Almost there

by Shae on August 27, 2014



This winter has taken it out of me.

I feel grey, bland, asleep. I cannot stop refreshing & scrolling across the screens. And it’s not even inspiring me much anymore.

But I can’t seem to stop, like the old moth to the flame.


I’ve misplaced the part of myself that is awake. The part that is vibrant. I miss her.


I need to get out in the garden more. Write more, paint, journal, cook. Wake the fuck up and be really here.

I need for this winter to be over.


Today the sun was shining on the garden.

This weekend I’ll have my feet in the sand at home.

Spring is close, and I’m hoping to unfurl myself.





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I’ll give you a hint-it’s neither curriculum or worksheets.

Many of us arrive at the decision to keep our kids out of school before our eldest is old enough to be enrolled. And, from the amount of posts and information around on how to “school” a very young child that are going around, it seems that many of us feel like we need to be doing more than just letting the kiddos play and make some mess.

I think being inspired by pinterest boards and blogs and books is GREAT. Setting up activities can be fun for everyone and I am the first one to tell you my love of creating inviting spaces and strewing.

But we need to remember that we are talking about pre-school aged kids. All of what they do can be open ended and they need to play play play play play PLAY. If you were sending them to a great pre-school their emphasis would be on play. The years stretch out long ahead of you, the worksheets can wait.


I’ve now home educated three kids through the pre-school years and here are my top 10 things you need.


1-Books. Lots of books. Get them from the library or buy them or borrow them. Incorporate e-books and audio books too, if you like. Rotate them. Don’t leave out non-fiction and magazines. Read to your kids every day. Be prepared to read the same book over and over and over. Do the reading and sharing of stories without testing  or expecting them to read a single thing. Do it purely for the love of it.


2-Hats, Coats and Gumboots. Kids love to and need to get outside. Whether it be to the local park, the beach, a hike or just to your backyard don’t wait for perfect weather. Rug up or cover up and get out there!




3-A thick skin. People will question you. They won’t all have positive things to say about your choice and any slight “imperfection” in your child may be seen as caused by your child’s lack of attendance in a school type setting. Some people will be downright assholes to you. Unfortunately it comes with the territory and you need to learn to shrug it off.


4-Some great art supplies. Don’t limit yourself to paper and pencils. Think paint, chalk, glue, clay, giant pieces of cardboard, textas, pens, watercolours, pastels, textured paper, felt etc etc. Go WILD with having different types of supplies on hand. On one condition-you give them a fair bit of free scope at how they use them. I’m not saying never do an art project with an expected outcome-sometimes they are fun. I’m also not saying to have all the supplies on hand all at once. But change it up, let their imaginations run wild and worry about the mess afterwards.


5-An ability to deal with mess- Kids get messy. Sand, paint, water, dirt, food. When they are home more they make more mess. Find your zen, it’s worth it.




6-Construction toys- some ideas are;Lego, duplo, wooden blocks, planks, loose parts, magnetic tiles, play dough and placticine, tap tap, mobilo, train and road sets, real tools and so on and so on.


7-Imaginative play toys-some ideas are: dress ups, baby dolls, plastic figurines/animals like schleich or papo, a home corner, toy cars, soft toys, swords and guns, a fort or cubby house and so on and so on.


8-Open ended loose parts- some ideas are;sticks and leaves collected at the park, an old car tyre, some squares of different coloured cloth, empty boxes/cups/containers and so on and so on.




9-Another family with similarly aged kids on a similar path. We all need friends and peers. Some of my and my kids’ best friends are school families, and that is ace. But it was really important (for everyone involved) that we had some friends to talk to who were walking a similar path. I wanted my kids to have friends who’s “normal” was the same as ours. I think it has made a big difference in our success and happiness thus far.


10-Time! It can be tempting to fill days with lots of structured activities. I know, I fall into that trap from time to time. But young kids need lots and lots of time for unstructured play. They need time to immerse themselves in a game or spend a whole day at the beach or be able to jump for an hour on the trampoline. They need to be able to chill out in front of the TV or for you to read them their favorite book 16 times or to have an extra long nap. It’s great to have the luxury of time to make spur of the moment plans for a trip to the zoo or playground if they are needing to run around. On the other hand, sometimes we all need to spend a day at home building blanket forts and painting. They’re little, there are lots of years for them to drag you around to lots of activities at their insistence-trust me!


Do you have anything you would add to this list?

Have you chosen to keep your kids out of school?




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Book Week favorites- To discuss!

by Shae on August 21, 2014


I’ve told you some of my favorite picture books and read aloud chapter books this week. Today I’m going to give you five books I want to discuss with the kiddos when they’re older. Kind of like book club. I was that kid at high school that loved reading and discussing the books we were assigned. If my kids are the same I have a few books in mind that I’ll suggest.

As an added bonus I’ll get to re-read those books! Yay!



