Home Ed Q&A

Here's another question and answer session with a Home ed family from the UK who are now living in Saudi Arabia.

 So grab yourself a cuppa and have a read!! :) Please do check out the previous Chai Chats in the archive by clicking in the top left hand side of my blog's Home Page for the drop down menu! Thank you!

Today I am interviewing Umm Yunus, if you want to follow their Home Ed journey you can @ummyunus09 on Instagram!

Here goes....

When and why did you decide to Home Educate?
It was never a conscious decision as such. As a stay at home mum in a home without screen-time (nowadays a little more for educational purposes) it came naturally. In our local community in the UK there were also many home-educating families which made home education very normal. 

What kind of approach do you take?
We do a bit of everything I suppose. Coming from a language teaching background with a strong emphasis on taking activities out of the coursebook has really shaped the approach I take towards teaching generally, in that we very rarely use any sort of work or text book as is. I love and attempt to incorporate elements of both the Montessori and Reggio approaches towards learning, and I feel they both complement each other quite well. For maths I use the Singapore maths curriculum alongside the Montessori one, which again works really well for us, all praise to Allah. For language work, learning to read specifically, we've been quite flexible and have used the UK National literacy framework as a guide adapting it to the children's needs; alongside lots of read-alouds. For my older one I am looking to use the Montessori approach for grammar as it's very hands-on. At this point it’s a lot of unschooling/free play type 'work' as well and we also use unit studies for topics of interest. For older children I also use copy work and limited amounts of workbooks (for handwriting practice or maths for example) but generally we try to make learning as hands-on as possible.

Where do the children do most of their work? and do they distract each other?
Mainly in our sitting room. As long as they each have something to do surprisingly they don't distract each other much - though of course sometimes they may find their sibling's work more interesting than their own.  When some of my children were younger I did try to do most instruction or project work during nap times to avoid little hands from getting in between.

What subjects do you teach and do you stick to a timetable?
We do not follow a strict timetable, more of a loose routine around meal and prayer times. The subjects we teach daily are Qur'an related (memorisation and revision or tilawah/qaidah respectively), all others currently depend very much on their interests and my energy levels. In the past we have had a flexible subject cycle including more structured literacy and maths instruction, unit studies on the Prophets alayhimus salaam, and invitations to play or create.

How do you react to people asking about socialisation, do your children easily socialise and work well with others?
I have found that my younger children find it a lot easier interacting with children they don't know (say at the playground) than their older sibling though that may be down to their personalities more than anything else. They all enjoy conversing with adults they meet and play well with family friends. We actually don't have too much social interaction, so in the past we have sent the children to nurseries to pick up the local language and to play with other children.

Have family supported your decision?
My husband does alhamdulillaah. As for extended family I'm not too sure how aware they are as to what we are doing in terms of the children's education, as we are living abroad .
How do you incorporate Physical Education into your Home Ed days?
Mainly through them playing at the park, and running around the house... 

Do you plan and how far in advance?
That's a difficult question to answer. I have various unit studies planned out, but we haven't got around to completing them. As mentioned we are mainly unschooling at the moment, and following the children's interests, which is a lot more spontaneous but may at times include work I have previously prepared. For Qur'an and 'Islamic Studies' I have certain monthly targets in mind, which we work towards, though we do not follow a set curriculum for either. When we were subscribed to Reading Eggs and had our workbooks I also allocated a set amount of time towards these on a daily or weekly basis.

Do you spend a lot of money on resources?
Not really. We mainly spend on books, as there are no libraries, and stationery items. In the past we subscribed to Reading Eggs which was beneficial to us. Aside from that we have bought some workbooks for maths and penmanship, but for the most part I make or re-purpose items as learning resources.

Image result for reading eggs

How do you make time for yourself?
I try to wake up before the children to make time for personal studies. I also use any pockets of time where the children are involved in independent play or other activities (baking, painting...) to carve out some personal time. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting their Home Ed journey?
Do what works for you and your family and be flexible as your circumstances evolve. Know your priorities and work towards those consistently. Don't become disheartened when things don't pan out as anticipated but instead take it as a learning opportunity.

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