Today a local sister came to visit us. Her children are in school but she is considering home educating them. Although I have visited her a few times, it was her first visit to our home and it was nice that R enjoyed showing her her work, lapbooks, and other completed projects.
It is amazing how many sisters are considering home education at the moment. I held an open day at my home some weeks ago, and there were roughly 10 sisters. And aside from that, I have had roughly five sisters come over at individual times asking about home education. I don’t know why there is a sudden increase in interest in home education but alhamdulillah I am always happy to answer any questions.
I had a very interesting conversation with the sister who came over today. We talked about the different ways to home educate and our conversation led us to reasons why one home educates. Some sisters tend to home educate because they feel that home education is the only way that they can protect their children from the world. We both agreed that this is wrong. Home education should be a choice because we feel that it is the BEST choice, and not the ‘only option’ left for Muslims. This actually scares me as I know quite a few sisters who shut their kids off from the world thinking that that is what is going to save them and protect them and make them these wonderful pious Muslims. Allah is the Protector. But one day these children WILL grow up and WILL venture out into the world, and so we have to PREPARE them for the world and not HIDE them from it.
Another thing that popped up into our conversation was when we home educate, we should really be involved and interested in what our children are doing. The sister mentioned a home educating sister she knows who seems to just give her kids stuff to do to simply occupy them instead of engaging in what they do. It made me think about myself. I do hope that I am not like that. I don’t want home ed to be something whereby I simply get the kids to get on with their work and then mark it at the end. And then I feel that my job is done. No, I want to be a homeeducator that takes interest in my children’s interests. That plays games with them. That reads aloud to them. I think I am on the right track inshaAllah. But as I am someone who has other projects going on in my life, I need to ensure that I don’t place whatever else I’m doing first and then just get the kids to do their work to occupy themselves whilst I have time to do what I need to.
This leads me on to the importance of reading aloud. Before I started home educating, I used to think of read alouds as something you would do until a child could read to themselves. It was only until I came across many home educators that still read aloud to their teenagers that I realised how important read alouds are for the child, and for the bond that it creates between the parent and child. Read alouds have and still are an important part of our home education. At the moment, I am reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to R. I can’t tell you how much she is enjoying this book. I read a chapter to her a day (which isn’t enough – in her words). Read alouds really bring us closer together, it enhances her vocabulary and grammar and there are so many other educational benefits.
Home education should be about taking an ACTIVE role in our children’s learning – not by simply giving them loads of workbooks to complete but rather showing excitement, amazement, interest, and ACTUAL involvement in all that they learn and do.