Are you a Happy Homeschool Mom?

Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu ladies, how are you this fine Sunday morning?

As you know, I decided to make a short series discussing different phases/stages we as homeschool moms go through, and even moms in general. Since we covered the ‘apprehensive’ homeschool mom last week, I thought it would be a good idea to move to the other side of the spectrum today and discuss the ‘happy’ homeschool mom.

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Needless to say this is a wonderful phase to be in, and we all hope and pray that this phases never stops!

And this is something every Mom can relate to.  For you may have just started homeschooling, and your heart is bursting with joy knowing that you made the right decision for you and your family.  Or you may be a veteran homeschool mom, whose children are much older now and the fruits of your labour are ripening before your eyes.  Whatever the case may be, its wonderful seeing your children thrive and your homeschool blossom, alhamdulillah.

Thus, it’s important to recognise that the ability and opportunity to teach our children is certainly a blessing from Allah Azzawajal, and this blessing should not be taken for granted. Hence this post is more of a reminder to myself first and foremost and to all my fellow mamas. 

It’s equally important to point out that although these things are something we should acknowledge when we are in this stage, they also are a means of becoming ‘happy’ in the first place.

So lets ensure that we remind ourselves and each to cherish this blessing we have and perhaps implement some of the following things…

Renew intention
I’ve mentioned this before in several other posts and I’ll mention it again for a reason.  See, sometimes its easy to fall into the trap of reminding ourselves of our intentions when things are a little rough, and we need a boost to keep on going. But its important to acknowledge and renew our intentions in time of ease too, not just in times of difficulty.  So take a moment to pause, and renew your intentions for raising your children.  Yes, its a means of bonding with our children and creating memories but there’s more to it than that.  The wider purpose of raising our children to be mumins, pillars of the Ummah and hopefully a sadaqah for us should be at the forefront of our minds at all times.

Make Dua
SubhanAllah, I cannot emphasise this enough!  Motherhood and educating our children is an enormous task and responsibility, none of which would be possible without Allahs mercy upon us.  So its paramount that we ask Allah to keep us sincere and humble in our homeschool journeys and gives us the tawfiq to raise our children upon the Qu’ran and Sunnah. 

Abū Hurayrah ( رضي الله عنه ) that the prophet ( صلّى الله عليه وسلّم ) said:
“Whoever would like Allah to answer him during hardships and difficulties then let him increase in supplication during times of wellbeing.” [Tirmidhi]

It’s also important to acknowledge that one of the characteristics of having istiqamah is to be consistent in our deeds so its essential we make dua for this too.

Abu Hurayrah reported: The Messenger of Allah (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم ) said, “Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.” (Ibn Mājah)

Help others
Alhamdulillah your feeling uplifted, so why not take the opportunity and reach out to others?  Anything from a few words of encouragement, sharing ideas, helping with planning and house organisation really go a long way. Allah Azzawajal is in the aid of a person who aids his brother, so let us grasp this opportunity and hold hands with one another in anyway we can.  When we look to the example of the Prophet Sallahu alayhi wasalam and the noble companions, we find that they were always looking for opportunities to help others, but sometimes as mothers we feel like our opportunities are limited.  But I remind myself and you, my dearest homeschool mama, that a little goes a along way.  Share your blessings in any way you can, for truly we are in the ones in need.

“O My slaves, you will not attain harm in Me so as to harm Me, and you will not attain benefit in Me so as to benefit Me; O My slaves, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as pious as the most pious heart of any one man of you, that will not increase My Kingdom in anything; O my slaves, were the first of you and last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as wicked as the most wicked heart of any one man of you, that will not decrease My Kingdom in anything; O My slaves, it is but your deeds that I reckon up for you and I recompense you for. So let him who finds good praise Allaah and let him who finds other than that blame no one but himself.”[Saheeh Muslim]

I hope this post benefited you and that you continue to thrive in your homeschool journeys and feel free to share with sisters who may benefit.
I really enjoy writing about real life Muslim homeschool mom experiences, perhaps I’ll turn them into a podcast one day-sisters only of course!


My advice for the New Homeschool Mom

Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu ladies

I hope you are all well.  We’ve had a cold going around this week, and thus haven’t had a typical homeschool week, alhamdulillah ala kulli haal.

How has your week been?

