Apr 14, 2012

Homeschooling Tip 5 - No Pressure

By Juli Herman


I taught my daughters to crochet when they were about 8 and 9 years old, respectively. They didn’t get it. Because there was no academic pressure in gaining crocheting skills, I abandoned it with no worry. A few years later, somehow, we picked up the crochet needles and yarn again, and made another attempt. By Allah, they got it! Alhamdulillah! Now, they crochet toys, bags, scarves of their own creation. My oldest daughter has even surpassed me in being able to read crochet instructions. In fact, a while ago, a group of sisters actually asked her if she could teach them to crochet after they saw her work on a scarf that my husband had asked her to make for him. It was no ordinary scarf. It was a scarf made to look like a Libyan flag, with the crescent and the star.

You can also apply this to academic subjects as well. At one point, my second daughter had such a hard time learning to tell time that it drove me to frustration. My kids also had trouble learning their multiplication tables, which also drove me crazy because when I was in school, we were drilled the tables until we could say it in our sleep. As a homeschooling parent, it can be stressful especially if you have multiple children, and they are resistant to it, to the point that you find yourself tearing your hair out.

Relax. Just like the crocheting, leave the academic subject for a while, months, even a whole year maybe. It may just be that they’re not developmentally ready to ‘get it’. No use stressing yourself out over something they’re not ready to understand yet. Don’t worry about academic pressure. This is the beauty of homeschooling. They will eventually learn it with patience and Allah’s help. In fact, when they’re ready to ‘get it’, it will be quick and easy. You can’t take a cake out of the oven before it’s ready, well you can, but it won't be pretty. So don’t beat yourself up over trying to stuff understanding down your child’s brain before she is ready to accept it.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)


Assalamualikum Sr Juli
Jazaki Allahu khayr for this....my kids are young now (5 & 3.5) so its so nice to hear that everybody gets frustrated once in a while...and with experience, insha Allah, we will really internalize the fact that every child has their own way of learning, takes their own time, and so we don't have to get stressed

I m so afraid that my frustration will be apparent to my child which will make her not love learning, the very reason I decided to homeschool for...

Sr Juli, do you make your own curriculum, or do you follow any? If so, can you pls share

waalaikumsalam sis Fathimah,

Frustration is part of the package, at least for me :D I make my own curriculum and sometimes it changes depending on what I see works and what doesn't work with my kids and I make individual accommodations too. For example, for history, instead of reading a textbook, we read historical fiction and just branch off from there. For science, I've tried several things, I have some ideas in Homeschooling Tip 2 if you want to check it out. it also relies a lot on our observation of the kids' learning and interest. I try to tailor it to their interests as well. And for different ages too. I have an almost 5 year old, and for him, I had done the Glenn Doman method of teaching how to read when he was an infant but things came up and I didn't go through with it, however, the little that I did do, had effect allahu akbar, so he can now pretty much read on his own but of course he still wants me to read to him. So we borrow books from the library and I read to him and when I am busy he would pore over the books himself and I would notice him actually pointing at the words with his fingers and reading them, but of course when he sees me 'free' he will ask me to read to him :D I also check out audio books and he listens to them on his own. For Quran, it's a little bit more heavy on instructions. I use a Malaysian book series IQRA (not the US one) and I love it, bec it teaches tajweed application along with reading so that by the time he finishes it, he is reciting with tajweed without knowing the tajweed rules inshaallah. For this one, I've had to kind of coax him to do it in many creative ways. With my older kids, I was a bit more strict and they were more accommodating too alhamdulilah. For science with my 5 yr old, I i do it impromptu and mostly also from books. When we walk outside I'd point out the shadows, the flowers th sky and focus on tauheed. You won't believe how amazing their brains work mashaallah, when you share with them little things like this. I think just reading book of many kinds can open up a whole own living curriculum inshaallah. I like teaching younger kids better bec there is less pressure on academics. When you get to the older ages, there is that pressure of having to get back into the system at some point (college) that your flexibility is going to be somewhat curbed. But if done well (fostering love of learning) during the younger years, inshaallah the older ages shld be okay on their own. I've had struggles with my older kids, and it's still a struggle, but I've learned a lot from it and not to forget, relying on Allah HELPS a lot. I hope that helps, and feel free to ask if you want any more clarification inshaallah.

again jazaki Allahu khayr for your prompt reply :) and a detailed one in between ur busy schedule
yes, I went thru part 2, and I agree so much with the "Unit study" method as it is more child driven
I m just afraid that if I dont have a curriculum, I might become lax, so I started k12.com for my daughter...and what I noticed is "it took away so much flexibility and that child driven-ness as I was trying to cope with being on top of it that it adds pressure to my girl too"

I also really like the literature based study rather than text books...to an extent, k12 has that...
May Allah guide us in choosing and implementing the best for our children, aameen

if u have a homeschooling blog that u maintain, pls share iA

waiyyak. yes, i used k12 too for 6 years and i didn't like the pressure esp since we were doing it with OHVA, and that was when i switched to doing it on my own. doing it on our own requires more tawakkul, it's like a business subhanallah. ameen to the dua. I do have a homeschooling blog but i don't want to share it here for personal reasons. i can give it to you inshaallah, we used to be connected via buzz, right? do you have my email? my email is my full name as in above, and at gmail. inshaallah i can give it to you through email inshaallah :)

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