September always makes me think.
It makes me think about the what ifs, it makes me think about the whys and it makes me think about what homeschooling means to me as a mother, and us as a family.
I remember last year, I was really down, as other Moms giggled with glee as they waved their children off to school. I craved a distance between my kids and I....a moment where I could go to the washroom without being followed. I wanted a few hours to myself everyday... just for the house to be quite and clean and kid free for a bit! But alhamdulillah I had a very close friend, and an awesome community around me to pull me out of my slump and I remembered all the reasons why I choose to homeschool and told myself everything will be ok. And alhamdulillah it was.
This year, being thousands of miles away from that very close friend and amazing homeschooling community, Id think Id be super depressed. Ill admit I've had my fair share of tears and heartache, but I am surprised to say, I think this is one of the most refreshing and energizing September / back to (home)school season I've had. There were moments I have considered putting the boys in school here due to the guilt of taking them away from their Canadian friends, and frustration of not finding any 'replacements.' But alhamdulillah through the power of dua and help of Allah SWT I am hanging on, rediscovering myself, and enjoying my family in a way I never have before. I feel I was always 'good' at keeping the kids busy, but I always knew deep down inside that I was not good at connecting with them as I wanted to. Indeed with difficulty there is ease, as Allah has promised. And with the difficulty of moving, Allah has truly sent me ease in ways that I would have never expected.
Alhamdulillah, there is a community centre which is attached to our building and the boys have begun soccer classes there as of this week. There are also two families who have begun homeschooling in our area who both have sons Yusuf's age. And perhaps the biggest bonus of them all, Naani (my mom) is inshaAllah arriving in two weeks for a whole three months! We are very excited! MashaAllah were so happy the cousins came to visit earlier in the summer, but their visit was much shorter therefore we were rushed and obviously since the kids had other kids to play with, homeschooling was put aside. InshaAllah with Naani around I have confidence well be able to stay on track and be productive. But I do know well slow down here n there to have some pretty exciting adventures with her!
Im not very strict with the whole Sept- June school routine. We kind of just go with the flow. But like I said, September always makes me think. And recently I have been doing some self evaluation and come to realize I need to be a little more organized than I think I did. In Canada it was very easy for me to wing it so to say. We were out a lot and quite a few subjects were outsourced. The kids were also younger, and, less in number. Summaiya is one now mashallah and that goes without saying, she adds a little more to Momma's workload. I still cringe at the idea of having a super rigid schedule, but I'm finding more routine helps me and the kids stay more productive... and happier.
I've mentioned workboxes before and I cant say how much they help me! I like structure and the feeling of accomplishment to a degree, but I have to be balanced. I need flexibility in my routine if I've had a rough night with the baby, or if we were out the night before and the house is messy, or if I just need a mental break etc etc. So we do our workboxes pretty much every day, but we take them out when we've eaten a good breakfast, tidied and freshened up, maybe played a game or two, or read some books or spoken to family on Skype. And I find this way, it keeps the idea of workboxes exciting for the kids. They enjoy doing them, I enjoy preparing them... so alhamdulilah its a win/win.
I used to prep the work boxes the night before and think of activities on the spot. However, with a teething baby, and a bigger house to take care of, I find the hours of the night go by way too quickly. So I've begun roughly planning the week on the weekend before, I don't make the workboxes for the entire week, I just jot down ideas for each day. I'm trying to have a focus subject each day and prepare the activities based on that subject. For example, Mondays is math so most of the math stuff gets done on Monday but I make it fun and try to have a variety of things. This week we played connect four, and I taught Yusuf how to play Solitaire. We still cover different subjects or may repeat some things on a different day on the same week, but this just gives me a better idea of how to plan.
Ive said it before and Ill say it again.... inshaAllah I plan on blogging more regularly.
Now that Ramadan is over, and were pretty much settled into our new home and routine, inshaAllah it will be easier for me to do so.
Ive received some emails recently from 'secret' followers and honestly it means a lot to me that I have encouraged or inspired people to homeschool or continue homeschooling, or helped spark some ideas. I pray Allah swt gives me sincerity and that this blog serves as a beneficial reminder.
Please keep us in your duas.
And as always, feel free to comment, Id love to hear from you.