As the new year approaches, it's time to look back at some of the most memorable moments we had in 2017.
1. Getting closer to Nature This year we have visited reserves and parks more often than I have ever remembered even for my older batch of children. While we did nothing 'adventurous' and stuck to safe and less challenging routes, it was a big leap for us into the green patches left in this island. There are so many more to explore and we look forward to experiencing them in 2018. We are just warming up our gear to go more in-depth for nature-related lessons next year and not forgetting our nature journaling.
2. Our first Play Party! Play is an essential part of growing up as any parent now knows. We didn't want to just do it alone or just sign up for a commercially-motivated play session; hence I decided to hold play sessions at our own home so that we can keep costs low and keep it close to home. To date, we have held two play parties ( we started in November) and insyaAllah we hope to hold more in the future.
3. Our Boys started formal schooling While I can't say the journey of homeschooling my boys was smooth-sailing, it had its sweet moments. We were grateful that our second managed to enter a secondary school in January and has settled in well, albeit with some hiccups here and there. After the disappointment of rejections from all the polytechnics he applied to and the unwillingness by private A-level institutions here to accept my eldest as he had not yet turned 16 at the start of their programme at the second quarter of this year (although he technically qualified on academic grounds for both cases); we were happy that he was accepted into a matriculation programme that, upon completion, qualifies him to study for an Australian degree in life sciences (his desired course). He is doing well, alhamdulillah, and despite whatever mindset people have about private degree programmes, what is important to us is that he is pursuing his interest. Furthermore, doing what you love is important and a blessing to have. Even at 18 (or 30), I didn't know what I wanted to pursue and just took up what was most commercially viable, or so I thought.
4. Our 6-9 Culture Classes Our culture classes still exists! Alhamdulillah! InsyaAllah it will continue to next year and beyond. I had to give up our 3-6 classes as I was running out of stamina and I didn't want to short change the students; but I had learned a lot from those classes.
5. We migrated from our blogger account to a website Our blogger site www.sofiyya.blogspot.com still exists and I am still thinking how I should treat that and this site. We have come a long way from when we first started homeschooling and the two sites have always been good reminders of it. What I hope is that my experience can help another mum out there who is starting on her journey or needing some encouragement along the way.
So there you have it for 2017, a figure, a tracker, a man-made symbol and concept- time will always be moving and whatever comes up, we go on living, might as well make it the best of it for the eternity that awaits : )
A Homeschooler by Consequence
So If you asked me what I wanted to do twenty years ago, staying at home and homeschooling my children was not even in my radar. I barely even thought I would get married, but here I am, homeschooler of ten years and mum to five children. While on the surface it looked like I was my children's school, they have in fact become mine.
Montessori believed that children have an inner force to become what they are destined to be and given the right environment and support, they will become just that. Stripped off the layers of what society and, sadly, sometimes family, want of us, maybe we can hear what our fitrah is whispering to us and eventually find our Self.
Education should not be merely a collection of facts and skills to get a good job, but continuously striving towards attaining the best possible state of Man as exemplified by our Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. Deep in our education of our children should be the aim of helping them achieve the state of being a servant of Allah and his vicegerent on earth.
Lofty targets are simpler said than done, but over the years I have learned that the outcome is for Allah to determine and for me to strive towards and seek His help.
In my journey, I have tried a few methods here and there and to me the Montessori method is the nearest to a spiritual curriculum that I can find which follows the laws of child development. After all miracles may happen, but most of the time God has placed rules for how things are. There may be a better one out there, but for now Montessori is the way for me to help my children find themselves and Allah.
So here I will share our spiritual journey in the form of our homeschooling and hope it will be beneficial to anyone who finds this blog.