Interview with Roda
Welcome Roda! She is a fellow homeschooler from GTA and has a lot of positive energy and insight to offer. Grab a cup of tea (if the kids let you) and enjoy…..
How many kids do you have and what are their ages? How long have you been homeschooling for and do you follow a particular method?
I have two wonderful boys ages 7 and 3. Alhamdulillah, due to the mercy of Allah, we have been homeschooling for three years now. We do not follow any particular method at the moment. We focus on goals we would like to achieve whether they are weekly, monthly or yearly depending on interests as a family. However, I do feel my younger son is structure inclined so I’ve been in curriculum research mode at the moment.
A PEEK INSIDE YOUR LIFE
Why does your family chose to homeschool?
I had my younger son when my older one turned four and I had to decide if I was sending him to school or not. He was fluent in languages other than English so I was really hesitant in sending him away at such a young age for a whole day with an obvious language barrier. I have to confess that my fears of letting go also surrounded my decision, especially because I had a new baby and I already felt he was being neglected with all the changes that came with having a newborn. Alhamdulillah, a few friends from the GTA community were homeschooling their kids and encouraged me to try it and see if it’s a good fit for my family. We had no clue what homeschooling was but if it meant I had some more time to hold on to my son and also carefully assess all the options out there for his schooling, it was answer to my prayers!
So, we tried it and fell in love with the ease and freedom it brought to our lives.
What does a good day look like in your house?
Honestly, I learnt this the hard way but, every day is a good day. We just have to be grateful and positive with all that comes our way. I really try hard to start my day with positivity and it was only since I started homeschooling that I truly paid attention to the act of gratitude. But if I was to be specific; communication is key for me to function as a parent which means listening to one another, receiving, and implementing. I can talk to my kids all day, have discussions, explain reasons and reach an understanding about how we establish our patterns and systems around the home. My husband and I work on our communication skills between each other and the children more than addressing anything else. I learnt a lot from my parents and my mother-in-law’s parenting when it comes to how they communicate with each other and us as their children. As long as a day is filled with ease in communication and understanding amongst all parties of the household I feel I’ve accomplished my purpose of the day because then all goals and targets are met and I don’t have to lose my mind in the process.
Tip: Remember to always engage eye-contact with children when addressing them to either teach, explain or address an issue.
What does a bad day look like in your house?
A bad day is when the aforementioned is lacking and I lose my cool and positivity.
What are your three homeschooling essentials?
1. Fajr Time learning
2. Lots of space/room
What was your biggest homeschooling mistake or set back?
My biggest setback was that I thought we could do this alone and that we could find all the answers and resources on our own by researching and educating ourselves. I was never keen on asking for help, it always felt hard to ask for help in anything I ever did or needed. I’m a work in progress! I completely undermined the potential of having a support system starting with extended family members, friends/community members who are well-wishers and more importantly pursuing the larger homeschooling community.
I was dead wrong and wasted precious time that I could have invested in seeking help and guidance. What a blessing it has been to have my loving and supportive family, friends and community of amazing homeschoolers who made this journey unbelievably enjoyable and easy.
I didn’t know what I was missing until I met my fellow Toronto Muslim Homeschoolers and other amazing, fun-loving mothers who were just as passionate about their homeschooling journeys.
Have you ever had any ‘aHa!’ moments on this journey?
As a mother, I’m raising future adults and people who will be held responsible for their communities and environments.
Imagine, if we as nations focus on and succeeded in providing a well-rounded effort to build our younger generations in understanding their purpose of life, understanding the needs of the fellow man and most importantly understanding who they are and the potentials they hold in their hearts.
We can only pray, hope and work sincerely to achieve that as parents. Homeschooling, in a small way, is allowing us as a family the freedom to implement this vision.
Whats the best part of homeschooling?
Convenience, creativity, communication.
