What it’s really like in a household with 11 people!!

What it’s really like in a household with 11 people!!

My Tribe

It’s 8am, and the older girls wander down with a basket to the hen house , it’s time to feed the chickens and collect fresh eggs! There is laughing and giggling and they are all excited to reach down and pick up fresh warm eggs! It’s a great start to each day and they are the kinds of moments we love in our life. There is pure fresh happiness, a house full of little girls and a handsome little boy and a wonderful husband. It really is a daily adventure.

My husband Mark, 36, and,  I live in a little rural town near Canberra with our nine children,  yes, that’s right 9 children! Eight girls, and one boy! Their names are: Georgina, Charlotte, Franchesca, Abigail, Catherine, Elizabeth, Rose, Martina, and Michael.

We have a busy, but well-managed household. Every day at our house we always fun, full of love, joy happiness and laughter! Living in a rural town is lovely, but it also has it’s disadvantages too. We do not have any shops and travel 45kms to get groceries and other normal day items.

A lot of people ask me “how do you cope with a large family” or “do have a TV? Or “Your husband must be a CEO!”

I always say that although life is hard it’s hard for the right reasons. A large family is a blessing a truly wonderful experience. Honestly it’s really not that bad, we just do what we have to do and draw strength from our Christian Faith. We have hard days like anyone else, and sometimes life throws some difficult challenges our way, but I would not have it any other way! We have also been very smart, and fortunate, with our finance. We purchased our home in an affordable and up and coming area and only 45 minutes from the Capital Canberra. My husband works full-time and I stay at home looking after and home schooling the children. Life is good!

At 1:30 pm we stop our busy day for some lunch and some garden play! The children absolutely love being in the garden with the animals! I capture these special moments on camera , as really, every day is a special day! I know that my husband and I will cherish these moments forever!

As a family of 11, 1 dog, 7 hens, 2 ducks (and a few spiders and snakes), it is very important to shop around and find the best deals! We do our grocery shopping once a fortnight at Aldi and we set a budget of $500- $600  for our food shopping. Petrol money and bills money is kept separate, However, I do keep some extra money aside for any other extra expenses we have throughout the fortnight. We buy 48 litres of milk, 3 kilogram blocks of cheese, 3 pouring creams and 2 thickened creams. That’s a lot of dairy!

I like to meal plan for the fortnight. I think it is very important to meal plan. We do sometimes shop at Costco, Coles and Woolworths to see what’s on special. For Sundays we often buy a really big pork and cut it in half. We cook 1 half for Sunday roast, and then use the other half the following Sunday. otherwise we buy 2 chickens. We boil the left over’s and use it to make a curry the following night.


If you want to save money on petrol, birthday cakes or other items I recommend going to your nearest Costco store. (if you have one) You can find some of the best deals here.


We shop around for the best insurance policies. We have an awesome deal at Saint George Bank for our vehicles (through Alliance), and home and contents insurances. We bank with service one for our mortgage and main accounts, and so far we have found them the best bank to deal with. They also are very good to bank with, if you have a larger family, they treat you fairly from our experience.

We save money by not buying too many luxuries and finding the best deals. We have seven hens and two ducks which we free range and get a good quantity of eggs. We also have been growing some  vegetables and fruit which has been really great for us!. Another smart way to save money is by opening up a Christmas club account with your bank. Ours does not let you withdraw the money until November 1st. We try to put $150 in the account once a Month. Holidays are ad hoc when we have available funds but we normally get away for 2 weeks per year.

We are not penny pinchers, dole bludgers or anything in between. We work hard, save money and do the right thing for our family and community. We are not big spenders either. We always make it work no matter what! No one ever goes without. We are adaptable and able to adjust our budget needs if and when we need to.

