Preschool Learning at Home + FREE GUIDE

Muslim homeschool curriculum

This week on the Our Muslim Homeschool Facebook and Instagram  accounts, I was LIVE chatting about, “Preschool Learning at Home“.

We talked about:

  • What is most important to establish in these early years.
  • Learning Objectives to work towards at home, for children upto the age of 5 years old.
  • Book recommendations to learn more about homeschooling

So here it is!

WATCH THIS VIDEO!

This blog-post contains affiliate links. For more information see our Disclaimer.


To help you and your children, I’ve created this hand-out for you. It’s completely FREE! I don’t even want your email address!

Click on the link to download:

** FREE Early Years Learning Guide **

How to Use your Early Years Guide

This Early Years Learning Guide has been adapted from the Early Years Statutory Framework, that is used across the UK in nurseries and with reception aged children. I have tried to simplify it and make it more relevant to a typical homelife.

In this FREE guide, I set out learning objectives that you can work on with your children aged 3-5 years old.

Print it out, display it on your fridge or calendar, or just upload it onto your phone. Every morning, take a look at it, and try to work on one “box” or learning category that day.

You do not need to hit every category each day. Just try to work towards one of the learning objectives each day, and cover all the boxes at least once every week.

I hope it gives you some confidence and a sense of purpose as you begin to take charge of your children’s education.

I show more details on how to use it in the video above, so you’ll want to watch it!

DOWNLOAD FREE Early Years Learning Guide HERE!


Homeschooling Books Mentioned in the Video:

I also recommended the following book:


Make sure you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, so you can watch next week’s video LIVE on Sunday 25th November 2018 at 10am GMT.

The topic next week will be:

“How Superwomen do it all!: Part 2 – Time Management & Productivity”

I hope I’ll see you there!

Peace and Love,

Living history curriculum islamic

 

 

 

How Super Mums Do it All + FREE Planner!

Muslim homeschool curriculum

This week on the Our Muslim Homeschool Facebook and Instagram  accounts, I was LIVE chatting with you all on the topic of “How Super Mums do-it-all!”

We talked about:

  • Why creating a support team is important
  • Reasons why we often don’t ask for help
  • Uncover where we need to ask for support
  • Steps to build your own dream team!

So here it is!

Watch this video!

 


To help you create your own dream team, or support network, I’ve created this hand-out for you. It’s completely FREE! I don’t even want your email address!

Click on the link below to download your FREE Super Mum’s Dream Team Planner.

I show you how to use it in the video above, so you’ll want to watch it!

Super Mum’s Dream Team Planner –

 


Make sure you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, so you can watch next week’s video LIVE on Sunday 18th November 2018 at 10am GMT.

The topic next week will be, “Under 4? Tell me more!” I’ll be chatting about preschool learning at home, what it looks like and how to approach it.

I hope I’ll see you there!

Peace and Love,

Living history curriculum islamic

Finding Confidence in Homeschooling

Muslim homeschool curriculum

This week on the Our Muslim Homeschool Facebook and Instagram  accounts, I was LIVE chatting with you all on the topic of “How to find confidence in homeschooling.”

We talked about:

  • What confidence TRULY is,
  • Why have a sense of self-worth, separate from the children lives, is so important to a mother and her family,
  • Practical steps you can take to gain more confidence in your homeschool life,
  • and I answered a few of your questions!

So here it is!

Watch this video!


You may want to have a notebook ready to take notes, especially if this is topic you are particularly interested in.


Make sure you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, so you can watch next week’s video LIVE on Sunday 11th November 2018 at 10am GMT.

The topic next week will be, “How Superwomen do it all!”

I hope I’ll see you there!

Peace and Love,

Living history curriculum islamic

Muslim Homeschool Curriculum Choices | 1st & 3rd Grade

Muslim homeschool curriculum

As a Muslim homeschooling family, I wanted to create a curriculum that aligns with our values, and helps us to live a life together that we love and that I am passionate about..

Using the Charlotte Mason philosophy to guide my decisions, I have designed a homeschool curriculum that nurtures my children’s love for learning, ignites their innate curiosity, and empowers me as their teacher and mother to teach with confidence and joy.

Inspired by Charlotte Mason, I have tried to bring God to the heart of every subject, and connect everything with our creator.

This blog-post contains affiliate links. See Disclaimer for more information.

 

I needed a curriculum that made me excited to wake up in the morning! I needed a curriculum that would touch the hearts of my children! I needed a curriculum that I couldn’t wait to learn from myself!

But I couldn’t find one out there! So, with the help and inspiration of many other Charlotte Mason resources, I put a curriculum together myself.

And here it friends, for you all to enjoy and, I hope, benefit from! insha’Allah

My eldest son is 8 years-old, and my youngest son is 6 years-old. Please assume that the resources outlined below are used by both boys, unless indicated by a (8) or (6) in brackets. However, as the boys use most of the materials together, please consider this curriculum  suitable for children in 1st-3rd grade, year 2-4 in the UK.

And I’ve made a little video to go along with this blogpost too. ENJOY!


WATCH THIS VIDEO!

If you’d like to see the curriculum we used last year, when the boys were 7 and 5, CLICK HERE!


Language Arts / English

Our study of English is based around reading, copying and narrating back high-quality literature and poetry. We have chosen, as recommended by Charlotte Mason, to delay the study of grammar and spelling until our children are at least 9 years-old.

Handwriting

We make out own handwriting sheets on  Worksheet Works using excerpts from books we are reading, poetry or ahadith. It’s a wonderful free resource!

Literature

These are books that I plan to read-aloud to the children, in addition to other subjects. We may use Audible to listen to some of them in audiobook form.

Ayat Jamilah: Beautiful Signs by Conover

Aesop’s Fables for Children

Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder (8) – Note, there are some unacceptable racial terms used in these books. We use this as an opportunity for conversation and growth insha’Allah.

