Day 10 of Homeschooling in the Middle East – Roundup of my first week’s impressions and completion of one post-school life hurdle.

Number 1 impression – it’s really hard to blog seriously AND home educate and do all that other living stuff!

Number 2 – My time-once-the-kids-are-in-bed is never going to be the same again!

I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to read for pure pleasure or even watch the occasional DVD again – I don’t have time anymore! I have so much still to learn about home educating. I have catalogues to trawl through (because without a homeschooling community, I don’t have anyone else’s materials I can look at). I have learned so much this week, mainly in terms of what I want my home educating ethos to be, but without time, so far, to decide how this might be applied at home. That will come in the next few weeks. The ethos decisions are essential but it’s biting into the ‘doing it’ time. However, that’s the bliss of home educating. We can be a bit flexible about what we do each day and we’ll catch up no doubt on fully grasping fractions or going from reading regular four letter words to longer ones!

After all, an important home education mantra is, “Better late than early” which I think is a really important credo to remember, although that doesn’t mean neglect or not aiding learning when it’s so obviously ready (like helping my 3 year old read, which is happening oh, so gently, guided by her interest levels). In terms of dealing with the homeschooling news leaking out into the wider community, I have scheduled a playdate with one of Edward’s old school friend’s next week, so that should be interesting. My friend doesn’t yet know Edward isn’t in school every day. Her son is in another class.

This afternoon will be interesting – a dreaded class birthday party. When everyone in the class is invited, all the mothers dread them (or sometime it’s just all the boys or all the girls). The mothers dread them because they aren’t fond of everyone in the class, sometimes they aren’t fond of the kids either (if they’re a bit of a bully or something) but most especially the mothers! I am looking forward to seeing some families but others, not. But I am rather worried how Edward will feel, not being ‘normal’ anymore, as he calls it. But he’s really keen to go (how much of that is his thing for birthday cake though, I don’t know!) so we’ll see. We can always leave if he finds it too stressful. He will have to learn to play with all sorts of kids, but I don’t see why he has to be deal with persecution in his first weeks of finding his feet as a home educated kid.

If only Edward especially could meet other homeschooled kids and I’m not talking about a bunch of 3 year olds (as nice as that would be for Petra). The only people I’ve met in Bahrain who call themselves homeschoolers had kids no older than 3 or maybe 4 who shouldn’t be in any kind of school yet anyway. I call these women mothers, not homeschoolers and perhaps if they thought of themselves this way too, they wouldn’t be so rigid with their kids. If I only had my 3 year old, I would never call myself a homeschooler. I would just say she’s not going to school yet. Yet the mothers want a big pat on their backs for ‘homeschooling’ their kids – and they really do the ‘school’ part of homeschooling which I think totally defeats the point of home education. For younger kids especially they should be left to learn through play and any learning they express great interest in should be really playfully introduced, not even ‘taught’ and any learning should certainly not involve proscribed amounts of time sitting down which is what I’ve seen.

Phew! Just got back from the birthday party and it was great. I avoided the mothers I don’t like and enjoyed seeing other mothers very much. Edward had a great time. Where he’d been the last week was a mute issue because everyone assumed he’d been ill. Unfortunately, a lot of kids have been ill apparently. I really enjoyed sharing my news and it was kindly received, although with a great deal of shock. I hope to keep in touch with these schooling friends and hope they’ll be kind enough to follow through on some generous offers of help. It was a great relief, especially since it was so pleasurable, to overcome this particular hurdle – our first ‘school class’ birthday party whilst no longer being part of that particular ‘gang’!

I’m a home educator now. And it still feels great. It felt great to not only say proudly I’m a home educator but also to say that I don’t find it daunting but just exciting – everyone without exception expressed trepidation at the thought of doing such a Herculean task themselves. Fortunately for us, the home education adventure still seems manageable and enjoyable now that it’s a reality. The main thing of course is that I think the kids think it’s great too. We’ll be taking our first trip to the library tomorrow, the only one on the island that we can access, so I hope it’s a decent one.