When it comes to buying clothes and shoes I like to shop at places like Kmart, Target, Best & Less, Big W and even charity shops like St Vincent De’Paul. My mother in law is a hairdresser and often cuts the kids hair for me which is wonderful and a big benefit for us. Not everything has to cost money, like days out etc, why not take a picnic in the park or go to your local botanical garden? Lakes, beaches national parks and bush walks are also great ways to enjoy time with your family.  Be creative with your ideas. Kids will absolutely love that!

After the birth of my 9th child,  I decided that I wanted to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle. I did some research and came across the Keto diet. I have been doing this diet now for almost 9 months, and I have lost 23 kilos. I hope to lose another 8 kilos over the next few months! I am feeling fantastic after shedding so much weight! If you would like to know more about the Keto diet and how it has helped me then see my social media including blog for my experiences.

Or typical day is very busy but after baths, dinner and other activities we are now finished and snuggled up on the, very large, lounge together. We talk about our day, how we are all feeling and what the new day will bring. We look at our tribe with so much pride, love and joy it makes us so happy!

At 8:30 pm it’s time to be tucked into bed and get comfy with bedtime stories. My husband and I use this time to reflect on our day, discuss the future and enjoy each other’s company.

We (my husband and I) feel so incredibly blessed to have our family. We thank God for our blessings and graces. We are no different to anyone else. We are part of your community. We are Australians.

I recently started a blogging my journey over at ‘ Thistribeofmine.com ‘ I cannot wait to continue this journey and see where it may lead, you can find me on Instagram, or Facebook

Claire Louise Hooker XXxxXX

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A letter to my younger self

A letter to my younger self

Dear Claire,

You probably won’t listen to the advice below as I know from experience how stubborn you can be! But here goes;

Don’t grow up too fast and don’t get mixed up with the wrong crowd, I know you just want to look cool and fit in but honestly hun it’s not worth it! Just be yourself! Growing up in South East England is hard! Trust me I know!
You have a heart of gold and please don’t let anyone take advantage of that!
You will eventually find out who your true friends are! It will hit you like a ton of bricks but it’s better to know the truth right?!

Don’t let those horrible school bullies win, I know it’s easier said than done, but believe me, they are only doing it because they have issues themselves or because they think it makes them look ‘well hard’ But in reality, they just look plain stupid!
I know you have been bullied for a long time and the teachers don’t care! And I know it’s upsetting! But please don’t cry! Be brave and hold your head up high and walk away. You are worth so much more than they will ever be!
I see a bright and exciting future for you. Just keep looking ahead!

Stay away from those rowdy stinky teenage boys they will only break your heart time and time again! Don’t waste your precious tears on them! One day you will meet the love of your life 🤗

Claire when you are at school I don’t want to hear any more of “I can’t do it” because I know you can! You are smart and have a great imagination! Believe in yourself because you will and can do great things!

“Don’t blow dry your fringe like that babe! because it looks like a tunnel! Is that really the fashion? 90’s trend is a strange one for sure!

Hug your family more and tell them you love them because you don’t know what’s around the corner.

Life’s to short to be miserable and hold grudges. Forgive and forget and then you will feel a peace within you.

Claire be confident and smile more. Let that amazing personality of yours shine. You are WORTHY and unique.
You have your whole life ahead of you!
Be kind to yourself and learn to love yourself more. Stay strong and keep going, hun!

Be happy always!

Love Claire XXxXx
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Homeschooling a large family

Homeschooling a large family

Hey everyone.

Today I am talking about a highly requested subject; ‘HOMESCHOOLING!

If I am honest then it’s not something I have felt comfortable talking about before and that’s not because I am ashamed of it! I think it’s more that it’s about our private life and while I love sharing about my family and I, there are obviously certain aspects we wish to keep private. The other reason is for the pure fact that for some reason homeschooling can be a sticky subject! Today I am opening up and sharing a little bit of our homeschooling journey with you all. The reason I am sharing this today is that I have been asked by many of my readers to share what it is like to homeschool and because they are interested in homeschooling too but don’t know where to start. So if I can help in any way then I am happy to do so.

