Tuesday 19th December 2017

Easter. #LifeThisWeek 15/52. 2017.52.

Easter. #LifeThisWeek 15/52. 2017.52.

Easter has always meant this to me:

  • a 4 or 5 day break from school when it was not part of the NSW School Holidays
  • a time to re-group after a busy first term
  • traditions of meatless Good Friday and me making a ‘fish dish’ for my family who loved it
  • eating maybe one hot cross bun (toasted) with butter on Good Friday. Not a great fan of H.C.B.
  • deciding whether to give out chocolate Easter eggs to kids and grandkids and usually coming up with the answer ‘yes’
  • not over-doing the chocolate egg thing as kids/adults get soooo many that they’re often still hanging around till Christmas
  • Easter Hat Parades. At School. Organising them and/or ensuring hats were made for kids/grandkids.
  • traffic on the roads leading out of Sydney so avoiding driving on major roads for that very reason
  • pleasant weather – sunny and warm days
  • family get-together at some stage if people were still at home
  • a visit to the Royal Easter Show in Sydney


Now that we are living away from family and they have their own traditions we do not catch up. We prefer not to drive on the dreaded M1 (motorway between us and Sydney) because of the traffic AND the more frequent accidents which cause delays and more.

So we will be having an Easter that is not really different to the way we live each day of the week and you know what…that is FINE by us!

A few times we held Easter Egg hunts at our place and the one we remember most was when eggs were hidden throughout our garden. All the grandkids from youngest to eldest had the most wonderful time finding them and checking back with their Papa to ensure they had collected the number allocated and then they got a bigger stash. It was to keep it fair as the eldest were in their late teens and the others were toddlers/pre-schoolers.


One place I always visited alone or with kids/grandkids was the Royal Easter Show in Sydney. From the time I was a girl and my family would come up from Wollongong for the day, I loved it. It was the atmosphere, the fun, the colour and the spectacles in the ring with the animals and the parades. As a teen I went with my then ag student boyfriend and we had members’ tickets which was awesome. Over the years at the old Showground at Moore Park I’d drive in with our then kids early on the first Sunday of the show to get a good park. We would walk around for quite sometime and catch up with the animal exhibitions, the pavilions, the games and then sit ringside for events and the woodchopping.

The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW moved the Show to Homebush and whilst it was not quite the same, they did benefit from the organisation of the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and transport was included in a Show Ticket.

I went each year taking the bus from near our Glenwood House. I sometimes took grandkids and other times went by myself. I loved checking out what interested me. The last time I visited the Royal Easter Show was in 2014 when I took Miss 4 and Master 6. We had a ball! Such great memories made.

So what does Easter mean for you?


Joining two blogging friends who have link-ups on Mondays here: Alicia for Open Slather and Kell for Mummy Mondays. Happy Easter!

Thank you for linking up for Life This Week.

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* THANK you for linking up today! Do come back next week. Next week’s prompt is “A Special Memory”.


What Works Best For You? 2017.26.

What Works Best For You? 2017.26.

Everyone has some ideas for that work best for them.

In terms of being a school parent and being organised for what school terms bring I wondered what works best for you!

This is the Morning Routine version of what worked for me. Back in the 1980s and 90s.

I was a school parent well before the internet and daily access to schools and newsletters and the like. However, I always had a fridge calendar and a space for notes there too. I kept our family calendar updated with school and extra curricular items such as sport and group events listed.

I added meeting days where I would be late home, necessitating other arrangements for school pick up and when there were to be meetings at the kids’ schools such as ‘meet the teacher.’

I would love to have readers share.

