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Toucan Box Review | Arts and Crafts Subscription for Kids!

Toucan box review unboxing

Finding arts and crafts activities for your children to do can be a challenge, especially if you’re not a “crafty” mum!

The Toucan Box is a subscription service that delivers everything you need to your door, to create an fun art project!

The reason I wanted to try our the Toucan box, was for convenience! It can be challenging as a homeschooling mum, to find different art projects for my children to do, and then purchase all the supplies that it needs. The Toucan box promises to deliver everything I need to my door… so I had to try it out!

If you click on the links to Toucan box in this blog post or use my referral code, and then place an order, I will receive 50% off my next purchase. 

Toucan box craft subscription review unboxing

 

Toucan box review unboxing

What is a Toucan Box?

The Toucan box is a subscription service that delivers creative craft boxes to children aged 3-8 years old. The boxes come in 3 different sizes:

  • Petite: Provides everything you need to create an exciting activity. This box fit through the letter box and contains a activity book with puzzles, games, recipes and fun facts. This craft box is delivered fortnightly.
  • Grande: Provides all the materials needed for 2 craft activity, as well as a children book that goes along with the theme of the box. This box also contains a parent card containing further ideas for activities and games. This box is delivered monthly.
  • Super: This box contains everything you child will need to complete 4 craft activities, along with a children’s book and the parent card. This box also comes monthly.

This boxes have been designed by educational experts, and are Montessori-inspired, to help develop a child’s key skills.

What's inside a Toucan box

Toucan Box Unboxing

I decided to purchase the “Petite” box, just to try out the service and see what the craft activities were really like. I also really like the convenience of the petite box fitting through the letter-box, as we are often out during the afternoon when our postman arrives.

I received a FREE BOX along with my first order, and you can too if you CLICK HERE.

Before my children saw the boxes, I quickly filmed this un-boxing video for you!

If you would like to see what is inside a Toucan box, WATCH THIS VIDEO!

Toucan Box Review

The petite Toucan box really surprised me! The quality of the material were excellent, and the instructions were very clear. In this case, the Pirate-themed box actually contained 2 craft activities, when the it is only supposed to have 1, which was a lovely surprise!

Furthermore, the activities book also contained another craft activity to make a “pirate’s hook”. Although all the supplies were not included in the box, there were things we already had at home, like foil and glue! My son loved doing this craft, along with all the puzzles the book also contains.

Toucan box review and unboxing video pirate themed craft

What surprised me most about the Toucan box, is that it prompted an entire afternoon of imaginary play! My boys pretended their bunk-beds were a Pirate ship; even the sofa became a Pirate ship later in the day! They went out into the garden on a treasure hunt, they made pirate names for each other ….and the playing went on and on!

In my eyes, as a mother, that is the ultimate sign of success; that my children were so inspired by these craft activities, that they took them and the ideas they had learnt, into their imaginary world with them!

We are all really looking forward to the arrival of the next Toucan box!

If you would like to order a Toucan box for your family, CLICK HERE. By clicking on this link, you will also receive a FREE GIFT BOX along with your order.

Alternatively, type in the following code at the checkout, and you will receive your FREE GIFT BOX too: GEMMA-9E6X

 

Toucan box review and unboxing video pirate themed craft

Have you ever used a children’s subscription service? Would you recommend them?

Keeping up with the demands of creative kids can be difficult…would you agree?!? 

Please let me know in the comments below!

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

What we’ve been Reading + GIVEAWAY!

June reading wrap up Muslim homeschool

I’ve just discovered the world of BookTube and I’m thrilled to make my first ever Reading wrap up for YouTube!

In this video I share what books we’ve been reading this month in our homeschool, and what we are planning to read in July. I’m also hosting another GIVEAWAY to win two fabulous books; scroll to the bottom for this post for more details!

This post may contain affiliate links. See Disclaimer for more information.

To find out what books we’ve been enjoying this month,and what we plan to read next month, WATCH THIS VIDEO!

Books Mentioned:
A Man Called Ove
Gods in Alabama 
The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket
Martha Inc.
Fitra Journal: Muslim Homeschooling 
Don Quixote 
Station Eleven
Before the Rains
In Order to Live
A House for Happy Mothers
Undivided

Children’s Odyssey

James and the Giant Peach
Bobs Books Set 3

Free and Treadwell Reading Primer
Secret Garden

YouTube Channels Mentioned

Lydia Senn

Arrrgh schooling
Read Create Repeat Homeschool

GIVEAWAY

It’s GIVEAWAY TIME!

fitra journal muslim homeschool giveaway

 

This month, I  am thrilled to be sharing two of my favourite books this month.
The first name selected will win:

Three further runner-ups will be randomly selected. Each will receive a Big Reconnecting Self Love Journal.

