Asalamu’alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu sis,
what comes to your mind when I say the phrase ‘balanced homeschool’?
Well, usually when we hear the word ‘balance’, an image of a weight perfectly balancing two things might come to mind, or a see-saw which hangs in mid air, level and straight.
Craving that balance is a common struggle I hear from mothers who I speak to often, because of course we are more than homeschool mothers; we are wives, daughters, aunties, carers, and so much more. And so we want to to excel in all those responsibilities and roles, right? But all around us, there seems to be idea of a ‘balanced’ life which encourages us to split our lives into equally segmented pieces thinking that is the way to go.
But really, is it? Is life about equal proportions or is it more about prioritising?
Just think about your homeschool for a moment – and ask yourself…
Will giving everything exactly the same amount of time and attention make you happy?
Does studying the subjects the same number of times per week make you feel like you’ve got it covered?
When the timer goes off and you feel like it’s obligatory to switch sides, does that really allow you to experience the freedom homeschooling offers?
Or does it make you feel confined, claustrophobic, and discontent?
Most likely, you’ve either tried (or still are trying), the above approach and so it won’t be a surprise to you when it doesn’t quite lead to that ‘picturesque’ balance that maybe you’d visualised.
Because, in the quest to compartmentalise things, we end up confining ourselves yet again, missing out on that freedom to homeschool our children, customising their education, prioritising their deen and tailoring their learning to suit them.
But I get why this happens; sometimes homeschooling can feel too ‘abstract’ and the pressure around us to add more to our day to combat the fear of ‘knowledge gaps’, or ‘missing out can overtake. And we especially are prone to this when our ‘why’ is rusty.
So, our homeschool begins to feel different. It might not feel like how it initially felt. It might not consist of the things that were the most important to us but just small bits of everything. Think just how much you may have visualised Qur’an being an integral part of your day, or Islamic studies a daily subject you study by itself yet interweave it into other areas, or perhaps the number one second language you wanted your child to learn was Arabic so they could understand the Book of Allah in the language it was revealed in.
But you suddenly find your homeschool doesn’t look that way anymore, and that’s probably because you’ve tried too hard to make it all equal or that it’s leaning heavily on the wrong side. Because a balanced homeschool isn’t about giving everything equal time.
It’s giving the most important things the most time, feeling confident that things can be delayed to when your child is ready, avoiding spending too much on time on things that have little significance, and making room in your day to dive in deep into those important things. It’s actually relatively simple, but we tend to over-complicate it!
So as you reflect on your homeschool try to dig deep into possible areas you might have compromised.
And ask yourself questions like…
Are our priorities clear (we have the Qur’an and Sunnah alhamdulillah to show us this).
Do they hold the same weight in our homeschool as they once did?
Which choices were influenced by pressure?
Do we need as much of this as we thought (think Grammar!)
What do we need to keep but can ease off?
What do we NEED yet we seem to have lessened?
Be clear on what really deserves your families attention, and remind yourself this is your MUSLIM homeschool; the raising of your children, in your home.
Know your heavy weights from your light weights – that’s how you’ll gain that balance you crave in sha Allah.
Share your thoughts on what a balanced homeschool means to you below – I’d love to hear from you.
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