End of Homeschool

And so ends 6 years of home schooling, well, for one of them that is..Maryam got dressed all by herself, even watched a YouTube video on how to do up her school tie! Her dad was gutted now that he was being made redundant by his number 3. I remember back in my days the job for helping me knot my uniform tie belonged to either my father or brother. I remember witnessing the sense of responsibility unfold on my fathers face knowing that this was, ‘his job’ and he was proud to be the one to do up his daughters tie. So much for YouTube eh? 

Maryam was very excited and a little anxious at the start of her new journey. Her mind was buzzing with question after question, a few months back she questioned whether she would still be able to meet up with her HomeEd friends and visit places like Kidzania during school days! She questioned whether she could continue with gymnastics and finally achieve level 1 or whether her little sister will be able to cope without her.

As the start of high school drew near, her never-ending questions changed and she began to wonder if she will make friends? What will her teacher be like? How hard will the work be? Will she get a locker? Will she have to wear a face mask? What will school dinners be like? 
When the first day of school finally arrived, I watched in silence as she got herself ready. Admittedly I was the one that ironed her school uniform, I hadn’t done that chore for years so that brought back many painful memories..as I was ironing I remembered the times I used to take my elder two to school; uniform shopping…ongoing! Constantly sewing-in the waist of their uniform trousers, forever late on school runs, paying fees for every school trip, writing notes to teachers…Maleeha will be late for this…, Iman is unable to attend that..it came as a breather once I decided to home school knowing that I wouldn’t have to deal with any of those tasks any longer, that is until now with Maryam wanting to trial school I was about to re-enter the world of ‘school’ once again. 

Over our 6 years of homeschool, Maryam has developed her people skills pretty well. She is a very confident young lady, always willing to help others. She is caring, kind and considerate of others and knows when to admit to mistakes and say sorry. She is my ‘joker’, always able to make me laugh. Admittedly she is very different in her mannerisms compared to my other children and sometimes I wonder whether this is because I was at my highest level of deen when I was due with her and that she was the only child that I had breast-fed for 2 complete years, Woo Hoo! Alhamdulillah! 
As Maryam began to put on her hijab it suddenly dawned on me that she was now a ‘big girl’ and that I was about to let her experience, ‘School’! (cue theme tune to Eastenders). 

The fears of ‘Maryam losing her confidence’ that we had built upon as a family, began to creep in. All bad things ‘school’ began to flood my mind with bullying for sure, at the top of my list. 

However, I reminded myself why I had chosen to send her to school. Maryam has dreams of one day becoming a civil engineer Insha’Allah. Home schooling my elder was a tad easier as she had aspirations of becoming a professional patisserie chef and Alhamdulillah she is now on on the way to achieve just that Insha’Allah. 

My chosen method of ‘home school’ has always been to allow my children to follow their dreams and desires and for me to facilitate it in anyway that I can. So at the age of 4 when Maryam was introduced to a drill by her father there was no stopping her. She would enjoy taking things apart and discovering how to put them all together again. Taking apart a dyson vacum cleaner for example and then putting all its bits back together again is one memory she continues to share with everyone she meets. She is my, ‘Bob the builder’, forever trying to fix things in our house that have almost fallen apart. So these were the tell-tale signs that Maryam had a passion for a tool box and art. Take a look over @alburouge where you will find little Maryam in her element, interviewing architects that she aspires too. 

As my personal circumstances began to change again, with less time on my hands and Maryam’s intense desire to want to learn more, I now felt that perhaps school will be the way to go for now. Where she will be able to gain free access to subjects like design and technology, textiles and ICT. Subjects that I know very little about and can not afford to pay for them outside of school, subjects that Maryam needs access to to help her along the way. 

My nerves were calmed somewhat knowing that I had chosen to send Maryam to a school that had a very good reputation, a school on my doorstep, literally, a school with very good parent/teacher/child support. 

And now the time had come to let go. 

It was hard. 

Yes, I cried. 

I didn’t show her my tears though. I hugged her and gave her that, ‘Mummy talk’, to which she replied, ‘Mummy, your heart is beating so fast!’ Little did she know that I had butterflies in my own tummy and was on the verge of tears. 
I see my journey with Maryam like a kite, soaring through the skies. She will have a little more freedom within new territory but I will never let go. I will hold on tight to her and be there for her, to pull her back in as and when needed. As a parent, getting involved with the school is one way that I will be using to stay in touch, for the sake of both of us, Insha’Allah. 

Before leaving home Maryam prayed two nawafil and read the leaving home dua, just as she was taught when she was younger. This time however, mummy wasn’t going to accompany her to school, Maryam was going to make this grown up journey all by herself. Was she ready? Was she happy? 

Judging by her pictures, I think she was…;) 

My duas are forever with you, my darling Maryam, good luck x

Kosser Abdul Aziz is the author of ‘Tales Mini Maryam’ available from the IHRC Bookshop and other platforms. Find her on Instagram and Twitter @KosserAbdulAziz.