Reflections since 2007

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I started this blog in 2007 when R was a mere 2.something years old and I only had her. Since then, Z came along, Y came along and insha’Allah no.4 will be joining us in 4 months time.

I was reflecting back on how much our home ed has changed. I actually look back – laugh and ‘cringe’ at how much R did. Insha’Allah she had fun and it definitely has not done any harm (I hope!). I remember thinking that this very structured, very rigid style would be replicated with all of my children with no problem. And subhanAllah so many sisters who have older children and big families told me that things would change. I kinda just ignored what they said…but hey, here I am and they were right.

I feel it is impossible to home ed and have happy children when adopting such a ‘school like’ rigid timetable. Maybe it can be done with one child, but when you have children with different personalities, different ways of learning and you have 3+ children to tend to – the ‘school’ approach at home really does some serious damage to the children and the mother. No one is happy, Mum isn’t happy because ‘school’ is ‘school’ and home ed is home ed – you can’t mix the two. Kids are not happy because their home has become a prison. And in the end, the kids may be learning but their characters and feelings are not really taken into account because getting that worksheet done and KEEPING TO THE TIMETABLE take precedence. I have seen children rushed along in their work because they need to move on to the next thing on the timetable otherwise Mum will freak out if everything isn’t done for that day. What kind of home ed is this??

I was having a very in depth discussion with another home edder a few months ago. She very much follows the structured approach and masha’Allah her children are doing very well Islamically and academically. She is also very serious about hifdh. She said something which will stay with me. She said, “You know, I’ve come to realise that it doesn’t matter how much hifdh my kids know, what I’ve realised is important  isthat they implement and live by even one verse. That is more precious, more important.” She spoke with me about how they change when they move closer to puberty and how time from the parents will have more of an effect than academic and even islamic academic learning.

I’ve said this many times on this blog that age 7 is a turning point – you really see the child’s character emerge. And then I’ve been told, teen years is also a turning point. For me a few things are so important and I’ve learnt them the hard way through trial and error and speaking with Mums of children older than mine.

So, for me, the following is important:

1. There is no rush to learn certain things by certain ages. Much of what children cover in one age is repeated again at another age.

2. Our children are pure – it is wrong for us to treat them like adults – they don’t sin, things are not an obligation on them until the shariah prescribes it – so why put that pressure if Allah hasn’t?

3. They will be the adults as per the childhood they have. It has a direct effect. So, think more carefully about your relationship with them and the relationship with Allah you are trying to cultivate in them.

4. Pay attention to moulding their characters, to bringing out their best qualities.

5. Knowing a, b or c doesn’t make them. What will make them in the future is their connection with Allah which takes time, effort and understanding to cultivate – not Islamic textbooks upon Islamic textbooks!

6. In home ed, rather than rushing through to complete a curricula or textbook, take time to listen and talk with your child. SubhanAllah, I’ve come to realise that my kids remember, retain and ACT upon things as a result of a conversation more than any book they’ve read.

7. For all us home edders, we become so inspired and in awe when we hear of children achieving such and such Islamic or academic accomplishment. For me, I’m in awe when I see a child bring their Mum a drink of water without the Mum asking. I’m in awe, when I see the child stand firmly by what he/she feels is correct in the sight of Allah. I’m in awe, when I see kindness and generosity in young children.

8. We are raising believers of the future insha’Allah. Not parrots who can roll off different fiqh rulings at the age of 9! When we look at the qualities of the sahabah that were promised jannah – it was because of an amazing character trait.

May Allah help us in this journey. How home ed changes subhanaAllah…

 

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13 responses »

  1. Assallaamualaikum sis, jazakillaahu khair for the reminder. What you have said is so true, we have such a big responsibility as mothers to nurture our children and their characters with the aim of pleasing Allaah and also with the hope that inshaAllaah on the Day of Judgement our children will be standing with the best of the muslims. As home edding mothers, we have the opportunity to spend maximum time with our children, and who else knows our children better than ourselves in order to cultivate in them beautiful manners and help them to truly become the slaves of Ar Rahmaan. May Allaah make our efforts fruitful and make us and our children successful in this life and the Hereafter, ameen. Love you for the sake of Allaah sis, take care xxx.

    • Walaikum asalam,

      May the One for whom you have loved me love you too sis. Jzk for your lovely message masha’Allah – so true. x

  2. Amin. May Allah give us the strength and patience and soften the heart of our children in His obedience. Jazakillahu khayran for this beautiful reminder. I agree with all what you’ve said 100%. I think homeschooling and parenting is a kind of trial and error and sometimes, somethings are best experienced 1st hand. My wake up call was when my 7yr old daughter said this feels like a “boarding school” ………

  3. Salam alikum, your blog is really inspiring and puts my fears about home school at ease , i have a two and a half year old and a one and a half year old and i wanna home school everyone (except hubby) is telling me that im not cleaver enough and that i will struggle. My mum thinks that kids need to be shipped of to school, so that mums can get some peace and time to do what she wants, but she cant comprehend that the thing i wanna do is teach them.Your blog puts everything into perspective for me especially because you have more than one child so it seems so realistic

  4. Bismillah Ir Rahmaan Ir Raheem

    AssalaamAlaykum

    Well thought. I guess were on the same page. smiles. May Allaah Bless you and us with khayr and blessing our children with beneficial knowledge Ameen.

    • Yes, absolutely Umm Tafari. For some, it takes them time – but eventually we all move towards this in the end…

  5. As salamualykum, so glad to read this, i also have 4, masha’Allaah they are all so very different and even though we used more of a laid back, unschooling, pick and choose type of approach, even then a lot of things we did i never did with no.3 and now no.4 who is only one masha’Allaah turns the place inside out and upside down!

    I really need to work on the whole anger/shouting thing.
    wasaalam

  6. SubhanAllah so true. I feel the same about my eldest, I kept her much too busy with “schedule” and “teaching”. We have relaxed and calmed down a lot since the birth of number 2 and number 3. Alhamdulillah, just like yourself, I have come to realize that building up an Islamic character and personality is so much more important than anything.
    I also had a conversation with a mom of 3 homeschooled daughters awhile back and subhanAllah she was saying exact same thing. Aunty was in tears and said to me “My daughters know all tajweed rules, they can read the Qur’an properly, they know fiqh and they know of Islamic history etc but it is all just pure knowledge and what can I do if they choose not to live by Islam? (to cut long story short, daughters grown up and went to university, took off hijab etc). I was so moved and touched by her devastation. May Allah ease her pain but it is true, we should first be what we want our children to become. Live by deen in our day-to-day life and show how they (children) can, in turn, apply hadith or ayah to their lives inshaAllah. Knowledge is nothing if we dont teach them to implement this knowledge in daily life and how these actions will benefit/harm their HereAfter. You can teach this with workbooks or textbooks, you have to live by it and learn/improve together with children. Much of implementing is to do with having an Islamic personality. I think in our home ed, there should be less correcting and more connecting.
    JazakAllah for this post sis, found it very useful.

    • I loved this comment so much subhanaAllah. Especially the second last line. Hope you don’t mind but will post this as a post at some point so others can benefit from your words.

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