Asalamu alaykum ladies,
A couple of days ago I asked if you would like an insight into how my first week of homeschooling went a few years ago, and many of you were interested, so here it is.
So, my daughter did not go to kindergarten/nursery and I loved having her at home with me; homeschooling wasn’t something I knew of when she was this age but I also didn’t feel the need to put her in school so young.
My plan was always to enrol her into an Islamic school, and around the age of 6 enrolled her. The school was not an ‘Islamic school’ per se, but a school that incorporated Islamic studies and Arabic so I thought it would be the best of both worlds. My plan was always to start work once I had graduated, so home education wasn’t really an option for me; though by this time I had heard of it and thought the concept was really wonderful.
However, after less than a week I realised that school wasn’t the best option for her for numerous reasons and decided to pull her out. Home education wasn’t still my plan B, I actually had no idea what I was going to do, but a friend whose son also attended the same school and had taken him out for the same reasons reminded me of home education. This is how Happy Muslim Homeschool come to fruition, alhamdulillah. Though as you’ll come to know it didn’t remain happy for long…
At this point, I was in my last year of University, still nursing my son, and really really sleep deprived. But I was used to having my kiddos with me, so I wasn’t really worried about how I would manage per se. However, I am the kind of person that throws myself in the deep end with anything, and when it came to homeschool, I made the mistake of doing just that;Qaddara Allahu wa ma sha’a fa’ala!
I began researching routines, suggested schedules, reading homeschool blogs, listening to podcasts, watching day in the lives; I honestly went overboard. I wasn’t on social media at this point and Alhamdulillah for that!
As much as I had been homeschooling my daughter already (our daily routine always involved reading, playing, and baking of some sort), the moment I had labelled myself as a ‘homeschooler’ it was like I had plummeted into a whole other world. Things had to change for sure; I mean I was homeschooling!!
I read a couple of books on home education, specifically ‘The Well Trained Mind’ by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, however, I took pages 254-255 a little too literally – the suggested schedule guide.
I was ready (or so I thought I was) and just a few days after taking my daughter out of school, I’d bought the stationery supplies including big thick English and Math workbooks, printed out worksheets, pinned up a whiteboard and was raring to go!
It started off well alhamdulillah. My daughter was expressing an interest in learning at this point so she was excited. Our lessons for the day looked something like this…
Afternoon; Arts and Crafts/Baking
The lessons were scheduled and also timed. Yes, timed and scheduled. I felt guilty if the lesson finished early thinking maybe it wasn’t thorough enough, and also guilty the lesson overran thinking perhaps I wasn’t teaching it efficiently.
I’d also begun to arrange weekly playdates with other moms. It’s fair to say that I was busy.
And we started off having a good couple of days, alhamdulillah. But towards the end of the week, I was tired. Very tired.
I’d gone from having an enjoyable atmosphere of learning to this military routine. We’d already been most of the above, but there was a rigidity now so I didn’t feel the same. I had over-allocated table work, my son was disruptive (and understandably so) as he wasnt get much attention, and in the process, my house was a total disaster every day!
Coupled with Uni, nursing and sleep deprivation by week two/three I was burned out already. I was irritable, and no longer felt like myself. I was happy that I had taken the step into homeschooling but I felt like I’d burdened myself when I already had so much on my plate. Time with my children used to feel like the relaxed part of my day, and when they would sleep I would complete my Uni work. But now there was no break; everything seemed like ‘brain work’ and I was feeling the strain.
And there you have it. That was how my journey into home education started. I warned you it wasn’t pretty! Alhamdulillah, our homeschool no longer looks that way. If you’d like to read more on how we got out of this rut and the steps I took, comment below and I will write up a part 2 insha’Allah!