Monday musings

It’s back to Lockdown 3, here in the U.K. , back to parents being thrown in the ever so exciting “online schooling”, while also working and trying to do the other hundred billions roles that we all usually do. Here is some Monday motivation , in case you need it :

“In the realm of homeschooling and parenting , social media – fuelled pressure can feel particularly pronounced .”

Isn’t this so true? I do think it’s much more pronounced during lockdowns in particular , when we are spending much more time with our gadgets and checking in on Instagram and Facebook and seeing what everyone is up to and how their homeschooling , online schooling is going during these challenging times.

I think it’s always good to remind ourselves , even more so now than ever , to never ever ever get Distracted by what others are doing ( am including myself here ) . You look at how others are home educating , parenting and how they are rocking online schooling and multitasking , their beautiful laid out tables with engaging arts and crafts and various exquisite curriculums , and you suddenly start feeling very inadequate , combined with feelings of guilt , that , well, your homeschool / house / doesn’t look like theirs . You want some of that “magic “too and assume that if you just followed their magic formula, your homeschool would turn like theirs. The reality is that “ the fishbowl living of social media has put an entirely new spin on keeping up with the Joneses . It’s made it all to easy to lay someone else’s perfectly contrived picture over your home like a template. But you can’t just copy- paste your way to success” .

So don’t feel guilty , put those fears away and remind yourself that – my homeschool is not supposed to look like yours and yours is not supposed to look like mine . Stop looking at your deficiencies and what you or your children are not good at . Walk a different path and own it – the one that is right for your family ❤️

My Top 10 Books for Children Aged 9-12 (2020)

And just like that 2020 is coming to an end ! With so many lockdowns here in the UK and many of our homeschooling activities being cancelled , one positive thing that has come out of it, is my older children ( 11 and nearly 10) spending even more time reading books.

In this Blog post, I am sharing their TOP 10 favourite books, read in 2020. Some of the books were published in 2020, others weren’t . I have provided Amazon links to all of them. Please note that these are affiliated links .

1. The Night Hero Bus ” by Onjali Rauf

We are big fans of the super talented Onjali Rauf. My children loved reading ” The Boy at the back of the class ” and “The star outside my window”. If you have not read them, then you are definitely missing out. I will tell you what I absolutely love about her books ( having read her first two myself ) that she is one of the very very few authors that deals with issues that can be really often hard to be understood by children and needless to say written in a super child friendly and compassionate way, whether it’s refugees or domestic violence or homelessness ( the topic she explores in her latest book) . The night Bus Hero “ is aimed for children aged 9-11.

Here is the blurb :

I’ve been getting into trouble for as long I can remember. Usually I don’t mind ‘cos some of my best, most brilliant ideas have come from sitting in detention.

But recently it feels like no one believes me about anything – even when I’m telling the truth! And it’s only gotten worse since I played a prank on the old man who lives in the park.Everyone thinks I’m just a bully. They don’t believe I could be a hero.But I’m going to prove them all wrong…Told from the perspective of a bully, this book explores themes of bullying and homelessness, while celebrating kindness, friendship and the potential everyone has to change for the good. “

2. “A Thousand Questions “ by Saadia Faruqi

My 11 year old daughter absolutely loved this book . She told me that it reminded her a lot of Bangladesh and she has been recommending it to her friends too. The book is aimed for children aged 8-12. I do think it will be enjoyed more by girls rather than boys . Here is the blurb:

Set against the backdrop of Karachi, Pakistan, Saadia Faruqi’s tender and honest middle grade novel tells the story of two girls navigating a summer of change and family upheaval with kind hearts, big dreams, and all the right questions.

Mimi is not thrilled to be spending her summer in Karachi, Pakistan, with grandparents she’s never met. Secretly, she wishes to find her long-absent father, and plans to write to him in her beautiful new journal.

The cook’s daughter, Sakina, still hasn’t told her parents that she’ll be accepted to school only if she can improve her English test score—but then, how could her family possibly afford to lose the money she earns working with her Abba in a rich family’s kitchen?Although the girls seem totally incompatible at first, as the summer goes on, Sakina and Mimi realize that they have plenty in common—and that they each need the other to get what they want most.

