Monday, March 22, 2010

Mother stuff.

Well hello there!
Did you have a good weekend?
I hope so.
We spent Saturday at home making, crafting, baking and cooking and then on Sunday we were crazy busy all day with the farm stall. Everyone who comes to the stall at the moment gets a bunch of sunflowers to take home with them and it is such a delight to watch how happy it makes people. One of my girls said we should rename them happy flowers and I tend to agree.

This morning I feel a bit like I am living my life in my head. I have issues to deal with, decisions to make and a lot of emotional stuff going on too.

Miss Pepper moved out of her cot into a big girls' bed over the weekend which brought back a lot of these issues. She is so happy and ready and I have a cot in the lounge room that I'm not quite ready to give away.

Indi is happy and confident but her little sister is driving her nuts. She is desperate for a bit of independence and last night slept in a tent outside her bedroom rather than share a bunk and a room with her.Unfortunately we just don't have a spare room for her to move into.

And Jazzy. My fairy princess.
After watching her for the first term of grade one and a meeting with her teacher last week, I feel like something isn't quite right at school. She can draw the most intricate drawings, build the most wonderful dolls houses, robots and picnic sets but her reading and writing is not where it should be apparently and she seems sad and grumpy a lot of the time.

As I have mentioned before, six is generally a hard age in our family, but to me this feels like something else. This feels like she might just not be ready to slot in and learn with 23 other kids. She might need a bit more individual attention. She might need some creative ways of teaching and more opportunities to be creative herself.

I am all for reading and writing. Bren and I are huge readers. There's nothing like the freedom you gain when you can read. The way the world opens up to you and the fact that you can escape your reality for a while or learn something new.

BUT, not everyone is ready at the same time.

So today I am exploring my options.
After reading Lauren's blog and following some of her links I am thinking about part time schooling. And I am about to make some calls to find out about a local, smaller school.

Who knows what will happen. I guess its just some of the mother stuff we have to deal with. But on days like today, this stuff seems huge and so much more important than the cooking, laundry and accounting mother stuff that is waiting for my attention too.

The bottom four photos in this post were taken by my sister Meg when she had Jazzy last Wednesday at the school of Meg.

I hope you have a great, uncomplicated, happy week. XX


  1. what a big weekend to tackle. I am very proud of you, however, for allowing your kids the freedom they seem to need to move things around and get situated. And while tackling school issues can't be fun there are so many people who choose to ignore aspects of their child's life that I think it's wonderful you are weighing options.

  2. Motherhood is a very hard job sometimes isnt it. All children do learn at different levels and I being a parent helper in my daughter's class realise just how much. Do you think maybe her class could have a classroom helper to help her with her reading and writing as some kids do need a bit extra in class to work on things and not all do at the same time either. Our school actually have a reading recovery program where there are 2 teachers who help out the kids with their reading in all classes every day of the week and it makes a huge difference. I hope it all works out for you Kate as you are such a busy bee all the time. Maybe you need some of those "happy flowers" in your kitchen!

  3. Hope the week smooooths out Kate.
    I agree, fill your house with Happy Flowers

  4. I'm looking at the small vs big school now for asha. Its 2 years away but I need to tackle this now as it depends on kinda next year. Its never easy, no 2 kids are the same and who knows when we are making a mistake or when we are getting it right. I have no answers..just follow you gut.

  5. Hey Kate,
    I have three kids in very similar situations to your own...our parallel universes make me smile..its always nice to know youre not the only one. Ive always tormented myself about sending the kids to school. My kids are perfectly happy being who they are until they get into classrooms with a pile of other kids. Part time schooling sounds like a great compromise in theory...I always wondered how and if it could work. We need another bedroom for Veda too...the tent sounds like fun :-)
    x manda

  6. They say everything happens in threes don't they! Sharing a room is always going to be tricky. My boys share, and Sarah used to share with her brother when no3 came along. I used to give her alone time in her room ocassionally, to play or read, when little brother had to stay out. That helped.
    Good luck with your 6 yr old girl. Grumpiness at that age was a familiar thing here too, i think because they let out all their emotions with us at the end of the day at school. Lucky us!

  7. Bumbling along in the parenting game myself, hoping that I'll be able to glean wisdom from all you lovely folk who are doing the tough thinking right now, so at least I know who to turn to when the time comes!


  8. Sounds like a lot is going on in your neck of the woods Kate.

    Jazzy will find her could she not with you on the case!

  9. just found your blog & i loooove it. thought i'd let you know. best of luck with all of your decision making....everything will fall into place, as it tends to do. :)

  10. I've written this comment 3 times now and still don't know how to say what I want to say . Make this no 4 . Keep loving your kids as you do and you will get it right .

  11. It's funny that you've posted this today! I've been thinking more of my kids educatin over the past few days too. Every child is so different, such different and amazing personalities. My second daughter is the most creative and last year I had one of those talks with her teacher (where Mrs. Teacher says she's not up to level, etc. etc.) but it just made me think of different learning methods. And this year, I'm think of part-homeschooling my 7 year old son. I'm just ot happy with his school!!! No one said it was going to be easy :) But it's brilliant that you're thinking things through rather than just drifting along. Sometimes we need to shake things up!