For the last four and a half years we have chosen to home school our children. It was not an easy decision but my husband and I felt it was the best decision for our busy family. My family and I live in a rural town in regional New south wales, I guess you could say we live in isolation! The closest shops and mainstream schools are over 45 kilometres away! We do have a small school in our town that we have used in the past but still felt that homeschooling was the way forward and more manageable for our family. Before we made our decision about home-schooling, we made sure we did do our research to see if it was the right option for us. It’s always best to have a good plan in place before you start something as huge as this.

A lot of people say home-schooling is hard! Well, they are not wrong! You are going to have your good days and bad days, However, it gets better over time and eventually, you will adjust in your schooling routine. You have just have to stick to it out and give it a good go! It took me a good year before I felt comfortable and established in what I was doing. There are so many resources available online that can assist you with your schooling and honestly, you are easily spoiled for choice! Google is your friend!

People seem to think that because our children are home-schooled that they don’t socialize or make friends! This, however, is not true, we attend to sporting activities outside of school hours. Our children also play with other children. My children are very sociable and can easily make friends without any issues. Many people also have said to me that they are not ‘patient enough to home educate their children or they feel they are not ‘smart enough to teach them! And I say; “You should never put yourself down” and while I understand that homeschooling is not always the best option for everyone due to work commitments etc..I am a firm believer that anyone can do it if they put their minds to it! So never say you can’t do it because you can! Believe in yourself and your ability to do so! At first, I doubted myself but that feeling soon passed when I saw how happy the children were, and how much progress they were making with their work, then that made realize I was doing something right. I have honestly learnt so much over the years! it’s actually incredible! My kids amaze me every day! I am officially schooling six out of my nine children which range from kindergarten to year five. My younger ones also like to sit and learn as well which gives them a great head-start for when it’s their time to start school! Its always good to get everyone involved! The kids love that!

In New South Wales by law, your children have to be enrolled in school from the ages of 6 up until the age of 16. We are officially enrolled under N.E.S.A We have a CSIRO that comes out to our home and assesses us every 2 years to make sure everything is up to scratch. We follow the New South Wales syllabus and we do a mix of Australian and an American curriculum but still making sure we cover what the syllabus asks. We use a few online programs for children like readingeggs.com.au and studyladder.com.au.

To find out more about the homeschooling requirements for New south wales head over to the link here; 
https://educationstandards.nsw.edu.au/wps/portal/nesa/regulation/home-schooling/home-schooling-registration

We start our schooling day at 8.45am and work all the way through till 1.30pm. By doing this we get all of our daily subjects done and have the afternoon free for our lunch, outdoor play/ sports, and housework. The children are then free to do arts and crafts, puzzles, games etc.. This time-frame works well for us and can easily be adjusted if need be.

What I love most about home-schooling my children is being able to spend one on one time with my children teaching them and watching them grow! I love watching them learn new and exciting things every day. It honestly brings me so much joy! I also love that we get to go on our own school excursions! Over the last few years, we have been on some great excursions! The last couple of years I have been using the ‘National Capital Teachers Pass’ which has been absolutely amazing! It can be used for the Science museum, National library, Cockington green and so much more! It even gives you access to so many useful and historical resources! if you are a home-school family in New south wales then check this link here to see if you are eligible for the teachers pass; 
https://canberraexcursions.org.au/national-capital-teachers-pass

Home-schooling is hard but it’s not as hard as you think! There are so many online groups especially on Facebook that you can join for additional support, ideas and advice. It is also a great way to connect with other families who could be homeschooling in the same area as you and it’s also great to have a supportive online community if there is no one else in your area that home-schools. Don’t ever feel alone in this process and always ask for help if you need it!

If you are thinking of homeschooling then click on the link for your state requirements Below;

I hope you enjoyed a little bit of an insight into our homeschooling life

Thank you for reading

Claire XxX