Following on from a post I wrote at the end of last year when I had been working with a child who was struggling with their dyslexia, this week I have the pleasure of sharing George Herbert’s story!
I discovered George through his “Kidpreneur” endeavours – a word coined and highlighted by Holly Tucker who is the amazingly creative businesswoman behind Not On The High Street and now, Holly & Co. Holly has been sharing kidpreneur stories and encouraging taking children’s creativity to a new level by starting their own businesses. This is how I found George and I started to follow his story on social media (see links below ⬇️).
Once I realised he was dyslexic (like Holly!) and this didn’t seem to be holding him back, I wanted to find out more and get a child’s view of their own dyslexia so that we can be inspired and maybe find comfort in knowing that it doesn’t hold you back! I asked George if he would highlight for me and you what he feels about his dyslexia and also how his creativity has expanded his world in the form of not one, but two businesses! 🤩
A HUGE thank you to George and his family for taking the time to do this for me, as I know Christmas was an incredibly busy time business-wise, so I (and my readers) are VERY grateful! 🙏
So, here for you this week is my interview (kindly scripted by mum!) with George…
Hello George, can you tell us a little bit about you and your businesses?
Hi! I'm George Herbert and I'm ten and I'm VERY dyslexic! I feel like I should be smart but at school I don't always feel smart. Now I know I'm dyslexic I feel that it's the dyslexia - not just me - that is limiting my ability to do what's expected of me in English lessons at school. I can NOT memorise my times tables, which is a dyslexic thing too - so at least now I know why!!
I feel a bit less embarrassed about it now I know I'm dyslexic. It was a lightbulb moment when I found out - and has actually given me confidence that I can achieve.
My honey soap business, Herbees Honey Soap, is into its second year now. I make and sell soap made from natural ingredients, including honey, and use biodegradable wrapping so I don't add to the environmental issues around plastic waste. Hopefully people will move more towards plastic free bathrooms. I raised £614 for the charity 'Bees for Development' during my first year of trading, and this year I've been using some of the takings to plant thousands of wildflower seeds for the bees and other pollinators that are in decline. I've recently started making beeswax candles too which are available in the Etsy shop.
'D is for Dyslexia' is the other business, which aims at raising positive awareness around dyslexia. We sell fun, dyslexia-positive products.
How do you manage your dyslexia? Do you have any tips for young people reading this?
I undertake written work on a computer, where there's an app that helps me spell more accurately (and there's always spell check!); I'm learning to touch type so that I can get stuff down more quickly. Sometimes I can dictate my answers.
Tips.... well, we have to keep going - practice, keep going - keep going. Don't worry about not being able to learn things by rote, like times tables. Ask your teacher to find another way - if your teacher is understanding!!! Almost all devices have a calculator anyway....
Finding a different way is OK.
What is the best thing about being dyslexic?
I think I'll find out more about the good bits when I'm older, after I've finished school. I like to read about dyslexics who have achieved brilliant things, but they all seem to say school was tough.
I suppose one good thing is that I get to use a times tables square to help me tackle the hard explorative maths that I love to do - now it is accepted that I'll never learn my tables by heart!
Were you always creative, or have you had to learn?
I think I've always been creative, at least I have a very active imagination... I'm an ideas kind of a guy! But I'm not great at getting things down on paper. Maybe that will come later, maybe once I'm an IT wizard things will be easier!!!.
Where did you learn to look after bees and what made you decide to make soap with the honey?
We got a beehive during the first lockdown, and that's when my dad taught me how to be a beekeeper. Home school, in the way we were encouraged to do it, was getting stressful (we didn't officially know I was dyslexic then, but the signs became loud and clear to my parents the more they worked with me). We ditched home school and undertook other hands on and creative things -like beekeeping.
I love everything about bees - they really are incredible little creatures. The one thing I don't like is the taste of honey!!! So we decided that using honey to make soap was a good alternative. I had a soap making kit for my 9th birthday, and it went from there.
I love your D is for Dyslexia products! How did you come up with the ideas?
My dyslexia diagnosis had a massive impact on my confidence. It was like a missing jigsaw piece that, once I finally found it, explained why I couldn't do stuff - I didn't feel stupid any more. Dyslexia isn't talked about enough at school. I think everyone - dyslexic or not should be aware of what dyslexia is, and everyone should have a chance to be screened in school at a young age (I'm lucky because my parents could pay - screening isn't free once you hit age 9, and mine hadn't been picked up in school before that). Dyslexia is not uncommon; there are statistically at least 3 kids in every regular class in the UK with dyslexia - most won't necessarily know, but just struggle. I wanted to raise more awareness, and worked with my mum to come up with some ways we could do this, in a positive way.
What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring kidpreneur?
If you fancy starting your own business or enterprise, make sure it's something you really get excited about and enjoy, and something that's relevant to you, or you'll want to give up after a while.
What does the future hold? Any plans for other businesses, or is that a secret?!
Well I really want to have a go at designing some board games and getting them to market. Watch this space - I'm hoping to release one in 2022. One step closer to my dream of being a toy and game designer when I grow up.
My big news is that I have now officially left school until I start at the local grammar in September, and will spend the rest of this year being home educated, doing lots of hands on learning (and a bit of Maths and English!).
What a wonderful insight into George’s world and there were some great tips for struggling children too. Dyslexia shouldn’t hold anyone back, and as you can see here, George has found ways not only to make his life easier for school activities, but also use creativity as a way to express himself and let us have a share of that too in his wonderful products, whilst giving back to projects that have meaning for him.
Thanks again George!
Have a great weekend everyone and see you again next week😊