Don't home school if you want the kids to work alone!

Education quote from A Muslim Home School
Everyone you meet and everything you read in the home school world seems to promote this idea of independent learners. Children being able to independently learn and direct their studies all by themselves.... and that's what we all want right?

We want our children to get to a stage in their education where we can back off a little and let them hold the reigns without us.
 I mean, at the end of the day, most of us are pretty open to admit we ourselves are learning along with the kids. I've heard so many mothers say they don't remember doing grammar at school, or that they forgot everything about Maths the moment the exams were over.

 So if we are having to read and learn the material first before we can "teach" it, once we can pull ourselves out of the mix and just let our kids go straight to the books themselves, it makes sense! We are only relaying to them the information we find. So once they can do this without us, then we will have time to focus on the younger ones who still need help picking up a pencil or learning their numbers.


Is this really learning though? We should remember that our children have only been on the planet for maybe 4 years, or 8 years, or 12, 13 or whatever number they are. They have a whole lot yet to experience and learn. Many things they are experiencing for the first time ever....completely new in  the same way that they first noticed they had hands when they were babies and would spend hours gazing upon their own little fingers intrigued at what they do!
We have been around a whole generation before them....and look, still we are learning!

We didn't expect them to learn to walk or talk without helping them. We guided, we prompted, we modelled.
We held them up so they could strengthen their legs. We enjoyed watching them get up and fall down again, each time cooing "awww, well done, try again" waiting on our knees in front of them with our arms open wide and a big heart warming smile.
We helped them without a second thought, until they had each skill mastered, and we didn't think twice.
"Helping helps." ....I learnt this myself last week.

So why do so many of us, when it comes to our children's learning, seem to want to push them into independence...or think to ourselves there is something wrong if they can't?

There is no harm in helping our children when they are having trouble with a maths problem, or in fact doing the whole maths problem for them.....because they are watching and observing.
There is no harm in helping them to write a 2 page report.... because they are watching and observing...they are processing in their minds how it is all done!

I was at a home school conference last week, and the speaker said something along the lines of "don't home educate if you want your children to work alone", she explained that when we collaborate with our children, they learn....collaboration = learning!

When I heard that, it was a big "aha" moment. Almost like it was permission to say its Okay to sit with my children and work alongside with them, and doing so isn't going to set them back or stunt their academic growth. In fact the opposite, because having us with them, to collaborate together to solve the problem or write the report, allows us to model how to work through these things. And through that, they are learning....collaboration equals growth.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying kids shouldn't work alone, not at all. But when they are reaching out to us, when they need us, allow ourselves to be present for them.
Squash the voice that whispers to us they won't learn if we do it for them. We are not doing it for them.....we are showing them how its done....and in that, there is a huge difference.


  1. Assalamu alaykum ukhti,

    firstly i often visit your website for inspiration or some printable stuff:)Reading this article made me feel relieved that i am not doing anything wrong by helping my children. Though the eldest who is 15 is pretty much independent and also makes his own timetable for his studies i still have to keep an eye on him to make sure he is actually following his timetable! I would often get angry reading about other homeschoolers having independent children yet mine still need me. Like my 12 year old still needs my help in maths!

    I have peace in my heart now knowing that i can still help my children when they need help,

    Umm Ibraheem

  2. I love ur blog. My daughter is one now and I am thinking about homeschooling. Ur tip in your other post about educating urself first was so relevant. I plan to read up on various methods and start introducing some principles from each slowly and she how she responds. Really good blog. Thanks so much. Jazakallah

  3. Great post, a great reminder.


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