Friday, December 24, 2010
Our Home Education Group will be there this time, too, insha'Allah, as a first-time milestone perhaps in Pakistan's history of home education. We have given the name HomeWorks to our stall, which will be located at Stall No. 28 in Hall No.1.
Please spread the word about this endeavor among your contacts, especially those whom you know will surely be giving this book fair a visit this year.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
The children being given a tour of the store by the proprietor.
The organic products store in the basement
OUR TRIP TO N’ECO’S (NATRUAL STORE & CAFE)
BY MUSAB AND ZUKHRUF ADIL OSAWALA
HOME HIFZ STUDENTS
TODAY THURSDAY 14 OCT, 2010 AT 11:00 AM WE WENT TO NECOS CAFÉ AND STORE BASICALLY IT WAS A FIELD TRIP FOR HOME EDUCATED KIDS.
THE MANAGER OF THE STORE MARIUM AUNTY STARTED OUR TOUR BY INTRODUCING US TO THE MANAGER AND THE CASHIER SHE ALSO ASKED US SOME QUESTIONS KIDS WERE VERY SHY TO ANSWER BUT I THAT IS MUSAB ADIL OSAWALA WAS QUICK TO ANSWER. THAN WE WENT TO THE KITCHEN SHE INTRODUCED US TO THE CHEF KULSSOM AND THE BAKER AND THE OTHER CHEFS SHE ASKED US WHAT THINGS ARE IN THE RESTURANT, KITCHEN AND WE ANSWERED THAT IT HAVE THINGS TO EAT.
OUR NEXT STOP WAS THE ORGANIC STORE WHICH WAS AT THE BASEMENENT OF THE CAFÉ IT HAD DIIFFERENT TYPES OF NATURAL ORGANIC ITEMS EGGS, HONEY, PERFUMMES, SHAMPOOS, DRY FRUIT, OILS, LOTIONS, SOAPS ETC.
THEN WE CAME BACK UP AND THE SHEF SHOWED US HOW TO MAKE MUFFINS THAN WE POUR THE BATTER INTO THE BAKING TRAY. AFTER THAT WE HAD A DELICIOUS TREAT OF CUP CAKES AND A BABY GLASS OF CHOCOLATE MILK.OUR TRIP ENDED HERE OUR MAMA AND BABA HAD TEA.
THAN WE WENT TO THE BAKERY WITH OUR BABA TO LOOK AT THE CAKES. WE ALSO BOUGHT SOAP, LEMON AND CHERRY ROOM SPRAY AND SHAMPOO. THAN WE SAID ASALAMOALIKUM TO MARIUM AUNTY AND SHE WAS PLEASED WITH MUSAB.
THAN WE WENT OUT BUT OUR CAR BROKE OUT. WE TRIED A LOT BUT IT DIDN, T START SO WE LOCKED IT AND WENT TO THE ROAD TO FIND A RICKSHAW AND WE GOT ONE AND WE HAVE A NICE RIDE TILL OUR HOME.
RECIPIE OF MUFFINS
MAIDA 2 CUPS
BROWN SUGAR 3 CUPS
BAKING POWDER 1 TBSP
MELTEDBUTTER 100 GMS
MIX ALL THE THINGS TOGETHER.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Wide eyed disbelief? Sneer of contempt? The word "crazy" hoovering over someone's head? "Did I hear her right?" over another's? Expect these expressions and more, once you enter the mysterious world of homeschooling parents... I agree that we need to put together a FAQ (Forever Asked Questions - many a homeschooling parent rechecks the FAQs to reassure herself that there are other insane parents around too:)) So let's get the ball rolling with some true statements we parents often hear, when people realize our kids don't go to school:
- "Homeschool"? Where is that school?
- Your run a school at home? Could you tutor my kids, too?
- Do you use books?
- Are you qualified to teach (your own) kids?
- You must be a doctor/professor.
- What about socialization? (while the kids are playing with others at a park)
- What about socialization? (while the kids are having converstaions with adults at a dinner party)
- What about socialization? (when the kids are returning from a football match)
- How do you test them?
- But all they do (at home) is play!
- It's just so hard to wake them up in the mornings (at this end, the kids get up at Fajr on their own on every bookworm book club day and then wake up their parents, too!)
