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!


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 ๐Ÿ˜‰


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.



I love school. I really do. Ivy LOVES her new class. Which is just as well because I feel a little intimidated by it (half the class is a whole year ahead of her!! she’s the youngest in her room, by more than a year in some cases). Lauren and Nati are thrilled to be back to Playcentre and I am actually getting some sleep.

Last night I was woken just ONE time. ONCE!!! And I was only up for about half an hour. That hasn’t happened in… well, freaking ages. I feel GOOD. At ease, at peace, drifting blissfully through the morning. The lunches are made, and the bags packed (and then repacked several times because Natalie is helpfully unpacking them), and I’m looking forward to getting home from our morning out, and getting some writing done.

Because on Monday, I slacked off a little. I think I was definitely allowed one day of just enjoying the silence, of just ‘being’ in a house with no one else awake. It would be far too easy to make a habit of that, so I need to start setting my routine in place before I get to comfortable on the couch.

I have worlds to explore, words to write – and things are getting really exciting for Madea. I am treading a careful line, trying not to show her all the cards too soon, but gosh it’s tempting! lol

Anyway, I better get back to getting ready (and, you know, wrangle clothes onto Natalie for the third time this morning). I thought I better check in and let you know that my dream came true, and we’re all thrilled to be back into some kind of routine. It makes a world of difference. May the good sleep continue, may the children thrive.

In some ways it feels like the New Year has only just started.


Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow!

Well, the school holidays are all but over and there is a warmth spreading through me at the knowledge. Tomorrow is only a day away. School starts up, Playcentre as well, and we can finally get back into some kind of routine.

I have been waiting for this day for a long time now, yet somehow it managed to sneak up on me. I had to hit the stores today to buy lunch boxes and stationary, because I kept thinking I had longer to get it done. But now Ivy’s books are covered, her pencil case well stocked and her bag packed and ready to go for the morning (well, apart from her lunch, of course). I still have to organize the little girls bags, but that won’t take long.

Tomorrow is so close. SO close.

And the best bit? I’ve actually had a little sleep the last couple of nights so tomorrow I intend to spend the girls nap time writing. I am itching to get words down on Sun-Touched, I’m craving a little time and space to map out the new outline for TCM. I’m so excited by both projects and can’t wait to have some extra time to dedicate to them.

Roll on tomorrow!


School holidays are too LOOOOONG

I love my kids. I really do. But the summer holidays are far too long. They are ridiculous. The weather has been rubbish for more than half of it, the kids are bored stupid, and no matter how much I try to be an energetic and entertaining mother, there is only so much we can fit in around the need for naps and meals etc. ย And I don’t know about you, but I for one cannot afford the exorbitant cost of taking them to indoor play places, as much as it might entertain them for an hour or two.

We have just one week to go until normal activities resume. I am seriously hanging out for it. I have this beautiful vision of what Monday the 30th of January will be like: we’ll get up and have breakfast, do the mad dash to get everyone organized. Ivy will be dropped off to school with her brand new books and a smile on her face, eager to see her friends and acquaint herself with her class room for the year. After seeing that she has settled in, Lauren, Natalie and I will head to Playcentre and catch up with all of the new friends we made last term.

The morning will pass quickly, and before I know it, it will be noon and we’ll be heading home. My babies will fall asleep pretty much as soon as we get in the door, exhausted from all the stimulation, and I will sit down with a coffee and some lunch and get some writing done – oh my, how the words will flow!

Silence will pervade the house and I’ll have room to actually form a thought without interruption. It’s something I will not take for granted for at least a week.ย It won’t be until 330pm that the TV is turned on for the first time that day. The kids will have their afternoon tea while Ivy tells us all about her first day back and reminds me of the million things she is sure I’ve forgotten about, but haven’t.

And then, after a bath and dinner and stories, they will all go to bed, and sleep because their little bodies and minds have been so fully occupied throughout the day.

And I’ll sit on the couch, with a glass of wine and my husband and relax properly for the first time in six weeks.

One. More. Week.

I can make it. I know I can! I’m hanging on to my dream for dear life and hoping beyond hope that maybe I’ll actually start getting some decent sleep again.


Why sometimes it’s better not to want to write

I’m having a very frustrating week. It’s school holidays (enough said, right? You other parents know what I’m talking about), and there is a lot of bickering going on, a lot of issues getting children to sleep and keeping them asleep for as long as they should be because of the house being so noisy and exciting. Sadly, this has been resulting in me getting about zero time to myself.

Seriously, I had to enlist the babysitting skills of my mother this morning just so that I could shower alone for the first time in weeks. It’s pretty dire folks.

Until Monday (I think it was, anyway) this was fine. I was perfectly okay with it because I had no desire to write. I had no ideas, no cravings, no mad obsessions. Nothing. And then I sat down and said to myself ‘Cassie, you need to write something, anything. It can be crap, but it has to be words.’

So I did. And a story came and took me by surprise. From the very first words, I knew this was something I could work with, something that I could enjoy. Have I finished writing that story? No, I have not. Because there is no time!!!! I know how it ends, I’m writing the last scene, or trying to. That said the middle scene needs expanding and I can do that easily. I love the characters, I love the world. Love it all.

Last week I didn’t care that there was no time, because I had no words. I missed them, but I wasn’t going crazy without them. Now there are words, and with words comes that frustration because there is never enough time. I could probably have several hours to myself a day and still it wouldn’t be enough.

Do you feel this too? Or is it just because the time I have is so lacking? I’d really love to know how it affects other people!

In the meantime, roll on February 1st and the return of school. At least then I have a shot of getting the two small ones to sleep and nabbing some decent writing time… Ha. Wishful thinking, I know ๐Ÿ˜‰


I’m drowning in this heat

Seriously, its so humid that it’s like standing in a sauna all day. I’m eternally grateful that I am not more pregnant than I am right now, and that I’m not as heavy as I used to be. I’m exhausted as it is!

Ivy had her first school visit yesterday, and after just 7 minutes of hanging around in her classroom, she told me I could go (10 mins before class started I should note!). She didn’t want to leave when I came to get her – so proud of how well she’s adjusting. And so relieved! After years of her not wanting me to leave her at daycare, she’s made the move to school with minimal fuss and clinging. I guess its just too exciting to worry about the little things just yet huh?

I’m really not in the writing mood… I think probably by mid next week I’ll have some more time to get back into things, but right now my main focus is on Ivy and making sure she’s doing okay with everything (and on this birthday party!). Not long now and she’ll be five and a proper school kid, then we can see what kind of shape my new day will take on.

Exciting stuff!


Happiness is a lazyboy

Mum just called. They’ve got a new lounge suite and I’m inheriting stuff! The green couch that folds out into a bed (no more sleeping on air beds for people staying over), and the lazyboy.

Oh, the lazyboy… from the first time I sat in it years ago (and I remember both Mum and John saying it was ugly) I was in love. That chair rocks, and now it’s mine, and it’s going to be here in a couple of hours! I’ve yet to formulate a good plan as to how on earth to fit it in, but where there is a will there’s a way.

It’ll also be the perfect place to breastfeed new baby, and fall asleep, oh. Happiness really is a lazyboy.

Anyways, not I have a few moments to shuffle stuff around in the lounge and see where I might things, and then we’re off to school to enrol Ivy – scary stuff, but at least the thought of the lazy boy will keep me brave. Only a couple months til my little girl goes to school…..