Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu ladies.
A lot of you enjoyed reading my last blog post ‘my first week of homeschooling’ and wanted to know more about how I recovered from a painful start. Yes, recovered!
And I’ll be honest, recovery certainly didn’t come overnight. That pressure I felt lasted for a good few months. I had convinced myself that homeschooling at this stage had to be lengthy to be adequate. My daughter was only six, and we had been homeschooling pretty much since she was young, but when that label of ‘homeschool’ came about, for some reason I didn’t feel confident enough to just keep things the same and add to our current learning. I felt I had to reinvent our learning journey, not necessarily recreating school at home, but copying someone else’s homeschool.
And that mindset was difficult to shake off. I had convinced myself homeschooling was timed, looked organised, was fully of planned activities and it was obligatory to have a sensory bin for each day of the week; my standard of learning wasn’t good enough and I had to up the game.
But after months of struggle and consistent burnout, I just stopped. I remember feeling so sleep deprived because of nursing, and late nights finishing my dissertation I had morphed into a complete mombie; surviving on coffee, energy drinks and comfort eating.
My state had really begun to affect my emaan aswell. I say this because this is what really pinched me the most and triggered a need for change. The decision I had made to homeschool my child was for me to raise my child upon righteousness and to the best of my ability, yet why was it making me feel so low?
So I took a step back. We took a little time off, and in that time I reflected. Because although I had an intention to homeschool, it wasn’t concrete. So I started off journalling about my intention to homeschool. This would serve as a boost not only on my good days but also my not so good days.
I also thought about what things were a priority for my family, not someone else’s. As this would ultimately shape the framework for my homeschool. So I stripped away all the things I thought didn’t need any formal learning yet, and chose to focus on our core subjects which included Qur’an and Arabic.
Alhamdulillah, after some time off, much-needed sleep and armed with my intention and a schedule half the size I was raring to go.
Was it all plain sailing after that? No. But it was much much better, alhamdulillah. The organised scheduled mom still felt stressed when we started late or table work for whatever reason didn’t get done at all. But that rigidity loosened over time as I began to witness what we did was working, and it was enough, alhamdulillah.
I started to feel more relaxed if our morning work consisted of watching a documentary at breakfast whilst I nursed the baby. I no longer felt the need to have a Montessori showroom of learning for my daughter to walk into every morning because playdough and Lego were just as fascinating for her, if not even more. But remember, this is not me telling you not to set up activities, but rather do what works for your family, out of joy and not due to pressure!
I dropped the expectation that my son will or even should silently play whilst I taught his sister. Instead, we utilised nap times for tablework, and if he woke up we would simply sit on the floor instead so he was close and carry on.
My homeschool was beginning to shape up, and I had begun to feel the way of my teaching my children was sufficient.
And if there’s anything I’d like you to take away from reading about my experience is to make a clear intention and do what you feel is best. You don’t need labels to make your homeschool worthy or to be well versed in every single homeschool philosophy to feel qualified.
Neither do you need to make any drastic changes, especially when your kiddos are young. I remember when I started homeschooling always wondering how other homeschool moms seemed to be doing some sort of activity all day long whereas my children would play with a sensory bin for ten minutes at most and then get bored and revert back to simple play or be happy with a trip to the park.
And that is the key here. Homeschooling is a lifestyle NOT A LIFE SENTENCE. It will change, grow, develop with the seasons of life you’re in. Homeschooling takes longer for us now, now that my kids are older. But even then it’s part of life, not life itself. When your children are younger enjoy that learning is simple and short and resist the urge to be ‘busy’ for the sake of it.
Remember, homeschooling is the way a family chooses to live,
it’s not there to dictate how we should live.
So there you have it. My slow yet eventual journey to recovery from our first few weeks of homeschooling. It wasn’t always happy, but within those ‘unhappy’ days I learned a lot about laying down the foundations for my homeschool.
And all goodness is from Allah!
How did your first week/few weeks of homeschooling go? I’d love to hear your experiences too. Comment below!