My Bad Homeschool Day Survival Guide

Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu ladies

No matter how much we plan, schedule, and prepare, it’s safe to say that sometimes those wonderfully planned school days just don’t work out. 

But don’t panic!  Heres a quick guide to help you recover your day and not let one bad homeschool day turn into one bad homeschool week!  Be it the night before, during the day, or dealing with the aftermath, we’ve got you covered.

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Lesson plan: My hijab and me

Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu ladies

When I think about my own journey with hijab, I vividly remember being told when I needed to wear hijab, but not so much why I should wear it.  I wanted to cement a memory for my girls, a deep heart to heart discussion that they would remember inshaAllah. So, since my daughters love having a girls night in, I thought I would make it extra special and have an evening themed ‘My Hijab and Me’.

I prepared some questions that I wanted to cover the night before.

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Then while the girls were outside, I set up the table with cupcakes, icing, henna and candles to make it extra cosy. 

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And that was it…

Allahuma barik, we had the most wonderful evening discussing hijab while decorating cupcakes and putting on some henna.  The girls tried on jilbab, and niqab, we went through the mushaf reading out ayaat where Allah mentions hijaab, and the girls had an opportunity to ask me anything they wanted relating to hijab.

Im sure we will revisit hijab again in a more structured way, but I’m hoping this evening was something my girls would remember and is the beginning of a lifelong love and understanding of our beautiful hijab. 

You can download the questions we used here.

I would love to know how you introduced and explained hijab to your girls, share your experiences in the comments below! 

 

 


The best personal development course, ever.

Asalamu alaykum ladies

Im sure you’ve all either attended or at least heard of some type of self-development course, be it via CD, YouTube or in person. They’re the courses we feel the urge to take when we feel life is not quite how we expected it to be, maybe we don’t feel fulfilled, or we need some direction in how to reach our dreams that are so perfectly well drawn in our minds.  I myself have taken a few, and whilst I have benefitted, it dawned on me today just how much homeschooling is an ongoing form of personal development for me.

Below are some topics that you’ll often see such courses cover, and my take on how homeschooling provides the perfect platform to learn and focus on these areas, without you maybe even realising. 

Vision

So, our decision to homeschool was not something that was thought well in advance like some other families.  And when I did decide to homeschool, I dove straight into the deep end, searching curriculum, printing worksheets, buying stationary and reading all the blogs and homeschool routines I could get hold of. 

Well, that didn’t end so well…

Two weeks in I was totally overwhelmed.  I couldn’t believe how much life had changed, and I didn’t feel I was ready to take on the commitment. See, I was missing a key ingredient.  My intention and my vision were missing.  So, I went back to the drawing board, and after lots of reflection realised that raising and teaching my children for the sake of Allah had to be at the core of my decision to homeschool.  Alhamdulillah, having a clear intention and vision for myself is what keeps me going, especially through the more difficult days.  

Taking ownership

Well, homeschooling certainly provides an opportunity to take ownership.  You’ve decided to take ownership of your children’s education, it’s pretty self-explanatory!

Goal setting

This is probably at the top of the list of most self-development course outlines.  We get so caught up in life, we fail to plan and set our goals, eventually leading to lack of fulfilment.  I actually felt like I was pretty ok with goal setting before I began homeschooling because I naturally like to plan my day.  But homeschooling took this to another level.

Now I plan goals for myself, for all my children collectively, my children individually,  break goals down into physical, spiritual, and academic, and I have a better idea of our goals as a family. Phew!

Short-term and long-term goals

Following on from goal setting, the commitment of homeschooling really pushed me to think of our goals on a much broader scale.  I was quite content with weekly goals before, but when I decided to commit to teaching my children that just wasn’t enough.  I was forced to have a much broader vision, and now long-term goal setting is something we do all the time. 

Problem-solving/Overcoming barriers

Boy oh boy! I can safely say this has been one of the main areas that I have felt the most improvement.  Children are all unique in their own way, and of course, as a mother, I knew that.  But I wasn’t quite so aware of how different their learning styles were.  And of course, homeschooling uncovers many learning challenges along the way.  But since you are teaching your children, it’s up to you to solve these problems (I don’t think I’ve ever researched so much in my life!).  Homeschooling has also helped me overcome many of my own personal barriers, and that’s not something you necessarily think of when you do take the decision to homeschool. 

Listening skills

I think most of you will agree with me if I was to say homeschooling makes us better listeners.  From listening to my children’s hifdh, having one to one reading time, watching presentations, brainstorming, or planning crafts with them, its a must that we as homeschooling mothers are present and ready to listen.  Its one of those areas of improvement that gives me the most satisfaction, Allahuma barik.

Stress/anger management

Picture the following homeschool scenario: One of your kids isn’t paying attention in History, the house is a mess, you had several subjects planned but the toddler keeps interrupting everyone and you’re suffering from major homeschool burnout.  When I first began homeschooling, my initial reaction would have been “AAAAARRGGGHHHH!”  I was so used to things always being in order, even the smallest things would get to me, let alone all the above!

