Less structure in home ed

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We’re becoming more autonomous in our home ed life. I do make plans but I’m no longer afraid of abandoning those plans. In fact, the days I abandon those plans in favour of following my children’s sudden interests prove to be the most enjoyable, the most fun and they learn so much.

There have been quite a few new home educators jump on the band wagon recently and one bit of advice I’ve given to them is not to duplicate school at home. Home ed is not school and anyone I know who has adopted this method of home education has ended up very down with unhappy children.

I’ve always home educated and I must admit, the last few years I’ve tried to find my home ed groove. .

I think I’ve finally found what works for us alhamdulilah. It’s taken years of trying this and trying that but now I feel like I ‘get home ed’.

The change definitely started with really deschooling myself. The national curriculum is just one way of educating children designed by people who don’t know MY children and how they learn. I’ve spent a lot of time recently asking myself why I’m home edding and what it is that I aspire for my children. The answer is that I want them to have a real hunger for knowledge, to love to learn and to be confident in following through with their passions and interests.

Islamically, I want them to love Allah, to fear Him and to want to please Him. I want them to become huffadh and to hold a deep intimate connection with the Quran. I want for them to refer to it constantly and for it to be their reference point in all that they do in life. I wish for them to have exemplary characters inshaAllah.

And based on all of the above, I’ve finally, yes finally, realised that our home ed needs to change and since we began formal home ed again in September it has changed and the results have been amazing mashaAllah.

I’ll share some changes with you. ..

1. I look at what level my children would be at school very lightly. I no longer feel that just because they would be in year 2 that they need to do year 2 work. If they’re bright in a particular area I move them to books and resources for older children. And vice versa, if they’re weaker in an area. .. we’ll go back to resources geared at a younger age group.

2. I am involving my children more in what THEY want to learn and how THEY want to learn it.

3. I am trying to show enthusiasm and interest at anything and everything they show interest in and to try to act immediately in facilitating their interest. The reason behind acting asap is that if I delay it that opportunity for them to look further into their interest is lost.

4. I do still set them formal work but am no longer afraid to scrap my plans should they wish to suddenly learn about something else.

5. I am no longer bound by a textbook or curriculum. If there are parts that are too easy or pointless, I simply skip it. Sometimes this might be pages or chapters in a textbook or workbook.

6. Reading plays an important role in my home. Read alouds are very important.

7. A strict quran timetable is non negotiable for R. She knows it and knows I’m flexible within reason on everything else except that.

8. For myself, I constantly need to recheck my reasons behind home ed.

9. Many a time an interest can be turned into something educational. Eg a sister recently started home edding her 3 boys and I advised her to just spend time getting to know their interests and letting them pursue them. She told me they love Knights and warfare. So I showed her how you can turn an interest of theirs into something educational. I suggested that they could make a castle. To start off by designing it. She could bring in scaling, perimeter and area for maths. The actual making could be art and design and technology. They could then write a play – English lesson. Enact it out with their minature Knight toy figures. And even record it and turn it into a video – iCT. The ideas are endless. Really have a look at what brings out the sparkle in your children’s eyes.

With all of the above, our home ed days are smoother and happier alhamdulillah. I’m less stressed and my children are enjoying their childhood.

I don’t want my children to be mere puppets who could complete an exercise in a textbook because they were told to do so. I want them to be thinkers, inventors, creators, and individuals who aren’t afraid to learn something new and to pursue their interests and dreams. They won’t be these type of people if the home ed they had was limited to a tight strict schedule set by me as to what I think they should do and learn.

Their needs, interests and opinions need to be valued. After all… isn’t that what home ed is all about.

Please feel free to share this post especially with new home edders or those interested… it might save them the time and heartache of starting off how I did. ..super structured school at home.

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7 responses »

  1. Salaam my dear, Jzk for a much needed reminder… You are really saving me all the heartache and hardship in trying so many things. Alhamdulilah me personally I’m discovering this also as we take these baby steps into Home Ed. But the question that always haunt me is how to deal with the outside world and their constant worry for “my” children!

  2. Assalmaoalaikum sister,
    MaashaaAllah tabarakaAllah for yet another wonderful post.
    jzk khair – i really look forward to your posts. Alhamdullilah.
    I totally agree with what you say.

    i recently bought lots of workbooks for my 3 year old (for future use mind) – and now i truly realised that he doesn’t need to be sat down and made to do worksheets.

    I am trying to give him activities that revolve around what his interests are. its not easy mind, as most of the time he wants me to be with him. however – what i try to do – is start him off and then leave him to it.
    He is an only child and thats why he craves the attention. my biggest struggle is joining in with his imaginative play – i find it sooooo difficult to act out plays with him – his dad is far better maashAllah.

    any tips would be appreciated.

  3. Salam sister, I am really happy after reading this post and glad that you have come to the same conclusions as me. Have you ever read about ‘constructivism’ ? It’s very similar to the home-edding style you suggest.

  4. Subhanallah snap. Exactly my thoughts and reflections. We are on the same page. Follow your children’s lead and the flow of life naturally. I am telling you home ed is much more enjoyable and everyone is happy. Years after none cares about how many workbooks you have completed or textbooks have read. Or when finished year 1 programme and when finished year2 etc. Everyone will be left with memories and values instilled in childhood. So enjoy life people.

  5. Mashallah! This is what I needed to hear. Jazakiallah khairan Sister. I am just starting my journey with HE inshallah. Looking for a way that will fit into our lifestyle.

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