This relatable and empathetic story about two friends coming to understand each other will resonate with readers who loved Other Words for Home and Front Desk. “

3. “A place at the table “ by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan

As soon as my daughter finished “ A thousand questions “, she asked me if the author has written another book for older children and behold a few weeks later I found out from the Instagram page of Saadia Faruqi , that she wrote another book this year together with Laura Shovan . The book didn’t disappoint and was once again absolutely loved by my daughter . The book is aimed for children aged 10-12 .

“A timely, accessible, and beautifully written story exploring themes of food, friendship, family and what it means to belong, featuring sixth graders Sara, a Pakistani American, and Elizabeth, a white, Jewish girl taking a South Asian cooking class taught by Sara’s mom.Sixth graders Sara and Elizabeth could not be more different. Sara is at a new school that is completely unlike the small Islamic school she used to attend. Elizabeth has her own problems: her British mum has been struggling with depression. The girls meet in an after-school South Asian cooking class, which Elizabeth takes because her mom has stopped cooking, and which Sara, who hates to cook, is forced to attend because her mother is the teacher. The girls form a shaky alliance that gradually deepens, and they make plans to create the most amazing, mouth-watering cross-cultural dish together and win a spot on a local food show. They make good cooking partners . . . but can they learn to trust each other enough to become true friends?”

4. “The House of Ibn Kathir “ by S N Jalali

There are two books by the author – “ The competition begins “ and “ Year Captain”- I can honestly only give praise to these two books and I cannot recommend them highly enough . My son absolutely loved them and without exaggeration didn’t put them down until he finished reading them . And believe me, they are thick books . It’s truly amazing to see books like this for Muslim pre teens and teens. Thoroughly recommend them and I hope the author writes more . My son mentioned that the books are like “ Mallory towers “ but for Muslim children.

It’s Yusif’s first time away from home to boarding school. The Dar Al Ilm Academy seemed to be the ideal place for him to pursue his studies, and achieve one of his lifelong ambitions – to memorise the Qur’an – or so his parents had decided… However, within the impressive walls of the old school, Yusif finds himself with more on his hands than he had bargained for. With house competitions, the pressure to become year captain, and some very mysterious goings-on, Dar Al Ilm has more in store for him than he had ever imagined! Following on from the tradition of popular adventure stories of old such as Enid Blyton’s Famous Five or Malory Towers, The House of Ibn Kathir – The Competition Begins is an exciting illustrated children’s novel where traditional story telling is interwoven with Islamic knowledge and values creating a fun, adventure packed, new genre for older Muslim children to read. Bought from Anafiya Gifts

5. “ Incredible Rescue Mission – Book 3 Planet Omar By Zanib Mian

We are massive fans of the super talented Zanib Mian and we have nearly every single book written by her . My children were patiently waiting for the third book of Planet Omar to be released this year . Needless to say , we all absolutely loved it . And if you haven’t read anything from Zanib Mian , well , you are missing out .

Welcome back to Planet Omar! The third book in Zanib Mian’s laugh-out-loud series, with amazing cartoon-style illustrations from Nasaya Mafaridik. Perfect for fans of Tom Gates and Wimpy Kid.When Omar and his friends come back after the school holidays, their lovely teacher seems to have been replaced by somebody much more grumpy. Overhearing other teachers talking about her, Omar decides something terrible has happened. Could she possibly have been abducted by … aliens?! Omar persuades his friends to mount a rescue mission but what they find is very surprising! “

“Incredible Rescue Mission “ can be bought from https://www.thebookmart.co.uk/product-category/shop/

6. “The Adventures of Ahmad Deen and Layla Deen” by Yahiya Emerick .

This is an omnibus edition collecting all four of the Deen Family adventure stories into one volume. There are two stories about Layla Deen and two about Ahmad Deen. The adventures chronicle the lives of two Muslim American teenagers as they negotiate the pitfalls of life in the modern world even as they learn a lot about themselves and their place in the world. Fast-paced action and moral lessons throughout.”

My daughter enjoyed reading these stories and this book is definitely targeted at older children aged 11/12 and above.

