WRITING, MOTHERING, HOMESCHOOLING

Back in 2008, when I signed my very first book deal with Random House Australia, I was a few months pregnant with my first child. I flew to Sydney to sign the deal, and when I got back to Perth, my husband surprised me by hiring a limo and inviting some of our friends on a night out to celebrate. It was an exciting time, full of possibilities and new beginnings.

And I had absolutely no idea what I was in for!

I had my first gorgeous girl in 2009, and a second beautiful daughter in 2013.  They are ten and five now, and in that time I have published five novels and the sixth, You Don’t Know Me, is about to be published in November. There were lots of challenges in the early years, but everyone said it would get easier when the kids went to school.

And then we decided to homeschool!

My older daughter’s dyslexia and dyscalculia played a part in this decision. After one year of formal schooling, my beautiful, unique, talented little girl was convinced, aged 5, that she was stupid. And I was – and still am – determined that she wouldn’t feel this way about herself, and that she would know her dyslexia – an intrinsic part of her – is a gift given to her to help her succeed on her unique path in life. Other kids with learning challenges might thrive in school – and I know some who do – but our girl definitely wasn’t, and five years on it’s clear that, for her, this path has been the right one. She’s happy, she’s outgoing, and she LOVES reading!

However, that wasn’t the only factor in our decision. We wanted the lifestyle freedom, the flexibility, to spend time with the kids watching them learn and grow, and so much more. We wanted to open their hearts and minds to the world around them while drawing them closely into our family. Dyslexia just gave us the push we needed to make the leap. We made the decision for the girls, AND we made the decision for us.

When people find out I write and homeschool (and that I’m studying for my PhD) I get two responses: I’m either crazy, or I’m superwoman! In reality, I’ve gone through a tremendously steep learning curve trying to make all this work. I have soul-searched and worried and been crippled by self-doubt and the struggle has been mighty real. I’ve felt I was asking too much – how dare I want to have it all– and I needed to give up my writing or the homeschooling. But I couldn’t do either, because both are fundamentally important to me, and part of who I am.The whole process has been (and remains) a journey and not a destination. Our family hasn’t arrived at any kind of nirvana through these decisions (if only!), we’re just working at creating our best life every day, and doing it in the way that’s right for us.

So, through all the tough times, I’ve kept going, and I’m STILL going, and finally, now with a little bit more time, with the confidence of a few years and many lessons learned (and because my kids are a bit more independent!), I’m planning to get on this blog regularly and tell you all about my choices. I’ll tell you what I go back to when times get tough, my successes and my challenges, and I hope that by sharing some of my own life with you then I might encourage and inspire you too, in whatever you’re doing or hope to do.

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