OUTSIDE, it’s a house like any other. The Allen family live in a modest, terraced home on a street in Brighton.

But the lifestyle they lead is unconventional.

Parents Matt and Adele Allen describe it as a form of anti-establishment “child autonomy”.

The couple keep work to a minimum, do not believe in vaccines, using the NHS, or following the national curriculum. Their children, eight-year-old Ulysses, four-year-old Ostara and baby Kai, are home educated.

Standing by the front gate with his daughter Ostara, Matt said: “Every parent has their own commitments. We’ve sacrificed financial freedom to give ourselves more time with our kids.

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“We’ve lived a conventional life before: we had jobs and businesses – it’s not like we don’t know what that’s like. We just choose to live like this.”

Matt talks rapidly when describing how the family live.

He said: “It’s freecycle, grow your own, wild foraging, kids out and about, on screens as well, but for the most part back to the natural world, the change of the seasons, stripping ourselves down.

“It changes daily. There’s not a routine. There are boundaries to be respected, but all emotions and feelings are valid.”

Adele said: “There’s no schedule. We don’t have to rush them through the day. They sleep when they’re tired, not when it’s bedtime.”

The three children are busy playing with stickers on the stairs. Matt and Adele said their brood is different to others the same age, who are now back at school.

Matt said: “Ostara goes everywhere with me. She’s done loads of planting in the allotment today. Kai just tries to destroy everything at the moment. Ulysses wants to do his own thing. And that’s all fine.”

The couple are surprised at the opposition to the way they live.

Matt said: “There’s a lack of understanding about the differences in people’s lifestyles.

“We feel the weight of society’s judgement.

“But why are people attacking those placing the least burden on society?

“It’s not like the state’s paying for us to live in a massive house, own a car, and go out for dinner: we live modestly.”

Matt works as a yoga teacher a few hours a week, and leads free ‘sea therapy’ sessions at the beach. The family live in social housing.

Adele said: “We’re on minimum benefits. Just that and childcare maintenance. We don’t claim job seekers allowance, tax credit, or anything.

“It’s not forever – just while the children are this young. We want to be there for these key moments.”

Matt said: “Rather than throwing daggers at those living in a way they don’t agree with, people should turn their attention to their own lives.

“If we were born with a silver spoon in our mouths, living in a massive estate with loads of money, would anyone be calling us up?

“It’s a cost-effective way to live. If people are really angry, they can employ us to teach them to live on a shoestring.

“We’re not doing any harm.”

The couple admit it has not always been easy to live the way they do.

Matt said: “You lose friends and family by making these choices.”

But, at home together, they seem happy. Are they?

Matt said: “We’ve been digging today, preparing for this year’s growing season. We’ve got chickens in the back, and the kids have been looking after them and playing on the trampoline.

“We’re foraging apples and making preserves at the moment. The kids learn the seasons. It’s enriching.

“When you’re at peace with your emotional condition, that looks to other people like happiness. It’s more like acceptance.”

“We go through every emotional condition in this crazy wonderful thing called life.”