The middle of the school year feels like a black hole to me; an abyss filled with interim test scores, completed assignments, partially eaten lunches, and the inevitable lost jumper. The kids are comfortable in their school routine but haven't reached the point in the year where the light at the end of the tunnel of summer school holidays is anything more than a tiny pinprick.

For our family, this year has been a learning curve. With 12-year-old twins starting high school, there was a lot of change afoot: a new school, new uniforms, new friends, new teachers, and a big open door to new opportunities. At least with one child still in primary, I can hold on to the glory days of homework I can actually help with (no one talk to me about year 7 maths please) and a full school week dedicated to Mother’s Day craft, for a bit longer. High school brings new responsibilities and challenges, and honestly, this includes a lot more ironing for me.

Amidst that giant, never-ending pile of shirts to press, we had an issue to put together! For this edition, we challenged ourselves to dive into some topics that hit close to home for many parents of school-aged children, topics we haven’t explored before. Tricky year 9 has come up in countless conversations, so writer and mum Kate Holland took on the task of figuring out exactly what makes year 9 such a tough year for our kids and what we can do to help. We also got some strategies from Psychologist Madhavi Nawana Parker about managing test and exam anxiety, as well as organisational tips for making school mornings manageable in neurodiverse households from clutter queen Georgina Martin.

For those with budding young scientists in the household, Neuroscientist Lyndsey Collins-Praino has taken us through how to encourage curiosity in our kids. We also take a look at careers, speaking with a career counsellor about how this type of specialised guidance can assist even primary schoolers in discovering what they might aspire to do and be in the future.

As we navigate through the whirlwind of school years and parenthood, it’s timely to remember that each challenge faced brings new opportunities for growth and learning, both for our children and ourselves…now if I could just master that windsor knot…

Olivia Williams




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