I often get asked from mothers who have just begun there homeschooling journeys about ‘where to start’.  Or mothers who have started but feel overwhelmed with all the changes.  So I thought I’d share a few tips that may help make that transition easier.

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Admiring Allahs Creation: DIY Nature Journal

Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu,

We are loving the Winter season over here, especially since it’s usually hot and dry all year round.  So rather than spending more time indoors, we’ve been taking advantage of the cool breeze and getting outdoors more often.

And although we go for nature walks often, I wanted to incorporate nature studies as a definite component of our homeschool week.  Especially since pausing, admiring and pondering over Allahs creation can be a beautiful way for us to discuss Allahs greatness.

There are some wonderful nature journals online, but I wanted our journals to encourage us to praise Allah and aid in increasing our love for Him.  I also wanted our journals to be interactive, not confined to a number of pages.

And here is how our nature journal turned out.

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The Apprehensive Homeschool Mom

Asalamu Alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu,

How are you, my dear sister?  I hope you’ve had a wonderful week.

So we spoke about the ‘irritated homeschool mom’ some time ago. Now, let’s move onto the ‘apprehensive’ homeschool mom.  You either were an apprehensive homeschool mom, went through a phase of being one, or are currently one right now. The reality is, regardless of whether you had decided to homeschool your children whilst they were still in your womb, didn’t even think of homeschooling and it came out of the blue, or whether you’ve just taken the plunge, we all have moments of apprehension.  At some point or another, you get that niggling feeling telling you that you’re not cut out for this.  Then uncertainty takes over, and lo and behold, you start to panic…

When it comes to the academic side of schooling which others may not think you are ‘qualified enough’ for, it’s easy for self-doubt to overshadow all the progress you’ve already made.

But in this post, I don’t want to discuss the fears we have associated with academics per se.  There’s a tonne of resources already out there; homeschool groups, online forums and support both in person and online that’s available to all of us thus those fears can be put to rest pretty quickly.

The apprehension I want to discuss is the apprehension we as mothers face when it comes to teaching our children their faith, and the niggling feeling you get in this case is…

exactly the same.

However, I think its fair to say that mothers that are more susceptible to this are perhaps sisters who are reverts, who still feel they themselves are finding their own feet so wouldn’t know where to begin with teaching their children.  Or perhaps sisters from  ‘non-practising’ families, who are also trying to perfect their own foundations.

Whatever the case may be, our belief that we ‘don’t know enough’ can lead us becoming apprehensive of teaching our children, and we begin to question our decision to homeschool in the first place.   So we google search local Islamic schools, thinking it would be better if someone else took that role, whilst we can continue to ‘find our feet’.

But the reality is, we are never going to be knowledgeable enough.  Seeking knowledge is a lifelong journey, it never stops. And rather than viewing homeschooling or teaching our children in general as a halt on that journey, why not use it to our advantage?

Why don’t we become students alongside our children?  Let us allow that desire to learn and strengthen our faith to be intertwined with teaching our children.

Because it’s all too easy to have the mindset of

‘Well, my time to learn has passed. Now its time to focus on my children and give them the strong foundation that I didn’t have.’

But that doesnt have to be done at an arms length.  Join in!

Build your own foundation whilst building theirs.  Teach them general concepts, whilst they’re young.  And then utilise the time you have until they are ready for more detailed concepts to delve deeper yourself, so when they are of age you feel more equipped.

If you haven’t memorised much of the Qur’an yet, memorise with your kiddos, there’s no shame!  In fact, it’s a good thing for our children to see our continued efforts of actively seeking knowledge.  I remember reading about a sister who was homeschooling her eight children and memorised Qur’an alongside teaching them, how inspirational subhanAllah!

And I’d like to clarify that I don’t mean we shouldn’t get our children teachers etc.  That is definitely beneficial.  What I mean is that we shouldn’t feel that our learning journeys should stop in order for us to start our children on the path to seeking knowledge.  Or that there is shame in not knowing everything.

I mean, what better time to start??


Our Current Homeschool Routine 2018-19

Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu Mamas,

How are you? I hope you are all in the best of health and emaan, ameen.  Today I’ll be sharing our current homeschool routine.  After much tweaking, I finally feel like this is what we will stick with.  Its strange, the fluidity of being able to change things up initially scared me early on in our homeschool journey, it was daunting to think it was all up to me.  But the flexibility is absolutely such a blessing, Alhamdulillah.