  12. Lots of options you to think about and decide upon. Sending you a hug as you try to figure out what will be best for your children.

  13. It's definitely worth trying different things so you get it right. If your gut is telling you something isn't right then you are probably onto something. If there's one thing I've learnt about my kids is that they are all different from one other and therefore learn differently. My son is a square peg and has never fitted well into the popular round hole. He went to mainstream and steiner but neither suited him. It was frustrating and hard cos he is smart, has a big heart but was so unhappy. He cried all the time and it broke my heart. He couldn't fit in. There's lot's more to the story that I won't go into here but he now goes to a small local highschool which has really suited him and the way he likes to learn. He is doing VCE now and is really blossoming. I never thought he'd ever enjoy school but he is now and I'm so proud.

  14. Poor Jazzy. I guess they all get there in the end and with the extra support that you are providing hopefully that end is in sight.

  15. "its just a phase"! - my favourite phase for mothers in need of support. with parents like you, whatever phase you're tackling at the moment, just remember it'll all work out in the end. you obviously provide a very loving, stimulating and happy home so keep confident in yourself and the little darlings will too.

  16. Oh it's all so hard at times! I think you're wonderful to open your mind to other options, & it's beautiful that you know your child so well. I think as mother's our gut is our guide & you do whatever it is you have to do. Good luck, I hope it all works out very soon.

  17. It's so hard.
    We are dealing with similar issues with Jake at the moment.
    Let me know if you need a chat!
    Andi x

  18. The first picture is really good and interesting post.

    data entry india

  19. I took both my boys out of school at half-time. Just ripped em right out of a bad situation and immediately felt like the best Mum in the world. I knew I had done the right thing. They went back a year and a half later much happier and, dare I say, smarter!
    Youll know what to do soon enough so dont lose sleep over it. Be happy in the thought that you are being pro-active and youll get your answers. It will be a piece of pie, promise, Wendy x

  20. Um Kate, you know at these times I wish I was a mum so I could either offer advice or to be experiencing so of these things myself. Neverthless you are much in my thoughts, there is a lot going on at your place.
    I think you are taking the best approach with Jazzy, I know that well I struggled a bit at school, I never fitted in, and my mum urged me at one point to think about an alternative type of school. Because of stuff that happened there after to me, I wish I had thought more about her advice. Like you said we are all ready at different times, and also have different gifts or intelligences.
    Hope things become a little clearer and calmer.

  21. Oh I got all tingly reading that, Kate. I'm so happy that you are listening to your gut. Its not an easy thing to do in a structured world where we are all just supposed to fit in. You will choose the right thing for Jazzy, and pass on the skills she needs, brilliantly because you know her so well. Just keep meeting those needs and you can't go wrong. Big love to you. Its tough stuff. x

    PS. The school of Meg looks awesome :)

  22. Beautiful sunflowers. It is so hard to know what the right thing to do is. I hope you can find the right answer for your gorgeous girls.

  23. Oh being a mum can make your head hurt Kate....sharing is a good start. I hope you find the right answer school-wise. Kids need to be happy at school...

  24. I fought the system and had my youngest boy repeat Prep as I knew he was no way ready for Grade 1. His teacher was fantastic and very supportive and eventually the headmaster agreed with me that it would be better to redo Prep rather than struggle thru school and end up hating it. This year he went to Grade 1 and he loves it and is so ready to sit at a desk and learn. The headmaster even recommended that 5 kids from last years Prep class repeat because he has seen the good results from my boy. Some parents did take his advice and some didn't. Go with your gut feeling it is usually right :-)

  25. Hello Kate, I think the job of a mummy would be so tiring, rewarding, emotional and rewarding each minute of the day. thats a lot of emotions I imagine mum's experience. I am not a mum but I am a teacher, and I want you to not worry yourself silly so soon. I teach students who have English as their 2nd lang. I have taught 5,6,7,8,9,10 and now 11 year olds with NO english. These kids arrive and stay with me for 24 months for consistency and all have tremendously different learning rates. One 7 year old once took 18 months to start to speak and read... he said next to nothing to me all that time except for "Hello teacher" (all the while I wondered whether to have him assessed for a learning prob), then suddenly out of the blue sentences popped out, he picked up the alphabet sounds which then led to his reading and writing taking flight. He exited from my program as a positive and happy student capable of reading and writing at a slightly lower level than the others but I knew he would cope in the mainstream envrironment. Other students arriving at the same time with the same amount of English pick it up within a few short months, and they instantly seem capable of phonetically sounding out words etc. These experiences taught me not to worry too much about 'milestones', different children learn particular literacy skills at different paces... some kids just need a little extra time.
    Best of luck, keep up that reading !! :)

  26. oops that was long - sorry lol

  27. You're so right - no two people are the same and no two people learn the same. I agree with many of the comments above - trust your instinct. But I also think it is really important to discuss the issues with Jazzy and let her in on the decision making as much as you see wise - afterall it is her learning journey and the rest of us are just observing from the sidelines.
    Personally, as a child I was always behind with the reading gig. I just thought it was so bloody boring. Why read when you could be drawing, playing lego, running about outside, chasing boys? So much more fun to be had!!! ...I ended up studying English Literature at uni and becoming an English teacher.

