My professional background is Engineering and I worked as an IT Solutions / Applications developer before stepping away from it altogether as I embraced the 'Homeschool lifestyle' some twelve years ago.
It has been the most inspiring yet challenging, testing yet deeply fulfilling experience till date. Despite the many joys and fulfillment there was a lot of struggle in those initial years and unfortunately I lost a lot of time and opportunity in those precious, foundational years of my children's lives trying to do things that were completely unnecessary or counterproductive.
I wish I had not wasted those fleeting initial years which are so important for children's optimal growth and development. I was drowning in unnecessary stress, absorbed in an endless pursuit of 'becoming worthy or enough as an educator' , seeking approval from others and at times even from my own inner critic instead of showing up as an authentic, confident mother.
I was trying so hard to learn and do things right but much of the advice I received from books, trainings, blogs and people around me was either insufficient, irrelevant to me/my circumstances/my unique child and at times it was simply paralyzing. The work seemed monumental and complicated. ( A decade later, I can confidently assure you that this is far from the truth. )
I did find some benefit in learning about Educational philosophies, pedagogies and learning theories. Also the works of thinkers and educators like Maria Montessori, John Holt, Charlotte Mason, and many others left an impression but there was always something lacking in what was available. Especially in its relevance to me as a home educator and nothing I came across addressed a deeper conflict I faced between fulfilling the role of a mother and that of a teacher.
There was something that did help....
I wholeheartedly attribute it to a situation Allah (swt) put me in and through it Allah (swt) opened the door to a new understanding of childhood itself. What seemed like a huge test and hardship was a hidden blessing that changed everything.
Since then I have been observing, learning and unlearning, chasing the many questions and ideas with childlike curiosity. Learning about the nature of children first hand has been eye opening, it has inspired me to explore and go deeper and see things without the knowledge bias that so often traps us and keeps us blind to the obvious. I have since been deep diving many different subjects that intersect with Developmental Sciences and Educational Psychology. It has been a beautiful journey and it is far from over.
Back then, I noticed consistent problems which created unnecessary difficulties for me and then later on, I noticed that these were not unique to me but countless mothers had these problems lurking in the background.
A lack of insight into the work of childhood. This is important because a child is unlike an adult and there is so much development happening in this important time period and we are really not grounded in wisdom when it comes to this. The broader popular culture does not support what is good for our children. It is as if we are at war with our deepest instincts/insights that can guide us as mothers.
This knowledge has implications on whether or not our children reach their full potential. The reason for this is simple. Development depends on nurture as well as nature. Our children are born with certain capacities: intellectual, emotional, physical etc. But whether or not these will be realized depends on the environment they grow up in. Cultivating an enriching, nurturing environment which fosters growth and maturity is our job.
How well a person learns also depends on their growth and development. If we are truly interested in raising children who love to learn for its own sake instead of external motivators, we must work to preserve their intrinsic motivation and facilitate growth from the inside out.
Going back to my story, as a new home educator many concerns and questions would show up. How do I motivate my child to learn? How do I maintain order and discipline without being coercive? How do I lead as an authority while still allowing my child to lead his own learning? How do sort through all the conflicting information in the field of education, parenting and child psychology? These were the questions I struggled with most. When I looked at the resources around me, all I could find was methods, formulas and techniques which seemed short sighted. Many a times these resources did not work within the context of my home/child... at least not consistently.
I also felt challenged with one of the most important goals I had with homeschooling which was to inspire a lifelong love of learning. Fact based knowledge or quantifiable results didn't satisfy me because I was right there observing my child and I was aware of what is happening inside of him.
As a parent I couldn't help but notice that there are other factors that matter in building a lifelong love of learning. Confidence, curiosity, initiative, courage, willingness to try hard things, willingness to make mistakes and fail, collaboration, communication, a sense of agency, an ability to stay on a task in the absence of rewards or consequences etc. Their overall growing relationship with learning mattered so much more than the 'stuff he/she is learning' in the moment. I knew I wanted to raise self directed learners but there was very little guidance on how to actually go about doing that.
Also, How do we raise children who grow into their full human potential... beyond standard academic achievement? Success is defined differently by each parent. We knew we wanted more than what shows up on the report card. Who they are as a person? Are they growing into compassionate, caring and responsible person? Are they able to hold their own, do they have a strong sense of purpose and a positive relationship with themselves? Are they growing in alignment with their values and morals or are they busy pretending just to fit in amongst their peers?
With time and growing knowledge, I have come to realize that there is lot of foundational knowledge that can help parents on a fundamental level and address the root cause of many of these problems. We really have something worth pursuing in terms of knowledge and skills which can help us do so much better as home educators and mothers. Inshallah
As I started discovering some solutions and noticed how well these address problems faced by many, I felt compelled to share these with other mothers I knew. I started using the skills I had to connect and share ideas with like minded mothers through blogs, personal meetings and after much deliberation opened a social media account after 6 years of homeschooling. With tons of mistakes, lessons, reflections and experiences to share.
While I was (still I am.. ) in the trenches, learning and growing each day there was this desire to help other mothers, create resources for the children and learn from other mothers as well.
This led to several grass roots efforts like running a Homeschool Support Group from my home, start a local homeschool co op with two other mamas, take initiative and engage in multiple collaborations within the local community to put together and teach classes, put together conferences, and more recently, the first of its kind Muslim Mothers Online Homeschool Conference, and eventually build online solutions and transformational coaching and membership programs.
