We sat at the kitchen table, deciding to make a giant poster to show the numbers up to 20....so that we would have something to show we had "done" something that day! ....we had to show we had done something, whether or not she could actually count right!?
Oh those days of naivety....I almost miss them! Like a tiny dry seed buried under the soil, not knowing when the rain will come, not knowing when it will start to grow.
I have learnt a lot, but yet know I still have a lot more to learn bi'ithnillah! I'm certainly no where near a veteran, however I feel that from our tiny seed, roots have grown and a little green shoot has started to appear.
I have tried so many ways, philosophies and educational styles over the years; Montessori, mainstream, unschooling, super-military sergeant schooling (don't ask!), lapbooks, notebooks, eclectic, child-led, project based, workbox system, 4 different maths curriculums....each time thinking I've finally cracked it....this is right, this works!
But each time, the novelty of the latest craze I discovered was soon short-lived, our steam runs out, and hopeless chaos erupts.
What I have come to understand alhamdulillah, through these experiences, is that it doesn't matter what educational philosophy or style we choose, so long as we don't make ourselves a slave to it.
So many of us make ourselves and even each other believe, that if we don't do things in a particular way, then we won't get the best results and somehow we have failed, and somehow we will have failed our children. (I'm talking about secular education here).
And this puts an enormous pressure and stress upon our shoulders, which in turn, we then put onto our children's shoulders because we want them to meet those guidelines; that in truth, someone else has set up and placed as a standard of measure. ....and we all end up miserable trying to fit into it!
Sometimes, us home schoolers, as much as we are a help and support for one another, we can help destroy each other without realising!
When something works for someone, we want to know about it! Some one has tried a particular curriculum or adopted a particular learning lifestyle and are showing huge leaps of progress with it, and their whole household loves it!
But what we forget, or sloppily overlook, is that what works for one family, might not work for us, or it may not work in the same way...but that is completely okay. Success isn't measured on someone else's measure of success!
Its okay to try something and adapt it to what suits you and your children. Its okay to mix different approaches to reach the same goal. Its okay to take the same principals and apply them differently to how your friend does in order to suit your own family's needs. And it is okay to start with something, and move on to something else once you have outgrown it! If something no longer works, it doesn't mean that you have failed because you can not get the same results you once did, or the same results someone else does. It just means its time to move on, you and your children have grown, developed, gained new experiences and now you are ready for something else.
Five years a home schooler, there's only one thing I know for sure; and that is just as our children grow, so will their education. That means sometimes things need to be shaken up and something new tried. ...and that renewal can and probably will happen if not at least once every year, possibly several!
Just remember, the seed has to first root itself, grow its shoot, and grow strong and tall before its flowers will bloom. So long as it gets the water and light it needs, it will get there. Don't rush it.
Your children will also bloom, if you let them inshaAllah.