A New Chapter ..

If you have been following us for a while, you would know by now that we are a homeschooling family. I have been homeschooling my little Adam since he was 18 months. I had never planned to take the homeschooling path, it just happened, and it was exactly what our family needed.

 

For 4 years we have enjoyed all sorts of activities, and hands on learning. We played and explored so many topics that Adam would have never even heard of if he were in a formal schooling system. We traveled the world and learnt about different cultures, different languages, different countries, that Adam would have never known if he were in a classroom. He explored using all his 5 senses, he met wonderful fellow homeschoolers, who were like family to us. He used his imagination whenever he could, he played with sticks and started fires. He cooked, performed, and knitted. We read aloud many many many chapter books, we did math, science, music, geography, language…etc. We loved every minute of our day every single day.

 

People looked at us funny every time I would mention that Adam doesn’t go to school, and I couldn’t care less! We did what worked for our family, what I needed to do, what made total sense for us!

 

My son was only 18 months when we started, he thrived in front of my eyes, and I learnt so much from teaching him and from being his mentor. This summer at 5,5 years old, my sweet boy expressed his desire to join a “real school”. If you know my child you will sure know how mature he is, he thinks of everything before taking his decisions. We never win any argument with him, because he is so logical and so good at negotiating! We raised him with so much freedom and lots of love, he knows that we are always listening to his needs and his words no matter how silly they might be. So when he asked to go to school, we had a conversation with him, and he truly wanted to be a BIG boy and go to school and have fun. So ….. we obliged! And just like that our beautiful boy is going to SCHOOL! And he LOVES it! He is so excited every single morning, he made tons of friends already, and so far we are all happy with our decision.

 

Our homeschooling journey will NEVER END! At every opportunity we have, we will still have our hands busy, and our minds full. We will be exploring, touching, feeling, learning, and seeing the world through the eyes of true adventurers!

 

Chanelmama

 

 

 

 

Ramadan: Fasting, Eating, and Driving Like Crazy..

 

Everyone who lives in a Muslim country must know by now what is Ramadan. What it consists of, what it represents, and what it means to all the Muslims around the world.

The first concept foreigners -Non Muslim- struggle with, is the fact that we go all day with no food and no drinks, from sunrise to sunset. It is hard for them to fathom why would anyone starve themselves, and be thirsty when we live in a country with a million degrees outside. Once they understand -or try to understand- they struggle with point number two: If Ramadan is the month of fasting, then how come it is ALL about food? Here they seem to be stuck, because everyone around them seems to prove their point and no one is free to explain, because hey … Before Maghrib everyone is beat, after Maghrib people are eating like there is no tomorrow.

So after hearing these comments way so many times, I decided to try and give my two cents of the day, here:

First of all, Ramadan is not ONLY about fasting from food, it is fasting from ALL what your body might desire on normal days. Things that can bring you a little farther from where God wants you to be. Things that one’s self might desire more than it should or more than what it needs. So actually Ramadan is NOT about fasting, it is about controlling one’s self. It takes a lot of control to refuse a delicious, rich, and super moist chocolate cake, or a cold refreshing drink in the summer heat. Yet when you do it, you don’t do because you don’t feel like any of these delicious treats, No! You do it because God asked you to.

He also asked us to fast from talking about people behind their backs -He always asked us to do so, but in Ramadan if you don’t do it, your fasting goes down the drain- He asked us as well not to make love, when we are fasting, and to refrain from being lazy, argumentative, or stingy. He asked us to do 100% of all the things we need to do to be on the right path, to be closer to Him.

Some people seem to think that God has created Ramadan, because he wants us to feel what the poor people feel. It seems somehow logical, and a great way to instill compassion and empathy, until you think of those same poor people and how they ALSO fast in Ramadan, just like every other day too. Shouldn’t they be exempt from the whole fasting jazz? Not the case ha! No, fasting was set for everyone equally. Yes, in the process we do feel hungry and thirsty, during the day, and that might make us feel more for the people whose daily lives resembles our fasting days, but not by choice or conviction, just because that is their reality. Ramadan is not about fasting from food and drinks only, it is fasting from all the bad habits, that we might do throughout the year, because we are weak and we can’t resist. So in that one month of Ramadan, we do our best, we work hard, and we practice for the rest of the year, till Ramadan blesses us again with yet another holly appearance.