So here’s what our typical week looks like:

Sunday 
Block 1 – Qur’an and Arabic.
Block 2 – Copy-work (Religious text) and read aloud.
Block 3 – Science.

Monday
Block 1 – Qur’an and Arabic.
Block 2 – Copy-work with literary discussion, Math and read aloud.
Block 3 – History.

Tuesday
Block 1 – Qur’an and Arabic.
Block 2 – Math, Dictation, Spelling,Geography.
Block 3 – Read aloud marathon and Poetry (Handwriting practice too).

Wednesday
Block 1 – Qur’an and Arabic.
Block 2 – Writing project, Spelling list, and Math.
Block 3 – Science.

Thursday
Block 1 – Qur’an and Arabic.
Block 2 – Free-writing and History.
Block 3 – Geography and Nature journaling.

Friday
Qur’an and Islamic Studies.

The tweaking has ensured we get things done (most days at least!) but still get plenty of time outdoors which we all need to keep happy and sane.  And of course there is always overlap in subjects, thus although things are ‘confined’ on paper in reality I’m pretty sure we’re learning everything everyday in some way or another.

How do your routines/schedules look?  I love seeing how other Mamas plan their day. Now, back to deep cleaning!


The Irritated Homeschool Mom

Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu ladies

I can’t believe its almost the end of October! We’ve been at our usual school routine for almost six weeks now and time has flown!

And although I thoroughly enjoy our homeschool journey there are times it can get tough.  Which brings me to the subject of this post.

You see, no matter how much we do enjoy our journeys, we are still human and are prone to days that don’t go as planned.  And despite having meal planned for the week, waking up to a clean house and lessons laid out on the dining table (go Super Mum!), it can take something mundane and you and you get irritated-fast!

So how do we come with days we become irritable?  Especially when these sorts of days keep on cropping up and start to affect the overall atmosphere of our home.  

I know the term ‘self care’ is often thrown out their at us Mothers when we seem to be having a bad day, but I’d like to delve a little further.

So instead of the term self-care, I propose ‘listen to yourself’.

Why do I say that?  Because for me ‘ self-care’ isn’t enough.  That one night ‘off’ to read a book whilst putting on a face-mask although can help temporarily, doesn’t always get to the root cause.  It allows you to pause and reflect when alone but not so much when you need it the most – when your with your children.

See difficult days are not related so much to the trigger i.e your toddler interrupting read aloud time again and again but more so when you haven’t paused to listen to what YOU need.  Like I mentioned on a recent Instagram post, as homeschool Moms we get so caught up in making learning a ‘freeing’ experience for our children, we somehow shackle ourselves.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.

So take some time out and listen to yourself.  

Did you eat breakfast or did you only plate up for the kids?
Did you get a good nights sleep or were you last to sleep and first to rise?

Did you enjoy the lesson you taught today or did the over-planning tire you and reduce it to a checklist box to get done?
Do you have enough gaps in your day to prolong positive learning opportunities or are extracurricular activities making life rigid?

Most importantly…

Are you rushing your salaah to get started on dinner, thus losing the beautiful essence of khushoo?
Are you yourself connecting with the Qu’ran, beyond revising with your children?
Is your intention to teach your children revisited often or has it gone rusty therefore you’ve lost your way?

Ask yourself what is bothering you. Listen intently and carefully.

It could be something as simple as you’re hungry to something much deeper like feeling a dip in your emaan.  Once you’ve pinpointed the root cause of your irritability, you can work on solutions and thus avoid being an irritated Mama.

As I say, it’s not the morning basket that makes the morning pretty; it’s you.


Make the Week(end) work for you

Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu my dear Mamas

I hope you are all having an enjoyable weekend.  I’ve intended to write this post for some time and asked on Instagram if you would be interested in reading it, to which several of you replied “Yes!”.  And like one sister pointed out, the struggle of finding time to enjoy our time is an issue Mamas in general face so much needed!

Before I start, let me explain the reasons as to why I personally made some changes and why the weekend wasn’t working for me.  See, I’d trained myself to see as the weekend as a break up of two things.  The first day was the ‘I’m not lifting a finger at all’ and the second was ‘Oh my gosh, its time to get my house back in order’ day.  Which meant I’d be deep cleaning all day, spending little time with my family: stressing myself out before the new week had even started.  And then homeschool planning after all the cleaning and cooking wasn’t exactly what I looked forward to either, especially if I just realised that I didn’t have the supplies I need!