This Ramadan Basket Giveaway will run from Sunday 9th July  2017 until Monday 17th July 2017 at 12am GMT.

This giveaway is open internationally!

All entrants under the age of 18 must have parental permission to enter.

Please be aware that if you are entering from overseas, you may be liable to pay customs tax (or the equivalent), so please check before entering.

You can enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter widget posted below (click HERE is you would like to know more about Rafflecopter).
I’ll announce the winners on THIS blog post and contact them directly through email.
The winner has 24 hours to respond, otherwise I will have to select another winner.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I hope you enjoyed seeing what we’ve been reading this June, and our reading plans or July.If you haven’t already, you can SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel by CLICKING HERE and pressing the BIG RED BUTTON. This means you will be notified every time we put out a new video. You can also watch my previous video HERE.If you have any reading recommendations, please leave them for me in the comments section below. I would love to get hear about what books you’ve been reading.Peace and Love,Dr Gemma Elizabeth

Homeschool Update: June 2017

Watch this short video to find out what we have been doing during Ramadan and our plans for the summer!

I also talk a little about how I feel our homeschooling year is going, as well how we plan to “catch up” with the subjects we have fallen behind in.

CLICK HERE to Watch!

If you have any questions, please leave them for me in the comments section below.

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

How to Teach Maths to Gifted and High-Achieving Children

Homeschool Maths curriculum for gifted children

This blog post has been written in collaboration with CTC Math, who gave my family free access to their online Maths programme and compensated me for my time. The following may also contain affiliate links (see “Disclaimer”)

Tears. Tantrums. Frustration. For many of our children, Maths can be a struggle; a struggle for chldren to learn and a struggle for homeschooling parents to teach.

When you are homeschooling a gifted child, teaching Maths can be be just as challenging. Gifted children can also end up crying over their Maths, but the reason for their tears is not a lack of ability or understanding, but instead due to frustration, boredom or trying to simply dealing with the intense emotions that  gifted children notoriously experience.

Teaching maths to the high-achieving and gifted student can be both immensely rewarding and incredibly frustrating for homeschooling families! Although gifted children are usually quick to understand an apply mathematical concepts, they also bring with them a unique set of challenges that other homeschooling parents may not have to face.

How to teach Maths to gifted and high achieving children

Homeschool Maths curriculum for gifted children

It is worth noting, that there is a difference between “giftedness” and being a high achiever. For more information about the difference, read this simple introduction from Psychology Today.

It’s also important to remember that not all gifted students are “gifted” in Maths. Being intellectually gifted can mean an increased aptitude or talent in any number of academic subjects or creative pursuits. However, for simplicity’s sake, when I talk about “gifted” children in this blog post, please assume I am referring to those who are mathematically gifted.

From my own personal experience, I have compiled my top tips on “How to teach Maths to gifted and high-achieving children”, to help you teach Maths to your own children. This advice is what has worked in my home, and I hope that is will give you some ideas for your children too.

1. Forget the Way You Learnt Maths!

Unless you were fortunate to be homescholed, the likelihood is that the way you learnt maths is not going to work for your gifted children. Conventional all-in-one math curricula do not work well for gifted students.

Many of us are used to the idea that a math concept is taught, examples are given, and then the student practices this principle by completing many practice questions. Gifted students often no not need as much practice as conventional workbooks offer. They are able to fully grasp the concept and move onto its application much quicker than conventional curricula allows for.

This means that if you ask you gifted child to work through a conventional math programme, they will become increasingly bored and frustrated with its slow pace and repetition.

Instead, you need to get creative in the way you teach maths to gifted students! One way of doing this is by providing them with a variety of materials.

Teaching maths to gifted children

2. Use a Variety of Maths Resources

It may surprise you to know, that maths does not need to be taught with a textbook and workbook! In fact, there are many other ways that mathematical principles can be taught. In my experience, these are often more effective and memorable than the traditional maths textbook.