But as a homeschooler, you come to the realisation that every day is different.  It comes with fresh challenges, a whole new set of things to do, and if you’re not able to adapt or if you become stressed at the sight of things out of place, it sucks all the happiness out of your homeschool.  It’s a lesson I learnt the hard way.  But Alhamdulillah, I’ve managed to become less ‘rigid’ over time, more flexible, and easier upon myself. Im now able to recognise when Im getting overwhelmed and rather than reacting, I take some time off and manage things in a healthier way.  

So, there you have it.  These are just a few ways in which homeschooling really has been the most fulfilling self-development course Ive ever taken.  If you feel like you’ve benefitted from this post, let me know.  I can already feel a part 2 coming!

 

 


Pre Ramadan reflection #1 Homeschool

Asalamu alaykum wa rahmtaullahi wa barakatu sisters

Ramadan is just days away, and im sure like many of you, I’ve begun to reevaluate our year.

Where has the time flown since last Ramadan?
What have I achieved since last Ramadan?
Did I manage to keep up with the goals I set myself?
Did I fall back into old habits?

But in today’s post, I wanted to specifically discuss some thoughts that have been surfacing in my mind in regards to homeschooling.  Its a huge part of my life, and one that consumes a lot of my time, energy, and day to day focus.  Its one of my biggest priorities, and its one that im always thinking about because it concerns the well-being of my children.

So, when I sit back and reflect on it, I find myself feeling like im on a rollercoaster. We have had a shorter school year than normal this year and that alone is enough to cause panic.

I stare at the unfinished textbooks, the stack of books I didn’t get around to read,  realising that our Arabic journey is going slower than what I wanted and that my youngest is still interested in playing with his cars and still hasn’t shown any interest in phonics, while other 4-year-olds are already starting to read.

The panic starts to creep in…

I begin to become anxious. The questions that originally surfaced, now lead to a barrage of more questions…

Have I done enough?
Do I know what im doing?!
Can I actually educate my children?
Why don’t my children know x, y and z yet?
Are my kids behind?
Why do I have imperfect days, when others don’t seem to?
Am I depriving my children of a ‘proper education’?

But I’ve realised that all these fears crop up because my measure of a successful homeschool year gets distorted over the year, and the intention that I had, becomes hazy. I begin to measure success at surface level, limiting my children’s education to mere pen and paper when educating my children is so much deeper…

And so I begin to curb my thoughts, and in doing so my reflection questions begin to change…

Are my children growing up being aware of Allaah and His Greatness?
Is the sunnah interwoven in my children’s’ every day lives?
Do my kids understand the purpose of life?
What relationship do my children have with The Noble Qur’an?
Do my children realise the importance of seeking knowledge and are they actively doing so?
How are their manners, first and foremost with their Creator and then others around them?
Are my children growing up to be good citizens, are they caring and compassionate individuals?
How is the relationship between me and my children, is it one of love, respect and communication?
Do our ‘bad’ homeschool days really outweigh the ‘good’ days?
Are we still HOMEschooling or homeSCHOOLING?

I start off by reminding myself…

It is narrated on the authority of Amir al-Mu’minin (Leader of the Believers), Abu Hafs ‘Umar bin al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), say: “Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and his Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for.” Related by Bukhari & Muslim

My panic slowly begins to settle…

See, if my intention to educate my children is pure and done in the correct way, then surely the effort, time and sacrifice have been worth it. And if im able to see some progress in the questions that I’ve just asked myself, it becomes clear to me that we’re doing ok…

That isn’t to say that the more academic side of learning is not to be evaluated. But for me, that’s the second half of the questionnaire, not the first.  These things don’t hold weight if I haven’t bothered with building the foundation for my children because without it I have set my kids up to fail.

So now as I continue my reflection, and list the pros and cons of our year, I know where to start. Now I can begin to reflect on which areas my children need to work on, slowly working my way through the questionnaire.

And as the list of areas of improvement begins to grow, my yearning for Ramadan increases, because I know Im in need of this month of mercy to set myself up to continue on this journey of educating my children.

May Allah allow us to witness Ramadan, Ameen.

Share your homeschool reflections below, I’d love to know how you are preparing for Ramadan. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Indoor Camping

Asalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu

It’s the start of the weekend, and after a long week of planning for school, I thought we needed to do something to break it up. So what did we thinking of? Well, camping indoors of course.

We started off building our ‘tent’, using our sofa covers thrown off some chairs, our dryer rack and the table. The kids then set up the inside, putting duvets and pillows on the floor to make it cosy, stocking up on books (which to be honest I knew they wouldn’t read, they were much too excited to sit still), and toys.

And then the best part………toasting marshmallows. I pre-soaked the skewers (to stop them from burning), then threaded on some campfire marshmallows and toasted them under the grill until they were brown. You could make some fruit kebabs for a healthier version if you wish!

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Craft idea – Cardboard Car Park

Asalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu mamas
Today I wanted to share an activity me and S did together, made from everyone’s best friend, cardboard!
One of the hardest things I’ve found whilst homeschooling is how to keep the little ones busy when doing more focused subjects, especially Quraan memorisation with the elder kiddos. With other subjects, I tend to read with the youngest, do some quiet role play with their toys or make something with playdough together. But with Quraan, it’s a must the elders are able to focus and I’m able to give them full attention while they revise with me. 
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