Now to it being ALL about food, before I start on this one, I would like you to imagine going to bed fairly late at night, knowing that when you wake up, you won’t be able to eat or drink. I want you to think that when you get dressed and get to ready to go to work, there will be no coffee, no eggs benedict, no orange juice and no cigarettes (if you smoke). Then during the day, you are exposed to all the sweet temptations, from an add on TV, to a post about a mouth-watering dish, or just a sweet craving that gets into you.  Then you check your watch and it’s barely 10am, and you still have about 8 more hours of fasting to go. Fasting duration differs from one country to another, in Bahrain for example, we fast about 15hours. 15 long hours, with no food or drinks, while your daily responsibilities don’t change a bit, instead, the lot grows bigger.

It is just natural to CRAVE food when you are fasting, and even more normal to cook what you crave, and enjoy it with family and friends at Iftar time. What is not OK, is to WASTE food. In Ramadan, sharing food is a very big tradition in Arabic countries. So most families cook big amounts of food, BUT they share them with friends, family, people in need and so on. So from now on, let’s normalize the talk about food before and after Iftar, let’s normalize the fact that supermarkets are full and shelves get empty so quickly, you never know if these people donate, share or eat their food themselves. Before judging, put yourself in the fasting people’s shoes, and you will see how normal craving, cooking, and eating food after 15 hours of fasting is.

Another kind of comments that kept creeping into my ears was the following: “Aah these people they fast and drive like crazy… they better not fast” or “if you get angry because you are fasting, then better not to fast” or even “if fasting means being lazy so what’s the point” and while I absolutely understand and I am STRONGLY against driving like crazy (an absolute No No), getting angry randomly, or even being lazy in Ramadan -or any other time as a matter of fact- but first of all we need to keep in mind that fasting is not for the fainthearted! Food is what gives you energy to focus, to work, to be in a good mood and to be “normal”, once you take food out of the equation, you become somewhat like a zombie. Of course still not an excuse, but it’s a situation that requires empathy from the people around, and specially the Non-Muslim ones, who can’t understand what a big of a deal fasting is UNLESS they try it. Instead however, leading by example is a fantastic way to show how it is done.  So instead of complaining about these “bloody crazy fasting Muslims” -doing their own thing, in their own country- I suggest to try fasting, and driving properly, try being in a good mood all day long, while also working hard. This not only will put them at shame, but also will inspire them to do better, and it will be done without the slightest form of complaints, judgment, or resentment, so a win-win situation ;).

So whether you are a Muslim, or not, join me in wishing the Muslim people to get all the strength they need to complete their fast, the way God has asked us to, while being kind, compassionate, and with a smile InshaAllah.

 

 

Ouiam

How to Have a Low-Waste Kitchen, in Bahrain.

 

 

 

As women, we all agree that we spend a long time in our kitchens, whether being busy washing the never-ending dishes, cooking, or cleaning. So it is safe to say that it is OUR territory, and we are entitled to do with it whatever we want, so what if we make it a “low-waste “space? How you say? Hang on, and I will share with you what worked for us.

 

I first feel the need to share that my husband does not share the same views on living a “zero-waste” lifestyle. He obviously knows and agrees about how our planet is suffering, and how in order to save it for the sake of our children and their children, we need to do something; he, however, thinks it is too difficult to do it. Some of you might gasp, and some might raise an eyebrow, but this is the truth, and I like to keep it real. Men don’t like complicated stuff, and I fully understand and respect that. I have never EVER forced my husband to live a certain way, and I will not start now. I however, like to lead by example, without judging or nagging. I like him to watch and see for himself, then make his own decision. Because this is the only way he will seriously commit, and do better, because he wants to, and because he is convinced.  This is how we did it when I started cooking healthy nutritious food, and when we stopped using western medications, and moved to a more natural and holistic approach, and when we started homeschooling our son too. He observes, sees the benefits, and then he makes his own choices based on the great results he had touched, felt and seen.

