1 )Tell us a bit about your family and your children
I have four children. My eldest daughter is in college studying accounting and I home educate my other three children, aged 13, 5 and 4.
2)What was your main reason for choosing to home educate your children?
The main reason for home educating was that I wanted to have control over what my children were learning rather than a one-size-fits-all curriculum. I also wanted to provide a more holistic learning experience and a cross-curricular approach, with a more fluid connection between subject areas. I also wanted my children to have more free time each day to pursue their personal interests or to just play! I also like to delay formal academics until their seventh year and this would not be possible if they attended mainstream school.
3)What does a “typical” home school day look like for your family?
We have a general rhythm in our home, rather than a fixed timetable. After breakfast and chores, I do morning basket with the younger two, which includes Quran memorisation and then read aloud time. They then have free play for the rest of the morning whilst I facilitate lessons for my 13 year old. We like to have the bulk of our work completed by lunchtime. Afternoons are reserved for creative activities (arts and crafts), nature walks, sports clubs and extra curricular classes.
4)What type of a home educator are you? (structured, semi structured, unschooling, classical, Charlotte Mason, Steiner, Montessori etc.)
I have tried a variety of educational philosophies over the years and I am in a position now where I now implement the parts of all these methods that suit our family dynamics. In our early days of homeschooling I liked the sound of a classical method but when implementing it, I found it to be quite intense so didn’t really pursue it I like a Montessori approach for the early years with the bulk of the day dedicated to child-led learning and free play. I love the idea of Charlotte Mason’s living books to teach a subject, and I try to incorporate such books into our learning wherever possible. I like the Steiner/Waldorf approach of a main lesson where a topic is studied in depth for a period of a few weeks. I think this really helps the children to absorb a single subject/theme much more deeply because they are concentrating on it everyday, without superficially jumping from one subject to another.
5)What do you love the most about home schooling?
I love that I get to spend so much time with my children in their formative years. Home educating enables me to embed a love of learning into my children, without the added pressure of tests and homework.
6)What is your favourite subject to teach and what is your least one?
Naturally, the subjects I like teaching are the ones that spark joy in me. I love teaching literature, art and social subjects (humanities). Mathematics and physics… not so much.
7) What do you find challenging when it comes to home schooling your children?
Because I’m a pretty laid back parent/teacher, there isn’t much that I find challenging with the younger children as far as schooling is concerned. I don’t set myself or the children arbitrary targets or tests, and we learn for the love of learning. The only challenges I have come across so far is trying the navigate the world of being a homeschooling mother to teenagers. It is an age where children resist instruction and like to test boundaries. It’s all a learning curve though and I am grateful for the opportunity to keep myself in check and to learn how to deal with the different ages and stages appropriately.
8)How do you deal with unsupportive family, relatives and friends?
My friends have been very supportive of our home education journey so I am very blessed in this way. Initially our families didn’t really understand the concept of not sending a child to school, but I think that was more due to a lack of awareness around home education. Having said that , they have happily accepted the situation and don’t cause any obstruction. They don’t judge and let us get on with parenting our children.
9)Where do you see your home schooling journey in 5 years’ time?
I would hope my now thirteen year old will be well on her way in her educational journey, perhaps attending university. And I hope I will still be home educating my younger two insha Allah.
10)What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start home educating their children?
I can be daunting at first, but if you want to try then just jump in. If it really isn’t what you thought it would be, then traditional school will still be there to return to.
Also, there are no right or wrong ways to homeschool, there’s just what works for your family. And you can’t know what works for your family until you try different methods. Every homeschool family goes through a period of trial and error, so don’t get disheartened in the early days. You will settle into a routine that works for you.
Talking of routines, timetables (with fixed timings) rarely work in the home settings because life is happening alongside of homeschooling. Often you are juggling different age ranges and other responsibilities at the same time, so a daily routine and a list of tasks is probably a more realistic method when starting out.