7. “ Boy , everywhere “ by A M Dassu

If you are looking for an inspirational and moving read for your older children, then make sure you gift them this brilliant book . My 11 year old daughter recently read it and absolutely loved it . She even asked if the author has written another one. And you know one of the signs of someone enjoying their book , is when they go around convincing all the other family members that they must read it . So I am also reading it at the moment and half way through , I can also confirm that it’s just a beautifully written book that not only children but also adults should read . We have read so many other brilliant books about refugees, but there are very very few that depict the whole journey from country of origin, home, to resettling and rebuilding a life. And this is one of those books . It is an emotional read so be prepared to shed more than a few tears too . Thoroughly recommend .

Here is the blurb : “This debut middle-grade novel chronicles the harrowing journey taken by Sami and his family from privilege to poverty, across countries and continents, from a comfortable life in Damascus, via a smuggler’s den in Turkey, to a prison in Manchester. A story of survival, of family, of bravery … In a world where we are told to see refugees as the ‘other’, this story will remind readers that ‘they’ are also ‘us’.”

8.” Amina’s Voice “ by Hena Khan

My daughter really enjoyed reading this book. It is a heartwarming story of a girl just entering middle school and trying to figure out who she is. Hena Khan is a super talented author and we already have quite a few of her books ( “Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns” and “It’s Ramadan, Curious George “. She does a brilliant job of describing the feelings of the main character and the common feeling children have as they enter those awkward middle school years. This book is set in the USA but anyone living in the UK will also enjoy reading it .
..
.. “ Amina’s anxieties are entirely relatable, but it’s her sweet-hearted nature that makes her such a winning protagonist.
A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community in this “compassionate, timely novel. Amina’s Voice brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani-American and highlights the many ways in which one girl’s voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other. “

Reading Level- 8-12 years old. “Amina’s voice “ can be bought from Amazon

9. “Other words for Home “ by Jasmine Warga

This is really a beautiful and super inspirational read and I cannot praise it highly enough . Both my daughter and I read it and we loved it . It’s aimed at children aged 8-12, although I would say that an 8 year old may struggle reading it , so I would recommend it more for children aged 9/10 and above . Here is the blurb :

“A gorgeously written, hopeful middle grade novel in verse about a young girl who must leave Syria to move to the United States, perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds and Aisha Saeed. Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.
..
..
At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US–and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises–there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is. This lyrical, life-affirming story is about losing and finding home and, most importantly, finding yourself. “

10. “ When Wings expand “ by Mehded Maryam Sinclair

This is one incredible and beautiful read. Make sure you have lots of tissues nearby because you will be crying . A powerful and emotional read – I am also, myself , a big fan of Maryam’s writing and this just didn’t disappoint at all . I would definitely recommend for children aged 10//11 and above but also adults would love reading this gem too. Here are the details :

. “Winner of the Unpublished Muslim Writer’s Award 2011. Writing on the pages of her journal, Nur, a teenage girl in Canada, charts the onset and advance of her mother’s cancer. Nur watches her mother’s body begin to shrink and her mood begin to darken. And when family and friends begin to encroach, Nur must face the prospect of her mother’s looming death…..”

Mehded Maryam Sinclair is such a talented writer ( we have her children’s books as well ) and she truly is an amazing story teller. She has done an incredible job of dealing with death in such a delicate and beautiful way. “This is a book full of hope. A hope that dispels many fears that people have surrounding death and turns them into wings that long to take flight. “. I also absolutely loved how verses of the Quran were so beautifully intertwined in the whole story . Truly , truly a must read . Bought from Kube Publishing –https://www.kubepublishing.com

This blog post is in collaboration with some other lovely bloggers , who are also sharing their children’s favourite books for 2020. I have included all the links below :

Fozia , aka Muslim Mummy is sharing her top 5 Islamic children’s books- http://Mines live https://www.muslimmummies.com/2020/12/our-top-5-islamic-childrens-books-of-2020/

