Day in the Life | What Homeschooling is REALLY LIKE!

Let's Read by WordUnited

Watch this video and spend the day with us! See what home education in the UK really looks like for Our Muslim homeschool!

Home education simply means to educate your children outside of the mainstream school system. What that looks like for each family is different but for us, as it does for many others, it involves plenty of time outside, sports and activities with friends and formal studies at home.

To get a better idea of what Homeschooling looks like for us, Watch this YouTube video!

Watch how we teach Quran, our swimming classes, outdoor time and a heart-to-heart chat about “What homeschooling is REALLY like!”

 

This video and blog-post was sponsored by WordUnited, who kindly sent me their Arabic and Phonics programs, and compensated me for my time. This blog-post also contains affiliate links. See Disclaimer for more information.

Homeschool UK Vlog

WordUnited

WordUnited is an incredible website that stocks hundreds of high-quality educational resources for children aged 0-13. They have everything you can imagine on that site, from beautiful baby toys, resources for literacy, numeracy, science, special needs and even multicultural toys section! With hundreds of new products being added every week, WordUnited is set to become the next big thing!

Let's Read by WordUnited

WordUnited kindly sent me two sets of books to review; the “Let’s Read” program, which teaching children the foundations of phonics, and the “Let’s Read Arabic” program which teaches children how to read Arabic words.

Phonics books by WordUnited

Each set consists of eight books. As your child progresses through the program, they gradually increase in complexity and build upon lessons learnt in previous books.

Learning Phonics with WordUnited
I love visual cues under each word to highlight the different sounds!

The books are small and easy for young hands to hold, as well as colourful and engaging to to children. They illustrations feature realistic high-quality images of objects that children will be familiar with in their lives. I really appreciate how the creators of these books have used visual cues to highlight the individual sounds that make up each word.

Let's Read Arabic WordUnited

These books are ideal for home educators are they include parent guidance at the beginning of each book. This is really important to read as it clearly explains what is being covered and how to use that particular book effectively. I love it when a curriculum make it simple for parents!

Let's Read Arabic WordUnited

The books can be purchased individually, or as a complete set.

Let's Read Arabic WordUnited

To see my children using the books, WATCH THIS VIDEO.

Make sure you also visit their Amazing Website. You will be blown-away by the variety of products they have on offer!

CLICK HERE for the “Let’s Read Arabic!” 8-book set.

CLICK HERE for the “Let’s Read!” 8-book phonics set.

 

Other Products Mentioned:

Safar Qaidah (Indo-Pak Script)
Graded Steps in Quran Reading (Uthmani Script)
Digital Timer 
Audible 30 FREE TRIAL + 1 FREE AUDIO BOOK

Go Outdoors Store

If you are interested in seeing what homeschool curricula we are using with our children CLICK HERE!

Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to watch our YouTube video. I hope it’s left you feeling inspired and given you something to think about.

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Please remember us in your duaas.

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth our muslim homeschool

Understood Betsy | Book Review

Understood Betsy Book Review

This book had me crying at almost every chapter!

We have just finished listening to “Understood Betsy” by Dorothy Canfield through our Audible subscription; and it is undoubtedly one of my favorite children’s books EVER! It makes a wonderful family read-aloud and is a part of our Charlotte Mason homeschool curriculum.

This blog post contains affiliate links. Please see Disclaimer for more information.

Understood Betsy Book Review

Understood Betsy Review

“Understood Betsy” is the story of a nervous orphaned girl who is forced to move from her comfortable life in the city, to live on a farm with relatives she has never met.
It deals with some difficult topics, like death, illness, abuse, poverty, in a gentle and sensitive way that will not upset young children. This book has sparked so many worthwhile conversations with my kids as we listened to it in the car.

As we went on this journey with Betsy, I was taught so much about what being a good parent means, and how to let go of control and trust in your children. It taught us the different ways to show love within a family and how to have integrity and good character in tough times…and so much more!

I don’t usually cry in movies or from books, but I cried almost every time we listened to this one..much to the amusement of my boys!

Truly a sign of great children’s book is that it can be enjoyed by adults, as well you children.

Use Audible in your Homeschool

We listened to this amazing work of Children’s literature as an Audiobook on Audible. If you sign up to their 30 day Free-Trial, you can get your first book for FREE; and you can even cancel the trial anytime!

