Week 6 – Day 41 of Homeschooling in the Middle East – Homework? Not in our household!

I read somewhere that some homeschoolers use ‘dot-to-dot’ books to help their kids learn their numbers. Petra is pretty good with her numbers and, more importantly, has some understanding that numbers relate to groups of objects e.g. 4 means 4 things; 4 cars, shells, buttons whatever. But when she counts to 20 or beyond, she keeps skipping ‘15’ for some reason!  And I’ve been late about tackling it, initially thinking it was cute. I call this ‘youngest child syndrome’ where, even with only 2 children, you are more relaxed with the youngest, thinking mistakes are cute and not correcting them! I think you know they will turn out OK after all, whereas with your first child you are constantly afraid and feel you have to do the ‘right thing’ all the time, especially if you haven’t lived your life closely around other children and seen how children grow up almost by accident!

Anyway, Petra was enjoying her dot-to-dot but kept asking, “Is this my homework?” When I prevaricated and said, “Well….” She said, “It is! Say it is!” I hated to say ‘yes’ because ‘homework’ for me has strongly negative connotations – time away from your family doing something worthless, competing with other kids on projects (which said more about how much time your parents would spend with you/do it for you, how much money they’d spend on it, than what a good job you’d done!) . So I think it’s very strange that Petra should want her fun to be homework! Edward never showed any enthusiasm for homework so why would she want to have some?

Edward never had much homework anyway because the school he was in, whilst academically ambitious, didn’t believe in homework, which is something I absolutely agree with.  They felt homework was the ultimate ‘busywork’ because homework is only useful if everyone is set individual tasks – to improve upon any areas of weakness. But a teacher would never have the time to organize this. So instead they just sent home lots of interesting books from the library, which weren’t compulsory for the children to read, but were nice (and I really miss access to these books now that I’m home educating). But if the child had a real problem, you could discuss it with the teacher and they would make suggestions about how you could help. They were also good when you asked what you should do in the holidays with the children. Plenty of very ambitious mothers asked this! Unless the child really had a difficulty, the teachers would say “Nothing! Play!” So, it’s been nearly 2 months since we’ve needed to say the word homework in the house which is quite a long time in a 3 year old’s life. Yet a 3 year old girl’s desire to grow up, which is very different from a boy’s on the whole, Edward has even said he’s a ‘Peter Pan’, is such that she is desperate to do something she equates with being older, in this case, ‘homework’!

We’re off to this new Science Centre tomorrow, with a group of 14 other homeschoolers ranging in age from 15 month to 10 years. I hope it will be both a fun and edifying adventure!

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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 pjmontford@hotmail.com. 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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4 Responses to Week 6 – Day 41 of Homeschooling in the Middle East – Homework? Not in our household!

  1. shaema imam says:

    My four year old recently got upset because he was calling the once a week arabic playgroup we go to as “his school” and his two year old brother was saying ‘no, my school’!… He also says he wants to ‘show his teacher’ when he makes a nice drawing… I am starting to feel that he wants to have his own teacher and his own school like his 7 year old brother ( still in school), something of his own. Am i being unfair to deny him that? So many of the teachers i have met are people that i would love for my 4year old to spend time with. I guess that relationship would change if he had to share the teacher with 20 other kids.

    • Not unfair at all! The novelty would last about a week and then the reality of being with 20+ other kids would set in! And I’ve seen what 4 year olds have to learn at school – how to behave in a group to help the teacher do her job e.g. how to listen well, to stop whatever you are doing when you’re told to, how to conform, how to ‘be good’. This is not what I want for my soon-to-be 4 year old!

  2. shaema imam says:

    Penny, i really appreciate your replies to each comment. It is interesting that you said the novelty would last about a week… What you said makes sense about the behaviours they learn. I have started to buy them some activity books, give them a special drawer to keep their things, i am interested to know how home educating families organize their home and play/work places. I guess doing homework is the closest most school-going families get to home educating, how much more different is a home educating family’s home?

    • Hi Shaema, From what I’ve noticed meeting other homeschoolers here in Bahrain over the last few weeks, homeschoolers have LOADS more books than any one else I’ve ever met and thanks to bookdepository.co.uk’s free delivery to the Gulf, my house is starting to look that way too! We need to move to a bigger villa, seriously! Once we’ve done that, we’ll be able to be less centre stage than we are now, we’ll build a load of shelves, put those books out in a coherent, library-ish, accessible way and buy more and more plastic boxes for other materials. But many homeschoolers in small accommodation have plastic boxes in their kitchen and take out what they need each day at the kitchen table. But everyone laments how hard it is to keep a homeschoolers house free of projects, books, art work, educational posters etc…! I don’t care. I love it. But it’s driving my husband crazy!

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

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