Hafsa , aka Mama Teaches Me is sharing her Top 10 favourite Islamic books for children- https://www.mamateachesme.com/2020/12/28/our-top-10-favourite-islamic-books-for-children-2020/?fbclid=IwAR1gXf1-s8eMhcM0-iZddK8oH9U67tFoYCBzBxNC8xkocRrpu7_hvFq4AT4

Don’t work harder than your kids

Early in my homeschooling journey , I remember being obsessed with trying to find entertaining and beautiful unit studies , cutting out countless lap book pieces and printing off lots of “activities . What used to happened most of the time was – my kids at that time 6 and 4 rushing through all my hard work and be ready in less than ten minutes for the next thing.
I used to be exhausted . As more kids were added, it became difficult to maintain this , I didn’t have the time to print or make elaborate studies ..

And then I just realised that I actually need to wisen up and play it much more cleverly . And I did, I started buying the odd workbooks here and there , invested in a few curriculums throughout the years – some worked , some didn’t . But I stopped trying to print out elaborate activities . I cut out our school time time to the most important ( Quran, maths , bit of handwriting and lots of read alouds ) and let my children play for most part . I stopped working so hard .

I stopped searching the internet and Pinterest for the perfect printable . I stopped complicating things and realised that actually simple is often so much better than complex . Any child below the age of 10|11 needs a bit of instruction in reading , spelling and maths . They need a bit of handwriting and dictation or free writing . And let’s not forget – the most important thing they need many many good books available for them to read for their own reading – science , geography, history , nature , people .

I also learnt to delegate tasks as my children got older and more Independent . I get my 11 and 9 year old to check their own work all the time ( spellings and maths for example )

I remember reading an interview with a homeschool parent a few years back that pointed something so wisely “ My children’s education is only the better for it . They are the ones who are learning , so they are the ones that should be putting in the effort . It is not up to us to spoon feed them regurgitated content and ideas . When we do the work for them , we are stealing that accomplishment from them. So, mamas don’t work harder than your kids.

7 Tips On How To Spend More Time Outdoors

It’s the time of the year , when it’s getting more and more difficult to go outside and explore nature with our children . Gone is the sunshine and for those who live in the U.K- it certainly means more and more rain. Sometimes, it can be really hard to get that motivation and push to explore the great outdoors when it’s gloomy and rainy outside.

Below you will find some tips and advice on how to change your mindset and be able to go outdoors more often , no matter what the weather. I have also taken inspiration from one fantastic book written by Swedish mother of 2 Linda Mcgurk ” There’s no such thing as bad weather”.

  • “There is no such thing as bad weather , only bad clothes “- I think , we have all heard of this famous saying , which actually comes from the Scandinavian countries. One thing to remember is that a comfortable child can play outside for hours, so make sure you invest in high quality waterproof clothing, that lasts. I can definitely testify to this and with 5 children, all of them have had “hand me downs ” from my older kids- this is how durable they have been.
  • Fresh air is good for you– it sounds so simple right, but easily forgotten too. As Jean Rousseu says “ Fresh air affects children’s constitutions , particularly in early years. It enters every pore of a soft and tender skin, it has a powerful effect on their young bodies. Its effects can never be destroyed. “ Spending more time outdoors can reduce the risk for vitamin D deficiency, obesity and depression. This applies, of course not just for our children, but for us, adults too.
  • Unstructured outdoor play has everything children need for healthy, physical, social and cognitive development in the early years. Older children need time to play too ! In one of my favourite books ” Balanced and Barefoot: How unstructured outdoor play makes for strong , confident and capable children”, Angela Hanscom writes ” When their senses are engaged, they are strengthening their sensory skills. And strong sensory integration results in a higher incidence of learning .”
  • A little dirt won’t hurt – try to embrace the weather for what it is, and let your child run wild and get dirty while playing outdoors. I have to admit, some of the best nature experiences that my children have definitely been the ones that happened during rain and not sunshine lol. Just don’t ask me to show you the state of my car. One thing is for sure, our modern indoor lifestyle has made children too too clean and I do believe that it has triggered an epidemic of immunological disorders.
  • Freedom with responsibility– children need risky play to learn how to assess risk and prepare for adulthood. As Leonare Skenazy reminds us poignantly ” You don’t remember the times your dad held your handle bars. You remember the day he let go “. There are plenty of studies done on risky play and one of its biggest advocate is Peter Gray, who says that not only risky play is beneficial to children’s health and development, but depriving them of it can cause harm. According to him , risky play is nature’s way for children to teach themselves emotional resilience and learn how to manage and overcome their fears.
  • Unplug to connect– One thing is for sure, the internet has changed the way we live. There is really no magic number of hours of screen time per day that works for everybody, so make sure you the ideal level for your family. At the end of the day, if you find that electronic gadgets are stealing too much time from outdoor activities and active play with other children, then it is probably time to cut it back
  • We are one with nature – Children and nature make a really good fit. By immersing our children in the natural world early. we are ultimately increasing the chances of them wanting to take care of it later in life. As Richard Louve says -” Nobody wants to be in the last generation that remebers when it was considered normal and expected for children to go outside and play. Nobody.