My list that worked best for me included:

  • I made sure I was up before the kids…just for my sanity…and I could get in some breakfast too before waking the darlings.
  • kids did not get dressed until they ate their breakfast and there were limited choices: cereal and toast.
  • TV never went on in the mornings. Ever. It was hard enough getting kids to stay on track. At least there were no electronic devices back then.
  • school clothes (including mine, because I was a teacher going off to school too!) ready the night before and laid out, with socks & shoes so there were no delays in finding said items!
  • checking of the weather report the night before (and the morning) so that we were prepared for rain/heat whatever Australia’s changing weather systems had on offer.
  • school bags emptied the night before (or on the weekend, the Friday for preference!) so that filling was easy in the mornings. Actually not fully emptied. I was the person who made her kids always have a folded up raincoat lying in the bottom of the school bag.
  • lunches were made in advance and in my case, kids and mine were made in batches and frozen.Boring same ingredients and sometimes not eaten but they were ready to pop into lunch boxes.
  • a snack self-selection area in the pantry with a guide for how many and from which group to add to lunchbox.
  • frozen water bottles grabbed from the freezer and wrapped in a towel – it helped with insulation and a cooling thing on the very hot days anyway.

  • library bag at the ready if it was library day.
  • school hat either next to the bag OR kept in the car as the kids would be dropped off from the car.
  • homework folders/books ready to be returned on the day as requested by the teacher.
  • notes signed, money added (if needed) and put in a plastic zip bag because for sure, these items get messed up in kids’ bags.
  • everyone in the car, buckled up allowing for the school drop offs and for me to be at school on time!

So, I used to look forward to getting to school….for the break and a coffee after all that above..and then up to my classroom to be ready for teaching everyone else’s kids!

What works for you in the mornings before school?

Do tell me in the comments!


Joining new school mum, Kylie Purtell here with my other blogging friends for I Blog On Tuesdays.



School’s Nearly IN! 2017.10.

School’s Nearly IN! 2017.10.

Yes indeed, it nearly is for those living in Australia.

Here’s what it’s like for the three groups who might relate to this post!


OH. It’s only 2 weeks (or less in some states or more in others) and I will be back at school. This means I am scouring the stationery shops for all the specials. Because I know the school can only give me some supplies and I know how much I go through the stickers, the whiteboard markers, the pencils, the tissues, the glue sticks, the paper….I won’t go on. I am glad I have taken a break from thinking about school (well, it felt like I did over Christmas and New Year) but now, even though I am not “at school” every day, I will be going in when it’s open to set up the classroom and check out the plans for the year BEFORE we start officially. SIGH.


OH. Thank GOODNESS it’s only 2 weeks to go and those kids will be starting (or back at) school. It’s costing me a fortune to keep them entertained and fed. And will they help around the house? Not much despite notes on the fridge and all the hints. I am pleased though when someone offers to have play date/kiddie swap but it’s always hard combining child care/work responsibilities and more. Mind you, I recall saying about a MONTH ago (only a month??) that I could not wait for these school holidays. Now, I am meeting up with parents from the school at local stationery shops and we are all getting ‘bill shock’ at the checkout. Sigh. Do they really need those glue sticks, folders, USBs, tissues and a NEW device? The school list says yes. And this is a public school too. SIGH.


OH. From the calendar on the fridge it seems like we HAVE to go back to school soon. Mind you, my little sister/brother is looking forward to starting school. Ha! Not sure why. Anyway, I guess the one good thing about going back to school is friends and the playground. As long as it’s not 40 degrees when we have to stay inside. Oh, the bad thing about going back is shoes. And socks. So hot in Australia for going back to school. When I saw how much stuff I have to take back to school it was fun but also a bit worrying. Will I really be doing that much work this year? SIGH.

So how are things in your household right now?

It’s nearly time for school to be in!


P.S. The graphic in the post was my initial logo for my business/blog which in 2012-2014 I called Ready.Set.School. for parents and kids and I had another called Ready.Set.Teach. for teachers and those training to teach. I no longer have the business nor the blogs but they were both part of my professional life (after working in education) then.

Joining with the many who blog on Tuesdays over here who link up with Kylie Purtell. Do you blog on Tuesdays?


Fourth Term Means This. 366/292.

Fourth Term Means This. 366/292.

Those of you who have had kids at school for a while will identify with some of the things on this list. Some of you I know are in your first year of having a child at school and the list may help. Or not!