- Don't they miss school?
- She's shy? Oh, that's because she's never been to school... Oh, she did go to school last year?...
- You can't protect them from everything by keeping them indoors (you are being over protective). They go to the Masjid on their own? But things are so dangerous outside!
- Don't they get lonely? (with 6 siblings?!!)
- Oh, so they will be able to go to college?
- You mean you have lunch on time? Even though they are at home?
- It's ok for you to stay late at the wedding - the kids don't have to go to school (kids are yawning)
- But when do you get the house work done? The kids help?
Feel free to add your experiences to this and later we can file it as an ever growing list. This list is not meant to dicourage anyone from home education; rather, just to give new home educators a taste of what kind of response to expect, when people find out you teach your own, and to give those who are already educating their kids a few chuckles.
How to respond to these questions? Keep in mind, who the person you're addressing is and your reasons and your goal for home education and infuse it with Hikmah... You may hear these from people, who are genuinely curious or concerned about your kids, or don't really want to know but must say something (in which case it doesn't matter what you say)... So keep a Dua on your lips and your goal in sight and, Insha'Allah, as you face the questions, you'll find them easier to answer, too, Insha'Allah.
1. "But children need to go to school to develop social skills!"
2. "Why not just put them in a cheaper school?" (Assuming it was just the money that schools charge that made us decide to homeschool).
3. "Going to a good school is very important for future success."
4. "They study from you? They actually study when you teach them? They do what you tell them to do?"
5. "Your children will miss out on the healthy competition that exists in classrooms, which makes one child want to do better than the rest." (....uh, 'healthy'?)
Last but not least, the most amusing aspect is how, when we go somewhere where people expect kids to behave like kids (i.e. to only be interested in watching silly cartoons, not show interest in adult pastimes, dumbly believe silly lies when they are given as excuses e.g. "Don't go up those stairs, a bhaoo will get you.."), it is a very amusing situation because my kids act a bit like grownups and are not afraid to do things that adults do, and everyone gets a bit scandalized by this e.g. they insist on drinking in actual glasses ("But he'll break it! Give him a plastic one!") and then when they're done, they want to go put the glass back on the kitchen sink (at home, my 3 year old tries to wash it with sponge and detergent, WHILE HANGING OFF THE EDGE of the sink!!), they'll try to make the tea/cornflakes themselves, they will try to read the newspapers and magazines on the coffee table, they'll try to answer the phone...
And of course, my 5 year old's endless questions also get a bit much for others sometimes... :) (even me!)
As for Umm Baps, when her seventh was born and was an infant, her 4 year old and 2.5 year old would pick him up and carry him confidently, which sometimes got some onlookers in a bit of a worry, that why she allows them to pick up their baby brother. :)
But seriously, the Baps household is very unique, masha'Allah. I have seen very few boys who are so mature and "manly" at such young ages. Baarak Allahu feehim.
1) You are a control freak... you want to control your son's life - that is why you are not sending him to school. (While yelling at their own kids.)
2) You'll make him a "mummy boy" (while their own son is sucking his thumb and constantly saying: mama, mama, mama, mama).
3) It's easy for you - I have to look after 3,4,5, etc. kids. When you have more kids, you won't be doing it. (Well, Allhumdolillah, I belong to a good support group where people are actually homeschooling there 7 kids, Masha'Allah.)
4) You can homeschool him. He is obedient. I can't - my kid is very hyper... :)
And I don't know why people constantly try to pursue me to send my child to their child's school (it is very good they have lots of extra curricular activities etc.). If it is so good, then why were you complaining about that school when you did not knew about my homeschooling...
Umm e Hashim
The most basic question I have faced is : "But WHY do you not send your children to school?"
I think many new homeschoolers find this hard to answer , specially in the suspicious, contemptuous way this question is usually asked. If you are not pre-prepared for this, it can put you on back foot. It's not easy to summarize all that you read in those convincing, wise articles and many a times the situation doesn't allow for a detailed answer (e.g in a book store, during travel, in a park).
My simplest answer is "Coz I believe education at home is the best option for my children". Or "Well, schooling is optional, only education is necessary".
