” The children should have the joy of living in far off lands, in other persons, in other times-a delightful, double existence; and this joy they will find, for the most part, in their story-books. ” Charlotte Mason
Today’s homeschool chat brings you Umm Affan , who is an Australian homeschooling mother of 2 . She is also a blogger and author of the ” I love Muhammad (SAW) Board book. Umm Affan can be found on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/the_odd_muslimah/ and you can also visit her website https://www.theoddmuslimah.com/.
1. Tell us a bit about your family and your child/ children:
Assalamu Alaikum ! I am Umm Affan. I am a dentist by qualification but a full time mommy by choice.We are a family of 4 Alhamdulillah. The eldest is a boy who is five and a half years old and the girl is two and a half. It’s our first year of “officially” homeschooling our boy even tough I feel I have been doing it all this time.
2. What was your main reason for choosing to home educate your children ?
Being a dentist (and an ambitious one) I never thought I would be homeschooling my children. Like everyone else I had these common assumptions about homeschooling. But it’s amusing how after actually having children you re assess many of your notions. Homeschooling for me is basically extension of my belief in philosophy of gentle parenting and tarbiyyah. Apart from that, my reasoning for homeschooling also comes from my own experiences from being “schooled”. I had been bullied on several occasions. The trauma of those experiences travelled with me into adulthood , making me lose confidence and making it hard for me to connect socially and make friends. I believe nobody should have to experience such experiences from their peers (or even teachers) at such a tender age. I want my children to be confident in themselves before they venture out in the world and nobody can give those solid foundations better than parents themselves.
3. What does a “typical” home school day look like for your family ?
Okay so let me tell you about the “ideal” day when we are home and not anywhere to go because our typical days are all over the place :D.
I get up at Fajr before the children are up. Get a little cleaning done before they are up. Play the Quran which usually wakes the children up. When children are up they have honey and water the first thing. They munch on nuts or just finish their honey water while I prepare their breakfast. After having our breakfast, they see off their father to is work and say a little dua for him. Then afterwards ,we say our morning adkar together while we all finish our breakfast. Our lessons usually start with reading and revising the Noorani Qaida. We recite and revise the Surahs. We read a lot of books with some pencil work here and there. Then they do some free play while I do some cleaning. At around 11 am we go for a stroll or drive to some park. The children will have lunch at park or when we come back at around 12:30 pm. Afterwards they either have a nap or free play wit their toys or just in the backyard. After their father gets back home, we pray maghrib together, have our dinner. Then their father takes them to change for the night, read them books while I do clean up and get the house straight for the next day.
4. What type of a home educator are you ( structured , semi structured , unschooling , classical , Charlotte Mason , Steiner , Montessori etc )
I am go with the flow kind of homeschooler ,which means I have tried pretty much everything but for now my heart has come to be settled at unschooling. But as the children grow, we might move to other “styles”. For now “unschooling” is working for us considering the point of life we are at Alamdulillah.
5. What do you love the most about home schooling ?
The flexibility! And also no school runs because Allah knows I wouldn’t have been able to take that stress! Huge respect for those mamas.
6. What is your favourite subject to teach and what is your least one ?
I just love retelling my children stories from the Quran and science! My least would be maths!
7. What do you find challenging when it comes to home schooling your children?
Carving out that “me time” for myself. I try to get up before everyone does so I take the time to do things I like doing. But some days its not possible. I try that children see me doing things I love so they know mom is a real human with wants and needs, likes and dislikes. But you know how it gets with having children around you all the time and when they are still very little.
8. How do you deal with unsupportive family , relatives and friends ?
Homeschooling is very important to us as a family at least at this point in life. So if no one is willing to understand that, I just don’t engage with them.
9. Where do you see your home schooling journey in 5 years’ time ?
Honestly I don’t know because at the moment we are just taking it by year. I would like to homeschool my children as long as practically possible. But I am also very flexible to the fact if our circumstances change and I am unable to handle it, then they might have to go to school.
10. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start home educating their children ?
To be very clear about your “why”. Make a mission statement, save it in your folder or stick it somewhere where you can get back to it when you feel you are stuck in a rut or just overwhelmed by all the demands. Because to be honest if you aren’t very clear on your motives, it’s very easy to get sidetracked and lose your own voice in your head as to why you wanted to do it in the first place.