Asalamu’alaykum was rahmatullahi was barakatu ladies. How are you? It’s already November, and I’m enjoying the cool winter weather, Alhamdulillah. So today, I thought I would touch upon something very relevant for us all, no matter where we are, how many children we have, and how long we have homeschooled our children for. And that is being present in our homeschool.
Now you might be thinking ‘Umm Saleh, I’m at home with my children, I homeschool them, of course, I’m present with them!‘
But the reality is that even though we might be physically present, we aren’t always emotionally present. These are two very different things.
Now, am I suggesting that every moment of the day, we need to be doing things with our children all day long to be present; nope, not at all. Life has challenging moments, and we, as parents and as adults, are ultimately responsible for our families, so naturally, there may be times when we are trying to deal with a particular thing, cope with a particular circumstance, or a life change. And for that period of time, the dynamics of our home might look different in those times, and for sure, our homeschools will too.
But I’m not referring to these times too. because ultimately, we will have things to take care of outside of homeschool too.
What I’m referring to is not being present in our homeschool because we’re distracted by something that isn’t a need, isn’t that important, or really just consumes time and focus from the things that are more important.
Because we’re living in a day and age where our phones have become like an outside gateway to the rest of the world, even whilst we are sat within the confines of our homes. It’s like the world at your fingertips, a plethora of information. Your eyes can hop from one thing to something completely unrelated in a matter of seconds, and you can begin to feel overwhelmed by barely moving.
And I think you’ll agree with me sis when I say that more and more of us are beginning to grow an unhealthy attachment to our devices.
Let me just read you a few statistics to help you and I really grasp this.
- Most people, on average, spend 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phones each day.
- Half of all phone pickups happen within 3 minutes of a previous one.
- Most people check their phones 58 times a day!
When you think of things this way, you really begin to see just how our phone usage can snowball out of control. And just how much time we can actually spend on our phones is pretty shocking!
So, we might not have left the house.
Made any calls.
Or had any visitors.
But that smartphone may just have outsmarted us. And impacted us being present in our homeschool.
But it isn’t just the time factor I wanted to touch upon. Because I’m sure, you’ll agree with me when I say there are more consequences to having an unhealthy attachment to our phone than just taking up valuable time, which is a HUGE consequence in and of itself.
What about the impact this has on our children.
Missing out on those moments to listen, fully engage, and give our kids our whole hearted attention, which they need.
Feeling flustered because you’re focused on so much at once, that nothing really gets done properly.
A growing fear that you’re missing out on something which makes you feel OBLIGED to log on.
A need for validation from others who hardly know you, which takes an emotional toll on you.
These are also potential pitfalls of allowing our phones to take up so much of our time.
Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t use our phones. Rather that we should be mindful of how much and what we use our phones for.
And the reason I wanted to bring this up, is that we as homeschool mothers are NOT exempt from this. Just because our children are at home with us, it doesn’t mean to say that we are by default present with them.
Because being present with those around us is a conscious effort we have to make.
Because physical presence isn’t always emotional connection.
Because in a world that encourages social media, it’s easy to become less available to those close to us.
Because just because we’re present, we can still be absent.
And to successfully homeschool, it’s important that we are fully engaged with our children. And that also we are present with our own actions too because we are ultimately displaying behaviour that our children will model. This includes the relationship with our phones or any devices for that matter, too, right? Because the relationship with our devices is linked to how we spend our time, what we time our time on, and also what we use things for, something beneficial or otherwise.
Imagine for a moment looking from the outside in; being a child and seeing our parent speak to us or listen to us, but without complete attention. We may be listening, but our eyes are glued to the phone.
Or maybe we’re in the middle of a deep conversation, but a notification pops us, and all of a sudden that popup takes priority.
Or that we’re more about capturing a moment than being present in the moment.
These are things I’ve thought about often during my homeschool journey; so much so that it shaped how I reach out to my readers (no social media) and even how I run my support group, which encourages coming in your own time and leaving in good time.
So sis, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed lately, struggling to get things done, or feeling like your homeschool doesn’t feel as engaging as you’d like, then reflect on your habits, specifically when it comes to your phone or devices in general.
Because when we are fully present, we can teach our children in the simplest of ways. Through uninterrupted conversation, with a paper and pencil, reading, and listening to something beneficial together. Yet, we might have something super elaborate set up for our kids, but if we’re only half-heartedly engaged, that particular activity won’t really feel fulfilling for both you and the kids.
So though it may seem like an obvious one. It’s an important one. Being present is a crucial factor in how our homeschool feels and runs. Let us reflect on where our time is spent so that we can be fully present for those closest to us.
I hope this post was useful for you sis. And if you’re looking for ongoing support in your Muslim Homeschool without the overwhelm, join us in The Muslim Home & School Maker Membership.