life

Thankful Thursday

On the way home from a very busy day, I got to thinking that I’m incredibly lucky. So I wanted to take a minute to reflect on that.

I’m thankful for my awesome kids, who provide many challenges and opportunities for me to grow, but give me so much love and affection in return.

Lake Mangamahoe
Lake Mangamahoe

I’m thankful that I was able to make it to the lookout today – the view was great, but the feeling of accomplishment was perhaps a little better. Normally it’s all water, but we’ve been very short on rain lately. I’ve never seen the lake so low.

I’m thankful for the blackberries we picked, which are now in a pie in the oven.

I’m thankful for my supportive and awesome husband (he gets bonus points because he’s out buying wine for me as I type).

I’m thankful for all the wonderful friends and family we have along with us on our home schooling journey, they make it so much richer.

I’m thankful for my writer friends, most of whom have crossed the bridge from ‘writer friends’ to ‘friends’, but for some reason I call them writer friends to all those not in the loop so that it helps them place these people in my life.

WP_000403And I’m grateful for this kiddo today, a lot, because she is sweet and she’s hit that beautiful point where she is confident enough to pull me up if I have said I’d do something, and forgotten, without making it a big deal or a guilt trip. She is wise enough to tell the difference between when I am saying no because I really can’t do the thing she wants, and when I’m saying it because I just need a little more encouragement. And because sometimes she lets me have my way just because she loves me and wants to make my life easier – though will stand her ground and make sure I know when something is truly important to her.

She has her priorities, she is developing this fantastic sense of who she is, of what justice and fairness looks like, and of how she wants to operate in the world. I adore her strength, her conviction, her determination, her sense of self.

I am very lucky. And yes, she did pick that flower for me – purple is my favourite colour. She’s also a details girl.

I may not be writing again yet, but I’m feeling pretty good about where life is at. I hope you’re all having an awesome day, and that you know I’m also thankful for you πŸ™‚

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Approved!

Well, the letter has finally arrived. Our application to home school Ivy has been approved!!! I think my hands shook for a good five hours – starting from when I saw the Ministry of Ed header on the envelope.

There have been a million emotions and thoughts swarm over me since then, and I think that the reality of it all is still sinking in. Above everything I feel relief, and excitement, and joy – especially when I see how happy Ivy is about it all.

Yesterday I took her in to say goodbye to her classmates, and while I cried the entire time, she took it all in her stride. Clearly pleased that she wouldn’t be attending school any more, though admitting that she will miss her friends. They know where we are though, and have our number, so it’s not the end of friendships, just the end of shared school times.

Afterwards we stopped in at the hospice shop and picked up a tall cabinet for storage, and so now our study room is looking pretty organized. I can’t wait for Monday. Finally feel like our long wait is over and I can move again!

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Spring is coming!!

I can tell because I really want to clean my windows. It’s my internal signal that the season Β is changing. That and wanting to throw stuff away.

I can’t put into words just how much I am looking forward to Spring. It’s a time of growth and change and that is perfect for me. You see, I feel like I’ve been experiencing limbo lately, and it’s been very hard to make any progress. I’m waiting, waiting, waiting. Treading water.

Or at least I have been. This weekend has marked some change for me, and I’m hoping that will help spur me on.

Yesterday I had my final meeting with SpecFicNZ as the secretary. Once I get the minutes written up, I’ll be done with my duties and revert back to a regular member (aside from helping the new Secretary find her feet).

I’ve been part of the committee since the very beginning, and I still remember when Ripley posted a thread on the Kiwiwriters forums asking if anyone would be interested. I immediately sent her a message and that was it for me. I’ve been dedicated to the organization ever since and have been so thrilled with how it’s grown and developed. I’m really proud of what we’ve done in these last few years and I know that the new committee has lots of fresh blood that will make it another great year.

Earlier this year I also stepped down from 5 years on the staff at Kiwiwriters, so in a lot of ways this year has been about change. I bowed out of training for Lifeline even though I have been wanting to do that for years now. I finished up at my copy editing job. I’ve been slowly stepping away from my other commitments to make room for… well, I thought it was for writing, and for study, but maybe somewhere in the back of my subconscious I was actually freeing myself up for home schooling. Or at least finding a way to help Ivy.

In any event. We are still waiting on that exemption certificate, and we’ll just have to keep waiting until it comes. I can’t let everything else stagnate while that happens though. Now that I have finished up a couple of other commitments it’s time to get back into Burn.

I read the novella a week ago and have made copious notes about the changes that need to be made. In general I’m left feeling pretty good about the whole thing though. It’s a decent novella and I am going to do my best to make it shine πŸ™‚ Revision begins TODAY. And that’s probably me for the next month.

What are you up to at the moment?

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and then I realized…

I spent all of the second to last weekend of July writing out the home schooling exemption forms for Ivy. There is a lot to put in them, and it came out to be five pages of single spaced information. Five pages!! I had no idea going into it, that it would be that long. And hopefully it’s enough. I’ve learned that it’s very common, in fact expected, that the Ministry of Education get back to you asking for more information, so we will just have to wait and see.

But that’s not what this post was meant to be about… It was meant to be about the fact that it took me an entire week to realize what this massive change meant for me.

