New Beginnings at The Wharnsby Place

The Egg

In recent months, the adventure of homeschooling our daughters has been a wild one.   Many times, the young girls are at odds with their parents/teachers.  Often, we two married teachers are at odds with each other on approaches to guiding the little ones.   Frequently, throughout the day, our students too are quarreling with each other over some dramatic issue.

We ask ourselves constantly ~ is homeschooling the right path for our family?  Are we really helping to provide our daughters with a well-rounded life learning experience?

Today, shortly after dawn, while out in the back yard feeding the chickens, my eldest daughter managed to witness our hen Bella laying an egg.   The excited child ran inside with the prize, banging on the bathroom door as I trimmed my beard, rushing in to tell me all about the experience.  For weeks we have collected eggs from our new chickens, but today ~ seeing the egg drop ~ was quite an exciting moment for our six-year-old.

A few hours later, our daughters helped clean the house in anticipation of their grandparent’s arrival, en route from Colorado to spend the weekend with us.   We all scrubbed, mopped and vacuumed in various corners of the house like a well oiled machine.  Even out little 3-year-old was  sweeping up a storm around the rabbit’s indoor hutch down in the work-room.

At lunch, the girls pressured me into making grilled cheese sandwiches then after only a few bites, pushed their plates away saying they were full.  Launching into a passionate ten minute sermon on wastefulness, my tone and temper even put goose bumps on my own arms.  Shortly after sulking out of the kitchen, the girls returned of their own free will ~ wiping their tears and asking to finish their meal.   My heart melted with the cheese as I reheated the sandwiches and agreed to eat their crusts.

In mid afternoon, a new skiff of wet snow was slowing down traffic en route to the charity shop where we planned to donate some unused household items and clothes we’d gathered up.   Near the shop, a car was stalled dead in the centre of a four lane street ~ with traffic skidding past and frustrated drivers honking obnoxiously.   My daughters and I pulled into a nearby parking lot and, with their moral support, I helped the man push his car off the street.  You would have thought I was snow-covered Superman himself when I got back to our jeep.  “How did you push that car!” they demanded to know.   Wishing I could tell them I had super human powers so they’d think me their hero for life, instead I explained about what happens when you put a car into neutral ~ how easy it is to push while someone else steers.   Then, I added a few lines about how important it is to help others in need.  “One day, we might be in trouble and if someone rushes in to help us, imagine how happy we’ll be.”

At sunset, my daughters came home from their friend’s house down the street, seeming somewhat dejected.  When prodded as to what the problem was, they explained how, on their walk home, they had passed a beautiful house with all of its outdoor Christmas lights on.  They were inspired to go up to the door, ring the bell and tell the homeowner how pretty their house looked.  Sadly, the home owner just muttered a “thank you” at them sharply and slammed the door in their faces.    As we ate dinner, we discussed why sometimes people react so strangely to kindness and, extremely proud of my daughters, I encouraged them to not be put off from ever doing such a sweet thing again.  The lights on the outside of the house are still beautiful and brighten the street for everybody, even if the homeowner’s spirit is somewhat dim.

By evening we were at the airport awaiting the arrival of my in-law’s.   A middle-aged lady came through the arrival gate and walked up to a young man seated in the waiting area.  With great excitement in her voice she said “Hello!”   The young man ~ who seemed to be her son ~ looked up from his mobile device and simply said, “Hey.” then put his head down again and went back to texting.    More words of greeting were offered and each time the young fellow simply responded with monotone, one word answers ~ preoccupied with the text he was composing.

Of her own accord, my daughter raised the issue of what she had observed with my in-law’s once they arrived.  “The strangest thing happened,” she told her grandmother, “A young man was there at the airport to meet this older lady…I think it was his mom…and when she came through the gate he didn’t even speak to her or get up and hug her.  He only seemed to care about his cell phone!”.