It is offered with no advice other than



  • The weather will be hot or  cold, rainy and all that in between because it’s FOURTH term
  • The child who left home with jumper or jacket or both will have taken them off and even though they are labelled, will not bring them home.
  • You will ask why. The child will say I left it in my room. It will not be there. It will be somewhere.
  • Muttering under your breath, you pop into the classroom, greet tired teacher with ‘have you seen J’s jacket?’
  • You will be told, nicely I hope, ‘it could be in the lost property bin near the office if it’s not here.’ It is in none of these places. It IS FOURTH term you know.
  • YOU think “I am so not buying another jacket so my child will have to learn from this. Other parents advise: ‘just take an unlabelled one from lost property, you can see that the box is overflowing. It is so ‘not like you’ but it’s FOURTH term and you are not buying a new one.
  • Your child wakes up and says “I’m not going to school today, we are only watching DVDs”. Of course….that’s what happens in the last weeks of  FOURTH term!
  • You send you child to school and later that day, when asking how the day was. “It was cool, we got to watch DVDs all day.”
  • Providing lunch and snacks each day for your child is over-rated, yeah?
  • So, because  it’s FOURTH term…so it’s a case of “who’d like a canteen order today?” and hope that you can scrounge enough cash for more than one day a week because…so over it.

What’s your Fourth Term advice for parents?

What are some examples you could add to this list?

By the way, how IS Fourth Term going?



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Joining Kylie Purtell and bloggers over here for I Blog On Tuesdays.



Reader Asks About Learning Issues. 366/131.

Reader Asks About Learning Issues. 366/131.

A few weeks back I asked readers who comment to leave me some ideas for future posts on Tuesdays when I write about education and schooling.

This week I am responding to the first of the questions.

Thanks for asking these!

I’d like to know about how teachers determine if a child has a learning issue and may require further help.

Essentially it would be by observation of a child, and over time within the classroom. Teachers are trained to look for and listen for children who may be experiencing learning issues. These differ from diagnosed learning difficulties or disabilities which are often made before a child starts school and via professional assessments. However, let’s take a child who starts school and presents well in terms of socialisation and is mature in the management of himself or herself at school.

This child may not be able to ‘keep up’ with some of the age-appropriate tasks in say, reading or in mathematics. One thing I would hope a teacher might observe is the physical first. Can the child hear normally? Does the child see well? Can the child manipulate writing implements? Is the child able to walk, run and jump?  Where a teacher may have concerns, it is always hoped that he/she will quietly mention this in a confidential chat and start from there.

There are always different ways children can ‘present’ as having learning issues and often they can be classed as ‘behavioural.’ That doesn’t mean ‘bad behaviour’ but it might include things such as cannot get organised to start work, often asks the teacher more questions when the class have started their activities or it could be something like ‘never finishes work.’

What to do? The teacher, after checking through the child’s records such as enrolment form (where you, the parent, have completed, in all likelihood, about 20 pages of info!) then chats to one of his/her grade supervisors and makes a plan to see if there are some issues needed to be addressed via chatting with you, the parent, then making a referral to the in-school learning support team. These things take time and they are the beginning.

It is always hoped that with co-operation between school and home the best interests of the child are considered sensitively and the best outcomes are planned for.

Please take the time, whenever you can, to make your observations of your child and learning. You may notice that with homework he/she cannot even begin to understand the processes. Do not make this a battle if it continues. Please chat, confidentially, with the teacher when you can.

Of course, if you know that your family and home circumstances have changed in recent times, as they can via parents’ separation, death of a close family member, losing a pet, moving house and so on, let the school know. It is quite astounding that this does not happen as much as it should and these matters, dealt with confidentially, may be impacting your child’s ability to learn.

I wish all families well.

I know that NAPLAN starts today all over Australia. I also know that families may or may not be allowing their children to participate if they suspect it would so more harm than good if learning disabilities or issues are present. Parents know best!



Thank you for your question. Next week and for two weeks on I have more questions to answer about schooling.

I’m also happy to respond to new ones over the next months.


