Protect against Title IX and submit a comment by September 12, 2022.

The US Department of Education released their proposed changes to Title IX regulations that would dramatically change the future for women and girls in federally funded activities and programs. There are many negative impacts that will harm girls, women, and families.

A government portal has been set up for you to make a comment submission.  It is very straight-forward and easy to do.  In addition, this governmental body is required to read every submission, large and small – before they can finalize the new “Rule.”  So rest assured, your input will be read and considered.


By Jillian Celmo

A year ago our family made the decision to pull our oldest child out of public school and began homeschooling him. Zephyr was five years old and in Kindergarten. He had loved it so much but something changed after Christmas break, and our once happy boy was now miserable. The transition to homeschooling felt scary and overwhelming. The first week consisted of Zephyr and his three-year-old sister, Aero, sitting in front of the TV while I tried to figure out what I was doing. I spent hours researching and praying, trying to figure out what I would do next.

Some of the information I came across those first few days made the biggest impact on how we now live our lives. First, I came across Wild + Free, a movement in homeschooling that calls for letting children fully experience their childhood and commune with nature. Second, I read a statistic that kids spend only four to seven minutes outside in unstructured play compared to up to seven hours in front of screens a day. This information was hard to digest as I sat in my living room on my screen and my kids watched countless hours of TV. I tried to remember the last time we had gone outside for pleasure and I honestly couldn’t remember. I felt the pull to reevaluate our lives and do better for my children and myself.

I still remember our first outing as a homeschooling family out in nature. I had found our local Forest School and promised myself we would attend that week. I went with high hopes that my children would be wild and at one with nature. I honestly thought it would be that easy. We showed up and within minutes my kids were complaining and miserable. I gritted my teeth and explained to them that this was fun and they would enjoy it. I almost cried when they started begging for TV on the drive home. This was when I realized that adding nature to our days would not be enough; we needed to cut out the screen time too.

That day, we came home and I did the hardest thing: I put the remotes out of reach and told myself we wouldn’t turn the TV on all day. It was a painful transition, but we did it. And then we did it the next day. And the next. I realized that I was just as addicted to screens as the kids were. I was so accustomed to having the TV as background noise all day that I didn’t know how to handle the quiet. Not that it was quiet those first few days since my home was filled with the incessant complaints and whines of my children begging for shows because they were so bored.

I did my best to stick it out. I knew it was only a matter of time before we all adjusted to our new normal. I encouraged play in the backyard and bought all sorts of crafts and LEGOs to help keep them entertained. I discovered podcasts and rediscovered favorite audiobooks and music. And of course, I continued to venture out to nature for unstructured play as often as possible. It was during these first few weeks of homeschooling that I did something crazy and decided to start a local chapter of Wild + Free. I believed that in starting a nature-based homeschool community in my area the kids and I would learn to love nature.

It was a gradual change. Slowly, they asked for screens less and less. On our weekly outings with our Wild + Free group, they complained less and less. Then, like magic, I realized one day that we hadn’t had screens on in at least a week and no one even mentioned it that day. At our weekly Wild + Free outing, my kids cried that they wanted to stay and play and explore longer. I sat and reflected, realizing that our whole lives had changed and all it took was some perseverance.

I know I am not alone in my experience. And I most certainly do not have a magical talent that makes me immune to the whining and complaints. It was a hard transition but what I found is that my kids whine less now. The days we watch a bit of TV are actually the days that they complain and whine more. As soon as they became accustomed to not having screens, they started playing quietly and independently better. They stopped asking for me every second and I finally got a second to myself.

We joined the 1000 hours outside movement at the start of this year. The premise is simple: spend three hours outside a day, oftentimes the amount of time you may be spending in front of screens, and at the end of the year you will have spent 1000 hours outside. We are not perfect at it. Some days we are outside all day and others it is maybe twenty to thirty minutes in the backyard, but it feels so good to be working towards a goal. In January we were able to spend 113 hours outside.

Along with this goal, I have added one more for our family. It is simply to count our screen time too. January we spent less than twelve hours watching TV and I am happy to say many of those hours were spent intentionally watching movies as a family. I don’t do this to try and show off, I do it to help myself be more mindful of how our family spends our time.

It was hard at times, but now looking back on the past year, it was totally worth it. If you take even a little bit of time you will find the benefits to outside play are endless. Screens and technology are not going anywhere but I can choose how much to allow them into our lives. I can be more mindful of how we spend our time. I do this by tracking our screen time as well as our green time. It may seem like a lot but I can tell you from experience, our lives are so much richer now.

Jillian Celmo is a homeschool mom to her three young children (7, 4, and 3 months). She lives in Southern California and enjoys camping with her family, exploring nature with her Wild + Free community, and reading. She is currently attending BYU-I and will be graduating in December 2021 with a degree in Marriage and Family Studies.