We use Audible A LOT! If you would like to try it out, they have a FREE TRIAL on at the moment, where you get your First Book Free, you can cancel anytime, and you’ll  still have access to that book!

CLICK HERE for your FREE TRIAL!
Reading

We do not follow a specific reading curriculum. The children are not forced to read any particular book, but rather are given a choice and then are required to read aloud to me 2-3 times a week. They also have 20 minutes free-reading in the afternoon, where they can read whatever they want…even car magazines! I hope that this relaxed approach will encourage them to develop a love of reading, rather than it becoming a chore and only a “school subject”.

The Boxcar Children (#1) by Gertrude C. Warner (8)

The Light of His Beauty by Maryam Qadri (8) – The birth of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

A Race to Prayer: Sulaiman’s rewarding Day by Aliya Vaughan (8)

The Hardy Boys – Treasure Tower (#1) by Franklin Dixon (8)

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois (8)

The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen by Lloyd Alexander (8)

I Wonder – About the Prophet (#3) by Ozkan Oze (8)

Frindle by Andrew Clements (8)

 

Billy and Blaze Series by C. W. Anderson (6) – We LOVE this series!

Nate the Great series by Marjorie Sharmat (6)

Brambley Hedge Series by Jill Barklem (6)

Poetry

It is our aim to read poetry aloud everyday , even if only for a few minutes.

 Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

Sing Song – A Nursery Rhyme Book by Rossetti – Please note, some of these poems maybe unsuitable for sensitive children.

Now we are Six – A. A. Milne

Montmorency’s Book of Rhymes by T.J. Winter (Islamic Children’s rhymes)

Treasury of Read-Aloud Poems for Young People by G. Hale

Shakespeare

We will be looking at one play each term. I feel more comfortable presenting plays that have less romance in, as so we will be beginning with The Tempest.

Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children by E.Nesbit (easier language)

Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb

 

Maths

For Maths, we are using the wonderful Life of Fred Math Series. My 8 year-old are currently working on Kidneys and my 6 year-old on Butterflies.

Life of Fred Math bundle

If any concepts requires further reinforcement I will use other online resources. A favourite of mine is Math Mammoth.

Islam

My boys attend Arabic, Quran and Seerah classes outside of the home. However, we also do incorporate many Islamic sciences into out  homeschool schedule, as well as trying to refer back to our creator or deeper lessons whenever they arise in our school day.

Quran (Arabic)

Quran (English)

Qaidah (6) – ‘Uthamani Script or Indo-Pak Script

Islamic Studies – Year 3 (8) and Year 1 (6)

Safar Islamic Studies bundle

Arabic Handwriting (6)

We also look at Seerah, the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) which I have included in our History curriculum. For seerah, we use Muhammad by Martin Lings

Nature Study

Nature study forms the foundation of our scientific learning. Through the study of nature I hope the children will learn to observe, records and question what they see around them. More formal science lessons will start when they are older insha’Allah.

Our focus this coming year will be Trees, and Star and Planets, although we will learn about other things things that interest them along the way too!

Nature Lore

Country Tales by Enid Blyton

Hedgerow Tales by Enid Blyton

Woodland Tales by Enid Blyton

James Herriot’s Treasury for Children

Star Stories for Little Folks by Gertrude Chandler

Find the Constellations by Rey

Trees and Shrubs by Arabella Buckley

Wild british mammals living books Charlotte Mason Homeschool

Nature Journaling

Usbourne Spotter’s guides

Nature Journals

Geography

This year, we are focusing on Physical geography,

Elementary Geography by Charlotte Mason

Home Geography for Primary Grades by C.C. Long

In addition to this, the boys often refer back to the atlas when a new place in mentioned in their history or literature books.

History

Our focus for history this coming year wil be the late medieval period, the Tudors and Stewarts. We will also focussing on Seerah, and studying the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

We have a HUGE selection of history books that we use to teach this subject. For more information, to see this extensive book list, please read the blog-post about it or watch this video.

islamic homeschool history

Modern Languages

My children are learning Arabic and French this year.

They attend Arabic classes outside of the home, and so my primary focus during school-hours is to teach them French.

Hachettes Illustrated French Primer

Un Deux Trois: First French Rhymes

La Chenille: qui fait des trous

Comptines a chanter

Artist Study

Every term, the children learn about a new artist and become familiar with there artwork.

If you’re not sure what Artist/ Picture study is, you should read this blog-post or watch this video!

FREE Picture Study Guides

Picture study charlotte mason how to guide

Drawing

We are taking a very relaxed stance on artwork this year, allowing the children more freedom to draw and create in ways that excite them. For this, we will use Pinterest or Youtube for ideas or tutorials.

Prang Water colour paints

Sketch pads

Interest-Led

Touch Typing

My eldest son has expressed an interest in learning to type. For that we are using TypeKids.com. You can read my review on this programme HERE.

homeschool touch typing

Lego Club

My younger son expressed an interest in joining a local Lego club this year.

If you’d like to know more about Lego clubs, Click HERE.

Muslim homeschool

I’m so excited for this coming year ahead and to use these fabulous resources with my children; resources that I believe truly reflect our values.

And, I’m looking forward to sharing that journey with you too!

If you have any questions, pop them for me in the comments below!

Peace and Love,

Living history curriculum islamic

 

 

 

Homeschool Touch Typing: a TypeKids Review

homeschool touch typing

Homeschooling my children allows us to follow their interests and passions, and gives them a freedom to learn what they want to. In the past, this approach has lead us down many fascinating avenues, and this year my eldest son asked me if he could learn touch typing! I was delighted to discover the online programme TypeKids and couldn’t wait to begin using it in our homeschool!

Homeschool touch typing

My family was gifted full access to TypeKids for review, and I compensated for my time.

Why Teach Touch Typing?

The primary reason we are teaching touch typing in our homechool this year is because my son wanted to learn it!

