Asalamu’alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu ladies, how are you? Things have been busy around here which is why I haven’t managed to publish a blog post for some time; my older kids fell a little behind with some academic work, so we’ve had a short-term routine in place the last couple of weeks to get back on track; Alhamdulillah, we’re almost there! And that leads me in today’s topic, connect first, the learning will come.
Because in the past, these types of adjustments would have been a lot harder for me to cope with; and I don’t mean the organising part of things. Because printing off a checklist or adjusting a schedule or to-do list isn’t all that difficult. But it’s the way I would feel about the change that would be the challenging part. In a nutshell, I’d start to find changing our plans overwhelming.
Because it’s easy to confuse adjusting the plan with…
your plan isn’t enough,
the whole plan isn’t working,
or that you’re simply not cut out for this which is why you have to tweak in the first place.
And these feelings of overwhelm can be difficult to deal with as a homeschool mother who can’t quite separate home and school life. As homeschool mothers, we have to deal with these kinds of changes whilst still homeschooling, keeping the house intact, and feeding our families. We have to not only physically be present, but also emotionally present too. And it’s the emotional strength that many a times we need to be more aware of.
Because in the process of trying to piece together change, we can end up feeling ‘disconnected till we piece things together again’. And that isn’t healthy, or all that useful either is it?
Instead, having a positive approach to adapting, changing, and tweaking along the way is what we need to homeschool happily in sha Allah. Because homeschooling for most of us isn’t this short temporary thing we do or try out. It’s usually a well-intentioned choice we make to continue educating our children for the long term. And so, because it’s long term, there isn’t ever a point you reach in your homeschool where things will always be the same, or smooth in all the things, all the time.
But if we accept that this is part of the journey; then as long as our reasons and intentions to homeschool are clear, taking some detours from our initial plan that we made at the start of the year will be ok, and in many cases is a good thing because we’re adapting to what our family needs which is one of the biggest perks of homeschool right?!
So sis, there’s no need to feel so flustered or take that frustration out on the kids. As much as difficult moments are a learning opportunity for our children, and we encourage them to look at things with a good attitude, the same is for us too. When we need to change things because one of our children is feeling pressured, or the kids aren’t engaged with that particular curriculum or the kids want to do more of something, we also need to make those adjustments with a good attitude too. Just like they are learning, we too are learning right along side them.
And so, if you’re reading this post sis, and you’re new to homeschooling, or you’ve been teaching your children for years, yet you struggle with dealing with the not so smooth bumps in the road, then let’s remind ourselves that change is inevitable. And that after du’a of course, keeping connected is what will help us get through the ups and downs positively in sha Allah.
Because even after simplifying our homeschool, keeping our priorities at the forefront, and decluttering all the add-ons that don’t bring much value, we’ll still need to tweak things along the way; though that tweaking will be more to do with reaching those milestones rather than deciding and changing the milestones constantly!
So tweaking is bound to happen. What’s more important is how we react to the highs and the lows.
We can choose to see it as part of the process, rather than something we do that feels burdensome. It doesn’t need to lead to frustration whilst we fix things. Because we need to keep those connections strong even when things do fall a little off track either from our side or from the kids.
And this will boil down to our attitude, reminding ourselves why we are doing what we are doing day in and day out, doing our best to excel in our roles and responsibilities, and holding onto the connection we have with our children throughout the easy and the more challenging times of homeschool. Because when our attitude aligns with the changes we need to make, and we all feel connected throughout, then the plan feels workable, we’ll all be ready to put in the work in, and in sha Allah, it will all work out.
On the flip side, when we’ve got this beautiful plan drawn up, but we feel daunted, discontent, and even disconnected from our children, then even the most well-thought-out plans won’t be all that useful after all. These ‘tangible’ things we can touch and feel, that make us feel more organised or more in control are often easier to do. Instead, we might find ourselves with beautiful plans, and a not-so-beautiful atmosphere. And we all know that the atmosphere of our home directly impacts how we all feel about learning, taking initiative, and trying our best.
