Challenges and priorities

Bismillah,

Alhamdulillah, we have been able to do a little bit more academic subjects since my last post on our home-school journey. As I told previously, I have been so relaxed and reluctant to do anything formal/structured for the past 3-4 months with children. SubhanAllah, things change and home-education is no exception. So, what did change

Firstly, I think my attitude towards homeschooling changed. I used to get depressed at the thought of long breaks from formal home-school or breaking children’s routine from normal learning hours (usually around 10am-12pm in the mornings). I was always so adamant to get the planned workload done for that day on that same day. I would be so disappointed if children refused to do any of the subjects and try to convince them to do it. I think the quote from Charlotte Mason “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life”  summarises my attitude change.

I have been trying to do “more connecting and less correcting” with children but I still struggle to make peace with Safiyya at all times. And this is the reason why

She is constantly asking me questions, sometimes just to annoy me- or so it seems to me. She is still mischievous and always up to mission- or so we perceive her at home. For example, she cuts the table cloth to make something out of it, she finishes the whole tooth paste in 2-3 days by trying to wash her teeth ten times a day, she blocks the bathroom sink with bits of cardboard boxes, she finishes toilet roll paper in one go- she does all these over again after we have repeatedly told her not to do these. Is this normal for any 4 year old? I do not know.

She gets inspired to “conduct a project” somewhere in the house (bathroom, kitchen, bedroom etc) and goes ahead without even asking me permission weather she is allowed to do the things she does. Usually, when she has gone quite for sometime we go and check on her. She leaves trails behind her, one can always tell where she has been. I can not help but tell her off, shout, smack etc and then left feeling guilty. I know it is not good to embarrass a child in front of others and it is against sunnah to punish her in public. But, unfortunately, this is what often happens with Safiyya. I am afraid it might damage her creativity or leave some undesired marks on her personality….Make dua Allah gives me patience to deal with this and all parenting challenges. I would welcome any tips on how to deal with this…..

Apart from the usual “creativity” projects, Safiyya has been showing more interest in reading. MashaAllah, we have just read one of Dr. Seuss books at bed time and she read some 20 pages with a lot of enthusiasm. I just have to be more patient and correct less when she makes some phonetic mistakes. She does not like to be corrected much (just like Sumayya) and gets discouraged if I keep correcting every mispronounced word. Again, may Allah give me patience. She has also done some pages from MEP Year 1. She found the activities so easy, to my surprise. One of the activities was to find out all the options for writing number 3 as an addition. She wrote all the following : 2+1; 1+2; 3+0; 0+3. I was so so happy. She is doing basic addition and subtraction with numbers 0-5 using her fingers. I do maths on demand with her. whenever she suggests.

Sumayya, has been doing some English too. The other day, I asked her to pick a favourite book which was Cactus Annie by Melanie Willamson. She read it to me out loud after which I asked her to narrate the story to me. She found it a little difficult to narrate smoothly and I did quick Q&A to check on her reading comprehension. She answered all my questions correctly using the exact the same words and lines from the book. She has memorized much of the text with one reading lol. I asked her to write a summary of the story which she did perfectly for her age. The next day she read another book and I did dictation with her for her spelling. I dictated 2 pages from the book which she had to write without looking at the book. We just have to work on punctuation (and it was the first time I explained things like comma, full stop, exclamation mark etc)

I did try to revise some maths topics and activities from MEP Year 1. She found many of the problem-solving and mental maths activities so hard. I could not believe she would be able to forget this much in 3-4 months. So, instead of being patient, I kept telling her off for “not using her brain well enough” (phrase we use a lot in Uzbek, not suitable for children, I know) and she completely lost confidence to do any maths. Now, every time I suggest maths she is so reluctant and comes up with excuses. I have to be more patient, take more time to explain the mental maths activities without showing my anger.

The thing is, as you all can see, I know exactly what to do in THEORY. So, when I write a blog post, I know exactly what to do. And another thing is, it is so difficult to practise in REALITY. I guess this is one of the great challenges of home-schooling- you know you have to be patient but can not always BE IT.