So far we have moved a long way from when we first started, and he is much more understanding and willing to make the effort for a more sustainable lifestyle, because he UNDERSTANDS and he is CONVINCED, but also because I try to make it easier on him and on all of us, by keeping things handy and easy to use, just like the single-use items are.

We also have Susan (who has been my helper for the last 5 years, and became part of our family). I have taken her with me in this journey, into a more sustainable lifestyle, and have taught her and trained her to do things with less waste, but on her own pace too.  Because we ALL live in our home, you might still see single use items here or there (that belong to either my husband or Susan), and that’s Ok, because they need to take their own time and I will only show them how to do it by doing it myself.  My son and I on the other hand have Completely ditched the plastic and the single use items and we both are so proud, and hoping it will come sooner for the rest of our family.

 

In this post I will talk about the changes I made inside my kitchen, and how we are ALMOST waste-free (as much as we can).

 

Using glass and ditching the plastic, was the first action we took. Last year a friend of mine gave us 2 boxes full of glass bottles, jars and containers, of all colors and shapes (Thank you Shabnam!). I use them for EVERYTHING! I store my fruits and veggies there, my leftovers, my herbs (just make sure to trim the ends a bit, and fill the jar with some water, it even expands their lifespan!) I use them for the freezer too, just don’t fill them up completely. I also line them up neatly in the cupboard so that they are easily found by my husband 😉

Each one of us (including my husband and my helper) has their own metal water bottle, instead of plastic ones. We just fill them up wherever we are.

We use beeswax wraps to cover food, and we LOVE it (even my husband does haha!). You can use them for about a year, just give them a little rinse with cold water when done, and it is absolutely eco-friendly and free of chemicals that might harm your body (like plastic).

 

We ditched both clear and aluminum foils as well as parchment paper, instead we use glass Pyrex dishes, with covers, for the oven (which I always had but for some reason it is easier to cover with Aluminum foil ugh!). We also use silicone mats, and  stainless steel molds and it is much easier than you might think.

 

I was never a coffee drinker, however, in the last year, I have grown to LOVE the taste and the smell of coffee, So I BOUGHT a stainless steel French press. I only bought it because I knew I really needed it, instead of using the many many capsules in the Nespresso machine, also because I drink coffee daily, so by using the French press I am avoiding so much waste, and lastly because it was on sale. The coffee grounds from the French press can be used as scrubs, and for the plants too. They are compostable, biodegradable, and waste-free, which is ideal and much better than the Nespresso machine.

We use ceramic, metal, glass and wooden plates and glasses, and nothing plastic at ALL.

I made my own kitchen paper, out of towels that I no longer used, I color-coded them: different colors for handling the food, drying dishes and hands, for the counters, for the stove, and for the floor. They are all placed on my counter, in a basket, and we all know how to use them. Again, I am not looking for PERFECT, so if anyone uses a paper towel instead, I will not frown and get angry, absolutely not! We are all doing our best here.

 

We had a huge stash of reusable napkins but they were all nicely kept in one of the cupboards, while we enjoyed using the paper napkins and throwing everything in the trash once done. We now have all the reusable napkins in the kitchen, near the table and we use them ONLY! We wash them afterwards, and put them back near the table, ready to be used again!

We have long stopped using the microwave (my husband still does though, and that’s OK). I always keep an iron skillet on the stove ready to heat up whatever I need. Yes, it takes longer, but you know it is healthier and much better for your body. We also pay attention to our consumption of electricity and water. I don’t mind the heat, I hardly EVER switch on the AC, even when it is a million degrees outside, but when we do switch it on, we are mindful. I never switch it on if no one is there, I make sure to switch it back off when we are done. We do the same for the lights, the TV, and all the other appliances.

I freeze all the fruits that I think might get spoiled soon, I make soup from the extra vegetables I have, and freeze the soup too. we always eat leftovers, if we are bored of it, we just reuse them in a different recipe.

I buy the ugly fruits and vegetables, because I know no one will, and they will end up thrown in the trash.

