about wanting to stay. I’m not one of those people who travels for the sake of travelling, I’m looking for something.

Travelling is brilliant. Every day, every place I go, every person I meet is an opportunity to learn something new, to add to the library of my mind. But friendships can’t really be formed when you’re always moving on. Friends are so important to me, just like they’re central to any kid’s life. I want to able to forge good relationships with people my own age. Of all the things about the lifestyle we are about to adopt and have experienced in the past, the only bad one I can think of is friendships.

I want to be able to have my friends over to stay, to be more independent and to go out with them by myself. I want to be able to laugh and have fun with them and to see them more than once a month.

You could see this as a negative thing, but I can see through that and see the good in it. I’m searching for a place where we, as a family, can find the right friends, like-minded people who’ll join us on our journey through life.

I apologise that this post was so long and I hope that you enjoyed it. Blogging on A Light In The Darkness is extremely important to me and I will never stop writing my thoughts, ideas and stories on this site, although I may not always have an internet connection! So bear with me, good followers, for I will never abandon you.

Goodbye for now and wish me luck!

Gracie 🙂 🙂 🙂

 Do you have ambitions for your life? Can you relate to my dreams and struggles? I always deeply appreciate your comments and feedback, so please don’t hesitate to send me a few words, they always make me smile. 

 

Spreading The Message Of Peace

Today I thought I would share something that I found inspiring. This post was written by my amazing blogging friend Aqsa from Aqsa Says What? Head over to her blog and leave her a comment because her words are completely true. She is a teen trying to make a difference, just like me.

So, without further ado, here is her short, but powerful post:

Hi everyone! Aqsa here, and it’s seriously been a LONG time since I’ve posted a quote rant, so I’ll be posting one today 😊. I hope that this inspires to be positive or motivates you for the day! Keep following your dreams, because I haven’t stopped following mine. Aqsa ❤

via Quote Rant #10 — Aqsa Says What?

Sita Brahmachari’s Beautiful Books

 

I love to write, and to use words to weave a web of stories that reveal facts about our world and about what we can do to change it, but I also love to read. I always have. One of my favourite authors is Sita Brahmachari. She writes about real issues and real life whilst still managing to capture a beautiful novel on the paper.

Two of her books are written in diary form, from the point of view of a young girl from London called Mira Levenson. The first, Artichoke Hearts, is about Mira’s Nana, who is an activist and an artist, but is dying of cancer. It is heart-wrenchingly sad, but messages of hope and love are riddled through it and they lift it up and make it one of the best books I’ve ever read. Sita, the author, also talks about bullying and also about Mira’s relationship with a boy in her class who survived the Rwandan Genocide. I learned so much and it really inspired me to try even harder to make a difference.

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The second is called Jasmine Skies and Mira is older in this book. She is of Indian heritage so she decides to fly half way across the world to discover the culture and customs of the country she knows so little about. She is not prepared for the huge amount of poverty, inequality and human rights abuses she will witness, working at her Aunt’s refuge for street kids she realises what she wants to do with her life. This is a quote from the book:

I’ve seen real poverty and homelessness in London, but it’s not on the same scale. When you see it in pictures you don’t appreciate how extreme the difference between rich and poor can be, though they’re living side by side. I feel a heaviness in my gut that I can’t seem to shake off. Every day here someone is tapping on my conscience and saying “Mira Levenson, this is not fair. What are you going to do about it?” and the truth is I don’t know.

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The last book that I have read is Red Leaves, which I was given for my thirteenth birthday just over a week ago. It is a really intriguing and amazing book. It opened my eyes to so much. Homelessness, war, refugees, divorce, religion, journalism, kids who live in care.
Aisha sought refuge in London from war-torn Somalia when she was ten, traumatised and unable to speak, she was alone in the world and missing her family. Now she’s twelve and she lives with her foster carer. She is starting to feel safe and loved again when her carer suggests that she is adopted by a Somalian family. She feels betrayed and runs away to a nearby wood.
Zak is angry and sad and confused. His parents are divorced, his brother won’t speak to him, his Mother is a journalist in conflict zones. When she goes missing, it’s the final straw. He becomes tangled up in a mess of the past and present. Somehow he stumbles into the wood were Aisha is sheltering.
Iona lives on the streets, with her dog. She’s rude and sarcastic and tough, but underneath she’s hurt. She lies about her age and won’t accept help, but she was the victim of a broken family. She too seeks safety and security in the woods.
Elder is seen as a dotty old homeless woman, a free spirit. But she has a story too. She’s not just crazy. She cares about the children and watches over them as they begin to form friendships, forgive and forget, learn about each other.
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I would recommend any of Sita’s books. Not only do they help you understand the world, they fill you with a desire to make it a better place.
Let me know if you’ve read any of these books or if you’d like to! Has there been a book that you’ve read that has really inspired you? If so, why?