Examples include:

  • Living Books – Children can learn maths through stories! Find well-written mathematical stories that ignite your child’s imagination and teach maths at the same time. My children have recently been enjoying The Adventures of Sir Cumference and What’s your angle Pythagoras?
  •  Problem solving/Critical Thinking – Develop you child’s analytical and problem solving skills with critical thinking books and exercises.
  • Computer Programmes – Incorporating computer programmes into your curriculum can be a fantastic motivator for children. Our favourite online Math curriculum is CTC Math (see below)
  • Variety of different workbooks – Mix and match different teaching styles and approaches to keep your gifted child interested and engaged in their learning.

Teaching maths to gifted children living books

 

3. Chose a Curriculum that allows for Flexibility

The introduction of CTC Math into our homeschool has provided us with both the structure and the flexibility that my children need. Using this online Math curriculum 3-4 times a week, has helped to ensure that my children are not missing any important concepts as they “jump about ” within their other varied maths resources.

It is also gives the student and parents the flexibility that is needed for so many gifted students. You no not “need” to complete previous lessons in order to move onto the next level. You do what YOUR CHILD NEEDS to do…and I love that about CTC Math!

CTC Math Gifted Homeschool curriculum
5-digit Addition with CTC Math

 

In previous curricula we have tried, my son became infuriated with the unnecessary repetition and practice questions. With CTC Math, if your child understands the concept, you can move on!

It also allows you to enter your child into any grade that you, as the parent, feel is suitable. CTC Math has allowed my 6 year-old son to start 4th Grade maths, and it is wonderful to finally see him challenged by an online Maths programme.

CTC Math Gifted Homeschool curriculum
CTC Math allows parents to easily monitor progress

The lesson begins by watching a short 4-9 minute video where a concept is taught by audio and animation. Then the student takes what they have learnt, and applies it to a series of practice questions. Parents are kept informed of their child’s progress with a weekly email showing their marks throughout the week.

The people behind CTC Math are very supportive of homeschooling families and offer 60% OFF the cost of the curriculum + 6 MONTHS FREE to homeschoolers! This massive discount is only available to homeschooling families. If you are interested in finding out more, CLICK HERE.

CTC Math Gifted Homeschool curriculum

CTC Math works fantastically for gifted students because of the flexibility it offers. You can go back and repeat lesson, and you can jump as many lessons ahead as your gifted student wants to. In addition to this flexibility, it also gives parents the security of knowing that everything is being covered and there will be no gaps in their child’s knowledge.

CTC are offering a 4 WEEK FREE TRIAL at the moment. If you are interested in trying it out with you children for free, CLICK HERE to sign up for your FREE TRIAL

 

3. Make Maths Cross-Curricular

If your child has a natural talent for maths, they will enjoy bringing it into their other school subjects.

For example, we have studied maths whilst learning about Leonardo da Vinci and his incredible inventions. My son also learnt the “Pythagoras theorem” during our study of Ancient Greece. Together, we discovered the Fibonnacci sequence when learning about snails and their shells, in nature-study.

If your child is interested, maths can be brought into almost every subject as it is an integral part of our real-lives.

Maths book for snails homeschool unit study

4. Apply Maths to Real-life situations

Life is full of learning opportunities, and maths is no different. In your day-to-day life, you can engage your gifted children with mathematical problems and meaningful learning. Here are just a few examples of how:

  • Calculate distances trigonometry or estimate using the time it took to travel
  • Help with finances and accounts – if like me, you run a business from home, having a child that loves maths can be very useful at times!
  • Calculate probabilities
  • Working out quantities needed for cooking or home-improvements
  • Converting units
Teaching maths to gifted children real life math
Real life Maths!

Teaching gifted children maths is challenging, and is certainly not simple! However, with a little creativity, it is very possible and very rewarding. 

Gifted children need our attention and guidance, as much as other children do. Without it, they are at risk of become disengaged, uninterested and underachieving.

I hope this blog post has given you some inspiration and ideas of how to teach your gifted or high-achieving children Maths at home.

For further reading on home-educating gifted children, I would recommend “Homeschooling Gifted and Advanced Learners” by Cindy West and “Creative Homeschooling : A Resource Guide for Smart Families” by Lisa Rivero

What have you found to be the most effective way of teaching maths to gifted children?

How do you balance the freedom and flexibility that they crave, with the need to “cover all bases”?

Please share your experiences with us all, in the comments below.

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

 

Children’s Eid Party Ideas

Children's Eid Party Ideas

It doesn’t get more exciting for your children than this…Eid Party Ideas for kids! Eid is a time to come together with loved ones and celebrate the Blessings in our lives. These fun times are memories that our children will hold onto for years to come.