I make my own jam, almond butter, tomato sauce, ketchup, and whatever else i can make (thanks to Pinterest!) because it is healthier, and waste-free.

I use the citrus peels for my kitchen cleaner, which I make out of vinegar and baking soda. The citrus peels give it a nice smell.

My husband planted mint, basil, and oregano so we can use fresh herbs for cooking, straight from our little garden. I also use the flowers we have for my table, instead of buying new ones (I love having flowers in my home)

The other area that you could tackle easily is the supermarket. We ALWAYS keep shopping bags in the car (I only have 3, and they are more than enough), as well as produce bags (to use for fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts), we also have glass Jars for the olives, cheese, and even meat and fish.  Just make sure you weigh the jar/container first.  This way I have Zero-waste grocery shopping trips. I also prefer buying in bulk (the nuts, the lentils, the chia and whatever is available in bulk.) no packaging and way cheaper. Whatever is not available in bulk, I prefer to get it packaged in glass, and in a big size, because it is just  better than plastic.

I ONLY buy what I really need, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables, because they get spoiled quickly. Meal prepping helps tremendously, because you know beforehand what you will be needing/ cooking, therefore you buy the produce accordingly.

 

My husband gets most of our fruits and vegetables from a local shop (farm). He asks for the produce to be put in a box with no plastic. After they weigh them they just put them straight in the cardboard box- plastic free!

 

I keep in my handbag a towel, for when we use the bathroom outside (so we don’t use the paper towels to dry our hands). We also use toilet paper made from natural and sustainable bamboo, that I buy from Al Osra, and keep one roll in my car.  I have my takeaway Tupperware in my car too. I have two of them, which I can take anywhere and ALL restaurants put my food there happily. I also have in the car napkins, a set of wooden cutleries, 2 bamboo straws (one for me and one for my son), and a takeaway cup for my coffee, or Adam’s occasional milkshake. I always make sure to wash them and put them back in the car as soon as I get home, this way I don’t forget.

 

These are just very small steps that really don’t take a lot of time or effort, but make a huge difference. Being mindful and conscious is the biggest step, that eases the road to even bigger ones. My kitchen is NOT perfect, but it is absolutely better than before. Minimal, and with much less waste. Perfect is not what we want, we need more people doing SOMETHING. I am only responsible for myself and my son, I never judge or give lectures. Everyone can do what they can, on their own terms, and only if I am asked, I will do my best explaining, showing and leading by example.

 

Thanks for reading!!

 

 

Ouiam

A Zero-Waste Life In Bahrain

 

First of all, let me tell you that the term: “Zero Waste”, is a major misconception. We can never reach the “Zero Waste” lifestyle, simply because we are not fully equipped to cater to this radical change. In Bahrain, we struggle to find the minimum infrastructure to be able to produce less waste, from proper recycling methods, to environmental awareness, to the availability of sustainable, eco-friendly stores and brands. It is almost impossible to enjoy a waste free life in Bahrain. With that being said, it doesn’t mean we should just sit, cross our arms and watch our planet die, absolutely not! We still can do so much. We can live a “Low waste” lifestyle, and every single step we make towards that direction, is a big and rewarding one.

If you try to make a big life change happen immediately, chances are it won’t stick, let alone a huge, challenging one that requires a lot of hard work, like living a life where we produce less and less waste. The key is to start, anywhere, and with anything, but to just START. Starting with simple small steps, and being aware of the crazy amounts of waste we produce each and every day.

What I found to be very helpful is to start with one part of the house, and make the changes needed for it to be minimal, and with less trash, then move to anther area, and so on, until you are done. I, for example, started with my bathroom. After making sure to get rid of all the nasty chemicals, and replace them with natural substances, my goal was to keep track of my waste, maximize the use of eco-friendly products, and minimize the single-use items. I must say this wasn’t easy, as there is nothing easier than throwing what’s dirty instead of washing and drying and folding …etc.