  28. Hi Kate,

    Whilst I think that homeschooling is great (not that I could do it), I also believe that everything comes when it's ready. I'm pretty sure that in Holland kids don't even start to learn to read and write until they are seven. And I think the steiner schools are the same. I do know, however, that she will be okay, YOU are there to help her - you've already picked it up and are busy finding solutions - it's the kids who's parents don't even know that would have the biggest problem.
    Sorry - i'm not being eloquent - my six year old is running around yelling (completely naked) it's not easy to form sentences in this environment.
    take care

  29. you are doing such a great job Kate. i come to your blog every day. I'm at home with my first little girl, only 5 months old and I'm constantly inspired by the energy you have to make such a meaningful life for your self and your family. I know it isn't easy, and it doesn't look easy. But it looks just great. It looks creative and honest and REAL.

  30. Hi there. Grade 1 seems to be an amazing year for learning and independence. My youngest is the youngest in his year being an April Baby. We thought long and hard about whether he should go but in the end we decided he would be bored out of his brain if we kept him back a year. When he got to grade 1 he seemed to stagnate and then jump ahead all year for a while behind and then suddenly in the middle of the group which was all I wanted for him.
    I kept talking (and working) with the teacher all year and by the end he was addicted to reading and writing "stories". The other challenge is that most of the classes are combined and it does seem a bit daunting for the Grade 1s at first.

  31. Good luck, mother instincts rule!! My 4th is in year 1 this year, he's doing beautifully but i do watch closely. I do reading with the students, it's confronting & encouraging. What they need most is you, your time, attention & focus. I know it's hard when you're in business & have other children, so my trick on our long drive down country roads is to switch out where they sit in the car & take turns with talking to them while i drive. It cuts out a lot of chatter time when we get home so i can focus on who has an assignment, who needs a cuddle, who is free to help with dinner. It will come together, different children at different paces . . . right now, it's a priority to keep her self confidence up & not compare. I have twins who are very different, they can't do homework together, they'll get the same marks & results but coming from very different angles!! Good luck, love Posie

  32. it must of been the day for school drama
    Im having issues with my sons school at the moment too, well some parents to be exact and I have to say home schooling is looking more and more appealing to me hahaha

    all the best with your issues xx

  33. While I don't believe homeschooling is for every family, I can say it has been lovely for out family. My boys attended public school up through 2nd and 4th grades and then we started homeschooling. My oldest will graduate in a couple of months and head off to University. I love the time that we have spend together reading books and living life.May you find the answers you are looking for.

    our fav curriculum-Sonlight

  34. Dear Kate...
    I have home schooled my middle son for a year and a half a couple years back...and it did help him so much. But in saying that when it was time for high school I knew we were not able to copy with the work load and the technology that high school has...
    So in year 6 we all made a decision to finish the end of year 6 at school so he could start high school and not feel like he had "missed" out on knowing what to expect...It was the best thing for him...But every child is different...and as much as he has a cranky fit in the morning...He comes home just fine and he is even making more friends than he had in the past and the high school sets out a programme that he can cope with...
    My daughter goes to a small school and she is doing really well but she is a totally different child to all the others...
    Just weigh up the good points and bad and the right thing to do will lift a weight of your shoulders...

  35. Hi Kate
    I really feel your heartache. Our oldest daughter is in her first year of school and facing alot of issues too and we had our parent-teacher interview yesterday. Our gorgeous daughter has a mild form of cerebral palsy and her writing is, and will, cause her alot of problems now and in the future. She also has balance problems (lots of cuts and scrapes eveywhere!) and at times we can get really down about how hard she must try at everything. She is such a fighter and never gives up and that is what I focus on when I am 'down'. We have spent countless hours at physio and occupational therapies practising over and over things that come naturally to alot of children. But its the small gains she makes that gives us such joy and happiness. Nobody ever told me parenthood is such an emotional rollercoaster. I give myself a minute or two (!) every now and then to feel sorry for myself and then I pull myself together and get back on the job. Hang in there, your children are very lucky to have such loving and caring parents.
    take care.
    Mel x

  36. busy busy and thoughtful. i will be watching to see what choices you make for your wee one. i still have a couple years and am leaning more and more to some sort of homeschooling, at least for the primary years. my husband and family are none too pleased about this (so much social stigma attached to it), but we'll see what happens. lots of love to you and the little ones as you take time to figure things out. xo m.

  37. It is so hard being a parent, especially when they start school and you feel so out of control when you feel something isn't the way it should. let alone the littlest growing up, why do they do that! No matter how much I threaten them - they just keep growing into little people. Hope that the sun is starting to shine through, form another mum who feels a little cloudy.
    Caleb has been using 'reading eggs' by the ABC that has done amazing things for his reading and he has really enjoyed it. You can free trial it and see if she likes it?


Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Visit my other blog.