Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Moving. Again.

from here

We’re moving again. I don’t want to; I love our house (even the blue walls) and have spent the last year or so daydreaming about living here forever. But Mo’s school’s changing in a way we’re no longer on board with, and so we had to decide: do we send him to the public school around the corner and stay in this house, or do we move him (and Hazel) to the Montessori school in Wollongong, where our questions about high school will also be answered and we’ll (finally) make it out of Sydney? (We went with the latter option. In case you’d forgotten how this post started.) 

So now we’re looking at potential places to rent, while also wondering whether we could/should buy. Alan’s keen to buy, whereas I’d prefer to rent; Alan’s work benefits from the property boom which means that affordable house prices negatively correlate with him having an income, and I worry about what would happen if we were to buy not long before the “bubble” burst, and we suddenly found ourselves with no work and a colossal debt. Alan’s motto in this situation (and all situations, honestly) is “Everything will work out FINE,” whereas mine is consistently “This will probably be disastrous and lead to homelessness/bankruptcy/death/all of the above, though not necessarily in that order.” These were our exact approaches to the Alan-starting-his-own-business idea, and he was right that time; does that mean I should trust him now, or that it’s my turn to be right? (I’m pretty sure it’s the latter.)

All of these decisions have forced us to examine our values and desires for both the kids’ education and the place in which we’ll live. Fortunately, we’re completely aligned when it comes to schooling: the Montessori philosophy fits very well with our parenting philosophy. It encourages kids to be responsible for their own learning and fosters independence, it values cooperation rather than competition, it’s hands-on, it avoids extrinsic motivators like stars or certificates (things like effort and kindness are a given rather than an out-of-the-ordinary achievement to be rewarded), and the make-up of the classes have kids of different ages working together and looking out for and respecting one another. Students move freely around their classrooms, working individually or in groups throughout the day, so there’s always a low buzz of activity in the room, with some snacking and some reading and some chatting with the teacher; it sounds like it should be chaotic, but instead it’s mysteriously calm and quiet. There’s no homework, because a holistic education is seen to involve regular life activities - playing and helping with dinner, for example - as well as learning how to work with letters and numbers. We LOVE it.

When it comes to ideas about the place we’ll live in, however, Alan and I part ways. Alan’s big on things like views and the look of the house, both inside and out, whereas I’m big on things like the placement of the washing line and the practicalities of the layout. Alan will forgive a poky kitchen and dark office if he can see the ocean from the balcony; I’d rather drive to the beach if it means our money’s spent instead on light, proverbial-cat-swingability, and the existence of an obvious corner we could dedicate to Lego-building. Alan writes off potential house options based on their lack of cupboards and storage space, while I write off potential house options based purely on the sound of the address (“Ian Bruce Drive? Too blokey. Next!”). We are each a frustrating mix of silly and sensible. Figuring out what’s essential versus what can be compromised would be fascinating at any other time, but for now it’s just stressful; we’d like to have moved by the time term 3 starts (mid-July), and time is passing awfully quickly.

My friend got married in Melbourne on a Saturday at the beginning of June, we returned home the next day, then I had two exams over the Monday and Tuesday. I’d told myself that with those four days out of the way, things would settle down and cruise along boringly for a while (I long for boring), but the end of exams actually meant I finally had the brain space to deal with the school/moving issues, and now I see that once they’re resolved we’ll face the actual move, and then there’ll be a settling-in period. I was hanging out for the start of June to be over; now I’m now hanging out for September. Hopefully September will be boring.


  1. Could you and Alan adopt me and be my parents please? You make family life and education sound like such a lovely dream...

    1. Oh no! I hope I haven't misrepresented anything; family life is very often not a dream! It's exhausting and scary and guilt-inducing and frustrating and exhausting and mind-numbing (did I mention it was exhausting?)!

      Montessori education, on the other hand, seems pretty lovely to me too. Whenever we've toured schools and heard the programs described I always want to go there myself.