Wednesday, November 9, 2016
This year, Prince Faramir and I made the decision to homeschool Princess Buttercup for Kindergarten. We did so because we know that the early years are important years of establishing a Muslim identity, so I wanted to take the time and space in her brain learning about things that will strengthen her heart and emaan, not reinforce Hallmark holidays and learning about cooties or whatever. It was a pretty staightforward decision, but on my way home from the local elementary school, where I had walked to submit my letter of intent to homeschool, I started having some doubts.
Think of all the fun games, songs, and crafts the teachers have line up for the kids!
Think of all the little learning experiments in the classroom that are out of my budget!
Think of the free time I could have if my 5 year old was finally out of the house during the day!
Think of the growth and independence she would feel being in "school"! (She has been so excited about being a big girl and going to her school.)
I had some doubts about whether or not I could give her a better education than she would receive in public school, since I didn't already have a curriculum put together, and would be working with a 3 year old. On my way home, we passed by some kids who were enjoying the free school lunch provided during summer. These boys were throwing apples at each other, and at the trash can, laughing at their game, while their mom/ guardian person was sitting there totally immersed in her phone.
PBC immediately said, "that is BAD! Allah doesn't like that!" But what would an authority figure say to those kids? "Those apples aren't free. Please stop that behavior." What about the main source of our sense of morality--Allah? And THAT is why I don't want my precious little child in public school right now. Don't get me wrong, I know plenty of Muslim parents have done so and had good experiences. I know plenty couldn't afford the pricey Muslim private schools and had no other choice. And I feel that, and don't judge that. But for us, this was our decision.
So I'm homeschooling my children loosely using a Waldorf-based curriculum. We are very seasonal, and very hands-on. Even though my daughter knows her ABC's, I am doing my best to lay low on the academics b/c I know that in just a few short months, she will begin the 12 year journey where it will be academics ALL DAY LONG. She will get plenty of it soon, but kids don't always have time to be kids, to explore nature without being rushed, to play games without being limited. So those are my main goals.
We do a lot of drawings, field trips, nature walks, baking, and imaginative play. We read a lot of books, have play dates with friends, and do house work as well as pretend work. I've designated certain house chores as well as certain artistic endevours to each day of the week, trying to celebrate 5 elements throughout the week:
Monday--Air: outdoor chores like sweeping the steps and raking, pulling weeds, nature walk, and errands. Music, singing, reading and Qur'an also use a lot of air. (As they get older, there are also other great games using the element of air, like building pinwheels, blowing bubbles, flying kits, etc)
Tuesday--Water: wash with water, and painting. It could be washing clothes, dishes, windows, etc.
Wednesday--Fire: baking and ironing.
Thursday--Earth: vacuuming and mopping the floors, making soup with vegetables that come from the earth.
Friday--Spirit: we do self-care, and go to the masjid.
There's probably room for lots of tweaking but this is what I've come up with for now. Pictures of our classroom and projects coming soon! :)