Friday, February 5, 2010
I put our hammock up. It was a wedding present that sat in our various garages for 14 years. The kids love it...I love it...it's magic just lying there reading a book, listening to cicadas and wood pigeons, and feeling as though someone is rocking you gently off to sleep.
For the children- sometimes it's relaxing, sometimes it's more lie the pirate ship at Rainbow's End.
Whatever the mood, the hammock has been fabulous for getting the kids outside, and helping them foster friendships- their friendships with each other mostly. We haven't managed to get all 4 of us on it- but we could. J-Man, Princess and I have had snuggles on there, and we could easily fit one more.
We have a grumpy neighbour. We also have lovely neighbours, but this one man is a grump. He's yelled and sworn at the kids before, but the other day he did so with words children shouldn't be hearing. I was very cross when they told me, and stewed over what I should do- he's quite pleasant to me. While I was still phoning friends, getting opinions, wondering what course of action would be best for us...two ladies from School Support Services arrived.
These are basically truancy officers. They had had a complaint. They wouldn't admit to that- but there is no other possibility. We live done a a very long driveway miles off the road. The kids have never been enrolled in a school- noone knows we are here. The grumpy neighbour in his rant had screamed 'Why aren't you F'in Bas*ards in school?", so we knew from which direction it had come. What was surprising was that a complaint was acted on in 2 hours!
I explained the children were homeschooled (they were still out on the hammock, with Tombliboo, naked, swinging on the clothesline no less)...they asked fro proof. It just so happened I had my exemptions in the kitchen- they didn't like J-Man's one was from 2005. I explained legally I was only required to get an exemption once, and then it was up the Education Review Office to determine if we were teaching as regularly and s well as a registered school- which they did 3 years ago.
We had a nice chat- they "Admired" me, I was "so brave", they were glad to send their children off to school the day before and get back to work. I must seem like an alien- I love my children, I love being with them...I am not looking forward to the day they are gone. I am not hoping it will come quicker, and I am not looking for somewhere for them to stay for the best part of the day.
Anyway, our neighbour knows the children are home-educated. We've discussed it more than once. It seems to me he must have been wallowing in his cave, listening to their awful laughter, and just waiting for the first day of school to arrive so he could complain about them not being stuck in one.
The silly thing is that these are not unreasonable people- if he had politely asked them to tone the noise down a little, they would have done so. If they forgot, as kids sometimes do, and the noise levels escalated again...I would have intervened. There was no need for any nastiness. It needn't have been a big deal.