Home Ed Q&A with Umm Rayyaan!

Today's Chai Chat is with Umm Rayyaan, so grab a cuppa and happy reading!

When and why did you decide to Home Educate?

With regards to when we started homeschooling I would say we are quite early starters. I started ‘teaching’ Rayyaan from when he was around 1.5-2 years old. I use the term teaching loosely as it was never formal and always done through lots of fun games and play. However his learning journey started from there (Arabic/English alphabet, numbers, shapes, colours) alhamdulilaah. The question as to why I decided to homeschool is one I get asked quite often and to be honest there are so many but I will mention a few of the main reasons we decided to go down this route.

This was something my husband and I had discussed before we even had Rayyaan and knew straight away it is something we would like to do in shaa Allaah. Having a child is huge responsibility and an even bigger amanah (trust) from Allaah ta’ala and we wanted to make sure we did everything we could to nurture that trust. Another important reason we decided to homeschool was the issues with the UK schooling system. From what is taught to how they are taught and the overall school environment. I find that schools in UK are very one size fits all, in that all children are expected to learn in the same way, using rigid methods and practices. It is very much about meeting targets and less about each individual learning journey. Of course with 30 children in a classroom, catering to each child’s needs can prove difficult which means that each child’s individual needs are not seen to. The different learning styles of each child is disregarded and you find that if a child struggles to keep up they are deemed underachievers, when it is the teaching methods that should be adapted to the child’s learning style.

For me learning is a life long journey that happens everywhere you go and at anytime, especially outdoors and not confined to four walls where you are unable to speak unless spoken to, move around (even if the child gets restless) and express your own thoughts and ideas. The expectation of a young child to sit still, be quiet and pay attention at all times is absurd. Children thrive on being able to express themselves freely, whether that requires movement or engaging conversation with their peers or adults.

Something that really made me lean towards homeschooling was being fully present during Rayyaan’s early years. This is extremely important to me. It is these early years that shape their personality and character and I wanted to make sure that he had an environment to thrive in, build his own personality and confidence, and be a free spirit. Not to mention the Islamic side of things. Instilling adaab and akhlaaq from a young age, that is befitting of a Muslim was also a big priority of ours and homeschooling has aided us in that regard for sure alhamdulilaah.

What kind of approach do you take?

We take an interest-led approach. I follow Rayyaan’s interests in practically everything we learn and have found that to work best for us. I ask him what he would like to learn about or what his interests are and base my planning around that. Rayyaan attended Montessori sessions for 2.5 years which very much falls into interest-led learning too alhamdulilaah and benefited him greatly.

Where do the children do most of their work? and do they distract each other?

Honestly? Where ever he feels like it. The dining table, the floor, his desk, in my room, on top of his storage unit (we have had that before lol), outdoors. Homeschooling for us is not limited to ‘sit down’ work at all so majority of our homeschooling happens all over, especially outdoors. I only have Rayyaan so the person who gets distracted from things is me lol Alhamdulilaah.

What is your favourite thing about Home Education?

My favourite thing is the fact that homeschooling creates endless opportunities for learning about *everything* every single day. You are free to go and do whatever you want, whenever you want allowing them to really explore and quench their thirst of asking questions and gaining knowledge. Being able to cater to my child’s learning needs/style and interests all the time is so fulfilling alhamdulilaah. This is something that I love about homeschooling. The flexibility of it and being able to change and adapt anything to suit what Rayyaan needs.

Another thing would be the depth of the bond it has created between us. It is something I am also truly grateful for. I am by no means insinuating that children who go to school have less of a bond with their parents just to make that clear. However being present throughout his learning journey so far has definitely deepened our bond alhamdulilaah.

How do you react to people asking about socialisation, do your children easily socialise and work well with others?

When people ask with genuine interest and they really want to understand then I have no problems answering and explaining anything they would like to know. I think it those who ask with a pre-conceived idea that no socialisation takes place and have already made their minds up. That can be a little more difficult. I find it hard to understand the concept of socialisation only being able to take place within a school environment, when the only time children are allowed to engage in conversations is during their short break/lunch times. Conversation during class is deemed as misbehaviour so I find that argument flawed. Yes Rayyaan works really well with others and being able to meet people from all walks of life, young and old, has really boosted his confidence alhamdulilah.

Have family supported your decision?

Alhamdulilaah from the get go our family has firmly supported our decision and encouraged it. Very grateful for the support and encouragement alhamdulilaah.

How do you incorporate Physical Education into your Home Ed days?

Apart from spending time running around outdoors and playing in parks daily. Rayyaan does martial arts, swimming and tennis alhamdulilaah.

Do you plan and how far in advance?

I recently wrote a blog post about how I plan our homeschool. You can read it here: https://raisingrayyaan.wordpress.com/2017/09/09/an-insight-into-how-i-plan-our-homeschool-year/

Do you spend a lot of money on resources?

In the beginning I went crazy with excitement and enthusiasm and was buying any resource I set my eyes on lol I’m sure new homeschoolers can relate. However now, I have calmed down a little, much to the pleasure of my husband lol. I do still spend a lot on resources but not as much as I used to, I try and utilise other avenues i.e. free pintables, using library books instead of buying all the books I see etc. I also have very generous friends Allaah yabaraak feehum who are also homeschoolers and they gift me a lot of things.

How do you make time for yourself?

Every week is different depending on our plans for that week but alhamdulilaah, I do get to have most evenings to myself and my husband does take over when I need ‘me time’ Allaahumma baarik lana, so alhamdulilaah extremely grateful.

What advice would you give to someone just starting their Home Ed journey?

Hmm. Focus on your own journey and that of your child/ren. Do not compare yourself or your children to other homeschooled children you see on social media. Learning is a journey that is life-long and every single child will learn differently and at a different pace and that is absolutely fine. Appreciate the journey, it is a beautiful one. Even with all it’s up and downs.

Secondly, don’t go crazy and spend tons of money. There are so many free resources out there all it takes is a little research and a lot of printer ink and paper. Also utilise the many charity shops, car boot sales and other places you can find amazing things for extremely cheap prices. They will soon become your best friend.

Thirdly, and I would say this is extremely important is take some time out before you start homeschooling, if you have deregistered your child from school. Take time to just enjoy each other, have fun, de-school YOURSELF and your own mentality and ease your way in slowly.

Lastly, enjoy it! There may be difficult times throughout your journey but you will see the fruits of your labour and it is one of the most beautiful things you will experience. May Allaah aid us all.

Umm Rayyaan

Instagram and Twitter: @RaisingRayyaan


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