Home Schooling: In The Beginning

One of the hardest decisions I ever had to make.

One of the hardest decisions I ever had to make.

It took me a long time to make up my mind when I was deciding to homeschool my son. I suffered many nights tossing and turning, and when I couldn't sleep I got out of bed and walked around the house hoping I'd come to my decision so I could go back to bed and sleep. I talked to neighbours, teachers, strangers I met in the street and family. All said, "Why would you want to homeschool? You won't have any time to yourself. It's the  only time I get away from my kids. It's going to take up too much of your time. You'll be with him twenty-four-seven. What about his socialisation, you can't cut him off from other children, especially when he's an only child. He'll end up a loser." These comments and more made me feel I was "the loser".

That last comment was the one that burned me the most and really got my ire rising faster than a tsunami. It was the turning point. Loser eh? The quote on the slate in this post says exactly what was going through my mind. My son wasn't coping with school life. He was bullied, the classroom was so noisy with rude children he'd become overwhelmed with the noise and have to leave the classroom. Teachers often found him out of the schoolgrounds. He just had to get away. I knew I had to do something because my son wasn't learning. When I checked his school books, nothing had been written in there for two terms. He was attending a private school. A week later, he was home with me and I was determined he wasn't going to set foot back in a school unless he wanted to.

Our first year was our hardest as Dan and I adjusted to being home together. Dan was in year seven. My husband ran a business from home, but he was out on jobs most of the time. I ran a business from home, too, so my time was divided between it and the homeschooling and running the house. What I learned about myself and my son during this time was more than I could have imagined.

Lesson number one, we were both individuals. Somehow, because he was my son, I thought he would work the same way I did: head done and just get the job done, also that when I'm focussed the rest of the world doesn't matter. Dan was different, he was easily distracted by noises, ringing telephones, and people coming and going, so that he just couldn't settle to the work. We solved this problem by encouraging him to listen to music while he worked. An outstanding result. At the same time, as he was completing his school work, he was able to do two or three things at one time which astounded me. He had two computer screens running several programs while he was listening to music and working.

My mind boggled. I stepped back and thought a moment. How could he be retaining all that he learned while he had all those distractions? The few times I insisted he focus on one thing, I was met with indignant stares and he refused my request. After much coercion from me where I said he would be more prolific and his school work would be finished faster, I got a shock to find his work stalled, and he was lost as though he'd been put in the middle of the jungle and didn't know which way to turn. My insistence in trying to organise his time failed miserably, so we returned to his way and hey presto, work was completed well before time with top marks. Well, if that was his way of learning, then who am I to change that?

I'm glad I learned this lesson. It made me aware that some of my employees may have had unusual working habits to be efficient. I learned how to get the best out of the people working for me to keep them happy and fulfilled in their work and develop a special relationship with them I may not have done otherwise. During the next few weeks I want to share other lessons I learned from home schooling.

Have you had a similar experience? Please leave a comment for me below.

Inspiration for Web of Lies

Web of lies

Web of lies

I believe all writing is inspired by experiences in our lives. Certainly, African Hearts and my soon to be released, Web of Lies have been inspired by my life experiences.

The countdown for Web of Lies is on. Thirty-one days to release date on 1st December in bookstores and on Amazon. This novel was inspired by my teenage years when I began to think more about my world, the people in it, and why they do the things they do.

In the late sixties and seventies, I lived in a country town and was aware of teenage girls who suddenly left town for several months and then returned unexpectedly with no explanation for their absence. Eventually, my curious nature got the better of me and my investigations revealed that the young women had gone away to have babies which they gave up for adoption. I was horrified to think this sort of thing was happening in the town in which I lived.

Back then there was no government assistance and the responsibility had to fall back on the families. Also, unwed mothers were ostracised and often thought of as having loose morals in some country towns. The only option available to these young women who’d made a mistake was going away to have their baby and give the infant up for adoption.

I then wondered, what if some of the children secretly came back to be reared by a member of the unwed mother’s family, as in an aunt or other relative. This thought was the germ that created Web of Lies.

Through reading this novel, I hope you, my readers, will be encouraged, and realise mistakes can happen to anyone at any time. Lies can be told with good intentions to cover up mistakes, but what happens in later years when lies are revealed and the trust that has been with a family is destroyed? Can the knowledge of the truth bring a family back together so that all can be forgiven, or are the relationships destroyed forever? Read my novel to find the answers to these questions. Copies can be pre-ordered from Even Before Publishing, Amazon or from the "Books" page on this website.

