Salaam! (Peace) I wanted to share our homeschooling journey. Here it goes.
Back in the day, I used to think homeschooling was odd. I grew up in New York, went to school since preschool and lets face it, most movies don’t really depict it as being awesome! After having our daughter and discovering her dairy allergy, I didn’t feel too comfortable placing her in an environment where cows milk is the drink to have amongst her peers. If you have consumed dairy since you could remember (like I did), shopping dairy-free and eating dairy-free can seem intimidating. What the heck can I eat? Where do I shop? Will it taste good? ..I’d like to jump ahead and say YES! It does taste good. YES, there are lots of stores. YES, there are many things to eat. But that’s another story, in sha Allah (God willing) Anyhow, it was definitely a transition. Grocery shopping took forever, cooking was a struggle. Like anything new, it soon became much easier and I can say today its a lifestyle I am happy to live. Alhamdulillah (praise and thanks to be God). I eat healthier and have dabbed in the vegan/vegetarian world..something I used to think was odd too! But guys can I tell you, seriously some of the best dishes I have had! So this whole intro is one of the reasons we homeschool. Yes, now back to that!
Homeschooling is not so strange as I once thought. It is actually pretty awesome! Picture this. You make your child’s own schedule & you take to your child’s own interests. You can teach them anywhere! We spend a lot of time at parks and libraries. You are your child’s teacher. There are tons of other homeschooling families out there via facebook and instagram (for example) who have so willingly shared their ideas! That is how it began for me. I was inspired through Instagram…moms who were already on their homeschooling journey sharing it with other moms! We started with themes. It was usually a different theme each week including construction, sky and space, camping, dinosaurs, etc. Games, toys, art, worksheets, books and screen time for the week mostly tied into the theme. This takes prep time which I tried to do when she went to sleep. Eventually, I organized her toys with bins and labels which included pictures. She could find what she wanted and cleaning up was easier for her. Prior to this, her toys were one hot mess, overwhelming for both of us. As she got older, we switched from themes to letters and numbers. I focused more on worksheets. She became bored with that eventually. Worksheets feel like work to her and she really has to be in the mood for it. What works best for her today is imaginative play. I sneak in lessons that relate to her pretend play. For example, preschool biology when she plays doctor. I have a cartoon body chart from the dollar store hanging up in her room. This girl knows terms such as fibula, femur, spine. Alhamdulillah! Oh yes, the dollar store will be your best friend!! We also have a world map hanging in the dining room. When she whips out her map book, I sneak in some geology and world learning. I’ve found that hanging different posters around the house can really encourage learning. Maybe not right away but eventually, in sha Allah. That is my struggle. My eagerness to want to teach her something specific, but waiting on her readiness for that subject.
Did I mention there are so many different homeschooling styles too? Unschooling, Montessori, Charlotte Mason to name a few. This was a bit overwhelming to me in the beginning. How do I know which one to try first? So we just do what works for us. Most days its child led learning with an occasional nudge from mommy to do something more specific such as phonics. But hey, we are now dabbing into early reading!
One thing that has remained constant for us is getting outdoors! Whether it is going to the park, children’s museum or just strolling around the neighborhood, it truly does make a difference in our day. That vitamin D goes a long way! Having no car can make it tough to get outdoors, I know. We go on a lot of walks. Turn them into mini adventures like flying a kite, riding a bike, watching some bugs, picking some leaves, etc. These little things fill our day so much joy. Alhamdulillah. Living in Florida’s heat can limit our time outdoors, so we’ll troop it out early morning or late afternoon.
And Co-ops! What’s that? Basically a bunch of home schooling families that get together so the kids can socialize. We are part of one with some friends. Usually once a week, we get together for 1-2 hours or so and the kids love it! They play, they learn, they socialize and the mamas get to connect with one another. Its a win-win for both.
I realize every child is different and every parent is different! Adapting to everyones needs are crucial to make any situation work. Homeschooling is no different. We are constantly evolving and switching things up. Something may work for a little while and that is great! I do wish to continue our homeschooling journey for as long as I can. Recently, she has mentioned some interest in going to school. So we shall see! Allah (God) is the best of all planners!