This Tuesday , I am interviewing Sarah Javed , who is a 36 year old author and homeschooling mother of three, two boys 12 and 8 and a girl aged 10 . Her home school journey started over seven years ago and throughout those years there have been many highs and lows that encouraged her to offer some information and support to other homeschooling parents through her social platforms.
Her YouTube channel is full of inspirational and beneficial videos on home education, so do check them out- Sarah Javed
She is also the author of the children’s Islamic story book “I’m So Angry!”, which is an absolutely fantastic book and I thoroughly recommend it.
“Huthayfah is an eight year old boy who struggles to deal with his anger when he doesn’t get his way. What did the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) tell us to do when we get angry? Let Huthayfah share how he learns to control his anger. Suitable as a point of discussion for a variety of ages, however, aimed at ages 5-8 years. “The book can be bough from Amazon-I’m So Angry
Sarah is also active on Instagram and can be found @sarahijaved, where she documents their home school journey.
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem.
1) Tell us a bit about your family and your child/children.
My husband and I have always taken the role of parenthood very seriously. We work incredibly hard to build a positive, close relationship with our children filling their lives with quality time, attention and experiences that will shape them into adulthood inshaAllah. Home education has been a natural extension of our parenting and despite being difficult beyond belief at times, the benefits and blessings from home education has enabled us to continue year in and year out Alhumdulillah al adheem.
My children are 12, 10 and 8. They are kind, bright, social, active and independent individuals that impair the myth of homeschoolers being unsociable, sheltered, controlled beings Alhumdulillah, Allahumma barik lahun. I have been home educating for over seven years and when I embarked on this journey it was a struggle to find other homeschoolers, however, during this time there has been a positive shift in attitudes and a lot more acceptance for home education. This has been a wonderful change and has offered much needed support to families.
2) What was your main reason for choosing to home educate your children?
My main reason for choosing to home educate was to maintain a level of control and autonomy in the learning, development and education of my children. My eldest struggled with separation anxiety when he was a toddler and so I wanted to nurture my children until they were more comfortable and secure as individuals to face a world that is ready to break them, inshaAllah.
3) What does a typical home school day look like for a family?
Our home school runs to a strict schedule in order to maintain organisation and reduce time wasting inshaAllah. A typical day will start early, with breakfast, morning routine, bed making etc out of the way and school beginning at 08. 30hrs. On most days, the majority, if not all, of formal school work is completed by lunchtime. This frees the afternoon for prayer, trips, chores, clubs and classes. We are actively involved in our local home school community and spend almost every afternoon partaking in a group activity. Moreover, my children are enthusiastic athletes that train and compete in competitions/games thus, our late afternoon and evenings are especially busy with lots of sports!
4)What type of a home educator are you ? ( structured, semi structured, Montessori, Steiner, classical, unschooling, Charlotte Mason etc)
I don’t personally like to fit into any label and would recommend trying lots of different styles of education to find what works for you and your family inshaAllah. However, I would consider my approach to be structured and eclectic.
5) What do you love the most about home education?
I love that home education offers me the opportunity to be with my children. To watch them learn, develop and grow and to be a real, active part of their learning journey. I also love that our lives are not dictated and controlled by the mainstream school timetable. We travel when we want, we explore when we want, the freedom is definitely a huge advantage to homeschooling Alhumdulillah.
6) What is your favourite subject to teach and what is your least one?
At primary level, I think I enjoyed teaching most subjects. I vividly remember my excitement and elation when each of my children could read or write or mastered basic maths. However, as I now embark on secondary level home education, I definitely enjoy teaching history and dislike teaching maths.
7) What do you find challenging when it comes to homeschooling your children?
The biggest homeschooling challenge for me is never having any time for myself. Every day is busy, is chaotic, is tireless and in the hierarchy of our family, I am last. It can be a big challenge having so much to do on a daily basis with very little or no respite.
8) How do you deal with unsupportive family and friends?
At the beginning of our journey, some family and friends did not understand why I would choose to home educate and they worried about my children becoming isolated, unsocialised beings. To be honest, everyone is entitled to their opinions and has the right to choose their own path in life, I never took it personally since these are my children, that I’m raising and this is our path. I have found that over the years, seeing my children, the things we do, our home school etc has opened their minds and everyone is so supportive of our journey now Alhumdulillah.
9) Where do you see your homeschooling journey in 5 years time?
In five years time, I’ll have a 17, 13 and 15 year old inshaAllah. I would hope to still be home educating inshaAllah. I’m praying that my children would have a couple of GCSEs each at this stage and they would be able to direct their own learning inshaAllah.
10) What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start home educating their children?
I think, it is important to appreciate that home education isn’t for everyone. It is downright time consuming, difficult, demanding, unglamorous and expensive! Unfortunately, many families also don’t have a choice because both parents have to work full time. Parenthood is tough and whatever your path is, ultimately we are all just doing the best we can at any given time.
My humble advice to anyone contemplating, starting or new to the homeschool journey would be, patience and being very clear on your objectives. Why do you want to homeschool? What are you hoping to achieve? What are the most important things/qualities to you? Being clear on your objectives will offer you direction and control, as well as offer you much comfort and clarity during those difficult days inshaAllah.
Home education is subjective and what works for some will not necessarily work for all, it is a working progress so be patient and allow yourself time to trial and error methods to find what works for you inshaAllah.
For some of us it is a big transition to have our child/children home with us all day, everyday, therefore, time and patience allows you to gain experience, which in turn increases your confidence as a home educating parent.
Additionally, know that making the decision to home school and starting the journey is the hardest and scariest decision to make, the complete responsibility for your children’s education is heavy! Nevertheless, once you have made the commitment, with each week, each term, each year, you will gain confidence in your abilities and your system and with that, the freedom to take the education of your children in whatever direction you please!