Day 13 of Homeschooling in the Middle East – “Families that learn together, stay together” (I can’t find a specific attribution I’m afraid)

Edward and Petra are getting on so much better together. I think this in large part now that the stress of cajoling a 7 year old and a 3 year old into and out of the house, the car and then where we’re going in a hurry is gone. It was especially stressful early in the morning when they’d rather still be in bed and in the afternoon when Petra was tired and Edward was grumpy after a yet another day not enjoyed at school. Now they live around each other in a natural way. Each can sleep as long as they like. Each can eat when they like (and not have to fit in with the other’s pick ups or drop offs).  They are finding they need to be good company for each other now that they’re in each other’s company so much more of the time. The fact that things are so much more relaxed is seriously putting me off doing too many outside-home scheduled activities. It’s so relaxing instead to do things with friends or just the one activity. Although there are so many amazing things that can be learnt outside the home, so it’s a tough decision. But for now, it’s great to just decompress for a bit.

I also really agree with this mother, “As far as homeschooling bringing siblings closer, it absolutely did for us! My son stopped viewing the little ones as acquaintances and started really being in tune to their needs and wants. He started enjoying his time with them. And they feel very close to him too. I’m not saying that we don’t have our days when they fight constantly but for the most part (99%) it’s a great thing! They work together to complete things.” And another mother in the same discussion thread said, “I think the contribution that school made to their bad relationship was that they were apart for so many hours during the day that they weren’t really getting to know each other. When they were at home, I think the competition for mom’s attention was very great, since they hadn’t seen me all day either. It was turning them into foes. Also, by the time they got to see each other, at the end of the day, they were stressed, tired and lacking the energy to be kind/gracious to each other. “

I have really found Edward being kinder and more gracious to Petra, the younger child. She is naturally a very generous child and I think she’s being a good influence on him. The fact he has more time and is more relaxed means that he’s noticing that she gets highly praised for her generosity (as is he) and seems to be positively affected by it. It’s wonderful to see this happening within a couple of weeks. But perhaps this change in the kids’ relationship is because of the seismic philosophical shift that has happened in our home, which they are living around daily. Actually it’s not a philosophical shift, it’s more the case that with home educating we are now living our philosophy in an even bigger way. We are now doing more rather than just thinking. We have always tried to live our life’s philosophy but doing home educating is a big one.

I have just started reading, ‘The Willed Curriculum, Unschooling, and Self-Direction: What Do Love, Trust, Respect, Care, and Compassion Have To Do With Learning’ by Carlo Ricci who I’ve referred to before. I feel like I’m highlighting his whole book as I read it, so much does it resonate with me! His book is partly about something he calls ‘the willed curriculum’ which is the first time I’ve come across this term. Unschooling, which he says is also referred to as natural learning, life learning, organic learning, self-directed learning or self-organized learning, is according to him the best example of ‘the willed curriculum’. He says, “Above all else the willed curriculum is a philosophy, a worldview, and a way of life. We are all guided by a philosophy, whether we are aware of it or not, and by becoming aware of what our philosophy is, we are free to either change our assumptions or to understand the limitations and logical conclusions of our philosophy.” “…the worldview… (will) help create a more morally centered and ethical humanity.”

Whatever we are doing exactly, my husband and I are certainly working on becoming more morally centered and ethical humans and are therefore trying to model that to our kids. Now that Edward is out of school, even for such a short time, perhaps he is suddenly capable of soaking up what we’re trying to do. Not only is he being a bit kinder to his, often understandably annoying, little sister but he’s started calling people ‘Sir’ and ‘Madam’ when he thanks them which is a really lovely way to address people he doesn’t know and makes, for instance, waiters or shop assistants feel so special, you can see them glow, especially in this part of the world, which is so racist and treats people in these positions so badly.

On another note, more feedback on my post of yesterday, on whether to have a break or not would be most welcome, especially if it is posted as a ‘comment’ so that everyone can share your wisdom. It sometimes takes time for comments to be published, because WordPress allows blogger’s to moderate comments. I approve them as soon as I read them, but there might be a time lag if you want to comment after I’ve gone to bed! Talking of bed, boy, am I enjoying the relaxed mornings with a bit more sleep and snuggling up with a good book when the kids are both up. We’re trying the classic, ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ at the moment. I think they’re enjoying it but possibly not quite as much as me, taking my trip down childhood literacy memory lane! But wait until we get to the battles…that’ll hook Edward 😉


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.
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