Homeschooling has enhanced the ease and tranquility of learning and teaching in our home. I learn so much from my children, so much from my husband, from my peers and vice versa. There is a calmness I find in going at our own pace yet accomplishing what we set out for. To see creativity take place daily in many forms from those teaching to those learning is a blessing and a privilege that homeschooling gives us. We have to time to communicate. Like really communicate and hear each other! I naturally lean towards learning from my childhood and adolescent experiences and I always come to the conclusion that my communication skills/methods were the problem. The regrets of “if I had said the right thing at the right time in the right manner to my parents” OR “if only my parents understood me and my feelings” OR “if my sister just did this or that” OR “if my friends only knew what I meant by this/that” come to mind and if these communication glitches were addressed I would have been a better adult today.
Alas, we live and learn. So I’m trying to learn. Alhamdulillah.
Whats the worst part of homeschooling?
This is easy. I am uncomfortable with the attention that comes with this homeschooling experience. I feel there is a touch of stigma and a slight notion of elitism attached to homeschooling. I don’t know if I’m defining it correctly but whatever it is I don’t like it. It is neither healthy nor productive. Whether it’s the ‘you are such an amazing and patient mom’ or the ‘why are you depriving your children from normalcy, let them go to school’ feedback that I received frequently in the beginning that I don’t understand. It just makes me nervous sometimes and I have to re-acquaint myself with my purpose for this journey all over again. I believe raising awareness around the simplicity and commonness of homeschooling would really help with this issue.
Also not a fan of the stagnant mess in my living room due to homeschooling. Insert *rollingmyeyes* emoticon
YouTube Channel(s): National Geographic and Discovery (Arabic & English)
Place to shop for homeschooling supplies: Kijiji, Other Homeschoolers, TheBookLady.ca, Chapters, Araboh and Loughati.
Children’s book: Short stories series in Arabic (from Loughati).
Book: Not a reader. Read only 2-3 books. I only read when reading to the kids. I hope to read with them in the near future and pick up on their healthy reading habits. I hope.
Family movie: Finding Nemo and Koran by Heart Documentary
(Board)Game: Puzzles – a new favourite
Looking back on your homeschooling career, what advice would you give to yourself when you first started?
Ask for help. Find help.
Have you ever thought about giving up? When, why, and what got you through?
No I haven’t…not yet. Lol.
Who or what is your biggest homeschooling support?
My husband – right hand man!
My sister – mother of five, homeschooler, eighth wonder of the world.
Fellow Muslim Homeschoolers – TMH & Homeschooling Whatsapp groups.
Night-outs with my “homegirls”.
How do you manage to juggle all the demands of motherhood and housework while homeschooling?
There are systems we have tried to establish to make the management of the housework be a little easier so we can give more time for parenting/motherhood/homeschooling. And I say ‘we’ because the same way I trained my habits so does everyone else. I have a very technical approach to things that I don’t like to spend too much time on. Again, learning from my childhood, in all the areas where my mom had established a system/understanding somehow my siblings and I adhered to naturally and it resonates with us to this day. My mom would have weekly dinners with her friends. She would be busy for a few hours in the morning and free the rest of the day. I honestly don’t remember my mom doing laundry for us after our oldest turned 11-12yrs.
Tip: Consistency in doing chores at the same time in the same manner everyday by the adults is an undercover training for everyone else at home.
Eggs inspired dishes, pancakes and Somali tea every morning (it is a must).
Where was the last place your family went to enjoy some quality time together?
Paramount Restaurant. We went for some Kanafe and coffee with my parents while the kids enjoyed the indoor playground.
What is something you do for yourself to feel good?
My side projects
Fajr at the masjid
Shopping – Online and In-stores
Exploring eateries around the City
Can you share a confession of something you let your kids do that others may not know or approve of?
When I’m around my kids I release my frustrations by ranting and nagging in a different language they don’t understand. It gets ugly. And I’m glad they don’t understand. They repeat it sometimes and I totally let it go. I ask Allah to help me, guide me and forgive me. Ameen. Lol.
If you were an animal, what would you be:
An Allosaurus because my son is obsessed with it. 🙂
Thank you so much Roda for joining us and giving us a glimpse into your life. Your boys are so blessed to have such an awesome Momma. May Allah SWT always bless and protect you and your family, Ameen.
Make sure you leave a comment for Roda!
Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to stay tuned for our next interview at the beginning of December inshaAllah.
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