life Parenting

5 on a Friday: Recs & Changes

April 9, 2021

1- The Life-Restoring Magic of Daily Rituals from the Focus on This podcast. This episode was excellent! Cohost Courtney returned from maternity leave (missed her . . . also, wonder if she’d guest on BLP . . .) and they just did an excellent job with a deep dive into daily rituals.

2- Kelsey’s post on current calendar management was really interesting, as she used to rely on paper and no longer does. I would miss paper so much — but this seems to work for her!

3- I finished Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Just wow. What a fantastic book. An emotional roller coaster, but also fascinating and moving in so many different ways. Highly recommend!

4- School shifts. I mentioned it in passing, and several of you asked about our planned change for next year. Yes, all 3 will attend the same private Montessori school starting next fall. The decision to move Cameron there this year was fairly straightforward: it just felt like the traditional learning environment wasn’t a great fit for him. The pandemic perhaps accelerated our decision-making but I think it would have happened anyway.

Genevieve has been going there since 20 months of age, and she has another 2.5 years before K (in some ways, she seems like she would be closer, but she has a December birthday so K is the 2023-24 academic year).

So, we enrolled A for next year in part because a) we’ve been happy with the school (thus far it has been nurturing lovely place) and b) logistics. If all 3 are there, they could potentially be in one place for 5 years, as it goes to 8th grade. This means just one drop-off, pickup, calendar! This last aspect is more important than I would have thought — I hated that they had different spring breaks this year!

We did have her make the choice herself after a tour — if she had wanted to stay where she was, we would have made it work. But she honestly didn’t even hesitate. I don’t think she’s too worried about the social aspect; she has one very very close friend she will miss, but I think she will be able to remain friends with even if they no longer share a school. They might even eventually go to camp together . . . but that’s another post.

It is not one of the pricier private schools (there are some in our area that cost nearly double). It has a level of diversity similar to the public school — both are just over 50% White — and it is on the way to work for me. There is a focus on nature and G has been able to take swim lessons during the school day. We do not have plans to significantly change our childcare situation right now, but it does give us more flexibility with our nanny’s hours if she does not need to help out with drop off.

Honestly, we had not planned on making the switch and did choose the location of our rental (remember – we don’t own) for the excellent school district. And it is excellent! Annabel has had great experiences, and her teachers these past 2 years have been rock stars. But, here we are. And in truth I know nothing is permanent.

5- Not really related but maybe slightly from a financial standpoint: I’m going back to 1.0 FTE. I was at 0.8, then 0.9, and honestly now that I don’t always have to commute, I haven’t really ‘needed’ my 1 day off in 10. Laura and I have gotten podcasting down to a rather efficient science and I was finding myself doing work (often even going to work meetings) on my ‘off’ days anyway. I will be adding a small amount of clinical time back but my call was already 0.5 (or slightly higher) so that will stay the same.

WELL! Lots of flux around here. Honestly, I think it makes sense to really reassess all of life’s big moving parts every so often and make changes. I’m sure there will be more to come. HAPPY FRIDAY!


  • Reply Marcia (OrganisingQueen) April 9, 2021 at 7:41 am

    Just wanted to pop in and say that you are going to love the logistics with A being at the same school as C and G. I think many of us underestimate logistics and how much happier we are when there is one drop off, one fetch, etc. And the same vacation/ holiday schedule 🙂 🙂

  • Reply Amanda E. April 9, 2021 at 8:11 am

    Very exciting that all three of your kids will be in Montessori next year! I am one of those crazy Montessori parents who just really really LOVE Montessori. It’s like the old joke, “How do you tell a person’s kids go to Montessori school? Oh, they’ll tell you.” We started my son at Montessori for the preschool years and ended up keeping him in the Children’s House through kindergarten for logistics. The Montessori school offered full day kindergarten and our public school only offered half day. Then when it came time for first grade we realized how much we loved the Montessori. We’ve decided to keep both him and his younger sister in their school through elementary.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns April 9, 2021 at 8:51 am

    Logistics are so important! So I totally get why it made sense to have all 3 in one school. I hope it’s a great fit for all of them! That is nice that it goes all the way up to 8th grade!