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Here are five on my list to discuss-


To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee- My daughter isn’t named Harper simply because I love the name. This book really moved me as a teenager. I’ve read it several times since and the story is no less relevant today.

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” 


The Harry Potter Series by J K Rowling- Any excuse to talk Harry Potter! All that aside the themes that run throughout the series are big ones and I’d love to chat with my girls on their take.


The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood- I only read this one recently and wow-how did I not read it before? An important book for young women to read, in my opinion.  Class, gender, disability, sexuality, politics and religion all come into play. It’s a heavy one, but worth it.


Bridge To Terebithia by Katherine Paterson- I cried so much when I read this book that I scared my Mum. A beautiful book about friendship at a sometimes difficult age.


The Giver by Lois Lowry- Another book I only discovered recently. So much to talk about! Is it worth giving up joy and choice to eradicate the unpleasantness of life? This book BLEW MY MIND.


I’m sure you have thoughts on this topic!

What books did you read at school that you loved?

Any you’d add to this list?





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Book Week Favorites- Picture Books

by Shae on August 19, 2014


Yesterday we talked chapter books, today it’s picture books-and narrowing it down to a few is hard! I couldn’t even keep to five like yesterday so I’ve gone with ten that we love.


This list assumes you already know the awesomeness of Where The Wild Things Are, Where Is The Green Sheep, Hairy Maclairy, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Gruffalo. These books go without saying!

It was still hard to narrow it down to a set list. We read a lot of picture books!


Ten of our faves are-

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A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham- This book is such a lovely story about community. The pictures are beautiful and it is a big sentimental favorite of mine. All of Bob Graham’s books are great.


Ginger by Charlotte Voake- I may have read this books a million times. But who doesn’t like a story about a cranky old cat and a kitten? This book has never really left high rotation here.


The Biggest Bed In The World by Lindsay Camp and  Jonathan Langley- I will admit that I have serious bias towards this because the whole story revolves around a family who co-sleep. It was lovely to share this sweet book with my kids we we had our own version of the biggest bed in the world.


Dogs Don’t Do Ballet by Anna Kemp and Sarah Ogilvie- A dog that wants to dance ballet? What’s not to like? The adults in this one are my favorites to do the voices for. A gruff Dad and a ballet teacher-yes please. Love.


Harriet You’ll Drive Me Wild by Mem Fox and Marla Frazee- I’m surprised more people don’t know this one. Who hasn’t lost their temper with their “pesky” toddler?  The Mum in this book is lovely and real. I adore this book and have been known to make a point of choosing it for bedtime after a trying day.


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All My Friends Are Dead by Jory John and Avery Monsen- OK, this one won’t be for everyone. It’s dark and some of the jokes will go over the kid’s heads but that hasn’t stopped my lot laughing their heads off over this. Probably better for older kids but have to include it based on the awesome humor.


The Terrible Plop by Ursula Dubosarsky and Andrew Joyner- Not a book about poo! Rabbits, chocolate cake, the big brown bear and the terrible plop. Very clever and getting to do the panicked, terrified bear voice is another one of my best.


Slinky Malinky Early Bird by Lynley Dodd- we all know Hairy Maclairy (and he’s awesome) but I love Slinky. This books is pretty much a testament to haw much of an asshole a cat can be. Anyone who has ever had a cat will get this one.


Room On The Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler-I’m going to say it. This one is BETTER than The Gruffalo. This is probably number one in our most read and loved picture books. Everything about this one is perfect! The rhyme, the pictures, the characters. And I get to do voices. My fave.


I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen- Funny, clever and not your usual happy ending. The bear loves his hat!



Picture books-tell me your favorites!

Do you disagree with any on my list?






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Book Week Favorites- Read Aloud Chapter Books

August 18, 2014

  It’s Book Week! Which I thought was next week-so chalk that up to another reason it’s better that we home educate. Books are my favorite and my best and we read in the house hold A LOT. I thought I’d do a post each day this week giving you five of or favorites from […]

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Sometimes I like to curl up in a ball

August 13, 2014

  And then no one can see me because I’m so small…Or that’s how the cheerful kid’s book about the baby wombat goes. But those lines always remind me of being depressed. I’ve been there too.   I was typing this and wondering WTF to write next when the phone rang and it was my […]

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Tips for visiting Sovereign Hill {sponsored}

August 13, 2014

  Have you ever been to Sovereign Hill? Because I grew up in Queensland it was a place I’d never been before. I went on some cool school excursions, but none as far as Victoria! And none where I could pan for gold.   School trip or not, we had a fantastic time. And we’ll […]

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Irrational dislike

August 11, 2014

  I know I’m pretty zen about mess and lots of people think that being school-free requires a load of patience, but I have a couple of things that I irrationally dislike. And they are things that pretty much make me a card-carrying member of the Fun Police. You know what I hate? BALLOONS.   […]

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