Children’s Eid party’s do not need to be expensive or extravagent to be enjoyed by your kids. In this blog post we will give you ideas and inspiration, whatever your budget may be.

Children's Eid Party Ideas

Children's Eid Party Ideas

Here are our 5 great ideas for your children’s Eid party!

3D Eid Gift Wrap

As if your kids weren’t excited enough about getting their Eid presents, why not decorate the wrapping paper with this 3D gold mosque motif!

Eid gift wrap Children's party ideas

Photo Credit: MarthaStewart.com

For full instructions on how to create this beautiful design on your gifts, CLICK HERE.

Eid Dessert Table

If cakes and desserts don’t get your kids excited, I don’t know what will! Make the dessert table the centre-piece of your home this Eid! Fill it with sweet treats, cakes and a few healthy options too.

This photo is from Eid Al-Fitr at my home last year. As you can see, it didn’t take up a lot of space, but it looked wonderful!

We decided to go for a gold, black and white colour scheme, and picked up on these colours in the desserts themselves. The decorations were purchases from  Silver Lining.

Children's Eid Party Dessert Table

We included vanilla cupcakes decorated with stars, fruit skewers of black grapes, pineapple, raspberries and melon, as well a watermelon cut into Ramadan themed shapes!

Children's Eid Party Melon Dessert Table

To cut the water melon, we used a cookie-cutter set that was sent to me by the Islamic gift shop Silver Lining

 

Eid Party Crackers

Your children will love pulling open these festive Eid crackers during their meal. You can fill these crackers with date balls, chocolate coins or even a little toy!

Children's Eid Party idea Crackers

Photo Credit: MarthStewart.com

For full instructions on how to make your own Eid DIY crackers, CLICK HERE.

Eid DIY Balloon Column

Amaze your kids and guests with this statement Eid decor that is easy and inexpensive to create.

Your children will adore it! It would look at home in a more elegant “grown-up” Eid party.

Balloon column Eid Party Ideas for Children

Photo Credit: Waafia

To find out how to create this incredible Eid Balloon column, WATCH THIS VIDEO!

Eid Party Favour Bags

End the day right, by sending home your guests with Eid party favour bags. Inside you could give out sweets, dates or a small toy.

You can make the party bags themselves really special by decorating them at home. For a simple design, attach the bags to colourful helium-filled balloons to create an instant Eid display.

Eid Party Ideas Favour Bags

Photo Credit: Architecture Art Design

For more information on this design idea, click HERE.

If you have some more time, you could add a mosque motif to the front of each bag. Don’t these look incredible!

Eid Party Ideas Mosque Favour Bags

Photo Credit: HelloHolyDays

Full Instruction for these Paper Bag Mosques can be found HERE.

Those were our 5 Children’s Eid Party Ideas!

Children's Eid Party Ideas

How do you decorate your home for Eid?

Do you have any ideas for party games?

Please leave your ideas in the comments below!

Finally, I would like to wish everyone of you “Eid Mubarak!” I hope and pray that you and your family have a beautiful Eid.

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

 

Eid for Kids | Multicultural Kid Blogs

This post is part of the Eid for Kids blog hop from Multicultural Kid Blogs. Read all of the articles below for ideas on celebrating Eid with kids, and don’t miss our blog hop from last year!

Participating Blogs

Babelkid on Multicultural Kid Blogs: How to Celebrate Eid in Switzerland the Algerian Way
A Crafty Arab: Eid Baked Rocks {Tutorial}
Jeddah Mom: Free Printable Eid Envelopes to Gift Your Eidi
Middle Way Mom: 4 Ways to Simplify Your Eid
All Done Monkey: Vegan Dessert for Eid
Our Muslim Homeschool: Children’s Eid Party Ideas

Find even more ideas on our Eid for Kids board on Pinterest:

Easy Arabic Alphabet Cupcakes!

Children are never too young to start learning Arabic! One of the first steps for children is to master the Arabic alphabet.

In our homeschool we like to find creative and fun ways for children to learn. Recently we decided to make cupcakes an decorate them with the Arabic letters. The kids loved this hands-on approach to learning and I think your family will too!

Our Muslim Homeschool uses affiliate links in posts and sidebar ads. Please refer to my Disclaimer for more information.