The hardest part was to get rid of the shampoo, it took months, to finally let go of it, and use The “Ghassoul” –a Moroccan type of mud, used by grandmothers to wash their hair, and their skin. Let’s be honest, it is much easier to wash your hair whenever you feel like it (the less you wash it, the better), apply few drops of shampoo, wash, rinse and voila, as opposed to first wetting the mud, mixing it, applying it thoroughly, no foam or what so ever, just tiny pieces of mud all over your hair, which will take you at least a whole 5 minutes to rinse. However, the results are absolutely worth it.

I abandoned the shower gel, for the Moroccan natural soap, made out of extra virgin olive oil, which has no fragrance at all, no peach, no cherries, no lavender nothing haha, but definitely so much better for your skin.

For the deodorant, I made my own very easy mix, some arrowroot flour, coconut oil, shea butter, and essential oils of your choice for a nice fragrance, and voila! Easy, cheap, healthy and chemicals-free.

I also posted here, about my DIY loose powder, and the recipe. Few of my friends were very skeptical, because it contains turmeric, and they thought it might stain their clothes, and their faces in case it rains (not sure how this will happen but …!!). I had been using it for over 6 months now and I LOVE it. I would love to reassure everyone who asked: In case of an abundant rain storm, your face will remain unstained ;). When you use the powder you will notice that only tiny particles of the ingredients make it to your brush, and they are very well mixed together, therefore it will act just like a normal powder, except this one is clean, safe and it smells fantastic!

After a long debate with myself, I finally decided to give the clothes pads a try. As most of you, washing and drying isn’t my favorite thing to do, however, I must say it was the best decision EVER! Cleaner, more organic, and definitely eco-friendly, and zero waste!

Replacing the wipes to remove my makeup, was NOT an easy task. What usually takes a minute, now takes a little more, BUT, I now know that there are NO chemicals on my face, instead I use Argan oil- the best of the best, from Morocco- with little towelettes made from a bigger towel I had. My skin is smooth and clean and my bin is empty 😉

Tooth paste and tooth brush: Switching to bamboo for myself and my family was the best choice. Again, I did NOT buy extra toothbrushes while I was still using my plastic ones, no! I ONLY bought them when we were done with the old ones. Being Low waste (and aiming for a zero waste lifestyle) is all about using what you have and avoiding unnecessary purchases). For the tooth paste, I switched to tablets, which I bought when I was in the USA last month.

When I run out, I am planning to make my own using:

½ cup coconut oil

2 tbsp baking soda

Peppermint Essential oil

 

This bathroom detoxification didn’t happen overnight, it happened in the course of weeks, if not months. But it was definitely worth it. While it is not a huge deal, and I will never be able to cram my waste for 3 years in a small glass jar, it is still a step forward, and this is how I started cleaning, minimalizing my home and making it eco-friendly and low waste. Starting with the bathroom gave me the chance to focus on one thing at a time, doing a proper research on eco-friendly brands, alternatives, and DIYs that I previously thought less of, of thought it was the hardest thing to make/do.

My next stop was the kitchen! You will always have to remember that the aim is to make use of the things you already own, and to buy less and less products. In my next post I will explain how I handled the process of making my kitchen a low waste space. Stay tuned!!

 

Ouiam

 

 

Healthy Habits, for your Ramadan this Year.

 

As the summer heat slowly creeps into the island, with it comes the holiest, and the most celebrated month in the Muslim world: Ramadan! It is a month when all Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sunset. Yes, no food no water until we hear the Adhan of Al Maghrib prayer (The call for the evening prayer, which is right at sunset).

Ramadan is also more about self control and abstaining from what the body desires, and turning into feeding the soul with what brings us closer to God. Mainly Ramadan if done properly, will help to purify Muslims souls and serve as a reminder on how one should be all year round.

For 29 or 30 days, Muslims around the world, skip breakfast, lunch, while they enjoy a huge meal at sunset called Iftar (Breakfast), then they only have about 8 to 9 hours, when they can eat as they please just to get back into the fasting mode with the next sunrise. The question most people have is: How to make the most of the few hours of eating you are allowed to have each night? Some people make sure to fill in every inch of their stomachs, and believe it or not, some may even end up in the hospital, because they have eaten way more than what they need, or what they can handle! As most Muslims practice self-control during the day, at night time (which is when the body usually goes into a slower mode), they go crazy! Understandable yes, healthy? Absolutely not!

