Four at foot

Host: Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association
Written by Petie Rankin, The Twins Station, South Australia

I cannot believe how very fitting it was that when I was asked to write a piece for Central Station, it would be the EXACT week that my govie had to go home for a few days and I had to dig deep within my soul, heart, skin, and head to find my dusty old teachers hat (that I had hung somewhere in the back of my mind in early 2018). As I write this it is day 3 and I haven’t yet lost, misplaced, caned or thrown my children so that’s a positive.

Rankin kids.

I began my supervising career in 2013 when our daughter began reception with School of the Air. I had a 3-year-old son at foot and a milk sucking baby boy attached permanently to my chest, just to make the transition between mother and teacher oh so much easier. Back then, in my ignorant 20’s, I didn’t have a clue about when to start kindy, school or what was right or wrong. I simply did what I was told and rolled with it.

Hayden’s first 3 years at school weren’t easy, it was a learning curve for me, and she was a hesitant learner, and deciding to have a 4th child and get married while running a chaotic and feral classroom proved to be quite difficult, surprisingly.

By the time our son started kindy, I was stronger and knew what was right for my kids, especially my boys. I waited until one was a year older than ‘normal’ and let him keep his dad and sandpit company for an extra 12 months. This proved to be the best decision of my schooling years with the kids, as he still struggles daily with school and the pressure to start earlier would have ruined his chances of ever grasping any foundation in education.

Hayden and Ryder


Now, in 2019, I have 3 kids in the classroom, and an amazing governess who, for some wonderful reason, has been with me for 18 months. She is my absolute life saver, godsend, inspiration and friend and I don’t think my children would have survived this long if it wasn’t for her.

In 2020 my baby boy will begin his School of the Air journey, and we (‘we’ meaning a multitasking, organised, slightly loopy govie!) will spend a crazy year with 4 kids in primary school. Then of course, it’s the next chapter and our boarding school journey will begin. This is a conversation not often had in my house because I was not brought up with it being second nature, and I haven’t prepared myself for its now imminent arrival.

It breaks my heart to think I’m almost at the point where I kiss goodbye my daughter as she leaves home, only to return for holidays and long weekends. What makes it worse is that I stare into the darkness at night and wonder, how long will that last? How long will she even want to come home before she gets to ‘cool’ for that and chooses to stay at her mate’s place? I’m hoping I’ll be more prepared and seasoned by the time baby number 4 leaves the nest, but I know that’s wishful thinking. It doesn’t get easier… does it?

Eli and Ryder Rankin.

The Rankin kids again.

Anyway, that’s life out here and I’m thankful to have 4 children that all want to come back home to work with mum and dad!
Oh, now the kids are calling….

The Rankin lot again.