Over the years, I have learnt from my mistakes and those of others and noticed a common pattern. As a natural problem solver and a former, professional Solutions Developer, I was on a quest to get to a workable solution, a process that can give consistent results, something that can serve as a solid framework that can be relied upon. With years of effort, training and testing I have created one that brings it all together to create lasting 'clarity and confidence in the mother'. A roadmap that makes parenting/homeschooling/tarbiyah simple and easy. It has allowed me to design, create and test a multitude of programs that simplify, integrate and bring long term ease and sustainable personal/familial growth into the lives of mothers(and her entire family). Mother just like me who value and strive everyday to fulfill this tremendous amanah of raising children with utmost ehsan(excellence), who seek to learn, apply and live by the best of what is accessible to them.
This has evolved into something much bigger than I anticipated. It has not just empowered me alhamdulillah by the mercy of Allah but has also allowed me to turn it into a process which has consistently worked with many other mothers from all over the world. Our community is a diverse group of members who are united by this common goal. Mashallah
A lot of deep, meaningful learning and synthesizing eventually led to designing, building and delivering some unique, incredible content where I could bring all the different skills Allah(swt) has blessed me with.
I pursued more in depth learning (and I am still on that path) as I started working with mothers.
'Visionary Home Education' helps mothers grow, learn and teach effectively while nurturing their relationships, while honoring their own needs, the needs of their children, family and their home.
In the last two years I have pursued more focused learning beyond the books and small trainings here and there and really deep dive into a wide array of subjects to do my work better. I revisited some subjects of interest and tried to synthesize it all together.
In order to do justice to this important work, I decided to go back and formally learn from the best of experts and acquire the latest knowledge and research in multiple disciplines related to educational psychology and child development so that I can make this accessible to our community of mothers to better help and support them in this journey.
Here is a brief list of some of skills I have acquired in the last two years.
I am an ICF certified coach with a focus on Parent Education/Coaching. I have been studying and training under some amazing experts in the field of developmental psychology, neuroscience, child development etc with a special focus on attachment theory, educational psychology and interpersonal neurobiology.
Alhamdulillah I have synthesized an amazing body of work that I have had the good fortune to explore and learn from the works of theorists and psychologists like Gordon Neufeld, PhD, Dr. Daniel Siegel, Robin Grille, PhD, Aletha Soltzer, PhD, Dr. Gabor Mate, Thomas Gordon, PhD, Peter Gray, PhD, Steven Hayes, PhD, among many others.
I have built skills through a wide variety of trainings from institutions and individuals like the Neufeld Institute, (NICABM) National Institute for Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine, Gottman Institute, Aware Parent Consulting, Gordon Training International, Inner Child Healing/Journey by Dr. Grill, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy by Dr. Hayes, Institute of Child Psychology amongst several others.
What makes my work unique though, is how I have married this wide array of subject matter with Islamic Principles and Psychology. As a muslim who puts relationship with Allah central / fundamental to all success/progress, it was simply natural for me to see things through that lens. This is what separates my programs from any other resource out there. Also, I begin with a foundation rooted in Islam & its principles because it beautifully aligns with true human nature.
Instead of taking something secular/classical and trying to fit Islam and tarbiyah into it in an unnatural manner, I am naturally interested in applying the Prophetic Model. At its core, our framework is rooted in a LEADERSHIP model based on Islam and its fundamental values as understood by a muslim mother striving to fulfill her responsibility with all her imperfections and shortcomings (note: I am not a scholar)
Growth and learning whether on an individual or family or community level has some key determinants that are facilitated by Allah (swt). I pay attention to the natural design, fitrah, revelation, seerah and my understanding of the ultimate yearnings of a human being (Developmental Psychology as understood through Islamic values and Principles) placed by Allah (swt) to pick and choose from the ideas I have been learning.
I am slowly and gradually working my way through a number of in-depth studies on these subjects and hope to deepen my knowledge and understanding. Hopefully it will allow me to add more value and depth to the programs and make it easily accessible to our community of mothers. Inshallah
While this work is intense and I am still learning, I lean on the expertise of other homeschooling mothers as well in some of our programs: Homeschooling Simplified Program has a library of masterclasses with multiple contributors. Some of these sisters contribute to the program with coaching sessions as well.
These experts are homeschool moms from backgrounds as diverse as Speech and Language Therapy, Special Needs Education, Marriage and Family Therapy, Cultural Psychology, Linguistics, Educational Leadership & Research, Curriculum Development, Self Development, Coaching etc. We have veteran Educators / homeschoolers who help me bring the best of training, coaching and resources to mothers worldwide. Alhamdulillah
My hope is that any mother who is struggling alone finds the right kind of help, support and resources without having to waste those important foundational years that matter so much. I really hope that she does not unintentionally hurt her very important goals and relationships because of lack of knowledge, resources or skill. Inshallah. I do hope you find something that is truly beneficial to you and your family.
All praise belongs to Allah (swt) alone. Indeed every good you see here is from Allah(swt). May Allah forgive me for the mistakes I make with this work. While I try my best to learn and share, I am aware of my flaws and shortcomings as a human being, may Allah purify it and rectify it by His infinite mercy and grace and bless us all through it and accept it. Ameen