We love using Audiobooks  in our homeschool, especially when we are driving the kids around to all their activities. It’s a fantastic way to make the most of our time in the car and learn on the go!

However, for those of your who would prefer the actual book, this is it!

“Understood Betsy” by Dorothy Canfield is suitable:
As a read-aloud – for children aged 6-12
For independent readers – for ages 9-12.

Seriously, I love this book.  I will be listening to it, and re-reading it in my own time insha’Allah. It is a classic that I hope you will consider for your family.

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth our muslim homeschool

Supplemental Homeschool Science Curriculum

homeschool science curriculum

Teaching science in your homeschool can be difficult without the right curriculum. You have to consider your child’s learning style, find ways in incorporate hands-on learning, coding, technology, and all within your budget!

Despite these difficulties, my kids love science and so I have been looking for ways to include more supplemental science into our homeschool curriculum without adding to much to my own workload!

We follow the Charlotte Mason philosophy in our homeschool, and so I was looking for something to supplement our existing curriculum.

I’m excited to share what I found!

homeschool science curriculum supplemental

This post is sponsored by Homeschool Buyers Co-op who compensated me for my time. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own, please see my Disclaimer for details.

Where can I find Science Homeschool Curriculum?

The Homeschool Buyers Co-op has an award-winning selection of science and technology products, including core science curriculum and supplements, coding and programming courses, hands-on experimentation, and more.

They offer Science & Technology curricula with savings up to 95%! Isn’t that incredible?!

homeschool science curriculum

Hands-on Experiments At Home!

Doing hands-on experiments at home can be a challenge for even to most seasoned homeschooler, especially as your children get older.

The Homeschool Buyers Co-op has an impressive range of science curricula specifically for hands-on learning!

I can’t tell you what a relief it was to me as a homeschooling mum to find these resources!

 

What about Technology and Coding?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember much about technology frim school, and I’m still not sure I know what coding is! Thank goodness there are homeschool curricula available to teach this for me.

The Homeschool Buyers Co-op offer a range of technology and coding curricula to chose from, all with significant savings too.

Online Homeschool Curriculum

If you’re like me and live outside the U.S. it can sometimes be frustrating to find homeschool curriculum. The great thing about Homeschool Buyers Co-op is that many of the curricula that they offer are online, so you don’t need to pay for International shipping!

Even if you do live in the U.S., an online Science curriculum is a great way to save money without compromising your child’s education.

homeschool science curriculum

So, if like me, you have been worried about how to teach Science in your homeschool, I would encourage to visit the Homeschool Buyers Co-op and see the choices they have on offer.

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

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth our muslim homeschool

Nature Study Resources | BIRDS

Birds Nature study resources

We have just completed another term of nature study in our homeschool; this time focusing on British birds. Nature study is one of our most-loved subjects and part of our Charlotte Mason inspired homeschool curriculum.

Below, I have listed all the resources we love and have found useful in the study of birds; including living books, beautiful children’s literature for all ages, reference books, preschool picture books, our treasured nature journal supplies and more!

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

Nature study Birds resources

Make sure you WATCH THIS VIDEO to get a closer look at these resources and take a peek inside the books!

WATCH THIS VIDEO!

Living Books about British Birds

Here is a selection of wonderful literature about birds; stories that are infused with scientific facts, as well as noble morals, memorable characters and moving storylines.

Tales of Wild Birds Life by Harry M. Batten

A charming collection of 15 short-stories featuring various wild birds from around the U.K.

An Owl in the House: A Naturalist’s Diary

This is the diary of a naturalist who rescued an abandoned owlet from the woods and hand-reared it at home. This true story also features tips on how to keep your own nature journal and original black-and-white photos.

Deep in the Woods – Richard L. Bell

A beautifully illustrated book about all the animals found in the woods. Perfect for children aged 5-8 years old.

Literature about birds

Ali and the Golden Eagle by Wayne Grover

The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White

Poetry of Birds compiled by Simon Armitage

This collection has been a great source of poetry for memorisation and for copying into our nature journals.

Picture Books for Early Years

The Eagle and the Wren by Jane Goodall

My children are still talking about this delightful book!

The Little Books of Woodland Bird Song by Caz Buckingham

Press the buttons and hear the bird song of 12 different woodland birds. This board book also has interesting facts about each bird.