Please always feel free to post comments on any of the days you read, however old they are. Your views are valuable and it’s always good to have debate. If you’re busy but enjoyed that day’s blog, please do press the ‘Like’ button at the end of the post. It would be much appreciated as it helps encourage more people to read homeschoolinginthemiddleeast! Any comments about Maths teaching is especially appreciated and suggestions about resources warmly welcome!


About homeschoolingpenny

Hi and welcome! My name is Penny and I used to live in Bahrain but In November 2012 moved to Dubai and now we live in Granada, Spain! If you want to contact me my email is I recommend you start my blog on 'Day 1' but please enjoy whatever you dip into. 23 February 2012 marked the first day of no more school FOREVER for my two kids. Edward, who is nearly 10 had attended a variety of schools since he was very little. Petra, who is now 6, has never gone to school. On this date we decided Edward was never going back to school and Petra never would go to school. We hope to successfully homeschool from this day forward, although we would consider an alternative school as an option- if there was some amazing Sudbury or other really alternative school. Actually, I prefer the term 'home learning' than 'homeschool' because I don't like to think of school coming into our home. In fact, I hope to go further and guide/learn alongside, rather than teach, my kids using the 'unschooling' philosophy to instill a lifelong love of learning in them. We lived in the Middle East and now Spain all of which are very challenging places to home educate. This is an exciting journey that I used to blog about regularly, at first it was on an almost daily basis. Please join me on our travels and I hope we might be able to help each other out along the way. I certainly hope I can be a source of support and comfort and, in time, knowledge to all potential/presently participating homeschoolers/home educators/unschoolers. Good luck to us all! If you want to read about why I started home educating, why I pulled my son out of a 'very good' private school mid-term, how I felt at the very start and how my philosophy has evolved, please start from 'Day 1' of the blog. Please do post comments at the end of any days that you read. Your opinion is valuable and it's great to start up debate amongst other people commenting too, however old the post. Thank you for visiting homeschoolingmiddleeast.
This entry was posted in Education, Homeschooling and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Day 10 of Homeschooling in the Middle East – Roundup of my first week’s impressions and completion of one post-school life hurdle.

  1. One of the great things about homeschooling in this age is that we have the internet and MAN are there some great sites out there, educationwise! I’m doing this on my own, basically, even though there are many homeschooing groups here in the States. Neither myself nor my son do well in new situations with new people so it’s just easier to do it he way we are. No books, no “field trips” We go where and when we want/can and it’s GREAT. We love the freedom we have with the flexible schedule and the ease of work. We ARE going to be trying something new this next week and I’ll know by Friday if it works. It’s a daunting experience but WELL worth the effort! Hang in there mom, you’re doing a great job!

    • You too! Good luck with your new adventure this week! Let me know how it goes! I’m sure it will be a great experience even if you choose not to repeat it.

    • How did the new thing work out? Well I hope!

      • It went well, actually. I definately think we will do it more. What we did was take the video camera out and filmed some things then brought it in and did some reports. We found some plants that are starting to wake up from their winter slumber and have filmed them daiy to show the changes that happen in the spring. Last week was botany and math. This week will be reading/spelling and possibly more botany since it’ll be very warm and things will be sprouting well. Maybe we’ll even plant some veggies!

  2. Anisa says:

    The whole “I am not sending my child to a formal traditional school” is very new in Bahrain, but those mamas with the young (under 7 yrs) kids are doing a great job at getting community support from each other. I respect anyone who decides to take on more responsibility in terms of their child’s development and learning, even those with children in a preschool or, in the case of Bright Beginnings, a child development center. It takes a village to support a child’s optimal development, and sometimes a structured, formal environment is what is needed for that mama and family. But I do think quality does make a huge difference and when a mama comes into BB and asks if day care is “good”, I explain that, to me, a high quality day care is good, an able and willing family member is better and mama is best. But preschool or day care not based on the developmental needs of the child is damaging!

What do you think? Please do let me know. I would love to hear your opinion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s