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Joining Jess at Essentially Jess for I Blog On Tuesdays.

I’m adding this post to With Some Grace for Flog Your Blog Friday because I know Grace has many readers with school-aged kids.


Kids’ Photography. 366/106.

Kids’ Photography. 366/106.

It’s school holidays here and we’ve had some young visitors come and stay. I’ve always encouraged our grandkids to have a go with photography by offering them my very sturdy auto Fuji camera. Since last year this has been a hit with the kids. I like their creative approaches and they see the world differently to me (of course!). One recently introduced rule is ‘not up people’s noses’ and another is ‘not over the fence into other people’s yards.’

Here’s a selection from kids aged 2 to 8.







Do you encourage kids to take photographs?

Are you surprised by their views too?


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Joining photography friends here at their link ups:

Trish: My Little Drummer Boys

Sue: Image-In-Ing.

Jen: Pierced Wonderings.


How Are The School Kids Going? 366/75.

How Are The School Kids Going? 366/75.

In schools around Australia Term One has well and truly begun.

In fact for some schools the holidays are looming!

Yep! End of Term One …for some.

For others, still a while to go.

Yet, on the upside is an Easter Break of at least 4 days next week.


How are the school kids going?

I’d love to hear from you about how things are, and especially from ‘first time’ school parents. Let me know in the comments!

I’m asking a range of questions and if some appeal, please respond. If you want to be a high achiever and you have the time…all questions answered would be excellent!

I hope to use some of your comments to guide me for future posts on Tuesdays!

  1. Have you been to the parent-teacher information evening/afternoon?
  2. How did it help you to better understand what is ahead for your child in 2016?
  3. How many times have you been called the teacher’s name at home?
  4. What kind of routine are you finding a challenge each day?
  5. What do you think of the school year for your child so far?
  6. Is your child generally ‘happy to go off to school’ each day?
  7. Has the transition from home to school been hard/ok/excellent/something else?
  8. Have there been any surprises for you, as a school parent, this year?
  9. What would you do the same for the beginning of this year at school for your child?
  10. Is there anything you would change?

Thank you!


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Joining Jess at Essentially Jess for I Blog On Tuesdays.



First Day of School Nerves. 366/26.

First Day of School Nerves. 366/26.

Ok, it’s here.

It’s the first day.

Of School.


How did that happen?

Settle down, it happened and it’s here.

So, how’s it going to work out do you think?

  • Firstly I really hope they like me.


  • Second of all I hope I remember what I have to do.


  • Third, and most important is that I remember why I am here.


I am here to


And I love it.

So, up and at ‘em as they say.


My lunch is packed (thanks dear partner!) and my coffee cup is labelled,

I know where my new classroom is ..of course I do as I have spent the past 2 weeks of the school holidays getting it ready for the kids!

My outfit for the day ahead is professional, cool and comfy enough to take me from kneeling down on the floor to help solve a maths puzzle, the reaching to the high part of the interactive whiteboard and to do my playground duty supervision.

Oh…my hat! I just remembered…I have to have a hat. Got it, it’s still in the car from last weekend at the beach.

Lock the door, into the car, and drive….and into the place marked

STAFF car parking because that’s what I am now!

A member of the school’s teaching staff.

Bell goes for the kids to line up and after farewelling their parents, it’s off to the classroom.

Good Morning everyone, I am your new teacher and I am so glad to meet you!”

Now, where are those nerves? Gone!

Thinking about all my teacher friends and family who are beginning their roles (some again, others for the first time) this week in schools all around Australia. Wishing them a great start!!

Tomorrow it is 46 years since I stepped into my first teaching role and classroom in Barraba NSW.


Denyse Simpson. I was 20 & the photographer placed my pic in the School Prefects Group, not the staff!

Denyse Simpson. I was 20 & the photographer placed my pic in the School Prefects Group, not the staff!

My first classroom. K/1. Barraba Central School.

Re-visiting in 1990s. My first classroom. K/1. Barraba Central School.

Joining my friends at Essentially Jess for I Blog On Tuesdays here.

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