I begun a research journey that took me through the possibility of dyslexia, through to the differences in how we use our brain having an effect on how we learn, and on from that, I have come to accept that I forgot what it means to be a home educator.
And this is what I will share in todays post; how I am using what I have learnt and rediscovered about home education through this new understanding of learning differences inshaAllah.
I've had to look closely at my children, as well as my expectations. What I have noted is that it is my own self-imposed expectations which are getting in the way of their learning progress; my youngest in particular.
My children clearly work differently. My youngest, whom I was most concerned about (and is the reason I have written this particular series of posts), is a lively, creative, hands on, emotional, quirky and very playful individual who doesn't yet enjoy reading and writing, but loves making things. Things which admittedly I look at and think of as making mess (I am not so sentimental about everything my kids produce...some of you will look away in horror when I tell you that rarely do I keep a picture, note or little hand made gift they have made....they produce so many subhanAllah! Instead, the moment they have placed their humble piece of paper in my hands and turned away, is the moment their precious offering will make a hidden secret journey into the bin!)
She will fold up bits of paper and glue them down in some funky way that only makes sense to her; but that is just the point; to her it is something incredibly meaningful. It is something incredibly creative which I hadn't previously acknowledged despite my own personal background being in design, and despite how I have always maintained a self belief that I want to encourage my children to explore their creativeness as something with value.
Instead of allowing her to embrace her natural talents, skills and inclinations, I realise that I have been so focused on getting her to put something down on paper just to show she has "done" something, whether she had truly learnt or not. I have ignored the core of who she really is, because I've told myself she is still not reading and writing fluently yet and that is what we must focus on until she does!
And it has been this which has been my driving force. I wasn't allowing her to thrive, because I wasn't acknowledging who she really is and what makes her tick! I was forcing her to conform and behave in a way that isn't her true self.
The point I am trying to get across here, is that I have been using methods which fit my eldest child, and had worked for her Alhamdulillah. I had fooled myself into believing that all I would need to do for my youngest to learn, is to tweak what I had done with her older sister so that it fit her better, and that would give the same results. I wouldn't need to spend as much time exploring and investigating new ways to get her excited in learning, because we already had done that with the first born and now I had the blue print to carry on going forward....right! This was a subconscious thought I had but didn't realise I had it!
I know now how wrong this thinking is! #delusion!
My eldest who is now 9 Alhamdulillah, can sit at the table and have a discussion, and translate that onto paper. Her younger sister however simply doesn't work that way. She needs movement. She needs mess. She needs play. She needs to see, hear, touch and if applicable smell and taste! More than anything, she needs time. She needs to feel what is important to her is valued by me, even if I don't always get it. Because that is how she learns, and that is how she grows. She needs me to be just as excited about teaching her new things as I was when her sister learnt them.
To be honest, I had forgotten just how much effort I had put into my eldest's learning when we started out home schooling. I was always looking for a new way to transform her learning if we found something didn't work until we found something that did. I haven't put as much effort into her little sister...and that shows through the difficulties she expresses.
How will I take this moving forward? It almost feels like I am a brand new home schooler again. I feel the same anxiety and worries I had when I started home schooling my first born when she was 4 and a half. I find myself asking the same questions; how do I do this? What does she need to know? How can I teach her this? What is the best way? What works for her?
My second child's learning, means we need a new approach to home school. We need to start over at the beginning, from scratch.
I have to delete what I thought I learnt about education from my experience with my eldest, and begin a new blank page.
Each child is different. Each story is different. She has her own story to tell, and its up to me to help her to uncover it, and let her tell it bi'ithnillah.