Anyway, I reminded myself that academic achievements are not a priority for us at the moment. Alhamdulillah, they are still so much more ahead of their peers at school. I know it because I am teaching children of various ages who attend various different public schools where we live (so I can compare). Also, I always get feedback from teachers at RE and alhamdulillah comparing to children of the same age, both girls are so much ahead. I do not want them to be scholars, but rather socially integrated and morally responsible individuals who try to please God with every action. And how much maths, geography, science are needed to achieve this?

Based on my own philosophy of education, I continue to relax (lol) and focus more on character building and instilling Islamic values, most of the time through engaging conversations whilst cuddling in the sofa.

 

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5 thoughts on “Challenges and priorities

  1. Assalamu alaikum,

    ups and downs boladiyu hamma narsadayam… asosiysi o’zilarga munosib yo’lni tanlab shug’ullaveringlar inshaAlloh. Alloh davomli qilsin. Asosiysi, bollariz aqlli, ko’p narsalarni o’rganishadi, ko’p narsalarni qila olishadi mashaAlloh. O’zlari qiziqqan fanlarni, narsalarni o’rgatib, islomni yahshi tanitib, ahloqlari bilan koproq shug;ullanish muhim.

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    • wa alaykum assalam,
      ha inshaAllah, shunday qilamiz. aytganizday, bolani hecham majburlash bilan bir narsaga erishib bulmas ekan. erishsangiz ham natija juda qisqa payt bulib davomiy bulmas ekan. Har qanday narsani ham, oz-ozdan, hatto 5 minut bulsa ham kunda takrorlab turgan yaxshi. Uzooq tanaffusdan keyin bolani qayta qiziqtirish, yonaltirish qiyin. Anchadan beri Sumayya Qur’onni faqat kitobdan oqirdi, umuman yoddan aytishni practise qilmay qoygandi. ancha suralari esidan chiqqan. Safiyya hali oqishni bilmaydi shunga har kuni yodidan qaytarib rosa yaxshi aytadi, qaytanga opasidan ancha confidentroq yoddan aytishga. Sumayyaga miyangdan aytchi shu surani desam darrov kitobga yuguradi….hullas takrorlab turgan oz-ozdan har kuni qilgan yaxshi har qanday fanni ham.
      Ozingiz anchadan beri korinmadiz. Sogliklariz yaxshimi? Bolalar buvilari bilan mazzzza qilayotgan ekanda, mashaAllah

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  2. Assalaamu ‘alaykum,

    i’m not a parent so i don’t know how effective these suggestions will be but just an idea-
    maybe you could make a ‘creativity box’ (and put some unusual fun things for Safiyya to use/decorate like an empty tissue box or print instruction sheets for different crafts, etc) and tell her whenever she wants to decorate or do something super creative she should come use the stuff in the box

    also from some teaching experience and as you would know, i have found positive affirmation can work well for correcting patterns/habits of behaviour…from my personal experience I found in some situations when I kept correcting a child not to do something..it almost became funny/a game/a means of attention…..however, when i focused on what he was doing well and how I wanted the child to act and direct him to what he does that make me happy ..i found it to be much more effective maasha’Allah walhamdulillah….
    so maybe for example you could try telling her (if you haven’t already), I really like it when you make crafts etc and that makes me happy. but i’m not happy when [______]. making crafts is more fun, isn’t it..?

    then again she is just 4 years old..

    May Allah grant you patience and help you in raising a pious family

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    • wa alaykum assalam,
      JazakAllah khayr dear sis for your comment. You are so right. I have been reading a lot about positive parenting recently and they recommend that for most attention seekers telling off can be satisfactory since the child is getting attention. Instead, parents should focus on positive behaviour to reinforce it. we should try to ignore the negative behaviour because very often by pointing out their faults we are giving children attention only when they do something wrong. And in their turn children keep doing it more and more. If we are attentive and give praise for when they behave, they try to do it more to get attention and approval. InshaAllah, will try to remember your wise words. So helpful mashaAllah. Jzk again

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      • i hope i can apply it myself insha’Allah.
        on a side note I just want to say to mention that I really admire the dedication and patience of Muslim parents who choose to homeschool .. it really is beautiful to see families so focused on a good upbringing for their children maasha’Allah. baraak Allahu feeki

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