The confident, into-the-face, yet encouraging tone of your answer should say these things unsaid:
"Don't think that I'm a fool who doesn't know how to raise her own kids"
"I have done my research"
"You cannot convince me of anything else, so don't try giving me advice"
"There are options other than typical schooling"
"If you want to know more on homeschooling, I'll tell you"
Great advice Mahera!
Excellent points. Jazaki Allahu khair.
It could also help face people's questions and concern better by using common language terms that are more easily understood by Pakistani's. E.g. instead of saying, "I am homeschooling," you can say, "I am privately educating my children, as we believe it is best to tutor them at home". Using words such as "private" and "tutor" gives them a better concept, whereas sometimes the term "homeschooling" gives the impression that the children are always confined at home playing and studying very little.
Lots of people give O and A Levels privately and take private tuitions either at home or at tutors' homes, so this is a trend in Pakistan that actually relates more to homeschooling than other countries.
This is what I have seen in my short experience, especially with members of the last generation, who have never heard of the word "homeschooling" before.
For those who are contemplating homeschooling their children but are concerned about the opposition they'll face, just remember that after a while, your children's personality, vocabulary and knowledge will speak for itself and silence even your worst critics. For example, my daughter recently launched into a monologue about germs and how she read in her Science book that we should wash our hands before eating to prevent disease etc. and her grandparents were so in utter surprise at her use of vocabulary that they remained silent. :) Since then, my mother has started supporting my decision to homeschool, and even said to me, "Don't teach her too much, you know, she is still a child." :-D
Thursday, February 11, 2010
The following is a defense for home education, which was written to a sister some months back. Alhumdulillah, we are now a full fledged home educating family. We'd like to share this for those wondering why we took the plunge:
Dear sister, I know this response comes rather late, but I’d like to share my 2 cents here (in my country - Pakistan even 2 cents is worth something! ) My kids are currently in what is considered one of the best schools in the city, it's not an religious school (no Hifiz) but tries its best to give tarbeeyah and importance of values. My husband and I have been reading up on unschooling and homeschooling lately, we work with tarbeeyah programs for teenagers too, and we’ve come to the conclusion: the very institution of school is flawed.
A school teacher cannot cater to the emotional and even academic needs of each individual child. Children learn to work because of their fear of looking bad in class and being humiliated by teachers or peers. “Good students” have the pressure of having to look “good” can’t afford to make too many mistakes or make their lack of understanding apparent – they have a reputation to maintain. Students are motivated to work for stickers and empty words of praise, rarely do they experience the sense of achievement and pleasure attained from getting knowledge because they wanted it: striving to learn because one is curious to know. Knowledge in itself is no longer a goal it’s a means to empty goals: an A grade or a star sticker. This knowledge doesn’t have any worth to the child and once the pressure of the examination is gone, the knowledge is gone too.
In the case of school forced Islamic knowledge, often a child will find it a burden and soon seeking Islamic knowledge for the sake of Allah’s pleasure will be replaced by learning because of the fear of attaining a teacher’s displeasure.
Teachers aren’t horrible people (schools feel the best teachers are those who can “control” their class best though), but they are pressured into “completing a syllabus and preparing the class for the next grade”, students needing more time to understand a topic must be left behind (with the constant fear of “failure” on their heads) and faster students must wait till the majority of the class is ready to move on to a new topic, no time to delve deeply into a topic that interests a particular person, the class must move like a crowd; ending their curiosity and leaving life skills to be taught at home.
At home? Schools here emphasize how important it is for parents to bond with their kids and give tarbeeyah, but after the best hours of the day (when both children and adults are alert and active) the remainder of the day goes into homework (extension of school and a pressure on both children and parents); many take tuitions because children need more time and practice to keep up with the teacher; and the wrapping up of the day – dinner, quick chat with Abbi, maybe a little time to wind down and play or read something the school hasn’t ordered them to and then rush to bed so that their fresh for school the next day.
Many are so used to this paradigm it seems impossible to “learn” anything unless dictated to by an authority (school) who changes its orders according to how previous students have reacted to their orders. The current latest methods of teaching in school will change after our kids pass out of school because the methods were flawed and there are better ways now…
Some parents like schools to babysit there kids and obviously if the child hasn’t achieved much we can blame the school who in turn blames the parents for not trying hard enough…
Teaching at home doesn't mean you must do it alone; workshops and tutors are a part of homeschooling, where a family can chose what they want to study and making a choice for one’s self makes the child learn what he wants to know, you don’t really have many choices at school.
