Looking back over the school year, I have seen a slight shift in our routines. Even though I have 3 out of my 5 kids at school everyday, the days seem a little quieter at home but have definitely become more busy and hectic. Gone are the days of not having to be anywhere after school, from strolling home with all the time in the world to look at footpath cracks or pick up weeds (pretending they are flowers).
As soon as 3 pm comes, more often than not I put my taxi hat on and take the kids off to one of their extra-curricular activities. Tuesdays are by far the busiest day of all.
It starts at 3.45 with swimming lessons at Hagley which is only about 5kms from our house. I see this activity as a must because it teaches the kids such important water safety lessons. I want my kids to be confident in the water but to also know that the water is to be treated with respect. I used to forego swim lessons because they can become quite expensive with a number of children doing lessons but I found that I really noticed the difference when they didn't go so I've started up again.
Jonty in particular loves putting his head under the water and has really benefited from having starting lessons.
Flynn cracks me up as even though he doesn't have lessons there, he still likes to put on his bathers each Monday and Tuesday afternoon.
Swimming lessons finish at 4.45 and then its 25 kms into Launceston to pick Sarra up from touch football. I really encourage my kids to do some type of physical activity, whether it be a team sport or just something fun like ping pong and after trying netball and basketball, Sarra has finally found something that she loves doing.
She plays for her school, St Patrick's College and they play against other schools and she has a ball.
Being the youngest of a large family, you kind of just have to go with the flow and so the two year old follows along watching from the sidelines until he grows up and its his turn.
The other extra curricular activity, I really encourage the kids to do is a musical instrument. I think reading music is a great ability to carry into adulthood and the self-confidence from performing in front of people and the sense of accomplishment from sticking at something are great life lessons. Both the girls (Oliver will start next year in grade 3) have their lessons during school hours and Sarra has band after school on Thursdays whilst Hallie's is in school hours too so that helps in reducing the taxi load.
(Sarra on the bass clarinet)
(Hallie at her end of 2013 school year music soiree)
Touch football finishes at either 5 or 6pm depending on the time of the games and then we drive the 30kms home to have tea before taking Sarra another 16kms the other way to her youth church group at 7pm. I go home and then drive back to church to pick her up at 8.30pm. One of Sarra's friend's Mum has been bringing Sarra home from touch footy sometimes so that has really helped alot.
When Sarra started grade 7 at the beginning of the year, we talked about the school being 30kms away and catching the bus in everyday and travelling for after school activities. It is something we will need to think as our kids go to high school and weigh up moving closer to the city as opposed to enjoying the fresh country air and more open spaces.
Even though I sometimes feel like I'm run off my feet, if I ever feel a whinge coming on in my head about having no time to myself etc, that self-pity is immediately wiped away with how lucky I am to have this privilege to raise my kids, to have the opportunity to attend my kids events and stand on the sidelines cheering them on and its something I wouldn't swap for the world.