The Irritated Homeschool Mom

Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu ladies

I cant 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 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 extra curricular 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 iriitability, you can work on solutions and thus avoid being an irritated Mama.

As I say, its not the morning basket that makes the morning pretty; its 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

 


Enjoy your Homeschool Season

Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu Sisters,

Imagine this. You take a couple of minutes to check your Instagram post and see you a fellow homeschooling family outside, school finished and now headed to the lake…

Thats all well and good Alhamdulillah, until you realise the time difference, they  are several hours behind you but still managed to get things done before you.  Panic kicks in, you post a question on Instagram asking for tips which come flooding in…..and before you know it, you begin to question everything about your homeschool.

What you don’t realise is that post you saw, that tiny glimpse of someone else’s life, was just that.  A glimpse.  Rather than look at what was different between your families and someone else’s and give yourself grace, you chose to only look at the word homeschool and instead gave yourself tonnes of grief.

See, we are all in different seasons of our homeschool.  Some of you may just have started your homeschool journey and finding your feet, others may have been schooling for several years and now have the addition of a newborn, and a toddler who demands attention.  Others may have been schooling for several years now and are now on the verge of considering high-school options-a whole new world!  But homeschool seasons aren’t restricted to the ages and grades of your children.  What about  considering LIFE itself???

You may be moving home, have guests round, starting house renovations or going through a difficult time in life.  These are all life seasons, including the ups and the downs.  

So rather than compare, or yearn to be at a particular season to start or fully focus, embrace what you have now. 

Enjoy
-The novelty of sitting on packed suitcases while doing some morning Math.
-Starting English a little later because you want to snooze with your newborn.
-Wrapping up by lunchtime because the kids now work independently

or simply being happy with keeping your school consistent through more difficult times.

Adapting and embracing to each season allows us to create positive memories.  Sitting at the school room table wont be remembered quite the same as sitting in an empty apartment-seriously!.  If you want to keep HOME the focus of your homeschool journey, its important to school around life seasons and enjoy the moment.  Some seasons will be faster than others, some will be easier, some will be a mix of both. 

But whatever the season, enjoy the pace you’re going at.


Homeschool Supplies organisation

Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu 

I hope you all had a wonderful Eid with your families.  I apologise that this post has taken so long to write; we are in the process of potentially moving house hence why I haven’t posted as much.  I did think about waiting till we moved to show you how I organise our school supplies, as our shelves are not quite how I would like them to be, but this is real life – maybe I’ll do a before and after post at some point insha’Allah! 

So here are how our current homeschool shelves look like.

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Like I said, our shelves don’t necessarily look aesthetically the way I would like, but the organisation does work for us.

Subject boxes
I used to organise our books directly on the bookshelf, separate from extra manipulatives, and then when we came to each lesson I would piece together all the books I needed and the manipulatives.  The problem I had was that books would go missing, and I would forget to use the manipulatives!  So now I organise all our subjects into boxes.  A typical box will include any teachers manuals/ textbooks, books we use as the main spine for the subject such as Usborne Encyclopedias, and manipulatives such as games/flashcards.  When its time to study, I just pull out the box, spread out all the books we need, and then when we’re finished everything goes back in the back and stays organised. Extra reading books are placed directly on the shelves so kids can read these whenever they like and I occasionally will sift through these and pull out any relevant books for lessons I have planned.  I will be colour coding books in the future according to subject, to make it easier to do this too insha’Allaah.

Hands-on subjects
I also organise all our arts and crafts in one box, which the kids have access to at all time.  I used to have everything laid out on the shelf, but again I found things go missing. For artwork, the kids each have an A3 sketchpad for school only, and a different A3 sketchpad for their own drawings.  This has helped save paper, keep their work together and clean up time!  Keeping supplies in boxes works really well for Science too as I keep all the supplies we need for our Science experiments together.  When I need to check if we are running low on supplies I can quickly look through the box, and not scramble through different draws.

Individual work
We used to implement the infamous workbox system, whereby a child has their own draw for each subject, and then a velcro label system to show what has been completed.  It worked a treat at the beginning but then my kids began to lose labels or forgot to stick the tab to complete, it eventually fizzled out.  It also may not be suitable if you have several children as each draw takes up quite a bot of space.  So went back to a simple drawer for each child.

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Currently, my kids use this silver draw to store all their work.  The top drawer they share to keep their mushafs and Quran pens, and then they each have an individual draw where they store their own workbooks and supplies.  When lesson times come, they pull out the relevant workbooks.  It’s up to them to keep their books in order too, so once in a while, they will pull out their drawer and give it a quick tidy.  Any marked test sheets are not kept in these draws though, these are filed separately in my homeschool planner. We will be changing this drawer at some point as it is too small, hence some subject folders are on the main shelf.

Writing supplies
I used to love the idea of a rotating caddy in the middle of the school table filled with sharpened pencils and new crayons.  But again, that didn’t work for us!  My kids would constantly lose things, crayons would disappear, and there would be an ‘im using the red pencil first’ conversation at almost every lesson.  So, we went back to good old pencil cases!  My kids have their own pencils, sharpeners and crayons etc which they keep in their drawers.  I’ve found that they are more responsible this way and look after their supplies better.   I do have a caddy with extra supplies on hand, but for the most part, they kids take out their pencil cases and put them back when done.

So there’s our homeschool supplies organisation in a nutshell.  The boxes are overflowing, there are no labels, but it works for us.  Let me know if you’d like to see an updated picture once we’ve moved!

 


Teaching Multiple Grades + Printable Checklist

Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu ladies!

I’m back with another little tip to make the homeschooling journey just a tad easier insha’Allah!

This is a daily checklist I use for my children to keep on track of their individual progress since they are of different ages, and of course different needs. Though we do the majority of subjects together, there are some things that are individual.  For example, one of my children needs cursive handwriting practice which the others don’t and one of my children who is dyslexic needs extra help with reading.

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Routine Vs Schedule (+Planner)

Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu 

Its the start of a brand new homeschool year for us, and we are slowly transitioning from easing into school to implementing a full homeschool schedule.

So what does a full homeschool day look like for us?  Well, it doesn’t have any rigid timings that’s for sure.  You see, when I first began homeschooling one of the first things I did was print off a daily timetable, and I furiously began filling up the slots with not just what we needed to get done academically, but also LIFE!  From cooking dinner, to teaching phonics, everything was timed. 

And what happened?

At first, I felt great.  Every tick box felt like an achievement.  But slowly those days became less and less, because I wasn’t able to keep up with such a strict regiment. 

I ‘fell behind’ every day, and even when I had achieved something it was at the expense of something else…my own quiet time – which turned me into a Mombie almost every day.

So out went the daily time table, and in came our routine, bringing back with it my sanity, Alhamdulillah.  

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