Sort the sport stuff

by Shae on February 17, 2015




While we have chosen homeschooling instead of school, we still do a fair few activities. A lot of them are sport. During the year any one or more of my kiddos is involved in ballet, jazz, tap. netball, auskick and swimming.


It’s a lot of shoes and uniforms. And towels.


The system that we are use is to give each activity it’s own bag per child. Then all of the bits and pieces for that activity live in the bag, then that bag lives in a set spot. With the other bags.

Except muddy football boots. Those live outside.




For example I put ALL of Willow’s dancing gear in her dance bag. Harper and tannah have their own dance bags too. Winter wraps and leg warmers as well as summer socks and every pair of shoe that she’s currently using. When the clothes have been washed and folded they go back into the bag.




Same goes for swimming. As soon as the towel is dry and the cap dry and powdered they go back into the bag, ready to go for next week.


The gear is easy to find and grab. Especially when we are running late. Which is often.  We don’t find ourselves searching around the house for stray tights or sneakers. The “a place for everything and everything in it’s place” system is my favourite.

It’s also handy if we are out for the day and will be heading straight to sport. I can chuck a snack in the bag and take it with us.


This post may have outed me as more of a systems freak than you imagined…..


So how about you? Have any systems you want to share?

Are you a sport parent?





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by Shae on February 16, 2015


Last week Harper had her first full ballet class. I say first full class because she tried it a couple of years ago but slipped over on the floor before class started and was so outraged that it happened she declared that dancing was stupid and she no longer wanted anything to do with it. But she has watched Willow dance and has actually really wanted to have a go.

So over the Christmas break we sorted out a uniform (yay for a bigger sister and hand me downs) and some shoes, and I had to actually practice doing ballet buns because Willow’s short hair has let me off that particular hook the whole time.

The day came and Harps was excited and nervous. She had had 2 meltdowns over trivial things, and on the way in the was yelling random phrases in her own language like “shagga da!” “balala bee!”. She skipped and jerked and flopped her body around like spaghetti.

And then the music started and she joined in. I held my breath for her because I knew how much she wanted to be a part of the class. About 20 minutes in it was clear that she was going to do it and that she was enjoying herself.

And I excused myself and went to the toilets and had a little cry. Mostly because I was so proud of her. But also because knowing that it is difficult for my baby to join in on things that she is keen to do and that are fun sometimes gets to me. It hurts to watch her struggle.




Two days after her first dance class Harper and I went to the children’s hospital to have the appointment and meeting we have been waiting a long while for. Going in I had a bunch of things swirling around my head. Was I doing the right thing by seeking a diagnosis? Maybe I’m overreacting? Surely a kid can just be a quirky kid without needing a doctor?

Then we discussed the many forms I had filled out. Pulling her hair out in chunks, biting herself, chewing her clothes, being so scared of certain brands of hand dryers that she would rather wet her pants than use the toilet, having zero understanding of why a new child at the home ed group would want to talk to her. And the list went on. I watched Harper with the other specialists. They were trying to draw her into a conversation about something she is currently obsessed about, and she wanted to. But she couldn’t figure out how to interact with these adults to get there.

I started to feel sick.

The diagnosis that we have been told was likely, all the fears I had about the reality of it all were approaching. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear it.


Later in the day we went back to a conference room and the three specialists sat me down on a comfy couch. The softly spoken psych asked me what I thought. I replied that maybe she was just an anxious kid, an introvert. That clearly she was clever and quirky and maybe she might come in right at the edge of the spectrum. That there had been no biting or hiding or hair chunk pulling out in a while so maybe she was getting better.

The paediatrician smiled and said

“She actually failed every one of the social and empathy tests. She had trouble using her imagination and she mimicked the facial expressions of the doctors to try and fit in. Harper is a delightful, curious and a highly intelligent child. And she also, without question, firmly fits into an Autism Spectrum diagnosis. Specifically Asperger’s disorder.”


I knew. We have “known” since she was little.

