Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How it all started & Where we are today?

The purpose of this post is to share our homeschooling journey. Also to give a support to the all families and mommies who have decided to embark on this unique journey but don't know where to start... its okay to be confused! Some of you have asked me how and where to start just as I have asked others the same question and still do when I feel inspired by a mother and her child.

A summary of our journey through this unique experience...

When our son AR was born we were really happy with this blessing and trust Allah swt had given us. As parents we wanted to be the best we could be and wanted to give him all we could from love and our time.   I as a mother started to prepare myself before AR was born, reading books, articles online watching videos, attending classes and lectures on stages of pregnancy and labour, child rearing, coping strategies of different life situations and so on. However, the most important thing was dua... making dua through good times and bad, through various ups and downs of life. I saw my duas being answered on many occasions through out my life (even before I got married and had this blissful family of ours). We had a strong trust in Allah swt that He will show us the right way and He has time and time again and we just have to find the means. Its one of those 'Eman boosting experiences', and we all go through them in our lives many times.

Making the decision to homeschool was one of those things that Allah swt opened up to us. To homeschool AR in his early years was a decision we had made before he was born, but to be honest we really didn't look into it untill Allah swt planned a trip  for us to Edmonton, Canada, where most of the population is of homeschoolers. At that time AR was around 6 months old. We met sister Elma Harder the writer of the book called Concentric Circle, she took us to her sakin circle, mashaAllah it was a wonderful experience, she has raised her children on a farm-side home, very connected to the nature and a simple life. We also got to visit a family who had been homeschooling for many years, we asked many questions we had in our minds. She gave me a book to get me started called 'Ultimate guide to homeschooling'. MashaAllah that sister was/is an inspiration for me, I would love to meet her and her family again and tell her how far we have come in this journey inshaAllah.

When we started learning about Homeschooling, honestly I was so confused. In the beginning we spend most of the time studying/ researching and learning about what Homeschooling really is. Is to school at home! (as most people think, and so did I in the beginning). However, as we read and researched more and listened to lectures done by some renowned Muslim scholars on this subject, many questions we had were answered. We started to come to a deep realization of the fact that to homeschool is to really transform your life-style to a more natural and pure way. Its a transformative learning style. It is to look at things around us from a whole new angle rather then change things around us. Its a holistic living, its to live by the Quran and Sunnah

In the beginning we made some mistakes as is the case when we start anything new, some things had misled me to believe that our three year old should know all his letters/haroof and numbers/addad and should even recognize them all, he should try to write. We had a rigid over scheduled day! Alhumdulillah this phase didn't last for long! During a period of a week Allah swt opened a totally new chapter for us, I came across this saying of Ali (radi Allahu a'anh) "Play with them for the first seven years of their life, teach them for seven years of their lives, be friends with them for seven years and them let them go." (Paraphrased) SubhanaAllah this statement really opened my eyes. I started looking around for play oriented learning and fun things to do with our AR and before I knew we had a unique bonding.

Allah swt kept opening one door after another for us. We picked up this book we had sitting in our shelf and never got our attention until Allah swt wanted us to see it. At this point we were at a turning point in our life as a family. I remember my husband and I sat down till 2AM looking through this book and the how it focuses on all aspects of our lives as whole. The book was the Concentric Circles.

Alhumdulillah to the internet! I found some very beneficial books, links, blogs, and videos online. Most of our daily activities and learning were mainly based on free play, painting, coloring, drawing, working with clay, sand, playdough, imitations, kids helping me around the house, sing alongs and  memorization of duas and Surahs. I also found these two channels on youtube and most of our activities were based on them. The first one is from ExpertVillage, called 'Preschool Montessori Activities', its inspired by the Maria Montessori's learning approach. The second channel is called TheDreamAngle. TheDreamAngle takes the Waldorf approach to learning, through her channel I came across her site, where I came to learn about 'The Earthschooling Curriculum', although we didn't get their curriculum, I did some of their 'Health and Homeschooling' webinars.

 Another great resource we are all familar with was Talibiddeen jr. MashaAllah TabarakAllaha! She has a resourceful website. There are many other wonderful blogging mommies out there all over the globe that offer a great variety of tips and things to do in life, homeschooling, motherhood, and so on.

Although I was not planing on using a  curriculum  for the kids yet since they are still young, still checked some out to get an idea what's out there. I stumbled over this curriculum called Oak Meadow, through a blog I had signed up for an online workshop. When I visited there site, I ended up reading there articles and free journals and ended up not looking into there curriculum at all. I got so into the reading, that for the next few days I kept reading their stuff. The material was very beneficial and eye opening for me, it was like another new turn in life. I highly recoomend reading the material. Than I got busy with kids and home and forgot all about the site and curriculum for a while.

And than SubhanaAllah! I met this lovely sister who let me borrow her 2nd grade Oak Meadow curriculum to look through and told me to keep the book 'The Heart of Learning' written by Lawrence William (founder of Oak Meadow and a trained Waldorf teacher). Its truly an amazing book! It focuses on us as parents to transform ourselves and as a result we will see our children transform. In other words doing Tazkiyyah -tun-Nafs and (purification of the heart/soul). While reading this book I kept thinking to myself these are the teachings of our deen. He explains how we have nurture the 'being' of our child, which of course is the fitra. I would recommend this book to ALL parents, regardless of whether you are homeschooling or not. You can purchase is single from there website, here

Although we decided to send AR to Tahfeez for a few hours (in 2011), we still continued doing a lot of activities together at home while constantly making dua to Allah swt to guide us to the best for him and us. And He did. We decided not to send him back for the second term due to some circumstances which I believe were planned by Allah swt as an answer to our duas. We are so happy to have him home, the one that is most happy is H, mashaAllah tabarakaAllaha, they are bonding so well, of course they have their differences but thats normal. AR slows down to teach her duas word by word or explain things to her, in her language. Last semester when he was at school they would just fight all the time!!

