“Children are, by nature and from birth, very curious about the world around them, and very energetic, resourceful and competent in exploring it, finding out about it, and master it. In short, much more eager to learn, and much better at learning than most adults. ” ~ John Holt
Today’s homeschool chat brings you Noor Sayyed , who quit her job as a software consultant in 2012 to home educate her two boys. She also has her own website https://simplifyhomeschool.com/
, where she writes on various topics from homeschooling to anything parenting related. Noor also launched her online clothing business a few months ago. “https://hebacollection.com/
started as a homeschool project to learn and teach some important life skills. As a family, we strive to create situations where learning happens organically. What better way to do it than to combine our own passion while actively engaging the children and leading the way as partners and contributors rather than students and teacher. Starting up, managing and sustaining a business poses a lot of interesting problems and demands creative thinking, problem solving skills and a growth mindset which in our understanding are the most valuable skills we can teach our children to prepare them for the future. We are learning everyday within this real life context and growing a diverse skillset from photography, website development, product design, quality assurance, inventory management, sales and the list goes on. Whatever you see on this website is a combined team effort of our immediate and extended family. ” Noor is also active on Instagram @simplifyHomeschool , where she shares beneficial homeschooling advice and snippets of their homeschool life.
1) Tell us a bit about your family and your child/children.
I have two boys aged 9 (nearly 10 ) and 6 years old.
2 What was your main reason for choosing to home educate your chidlren ?
The freedom to customize education and give them a quality education while not compromising the values and morals that matter so much to our family. I personally struggled with my faith in my youth and the main reason for that was peer influence so I didn’t wish that for my children. I read a wonderful book “Hold onto your kids” which talked about this problem with replacing adults by peers who become a compass for young people way too early resulting in a lot of confusion and problems. This book did not mention homeschooling but quietly convinced me to explore it with some seriousness. I worked backwards from the desired outcome and figured out that homeschooling was the best option both in terms of giving a solid foundation in secular education along with instilling Islamic values and an opportunity to work on character development.
3 )What does a “typical” home school day look like for your family ?
Our typical day begins with our morning routine which is basically making bed, grooming, drinking milk and starting with journal/playtime.
We follow a rhythm rather than a schedule. So it helps to divide the day into ‘routines’.
Then we have some core lessons. Read alouds and then they get busy with independent work. We take lots of breaks. We sit down for math again. Lunch and dhuhr. We do a bit of reading and some discussions or activities in the afternoons. Some days we work on life skills, these days it is all business related work. Last year it was a lot of wood working. So it varies. And then outdoor play/family hike or family swim. They spend a lot of time playing. Everybody knows what is expected and things just happen at this point. Alhamdulilaah. There are expectations and it is not loose ended as it may seem but not too regimented either. I like to call it ‘freedom within limits’
4 What type of a home educator are you ( structured , semi structured , unschooling , classical , Charlotte Mason , Steiner , Montessori etc )
Since I started very early(my son was only 2.5 years old) I got a chance to experiment with a lot of different Homeschooling methods. I read about every method that was out there. Montessori, classical, unschooling, project based learning, unit studies, Reggio Amelia,Thomas Jefferson Leadership Ed, Waldorf, Charlotte Mason… I have even tried to follow different aspects of these. . It is hard for me to say I am a certain type of homeschooler. I firmly believe that homeschool success comes when we observe and pay attention to our own selves and our families and find something that works for us. Sometimes we cannot fully adopt a philosophy and that is okay. As long as we are sincere, consistent and flexible based on needs, homeschooling can be an amazing journey of self growth and self discovery that we collectively get to experience as a family. I don’t think I answered your question but let’s just say we are a Charlotte mason inspired classical homeschoolers with strong unschooling tendencies who indulge in real life projects 😆😝
5 What do you love the most about home schooling ?
Everything – Isn’t it obvious ? I am blown away by the possibilities. The freedom, the joy of learning, developing a close and real relationship with family members. Ability to focus on unique but vitally important areas like creativity/innovation, personal development and character building. I could go on and on.
6 What is your favourite subject to teach and what is your least one ?
this is a tough one. I don’t teach what I dislike. Because it’s hard for me to hide my feelings. So I simply outsource those type of things. I love maths and science. If I had to point out a subject I find difficult to teach, it would be Arabic grammar.
7) What do you find challenging when it comes to home schooling your children
Balancing creativity with pragmatism within our homeschool. But I am so darn proud of how far I have come. I think I am pretty close to nailing it.( Don’t ask me this question on one of my bad days though)
8) How do you deal with unsupportive family , relatives and friends ?
Empathy & acceptance. I convince myself that it is coming from a good place and I legitimise the concern. Then I make a case and reason out with calmness. But I don’t expect them to get convinced in one conversation. Instead, focusing on your work, with time the same people will become your biggest supporters (assuming they were genuinely concerned). This has been my personal experience. But this takes time. Just don’t depend on people and learn to have a tough skin as you get into homeschooling, this is expected in the first few years.
9) Where do you see your home schooling journey in 5 years’ time ?
I don’t know exactly. When I looked into it, I researched it thoroughly and looked into every detail as to how to do it all the way to high school. But I haven’t planned a year by year. We will take it as it comes. I do know all the resources that will come in handy.
10 What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start home educating their children ?
1. Invest in yourself. Learn, read books, attend conferences, take classes. Equip yourself with knowledge. These things will empower you.
2. Observe your children and your self and work to adapt homeschooling to serve you and your children and your family culture.