 

Cooking together teaches your children important life skills, as does all the cleaning up afterwards! Younger children love mixing and pouring ingredients together, whilst the older children improve their maths skills by measuring out and weighing out the flour, butter and sugar.

Arabic alphabet cupcakes - Teach you children the Arabic letters with this fun activity! Arabic alphabet cupcakes - Teach you children the Arabic letters with this fun activity!

Similarly, this tactile and sensory approach to learning was very successful in helping my younger children learn their Arabic alphabet. Not only does it require them to identify the letter in their mind, but also focus on how the letter is formed when making their own with icing.

Not only is this activity really fun, but it also works really well and is an effective way of teaching children the Arabic alphabet. ….And you get delicious cakes to enjoy afterwards too!

Arabic Alphabet Cupcakes

These cupcakes were very easy to make, and older children may be able to follow the  recipe will minimal help from you!

I decided to top each cupcake with butter-cream icing, because it’s just so delicious! Then on top on that we added the Arabic letters, made from Ready-to-roll icing.

 

You will need…

Equipment:

 

Ingredients:

  • 110g/4oz Butter, softened
  • 110g/ 4oz Caster sugar
  • 110g/ 4oz Plain flour
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla paste (Alcohol-free) – Buy HERE

For Decorating:

  • 140g/5oz Butter, softened
  • 280g/10oz Icing Sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp Milk
  • Ready-To-Roll Icing (Several Colours) – Buy Here (Vegetarian)

Cupcake Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F / Gas 4.
  2. Line the muffin tin with paper cases.
  3. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl. Beat it using an electric whisk until pale and fluffy.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into another bowl.
  5. Beat the eggs and vanilla separately.
  6. Mix all the ingredients together.
  7. Spoon the mixture carefully into the paper cases.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes until risen and firm to the touch.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from tin and allow to cool completely before decorating.

Arabic alphabet cupcakes - Teach you children the Arabic letters with this fun activity!

Icing Recipe

  1. Using a whisk, beat the butter until soft.

  2. Continue to whisk whist slowing adding the icing sugar.

  3. Add the milk and mix well.

Let’s Decorate!

  1. Apply 1-2 tbsp of buttercream icing to the top of each cupcake. You can pipe it on yourself, or let your children do it using two small spoons.
  2. Flour your kitchen surfaces to prevent sticking in the next step.
  3. Roll out the ready-to-roll icing to approximately 5mm (1/2 cm) thick.
  4. Use the Arabic letter cutters from the play dough kit to cut out any letters from Arabic alphabet you wish to learn/revise.
  5. Carefully use a butter knife to lift the letters onto the top of the cakes.
  6. Continue until all the cakes are decorated.
  7. Enjoy!

Arabic alphabet cupcakes - Teach you children the Arabic letters with this fun activity!

Tip: If your ready-to-roll icing gets too warm, it will be difficult to cut out the letters. To prevent this, keep the icing in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

I hope your family enjoy making and eating these Arabic alphabet cupcakes! They would be a great addition to any children’s party, iftaar or Eid celebration!

Arabic alphabet cupcakes - Teach you children the Arabic letters with this fun activity!

Arabic alphabet cupcakes - Teach you children the Arabic letters with this fun activity!

Have you ever used cooking to teach your children an Academic subject?
What other creative ways have you used to teach the Arabic Alphabet?
Please tell us about it in the comments below!

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

Cooking-Skills-iHomeschool Net


Educational Games for 2-8 Year Olds

7 Delightful Children’s Books about Eid

Eid Books for Children

Eid is a time for celebration! Muslims across the world come together with friends and family to pray, share food, give gifts and be thankful for the Blessings in their lives. Reading children beautiful stories about Ramadan and Eid is one way we can encourage our children to be excited about Eid, as well as teaching them that Eid is about more than just presents!

Eid Books for Children

However, let’s be honest, celebrating Eid in non-Muslim countries can sometimes be a bit of a let down!

Although Muslims may be celebrating, the majority of the country is not! Children still have to go to school and parents head off to work! Depending where you live, there are no festivities in the streets, no fireworks, and no community meals. If you do have these things where you live, you are fortunate. The truth is, many families experience Eid in isolation.

We want out children to experience the excitement of Eid morning and to feel the anticipation leading up to the day.

Many of these books touch on the idea of giving; giving to friends, neighbours and those less fortunate.