And I’m not talking about the fact that I will have my three beautiful children home will me full time, or about the fact that I will be primarily responsible for my daughters education, or the extra work that will involve. I love all of those things. I am excited by each of them and I just know that Ivy is going to really thrive in the nurturing, supportive environment we have at home.

No, I’m talking about the fact that this means I will not be looking for a job in three years time when Natalie begins school. Because, she may not go to school. Lauren may not either, and though we’ll look at traditionally schooling again when Ivy hits intermediate age, there is every chance that all of our children will be home schooled for the foreseeable future.

I’m no longer on the path to a day job. Not in my immediate future (and yes sometimes 3yrs does feel like the immediate future). And that never even came into consideration when we made this decision.

And that’s not a bad thing.

I’ve always had it in my head that in order to not go back to full time work when Natalie started school, I needed to have a novel published or in the process of being published. So there was this self-imposed deadline on my writing career (not that I would ever stop writing, but that this was the time I had to really work at it, before I had to insert an evil-day-job into the mix), which has now been removed. And wow, that feels good!

I am still working towards publication, of course, but not having that deadline looming over me is really freeing. Which is funny, because I didn’t even realize it had been weighing me down to begin with. Now that it’s gone though… Yeah I can feel the difference.

In regards to my own studies, I am still going to finish my Post Grad Diploma. I was going to be doing that over three years anyway, and that’s still the plan. But it does probably mean I won’t be launching into my Master’s straight after. Which is okay, it means I have heaps of time to explore all my options and I’m really happy about that. I feel that we’re on the right track now, and that outweighs any concerns that might be hovering around.

When it comes down to it, this simply means that I don’t have to go and get a job just for money. I don’t want that. I want to be a writer, or a counsellor, preferably both. And I can do that now. There doesn’t have to be some intermediary job happening somewhere in between kids going to school and me being qualified. And that, my friends, is bloody marvelous!

I’m still laughing at myself that this wasn’t something that factored into my decision to home-school. But then, I guess that’s part of being a mother, right? You take your families needs into consideration ahead of your own – it’s just a bonus that in this case, it works out better for me too πŸ˜‰

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Change is afoot

Over the last several months my husband and I have been doing a lot of thinking, a lot of talking, reading, learning, and soul searching. Because we’ve had this problem, you see, and it just didn’t seem like it was going away, at least not without compromising and doing things that we weren’t entirely comfortable with.

The problem was that our eldest was unhappy. Hugely unhappy. Crying every day for hours, wishing that she could just hide under a rock, unhappy. And this unhappiness also showed itself in anger, and frustration, and raging against the world for no particular reason that we could fathom. It meant conflict about everything as she struggled with life. And all of these un-fun emotions were being directed at our family.

I just want to make it clear that Ivy is NOT the problem. But her misery was. We needed to help her. To find a way to make the world make more sense to her. It is not okay for a child of seven to be feeling like the world is a terrible place. We love her dearly and it was heartbreaking to know she was feeling like this. And so we got help, which included therapy sessions every week for the last four months, a fair few tests to see if they could figure out what was going on, and finally, a trial of some medication for ADD which they determined is the cause of Ivy’s struggles.

Except the medication didn’t work as I was told it would. In fact it had the opposite effect which suggests she doesn’t have ADD, though they are leaving her with that diagnosis for now. I took her off it as quickly as I could – neither of us were thrilled about trying them to begin with, but we got what we wanted from it.

On reflection, with this diagnosis of ‘ADD’ and the discovery that she has difficulty focusing in a classroom environment, and the knowledge that while she was holding herself together during class, she losing it within moments of school finishing, we realized that maybe the real problem here was school. It was a huge contributor to her misery. And we decided (after lots of consideration) that what we wanted to do was home school her.

Prior to this, I’d had thoughts about pulling her out of school approximately 10 times in the last couple of years. Incidences would crop up, things that made me uncomfortable but weren’t big enough issues, or solid enough to really place my finger on the cause, but there, all the same. But school is what a lot of people do, and I had never really considered being a home schooling mum, and didn’t I want a career at some point in the near future? And didn’t I desperately need the break from Ivy’s misery that those hours at school gave me?

Well, I did. Until I realized that so much of our conflict revolves around school. Until I realized that in the school holidays, when it’s her at home, being a part of the family, she’s actually really happy and I love being around her. I can and will still have a career at some point, but my time as a stay at home mum has now been extended by a few years, and that’s fine.

In fact, I’m really freaking excited about this. I have so many plans, and every time I talk to Ivy about it she comes up with plans of her own, and we bounce ideas and I can see her brain working overtime, being creative and being excited about learning, which is so wonderful to see because she’s been so resistant to regular schooling.

One of the things I think is important to gift to our children is an innate sense of curiosity about the world. Creativity, a desire to learn and explore and the skills with which to do those things under your own steam. And I can see that already. I can see she has the desire, and I can be the one to teach her the skills she needs.

We’re going to be embarking on an amazing adventure. Not just for her, but for our whole family. Lauren is thrilled that Ivy will be home and is keen to get in on the learning. Natalie will enjoy it too, and Ivy… She is so happy. She can’t wait to get started and has been telling everyone she can about it.

It’s going to be very interesting finding a new groove once we get the exemption certificate through. But I can’t help but be filled with hope. It feels like finally we’re onto a winning thing. Finally, we can help Ivy follow her passions, encourage her dreams and support her in learning the way that suits her best. Very exciting. Very exciting indeed.