My website is in the process of being upgraded and should be finalised this week. In the meantime here are the links:

I'd also like to know if you've told lies trying to protect those you love. Leave me a comment.


Building relationships were once a challenge for me. Sometimes I felt so disconnected from people I wondered if I was on this earth. I was here physically, but mentally and emotionally I may as well have been floating around in cyberspace. It's not that I didn't want to connect. I wanted to be part of people's lives and them a part of mine.

Thankfully God has transformed me in a way I never thought possible.

My heart aches for people who are hurting. Some people don't know they are hurting. Their pain touches my heart in a way that I become so overwhelmed I can't find the words to say to them. This was the case last Sunday at my church. I was sitting with a woman who trusted me enough to talk about her daughter who'd had a stroke a couple of years ago. My heart squeezed hard when she told me the story of her daughter's recovery. I was so overwhelmed I couldn't find words to comfort her. Her journey with her daughter has been difficult as she has come to accept her daughter's disability and the stress on her daughter's family.

Our conversation ended with me feeling I had somehow failed that woman. Not by choice, but by needing time to digest what she told me. Had I missed an opportunity to connect with one of God's hurting children?

I haven't stopped analysing that conversation and my feelings toward this woman. I concluded I needed time with Jesus to work through my hesitation in being emotionally honest with her. Way down deep inside of me, my spirit told me she needed space to process her grief. This woman needed someone to sit and listen, really listen to what she was saying.

I saw her two days ago and she gave me the biggest smile. My heart swelled with love for her. Gagging on my words the week before was God telling me this woman only needed someone to listen. Not everyone needs lots of words, nor do they need physical touch. Instead they need a person to sit and listen to them with all of themselves. I'm glad I listened and waited for God's prompting, because something has changed in this woman since the last time I saw her. God gave me the understanding of what it means to sit and just be and the amazing effect this can have on someone who is hurting.

Have you ever been with someone and wished you had spent the time with them differently?

Football, A Gold Mine


It's winter in Australia, and the AFL football season is well under way. My husband is an AFL fan from way back and he wants me to share his enthusiasm for the game. The Gold Coast now has its own team coming into the big league next year. I'm not the sporty type, but somehow the Gold Coast having a football team in the national competition has appealed to my sense of patriotism. So I treaded carefully into what I've always considered to be a male domain. This reluctant member attended a game last Saturday and I discovered AFL is more than football.

While I sat in our folding chairs on the hill, (the club's football ground is under construction in Carrara), a cold southerly breeze nipped at my ear lobes that made me shiver. What I gained from coming to the football and getting cold had better be worth it. To my surprise, I discovered I could watch the football and the crowd. AFL is a fast moving game and I can't always see the action at the far end of the field, so when the play was too fast and the distance too long, I honed in to what was going on around me.

Families with young children tossed mini-footballs; older kids watched the footy and wrestled each other when they got bored; and fanatic footy fans discussed the game plan, which was double dutch to me. What impacted me the most was the way the people at the footy related to other people in all kinds of ways. Husbands and wives, couples, grandmas and grandads were there discussing the game, or more importantly, in the pauses in the action they talked about issues that were important to them. Snippets of conversation pricked up my ears. I learned many juicy tidbits about members of their family or friends. I didn't have my notebook with me last week to make note of these conversations, but I will next time.

What I learned last Saturday was that even though some people were at the footy, they talked much about everything and little about football. They discussed the problems Joey was having trying to fit in at school; Sally's disappointment she wasn't chosen for the ballet competition; John and Casey's marriage problems and how they were hoping to overcome their financial problems; and how they were they going to get mum and dad into a retirement home with care, etc.

So football serves more than one purpose. I learnt what it means to be a football player and to be part of the team. I also learnt there are real life issues behind the people who attend the football. By listening carefully I heard how people interacted with each other. I realised I could use their experiences to build the characters of my stories and in doing so make the characters real people living in real relationships.

What about you, do you go to the football to watch the action on the field? Do you go with a friend to clear what's bothering you off your chest? Or do you go just for the fresh air and sunshine? I'd like to hear what football means to you.