Asalamu’alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu ladies, how are you? Over the years, I’ve shared a few things we’ve done in our homeschool that I hoped may benefit another sister reading these posts. But today I thought I’d share three things we no longer do in our Muslim homeschool because letting go of things that you feel you no longer need or that simply could be replaced with something better, is equally as important to keep your homeschool focused on what matters.
And my homeschool doesn’t look the same now as it did when I first started, or even a few years in. Sure, some things are still the same, those are the things that matter to us most, and mainly consist of things that I hope the kids carry through not just in their homeschool journeys but throughout their lives. So those core things don’t really change. But there are aspects of our homeschool that have changed greatly such as the resources we use, the amount of time I’ve spent planning, how I plan, and also things we’ve added, and things we’ve done then taken away because they weren’t really worth it.
And I encourage you to reflect on your own priorities as you read this blog post too. Because one of the biggest struggles us homeschool mothers have in common is feeling overwhelmed with all things, not realising that doing more of what works overides doing lots of anything and everything.
So let’s get into the first of the three things we no longer do in our Muslim homeschool.
We’ve done many unit studies over the year; some pre planned, some I pieced together along the way, some I bought and others I made myself. And even though we don’t do unit studies anymore, I still love them. Unit studies are a great way to overlap subjects which helps kids make those all important connections, adds variety to your homeschool experience through hands on activities, and can be used for kids of all ages all at the same time so you can teach the kids together, saving your time and energy. They really are great.
But as I find myself in a different season of homeschool, one that feels ‘heavier’, where some of those things we’ve been working on are finally coming to completion in sha Allah, some areas we can now really go deep into now that those foundational skills have been laid and overall looking into things which will be of benefit for the kids as they are getting older, things feel a little different. But different in a beautiful way, Alhamdulillah. And with that change, I too have changed some things in our homeschool which I feel now better suit our needs. And not just our needs in terms of the kids, but also where and how my time and focus is spent too.
And so unit studies are now a thing of the past for us. They have been for quite some time now, and we havent looked back since. Instead, we do lots of reading, notebooking, discussion which all my kids love and so do I. Group work is an important part of our homeschool even though the kids have their own individual things they are working on, because group time means family time. It’s a way to connect, bond, listen and be listended to.
So back to notebooking. Notebooking is something we’ve done for years is something I absolutely love, so much so I designed a free workshop (Sign up here) to share it’s benefits with my sisters because its such an underrated tool but has so many benefits.
✔You can use notebooking for every subject.
✔Kids of all ages can notebook, even those who cant read!
✔There isn’t a huge amount of planning involved.
✔It can easily be used for all kids, targetting different learning styles.
And so as a busy mother of four, notebooking has lifted a lot of pressure of my shoulders, whilst still encouraging effective learning which my children enjoy Alhamdulillah. So much so that we notebooking for the majority of our subjects including Islamic studies (that is taught in English), IGCSEs (yep, it even works for high school age), and even Arabic. It’s safe to say, we love our notebooks!
Spend a huge amount of time teaching Grammar
So when we first began homeschoolers, I invested in heavy grammar curriculums because I thought it was needed, even for five year olds. Heavy thick textbooks, with repetitive activities, that as far as I remember none of my children really enjoyed or asked to do more of. But I realised that I actually didn’t need to spend so much time on grammar as I had originally thought; and that grammar can be taught in a variety of ways, much of which can be intertwined in other subjects. So, we no longer buy or use isolated grammar curriculums, and havent done for actually quite a few years now.
Does this mean to say we don’t study grammar; nope, we still do our fair share of grammar. But I take more of an intertwined relaxed approach to teach Grammar, focusing on short lessons without the long overly complicated lessons, daily copywork, and also referring to the difference between English and Arabic when we study Arabic grammar too; so grammar is still their, just differently!
Teach Islamic Studies in English only
And finally ladies, something else we no longer do in our homeschool is learn Islamic studies in English only. So early on in our journey, we did teach in English only because I personally didn’t know Arabic and so English being our first language, everything was in English. But one thing we did do was prioritise learning Arabic for the kids from when they were very oung, so eventually they could learn in Arabic. That was the goal!
And so fast forward several years, Alhamdulillah, we no longer have to limit our Islamic studies to English only; instead we have scheduled time for Islamic studies in English, and also Islamic studies in Arabic, which has the benefit of extended learning as well as diverse learning since we learn in both languages.
And so, if you’re a new homeschool mother with younger kids, I’d highly recommend you to introduce Arabic to your children young, and make it a priority when they are young so they can reap the benefits when they get older in sha Allah.
Ok ladies, I’ll wrap up this post here. Before I go, if you’re reading this thinking that you’d love to have ongoing support in your Muslim homeschool, with a community of like-minded sisters, then consider joining The Muslim Home & School Maker Membership. Doors have been reopened again, and our May workshop takes place next week. Plus the ‘New to Homeschooling’ bundle expires tomorrow so grab it whilst you can and start building your foundation today in sha Allah.