Trial and Error


I really do think home education is by trial and error. When I started three years ago, it was very much like school at home. Now, I feel that we have finally found a pattern that suits us and it is really enjoyable. I adjusted so many timetables, planned in various ways and subhanaAllah, I really feel that this year (even though I have two little ones) is much more smoother and more relaxed even though R is doing more formal work.

What has helped:

We don’t have a set time that we start. We start when I feel that I am ready and she is ready.

I have a list of things that I want to get through in a day as per our weekly timetable. She tends to do one thing like comprehension and then might go and play. She then comes back and does her maths and might go and do some arts and crafts of her choice. She then comes back to the list and might do her Islamic studies that I’ve set her and might go and watch something on the internet. I feel that the relaxed approach means that she enjoys it and still gets to do independent stuff in between. It does mean that the ‘HE Day’ seems to start somewhere around 10am and finishes around 5/6pm but remember that so much goes on in that time. I prefer this then making her sit down between 9 and 2 and do her work non-stop.

I still plan my week on a Saturday and get all the resources together. It is just so enjoyable this way alhamdulillah. I used to get really stressed before if lessons were not completed in the morning. Now, if something happens in the morning we have the afternoon etc.

Just to give you an idea of our home ed day so far today:

Had breakfast. Changed two lots of nappies. R went to brush her teeth etc. I tidied up a bit. Put a load of washing on. Z was watching something. R started on her handwriting whilst I set up painting for Z. She wanted to do the painting too. I told her she could after she finished her two pages of handwriting. By the time she had finished, Z was done with painting. I then got the playdough out and she wanted to do that instead. She’s almost finished with that and will start the next thing on the list. You see…really relaxed inshaAllah.

I've realised that when R is doing her work, Z needs to be fully engaged and I find that he is with messy stuff such as painting. But if he is quiet and gets on with it, then so be it - the messy stuff needs to come out. Its all about what makes life easy and pleasurable for everyone.

R joining in with Z's playdough time.

 Baby Y is starting to really get into his crawling (!) I think my layout in the living room is going to have to change again! He’s really teething badly at the moment too and seems to be always breastfeeding. I’ve realised that life changes in so many ways and so HE has to be flexible to accomodate such changes. If we’re not flexible thats when we as mothers get stressed, the kids hate learning and school becomes very very attractive.  Alhamdulillah, with things the way they are I have hardly thought of putting her in school.

Last week, we conducted a science experiment which is still in process. We are growing fungi under different circumstances.

Three pieces of bread, one is placed outside under the sun, the other is in room temperature and the other had some water added to it. R was really concerned that we are wasting food because there are so many poor people that are hungry. I explained to her that it is important not to waste food but we also need to learn what happens if we don't check the best before date and how food goes off.

She’s checking the findings regularly and we’ll be recording the results once the fungi has grown. R also started Muslim Beavers last week and really enjoyed the first session. She came home and couldn’t stop talking about Fair Trade. Do check out to see if you have a Muslim Beavers, Cubs or Scouts in your area. I used to be a brownie and a scout when I was younger and I loved it. Feel very grateful to Allah that she got a place. Alhamdulillah.


14 responses »

  1. Assalaamu Alaikum Ukhti,

    Masha Allaah nice to hear about your Home schooling and glad to know all of you are enjoying Masha Allaah. I know how true it is to be flexible. I have done the same too with our new preschool curriculum and doing well masha Allaah. No set timing play and learn!

    Nice to see baby Z a big man now Masha Allaah!

  2. Jazakillah Khayran sister for this post. Masha Allah, it’s what I really needed. I need to adjust my scheule for more breaks in between their work. This should reduce the stress Insha Allah. Thanks again.

    • Ws wr wb

      I haven’t made it a separate messy table. R sometimes does her work there too. These are just the £4.99 tables from ikea that I use for R’s stuff, sometimes for Z, sometimes as a coffee table! lol

  3. Salaam
    I agree, when us mother stry to rigidly stick to the timetable we get stressed and beat ourselves up about what we didnt get done and how our kids might be missing out etc etc etc.
    I have a weekly timetable and we jsut play it by ear. Today was supposed to be a cooking day but we had to nip into the doctors and my daughter didnt fancy cooking so we’re just chilling out and catching up on tings which didnt quite get done earliar in the week.
    Sometime we do ‘school’ at night when My daughter can’t sleep – the beauty of home ed or home school – no fixed times, anytime any moment can be a learning time insha’allah

  4. Salaams,
    I’d like to know how to manage art & craft sessions, so that I can maintain some sanity by the end of it! MashaaAllah it seems like your place is well suited to managing sessions, but I dont have a decent sized non carpeted area so Im constantly thinking about the mess that I’ll have to clean up afterwards with all four at-homers…so i usually end up not doing it. As for cooking…….well once in a blue moon. Any ideas on what I could do to make it easier? Maybe I’m not setting out enough messproof, or bringing out the paint in a non efficient way?

    • Ws wr wb

      Well, for us. The Arts and crafts stuff is high up but low enough for R to reach but unreachable for Z. I think you need to lay out big sheets on the floor and let them do it there. Thats what I used to do when we used to have carpet. But I was always there to make sure she didn’t go wondering with a paintbrush in hand! lol

  5. As salaam alaikum UmUbayd,

    Although, I have been shying away from the arts and crafts here recently as well, you can lay a sheet or mat out on the floor for them to work on. Cover anything you don’t want ruined.

    Also, with lots on little ones which I have I have to find art classes and activities so the older ones can enjoy without the little ones sometimes.

  6. Trial and error indeed! I can’t tell you how many different things we’ve tried to get things on track around here. The biggest lesson for me so far has been, that you can’t micromanage every single aspect of the education process.

    Also, thanks for sharing about the Muslim Beavers! I definitely will be following up on this one insha’Allah.

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