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  • Sarah Celentano

Preparing for Homeschool



These are such strange times.


Wanna know something funny? After having Cohen, I never considered for even a second that I would ever be home with my children. I did not believe it to be possible. Not because I didn't want to! If you were lucky to be one of my younger siblings, you'd have been subjected to hours upon hours of playing school. And yours truly was Teacher Sarah. I dreamt of being a Mama since I held my baby brother at the age of 4. I dreamt of being a teacher since I met my Kindergarten teacher on Day One. Growing up I was positive I would have eight children and home school them all.


But we live in the United-ish States of America in the 21st Century. Two incomes is not a luxury, it's an absolute necessity. Having one child is an incredible financial responsibility, and now we have two. But you know what? I resented every second of leaving my children with someone that was not me. And to salt the wound, most of my paycheck went towards someone else watching my children too.


Then 2020 happened. A pandemic. And the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding it. The incredible loss felt by so many - of loved ones, jobs, businesses. But something else was rising up inside my heart - the deeply rooted yearning, and then the permission, to stay home and be with my children. For real this time, not just (a much too short) maternity leave that would eventually come to an end. This was permission I was granting myself to be home, stay home, be fully present, to give THEM what I had been giving to other people's children for the past several years. I could be their teacher now, until it's my turn to give them to their Kindergarten teachers. I had given so much of myself to others and had so little left to give them. It's their turn now. It's my turn now to live the life I wanted to live as a dreamy, wide-eyed, hopeful teenager. I definitely will not have eight kids. But for the two that I've been given, I'm gonna make these few years of them being so little truly count.


While spending the last few years of my life teaching PreK in a childcare center, the primary goal was to get my kids reading before Kindergarten. Although a handful of kiddos are wired to achieve this goal, in my Humble (but also Educated, Informed, Experienced) Opinion, it is just not developmentally appropriate. While their brains are amazing little sponges, absorbing all the information I was teaching them, the majority of the ones who were excelling academically were distinctly behind in their social-emotional development. So, with this in mind, I was so ready for a MAJOR change in the way I teach my own children.


With my newfound determination to do better for both me and my kiddos, I purchased a curriculum I had been eyeing for several years called The Peaceful Preschool. You guys, I cannot wait to implement this curriculum in our home. It is so super affordable, and so aesthetically pleasing. And to get ourselves outside more, I bought A Year of Forest School by Jane Worroll and Peter Houghton.


With my library card in gear, we are beyond ready for our lives to be simplified, to add back in some structure, to spend most of our days outside, and to truly begin healing from all the trauma and bumpy transitions this year has wrought.


I don't know about you, but I have to create a ton of structure for myself to make it through each day. And I need to set intentions (and write them down!) at night for how I want the next day to go. This includes being intentional about getting outside. Cue the Forest School book! The book we purchased has a year’s worth of seasonal activities including a full day outside for each season. Journey sticks and cooking over fires and making charcoal to draw with out of twigs! I am SO excited about this.


But first!! To get Cohen out of our summer of lawlessness anti-routine routine. Have mercy!

I started structuring our days a little more intentionally.

-Set my alarm for 7:30 (I’m lucky I have great sleepers!)

-Shower (everyday!!)

-Apply makeup (the nerve!!!)

-And (most importantly) pour some cold brew, ginko and a rhodiola tinctures (ack!!) down my gullet.


With Mama ready to tackle the day, we’d have an easy breakfast, read some books and go for a walk. No joke, I had to write all of this down (including “stay off your phone!!!”) on a post-it and put in on my bathroom mirror for me to see in the morning. If I didn’t do this, which happened MORE than once, the day would go to shiiitttt. Melt-down city for everyone, including me. And cue the scroll-zombie-wasted-day-depression all afternoon. NOT worth it.

But having all these little logistical details got all of our heads in the game and we still have been enjoying the end of our summer.


So, basically, if you're homeschooling and need structure but also need to go easy on yourself and your loved ones and still want to have your mental health, I highly recommend the Peaceful Press. They have a STUNNING, nature-based curriculum for Kindergarten and grade school as well. And if you’re anything like me and need a push to get out of the house and explore, we are just in love with The Forest School’s publications. You're welcome.


As far as a second income? Well, let's hope this blog takes off.


I am so looking forward to sharing our adventures with you this year!


And here's my wish for you:


That you are able to do the thing you know in your heart is best for you, your children and your whole family. That will probably look a lot different than what I think is best for mine. But if you're here, right now, following along with me, I'm giving YOU permission to do the thing you've always wanted to do. If that means homeschooling eight kiddos, YOU DO YOU!


Lots of love,


From this soon-to-be homeschooling homebody to you,


Sarah

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