Wild and Free Education- True Story
Childhood is sacred. With every year that passes, more and more pressure is put upon the youngest in society. With increasing academic expectations and school hours, and less time to play, many families are turning their backs on mainstream education. Instead, these families are embracing homeschooling in the hope of preserving the childhood of their children; a childhood that is wild and free.
Safia Haque, a student of Launch Your Homeschool, has generously shared her experience of a wild and free childhood. She explains how her formal education was delayed and the ways that has benefitted her as an adult.
In sharing this story, we hope to give you something the reflect on in the way you educate your children, and give reassurance to those of you who are choosing a similar path.
Wild and Free Childhood
The following was contributed by Safia Haque.
Growing up in Germany in the 1980s meant I was illiterate till the age of seven. I could not read or write. I learnt some mental maths but that is all.
I can imagine that this might come as a shock for a lot of parents in the UK. I remember talking to a teacher when my youngest child was still at school and she was concerned that my 5 year-old was not writing well and that he might have special needs.
I had to swallow deep and said, “Alhamdullilah. He’s completely healthy and I am not worried about his ability to write at the age of five.”
Ok moving on. Back to my illiterate childhood!
When I attended Kindergarten, for just three hours a day, we played, mostly outside in the garden – running around and bumping into each other!
We did plenty of arts and crafts, always clearing up after ourselves. Although we did have seasonal themes, generally, we were allowed to use our imagination. I greatly appreciate this now. Having had this freedom is still benefiting me today.
My Wild and Free Education
I am creating valuable content every day and I am not scared to think and write outside of the box. In just the same way as my kindergarten experience, I do not have the fear of being criticised or that others might not agree with what I am writing.
By exploring nature, and doing experiments in the world around us, we became attached to Allah’s Ayaat. We observed changes, what kind of fruit and vegetable grew at what time of the year and how the rain distributes water for the earth to revive, just as the Quran describes.
I remember going away with my Kindergarten group, when I was nearly seven, for a three-day trip. It was really exciting and a big experience for us at that stage of life. Although I had stayed with my Grandmother for a week before, I had never stayed away anywhere else. But it was the norm. I just took it as normal and got on with things. This experience gave me independence, confidence and the attitude of “I can handle life”.
When I was not at Kindergarten, I was playing outside with our neighbour’s kids. I don’t remember spending much time indoors unless we had to. We would eat vegetables straight from the ground, with dirt and roots probably, but they were the best tasting veggies ever!
We would go on long cycle rides to the forest, and build shelters from wood, and just potter around. These are the most beautiful memories for me.Today, I am really trying hard to provide this for my children as much as possible.
To be a child, without the pressure of learning phonics when I was not ready, or having to sit on desks for hours to memorize maths facts, has been a blessing for me throughout my life.
It gave me a foundation and an experience that developed life long skills and the courage to be free, to step away from societal norms and explore options “outside of the box”.
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