In the near future, we hope to utilize his typing skills in our homeschool by allowing him to type some of his narrations and the special study units that we do as part of our Charlotte Mason curriculum.

In his future, I believe touch typing will be a necessary skill if he wants to attend college or university. Similarly, most professions today will require some skill in typing and computing.

Thankfully, once you learn to touch type, you know it forever (assuming you practice the skill regularly)! It’s a bit like riding a bike!

homeschool touch typing

Using TypeKids

TypeKids is an online touch typing course for children, that has been creating with the aim of being “The Most Fun Course in the World!”

The course is pirate-themed…which (of course) my son loves! It uses a combination of exercises, reviews and games to teach children to type efficiently and accurately. He especially enjoys being rewarded for his success with special badges and access to new games!

I remember the programme I used to learn typing and (without saying too much and giving my age away!) this course worlds apart from that archaic programme! It is colourful, fun, entertaining and my son looks forward to using it.

homeschool touch typing

TypeKids for your Homeschool

We use TypeKids just once a week as part of our homeschool schedule for just 10-15 minutes. However, as the parent, you are given the freedom to decide yourself how often your children will access the course.

One of the huge benefits for us is that TypeKids is easy for my son (8 years-old) to navigate independently. This means I am free to work one-on-one with my younger son on another subject when his needs my focused attention.

As lessons are completed, TypeKids send parents progress reports via email, so that you can keep track with how you child is doing with the programme. You could even print out these reports to add to your homeschool records.

homeschool touch typing

TypeKids is a fantastic programme for those of you who are looking for a fun approach to teaching touch typing. For more information visit TypeKids.com

They currently have a FREE TRIAL available so your children can try the first three lessons for FREE! If you would like to try it out, visit their website.

Do your children know how to touch type?
Do you consider it an important skill to learn?
What resources have you used to teach them to type?
Please share with us all in the comments below.
 

LATER EDIT 12/10/18

It has come to my attention that a character in Lesson 3 uses the word “dumb@*!” I was surprised that this word would be used in a children’s programme! However, I have not come across any other strong language in this touch typing course.

Peace and Love,

Living history curriculum islamic

Homeschool History Curriculum | Islamic & British

islamic homeschool history
  • History is one of my favourite subjects to teach in our homeschool, especially Islamic history! I am very excited to share with you our Living History curriculum choices for the coming homeschool year!

Download our FREE Homeschool History Reading Plan, and you can read these beautiful books along with our family! (More information is at the end of this blog-post.)

Further research of the Charlotte Mason method of education has led me to many delightful discoveries; one of which is her method of teaching history through living books and biographies. This coming school year, I will be using this methodology to teach my two young boys, ages 6 and 8, more about later Medieval times in Britain and the Islamic world. Towards the middle of the year, we hope to start learning about the Tudors.

Islamic homeschool living history curriculum

This blog-post may include affiliate links. Please see Disclaimer for more information.

If you’re interested in learning more about Charlotte Mason’s method of teaching History: CLICK HERE

I have collected together an assortment of beautiful books that we will use this year; some we will read together as a family, and others are independent reading for my eight year-old. This curriculum also incorporates Islamic History.

If you would like to use this curriculum in your homeschool as well, please scroll down to the bottom of this blog post, and you can download our Homeschool History Reading Plan  for FREE!

You can also WATCH THIS VIDEO, to get a closer look at all these lovely books!

These are the selection of Living History Books we hope to use this coming year:

Family History Read-alouds

 

The Story of Britain by Patrick Dillon

UK | USA

People in History by R.J. Unstead

UK | USA

This book is harder to source in USA, and may be cheaper to buy from Amazon UK, and ship over.

Muhammad: His life based on the earliest sources by Martin Lings

UK | USA

Columbus by Ingri  & Edgar Parin D’Aulaire

UK | USA

The topic of Columbus, an how to teach it, is a difficult dillema for many parents, as the horrific atrocities committed upon the native people of America are ignored by most historical accounts in children’s books. This is an excellent article to help you navigate this issue with your children.

Independent Reading/ Biographies (Ages 8+)

We hope that my son will read as many of these books as he can over the whole year, reading for only 10 minutes interdependently from them each school day.

Please note: I have not yet pre-read all of these books, but I plan too insha’Allah. I would always advise you to pre-read anything that your child will be reading independently.

 

 

islamic homeschool history

Bard of Avon by Diane Stanley

UK | USA

All About Leonardo da Vinci by Emily Hahn

UK | USA

Al Ghazali by Demi

UK | USA

Traveling Man: The Journey of Ibn Battuta by James Rumford

UK | USA

 

The Silk Route by John S.Major

UK | USA

Ibn Sina: A Concise History by Edoardo Albert

UK | USA

This book is harder than the others. We may chose to do this one as a family read-aloud if my son struggles with it.

Saladin: The Muslim Warrior who defended his people

UK | USA

The Emperor’s Winding Sheet  by Jill Paton Walsh

UK | USA

Leyla: The Black Tulip by A. Croutier

UK | USA

So this is our plan for the coming year for History, insha’Allah.

History Curriculum: Islamic and European History

If you would like to read along with us, I have planned out the first term (12 weeks) of family reading, which you can DOWNLOAD HERE: Homeschool History Reading Plan.

As I mentioned above, this is a continuation of last year’s study of the medieval times, and so the British history component begins with Henry V (1413).

I do not plan out my son’s independent reading, but instead allow him to select a book from the list above, and read from it for 10 minutes daily. This approach could also work for your family.

To use the reading schedule, simply reading down the list the in order; beginning from the top and working your way down to the bottom. Each square correlates with the number of readings/sittings it will take to complete the chapter; e.g. 2 squares indicates that it will probably take 2 sittings to read through that particular chapter. You can even use this as a checklist if you like, and tick off each reading as you complete it.

