About Me

23 February 2012 marked the first day of no more school FOREVER for my two kids, presently aged 6 and 10. We hope to successfully home school or actually learn at home or ideally unschool from this day forward. Actually, I prefer the term home learning 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 instil a lifelong love of learning in them. We are a multi-cultural, mixed-ethnic/racial, mixed-religious family who used to live in Bahrain and then Dubai and now live in Granada, Spain! Unfortunately, these are all very challenging places to home educate. We are all totally psyched! This is an exciting journey that I used to blog about regularly, it started out on an almost daily basis. Please join me on our travels and I hope we might be able 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!

26 Responses to About Me

  1. Lyn Al Haqbany says:

    Good morning. I really need some help please. I have 3 children currently attending school in Bahrain. I am not happy with the current situation. They will finish grades 7, 5 and 3 in June. I am seriously considering home schooling. I live in Amwaj Islands. Can you give me any information about home school groups in Amwaj please? I work full day, as does my husband, so ideally, I am looking for a small group they could join. Thank you very much. Lyn

    • Hi Lyn, First of all, I’m really sorry to hear of your plight. I don’t know if your kids are Bahraini. If they are, they have to be in school by law until 16, as I understand. If not, then the name homeschooling is what it means – educating your kids at home (either doing ‘school at home’ or ‘unschooling’ which is much more relaxed). The teaching or mentoring is usually done by parents, so it’s not easy if you both work full-time. I have read about parents who do it though e.g. in the USA. This would require finding someone trustworthy to stay with the kids during the day and then schooling them for a period early morning or when you get home or having a tutor for some time during the day. Some people in Dubai ‘homeschool’ using this – http://www.k12.com/int/contact-us I’m not sure what you mean by a ‘small group’. Nobody cooperatively homeschools here and it’s an unusual option anyway because people prefer to homeschool only their kids otherwise you starting to get into a school situation, albeit on a smaller scale. There is a group in Amwaj who say they do but they meet up in someone’s house once a week for an hour, the kids are no older than 3 years old and the Mums are there, so it’s no option for you.I can’t think what to suggest other than totally changing your lifestyle so that you or your husband can homeschool yourself (lots of people do this, after hard thought, because they find the drop in income is made up by the quality time with family). Please message me again if you think I can be of further help.

      • Lilie says:

        Thanks a lot Penny for your blog.

      • shariq says:

        I don’t have kids neither am i married or something yet i have a question when i see a blog like yours…
        What about the social interaction of the kid with other kids, that not happening the social upbringing and psychological affect that the child will bear once he will step out in the higher education or working world, will this home schooling compliment him then or NO?

  2. kim says:

    bahrain! the internet is amazing. thanks for reaching out. i am curious to hear more of your story – what brought you to bahrain? work? choice?

  3. Love this site. I have chosen the following spelling: Home’s Cool!
    The parents above could work different shifts, if night work is an option, leaving one parent at home always, but not much spousal time. Still, it could work for the short run. Also, if relatives are sympathetic and nearby, they could help out. Many US homeschooling families choose that option, and a grandma or auntie should be part of a home, if needed. Hiring someone to come into the home and teach is not exactly homeschooling, although technically it is, but we call that getting a governness. Not a bad idea at all, if the family’s income can support it.
    I think I shall write you personally soon. 🙂

  4. mommasylvia says:

    Good luck in your home educating adventure! My motto is, “Even if we did no school work at all, we’d still be doing better than public school!” I am going to check out the rest of your lovely blog now! Oh, and thanks for stopping by mine!

    • Thanks, Sylia! You are ‘lucky’ in this respect because, in an odd way, you can reassure yourself with this! Our options are very ‘good’ private schools in Bahrain. So people really think we’re insane. And the homeschooling families I know here usually have some kids at those schools. For my kids to go to school/back to school, it would have to be a very ‘alternative’ school that I don’t foresee ever being on the island. This kind of school may even decide what future country we live in, when the kids are much older! Your’s is an inspirational story, Sylvia and I hope you get more readers from Bahrain! Very best wishes, Penny

  5. Wow, Penny, you’re a quite a pioneer! Godspeed on your fabulous undertaking, and please let me know if there’s anything I can do to be a blessing to you. You’re an inspiration!

    • Is this Rachel who I met today? If so, it was SO great to meet you and sorry we didn’t get to chat. I had never met Shaema before, only ‘chatted’ a bit on this blog and by email, and she’s made so much effort, to everyone together today, so I really wanted to spend time with her. Let’s do keep in touch! Best wishes, Penny

    • Just clicked on your gravatar and now noticed your surname! Wow!!! It’s YOU! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. I am in the middle of processing your education model with a view to ‘following’ it in Bahrain with my kids! I have a friend bringing me back more of your books after the summer holidays. Her sisters followed your model and she was the one who initially gave me your book. I am so excited to learn more about what you do! Very best wishes, Penny

      • The world is shrinking, isn’t it. Imagine how thrilled *I* am to know that the likes of you is leading out in your corner of the world to help spread the principles of leadership education. Seriously – if there is anything…?