So, I made some changes.  which have helped me regain that balance I was craving, Alhamdulillah, and I hope they help you too.

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A-Z of Islam Handwriting Sheets

Asalamu alaykum ladies

One of my children is currently doing daily cursive handwriting practice so I thought I would make some worksheets, with a fun twist, the A-Z of Islam!  Admittedly I couldn’t think of anything for the letter ‘X’ so if you think of something do let me know.

The worksheets are in cursive, however I will be making a print version too later this week.  I also plan to make several worksheets incorporating some Hadith I want the children to memorise too insha’Allah.

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For now you can click here to download the cursive worksheets – happy handwriting!!

Update:  Print version can now be found here!.


The Three Cs

Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu Sisters!

Its been a while since my last diary entry and it feels good to be writing again.  We took some time off school and then dove back in a couple of weeks ago and I haven’t had much time to post.  

This is something I was meaning to write about a while ago, and I shared the title on my Instagram page.  

My three Cs of homeschooling.  In other words, a simplified way for me to keep our homeschool in check.  

1.Correct intention and action 

This is the foundation of our homeschool, and my motivation as a Muslim homeschool Mama.  It is the core of our homeschool, and the factor that needs constant renewal.  Starting off with the correct intention, it is crucial that all our actions, big or small, are done to please Allah and only Him, and homeschooling is no exception. 
With the correct intention our homeschool will thrive insha’Allah.  But of course, correct intentions must be coupled with correct actions. So we must strive to ensure that our actions are according to the Quran and Sunnah, and for me as a parent this is where I have really benefited in teaching my children as it has propelled me to learn more so that I may teach my children that which is beneficial, Alhamdulillah. 

2. Confidence

This is the factor that I feel every Mama needs to hear, Homeschooling or not!  Its so easy to get bombarded by information that we start to feel incompetent.  The dreaded ‘Am I learned enough?’ and ‘Am I doing enough?’ can throw us off course.  And since homeschooling is so varied and unique to each family, comparison can be poisonous!  So this factor reminds be to make confident in the decisions that I make for my family, that is where my expertise lies.  And I urge you Mama’s to be confident in your decisions too since a confident homeschool Mamas attitude will have a ripple effect and equip your children will confidence too.

3. Consistency

One of the biggest things that I’ve learnt over the course of teaching my children, is to be consistent.  And by this, I don’t mean that every day needs to look the same.  But that keeping learning opportunities alive during seasons of life that may be out of the ordinary.  Whether there’s a new baby on the way, or you’re moving house, try to keep learning consistent.  This is especially the case if you’re children are memorising Quran too as revision needs to be consistent and daily.  So definitely adapt to the seasons of life, but don’t disregard consistent pockets of learning, even if they are limited to just core subjects.  It makes it much easier to then transition back into full on homeschooling when things have settled.

I hope you enjoyed reading todays diary entry.  I’d love to hear what keeps your homeschool focused, comment below!

 

 


Phases of the Moon Lesson Plan with NB pages

Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu 

We are studying Astronomy this year for Science so naturally came to the fascinating phases of the Moon topic. We have done several lessons so far and here are a couple of ideas that perhaps you would like to incorporate in your home.

The lesson below incorporates Islamic Studies, as the children had to look in their Mushaf to find ayaats mentioning the Moon, reading them out aloud and then discussing  their translation.   I find that Science is such a brilliant way for the children to connect with the Quran, Alhamdulillah.

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The second worksheet involved the children sketching out the different phases and discussing each phase such as gibbous would relate to almost full etc.  We watched some videos online whilst doing this too and we plan to keep an eye on the Moon whilst we are out and about and bring some learning to life, insha’Allah.

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The next lesson was a hands on Arts lesson, again involving the children become familiar with each phase of the Moon.  Using oil pastels, we ended up with some beautiful Art work, Alhamdulillah.  You could do this with watercolours too, and it would be equally as beautiful.

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I still have a couple of lessons planned, one specifically to do with the miraculous event in the Seerah of when the Moon split which I will upload when ready.  You can find the worksheets below.  Have a lovely day!

Phases of the Moon NB pages