We’ve just returned from an urgent visit abroad to see my side of the family. It was an intense week on an emotional level but it was so nice to see family. Looking through family albums of when my grandmother was an 18 year old new bride in Sicily to now as an 81 year old with health problems brought tears to my eyes. I love looking at photos – an entire life right before your eyes. We spoke at length at her many memories and I learnt so much from her – from her humour, her patience and her life experience. She’s barely past 4ft and a typical chubby Sicilian mama and she shook and laughed as she recounted how she gave birth to her twin sons on her kitchen table – shocked when the midwife told her there’s another one (no ultrasound in those days!) I carried her pain as she relived the difficulties of having a large family with hardly any support as my grandfather worked abroad in France. She showed me her crooked fingers as a result of the late nights she spent sewing clothes to feed her 7 children. And there I sat looking at this woman who bore 7 children, has 18 grandchildren and almost 16 great grandchildren. And I prayed and made dua that her struggles in the dunya would not be in vain and that Allah would guide her and allow her to die on the path of Islam.
I’ve taken away so much from this trip – the importance of family, how quickly time passes, how old age affects a person and how important our youth is.
And so, upon returning I examined my life, our life as a home edding family and have been reflecting – some of which I’ll insha’Allah share…
1. Time does pass by so quickly and as home edders, we can get carried away with lesson plans, they need to know this by this age, resources, planning galore and the list goes on. But in the midst of all of this, we can easily find our children passing from 3 to 5 to 8 to 15 so quickly and we look back in regret – having not lived in the moment. What do I mean by this? I mean that instead of constantly rushing around, lets pause and enjoy moments. My little Y loves flies and insects and can finally differentiate between insects (everything was a spider). He constantly stops me outside bending down looking at an insect crawling around. As his mother, as his teacher – I must take the time to savour the moment with him as it is truly extraordinary to him. And you know what – it gives me great pleasure to share in something so special together. Lets live in the moments of our children and be excited in what they are excited about – isn’t that what learning is all about – falling head over heels in love with something new and fascinating?
2. One day, like my Nona (grandmother) the house will be emptier – there won’t be toys to pick up or stacks of dishes to clean unless you live in an extended family. Sometimes, we as women get so hung up about having a clean house – I’m one of them. But you know what, everything can be tidied up at the end of the day – things can be washed, cleaned and dusted. But this should NEVER be more of a priority than our children’s learning and learning experience.
3. We need to take care of ourselves. Being a mother without home education is hard enough but us home edding mothers are with our children 24 hours a day which, lets face it, is tough. If we’re mentally exhausted, depressed and struggling – its time to review home ed even if just temporarily. What messages are we sending to our children if they see us moping around the house crying and depressed. Take time out – get the help that you need and then return to home ed if you so wish to – as a refreshed and rejuvenated home edding mummy. I also think – many mothers get so caught up in home ed that it becomes their lives. It is not our lives. It is a part of our lives. Our lives are for Allah and so take time out to feed yourself spiritually and emotionally – it will help in the task we’ve taken in educating our children. One thing I noticed about my Nona, was that despite the difficulties she had in her life – she was there for her children COMPLETELY and you can see how this has transformed their lives and characters.
4. And lastly, revisit why you are home edding. It instills in us a zeal to continue and to carry on. And once you’ve revisited your intentions – link them to seeking the pleasure of Allah as then there will be much baraka in our home ed journeys and never forget to beseech the help of our Lord even in just managing each day if thats what we are struggling with.
Just some of my reflections. May Allah help us all…ameen.