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Nad a bother Nadia Sawalha's kids said she was 'too old' to have a YouTube channel

Actress, author, panellist on Loose Women - and now a YouTube hit with husband Mark Adderley and children Kiki and Maddie, Nadia Sawalha talks homeschooling, lockdown and 'going crazy'

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Nadia regularly shares details of
her family life both on Loose Women
and on social media, where she has
a YouTube channel.

Nadia regularly shares details of her family life both on Loose Women and on social media, where she has a YouTube channel.

Nadia regularly shares details of her family life both on Loose Women and on social media, where she has a YouTube channel.

Turning negatives into positives has long been Nadia Sawalha's mantra, but she admits 2020 has tested that outlook.

The one-time EastEnders actress, who has had a star turn on ITV's lunchtime panel show Loose Women for over two decades, admits she "went slightly mad" in the opening weeks of the first Covid-19 lockdown in the UK.

Yet in an exclusive interview with Magazine+, the 55-year-old reveals she has found a new lease of life after opening her eyes to a whole new world that has seen her emerge as a YouTube star and receive the ultimate vindication in her plan to homeschool her children.

Speaking about her new book, Honey, I Homeschooled the Kids, co-written with her husband Mark Adderley, Nadia insists the challenges that are being thrust before us need to be overcome with optimism.

"Luckily, I'm a very positive person and in the times we have all been living through, that has certainly been helpful to me," she begins.

"It's a blessing to have this positive vibe running through me, even if it does drive everyone in my house mad, but I have to admit I went a bit crazy when lockdown first came in back in March.

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Nadia with her husband Mark Adderley and their two daughters, Maddie and Kiki-Bee.

Nadia with her husband Mark Adderley and their two daughters, Maddie and Kiki-Bee.

Nadia with her husband Mark Adderley and their two daughters, Maddie and Kiki-Bee.

"I was absolutely distraught. It just felt like the virus was everywhere around us.

"I was probably a little ahead of the game on the virus because I was looking at what happened in China and knew it was coming over here. Then when it arrived, it freaked me out.

"A few months on and I think we are all used to this new world and I know the challenges I have faced have been nothing compared to so many people who have suffered through this year.

"I have a nice house, a wonderful family, a husband who I like, kids who are already homeschooled and a garden. Also, I've still got my job, so I know I'm blessed and that's why lockdown was not as bad for me as it was for so many people all over the world."

Nadia admits her kids mocked her over plans to launch a YouTube channel alongside hubby Mark, but it has proved to be a huge success and attracts big audiences every day.

"The idea was I wanted to be a middle-aged YouTube sensation and my kids said to me, 'You can't be'," she continues.

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"They said, 'First of all, you are too old. Secondly, people don't like people who are already on TV on YouTube. They want to discover someone new'.

"But I always thought there were people like me, my age, who don't know about YouTube channels and they will come looking. When they do, I'll already be there.

"We were so rubbish when we started, but now the kids are going to screenings with movie reviewers so it has gone great."

Nadia's YouTube advice on how to homeschool children proved to be valuable during the period when we were all trying to get to grips with a challenge she has embraced for the last few years with her youngest two kids, Maddie and Kiki-Bee.

"When we decided to homeschool our kids, people thought there was something wrong with us," she adds.

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Nadia with her husband Mark Adderley.

Nadia with her husband Mark Adderley.

Nadia with her husband Mark Adderley.

"In this new book, we start by asking people to close their eyes and imagine what a homeschooled kid is.

"Are they feral, running around in the woods naked, unable to brush their teeth, or read and write...

"That's how the media portray home school kids and home school families, but that is not the way any more.

"Even before lockdown, there were hundreds of thousands of kids being homeschooled and when I first started homeschooling, people said it was only religious relics and mad people that did it, but it doesn't seem so strange now.

"For most kids, school is absolutely the right place for them and they love it, but for some children, it just doesn't work.

"Our youngest child was deeply unhappy at school and it was a shadow over the whole family. So we didn't even know about homeschooling at the time, but we had to do something.

"She was at a private school at the time and Mark and I have always said that the biggest mistake we ever made was sending her to private school.

"Then in March every parent was in our position. All of a sudden, we were not the strange homeschoolers any more, as everyone was doing it.

"Never in my life did I think I would wake my kids up and tell them that everyone in the world was now being homeschooled.

"It was incredibly life-affirming for us when everyone was in that position and seeing how people were struggling to cope with the challenge showed Mark and I how far we have come.

"Mark and I will never say parents should pull their kids out of school, but 70pc of parents said they got to know their kids better during lockdown and that has to be a good thing.

"Kids going to 10 different clubs a week and putting them on a schedule where they barely stop from the minute they get up in the morning until the moment they go back to bed cannot be a good thing.

"Why are we doing this? Too many kids are over-scheduled.

"The book is offering some ideas on how you can complement what you do with your kids now and make it a little better."

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Nadia's book, Honey, I Homeschooled The Kids

Nadia's book, Honey, I Homeschooled The Kids

Nadia's book, Honey, I Homeschooled The Kids

⬤ Honey, I Home-schooled the Kids by Nadia Sawalha and Mark Adderley, published by Coronet, is available now

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