“There is no such thing as bad weather” By Linda McGurk can be bought from Amazon-https://amzn.to/2VI9jrN. Please note that this blog post contains affiliated links.

Homeschooling-the Magnificent waste of time

I have been on a reflective mode recently , so I thought I will share this beautiful quote from ” A Gracious Space ” by Julie Bogart:

 “To feel groovy , you have to let yourself move slowly , savour , find a rhythm and stick to it , meander.

Home education is a trip on side streets . It’s the wasted time of sleeping in and running late. It’s The long straggly gaggle of children , strollers making their way across a crowded , dangerous parking lot to a museum . Inside , an hour spent looking at three paintings is plenty .

Home education means charging forward with new materials and slogging slowly through old, comfortable ones . Homeschool means that when a child begs to be read the next chapter , we do even if it means staying up a little later …

No one wants to stop reading poetry … so some days you don’t stop , it’s wonderfully okay . When the sun comes out after its long absence , kicking a football in the backyard is on task and feels right . No one misses the phonics workbook that day yet everyone knows it’s not gone forever. Just for today – this one glorious day of nothing but sunshine .

Homeschooling is a magnificent waste of time – it refuses to be boxed into systems, schedules and requirements . It’s the long , lazy loving look at learning through the eyes of Children. It takes time – time you don’t have , time you are not used to spending in all your adult hurry . Give in . Let go ❤️ “

On Staying responsive

If there is one advice that I will give anyone who home educates is this – never allow a system for education to replace love for individuals . The longer you home educate , the more you realise how true this is . Last night, I was re reading a chapter from “ A gracious Space “ by Julie Bogart ( I thoroughly recommend her books btw ) and this was staring at me , so I thought I would share it :

“ If you value learning together with your children, homeschool is not a task you complete one day and then you are done . Rather it’s an ongoing source of relationship and self- education that your family will share throughout their lives .

All the choices you make shape who you become to each other . It’s okay that you didn’t find the right system earlier . There is no right system ! There is you, your family , and what you stumble upon that helps you each year as you move forward in life . Promise yourself one thing , and I think you will be okay :

Stay responsive
Stay responsive to the moment (what’s working , what isn’t ?)
Stay responsive to the child ( what’s working for the child / what isn’t )
Stay responsive to new input ( don’t disqualify any educational idea or tool because you are afraid you will look bad to some group of homeschoolers )

Allow your homeschool to evolve , morph , grow or shrink . Stick up for your choices in the face of pressure to feel badly about them. Do not adopt a system or a set of values and belief that trump the individuals who live in your home . There is no right system .

There is only your family . Love them and pay attention to them . Be satisfied with your unique blend of quality ideas that you sift and apply to your family , trusting that all together , you have created a life that values learning . If you ever feel belittled or shamed about the choices you make for your family , leave that group. Protect your family for judgement . Stand up for yourself . Learn. Enjoy ! “

10 Homeschooling Tips for Beginners

A few weeks ago, I read a brilliant homeschooling related book, called ” Homeschoolers are not hermits ( A practical guide on raising smart, confident and socially connected Kids ) ” by Kathy Oaks. I will be writing a separate review of the book on another blog post. But I wanted to share with you some of her tips that she gives to new homeschoolers or anyone considering home education. Below you will find my summary of her tips. Hope you find them useful.