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

Set in New York and utterly charming!

Hedgie’s Surprise by Jan Brett

A sweet story about chickens that children under 5 will enjoy.

Bird picture books

Reference Books about UK Birds

Collins Lifesize Birds – The Only Guide to Show British Birds at their Actual Size

This book has been such an asset to us these past few months. We have used it to sketch the birds from into our nature journals. For each bird you are given a variety of large high-quality photos and plenty of information.

Usborne Spotters Guide: Birds

This lovely little book is our trusty guide to identifying birds when we are on nature walks. It is small enough to carry with us, with just enough information to help us identify any new birds we see.

Looking at Nature by Elsie Proctor

Looking a Nature is a collection of nature-study lessons for children aged 4-11. It is perfect for those people who are unsure how to begin the study of Nature in their homeschool.

The Usborne Complete Book of Nature

This charming book is an lovely introduction to nature study for children under 6 year-old.

The Usbourne Little Book of Birds

This book from Usborne focuses on birds from many different habitats. It discusses many aspects of their behaviour, life cycle, indientifaction and some myths and legnends! The illustrations are beautiful too!

A Nest is Noisy  by Dianna Hutts Aston

OK, confession time…I don’t have this book….But I want it!

Bird reference books

Other Resources

For Mum: Online course: Navigating Nature Study by Modern Miss Mason

Bird Bingo – A delgihtful board game featuring birds from all around the world.

A Guide to British Garden Birds  CD or Audible.

Learning about the Bird Songs has probably been my favourite aspect of the study of British birds, and this CD played a massive part in that! I highly recommend it.

At the moment, you can get it for FREE with the Audible Trial.

 

YouTube video: John Muir Laws: How to Sketch Birds

If you’re not confident at sketching birds, this YouTube video is fantatic. My boys followed along and really enjoyed it.

Nature Notebooks: Wiro Bound Sketchbook

Prang Watercolour Paints

Brush Set

Bird Feeders and Feeding Station

There is nothing quite so heart-warming as seeing tiny birds, of many coours and varieties, flock your garden, to eat the seeds you put out. They even develop a routine so you know what time each bird will arrive at your feeders that day!

Birds feeders, if placed close enough to your windows, can even be a way to do nature study on those days you cannot leave the house.

Local park

Your local park or woodland is a fantastic resource for you and your family. Get outdoors and explore the nature to see these incredible birds first-hand.

Enthusiasm

Your example and enthusiasm for nature study will influence you children far more than any book ever could. If you, as a parent, enjoy learning about birds and take part in nature journalling yourself, you children will be eager to follow your example. And besides, you might actually learn something…right?!!?

Birds Nature study resources

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

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth our muslim homeschool

 

 

Raising Children on Words | Literature-Based Homeschooling

road through the woods rudyard kipling

The power of words, their ability to turn hearts and move men should never be underestimated.

In fact, it has become one of the few truths that I stand by: that words can change the world.

One of the greatest proofs of this are the scriptures of the Abrahamic religions. Muslims, along with Jews and Christians, are called the “people of the book” and it is through the Divine words of revelation that God chose to guide us; words that forever changed the world.

“It is He Who sent down to thee, in truth, the Book (Quran), confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (Quran) (of judgment between right and wrong).” – Holy Quran 3:3

This blog post contains affiliate links. Please see Disclaimer for more information.

Words, in their ever varied and beautiful forms, also make up the backbone of our literature-based homeschool. It is by the craftsmanship of the many great authors we read, that my children gain knowledge and are inspired to learn.

Through the words of others, they are taught what it means to be human; the good, the bad and everything in between.

The beauty of well crafted words sometimes catches me off guard, as if placed in my path for a reason; to remind me, teach me or just to make me smile when I need it the most.

road through the woods rudyard kipling

One such occasion was when we were visiting a local park. Despite having been to the same park for years, it was only on this visit that I noticed a small second-hand bookshop hidden above the ice-cream parlour. After the ice-creams were enjoyed, we all ventured up the narrow wooden staircase in the lofted roof. Tucked up under the eaves were hundreds of second-hand books, neatly arranged on old mismatched bookcases. The delight of finding this “secret” treasure-trove was not lost on my children, who quickly set about scouring the shelves looking for “the” book for them.

