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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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!


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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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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