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.

1) Change the view you view your week.  

Mindset is a powerful thing, and the way we perceive something directly impacts our behavior.  Like I mentioned before, the way I broke down my week in my mind was usually comprised of the something like this.

  • busy homeschool week x 5.
  • day off where I don’t even want to think.
  • and finally, the day to get everything back in order i.e Mama doesn’t sit down today.

Admittedly, Id adopted a very rigid way of looking at my days.  Where I’d spend 5 days looking forward to my ‘day off’ and 6 days dreading my ‘back to order’ day. And I remember reading this quote that summed up how I was feeling.

“We waste so many days waiting for the weekend.  So many nights wanting morning.
Our lust for future comfort is the biggest thief of life.”

So, now I no longer view homeschool days as just busy.  Because even though they are hectic, they are also the most rewarding.  And I remind myself, the opportunity to educate my children myself in today’s world is a blessing not a burden, Allahuma barik.  And homeschooling is a lifestyle, not something to be ticked off.  So being present, enjoing the moment ensures it remains joyful.

So no longer do I feel obliged to feel bound to lesson plans and cooking meals all day long.  I take time to pause regularly, so I don’t need to look forward to one day of the week to ‘wind down’ because I already do it every day.

2) Plan your week at the end of the weekday, not the weekend.

Rather than pull put your planner and panic the night before school starts, try and plan the next week just as the current week is finishing.  Whilst the kids are wrapping up, grab a cup of coffee and just spend half an hour or so planning out your week.  Its much easier since your already in the ‘teaching mode’ and it gives you time to grab any supplies your missing over the weekend.  And you’ve just freed up a weekend slot, yay!

3) Cook once eat twice

Yep, the old cook once eat twice is a super time saver, but the day you cook can also help.  So,  I like to cook on the last day of our school week, which means lunch for the first day of the weekend is already sorted and dinner we usually have out on that day – so a whole day of not cooking which means Mama can relax!

4) Climb the laundry mountain daily

A load a day helps to keep the mountain small!  And don’t wait until the night before school to get all the bedding and towels washed either.  Take some time during the week to get the extra laundry on.  The point is not to wait till the night before to get everything done, space things out over the week.  It will help keep your sanity and things will still get done!  

5) Freezer breakfasts

So, we’ve had a whole day off cooking, and now its the night before school. 
So whilst your cooking today, why not cook up few days worth of breakfasts too?  Mornings tend to be busy, and if you’ve cleaned up the night before its nice to be able to enjoy that a little and that’s where some pre-cooked breakfasts come to the rescue  You can enjoy your breakfast without the mess, and start your day feeling more relaxed rather than the dreaded panic of ‘what do I cook!’.  I find meal planning in general is very handy but I’l dedicate another post to that entirely!

So there you have it; a few tips to keep your week balanced, both the start and the end.  I have some more but this post is already getting quite long so let me know if you’d like to read a part two.  And share any tips you may have below!

Have a relaxing weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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!

 

 


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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Aligning Post Ramadan & Homeschool Goals

Assalamu alaykum sisters,

It’s that time of year again where most homeschooling families are wrapping up their current school year and busily planning for the next.

In the midst of researching curriculum, lesson planning, stationary hauls and typing up weekly schedules, it’s all too easy to lose sight of those goals we set a mere couple of weeks ago.

Those goals we set in the last third of the night…
The schedules we jotted down after finishing Taraweeh…
The daily practices we began to implement and promised ourselves we would carry on…

Yes, I’m talking about our post-Ramadan goals.

Ramadan – seems like only yesterday that we were planning its arrival and yet it seems like it was months ago.

After the excitement of Eid wears off and we start to find our feet again, old habits start to creep back in.

As mother’s, and specifically homeschooling mother’s, the weight of planning our children’s goals and objectives for the year can often lead to us giving our own less importance.

Slowly but surely…
The Qur’an memorisation we made time for, now gets filled with lesson planning.
The promise of physical self-care gets replaced with copious amounts of coffee again.
Our own path of seeking knowledge suddenly comes to a halt.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We need too and should prioritise our own goals too. And YES, you do have TIME!!

How? Here are a few tips.