Tending to some dishes in the kitchen before bed, I told my spouse, fellow teacher and best friend, “Today our girl’s lived a life, few other kids their age probably lived. From sun up to sun down ~ they saw, learned and did incredible things.  Things they could have never experienced ~ things our family could have never experienced ~ if we did not choose to home school.”

We may look back in 20 years and say to ourselves, “What were we thinking by trying to tackle homeschooling!?”   But tonight ~ I feel confident about the path.

More and more, it seems to me that, our job is not to “teach”, but to simply provide an environment for our daughters where they may learn constantly from everything around them.  “That would happen in a school too,” many would argue.   True, but at home… with our family all together…I can tell you this:  I am learning just as much as they are about life, and it is wonderful!   Hope I get to see Bella lay an egg soon too!

Here’s to a new beginning.  New blogs, new hope and new adventures for the year ahead.

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Categories: Community, Family, Homeschooling, Personal Philosophy, Simple Living, Struggles & Setbacks

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25 thoughts on “New Beginnings at The Wharnsby Place

  1. Mona Rahman

    Assalamu ‘alaikum and JazakAllahu khairan for sharing. What a lovely gesture to compliment the homeowner’s decorations…perhaps he can learn from their example, Masha Allah! It’s funny how, though they have never met and are different genders…there are so many common traits that children share. May they keep their innocence and share it with the world, Insha Allah.

  2. sadeea

    I read your blog today to my daughters on the way back from school.(in Liverpool where we saw you perform!).we loved every bit and learned a lot in the process. .look forward to more inshaAllah!

  3. Ammar Awais

    Assalamu alaikum, Dawud.
    That was a truly enjoyable read. When you first shared your idea about homeschooling your kids all those months ago, I thought it was a very brave decision. But your method has really inspired me. I think your lessons of kindness are something no school can ever give because you aren’t just telling them things — you’re doing things rather, and hence giving a practical demonstration of much of what is taught in schools. Just make sure the kids’ social needs are met and I don’t think you will ever look back and not feel great about this decision. Your girls will definitely grow up to be honest and able individuals, and — unlike that airport guy –will always love and look up to their wonderful parents, God-willing.

    Peace
    Ammar

  4. Dawood

    Brilliant and very inspiring.

  5. Hiba

    salam uncle Dawud ^_^
    it’s been a while since I last read any of your blog posts, reading this one reminded me exactly why I adore reading what you share with us, and warmed up my heart, may Allah protect your family and grant you with many many beautiful experiences in the future to share together inshaAllah 🙂
    *too bad homeschooling isn’t an option here T_T

  6. Salam brother Dawud,

    It is such an inspiration to read and hear your writing, music and poetry. Over these past few years they have motivated me to be more observant of my surroundings and be gentle with myself and those around me. I can very confidently say that I want to be like you when I “grow up” and have a family of my own one day insha’Allah.

    Started a garden of my own and it’s very exciting to wait for my very first harvest insha’Allah. Thank you for introducing me to simple living almost 2.5 years ago (when I first started reading your blog)!

    Wassalam and duas to you and your family,
    Sidra
    (Boston / Bayyinah Dream, Texas)

  7. Wa alaikum as salam dear Sidra, Thank you for such a sweet message. Happy to hear that you have taken up gardening ~ but don’t aim to “grow up” to be like me…I have yet to grow up myself! Hahahahaha….

  8. How delightful that you have been enjoying my little blog as a family! Much appreciated! Keep well, with peace.

  9. Wa alaikum as salam dear Hiba, Wonderful of you to keep in touch. Thank you for your kind support and for dropping by to catch up.

  10. Ahmed

    “My heart melted as I reheated the sandwiches and agreed to eat their crusts.”
    ha! I often end up eating crusts.

