About Us

We’re a homeschooling family of 3, living in the north of England, following the following the Classical approach via Latin-Centred Curriculum, The Well-Trained Mind, and the wisdom of Charlotte Mason. I’m very passionate about home education.

For a while I used the name ‘Stiggy’ for my son, but I’ve dropped it and am using his real name: Esa (pronounced EE-suh)

About This Blog

This blog is meant to be a journal of our journey through homeschooling and life in general. It started out as purely a homeschooling blog, but has changed quite a bit and I tend to talk a lot more about my life and family. I’m doing it mainly because I enjoy it; it’s a kind of creative outlet for me. I’m also doing it because I hope I can help other homeschoolers. I like to share ideas, booklists, what works for us, etc.


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About Me

I’m a 30 31-year-old homeschooling mother. I grew up in Ohio. I went to public school and finished having no idea what I wanted to do with my life. As a teenager, I worked a few typical teen jobs, got good grades, and minded my own business. I became friends with a Muslim family and officially converted at age 15. I had strong faith then, but I wasn’t very practising.

After my first marriage (to a non-Muslim), I took a course in dental assisting and worked for a few months as a dental assistant. I then decided to go to Ohio State University. I studied psychology for a year and a half, became a more practising Muslim, then I met my current husband, a Muslim from the UK. I moved to England and Stiggy was born a year and a half later. I have great in-laws.

I’m also an amateur artist and keep an art blog here:

Twenty tidbits about me:

1) I don’t like eating with spoons. If I can eat it with a fork, I will.

2) I had braces at age 27.

3) As a child I had a serious bout of Henoch-Schonlein Purpura (twice), which is rare, especially for girls.

4) I wrote a 400-page novel when I was 14. I threw it out because I didn’t think it was any good. (It probably wasn’t, but I’d still like to read what I wrote)

5) As a child I used to fantasise about being Amish. I’d ride my horse and buggy to school and all the kids would accept me in my frock and bonnet. I also used to fantasise about being a nun. Instead, I became a Muslim. I didn’t see the correlation until I was much older.

6) I read while I eat. I’m antisocial at meal times, I don’t like to talk, and I won’t sit at the table (at home, that is; I’m much more well-behaved in public and family gatherings). I sit on the sofa, my plate on a pillow in my lap and read. I’ve done this since I was 14. I also don’t like to eat in public or in a group setting; I’m self-conscious about how messy I am. This was particularly true while I had braces.

7) I get car sick sometimes.

8. I can swim, but I’m afraid of drowning. More to the point, I’m worried of being trapped in a car or plane that’s crashed into water and then drowning.

9) I played clarinet in the school band (NOT marching band) and I was pretty good. I’d like to learn the cello.

10) I learned French, German, and Spanish in school. I can remember a little French.

11) I have a slight heart murmur and develop an irregular rhythm and palpitations when I’m particularly stressed.

12) My mum and I had a toilet paper fight in Wal-Mart, in front of Esa and staff who were laughing uncontrollably. My mother won when she knocked me down with a 48-pack of Charmin Triple rolls. She was undergoing chemo at the time. She’s strong, she is.

13) I’ve had insomnia since I was 16. Sometimes it’s not so bad, at other times it’s so bad no one wants to come near me because I’m so grumpy.

14) I love cats. Love ’em.

15) I’m not a very good cook and I don’t like to cook. I’m a cleaner, though. And I can bake.

16) I’m from a big Swiss family (my dad’s side). We even have a website, a family history book, and a road in Ohio named after our family.

17) I’ve always wanted to be a writer.

18) I always choose comfort over style.

19) I’ve got a thing for cadbury eggs, Lush toiletries,  Miele appliances, anything minty or lemony, Kitchenaid mixers, cream soda, Krispy Kreme, apple pie, The Golden Girls, and Hush Puppy shoes. And books.

20) I paint my nails and toenails when I’m in America, but not in England. I have no idea why.

The Best Books I’ve Ever Read

  • Everything by Jane Austen
  • ‘The Secret Garden’ Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • ‘Snow Flower and the Secret Fan’ Lisa See
  • ‘The Kite Runner’ Khaled Hosseini

Worst Books of All Time

  • ‘Fascinating Womanhood’ Helen Andelin
  • ‘The New Dare to Discipline’ James Dobson

Our Home Education Philosophy

Our Home Education Goals

We strive for our child(ren) to:

– obtain a well-rounded education that is rich is good literature, hands-on experiences, and positive social interactions so he will be able to engage with people of all ages, abilities, and walks of life.

– understand his religion and the religions of others, to understand why we are Muslims, and to choose Islam for himself.

– be happy.

– love learning and feel motivated to pursue life-long learning.

– love to read and write.

– understand math, not just perform functions, and to move easily between math concepts and their real-life counterparts.

– learn at least one foreign living language, and one ancient language.

– feel comfortable and function well in the outside world.

– take responsibility for their actions, and to be honest and trustworthy members of society.

Learning Principles:

  • Learning should be child-centred and individualised, but not child-led. The child will be encouraged to pursue interests in addition to the curriculum. Particular interests within the curriculum will be expounded upon.
  • Learning should be primarily print-based, but also hands-on and oral. In the early years, most learning should be done via play.
  • Computers and television will play a very limited role in education.
  • · No learning is to be forced. Encouragement, but not coercion, will be used. Topic can be revisited at a later date when it may be better received.
  • · All attempts will be made to make education enjoyable. It should not and need not be dull and tedious.
  • · I will deviate, where need be, from the curriculum to break up the monotony to maintain a love of learning.
  • · I will always explain the reasons behind learning a particular topic/subject.
  • · Independence will be encouraged and expected.
  • · A good teacher excites, motivates, and teaches a child to learn. I do not want to be the fountain of knowledge from which he drinks, thus creating intellectual dependence. The responsibility of learning will gradually shift from parent to child.