Sorry for rambling on, I know I sound like a fresh homie, but as much as my kids enjoy school, I realize there is a better way, I want them to value knowledge and use it. Often my husband says that if families did their part, we wouldn’t need so many Tarbeeyah classes here, families can provide good roles models from amongst themselves and others in society if they had the time to get the children in contact with good adults. School really takes up most of our time here in Pakistan.
There are lots of articles online by John Holt and about unschooling, about homeschooling by teachers explaining the flaws of school (John Gatto – Dumbing us Down), maybe when your husband feels he has time to spare you can read them together and discuss them. Allah has made education a right our children have upon us, may He help us attain the means that with help us forfill their rights and attain Allah’s Pleasure, Aameen.
Well that’s my couple Rupees worth. May Allah grant you and your family success in this world and the hereafter, Aameen.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I wanted to share with all of you a special moment of our homeschooling life.
A bit of history first. :) When I started out homeschooling with my kids, I wasquite up-tight about the goals I wanted to achieve with them. We followedcourse-books quite strictly, I planned their activities for every subject onweekly basis, I recorded in a diary their daily progress and tried to keep ourhomeschooling life on quite strict tracks. Well, needless to say, soon Irealized that such strictness was but only a burden on kids and on me. So as thetime went on, I relaxed about the requirements, scheduling (plus the rest of'official' stuff) and slowly drifted towards a more child-centered learningenvironment.
I've always been reading with great admiration the stories of families, who havechosen to do away with any kind of curriculum and let the kids themselvesdetermine, what they want to learn, at what time and at what speed. Although Iknow that this completely child-directed learning model is not quite fit for thetype of family that we are, from time to time, through daily experiences I'velearned to trust my kids more and more regarding what they are able to achieveon their own.
With all the long intro in mind, what I wanted to share with you is my thismorning's experience with my kids, which once again proved to me that kids CANdo great things. When I woke up this morning, I found that my 8 yrs old son isnot in his bed. As I was wondering, where he could be, he came into the room allfresh and happy to announce to me that he has done 3 pages of his grammar book,2 sections of his Arabic practice workbook and has read a chapter from hisreading book! He topped it all with a happy smile and announcement that he'sdone with his studies for today. Well, what could I answer? I had to say OK. :)
My 5 yrs old daughter is not reading yet. She's been doing lots of writing andreading related activities but so far hadn't expressed any wish to start to readon her own. I had decided to leave her alone (struggling with my wish to'teach!' her how to read) and see, when exactly she would decide that she needsto learn to read. Today, I wanted to give her a slight push for starting toread. So I picked up the first book of Mr. Rayed's published MAZE readersseries, gave it to her and said that I was sure she could read it all byherself. She had previously looked through the book together with me many times,but had always preferred not to read it JUST YET. :) Today, she decided to giveit a try. So she got sarted and slowly read the first few pages with some smallhints from my side. Then she realized that she actually CAN read it and kept onreading, reading and reading... till the end of the entire book AT A FLUENTSPEED! The vocabulary of the book consists of merely 22 words, of course, buther effort and determination to get through all the 23 pages of reading trylyamazed me! Subhanallah! The best thing about this her reading experience,though, was her genuine excitement of being able to do it and the empowermentshe felt about finally mastering the words all by herself.:) Now I have to add to this that I've never bothered her with endless pages of phonics exercises orany other 'official' school stuff of how kids are 'supposed' to learn to read. I helped her to learn the alphabet, time to time tried to draw her attention tohow words look like and how to sound them out and, of course, read a lot ofstories to her. And this proved to be quite enough, Alhamdulillah.
Now to finish all of this, I have to admit that mornings like these are notusual in our home. Just like any kids, also my kids have their ups and downs,when it comes to studies. But it is mornings like these, when I see the joyabout learning in their eyes, that make me more confident about the choice tohomeschool. I'm just happy they can go at their own pace, speeding up, whennecessary, and slowing down, when required.