  • There are lots of benefits to homeschooling, and different families will value different benefits. Be involved and engaged with your child, have fun and relax. If things are not working , try something different.
  • Believe in yourself! You and your children can succeed and you will find all the resources you need if you just keep moving forward and doing the best you can every day.
  • Take time off before jumping in to homeschooling. Remember to play together as a family and with friends. Learning and living should be fun, for you as well as your children
  • The hardest thing about socialisation for homeschoolers is convincing your friends and family that you are not ruining your children. Opportunities are around- make friends and have fun.
  • Take a deep breath and plenty of you-time and remind yourself that you and your children are doing the best you can with the resources you have It’s about growing and learning and not about being perfect and that holds true for all of us.
  • What homeschooling looks like for your family will most likely change and evolve over time, that is as it should be
  • Homeschooling is not a Panacea and it is not for everyone, but it is not as hard as you might think.
  • Don’t wait for others to find you. Be proactive and go find the homeschool group you are looking for. You may have to visit several to find one that is a good fit or start one yourself.
  • You cannot stop people from learning. We are all programmed from birth to learn constantly. Help your children understand how they learn best and where to find resources and that learning should be fun, interesting and relevant
  • And last but not least, you can homeschool whther you loved or hated school. or were somewhere in the middle.

“Homeschoolers are not Hermits” by Kathy Oaks can be bought from Amazon https://amzn.to/2JtMYvw . Please note that this blog post used affiliated links .

In the Early Hours ( Reflections on spiritual and self development) by Khurram Murad – Book Review

November was a great month for me in terms of reading books. Unlike, the first Lockdown , when I barely managed to read even one ( even though I had high expectations), this time around was different and I managed to read quite a few inspirational books.

If you are in need of something spiritually uplifting, then treat yourself by getting this gem ” In the Early hours ” By Khurram Murad. I bought this book quite a few months ago from https://www.kubepublishing.com/products/in-the-early-hours?_pos=1&_sid=cc39b20a8&_ss=r but for some reason I never read it straight away. In all honesty, I actaully regret not reading it earlier.

“How are we to become true believers who seek God’s good pleasure? How are we to become mindful of God, to be thankful or worshipful? How are we to control our anger and pride? How are we to follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)? This inspirational book of wise advice answers these questions and guides us toward the spiritual life.

Khurram Murad (1932–1996) was the director general of The Islamic Foundation, United Kingdom, and a renowned teacher who spent 40 years in the spiritual teaching and training of thousands of young Muslim people around the globe. He has published more than 20 works in English and Urdu. “

What an incredible, uplifting , encouraging and beautiful book. I really cannot praise it highly enough. Such an easy read full of so many inspirational reflections and wisdom. The book is divided in seven chapters. Chapter 1 looks at the process of self development, the prerequisites of tazkiya, its blessings and benefits. In chapter 2 , Khurram Murad informs us of the significance of dhikr, its meaning and methods and how to organise our dhikr. Chapter 3 looks at the characteristics of “holding onto Allah”, how to be thankful and how to strive in the path of God. Chapter 4 gives practical advice on how to relate to Allah’s messenger, the guidelines in studying theSunna and its real meaning. In chapter 5 , you will be able to learn more about how to spend in the name of Allah, small charity, forgiving others and love of this world. Chapter 6 reminds us of our obligations to our families, children, our fellow Muslims, neighbours , even the rights of animals. And the last chapter reminds us beautifully of the main objective of our life, seeking God’s mercy, His forgiveness and the reality of the Hereafter.

I really loved that the book was divided in sections and it made it so much easier to read and understand. This book truly gives simple and practical advice on every single aspect for us Muslims. I also believe that anyone who is a revert or new to Islam will really enjoy this spiritually uplifting read. ” In the Early hours ” by Khurram Murad can be bought from https://www.kubepublishing.com/products/in-the-early-hours?_pos=1&_sid=cc39b20a8&_ss=r or Amazon (https://amzn.to/36uGftN )

5 Tips on Self Care during Lockdown

We have all heard of this often quoted rhetorical question “ How can you take care of everyone else if you don’t take care of yourself ?”. But how many of us do it – I will definitely put my hands up and admit that I truly struggle with finding time to do things for myself . However , I have also realised that I often make it harder for myself by always feeling that I have to do everything and anything for everybody before I take care of myself .

