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…