The chapter names are written in the left-hand column, and the colour of the box indicates the which book it is from. There is a “key” to help make this clearer. If you need any further help with this reading schedule, please leave me a comment below and I’ll do my best to help insha’Allah.

Download your…

FREE History Reading Schedule:

–>Homeschool History Reading Plan <–

 

Islamic homeschool history living curriculum

If you do decide to read along with us, please take a photo and share it with the hashtag #OMHHistory. I would love to see how your family are using this curriculum.

What history books have your family enjoyed reading? Do you have any favourites?

Please share with us in the comments below!

Peace and Love,

Living history curriculum islamic

 

 

 

Homeschool History | Living Books and Curriculum Options

Homeschool history living curriclum

Are you struggling to choose a Homeschool History curriculum? There are so many different curricula and living books available, that choosing the right “fit” can become quickly overwhelming!

In this blog-post I’ll be reviewing three of the most popular Homeschool History curricula, that we have personal experience with, to help you decide what would be best for your children. I’ll also be discussing why the study of History is so important in a child’s education.

homeschool history living books curriculum

This blog-post contains affiliate links. See Disclaimer for more information.

Why Study History

In this modern educational culture, we have come to view History as a supplemental subject; a subject that is done merely to enrich the more “important” disciplines. However I would argue, as Charlotte Mason did over a hundred years ago, that history is “vital part of education.” (Vol. 6, p.169).

Understanding the events and people of the past, can help us to understand our own reality, and place in this world. The study of history exposes our children to worthy ideas, foreign worlds, people of noble character, and can act as an antithesis to the misguidance and trappings of modernity. It helps children to see what virtue looks like, through their imagination, and begins to train their powers of reasoning.

“…a subject which should be to the child an inexhaustible storehouse of ideas, should enrich the chambers of his House Beautiful with a thousand tableaux, pathetic and heroic, and should form in him, insensibly, principles where by he will hereafter judge of the behavior of nations, and will rule his own conduct as one of a nation.”

-Vol. 1 p.279

History, when taught by the principles set out by Charlotte Mason, enocurages children to relate to those unlike them; to humanize people from other nations and distant times.

“If he comes to think…that the people of some other land were, at one tome, at any rate, better than we, why, so much the better for him.”

-Vol.1, p.281

History has far more to offer our children that just the memorization of facts and dates. It can help to shape they character and guide the way they think.

Homeschool history living curriclum

Like many, I was taught history using a dry textbook followed by comprehension questions. These questions tested my ability to pick facts out of the text, but did not develop my person in any way. I consider the many years I spent sitting in those history lessons time wasted; little information was retained, no ideas imbued, and any interest I once had for history quashed. The great thoughts and personalities of history remained hidden from me until I began to learn alongside my children using the Charlotte Mason method.

Charlotte Mason History

Charlotte Mason advised us to take our time with history; to dwell on those time and people who inspire our children, instead of rushing through in the effrot to cover “everything”.

“Let him, on the contrary, linger pleasantly over the history of a single man, a short period, until he thinks the thoughts of that man, is at home in the ways of that period.” -Vol. 1, p.280

She also recommend the use of living books to teach history, specifically mentioning “Our Island Story” by H. E. Marshall  (Vol. 6, p.169) as the main text in the first two years (Form 1B and 1A), as well as reading well-written biographies of historical figures from Form 1A onwards.

Alternatively, many homeschooling families choose to use The Story of the World, by Susan Wise-Bauer as their main text or sole history curriculum. Another option is A Child’s History of the World by V. M. Hillyer.

Homeschool History Options

The Story of the World, Our Island Story and A Child’s History of the World are the three most popular choices of homeschool history curriculum.

This blog post aims to compare these three popular homeschool history texts, and highlight their strengths, weakness, and differences.

To help you further, I’ve made this Youtube video showing the books themselves, and discussing some of this details further. WATCH THIS VIDEO:

Story of the World

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

The Story of the World, by Susan Wise-Bauer is one of the most popular homeschool history curricula on the market. It was written to follow the classical educational model, however many CM families also use it.

The complete series consists of four volumes, which cover history chronologically from Ancient times through to the Modern age.

Story of the world review

In previous years we have  worked through Volume 1 (Ancient times), which covers world history from 7000B.C. to the Fall of Rome. However, for reasons I will explain later, we chose not to move onto Volume 2 – Medieval Times.

Each chapter is 3-4 pages long (A5), with plentiful black-and-white illusatrations and maps throughout. It is written in a conversational style, which appeals to many children, as it is easy to understand and is generally very entertaining.

The books do include Biblical stories and mythology. There has also been some concern voiced about the portrayal of Prophet Muhammad in Volume 2. I have not read this volume myself, so I cannot comment on the specifics.

Although the author makes a concerted effort to cover the history of many nations, it is still very much euro-centric world view, and so many families may feel the need to supplement this curriculum.

There are also optional Activity books available to go along with the main text. For every chapter in the main text, the activity book contains cross-references in encyclopedias, additional reading, extensive recommendations for audio-books and literature. The activity books also contain reproducible maps and coloring pages, as well as lists of crafts projects.

Our experience of using The Story of the World Vol. 1 was mixed. The children seemed to enjoy it, and found it fun and easy to understand, which was perfect for our first year homeschooling. It also gave me an idea of how to teach history in a home-setting, which was a very valuable lesson.

Unfortunately, the conversational, modern writing style did not encourage those “juicy” conversations that other living books can encourage.

I also found that the children had retained very little from the text a few days after the lesson. I also found the fast-paced nature of the book very frustrating, as the author has tried to cover so much history in just one book. Whilst I understand the thought-process behind that, I found that my children and I were not given the chance to form connections and relations with the material.

In hind-sight I could have slowed our progress down, and taken two years over the book, instead of one, adding in additional reading and other living books. However, as a new homeschool mum, I lacked the confidence to step away from the authors recommendations.

However, having spoken to many other homeschooling families, it seems that this is exactly what others have done; using The Story of the World as their “spine” and supplementing with their own resources and literature.