To have a healthy, and happy Ramadan, most nutritionists recommend the following:

  • Take it easy at Iftar.

Braking fast is one of the most important meals in Ramadan, not only because that’s when you can finally eat, but also because the body has been in a slow mode, and has been resting for hours, so it is important to take it very easy and not shock the body with a huge meal. The Prophet Mohammed (SAW), actually advised to fill a third of our stomachs with food, a third with water, and leave the third empty.

  • Dates First.

Most Muslims already do this and it is great because dates are a potassium dense food, which aids in hydration and restores electrolyte balance. Water is a great addition too, because it is balanced in macronutrients, and the combination of dates and water is perfect for restoring energy. It is highly recommended to take a little break after the dates, before indulging in other foods.

  • Snacking:

It is recommended to eat at least two small snacks between breaking fast and the last meal before going to sleep. Since the window of eating is very tiny, it is better to focus on faster digesting food, such as:

– Proteins with high absorption factors, like egg whites, fish, skinless chicken, and whey protein.

-Nutritious carbohydrates such as fruits and whole grains.

-Good fats such as avocadoes, nuts, and seeds.

  • The last meal.

Also called “Suhour”, should be properly balanced, and should help maximize energy for the next day.

It should include items high in complex carbohydrates, fiber, slower digesting protein (such as the casein in Greek Yogurt), and good fats. This is ideal to slow gastric emptying too.

  • Refrain from trans-fats and refined sugars.

It is very common for Muslims to have lots of fried or sweet food for Iftar, which is not a great idea, as these types of food will be driving your hunger. In addition to spiking your insulin (Which is a horrible way to wake up the body from its sleep), they activate the pleasure and reward centers of the brain, and make us feel good, so obviously we end up eating more and more, just to wake up the next day STARVING!

Ramadan is a great way to cleanse your lifestyle, from feeding the body the right nutritious food, to feeding the soul with what matters the most to you!

 

Ramadan Kareem!

“We Will Be There”

 

 

“We will be there!” I have never thought deeply about these 4 words, ever before! Until today! Sitting here, watching my son at his swimming class, lost in the background noise: Instructors shouting commends, kids cheering, and of course the echo of an indoor pool. Too lazy to pick up my kindle and read, I start thinking…. You know that thing all moms do, just let their brain wonder, while sitting quietly, enjoying not being pulled, touched, yelled at, or even talked to, without really thinking of anything specific… just thinking… and that’s when it hit me! I have an “I will be there group!”!

You see, I have been planning my son’s FIFTH Birthday party- It is a huge deal for my son -and us, his parents- and I have no idea how did we even get here, so fast! Part of the planning is inviting the chosen ones, who would be spending a couple of hours with Adam, having fun – hopefully-, playing, laughing, and eating cake (which is what birthdays are all about!). This year Adam had a big list of the friends he wanted to invite, and so I obliged. I wrote a message, copied it, pasted it, 25 times, for each friend’s mom, pressed sent… and … waited! I sent the messages and I started staring at my phone. At the huge list of people that I have now, right in front of my eyes, and……. I waited. I saw few “typing” (If you use WhatsApp you will know what I mean, if you don’t then what planet do you live in?).

8 out of 25 people, started writing their reply, just few seconds after I had sent the message, and few seconds later I had a reply : “ WE WILL BE THERE!”

These people didn’t wait to check their schedule, they didn’t wait to check with their hubbies, they didn’t wait to confirm with their families… they just read my invite and said: “We will be there”!

I know this must sound silly and even stupid, but I had tears in my eyes, and as I thought about it more and more, I realized that when these exact 8 special people have texted me to invite us for their kids’ special day, I had replied in few seconds saying those exact same words: “We will be there”!

Even though we don’t see some of those 8 precious people very often, but we all make this tight circle called: “ We will be there”, we know that no matter what “We will be there”. Life can get busy and hectic and we can easily get lost in all the things we all have to do, but knowing that I have a group that will always be there, without taking time to even blink or think makes my heart swell with joy!