  • Reply Stacey April 9, 2021 at 8:51 am

    Heads up that the link for item 2 is wrong!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 9, 2021 at 10:17 am

      Oops! Thank you for letting me know! Fixing 🙂

  • Reply Elizabeth April 9, 2021 at 9:30 am

    I liked reading more about your school decision but I hope you do not feel defensive about it because it’s a perfectly reasonable decision! There is no reason you should not have sent all 3 children to any school of your choice from the get-go and there would have been nothing wrong with deciding for a 3rd/4th grader what school to attend. I happen to think that after all the shifting reality of education during the pandemic, a change will not be as jarring as it may have otherwise been and I will be really surprised if this move is anything but great for A individually and your family as a whole. You don’t have to defend your choices and brava to you for recognizing there was a better option for your children and then acting on it rather than maintaining the status quo just for the sake of it.

    Also congrats on going back to 1.0 FTE with more flexible work location! Seems like a great outcome for you.

    • Reply Grateful Kae April 9, 2021 at 9:42 am

      I was going to comment on the choice aspect, too. I totally understand why you wanted to ask Annabel’s opinion, in this case. But I also do think that in many cases, it just needs to be the parents’ decision!! Kids (with their undeveloped, immature brains) are not really going to think through all of the long term outcomes of a school choice or their education. Or, even things like family logistics that could be very relevant. Some kids might likely just choose whatever seems most comfortable, or “fun” to them in the moment, not seeing the big picture.

      We switched my oldest out of public to private a few years ago (for some specific, personal reasons pertaining to him), and he was VERY resistant at first. We really didn’t give him the choice though, since it was a case of us, as his parents, needing to make that important call. Fortunately, it worked out and he LOVES his new school. He is beyond happy and thriving there. I gently point out to him sometimes, “and you didn’t want to switch schools…..” and he now laughs about it, because he is so, so glad he did. It was a night and day situation for us. We also ended up moving our younger son (but waited until the next school year- we moved my oldest midyear). He also loves it and it is so much easier having them at the same school. Besides, the things I liked about the school for my oldest are also positives for my younger child (even though he would have been fine at either school).

  • Reply Sarah K April 9, 2021 at 9:43 am

    Having kids at the same school is so awesome! We got really lucky that the public elementary closest to our house is actually a K-8 school (the middle school is in a separate wing) so even though my kids are 4 grades in school, they will be at the same school for 5 years!

  • Reply Irene April 9, 2021 at 9:47 am

    So interesting to hear more about your thought process for the kids school, thanks for sharing. My daughter is also a different kind of learning and we visited a few Montessori schools as a possibility for her but it just didn’t seem like the right fit. I don’t really know why. A lot of the schools in our area are what I’d describe as hard core Montessori whereas I’ve had friends in other areas say the Montessori label is more for branding and the schools are pretty typical (more whole class teacher lead activities). My son is now at a Montessori preschool and it’s a great fit for him but my kids are really different so I still don’t really know if it would have been good for my daughter. Honestly the biggest selling point of the preschool was the location if I’m honest. I spent way too long in the car the year before the pandemic. Logistics are really important.

  • Reply Meg April 9, 2021 at 10:13 am

    I love the Focus on This podcast so much. I don’t use a Full Focus planner but find it such a useful podcast nonetheless.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 9, 2021 at 11:07 am

      Agree! I’ve been a Full Focus user only intermittently (and I think it’s a great product) but I find the podcast excellent a lot of the time too. I love Courtney + Verbs 🙂

  • Reply Melissa Hall April 9, 2021 at 11:17 am

    My oldest did Montessori through fourth and it was the best decision we ever made. It truly makes a huge difference on their whole approach to learning. Excited for you all!

  • Reply Britney April 9, 2021 at 3:08 pm

    This reminded me that when I was about A’s age (going into 3rd grade) my parents gave me the option of catholic school and I ended up going there from 3-8 and then the Catholic high school after that. We were moving out of my current district so I would have had to change schools anyway (and the new district was better than the old one) but it was overall positive. And if I wanted to go back to public at any point my parents would have been okay with that. My sister was 4 years behind me due to her dec bday and we overlapped at that school for 5 years, which I’m sure was easier for my parents (but we had transportation through the local public school system)

  • Reply Natasha April 9, 2021 at 10:30 pm

    For a few years we had all 3 children at the same private pre-k through 12th grade school and the schedule was SO nice!

  • Reply Anon April 12, 2021 at 3:47 pm

    There is something super cute about the big kids following the baby to her school, rather than the more traditional route. Good luck!

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