Today’s home school chat brings you Shoohada Khanom. Born and raised In London, writer and children’s author Shoohada Khanom has published four picture books to date (Kamillah the Butterfly, Imagine , Little Blue Skater Boy and Who Could I be ? ). For those residing in the UK, her books can be bought from Amazon –https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=shoohada+khanom+books&ref=nb_sb_noss . For anyone , residing in the USA, the books can be purchased from https://www.djarabikitabs.com/bookstore
Today ,a mother of 6 , Shoohada lives a busy life, splitting her days between home educating her children and her motherly responsibilities. She shares her home in Bolton with her family and anytime she has a moment to herself , she reads and writes.
1)Tell us a bit about your family and your child/ children
We are a family of 8- Mum, Dad, one girl and five boys. We are on our second year of home educating. Only the boys this year, as my daughter decided to go to secondary school.
2)What was your main reason for choosing to home educate your children?
We moved out of London a couple of years ago and my children had no school placements where we moved. We made the decision to home educate temporarily, until placements were found. We ended up enjoying it so much, that we decided to continue and made it a permanent thing. We love spending quality time
together, choosing what to do and what to learn together. Most importantly, doing what the kids want to do. There’s something wonderful about everyone doing their own thing, working at their own pace and on their own interests. There’s lots of bonding going
on too, that’s special!
3)What does a “typical” home school day look like for your family ?
I’m normally the first one up, followed by my daughter who gets ready for school. The boys are normally up by the time I’ve sent her on her way – thanks to the school bus service. Everyone pretty much gets ready by themselves and comes down for breakfast when they’re ready. The first thing I do when I come down, is put my Qur’an lamp on. It’s something I find soothing and adds to the peace and quiet of the morning, while we have our breakfast. We start work around 9 am and finish around 10.30 am. This was a little longer in the beginning of the year, they had a little more to work to cover. In the afternoon we do an hour, 2 pm – 3 pm. Around those times, kids do what they want. They enjoy doing lots of different things. Play fighting and making paper planes would probably be the top of their lists. They’ve recently discovered an animation App and have been making short videos using k’nex models. They enjoy playing with LEGO’s, board games, doing puzzles, playing on their PS4 (screen time is timed). We’ve had nice weather for the last couple of weeks, most of our time has been spent outdoors, some days we’ve taken work outside! We enjoy spending time with nature. Lots of space and lots of green! Green has grown on me so much, since moving up
north it’s become my favourite colour.
4)What type of a home educator are you ( structured , semi structured , unschooling , Steiner , Montessori etc )
I haven’t really looked into the different types of schooling, it’s not something I felt I needed to do. I’m also not good at sticking to one type of anything, so it wouldn’t probably work for me. However, I did unschool my kids for a few months before starting on our journey. I remember reading somewhere, it’s recommended to do so. If I had to give myself a label, I’d say I’m a ‘go with the flow’ educator. I have a structure, it’s very flexible and it’s been working for us.
5) What do you love the most about home schooling ?
There’s so much to love but first and foremost I’d say the freedom and slowing down. What a blessing! Alhamdulilah. I was running around like a headless chicken in London, everything was fast paced. There was no stopping once I was up! Now everything has slowed down and simplified. I feel more collected and content. Moving from one thing to another, pausing when I need to. It’s allowed me to get time back and spending it with my kids. I honestly love having them around. We wake together, eat meals together, do work together, we cook and bake together. We draw and learn together. We pray and make time to read together! Most importantly, we worship Allah together and that in itself is enough to keep going. Alhamdulilah for this blessing.
6) What is your favourite subject to teach and what is your least one ?
Islamic Studies are my favourite by far! I started practising shortly before having my first child, so my Islamic knowledge has always been very basic. I learned to read Arabic with my baby literally on my lap – she was a couple months old. It was a struggle, the teacher was very patient with me and I got there in the end. It wasn’t the best experience, learning with a baby, and I’ve since been reluctant to sign up to anything for myself while my kids are so young. So it’s nice to learn more basic stuff with them.
My least would have to be this year Maths, let’s just say it’s not my strongest.
7)What do you find challenging when it comes to home schooling your children?
Getting out and about. I’m a complete introvert and I’ve got a lot worse since moving out of London. I do push myself for the kids, this year I said I’ll do a tad bit more but not quite got there.
8) How do you deal with unsupportive family , relatives and friends ?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s people will always talk. If it’s not this, it’s that! I’ve always been a headstrong person, if I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it regardless. I have to say though, I’ve learnt to grow a thick skin and that’s allowed me to separate who’s worth listening to, who’s worth my time and who’s worth my space. I also tend to stay away from people who bring any kind of negative energy my way.
9) Where do you see your home schooling journey in 5 years time ?
I think I’ll still be educating the younger boys through their primary years. I’ll give the older boys the option to go secondary when the time comes. If they choose to continue with home education, I’m sure we’ll find a way that suits them.
10) What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start home educating ?
Take your time and do your research. It’s not something that should be rushed and done on impulse. Weigh out your pros and cons, see how it all looks like. If you’re in the UK, phone your council and have a chat with you home Education officer. See if there’s an expectation on you. Add that on top of what you want to teach and see how that looks.I knew I wanted to cover the national curriculum, so I opted for online learning until I found a comprehensive curriculum we could use. Shortly after we started using Galore Park textbooks and have been using them since. We use a couple of online programs, reading eggs and Matheletics to help us along. We read LOADS, lots of books. Our home library is forever growing. We also use Studio Arabia for Qur’an and Safar Academy books for Islamic studies. That’s pretty much us!
Jazakallahu Khairan for having