So today, my dear sister, I want to remind me and you me to prioritise that connection; because feeling connected to our children throughout our homeschool journey is essential, regardless of whether you’ve just started homeschooling, been homeschooling for years, you’ve just taken your kids out of public school or you’ve homeschooled from day one.
Connection is a key ingredient in homeschooling with happiness because when we feel connected, learning will come in sha Allah.
For us as mothers, when we feel connected to our children…
it will be easier to work through those Math problems over and over again with your struggling child because you are mindful not to impede their self-confidence.
listening to our child’s muraja’a day after day becomes not only enjoyable and beneficial but also a means to bond.
it’s easier to follow those interests because learning isn’t attached to timed school hours but more so to time together.
And for our children. When they feel connected to us they’ll…
have a better attitude to trying that Math problem over and over again because they feel supported.
also, look forward to doing muraj’a with Ummi because it’s a chance to bond over the book of Allah.
come to us with things they want to learn, rather than complain about being bored constantly because they’ll know we’ll be interested in their interests.
in sha Allah.
So even if you haven’t changed much recently, but you’re finding that the kids don’t like doing their work, don’t look forward to their day, lose interest in that shiny new curriculum or you have to spend so much time nagging just to get the day started, then before you start searching for supplies, take a moment to audit your relationship health reflect upon those all-important connections.
Instead of looking outwardly by accumulating more information about homeschooling to try and fix things, try to look inwardly and ask yourself…
is it a conversation that needs to be had instead of a new curriculum?
do we need to slow down a little, rather than sign up for more activities?
do we need to reevaluate what’s needed and what’s unnecessary?
Especially when we’re living in a time where our connections are constantly competing for our attention. Devices have become heavy distractions; social media can easily steal our attention and the demands of life can make us feel like slowing down isn’t important or even necessary. Because when our children feel disconnected it will show, often in their schoolwork but also other areas of their life too.
Our kids might get their schoolwork done; but they might not feel happy. Things might get done, but the kids might feel miserable. And the same is true for us too. When we feel overwhelmed with dealing with change, change, we too might continue homeschooling, but feel miserable. We might keep trudging along, but it feels heavy and burdensome, rather than us feeling thankful that our children are a blessing from Allah.
We don’t want this for ourselves or for or children, do we?
So sis, remind yourself to connect back to your purpose and to stay connected with your children. When we do this, we’ll look at those tweaks we need to make positively, we’ll make those changes knowing that these are a better fit for our children, and we’ll work with our children to make those changes which will encourage them and us to keep going, learn from what didn’t work that well, and be grateful about what worked well in sha Allah.
And for our children, when they feel connected to us, their resistance reduces, their cooperation increases and then learning will flow in sha Allah.
Before I wrap up this post, I’ve got a free printable to share with you today that will in sha Allah, encourage those connections. Journaling is something that I do with my children often because it encourages our children to reflect, set clear goals, to express themselves, and is something we can all do together and connect over too because all of all ages can get involved and usually enjoy too. It’s such a lovely way to get together and connect even on the busiest of days and is something me and my children enjoy and look forward to.
It’s important to point out here that journaling isn’t a means to vent or complain (which we need to be very careful of). Rather I try to encourage myself and my children to use journaling as a means of self-reflection, improvement and reminding ourselves of all the blessings Allah has given us.
There are over fifty journal prompts; the last page has been left blank so you can write up your own prompts too. For us personally, sometimes I give my children a journal prompt that I feel is important for that particular day; so, for example if one or more of the kids was struggling with schoolwork that morning, I might choose a prompt like ‘(…..) was challenging for me, I will….’ Other days it’s just a prompt that I or one of the kids chooses.
And usually, in the end, I’ll also give the kids the to write about anything they want to journal about personally. They can then share some or all of their reflections if they choose to, or they can keep their reflections private.
To download the free journal prompts, click HERE.
And remember my dear sister, childhood is a short period of our child’s life. Connect back to your purpose, connect with your children, and then connect the dots. And hang in there with a smile.