Celebrating Black History Month: Events, Resources, and More!

First celebrated as a week in 1926 by African-American Professor Carter G. Woodson (known as Father of Black History), Black History Month is celebrated annually in the U.S. and Canada from February 1st – March 1st. It grew from a week to become a month-long celebration of the legacy and accomplishments of Black people and communities. In honor of…

Wrapping Up the Fall term of 2021 at Redefining Traditional

Through our blog posts and weekly Facebook posts, Redefining Traditional sought to amplify marginalized voices within both the student-parent communities and the parenting community at large. We aimed to expand the definition of Redefining Traditional parenting experiences beyond the academic…

Pathways to (Redefining Traditional) Parenthood

By Yusur Al-Salman, Redefining Traditional Project Member 

Hello everyone! My name is Yusur Al-Salman. I’m a graduate student at OISE, in the Adult Education and Community Development program. I’m the newest member joining Redefining Traditional Initiative, and I wanted to share how my journey led me to it. 

Yusur sitting in front of a colourful, textured backdrop, smiling to the camera.

Uncertainty has followed most of us diligently into this academic year. I only recently started remembering what it’s like to plan for the coming month, instead of the coming week. In addition to that, I don’t know what pre-pandemic Canada looks like. I landed in one of the evacuation flights in spring of 2020 and it [still] doesn’t make sense that I was seeing snow in April. But the slowness of life at that period allowed many feelings and plans to simmer, between half-thoughts and half-actions. And as life picked up pace now, I find myself carefully opening a tightly shut Pandora’s box. I now allow fears and more distant plans to come up once again, to be acknowledged and discussed. One such plan is motherhood.  

Finding Academic Success and Balance as a Postsecondary Student Parent

Written by J. Sparks – Redefining Traditional Team Member

“How do you do it?”  As a postsecondary student parent, other parents have asked me this question.  When you are a parent, the idea of taking on more responsibility by going back to school can feel discouraging.  “How can I do it?  Can I be academically successful and take care of my family?”  I had asked myself these questions and deliberated before enrolling in graduate studies as a student parent. 

Orange Shirt Day 2021 & National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Please note that this post speaks about residential schools and the meaning behind Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. At Redefining Traditional, we acknowledge that the land in which we work from at the The University of Toronto has been, for thousands of years, the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land. Learn more about which lands you may reside on at and their histories, visit: https://native-land.ca/   or https://www.whose.land/en/ 

Here in Canada, September 30th, we commemorate Orange Shirt Day, a day intended to raise awareness on the centuries long impact Canada’s Residential School System has had on Indigenous communities, knowledge, traditions, and beyond. Orange Shirt day comes from the experience of Phyllis Webstad (Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation), who was six-years-old when she first arrived to a residential school. On her first day of arriving at the school she was stripped of her new orange shirt. You can learn more about Phyllis’s story and the importance of the orange shirt here:  https://www.orangeshirtday.org/phyllis-story.html   

Four Thrifty Tips for Managing Your Family Budget as a Postsecondary Student Parent

By J. Sparks – Redefining Traditional Project Team Member

Icon of a piggy bank, with coins going into it. Icon made by https://www.freepik.com from https://www.flaticon.com

As the start of another academic year approaches, tuition, books and material fees begin to mount and money management becomes top of mind for many postsecondary students, especially for those with family responsibilities.  When I enrolled in graduate school as parent, not only did becoming a student effect our household schedule and routines, it also impacted our family budget.  If you are presently facing the task of doing it all and paying for it all too, below are a few financial tricks and tips that I have found helpful during my postsecondary journey with kids.   

When Downtime Disappears, Forest Bathing Can Help Student Parents Destress

By J. Sparks, Redefining Traditional Project Member

A stack of books. Icon made by https://www.freepik.com

When I was a single, childless, undergraduate student, breaks from class and the time in between classes was when I explored the campus, had a mid-day power a nap in the library or checked-in with my friends over a coffee (or a beer).  After becoming a parent, my on-campus breaks from class, didn’t really feel like breaks at all.  Breaks became precious windows of time that I had to maximize.  Windows of ‘child free’ time in which I needed to prepare for the family responsibilities I would resume promptly after returning home from school.  Brief opportunities to check-in with the babysitter, prepare bottles, grab a few family essentials and/or groceries for the family meal I knew I would have to quickly assemble post-class.