But to hear it out loud and be handed the official form with it all spelled out in black ink was like a punch in the chest.

I cried. I listened. I asked questions. We made plans.


While all this went on I was also watching Harper. She was making a lego house out of the bricks the doctor had giver her. She spent a lot of time organizing the lego before she started to build and then when she did, the house followed a clear, colour coded pattern. But it was an amazing structure that she was enjoying building.

And I knew it wasn’t all bad.


My Harper is not going to breeze through many of the challenges that life brings. Hell, some days she can’t even breeze through that fact that her Groot tee shirt is in the wash.

But we don’t know our girl any other way and we love her.


The diagnosis may be official, but it’s not all bad. It just is.

Harper has been the same this whole time.

And now we can gather some new tools to help.






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My first year of busy

by Shae on February 4, 2015


I know I bang on about how much extra time we have as homeschoolers, and it’s true. But this year, for our family, it’s also our first year of lots of commitments.


My kids (particular;y my big 2) love organized activities. LOVE THEM. Tannah would have me take her to 2 things a day if it was affordable and something her mother was going to driver her to. I have resisted saying yes to loads of structured activities based on the ages of my kids, the wage of the household, and the “mum doesn’t want to drive you to all those things” factor.


But I can resist no more.


This year sees Willow doing two and a half hours of dancing a week, drama, Auskick and maybe yoga.

Tannah is doing jazz, drama, Auskick and netball.

Harper is doing ballet, jazz and swimming.

We also do one whole day, home ed park meet a week with the option of attending another when we are not too tired.

My mother in law has the kids for most of the day once a week.


This seems like a whole lot of hours we are not at home.


So let’s talk about our home hours.

My three are quite taken with project based homeschooling style. Harper’s current obsession with all things space continues and she feels like she’s old enough to keep her own project book now. Tannah is still interested in Japanese culture and manga drawing while Willow has switched her focus to big cats. We are all loving Horrible Histories so much that we are going to make a giant timeline to leave on the wall and add to it when an event sparks our interest.

Tannah is also determined to be able to write more efficiently so she has asked me to give her plenty of practice. And Willow wants to learn times tables. This is all not including spending time reading together and playing sims and minecraft apart.

But when will we go on day trips, camps and excursions? What about just chilling at home?

I’m going to need to be on my toes and have some sort of system so that we don’t end up eating toast for dinner every night. I will schedule in down time as a priority.  And perhaps keep a calendar, like actually write things on it. Or we could all end up like this.




This is not a drill.

Ready, set…..GO.




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by Shae on February 2, 2015


This week would have been it. I would have had all three kids at full time school, if that was the path we had chosen.

I would have had all of this “freedom” everyone talks about.

Like uniforms and homework and early starts and bedtimes and keeping up with the class and falling behind and packed lunches that meet specifications and so on. And maybe I would have three kids who resisted me every day and it would have been even harder than all of the usual work that goes with being an agent of the school.

All of that for 6 hours kid free time a day? It doesn’t really sound all that free.


Forgive me if I’m sounding a little over hearing about how awesome school is and how “difficult” our life must be. Not to mention how “good” I am for undertaking such an unthinkable task.

But the first couple of weeks of a new school year are THE WORST for random comments from random people.  It gets OLD.


So let me tell you some of what we do instead. Instead of all the freedom of school we have chosen something different. Not necessarily better or worse. Just something else instead of school.


Instead we have more time to play.




We have more time to create and immerse ourselves in subject that we’re interested in.




We have lots of time to just chill.





And there is all sorts of time for holidays together.




As for the kid free time? Kids who don’t go to school have different expectations of being kept occupied. Mine can immerse themselves in play or research or art for actual hours without needing me at all. They are used to coming to buy groceries or all needing to attend an appointment that is only for one of them-and it’s not a big deal. I may not have all of those hours without kids at home but we have a lot of freedom to how we spend those hours. And I happen to like having the kids around.

I like life with the  instead-of-school.


Except maybe the random comments….





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