I feel that The Story of the World is a fantastic resource for teaching homeschool history. It is ideal for those who are uncomfortable teaching the subject and need some guidance, those new to home-education, or families who feel more confident reading modern English.

Personally, I would not class The Story of the World as a living book, as it did not inspire my children to great ideas, or spark interesting conversations. It is also not a book that I would pick up and read for fun, unlike other some other history books, that I will discuss later in this series.

The Story of the World is the perfect “middle-ground” for those interested in stepping away from the “textbook-workbook model” of teaching, but who are not yet comfortable or interested in using living books.

 

Our Island Story

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Our Island Story the primary history text recommended by Charlotte Mason in Volume 1 for forms 1B and 1A (children under 9 years-old).

This beautifully written book tells the story of Britain in chronological order from pre-history through to Queen Victoria. Each chapter is approximately 3-4 pages long and focuses on a historical figure, their story, moral character and contribution to the history of Britain.

Our Island Story review

The book also contains some poetry and Shakespeare quotes which could be used for further study and memorisation. There are also a few beautifully hand-painted illustrations in some chapters for the reader to enjoy. There is also list of Kings ad Queens at the beginning of the book, which could be useful when constructing your timeline or Book of the Centuries.

Unlike The Story of the World, there are no maps, and no accompanying activity books. If your children enjoys crafts and hands-on activities, you may choose to find these activities yourself.

The book is written in an older English, with richer language than most modern history books. It may take some time for children to get used to this language if the are not already accustomed to it.

It is written from an English (not British) Christian world view,  and this should be born in mind when discussing the Crusades and other such conquests within and around the UK.

Due to its world-view, and the fact it only covers the history of Britain, you may wish to supplement this book with additional reading.

We stopped using this book after six months as my son was finding the language difficult to understand and narrate from. However, I feel this book has a lot to offer and I hope to re-introduce it into their homeschool history curriculum sometime in the future.

Overall, I found this book excited the children’s imagination and filled their young minds with worthy ideas and beautiful stories. I would happily read this book myself for enjoyment and my own self-education!

A Child’s History of the World

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

A Child’s History of the World was written by V. M. Hillyer, the late Head Master of the Calvert School, Baltimore. Focusing on the stories of historical figures, it covers World History from pre-history all the way through to the Cold War. Although written in conversational, modern English, the language is rich and engaging.

Homeschool history living curriculum

There are black-and-white illustrations and maps scattered throughout the book. The chapters are approximately 4-5 pages long. There is no accompanying activity book, and so parents may wish to supplement with other material.

We primarily used the Audiobook version from Audible. The narrator was very entertaining and read the book beautifully. I would highly recommend it!

Although the author writes from a Western worldview, I felt that he was respectful to other faiths and people, a fact that may have been noted by the people behind the Ambleside online and Bookshark curriculum who have included it in their elementary years history curricula.

Through his writing, the author also highlights and raising questions about good character and morals throughout.

Please note, this book does contain Biblical stories and mythology. Also, as it is attempting to cover a large period of time in one volume, many important historical events are not included or are skimmed over. As the parent, you may wish to add in additional reading.

The book itself is paperback, self-published and not as attractive as the other homeschool history curricula mentioned. Despite this, A Child’s History of the World is an engaging introduction to world history for children aged 5-9 years old and well worth your consideration.

homeschool history living curriculum

These are the main three homeschool history curricula that you will see mentioned in literature-based, Classical and Charlotte Mason homeschools.

However, as I have hinted towards, there are many more options! In the next blog post and Youtube video, I will be discussing some alternative books and methods that we use to teach history in our homeschool.

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you found these reviews helpful.

Don’t forget to WATCH THE VIDEO, and if you have any questions, please leave them for me in the comments below.

Peace and Love,

Charlotte Mason Picture study how to

 

 

How to do Picture Study Lessons in your Homeschool

Picture study charlotte mason homeschool how to

Picture study is one of the easiest components of a Charlotte Mason education to incorporate into your homeschool curriculum. You do not need to know anything yourself about art, or art history. I repeat …You do NOT need to know ANYTHING about art or art history to begin. All you need is knowledge of the method and a few worthy resources.

Picture study charlotte mason homeschool how to

Why is Picture Study important?

In today’s society, the importance of the arts has been superseded by STEM and the other sciences. We have lost touch with the great artistic masters of past. Now, the masses only see fragments, distorted reproductions of the original genius of these men and women. For most of us, the only exposure we get to great art might be a coffee shop using the Mona Lisa in it’s logo, or a travel advert for Japan using a work of art by Hokusai.

Many of us will have heard of  Leonardo Da Vinci, or Claude Monet, and will have seen their art used in advertisements on billboards and the TV, but have little to draw upon from our own education.

Just as the great works of literature give us glimpses in the the mighty thoughts of the world’s great authors, so too picture study can give us insight into the ideas and minds of those artists. It puts children in touch with worthy ideas and inspires them with something more than modern life can offer.

” We cannot measure the influence that one or another artist has upon the child’s sense of beauty, upon his power of seeing, as in a picture, the common sights of life; he is enriched more than we know in having really looked at a single picture.” – Charlotte Mason

 

charlotte mason picture study

Picture study offers our children a store of images in their mind, to balance out the media’s influence and attempt to monopolize their senses.

Picture study also:

  • Improves a child’s power of observation
  • Develop a sense of beauty
  • Connects them with an artist of a piece of art
  • Helps them to form opinion about art and their own taste in it
  • Encourages them to draw and be creative themselves

How to do Picture Study

From the ages of 6 to 15 Charlotte Mason recommended that children become acquainted with at least thirty of the world’s most famous artists.

I have filmed a short video, showing glimpses into our own Picture study lesson, in the hope that it will make what is written here clearer.

WATCH THIS VIDEO!

