The Power of Purposeful Homeschooling

By Sharon Beattie 

A stunning list of achievements like this —

  • Two published collections of short stories; 
  • E-publications of two short stories; 
  • Two public TV interviews; 
  • Two book launches; 
  • Public reading in a park; 
  • Presentation of an original, commissioned poem.

— would be impressive for any adult.

But Anna Abdulla is eight years old. 

What she has achieved bears witness to the power of homeschooling.

Anna’s mom, Ann, first noticed Anna’s love for words and her capacity for language when she was about three years old. She did everything she could to feed this. Ann believes that engaging in reading and creating stories have fed Anna’s imagination and deepened her enjoyment of storytelling.

“Anna was always making up stories and some of them were actually good!” Ann explains. So she started writing them down.

The Journey to Published Works

Ann noticed The Canadian Schoolhouse’s call for story submissions and thought this would be something Anna would enjoy. Anna’s story, “Stumbling Upon a Family” was featured in the Schoolhouse Writer’s Roundup and was published in a collection of stories entitled Animal Adventures. Anna responded to this call for submissions the following year with her nonfiction story, “Journey Back in Time.”

Weekly story writing became part of Anna’s homeschool curriculum. “You don’t know if you have an author unless you give them writing to do,” says Ann. Anna found inspiration for her stories in her life experiences. Soon, Ann began to search for a publishing company and came across One Thousand Trees, a Guelph-based business, who published Anna’s story collection. 

When a local TV talk show host heard about Anna’s published book, they invited her to their talk show. Ann had no idea how Anna would fare in a live TV interview, but Anna was confident and articulate. Ann then realized that Anna was really good at public speaking. The TV station gave Anna’s information to another TV show and she was asked to do a second public interview. She has now had five speaking opportunities, including a public “Story Hour” reading at the park in collaboration with Miss Mia tutoring and a charity called Children First Uganda. Anna excitedly says of the experience, “We were able to help eight children get schooling, shelter and warm food. I am so happy about that! I could talk forever about how happy I am!” 

Clearly, she is not only an author but also a kind-hearted person.

See another video interview with Anna on Biz & Breakfast with Michelle

Purposeful Education and Experiences

Ann purposefully involves Anna in conversations with adults, like Farmer Tim next door, and other people of all ages. Ann believes that if Anna has the opportunity to socialize with various ages, she will be exposed to larger vocabulary and more complex ideas.

Anna and her family

“Purposeful homeschooling is what I would call it,” Ann explains. “Like military people who strategize, I’m developing strategies to grow and ignite those things she’s reaching for in the future.”

Realizing how crucial it is to expose Anna to as many subjects as possible so that she can continue to discover strengths and interests, Ann has created a rich curriculum for Anna. She incorporates diverse subjects such as piano, Hebrew, Bible study, English literature, Spanish, French, cursive, and voice lessons, and makes sure to prioritize spending lots of time outdoors.

Anna believes that including literature study in her curriculum has been helpful in constructing her stories. “I really like dialogue because it makes it more captivating. You can hear from the character’s perspective instead of just the narrator’s perspective,” she articulates.

When asked what advice she would give other homeschooling parents, Ann suggests parents spend time observing what their children gravitate towards repeatedly. “Whatever their strength is, you’ll find them going to it over and over.”

Anna’s eyes dance enthusiastically as she offers words of encouragement to other homeschoolers: “If you don’t have the strength, if it’s hard for you to do, just start it. Try your best. Try hard to do it. Put in your effort.”

As homeschool parents, we love hearing stories of homeschoolers who are successful. It is not only inspiring but reinvigorates us to forge ahead with greater determination and confidence that we are capable and have chosen the best for our children. Public success for a fellow homeschooler means that people in our lives who have questioned the wisdom of our choice may, perhaps, see that homeschooling can produce excellence in our children.

You can learn more about Anna and her books on her website.