Now, Alhumdulillah we are having such a great time together. I can also say, we are for now, officially unschooling with some boundaries. I still try to keep a rhythm in the day, for me it works best to kinda know how and where to start and end, but I don't have a fixed timetable. I have goals that I want to meet by the end of the day, week, month and year for myself and the kids. No rigid schedules! As I learn more and more I keep feeling a very strong urge to ask Allah swt to give us the ability and strength to instill in our children the proper Islamic morals and teachings; instill the love of this deen and His love in their hearts, love to follow and implement the Quran and Sunnah. Ameen!

What I am loving/cherishing the most about where we are now is, being able to connect and bond with my children, understanding them and their cycles of development. Alhumdulillah we as a family have really come together, we started growing stronger bonds with each other. This doesn't mean that we don't have conflicts or disagreements, or the kids don't have differences with each other... it happens, but its less and most importantly the way we look at things has transformed /is transforming (with the permission of Allah swt) as it is a life long thing. We will continue to grow inshaAllah.

Despite all the opposition I have had with the decsion to Homeschool, I still wish to continue it inshaAllah. Just because AR by nature is more of quite and observant child, people have blamed it on Homeschooling. If it was that was the case then H should be like that too! They are totally opposite to each other, she can start talk to a stranger and AR will take time to get comfortable to meet his own friend after not seeing him for a while.

I pray to Allah swt the ALL Powerful and The ALL Wise to keep guiding us to the Haqq; keep increasing our bond, love and understanding with each other. I Pray that He gives us the ability to raise children who He is pleased with, who can lead the Ummah to the right path and sadaqah Jariyaah for us.

This was a glimpse of our looong journey. This is not at all to say that you should homeschool or unschool. We should all do what works best for us and our families. And neither do we know how long Allah has written this for us, its a choice we have made and hope to continue it as long as Allah swt permits us to. 

A really close friend and a fellow blogging homechooler said something very nice that is soo true and I would like to end with that inshaAllah. She said "Its an entire life style with lots of struggles... bad days... exhaustion and frustration...but it also has countless priceless moments which make every struggle worth it!" See her blog here.


  1. mashallah love this post and can totally relate! love you! and ameen to all the duas! <3

  2. Assalam u alaikum sister,

    i congratulate u for the decision to homeschool.

    u are the third case in my life who i have seen to take out ur kid from school

    this made me to think before i let my child to admit in an arabic school as we are living in saudia too.

    last night , i met some mothers who are not homeschooling but they are sending their kids to a private arabic school. and they are really liking it.

    i have a wish that my kid can aslo learn arabic from an early age , but what stop me is the language barrier between a student and a teacher and between a teacher and a parent myself.

    y did u take out AR from an arabic school? didnt u find any difficulties in communicating with teacher and did ur child react to an arabic environment. was all that alien to him?

    what do they teach ? is it just tahfeez school or do they teach other subjects in arabic?

    just wondering!

    plz do reply !

    keep blogging , i really get inspiration from ur posts!

    1. Walikumasalam wr wb dear sister Ummi Subhana!

      We didn't put AR in school, it was like a Hifz center(Tahfeez), where they would teach Fusha, Quran, Adab and Arabic letters and numbers and the rest of the time was free play with open-ended toys.

      Sister I think there are other ways to teach your child Arabic, it might not be his or her mother tongue but they can still learn it.

      Yes the school was Arabic, and he did have a language barrier but mashaAllah tabarakaAllahu he picked up very fast! and i think communication can be done through body language a lot!

  3. plus , do people ask u that y do u homeschool ur son? when he will grown up inshallah , he has to go outside for earnings.

    people ask me a lot , i dont have a son uptill yet but people still ask!!!

    what do u answer them! what are ur goals for son and daughter !?

  4. sorry for commenting in break ups

    actually my mind is a bit worried thts y asking from like minded people :)

    n they also ask " till how long u ll homeschool?" how will u answer to them?

    jazakALLAH KHAIR

    1. Just say only Allah knows best! Which is the ultimate truth. Only He knows what lays tmr! You should tell yourself that too.

      I think every family, every mother has there own goals for their children and family. But as muslims we should All have one main goal to strive tooo... which is deeds that lead us to Falah and the pleasure of our Rabb! (to Jannah without touching Fire)

      Honestly sister, you will never be able to please all people! There will always be someone out there who will always have something to contradict you on your face even if they might think you are right deep down inside. And then you will find those who will see you doing somthing and will want to do that and take credit of it. Bottom line is you will never be able to please everyone!

      I hope this was helpful.

      Do you know about the Jeddah hsing group?? MashaAllah they have some AMAZING sisters! I met a couple recently. Maybe we can meet in this March break we will be coming down for Ummrah inshaallah.

      oka take care and and Jazakillahu Kharian for your comments and encouraging words :)


  5. Aameen! May Allaah continue to guide all of us and make our struggles praiseworthy ones and give all of us success in the both lives. Aameen!