First begin by choosing the artist you wish them to study. In our first year, we began with Leonardo Da Vinci as it was easy to find the resources we needed, and I was slightly familiar with his work.

However, please remember, you do not need to know ANYTHING about the artist before you begin. In fact, it will only add to your enjoyment of this subject, as you find yourself learning alongside the children.

Examples of artists to study include:

  • Van Gogh
  • Claude Monet
  • Hokusai
  • Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Cezanne
  • Georgia O’Keeffe

The next step is to find six works of art by that artist for that school term, and studying three different artists per year.

Display one of those pieces in front of your children, and ask them to look at it closely, in silence. Allow them plenty of time to, not only absorb it, but to think and ponder over it. Then, when they are finished, hide the art from them and ask them to describe it.

Try your best not to prompt them with leading questions, like “What colour was her dress?” or “What was the weather like?” Just simply say, ” Tell me about it.” They will almost certainly not remember everything, but they don’t need to. By narrating in this way, they are performing a much higher thought process; of observing, processing, recalling and articulating those thoughts in their own words.

Muslim homeschool circle time
Artwork on display during school day

If you prompt too much, you are in danger of having your children become dependent on your questions, like we often see in school comprehension worksheets and multiple choice questions. Allow your children to think for themselves.

If your child is not used to narration, and is struggling to recall it or articulate his thoughts, then let him see the painting as he narrates. It is difficult skill to develop, so take it slow and try to keep the atmosphere joyful.

For older children, you can allow them to sketch from memory what they saw if they would like to.

Charlotte Mason picture study

 

 

The next step is to display that piece of art somewhere in your home so that the children can see it frequently through out their day.

The following week, repeat the process with the SAME piece of art. You will hopefully find that your children have more to say!

It can be helpful to tell the children a little about the artist or the painting before you begin. If the painting is about a story, it can be helpful to tell your children this story before you begin the picture study. Likewise, knowing a little more about the artist they are studying, will help them to form connections with him/her. Knowing more about the mind behind the art will encourage your children to look more closely at the work itself.

After 2 weeks, switch to another piece art by that same artist. In so doing, your child will some to  know at least 6 of the artist’s works each term. That’s an incredible achievement!

Picture Study Resources

For the art prints themselves, I would always recommend getting the largest prints you can find and display easily.

Postcards and images in art textbooks are often too small for multiple children to see at once, and inevitably loose the finer details.

We personally use wall calendars of a specific artist. These tend to be much cheaper than books, the prints are a good size, and they are easy to display on our kitchen wall. Here are a few examples of some we have used:

Georgia O’Keeffe

Hokusai

Claude Monet

Another option, is to look for larger “coffee-table books” on a specific artist. You can usually find some in your local library or on Amazon.

We have also used “Print Packs” from the Great Artist Collection. These contain a selection of six beautiful colour prints along with extensive information about the artist and his/her work:

Paul Cezanne UK USA

Vincent Van Gogh UK USA

Renoir UK USA

Claude Monet UK USA

 

The organsiation Simply Charlotte Mason also produces lovely Picture Study Portfolios that contains eight prints and a handbook.We have not tried these ourselves, but I have heard they are a excellent.

Children’s artist biographies can also be found at the library, but I would strongly recommend pre-reading these so you can omit the less-wholesome parts of the artist’s lives that young children do not need to know about. However, it may be worthwhile older children knowing the full picture, as these parts of their lives will have inevitably influenced their art, and will make for meaningful discussions with you.

Here are a few artist biographies, in the form of living books, that we have enjoyed with our young children:

  • Linnea in Monet’s Garden  UK USA
  • My name is is Georgia (O’Keeffe)  UK USA
  • Camille and the Sunflowers (Van Gough) UK USA
  • Cezanne and the Apple Boy UK USA
  • Leonardo and the Flying Boy UK USA

During their lesson, we use a wooden cookbook stand to hold the calendar or book.

From the age of fourteen, art history is incorporated into the Charlotte Mason curriculum, where children learn how the artist worldview would have influenced their art.

homeschool how to

The picture study lessons will take no more that 10-15 minutes a week, but the influence that they have will be lifelong. To be able to store “a couple of hundred pictures by great masters hanging permanently in the halls of [their] imagination” is a worthy endeavor.

Other useful Picture Study links

It you have any questions about picture study please leave them for me in the comments below.

Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog and read my thoughts on this topic.

Peace and Love,

Charlotte Mason Picture study how to

 

Wild Mammals: Living Books

Wild british mammals living books Charlotte Mason Homeschool

We recently wrapped up our nature study unit on wild mammals, and I realized that it may be useful to share some of the living books we used for it in our homeschool.

We follow the nature study rotation set out by Ambleside Online and it is these books that make up the nature lore, tales and nature study components of that Charlotte Mason education.

For more information on our Homeschool Curriculum Choices, CLICK HERE.

Wild british mammals living books Charlotte Mason Homeschool

This blog-post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see our Disclaimer.

To get a better feel for, and to see inside, these beautiful living books, watch the video below. It’s always useful to see inside  children’s books before you purchase, so please take the time to watch this video.

WATCH THIS VIDEO:

 

Wild Mammal Nature Study: Living Books

Below you will find a list of the books that I recommend for the study of wild mammals. Please note, you do not need to purchase them all!

Rather, just chose the ones that suit your family’s needs.

Britain’s Mammals: A Field Guide to the Mammals of Britain and Ireland

This book is part of the WILDGuides series, and I have been so impressed with the quality of this reference book, that I am looking to buy more in the series!

This reference book lays out very interesting facts about British mammals, alongside detailed scientific diagrams, charts, maps and stunning photography.

The information in this book was so extensive, that we did not need to look in any other reference book during the duration of our nature study unit.

To purchase this book, CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW:

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

 

Enid Blyton’s Nature Series

These delightful living books are a collection of stories featuring wild animals from the British Isles. The stories capture the child’s imagination and interest, whilst also teaching them important information about the species’ habitat, behaviour and other natural history.

