This interview was originally posted in June 2016. Ambareen put her four eldest into public school (grade 6, 8 , 11 and 12). Her two youngest are in a private homeschooling co-op. Her eldest is graduating from highschool this year and just got accepted into McMaster University, alhamdulilah.
She went back to school shortly after this interview, graduated and has been working part-time for various organizations over the past few years. She resigned from a full-time job as Director of Fund Development for a non-profit this past February (she needed a break!), and is back home with the kids during this quarantine time. It is bringing back wonderful memories of their homeschooling time and giving them a chance to reconnect as a family. They are loving every minute of it Alhamdullilah wa Shukrillah!
Also, she did finish the last book of Henrietta Gee; I'm debating whether or not to write the fourth!
How many kids do you have and what are their genders/ages?
I have 6 kids: girl 14, girl 12, girl 9, girl 7, boy 5, girl 2.
How long have you been homeschooling for?
I homeschooled for the last twelve years, and just put my eldest two into school this January (eeek!).
What method would you say you follow?
We’re mostly eclectic and unschooling, kid-driven completely. If the kids requested or liked using workbooks for some subjects, I would buy them, but we never used textbooks. Instead, we used tons of games (board/card, manipulative, videos/websites, field trips, etc. Also, when I say we didn’t use textbooks, that doesn’t mean we didn’t use books. Over the years, we’ve collected hundreds of books on every subject (buying them for around 50 cents each from Goodwill!), and we’ve also had different magazine subscriptions over the years (National Geo Jr, Sisters, OWL magazine, etc.). We are big on reading, as a family. There are books everywhere, but no pressure to read them. I also read to them out loud most nights (to the younger ones). We last finished Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat – great book, by the way!
The middle three kids just started going to a private co-op homeschool this year, and they are certainly more structured there. Also, we do follow more structure for Quran reading and memorization.
In one sentence, why did your family choose to homeschool?
To preserve the character of my kids, to instil love of learning, and for family scheduling flexibility.
A PEEK INSIDE YOUR LIFE
In a nutshell, describe what a good day in your home looks like.
A good day is always when everyone makes it to the end of the day alive and well. Alhamdullilah. However, for survey purposes, if at least 40% of the following occurs, then it’s a “good” day: Everyone gets up at a decent time, nobody’s asked me any questions before I’ve had a nice cup of coffee, everyone’s fed adequately, we have groceries in the house, minimal whining is going on, plentiful playing and learning is occurring, I’ve prayed all my prayers on time, weather’s nice, I’ve had a chance to shower and comb my hair, nobody’s thrown up, kids are being nice to each other, we’ve done something outdoors-y, I have plenty of chocolate mints in the cupboard, and I’ve only used my nice mommy voice and haven’t yelled like a lumberjack.
If 100% of above, then it is an absolutely miraculous day, one that may occur once in a decade (last one occurred in 2012-2013, I think).
In a nutshell, describe what a bad day in your home looks like.
The worst would be the exact opposite of everything above. In which case, I simply crawl into bed and call it a day – at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. And everyone’s watching Netflix.