One of the most significant ideas that runs throughout these books is the concept of Muslim identity. By emphasising the importance of Eid, particularly over other national holidays, you are reinforcing the child’s sense of Muslim identity. We want our children to be confident and proud of their Muslim identity, and I believe that reading Muslim children’s literature is one way of achieving this.

This is my list of 7 delightful Children’s Books about Eid! Some of them are about Eid al-Adha, some abot Eid Al-Fitr but most could be used for either holiday.

Take a look through my list. Perhaps you will find something your family will enjoy!

Children's Eid Books

Sweet dates to Eat

This delightful picture book by Jonny Zucker is a simple introduction to Ramadan and Eid for young children. As you follow this family through each day, you see how they fast, visit the masjid and celebrate Eid.
The sweet hand-drawn illustrations add to this book’s heart-warming nature.

Children's books about Eid: sweet dates
Sweet Dates to Eat is suitable for children aged 2+

 

Hassan and Aneesa Celebrate Eid

The Hassan and Aneesa series by Kube Publishing follows the life a young Muslim family in the West. In this particular book, the family prepare the night before for the Eid festivities, get ready for and attend the Eid prayer, and celebrate with their family at home. The scenes in this book as so familiar to many of us, that children will instantly relate to what is happening in the story.

This book is the perfect way to get younger children ready for Eid, and prepare them for what will happen on the day.

Hassan and Aneesa Celebrate Eid is suitable for children aged 2+.

 

Eid by Maria Migo

This book is set to become a classic for every Muslim household! Eid is the story of two siblings, as the watch with anticipation for the moon of Eid.

It follows their story through an exciting Eid day. The illustrations in this book are utterly charming and I’m sure your younger children will love it!

Children's Books for Eid

Eid by Maria Migo is suitable for children aged 2+

 

An Eid for Everyone

This is my daughter’s favourite Eid book! She adores the vibrant colour illustrations and seems particularly fond of the character Yasmin!

An Eid for Everyone is the story of a group of children and their different experiences of Eid. Whilst some help their mother’s in the kitchen, others are wrapping presents, and others getting ready in pretty clothes! The group of children meet at the mosque and later go to distribute gifts to the poorer families in their community.

Muslim childrens books about Eid: An Eid for Everyone

An Eid for Everyone is suitable for children aged 2+.

 

Rashad’s Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr

Rashad’s Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr is a 4 chapter picture book that follows Rashad and his experiences in Ramadan. What is really special about this book is that it emphasises some of the deeper meaning of Ramadan, with chapter entitled “Thinking about Allah” and “Thinking about People”.

This charming book is available in paperback, on Kindle and even as an Audiobook through Audible.

If you haven’t tried Audible, you can sign up for a FREE 30-Day Trial HERE, and listen to Rashan’s Ramadan for FREE!

 

The Best Eid Ever

This is the story of  Aneesa, a young girl who is staying with her Grandmother while her parents perform the Hajj. On Eid day she meet two refugee girls in the mosque and learns more about their war-torn country. Aneesa can’t stop thinking about them and want to make it their Eid the best Eid ever!

The Best Eid Ever is suitable for children aged 5-8 years old.

Ilyas and Duck and the Fantastic Festival of Eid al-Fitr

You can always rely on Ilyas and Duck to bring action and laughs in every book! This action packed adventure follows Ilyas and his crazy, but lovable, duck on Eid day. They learn about the importance of the day, and why Muslims celebrate it.

Books about Eid for children Ilyas and duck

Ilyas and Duck and the Fantastic Festival is sure to have your children giggling, and is suitable for children aged 4+.

Eid Childrens Books

Eid books for kids

 

Those were our 7 delightful children’s books about Eid!

All these were many in this list, there are many more! Perhaps you have some other books about Eid on your shelves at home!

What is your family’s favourite children’s book about Eid?
Please let us know in the comments below!

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

10 Points of Homeschooling Advice from Veteran Homeschool Mom

Homeschooling advice from veteran homeschool mom

How often do we look back on something and think, “If wish I could have done that differently.”?

Not often are we given the gift of parenting, or homeschooling, with hindsight. But with almost an 11 year gap between my two oldest kids, alhamdulilah, I’m given at least a peek into how my homeschooling decisions have played out over time.

Homeschooling advice from veteran homeschool mom

Advice to noew homeschoolers from veteran homeschool mom

I hope my hindsight can be of use to you as well, as I reflect back over the last 8 years of homeschooling, now that my oldest is, mashaAllah, graduating high school.