  11. Hahahahaha…Toast crusts: the breakfast of champions!

  12. wittycraze

    Asalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarkatuhu. Respected sir, This blog entry completely changed my outlook on homeschooling. I am so glad I found your blog. I feel like a little kid who has found a secret candy stash. I cannot begin tell you how much of an impact your Nasheeds’ have had in my life. I recently had them all downloaded and have been constantly singing them every day (but have been singing them since my schooldays) and have taught it to many little friends of mine. Afraid to read’ never fails brings tears to my eyes especially the last paragraph. I’ve totally spammed almost everyone’s inboxes on watsapp with them. Your writing is indeed very beautiful ma shaa allaah- its what I call soulfood. I have a humble request : may I publish the lyrics of your nasheeds on wattpad so I can share the beauty and wisdom with all my readers on book lovers’ Talk. I interview authors on wattpad.I would be honoured if you agree to do an interview with me next october (2015)since I am swamped with school right now. Thanking you, yours sincerely, wittycraze.

  13. MashaAllah such a beautiful post.. I don’t have any children but if I did, this is how I’d want to bring them up. You’re definitely doing it right, they sound like wonderful girls. May Allah love and protect you all always. I’ve followed your blog, looking forward to reading more 🙂

  14. Wa alaikum as salam dear wittycraze, thank you for the very sweet and supporting message. Happy to hear that you have been enjoying the songs and blog posts. Please do keep me in your thoughts and prayers and please do feel free to share my song lyrics with others. An interview next autumn would be delightful ~ thank you. Looking forward to being in touch on that at a later time.

  15. Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers. Here’s to 2015 and moe frequent blog postings on my part ~ insha Allah!

  16. Haha I’ve made the same intention – I’ve managed 13 posts this year, not the best achievement! Let’s hope 2015 is filled with more writing and less distractions. (For me, anyway!)

  17. Hahahaaaha…. Dec 31 and I am making the same intention: at least one post a month in the year ahead! Alas, if only there were 30 hours in a day!

  18. I almost forgot – thank you for correcting my typo 🙂 30 hours sound ideal, more time to read!
    I just about managed to squeeze in another post, publishing it a minute before midnight here in the UK so thank you for the inspiration! I was so keen to post it in 2014 that I only posted it to my social networks without a title. That’ll teach me to rush things.
    I hope you have a wonderful 2015.

  19. wittycraze

    Brother Dawood wharnsby, Thankyou so much!!!You have no idea how much happy I am right now. I will definitely make lots of dua for you,brother.How to keep in touch with you for the interview. Here’s my email farwit95@gmail.com.

  20. Been away and down for sometime. What did I miss? Ok, I love this phrase:”Wishing I could tell them I had super human powers so they’d think me their hero for life,…” I guess you do have super human powers. One of such is the one you employed in the man and your experiment of SIMPLE LIVING which is inspiring others. Never mind, it’s a wonderful piece.

  21. Been away and down for sometime. What did I miss? Ok, I love this phrase:”Wishing I could tell them I had super human powers so they’d think me their hero for life,…” I guess you do have super human powers. One of such is the one you employed in the man and your experiment of SIMPLE LIVING which is inspiring others. Never mind, it’s a wonderful piece. Yours Husayn Zaguru

  22. You are too kind Husayn. Peace always.

  23. Asalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarkatuhu. Brother, been waiting for an update for a very long time now. May Allah give barakah in your time so you can share some more beautiful stories.

  24. Wa alaikum as salam dear Farah, Thank you for your post. Indeed, it has been so long since my last entry. Sadly, these days, my family and I have been tremendously busy with winter activities: working on new recordings, feeding chickens, shovelling snow, homeschooling… as soon as I am able to catch my breath and find my words, you can be sure I will post a new blog article. With peace,
    dawud

  25. farah

    Mashaa Allaah, your schedule sounds pretty hectic. I can imagine how exhausting it can get. I just wanted to ask you through which medium will we be doing your interview. I am wittycraze, you had agreed to do an interview with me (in one of the previous posts),coming autumn. Kindly let me know. Jazakallahul khair.

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