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 as before.

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!


Grab a Coffee…

Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu ladies

How are you? 

Its been an interesting couple of weeks for me.  After deleting my Instagram, I felt better Alhamdulillah, but quickly came to the realisation that it wasn’t quite enough

What do I mean by this you say?  Well,  I felt overwhelmed, my mind was cluttered.  Not solely due to social media, but just in general.  We accumulate so much in our minds, especially as mothers who are multitasking all day every day, we can slowly lose clarity.

The clarity I’m talking about is not so much the ‘knowing what to do’ everyday, jotting everything down in a planner or a whiteboard.For me, the clarity is before pen hits paper.  Its the ‘why’  I have chosen to do things I’m about to write down.

The most important factor is what often gets overlooked.  Why have I decided to wake up early?  Why do I homeschool my children?  Why do I choose this subject over the other?

Things get done know, but the depth of substance fizzles away.  

And thus I’ve really indulged in some quiet time recently.  See, in today’s world its almost like we are not a good enough judge of ourselves, constantly seeking answers from our devices, whereas deeper self reflection needs thorough self evaluation.And when we start to see things clearly, its time to assess our daily decisions. 

So, if our intentions are to create our household to be one that is centered around the worship of Allaah, do our daily decisions meet this lofty aim??

Is the Qu’ran interweaved in all aspects of our life, or has its reference been restricted to a particular time and place?

The beautiful example of our Prophet, Sallahu alayhi wasalam, we yearn to implement…is it in everything or just the ‘major’ things?

Is the enjoyment of our salaah saved for Jumuah/when the children are sleeping or is it an integral part of our homeschool day…our daily life?

My point is that to really dig deeper, we must constantly look at ourselves and what we prioritise.  I often get asked about our homeschool schedule, and I’ve also been keen to see other schedules especially when I first started homeschooling.  And I will be sharing ours at some point (its been tweaked thus I didn’t share last week), however I would advise myself and my fellow mamas to think of your schedule/routine as secondary, but first establish your dream home.  How do you envision it?  What does it look like?  What are its foundations?  What is seen as enjoyment?  What is your time spent on?  What example would you like your children to follow?  What would you like to avoid? 

The schedule is the easy part.

Have a beautiful week ladies.

 

 

 

 


Why I deleted #HappyMuslimHomeschool

Asalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wa barakatu Mamas,

I hope youve had an enjoyable week so far.

Many of you will know that I decided to delete my Instagram page which I started earlier this year.  Alhamdulillah, through it I was able to connect with so many of you, and thus many sisters messaged me asking me reasons why.  Direct messaging wasn’t sufficient for me to explain since it was a culmination of things, thus I decided to write this blog post.

Before I begin, I’d like to highlight that this post is personal to me, so shouldn’t be taken as applicable to everyone. There were so many ideas, connections and overall encouragement I found through my Instagram platform, and this post is in no shape discrediting the benefits of social media.  

This is just why I left.

So, I began my page with the aim of encouraging sisters who are homeschooling but also for mothers in general, and alhamdulillah I bonded with so many sisters since we share similar experiences, routines, struggles and milestones.

However, for the last couple of months or so, I felt like Instagram’s benefits were becoming less and less.  Even though I began with the intention to keep it as a tool rather than a necessity, making sure I shared what I felt was beneficial, and trying not to compromise the way I used my phone (hence no pictures of field trips/everyday life) the lines somehow started to get blurry for me.

I began to feel I needed my phone close to me, ‘incase there something cropped up that I could perhaps share.

I would wake up and check my phone in the morning, which eventually lead to me scrolling through my feed (I dread to think of how long I browsed), though normally that would be something I tried to avoid.

But I think the things I felt affected me more are perhaps the most difficult to put into words.  It was the act of sharing something, that may have started out as beneficial but slowly started to change into validation instead.  This innate feeling to share maybe a useful book, an activity or a household tip could so very easily become tinged with a drop of validation, a need of approval, acknowledgement….a need to see a red heart on my screen.  

And then there was the feeling of needing to share personal moments of reflection.  Those moments that we as mothers cherish so much when the house is quiet and the children are sleeping to perhaps study, read or even just think in silence.  Suddenly the urge to share a picture of the candlelit desk, or mug of tea before I started began to seep in.  And though Im not saying that I necessarily felt like I would continue to use my phone whilst I had my quiet time, I began to feel that the feeling of needed to tell others what I was doing somehow took something special away from it, especially when that moment was a spiritual reflection. 

Thus, in a nutshell, that is why I left the world of social media and retreated back to just my blog.  Somewhere I feel I can share things at a pace which I feel is healthier me insha’Allah.  

Moving on, I pray you all are well.  And before I finish this post, I wanted to express how happy I am to see you connecting with me here so we can continue to encourage and support each other. May Allah make our efforts sincere and only for Him, ameen.

PS: Let me know if I should have a section to keep the motivational quotes going, I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

 

 

 

 


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.

Read More


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.

Screenshot_2018-10-08-21-07-17.png

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!

 

 


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.

img_20180826_155644.jpg

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.

img_20180826_155651.jpg

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.

IMG_20180728_151022.jpg

Read More


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.  

Screenshot_2018-07-23-22-07-46.png

Read More