Instead of separating the two, why not plan your goals alongside your homeschool goals? Pull out your Ramadan goals, and have them next to your while you are planning your year. That way, you can account for both and plan your daily routine in such a way where you give everything adequate time.

For example, if you made the intention to memorise Qur’an daily, why schedule this in at the same time as your children. Perhaps Stay awake after Fajr, give your children their hifdh portion, and while they are memorising, you can memorise too.

If you had a pile of books you intended to read, ensure you read snippets during the day. So while the kids are playing after your morning subjects are done, have a well-earned break and read a few pages; alternatively leave a little early to collect your child from Arabic class so you can read in the car while you wait. Don’t wait until the kids sleep to get your daily dose of reading in…it won’t always happen and eventually you will place the unread book back on the bookshelf.

My overall advice to myself first and foremost and you, is to carefully look at those pockets of time, scribbling out anything unnecessary as well as ensuring you aren’t spending too much time in one area (homeschool prep can take over your life!!).  Then add in your Ramadan goals and make these a priority and part of your daily routine.

Because these goals we made when we feeling spirituality uplifted can change the whole dynamics of our homeschool and ultimately our home life.

So pick up that pink highlighter and get writing. Don’t allow your Ramadan goals to be left in your planner until next Ramadan.

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Eid Treasure Hunt

Asalamu Alaykum ladies,

Its hard to believe that our beloved Ramadan has already left us.  It seems like yesterday that we were planning its arrival and now many of us are going through the process of readjusting.

It’s not an easy time by any means.  There’s always an overwhelming feeling of loss, confusion, and anxiety.  But if Ramadan really did impact us, we need to use its presence as a catapult to better ourselves and hold firmly to the good habits we developed while it was with us, inshaAllaah.

And of course the glorious day of Eid is over, but I wanted to share a treasure hunt I made for my children which can be used for upcoming Eids inshaAllah.  I shared this as a treat for my Instagram family just before Eid, but of course, this can be used for upcoming Eids.  

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My dear sister – I need no explanation.

Asalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu everyone,

I hope you are all having a fruitful Ramadan. I’m off social media to take advantage of this blessed time but I popped back on to share this reflection which I think some of you may resonate with.

Yesterday, we went to our local masjid and as we walked into the sister’s section the salaah had already begun, the Imam was reciting, there was a wonderful atmosphere, filled with peace and serenity.

But just as I was about to join the jama’ah with my kiddos I was swiftly told I had to go upstairs since this area was for women without children.

I didn’t mind, and off we headed upstairs. But as soon as we reached the top of the stairs, I almost felt like I was in a different masjid. The atmosphere was totally different.

I wasn’t met with silence but with the sound of a crying baby, the smell of bottled milk and a sight of scattered baby bags.

As I made my way further into the room, I walked past a woman trying to settle her child before the next rakaah began, another scrambling to find things to keep her toddler busy and another who just looked worried; I’m guessing she was hoping her baby would sleep through the salaah.

And it dawned on me. That even though I didn’t know these women, and they didn’t know each other; we were connected.

We didn’t have to say anything but the struggle voiced itself.

I didn’t know where she was from, but I had a good idea of what was going through her mind.

And I’m pretty sure we all had a pack of baby wipes in our bag somewhere.

You see, when Ramadan comes, we as mother’s often voluntarily put ourself at the back of the queue. We facilitate everyone else’s ibadaah, be it ensuring our children read more Qur’an, to making sure our husband’s clothes are ready for taraweeh, to cooking up a gourmet iftaar.

And while that is wonderful, and a path to seek reward, sometimes we need to just put everything aside….just for a few moments, and think about nothing and no one, except for ourselves.  Because these precious moments give us the momentum to then give back to those around us.

Aside from that, I noticed something just as wonderful. Our common struggle resulted in a non judgemental atmosphere.

You see, I understood why the sister was there….and that was far dearer to me than caring if her child was in her pyjamas. 

Sisters didn’t get mad when a random toddler tugged at their khimar…they were used to it.

Noone seemed to point fingers when a child was disruptive – there were no stern looks. 

My dua for you my dear sister is that you benefitted from those few moments of peace…may Allah reward you in abundance for all your beautiful effort, Ameen.

And if you ever run out of baby wipes? I have plenty…don’t worry.