Lockdown has truly made it harder too in many ways too. But I thought I will share some tips and things that have worked for me ( do let me know , how you have been taking care of yourself during lockdown ) :

1️⃣ Relaxing my house keeping standards – a sink full of dishes don’t have to be washed straight away , baskets full of laundry don’t have to folded exactly the same minute when they come out of the drier too. Ask your family members to chip in- encouraging children to help around the house builds their self esteem and expands their abilities . But honestly hand on heart I can definitely say that it’s impossible to have a nice looking house when you have children. It’s taken me a few years to finally really surrender to this fact .

2️⃣ Cut down on TV time – I am not a TV person but as soon as my children go to bed , I often feel like binge watching some of my favourite youtubers or scroll through Instagram . I still struggle with this but more often than not I try to use that time do something that I truly love – and that’s reading a book. I actually want to emphasise something – Reading a book is not somehow Superior than watching TV . Whatever you choose to do – make sure it’s something that stimulates your brain and it doesn’t feel you left drained out.

3️⃣ Say “No” when you need to – this a big one for me , because more often than not I am a very “YEs” person and try to accommodate and get involved in activities just to fill someone else’s need. So I am trying very hard not to be a pushover – my needs and my energy level are important .
4️⃣ Use routines to make your life easier – I am not a rigid person but routines certainly help me and I have noticed the benefit of having a loose routine even more during Lockdown . Everybody knows roughly what’s expected from them .

5️⃣ Taking Care of my mind -as parents we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves and not to forget how much we “love “ criticising and condemning ourselves whenever we are less than perfect – we can sometimes be truly our worst cheerleaders. This negative focus causes us much unhappiness . Lighten up and let go of the guilt. One thing that has really helped me is practising positive self talk to myself and recently I even decided to write some positive statements that I often read to myself.

Ultimately , we will all be better parents, loving spouses , friendlier friends and overall better people , if we all take time everyday , just for us .

“Thank you” note to all the homeschoolers and all the parents

Photo by Marta Wave on Pexels.com

Lockdown2 , here in the U.K , is coming to an end tomorrow 2nd December 2020 , although sadly my city is placed in the highest Tier3 for another 2 weeks. So we are not allowed to mix with other people indoors or outside, in our gardens etc..

Last month, has been challenging for me on many levels. It felt like one whole month without a break and I have been feeling really tired , exhausted and really overwhelmed and drained. You know those days , when you wake up and you just want to curl back to your bed and not be the adult and make any sort of choices- well I have had plenty of days like these in November. It’s crazy how much depends on us and if I am entirely honest, I often wish I had a little less power and less responsibility, right ??

A few days ago, while having a cuppa ( which wasn’t luke warm ), I was flicking through my planner and I saw a note that I wrote all the way in January- it was a quote from the lovely Julie Bogart’s book ” A gracious space “, in which she thanks all parents and homeschoolers for doing what we do and being who we are. It honestly made me feel better and I thought I will share it on here too, in case someone else needs to read it :

  • Thanks for getting up in the middle of the night again-with the baby and bed wetter
  • Thank you for holding back your tired and angry voice
  • Thank you for hunkering down with a curriculum you don’t like but cannot afford to replace right now.
  • Thank you for making magic with vegetables and healthy snacks for reluctant to try anything -new kids
  • Thank you for excusing childishness
  • Thank you for celebrating childishness
  • Thank you for being childlike with your children
  • Thank you for keeping house as best as you can, in spite of the never ending assault on your house by all the people who love you but love your house less
  • Thank you for washing an unending parade of dishes
  • Thank you for not falling part
  • Thank you for holding it together long after you thought you could not

The work you do is invisible to many , but well known to all of us who lead the same life you do.

” A Gracious Space” by Julie Bogart can be bought on Amazon – https://amzn.to/3odWotU

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