There are three books in this series, and they cover wild animals from all the major animal kingdoms; including mammals, birds, reptiles,fish and amphibians. These books are suitable for children aged 5-8 years old.

Wild british mammals living books Charlotte Mason Homeschool

Country Tales:

Species covered include: Deer, Dormouse, Bat, Mole, Hedgehog, Blackbird, Rats, Stoats, Weasel, Rabbit, Robin, Bullfinch, Kingfisher, Moorhen, Eel, Toad.

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Hedgerow Tales:

Species covered:Rabbit, Hare, Hedgehog, Swallows, House Martins, Field vole, Water vole, Toad, Frog, Cuckoo

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Woodland Tales

Species covered: Fox, Badger, Adder, Grass snake, Nuthatch, Woodpecker, Spider, Sparrow, Red squirrel, Grey squirrel,Bumble-bee, Wasp, Otter.

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Wild british mammals living books Charlotte Mason Homeschool

Collins Animal Lives

This charming living books narrate the story on one specific species per book. They are aimed at older children, aged 8 -12 years old. Through their study, children will become intimately acquainted with the animal, and associated species, and it’s natural history.

There are five books in the series:

Talpa: The Story of a Mole

Amazon UK

Capreolus: The Story of a Roe Deer

Amazon UK

Vulpina: The Story of a Fox

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Sciurus: The Story of a Grey Squirrel

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Lutra: The Story of the Otter

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

For Friends in North America

For those of you homeschooling in USA or Canada, you can use the books I have mentioned previously, and make it relevant to your locality. In addition, I would also recommend the following books:

The Burgess Animal Book for Children

This is a collection of stories about animals in North America, and is widely used by many in the Charlotte Mason communities.

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Wild british mammals living books Charlotte Mason Homeschool

Handbook of Nature Study

This is an extensive collection of lesson plans, and information about the nature found in North America. It covers teaching nature study, animals, plants, and earth and sky.

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

 

Wild british mammals living books Charlotte Mason Homeschool

In addition to these books, I have heard that books by Arabella Buckley are excellent sources of Nature lore, although we have not yet read them ourselves.

I hope this list help you to select the best living books for your children, and makes nature study even more enjoyable for your homeschooling family.

If you have any further recommendations, please share them with us all in the comments below. I’m always looking out for new books!

Also, if you have any questions, please feel free to leave them for me in the comments section below.

Peace and love,

EASY Ramadan Activities for children

Wild british mammals living books Charlotte Mason Homeschool

 

5 Easy Ramadan Activities for Children

Easy Ramadan Activities Toy Rotation

Ramadan is coming! Mothers everywhere are trying to find a way to create a meaningful and worthwhile Ramadan experience for their children. But honestly, it can be a little overwhelming! I’m here to tell you that you can create lasting and beautiful memories of Ramadan for your children with these easy and simple activities!

This blog post is sponsored by the Miraj Stories App, who allowed my family full access to the app and compensated me for my time.

Easy children activities for Ramadan

For many mothers, the lead up to Ramadan can be a little stressful. Whilst we are excited at the prospect of entering this blessed month, it can also be a time of worry and anxiety: Will I be able to fast? Will I have enough energy to take care of my children? Will I be able to cope?

On top of all of this, we are bombarded with images of Ramadan preparation on social media; amazing women who have hand-crafted beautiful decorations, Ramadan calendars, purchased baskets full of new books and toys for the month, cleaned their home top-to-bottom and already bought their Eid gifts!

For women, like me, who have not done many (or any) of these things it can be a little demoralizing. Before Ramadan even begins, you are left feeling like you’ve failed already.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you haven’t. Although this type of Ramadan preparation is useful and/or beautiful, it is not essential. You do not need to do any of those things to create a meaningful and worthwhile Ramadan experience for your children.

WATCH THIS VIDEO, to find out more! 

All you really need, is to be happy and present with your children during this coming month. Yes, you heard me! You only need to be happy and present with your children!

When you are joyful, and your fill your home with your positive energy, you are creating a joyful atmosphere within your home. When you are happy, they are happy.

Instead of over-exerting yourself with complicated crafts and children’s activities, I want you to instead start a new tradition. This Ramadan, I want your children to remember that joyful atmosphere; when mummy is always there, with us, smiling;  a time when she sat with us more, listened to us more, told us stories and played with us. These are the things that will leave them with a positive experience of Ramadan.

That is a happy Ramadan. That is the Ramadan tradition you want to create in your home.

And that is what its blog post is all about – Simple, easy activities that you can do with your children during Ramadan. These activities will not tire you whilst you’re fasting, they’re free (or cheap), and they can easily be done with things you already have in your home.

Instead of focusing on the final product, as most children’s activities seem to, these activities are centered around building connections with your children; creating deeper bonds and greater meaning to your family’s inner life.

Easy and Free Ramadan Activities

Quran Games

Ramadan is a perfect time for children to learn more about the Quran, memorise it and read it. But I want you to step away from the preconceived ideas you hold about what the study of Quran should look like. I want you, this Ramadan, to make it fun!

By playing simple games as a family, your child will want to read and memorise more Quran than ever before!

An example of such a game would have all players sitting in a circle, reading the same Surah. Each person takes a turn to read one ayat. When you the person reading says a certain word, or letter, or tajweed rule, the other players have to stand up! Alternatively, if its appropriate, you children could act out action when they hear in in a Surah, like “read” or “say”.

These kinds of games will have you children excited by the Quran, learning more Arabic, Tajweed and memorising as they play. To see how we play these games, WATCH THIS VIDEO!

Easy Ramadan Activities Quran Games

Be Household Partners

Fasting can take it toll on parents physically, making household tasks difficult at times. During Ramadan, encourage your children take on certain roles within the household. Instead of telling them that they “Have to do something now because you’re tired”, tell them that you are going to “let them help this month now that they older and more responsible.” The language we use is so powerful.

