I think it is important to re-evaluate regularly as a home edder. Things are constantly changing – the family dynamics, the children’s learning styles, finances, available classes and workshops – the list goes on and on.
This morning I had a wonderful telephone conversation with a home edder I really look up to and admire. I think its important in this journey to have a ‘silent mentor’ – someone that has already passed through your current stage – with older children.
I absolutely love talking to her as we are quite similar in many ways – lead similar crazy hectic lives, have a number of other things aside from home ed going on etc etc.
I spoke to her about a dilemma I just can’t shake off. I know I keep saying this but R’s hifdh really is taking up a HUGE chunk of our day and by the time she has finished, there is still so much other work to do (Math, English, Arabic etc etc) and then other activities that she attends outside the home. R recently told me that she feels she doesn’t have a lot of time to do what she wants to do and I can’t stop thinking about what she said.
I don’t want her to feel under pressure or to feel as though her days are full of structured work – whats the point – might as well place her in school from 9-3! And so I’ve been re-evaluating and then decided to call my friend and ask her for some good advice.
And these are the excellent tips that she gave me. Documenting them here so I can go back to them whenever I’m in doubt:
- ‘She’s still young’ she told me. So nice to hear that. I’m often telling other sisters who ask me for advice about their 3-6 year olds that they’re still young and to chill. And hearing it from someone with older kids really does put it into persepctive. ‘She won’t fall behind’, she coached me – hifdh really does strengthen the mind beyond belief.
- ‘Really important that she enjoys her hifdh journey’ – so true. She’s spending half a day on Qu’ran alone – its important she enjoys it. The sister advised me that if she feels she still has ‘x’ amount of work to do after her morning on Qu’ran – she might end up feeling under a lot of pressure and resent her time with the Qu’ran.
- I spoke to the sister about R’s love of learning about history, geography, science and life in general and her love of doing topic based work and our lack of time to be able to do it! She quite frankly told me that she will not fall behind insha’Allah as topic based work really does improve a child’s level of English (spelling, handwriting, grammar etc). She advised me that if she’s spending so long on Qu’ran each day then why not let her learn through topic based learning which she’ll enjoy – she won’t then feel that she doesn’t have time for things she enjoys.
- Math – my concern was Math. Again, the sister calmly told me to look at a GCSE Math paper and that should put my heart at rest. Her daughter didn’t do formal Math for quite a few years and then when she wanted to start work towards her GCSE – she put her in at what level she would have been if she were in school and she caught up in no time.
- Overall, she spoke to me about her own family and how this chilled out way of home edding has really helped the children soar academically, spiritually, Islamically, mentally and how they really get on much better as a family.
I’ve been thinking since I had this conversation this morning and I feel some changes are needed in our home ed journey especially during these next crucial 2 years insha’Allah. May Allah help us all….Ameen.