Thursday, January 05, 2006


I truly miss homeschooling our kids this year. I mentioned before that we aren't homeschooling here because of our desire for the kids to learn Farsi and my very limited Farsi skills. I've basically been "homeschooling" them since they were babies. I can say this because all parents teach their kids the first few years of life unless they've choosen to pass off that responsiblity to some other full-time caregiver like a nanny. We basically unschooled for the last two years and my kids learned so much in that time. We'd have discussions on everything from space to organ transplants. We did verbal math word problems in the car while running errands which included all three kids from 6 down to 3. (Although at 3, all of her answers tended to be 5 so I tried to make sure her problems added up to 5.) Because of this, my 5 and now 4 year old do very well at mental math. Their 7 year old brother is not as good at mental math but is well above grade level once you give him pencil and paper. He's also well versed in a variety of science subjects including some at a high school level because that is where his interests lie. I watched my oldest two become fast readers because they were given the materials they needed and left to work at their own pace. My son worked through the entire 5 levels of the Hooked on Phonics program in 5 months somedays working for 2 hours straight, at other times not touching it for up to a week. My 5 year old decided she didn't need the program anymore after working half way through the second level and she was absolutely correct. They both can read just about anything they want now. Mustafa is an avid reader. We recently received a box of books that we had shipped and he devoured 3 Magic School Bus books and was hungry for more so he started reading one of my magazines. Safiya is more apt to read only when she's in the mood but has wonderful retention and surprisingly good spelling, which means no more spelling out things we don't want them to hear.

Since moving here and the kids starting school, we just haven't had the same kind of time for our in-depth discussions or following lots of tangents when a subject comes up. Despite the fact that the kids are only at school 4 hours a day 6 days a week, we've only had two really good conversations that I can remember and the last time Mustafa was begging for more. Mustafa has ended up with lots of busy work which takes him quite a while to do since he's not a very fast writer. They also have to be in bed by 8:30 or they're nearly impossible to get up for school which starts at 8. This a big contrast to how we used to live. I would take classes at night so the kids were usually up until at least 10:30 every night, midnight if it was a masjid night. They were then allowed to sleep as long as they wanted to which usually meant until somewhere between 8:30 and 9:30. Here kids stay up late but only because they usually take a nap during the afternoon like their parents. My kids rarely ever take naps after they're about 18 months old. Even my 8 month old only naps twice a day for about 10-20 minutes at a time usually.

Oh well, I'll keep gently reminding them that learning is not something that ends when school ends. So far, they're still doing alright and are interested in learning more about their world but I really do wish we were still homeschooling.

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