        xoxo rd

    • Hi Rachel, I hope you are well. I would love to have your take on this – https://homeschoolingmiddleeast.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/how-to-balance-furthering-your-own-education-which-will-help-you-be-a-better-homeschooler-during-the-time-you-are-meant-to-be-homeschooling-month-7-of-learning-at-home/ I am about to embark on an online course, the first semi-formal bit of education I’ve undertaken in years! It’s a history of the world from 1300 to the present day. I thought it would be really, really useful to help me facilitate my kids’ learning of history in the next few years (and of course I’ll really enjoy it). But I think it will be pretty time consuming and considering we’re also going to be moving, to a new country (Dubai) in the next couple of months, I think I will be taking a lot of time away from ‘teaching’ my kids (aged nearly 8 and just 4). They will be left to play a lot rather than having us sit down doing stuff together. Is this OK? What do you think? Would love to hear from you! Very best wishes, Penny

  6. You know, Penny, your kids are little, you have plenty of time, and I can’t imagine what in the whole wide world you could teach them that would be more meaningful or long-term-valuable than how much you enjoy learning, and what it’s worth to you. I think it sounds wonderful. The real question is how you and your husband (assuming?) feel about it. I always say (well, I say lots of things, but here are a couple of things I always say…)
    1. An investment in your own education is not a withdrawal from your kids’. In fact, it pays back on the gold standard.
    2. You’re the expert on your family. Whether or not it makes sense to anybody else, if you feel a sense of direction and peace, purpose and excitement, and harmony with your husband and Divine Center (whatever that means to you), then by all means squelch any voices to the contrary, whether they’re from well-meaning loved ones who deserve a little bit of explanation or reassurance, or the Inner Critic that doesn’t deserve anything more than to be dismissed.

    Blessings to you and yours, and please let me know if there is anything I can do to lighten your load!



  7. aisha says:

    It was great meeting you tonight, Penny. I enjoyed hearing your perspective on unschooling. Just read Rachel’s post above about the value of investing in your own education, esp as a homeschooling mom. As someone who went back to school myself (just got my MS in Educ Tech), I can say with certainty that the knowledge I gained, not just about my field but about how to think, have not only helped me but have helped my children as well. I am a better person and a better mom because I decided to invest in myself. Good luck to all the other moms out there trying to be the best they can be, not only for themselves but for their children 🙂

  8. Anonymous says:

    Saw your piece in the Review and thought you might like to know you’re not the only New Hall home educator! I sent in a piece about the book ‘Free Range Education’ when it was published in 2000 but I guess that was before you were interested in HE. My children are now 27 and 29, both proud of never having been to school. Enjoy :-).

  9. Hi Rosemary, Wow! So it’s been published! I can’t wait to see it! I hope I did a good job representing homeschooling! Given your kids’ ages, you must have been something of a pioneer. I have so much respect for what you did in those earlier days! I still feel like one now, sometimes, especially homeschooling in the Middle East! I would love to hear your journey to homeschooling, what approach you took, what your kids ended up doing. Did either of them end up at Cambridge too (not that it’s the most important sign of ‘success’ or anything). My email is pjmontford@hotmail.com Very best wishes, Penny

  10. tanyakschenck says:

    I have been reading your blog for more than couple of months now and have learned a lot. It is really good and you are maintaining it very well. I would like to submit my post on your blog (as guest post) with my website link. Please let me know if you are accepting guest posts for free of cost and I’m ready to discuss my contents with you, I promise you with unique, quality and 100% plagiarism free content. I am looking forward to get your reply.
    Thank You,
    Tanya Schenck

  11. karlamcurry says:

    Hi! I was just going through some of the old comments on my blog and found yours from 2012. At the time, you were a “wannabe unschooler,” but looks like you’ve made it a reality! This upcoming school year will be my fourth – but first “official” – year homeschooling my oldest. How time flies!

    • Hi Karla, Wow! What a great thing to do; to look through old comments. I have rather abandoned my blog. We moved from Bahrain to Dubai and now to Spain! We are certainly unschoolers although slide up and down the spectrum!! We are now living a very different life in a rural area, so it’s all about being outside with the trees and animals. and meeting new people and trying to learn a new language! I will look back at your blog and see how you’re doing too. Thanks so much for checking in! Great to hear from you! Best wishes, Penny

    • Hi Karla, It must be fun too look back through your blog! Yes, we became fully fledged unschoolers! I am still very anxious about it though!! We also moved to Spain – Granada! What a life! Very best wishes, Penny

  12. LIz says:

    Hi, I am teaching English in a large School in Bahrain, I am seeing my child becoming more and more despondent with work that she is just not interested in doing, I am considering giving up my teaching job and home schooling her, she is currently 6 and I have her in the Arabic school which I work. We are from the UK and I am trying to find to links to other home schoolers who are based in Bahrain, can you point me in any direction? Many thanks.

    • Hi Liz, do you want to email me on pjmontford@hotmail.com and I can put you in touch with the small but very lovely h/s group in Bahrain. I loved h/s there and that was put some great new initiatives that have subsequently been set up I would pull your daughter out of school in a heartbeat. I love to see how happy my kids are now. Kids have no chance of flourishing academically or any other way if they are bored and/or unhappy. They learn to cope at school perhaps but that’s not enough for me. Hope to get your email soon 🙂

      • Isaiah says:

        Hi Penny,

        Another amazing homeschooling centre in Bahrain that I would recommend is TeachBahrain. Definitely check them out they have a lot of other services other than just academic support,

        It really helps because they also have counseling, career management, life skills, fitness training & an in house board gaming and book reading club.

        Find them here http://www.teachbahrain.com/private-schooling

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