This interview was originally posted in February 2016. Madiha now has five children mashaAllah and is currently attending an Arabic immersion course inTurkey.
How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
Alhamdulillah I have been blessed with four amazing children. I have a 7 year old daughter and three sons who are 8, 3 and 1.5 years old.
How long have you been homeschooling for?
My children have never gone to school. Since I believe that teaching our own children (whether part-time or full time) is an aspect of parenting, I would say that I have been homeschooling since I became a parent 8 years ago.
Do you follow a particular method?
My homeschooling method changes according to our stage in life, the personality of my children and what my children are interested in learning. Last year, we moved to Turkey six weeks after my fourth child was born. As we navigated through a new family structure, new surroundings, new language and culture etc., unschooling was necessary for a great part of the year. This year, I have more of a routine in place for my older two and we have resorted back to using our workbox system (in a relaxed fashion). I mix elements of classical and unschooling methods with what I do with them. When it comes of Quran, math, reading and writing, I use a more structured approach and try to cover these regularly. For other subjects like science, geography, social studies, etc., I take a more child-led approach.
A PEEK INSIDE YOUR LIFE
Why does your family chose to homeschool?
I decided that I wanted to homeschool even before I had children or was married. I had the opportunity to observe some wonderful families who homeschooled and read a lot about the benefits of homeschooling, the history of schooling, etc. I am also very fortunate to have parents who would encourage my siblings and I to see learning beyond the classroom through activities such as getting us into the habit of keeping a journal, making a weekly family tradition of going to the library and taking us on many family trips. These are the experiences that have had the biggest impact on my learning as a child. Furthermore, I have had the opportunity to view the school system from the perspective of my husband who is an educator at both the high school and university levels. That perspective coupled with my own experience, has really opened my eyes into how children develop to become self-directed and life-long learners.
Homeschooling allows my husband and I to cater to each of our children’s unique learning styles and needs, with the hope, that we can instil in them a love of learning. Furthermore, we also believe that by physically removing our children out of the school system, we can better prepare them to become critical citizens that challenge societal norms, which are rarely scrutinized or questioned in traditional classrooms.
Homeschooling gives our children more time to experience and observe the world around them as well as the opportunity for us as parents to have important conversations around vital issues. This in turn provides a unique filter to our children’s understanding of the world that I really believe should come from the parents as opposed to strangers.
What does a good day look like in your house?
A good day for us is when myself and my eldest two children have taken advantage of the barakah of Fajr time and have started off the day early. When that happens, we get all of our academic and household goals accomplished and are left with tons of time to pursue our individual interests. A good day is also one in which we have expressed kindness, patience, gratitude and have learnt something new.
What does a bad day look like in your house?
A bad day is one in which we have started the day off on a bad note by waking up late, cranky and/or sick. This throws that whole day off and results in a lot of wasted time. A bad day is also one in which I have not maintained my own frustrations and as a result, have been unable to guide the frustrations of my children.
What are your three homeschooling essentials?
1. Daily Quran and Dua 2. Lots of books 3. Good company