“The great educator Charlotte Mason says that when we put children in direct contact with great ideas and get out of the way, “Teachers shall teach less and scholars shall learn more.” Any homeschooling parent who has observed her own children for any length of time will know this to be true. Real learning happens when our children wrestle directly with great ideas- not as a result of our repackaging those great ideas, but when they interact with the ideas themselves.”
Today’s homeschool chat brings you Umm Hajar , a homeschooling mama of two from the UK. She can be found on Instagram @homeedder , where she shares snippets of their homeschooling journey , as well as product reviews. She also blogs at https://homeeducatoronline.blogspot.com
1) Tell us a bit about your family and your child/children
We are a family of 4 – Two kids, an 8 year old and 3 year old.
2) What was your main reason for choosing to home educate your children ?
To be honest, I didn’t know anything about home education. My husband had two friends who both home educated, and he was certain that was what he wanted to do. Once our first born was old enough, I wanted to give it a go, and see how I got along. I went in with the mindset, that if by the end of the year I’ve felt it was a struggle we would use the local school. This was approx 4 years ago! I didn’t ‘see’ the other benefits during those early days. I firmly believe home educating has allowed us to not only grow closer as a family, but has helped the children immensely with confidence and self esteem. I’ve also been able to appreciate, how in a school setting, my 8 year old would have struggled (he’s more of a kinaesthetic learner). I’m happy my husband wanted us to try home ed, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being the one home educating the kids!
3) What does a typical homeschool day look like for your family ?
Each day is so different. We have days where we might do workbooks/websites etc for a few hours, and other days where we spend the whole day outdoors.
4) What type of a home educator are you (structured,semi-structured,unschooling, classical, Charlotte Mason, Montessori etc ?
I think we are definitely semi structured. We try to loosely implement a little bit of structure in our days, but generally are relaxed about it all!
5) What do you love the most about homeschooling?
The one thing I love the most, is the fact that I have had the opportunity and continue to have the opportunity to spend time with my children. I firmly believe home educating has allowed me to really get to know these little people, and enabled me to watch them grow and develop. Being with them more has also meant we have a beautiful and strong bond MashaAllah. Home educating also means I can ensure they aren’t stressed by matters that shouldn’t bother them, or pressurised by exams and targets.
6) What is your favourite subject to teach and what is your least one ?
I thoroughly enjoy teaching sciences, and my son loves learning all things science (and then maths). I was never fond of English, and I feel like I still have an aversion to English!
7) What do you find challenging when it comes to homeschooling your children ?
The challenge is usually keeping on top of schooling/entertaining/occupying kids and running the house. It is definitely all about routine and organisation, but there’s always that day when you’re a little bit more tired, so things might slip slightly. However , as children grow, it’s nice to see them helping out too making it easier!
8) How do you deal with unsupportive family, relatives and friends?
I used to feel very down by unsupportive family and friends. Their negativity would drag my overall mood with regards to home education down. However, as the years have gone by, I’ve found that it doesn’t matter what they thought or perceive to be true; they can see how much the children have developed, learnt and achieved. Most of the same people now praise us for our efforts, so I’ve learnt, albeit the hard way, that to prove anyone wrong we just need to show them how well we are doing.
9) Where do you see your homeschooling journey in 5 years time ?
In 5 years time Insha’Allah my oldest will be secondary school age. I don’t think we will use mainstream schooling, however, more recently I have looked into online schools. As my son gets older I might find I need the support of teachers, and online schooling sounds like a good option for us Insha’Allah.
10) What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start home educating their children ?
Firstly, don’t buy everything you see or hear about! I made that mistake, book sets, games, online resources. We quickly ran out of storage space! It takes time to figure out what works for your child. Secondly, don’t compare with anyone. That only adds pressure, and you ultimately stress your children. Your child will learn at their own pace, and Insha’Allah they all get there, but at different stages. We don’t follow the curriculum as such, because sometimes we use resources from the year above and sometimes we go backwards. It doesn’t matter if your year 2 child is working though year 1 work. It took me quite a while to understand this, but pushing children won’t work, because for each subject you have to ensure the building blocks are there. If that means carrying our year 1 work over 2 years, let it be, because once they’ve mastered the basics, they will fly through the years to come, and work with ease. Thirdly, take it very slowly to begin with. It is not school at home, it is another ball game altogether. Get to know your child, work out how they work, and then gradually implement studying into their routine. It took me far too long to understand that running (or random star jumps!) in between maths work was what made the brain click for my son. When we try to force them to work using an alternative method compared to how they work, it only negates what you’re trying to achieve. Fourthly; make sure you’re in touch with local home educators and families, read blogs online and get in touch with anyone you want to know more from. Lastly, remember, it doesn’t matter how you work as a family, you are the only one who knows your children, so you’ve definitely got this!!