31 March 2021

From Captains Flat to the world, mum-of-nine Claire speaks out

| Michael Weaver
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Captains Flat mum Claire Hooker

Captains Flat mum of nine Claire Hooker during the recording of her podcast called What Happens When. Photo: Supplied.

It’s the so-called ‘witching hour’ in the Hooker household at Captains Flat. Dinner is in the oven, but mum-of-nine Claire has time for a chat.

She also has time to home-school her nine children, write blogs, be a social media influencer and now host a podcast.

It’s fair to say Claire loves a challenge. She also loves her husband, their strong Catholic faith, her British and Irish heritage, and being a voice for parents everywhere.

“Many people have a certain perception of someone who has a large family,” Claire tells Region Media with the subtle sounds of children in the background.

“We don’t sponge off government hand-outs. We’re a hard-working Christian family.”

Mark and their nine children

Claire’s husband Mark and their tribe of nine children with nine different personalities. Photo: Supplied.

Claire freely admits her days have their challenges but says she’s “very blessed to have a happy home and we wouldn’t have it any other way”.

She pushes on when making the 47 km trip from Captains Flat to Queanbeyan to do the fortnightly shop. She also pushes on when people look at her with kids in tow while unloading the second trolley full of groceries at the supermarket.

She has everything most families have, including medical appointments and difficulties with schooling.

As a social media influencer with more than 15,000 followers on Instagram, Claire also has a regular supply of products such as anti-aging serums and charcoal toothpaste (to name just a few) that she reviews on her blog, This Tribe of Mine.

She has been interviewed by Take 5 magazine and morning television shows and is not backwards in coming forward with something to say.

“I might lose my train of thought, but that’s just how it is sometimes,” Claire says.

“I have nine wonderful children with nine very different personalities all in the house at once, but they all inspire me in different ways too.

“I think people just follow me because I’m real and someone they can relate to.”

In 2018, Claire began writing about her weight loss journey after the difficult birth of her youngest child Michael.

“I wanted to document how well the keto diet had worked for me, and it’s worked too! I lost 38 kilograms and have kept it off, and I think that’s pretty good after nine children,” she says.

Claire Hooker

Claire also gives fashion tips and tricks from her home at Captains Flat, complete with kids’ bikes and a swing. Photo: Supplied.

Now, she has started her latest project – a podcast called What Happens When, which happened by chance when she met Charlie Tizzard, the owner of Queanbeyan-based media company Throttle Media.

“Charlie has a proper studio and is also a father of three, and as soon as we got talking he suggested we do a podcast. I’m pretty good at talking, so we came up with a plan and we’ve just recorded and posted our first podcasts,” Claire says.

“We’ve both got a pretty good sense of humour so there it’s fairly light-hearted but also serious too. Our first episode was about World Down Syndrome Day as my sister back in London was born with Down Syndrome, so it’s great we could shine a light on that.”

Claire says other episodes will cover parenting, family budgets, holidays, mental health, her strong faith and her weight loss experience.

“To us, our family of 11 just seems normal,” she says. “It’s busy and it’s not always perfect, but we have a routine here and we also have our little world at Captains Flat where we can just go for a walk and get away from it all too.”

Original Article published by Michael Weaver on The RiotACT.

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Wow! What an incredible story. Interesting that although homeschooling is a legal and valid option in Australia parents do not receive any government funding for providing it. Good to see hard working parents taking on the responsibility.

Well done! So nice to hear of families doing life in their own unique way. Claire, you are an inspiration to many and I look forward to listening to your informative and real life podcast!

Well done Claire! Amazing to hear about a woman that doesn’t stop! It’s a great example for your children to follow, to show them nothing can stop you & you can achieve anything your heart & mind wants! Great opportunities exist everywhere and you are teaching your beautiful family how to enjoy them without being stuck in a 1 track mind.

As a mum who has home educated four children for twelve years, I am blown away by the energy and passion Louise must have. She is creating a unique learning opportunity for her children and is also able to build an online profile for herself. Anyone who home educated their children will tell you it takes incredible commitment and courage and the personal sacrifices are huge but the rewards are equally immense.
While home educating is not as unusual an option as it may have been a decade ago, there are still plenty of people happy to criticise without understanding each families story or approach and the reasons behind what they do. Louise has put her own story out there and while she will always attract the trolls and the critics, she will undoubtably inspire many more to look into home education as a valid option.

Look forward to listening, sounds like a great podcast!

I love the opportunities homeschooling gives for kids from different backgrounds to meet in a respectful and multi-generational space, so different to the staff/student divide in a mainstream school. That feeing of having your own home environment and family beliefs, then interacting for group activities with other families whose situation might be entirely different, it gives such a valuable perspective on coexisting with everyone in a positive way.

Homeschooling is a wonderful way to explore the world. Some prefer the term ‘world schooling’ or ‘natural learning’.

Having the opportunity to take this path can make such a positive difference, especially for kids whose approach to learning can not be met within the system.

Home based learning is not isolating, as groups gather giving many social opportunities. There are as many approaches to learning at home as there are children.

Wow! You must be so busy, I’m so impressed you have the time to get so much done! I reckon you’d have a wealth of tips and tricks for running a household efficiently with so many people.
I home school one child and that’s hectic enough for me haha.
Well done on the new podcast venture, sounds exciting!

claire hooker3:58 pm 05 Apr 21

Thanks Irene. You are very kind. God Bless you x

How judgemental is this woman, “We don’t sponge of Government hand-outs”. Thereby saying everyone who needs Government assistance at some time or other is sponging.
That is a real fine Christian attitude right there, you can’t get more judgemental than that. So much for the great Christian teaching of do not judge others.
This person is a right wing Christian fundamentalist who sees her self and her way of life as superior to others, and her children are being indoctrinated through homeschooling into the same elitist rubbish.
How sad it is they are missing out on the joy of growing up and learning with other kids from all walks of life and beliefs.
It appears her qualifications are nil and so should the attention paid to her.

Might I say “how judgemental” suggesting that homeschooled children are missing out on full educational experience. To be honest, I’m so pleased my children are missing out on the bullying, harassment, the time wasting, the herd mentality, the box ticking, the teaching for testing and the literacy and numeracy tunnel vision that takes place in schools today. How horrible for them to engage in rich and authentic learning experiences everyday, to follow their interests and passions, to learn life skills and grow and develop as a person without judgement or fear of ridiculous “But they’re missing out on being with children their own age!” I hear you cry. Well actually, they’re not. Our homeschooling children form relationships with children and adults of all ages, without discrimination. They can play,converse and interact with3 year olds and 33 year olds, all because of the beautiful, inclusive and active homeschool communities we are a part of.

Exactly what are her qualifications as a Dietician.
Her poor kids, being indoctrinated at home, denied the normal interaction with others in a full on shared educational experience.

Wow what a nasty piece of work you are. And do you call yourself a Christian? Louise has clearly communicated many things in this article yet you nit pick on that. Well done.
You are clearly incredibly uneducated about what homeschooling looks like. They certainly do not miss out on mixing with other kids. Before you comment educate yourself

My kids would love to be homeschooled!
They see a friend of theirs having the best time on excursions with other homeschooling kids. That’s right! Ooh other kids!

Sooo as parents we need to be dieticians?! Wtf? Are u delusional?

And do you even know about how homeschooling works in aus? Clearly not if you think they aren’t interacting with others

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