Updated: Jun 13, 2021
The pandemic has not been easy on anyone, but there have been some silver linings for our family. I wonder, has your family found any silver linings or made any lemonade from lemons?
First I'll start with the fact that in the summer of 2019 I left my teaching job at Hollis Montessori School as an adolescent guide to make a go at our family's dream of living in the mountains. Although the mountains in New Hampshire are a mere 2 hours from the seacoast where we had spend the rest of our married life, in some respects we may as well have moved to another state or country. I was pregnant and once I felt settled enough to venture back out of the small rural town we landed in, my body did not respond well to extensive car travel. Furthermore, the apartment we found ourselves in for the time being was so small it was difficult to invite visitors for dinner, let alone stay overnight. While a few old friends had the time and flexibility to make the trek we were pretty isolated...and then our baby was born in November...and then northern New Hampshire winter set in...and then the pandemic began...
Through the chaos I found that Montessori and parenting podcasts provided me with support, friendly voices and ideas, building on my prior knowledge of Maria Montessori's observations about child development and education. One day as I listened to the Child of the Redwoods podcast, Aubrey Hargis announced she still had room in her online Montessori Primary Level Homeschool Course and registration was closing that day! I jumped in! I wasn't sure when I would make time to watch the videos, do the journaling, try the suggested activities, and participate in the community forum, but I was sure this was the kind of community I needed while I was feeling so isolated. Class started on March 2nd, 2020. We all know what happened a mere few weeks later. The country began to shut down and civil unrest rocked cities around the nation. As things elsewhere seemed to unravel, I for the first time in nearly a year, felt like I actually had community again. It seems strange I know, but this new community of caregivers who were committed to providing their young children with a Montessori environment at home was exactly what I needed at that moment. We helped each other understand the academic material, and supported and cheered for one another as we had success in getting organized, introducing a new lesson, or discovering our children's natural rhythms.
While there were some opportunities for outdoor local connections during the summer months, we found out we would need to move again. On stronger footing this time, with my online community by my side, and the freedom to find a larger space in a more populated area we landed in Littleton, New Hampshire. I started my own business, this one, Growing Home, to support caregivers in connecting together multiple ideas in parenting and education, with an eye on providing in-person offerings to my own local community when the time became right.
My efforts are starting to come to fruition as the summer Nature Adventures program kicks off its weekly sessions (there is still room for local families to join) and our caregiver online workshops, Growing Your Home to Include Nature, continue to run based on interest (you can join from ANYWHERE).
To learn more about Growing Home and our current offerings explore the other parts of this website.
To learn more about my interview with Aubrey at Child of the Redwoods check out: https://www.childoftheredwoods.com/articles/growing-home-together-with-sarah
While you're there you may also discover the courses, workshops, membership community, and podcasts I have referred to above and you won't be disappointed if you check out a few. https://www.childoftheredwoods.com/montessori-parenting-podcast
Other podcasts you may want to explore that I have enjoyed on this journey include:
Unlocking Us with Brene Brown: https://brenebrown.com/podcast/introducing-unlocking-us/
Sage Family Podcast with Rachel Rainbolt: https://sagefamily.com/category/podcast/
The Art of Parenting with Jeanne-Marie Paynel: https://voilamontessori.com/the-art-of-parenting-podcast/