Academic rigor is secondary

So often we spend hours upon hours trying to find the perfect book. It’ll have all the right information, with all the best activities, and thorough tests and quizzes to make sure they don’t miss a thing.

But what about the atmosphere in our home? What about nurturing that love of learning that comes naturally to children? How long do we spend thinking about that?

I wish I would have given my daughter more time to be a kid. More time to explore and learn at her leisure, and not during some scheduled hour-long exploratory time. You can’t schedule curiosity.

Don’t let others dictate your homeschool

If you’re just starting with homeschooling and you don’t have much support around you, it’s tempting to fill up your curriculum list with impressive books and resources to try to sway them that you’re not ruining your child.

Let me tell you something – a book list is not going to change many people’s minds.

Pick the resources you feel are best, for your child. How many school teachers do you think are making curriculum decisions based on what their parents or neighbors think? They choose books they think will be the most effective. Period.

Get acquainted with various homeschooling methods

Most of us have gone through the public school system. It’s all we know. Then when we start homeschooling, we dream of bulletin boards, and an in box for assignments.

Sometimes we have to jump into homeschooling because traditional school isn’t working, so we might not have a lot of time to read up on the various methodologies. Even if that’s the case, start reading the core book on each topic and see what speaks to you.

Think of yourself as an educator or mentor, not only an administrator

An administrator simply makes education more accessible. They order books, organize lesson plans, and grade work. An educator or mentor understands how students learn, how their environment affects their learning, and has some basic understanding of psychology.

Be the educator. Treat homeschooling as your career, not a task. That means reading and studying about your chosen career.

Homeschooling advice from veteran homeschool mom

Less semester-long classes

The semester long classes were great, and I love that she made some friends in those arenas, but I think we did too many, which made it hard to take part in anything else. We barely went on field trips that related to her lessons because our schedule was so jam packed with classes.

As I’m faced with the temptation of signing up for all the interesting classes again with my younger kids, I remind myself that childhood is not the only time to learn. We can, and should, learn as adults as well. If they miss out on a class about sewing, or woodworking, or reptiles, there will be opportunities for them to learn about that as an adult as well, if they so choose.

Ask help from the community

In the six years we were exclusively homeschooling my oldest (she spent the last two years at a local college finishing her high school diploma), I had three more children and we moved twice. To say I was a bit distracted would be an understatement.

Alhamdulilah, we made do, but it would have been easier if I reached out to community members to organize study groups while she was reading classic books since I did not have the time to read them along with her. If you find someone who is passionate about a subject, they are usually happy to help the young generation to explore that passion.

Grades and deadlines

We are pretty relaxed in the early years of homeschooling, but I do suggest to start grading and giving deadlines one year before you’ll be keeping specific records. In the US (though each state is different), you don’t have to keep records until the student is in high school.

It is a disservice to your child to first experience real deadlines and grades when it will be on their permanent record.

Less is more

Okay, we don’t want to take this to an extreme and ignore educating our kids, but hear me out, especially in regards to graded assignments.

The fewer number of graded assignments you give, the more weight each one has, which means they learn to give their best time and attention to each assignment. They can’t just slop something together and know that something that was easier for them, and therefore they got a good grade on, will even out the poor assignment they just turned in.

Less formal assignments, more time to sit and think about them independently.

Never, ever stop learning

Show your child what it means to be a lifelong learner. Sign up for classes, read books, watch documentaries. Even if they scoff at your boring choices for how you use your time, they will be noticing that you didn’t stop learning when you graduated. And neither should they.

Veteran homeschool mom advice to new homeschoolers

Make du’a

Last, but not least, don’t forget that striving to provide opportunities for a great education is in your hands, but the end result ultimately is not. Allah has a plan for all of us, and sometimes it may look like it’s not going your way. That’s okay, too. Patience is what we do have control over. In sha Allah be patient.

Shannen is an American Muslim convert, homeschooling mother to 4 daughters and mediocre housewife. She enjoys blogging, knitting, quilting, and avoiding housework. Read more on her blog about their Islamic homeschool, green(ish) living, and the ups and downs of parenting. You can connect with Shannen on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Ramadan Basket Ideas + GIVEAWAY!

Ramadan Basket Ideas

With Ramadan just around the corner, I thought I would share some of the things that I will be including in my kid’s Ramadan baskets this year.

Ramadan baskets are a great way to prepare your kids for Ramadan! Fill your basket with gifts to teach your children more about Islam, or with toys and books that they can use during the month.