Learning should involve the use of:

  • Print (heavily)
    • Classic works
    • Original works
    • Twaddle-free imaginative reading
    • Living books
    • Good-quality text books
    • Limited use of workbooks
  • Outings
    • To motivate and arouse enthusiasm, or to round off an area of study
    • Limited use as it takes time away from study, reading, play, and the family
  • Techniques:
    • Reading
    • Writing
    • Narration
    • Dictation
    • Memorisation
    • Copy work
    • Summaries
    • Time line
    • Notebooking
    • Projects
    • Discussion


  • Child should participate in self-assessment. Child will not be graded, but assessments of attitude and effort will be made in discussion format and notes.

Character, Family Life, and Social Skills:

  • · I want to instil humility, compassion, social skills, and humbleness in my child. I want him to be well-rounded and down to earth, nature-loving, not afraid of hard work, and willing to help others. I want family to be more important than peers.
  • · Television and computer use will be very limited.
  • · Child should spend as much time as possible outdoors and in nature.
  • Social interactions will be heavily limited to family, a few friends, and rare group activities in the early years. As child grows, socialisation will take place within the greater community with people of varying ages and backgrounds.
  • The family is to be the centre of it all. Child will participate in work and service and is expected to do chores, charity, and contribute to the home environment, from which he benefits.
  • I believe
    • Mature parents should have the responsibility of making decisions for the immature child. Children are not always equipped or ready to make certain choices.
  • I do not believe
    • In the use of computer software and games as a learning tool. Computer use will be limited mostly to research and word processing.
  • Why the Classical/ Charlotte Mason method?
    • It is a rigorous, thorough method of education
    • Child learns to think clearly and deeply
    • Child learns logic and rhetoric
    • Child learns grammar thoroughly and thus is able to write and speak well
    • Child will learn perseverance and working at something that may not be immediately gratifying
    • Other interests are discovered through the study of a broad range of subjects
    • It employs tried and true methods of teaching
    • It encourages academic excellence and the joys of learning for learning’s sake
    • It works with the natural development of the child’s mind
    • Child learns how to learn

My favourite books for home education

  • ‘The Well-Trained Mind’ Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer
  • The Original Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Series
  • ‘A Charlotte Mason Companion’ Karen Andreola
  • ‘Young at Art’ Susan Striker
  • Books by John Taylor Gatto
  • ‘Homeschooling: the Early Years…’ Linda Dobson
  • ‘The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling’ Rachel Gathercole
  • ‘Home Learning Year by Year’ Rebecca Rupp

My Favourite Books on Raising Children

  • ‘Endangered Minds: Why Children Don’t Think And What We Can Do About It’ Jane M. Healy
  • ‘FAILURE TO CONNECT: How Computers Affect Our Children’s Minds — and What We Can Do About It ‘ Jane M. Healy
  • ‘How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk’ Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
  • ‘Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder’ Richard Louv
  • ‘Raising a Responsible Child’ Elizabeth Ellis

6 responses to “About

  1. Sara

    September 1, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    I laughed when I read your about me because I saw many similarities. I am 31 and used to fantasize about being a nun when I was younger (after I watched The Sound of Music). I always eat my meals in a chair with a pillow in my lap and a book. I have had insomnia since my daughter was born and I have a 12 year old cat named Iza which is pronounced Ee-suh. I got the name from a book I read as a teen, I thought it was a beautiful name and probably would have named my child that, but I got a cat way I was thinking about kids:)

    • whimsyway

      September 2, 2010 at 8:09 am

      Wow, those are a lot of similarities. Lol, I have a dedicated “meal pillow” that I use when I eat sitting on the sofa. 🙂

  2. Kerry

    September 24, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    You have a child who is truly blessed, and it is like a breath of fresh air to read how you are bringing your child up. I only wish that all children could be raised in this way.

    I have always had a love of books and certain books from my childhood have stayed with me, both physically and mentally. Two books that your child might enjoy reading are by an author called Alan Garner who lives near Alderley Edge in Cheshire (my favourite place on earth). They are called The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath. They are based round the legend of the Wizard of Alderley Edge. Everyone that I have discussed them with say that they were the best childhood books they ever read.

    I look forward to exploring this blog more when I have the time.

    • whimsyway

      September 24, 2010 at 8:09 pm

      Thanks, Kerry, what a kind comment. 🙂 I’ll definitely check out the books you mentioned.

  3. ummS&A

    December 28, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    assalamu alaikum
    just stumbled upon your blog…..i’ve decided to part-time homeschool my son since our recent move to Zurich.

    You mentioned that your swiss? What part of Switzerland do your family live? Do you know any muslims in Zurich? there is a turkish community here but unfortunately they dont speak english!

    Umm S&A

    • whimsyway

      December 29, 2010 at 7:51 am

      Wa laykum salaam,
      My family does come from Switzerland, but they migrated to America over 100 years ago and they are not Muslim (I’m a revert). 🙂 I’m not really sure from which area of Switzerland they originate, and sadly, I’ve never had the pleasure of going to Switzerland so I’m afraid I’m of no help. All the best to you; thanks for stopping by. 🙂


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