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Nadia Sawalha and husband Mark reveal their biggest parenting regret

The Loose Women star and her husband share two daughters

Nichola Murphy

Nadia Sawalha and Mark Adderley have been homeschooling their children for five years, so there was no back to school rush for them this September! However, this time of year is a poignant reminder of their biggest parenting regret with daughters Maddie, 17, and Kiki-Bee, 12.

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The Loose Women star and her husband sat down with HELLO! to discuss their new book, Honey, I Homeschooled the Kids, which is available to buy from 3 September. When asked what prompted them to make the decision to remove their children from school, they revealed that their youngest daughter Kiki, in particular, was too young to cope and described her as "anxious" and "very shy."

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Nadia and Mark regret sending daughters Maddie and Kiki-Bee to private school

"The biggest mistake we made was sending them to private school," Nadia remarked, and Mark agreed. "I regret one huge parenting decision above everything else and it's the belief that if you pay for your child's education it's the right thing," he said, before describing a private school education as "aspirational." 

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Mark went on to say: "When I look back I feel so stupid that we were so bloody conventional in that thinking. What I found so disheartening about the whole thing is that it works if your child is highly academic in the first place. It's not interested in helping any of the other children who struggle or learn differently." Voicing their slight differences in opinion, he noted: "I'm going to go a bit stronger than Nadia here, I do think that private schools are run like a business. It's about making money."

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Honey, I Homeschooled the Kids by Nadia Sawalha and Mark Adderley

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Nadia, however, reiterated that they have nothing against the school system, as long as it works for each individual child. "We're not criticising the school or any schools, I think a lot of parents can identify with right child, wrong school," she explained.

Speaking of Kiki's school struggles, the mother-of-two said: "She was a summer baby and she was a year younger than everyone else and, to be honest, I just don't think she was ready for school. I get quite upset in one of the opening chapters of the book. I had such a strong feeling on that first day I took her into school that she would turn around and walk out. She looked adorable in these little pigtails and shiny shoes and beautiful private school uniform – she looked like a little dolly."

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The couple have been homeschooling their children for five years

After spending several years foregoing traditional timetables and striving to make learning "fun and enjoyable", the doting parents said that Kiki has decided she is ready to return to a different school next September – something they have given both children the option of doing every year. 

"Kiki is going back to school not this September but next September, and we see that as a huge success that we took her out of school and she's got a love of learning, a passion for art and she's found a school she wants to go to. It's a much more arts and humanities based state school and we couldn't be happier," Nadia said. "We've never been anti-school, every year we say to them 'would you like to go to school this year?'"

Honey, I Homeschooled the Kids by Nadia Sawalha and Mark Adderley is published by Coronet, £14.99, out now. 

READ: The sweet meaning behind Nadia Sawalha's incredible birthday cake for daughter Kiki revealed

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