This blog post is being done in collaboration with Nilly Dahlia. She is a young mum from the UK, please Subscribe to her channel!

We are also running another GIVEAWAY this Ramadan!

Details on how to enter are at the bottom of this post!

Please note: Affiliate links may be included in this post. See Disclaimer for more information.

Ramadan Basket Ideas

What is a Ramadan Basket?

A Ramadan basket is a basket of goodies that you give to your children, or husband, on the eve of Ramadan. You may chose to fill it with:

  • Toys they can play with during them month
  • Educational resources that will teach them more about Ramadan
  • Ramadan Craft activities (such as making decorations or Eid cards)
  • Resources that will encourage them to do more acts of worship

Ramadan Basket ideas and inspiration for children

If you’d like to see what I’ve put in my children’s Ramadan baskets:

Watch This Video:

Links to Products Mentioned:

Ramadan Sticker Chart

It’s Ramadan Curious George Book
Little Explorers Magazine

Ramadan Calendar

Ramadan Planner

Rabbi Zidni Notebook

Colour-In Eid Cards

The Great Night Journey (New Edition)

Baby Traveller Bismillah

Five Prayers Each Day
Hassan and Aneesa Go to Madrasa

The Night of the Moon

Under the Ramadan Moon

Sweet Dates to Eat
Ramadan Moon

An Eid for Everyone

 

GIVEAWAY!

It’s Giveaway time!!!

Ramadan Basket Giveaway

For Ramadan this year, I will be sharing THREE of my favourite products with one of you guys!
I will be giving away:
  • Ramadan Chart from MuslimStickers.com (R.R.P. £2.99)
  • Ramadan Journal by StoriDori.co.uk (R.R.P. £5.99)
  • Eid Mubarak Bunting from IbraheemToyhouse.com (R.R.P. £3.00)

This Ramadan Basket Giveaway will run from Wednesday 17th May 2017 untill Thursday 25th May 2017 at 12am GMT.

This giveaway is open internationally!

All entrants under the age of 18 must have parental permission to enter.

Please be aware that if you are entering from overseas, you may be liable to pay customs tax (or the equivalent), so please check before entering.

You can enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter widget posted below (click HERE is you would like to know more about Rafflecopter).
I’ll announce the winners on THIS blog post and contact them directly through email.
The winner has 24 hours to respond, otherwise I will have to select another winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Thank for stopping by and seeing what we are putting in our Ramadan Baskets this year.

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

Homeschool Mom Tag on YouTube!

Homeschol mom tag on Youtube

This blog post may contain affiliate links. Please see disclaimer for more information.

Do you want to know about where we buy homeschool supplies from, what homeschooling approach we take, and if I get help to teach the kids? Then you need to WATCH THIS VIDEO!

This tag has been going around the homeschooling YouTube community for the past few weeks. It was started by Rachel from day2dayjoys and I was tagged by The Precious Years and Sarah Javed to answer these questions:

Homeschol mom tag on Youtube

Homeschool Tag Questions

1. Were you homeschooled?
2. Did you know always know you’d homeschool your children?
3. What are your 3 favorite books in your homeschool library?
4. Are you the only “teacher”? Does your spouse help, outsource help, tutors, etc.
5. Where is your favorite place to buy homeschool curriculum?
6. Do you have a set budget for your homeschool?
7. What are 2 must have homeschool supplies?
8. What’s your favorite/least favorite subject to teach?
9. Are you involved in coops or homeschool groups? What has your experience been in these groups?
10. What is your approach? ( Charlotte mason, eclectic, classical, etc)

Watch this video to see how I answered all these great questions!

WATCH THIS VIDEO:

Here are links to the books I mentioned in this video:

My Favourite Homeschooling Books

For Mothers:

Teaching from Rest by Sarah McKenzie – Amazon UKAmazon USA

For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer – Amazon UKAmazon USA

The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer (New Edition) – Amazon UKAmazon USA

For Kids:

Winnie-the-Pooh: The Complete Collection – Amazon UK – Amazon USA

The World of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter – Amazon UK – Amazon USA

Pinocchio by C. Collodi – Amazon UK – Amazon USA

 

If you would like to watch the playlist of all the other mothers taking part, CLICK HERE!

I am tagging anyone who would like to take part.

You can make a YouTube video, write a blog post

or just leave your answers in the comments below!

I’d love to hear how you do things in your family!

 

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

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