I am not saying that the rest of those 25 people aren’t as important. No far from that, they are still showing up, and coming to spend their precious time with me and my family, on my son’s special day. They are showing us love and appreciation and we are so grateful for that.  I get how busy life can be with little ones. Between football practice, swimming classes, art classes, and all kind of activities, mothers (and I am one of them) can’t plan a thing without getting back to their calendars, and checking how and when they are available. I get it, this is life with kids, we can’t do much about it. We, parents, just understand, we know how it is!

This wasn’t my first time inviting people to one of Adam’s birthdays (he had FOUR of them already!), but I guess this is the the time that the meaning of “we will be there” really resonated with me! Such a strong and powerful sentence, that you should consider yourself very lucky if you have ever heard it –or read it!

 

 

Ouiam

 

Here is Why You Should Stop Assuming That Every Homeschooler is An Anti-social!

 

As I try o smile and nod and make small talk and hope after every answer that I have finally convinced the hairdresser that I really am not interested in sharing the story of my life, I get hit hardly by yet another question! I tell you some people do more than justice to the art of resilience and persistence! So then of course the most common question follows: Do you have kids? And as I answer giving all the details, hoping that this will be the end of it, another question hits me in the face like the cold air: “Is your son sick? Is that why you homeschool?” I had no idea how to answer that, I couldn’t understand how someone in the 21stcentury could be so blatant, insensitive, and just plain nosy! So I answer with the only sentence that could make its way out of my mouth: “No, we are just weird”. I then proceed to putting my earphones pretending to be listening to something on my phone as a last effort to make the person handling my hair STOP TALKING!

 

As a homeschooler, we get tons of questions all the time, and I usually welcome them and make sure I answer them thoroughly and with all the details/info that I can give, because I believe that people are genuinely asking, because the whole concept is so new, specially here in the middle east, and because we are not used to see other people say NO to the system. We are used to do as we are told, and to follow rules and regulations, without even questioning them. One of the main questions that we get is:

 

“Aren’t you afraid that he won’t be social enough?”

 

If you are close enough and you do know my little sunshine, then you sure know that he is a walking chatterbox, who makes friends as he breathes. His social life is much better than mine and his dad’s, both combined. He loves interacting with everyone from the cashier at the supermarket, to the little kid sitting alone in playground, to the parents of his own friends.

If you are not that close and you don’t know my son, here are some facts for you:

 

Children are already competent social beings; they have the extreme ability to adapt and coexist, something that most adults lack as they grow older.

 

Children are not exactly some sort of adults-in-training, they are however somewhere between being and becoming. Being a child who is actively constructing their childhood, and becoming an adult as an end result.

 

If we can see children as the competent and complex human beings that they really are, we can begin to see their behavior beyond the polarity of positive and negative. We can begin to see the nuances of who they are, what kind of personality they have? Character? … etc.

 

Everyone is born with a predisposition toward a personality type. Extroverts are energized by interacting with others and the world around them, while introverts are drained by too much interaction, especially with a big group, and prefer to be with people they know well. Although all kids display traits of both types, they innately prefer one style over the other-This book is great if you want to know more about the extroverted and introverted types: Quiet by Susan Cain– so whether they go to school or not, they are who they are.

 

The other thing that I need to clarify here is that homeschoolers DO GET OUT OF THEIR HOMES. We do not hibernate as we homeschool. There are tons of activities that homeschoolers around the world plan, choose, and arrange for their children, depending on WHO their child is, what do they like and dislike and not just depending on a super old system called “school”.

 

There are homeschooling communities all around the world; and we have a great one here in Bahrain. We plan classes together, take turns in hosting and preparing lessons, we plan field trips, sports days, book clubs and many many different activities. The other advantage that we have is that kids mingle with all age groups, and instead of learning how to communicate with only their peers, they actually get the exposure they need to prepare them for the real world.

So please the next time you want to ask “How about his social life”, reconsider your question, and instead ask about what kind of activities, curriculum, adventures we do/have, to really know more about the homeschooling life.

 

On behalf of the homeschoolers of the world, I send you wild and free thoughts, with much love!

 

 

Ouiam