Although some children might complain a little (or a lot) at first, if presented to them well, these new roles will have them feeling valued and respected. Although they may not seem like much fun, these roles actually help to create feelings of belonging and validation in a child’s psyche.

If you can, chose activities that you will do together, such as cooking or cleaning up after a meal. By working together to prepare the food or tidy up, children will learn that they are an important part of the team. However tasks that they do completely independently are also valuable as they will help to boost their confidence.

Why not allow them to chose the menu for iftar from your cookery books, or have them make the rice or bread everyday. Although learning these skills is valuable, what is even more worthwhile, is the lesson that they’re learning: that you trust them with this task, and that you value them and their contribution.

Examples of household task could include:

  • Preparing, serving or clean up after meals
  • Washing, folding, or putting away laundry
  • Tidying up toys at the end of the day, hoovering or dusting

They’ll remember that Ramadan is a time when the family all pulls together and helps one another. Isn’t that such a perfect lesson for this blessed month?

You can watch how we implement a household partnership in THIS VIDEO.

Ramadan Toy Rotation

Although it can be lovely to buy new toys and books for Ramadan, to present to your children on the first day, many people are not in a situation where they can do that.

Instead, I would encourage you to implement a toy/book rotation system in your home. Before Ramadan begins, put some of the children’s toys out of sight (we hide ours in the attic). Then, when you bring them back out again on the first day of Ramadan, the children will be so excited. If you have enough toys, you could do a weekly rotation, putting away and bringing out “new” toys from your attic every week.

I would also recommend a basket of toys that is only allowed to be used during “quiet time”, and you’ll need to be quite strict about that! In my home, I hope to establish a “quiet time” in the late afternoon, when I start to feel tired and get headaches. Then I know, with this special basket of toys to entertain them, I’ll get some time to rest.

The great thing about restricting access to toys, and creating rotations, is that you do not need to buy anything, rather you are just making the most of what you already have.

Easy Ramadan Activities Toy Rotation

Children’s Prayer Corner

Once again, show your children that you respect them and their spiritual nature, by giving them their own prayer corner.

Turn a corner of your home into an inviting space for them to prayer. You can do this without the need to purchase anything. Use existing prayer mats or rugs in the corner. If you have it, use something to partially partition the space off, like a short bookcase, screen, or large basket, to physical separate the prayer space from the rest of the room.

Once again, as we talked about a household partnership, within their prayer corner the children should have roles. Let them decide who will be the Imam, who will call the Athaan, and who will keep the space tidy. Perhaps you will want to rotate the roles between them. Depending on the age of your children, they probably wont pray all the prayers, but aim for at least one each day for younger children. And I encourage you to join them in that space sometimes, but make sure you ask their permission first!

A similar idea that you may have seen online is setting up an itikaaf tent for the last ten days of Ramadan. In a simple play-tent, put out the children’s Islamic books, tasbeehs and anything else they may need, and give them the freedom to use that space as they see fit.

Easy Ramadan Activities for Children Prayer Corner

Use Digital Resources

There are an abundance of online resources and apps that are available on the market today. Many of them are free, or very inexpensive. I am of the opinion, that in moderation and supervision, screen-time can provide great benefits to your children.

My favourite is the Miraj Islamic Stories App. I have never seen anything like this app before…it’s amazing!

The app primarily aims to teach children Arabic, Quranic stories and Islamic morals.

A Free version of the app is available, but for all the features you would need to purchase it. It is available on for Apple and Android users. When you first launch the app, you are given the option of using it “Music-free” or “With music.”

It’s difficult to put an age range on this app, because it has something for children of every age!

Easy Ramadan Activities Miraj Stories App

Children of all ages will enjoy listening to the audiobooks, which are what made Miraj Stories (also called Miraj Audio) famous many years ago, and you can see why! They are undoubtedly the best producer of Islamic audiobooks on the market. The stories themselves are beautifully written, but the narration itself makes them captivating! We are currently listening to the story of “Ibrahim and the Fire” and it’s quickly becoming a family favourite!

Younger children will love the interactive books, where children take part in the story as it unfolds, and learn Arabic along the way! We are using the Arabic letter books with my 3 year-old daughter. Firstly the child traces over the letter, and then watches a short animated story centred around that letter. It’s adorable! There are also interactive books that teach children about the prayer and some of the 99 Names of Allah.

The video stories are delightful, the characters utterly charming, and they will have your kids laughing and learning so much as the go. These short videos are a great halal alternative to YouTube and similar apps.

The Miraj Stories app also gives you access to a range of picture books called the “Stories from the Quran.” These stories are narrated for you with lovely sound effects, but personally I prefer to turn the sound off and read them aloud to my children on the sofa or cuddled up in bed! In fact, your older children could even read the stories themselves. Either way, there as so much ways you could use these picture books in your home.

Easy Ramadan Activities Miraj Stories App

It is clear that the people behind the Miraj Islamic Stories app value children, and respect them, so much so that they have produced an incredibly high quality product for them. There’s nothing cheesy or tacky about this product!

It’s all about providing children with the best there is to offer. The illustrations and animations are beautifully hand-drawn, the interactive element is cleverly thought out, and the audio books are exceptionally well written and narrated.

Easy Ramadan Activities Miraj Stories App
Listening to an Audio-book over lunch

The whole app has been considered extremely well, and it is obvious from using it, that no expense has been spared in its development. It truly is the best of its kind.

I cannot recommend the Miraj Islamic Stories app enough! It’s phenomenal!

To find out more about the Miraj Islamic Stories app, CLICK HERE to visit the WEBSITE.

Do you have EASY Ramadan Activities that you do with your children?

Please share them with us in the comments below.

Wishing you all, and your family, a beautiful and blessed Ramadan.

Peace and Love,

EASY Ramadan Activities for children

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