Tucked upon the first bookcase were two gems; the first of which was an old copy of Enid Blyton’s “The Enchanted Wood published in the 1960’s. The second was Discovering Poetry: Vol 4 Freshfields,” a collection of nature poetry collected by E. W. Parker.

In addition to these, my youngest son carried home a hardback copy of Stories from Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne as though it was the most precious thing in the world.

Back home, over a cup of tea, I opened the poetry book and the first poem that met my eyes made my heart flutter. I can’t make out if it was a pang of recollection from a distant childhood memory, or simply the power of the poem’s vivid imagery.

Road through the woods

This is the poem I read,

The Way Through the Woods 

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate,
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few.)
You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods.
But there is no road through the woods.

By Rudyard Kipling

road through the woods rudyard kipling

I read it over and over again, and it made me smile.

Words can do that; they can bring joy and delight when before there was none.

Then I read it to my kids. With their eyes closed and the room quiet, they felt it too. They told me about, “The lost road,” and “The horses hooves,” and they talked together about how roads were different in the olden days. They got it. They saw it in the minds and they felt the words.

Together we enjoyed those words, written many years ago by a man we never knew. Those words brought us closer. That poem is now something we share, like an inside joke or a happy memory.

By exposing my children to these great authors and poets, who are masters of their craft, I hope that my children will one day be able to yield the power found within words and use it for a noble purpose insha’Allah.

One day, when they are grown, and they hear the words of that poem again, it will trigger something within them and make their hearts flutter as they remember; and then perhaps they will pass these words onto their children.

Words connect us, they move us, and so too can they shape us. That is why I raise my children upon the best of them.

raise children on words dr gemma elizabeth

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth our muslim homeschool

How to “Homeschool” Young Children | Beyond the Academics

how to homeschool young children

Homeschooling young children in the early years is so much more than reading, writing and maths!

When you consider the education of children under six years-old, there are many worthwhile areas to focus on, not just academics.

I am frequently asked the question ,“What should I be doing with my 3/4/5 years old child?”, and this blog-post I will do my best to answer that question for you.

homeschoo young children

This blog post has been written in collaboration with WordUnited who kindly gifted my family their products and compensated me for my time. Please see Disclaimer for more information.

For an introduction from me on this very important topic,

WATCH THIS VIDEO!

Before the age of 7, many experts agree that the child’s mind and spirit is not ready for formal education. However, that does not mean we do nothing at all!

The mind, the heart and the soul of the child are still within our stewardship as parents.

In the Islamic tradition, Ali ibn Abi Talib (R.A.) advises us,

“Play with them for the first seven years (of their life); then teach them for the next seven years; then advise them for the next seven years (and after that).”

Through play, and gentle teaching, young children can be taught many important lessons; lessons that will benefit both their intellect and their spiritual essence.

Although academic subjects have their place in a child’s education, the focus with young children should be on the preservation of their faith, and establishing the foundations necessary for them to grow into righteous and highly moral human beings.

Nurture good morals and spiritual growth

Young children are the the greatest of mimics and they will copy your example. Many people talk about how becoming a parent has been the catalyst for a change within themselves; how they became more practicing in their religion because their children are now watching EVERYTHING they do!

Allow your children to witness you praying, reading Quran, attending classes and let them take part. Try to surround your children with good role-models whenever possible; both young and old.

Another powerful method of encouraging good morals in our children is by using stories; particularly about great and noble people from the past. These stories permeate into the child’s consciousness in a more powerful way than at any other time in their live’s, and will become part o their moral compass in the future.  Not only can this include the Stories the Prophets (R.A.), but  good children’s fiction has a lot to offer too.

children reaidng

Follow their interests

When children are young they seem to be interested in everything! They can become fascinated by the shells at the beach, the bugs in the garden, the vehicles they see on the road, the list goes on and on!

Whatever their interest is, grasp hold of it and pursue it! Read more about it together, create activities around that interest and organize field trips. Not only will your children relish the opportunity to learn more about something they love, but it’s a great way to show them that their passions matter to you and boost their self-confidence.

Establish good habits and routines

Establishing good habits and routines within the home is vital to save you much frustration and heart-ache as they grow older.

Whilst they are young, teach your children good manners and establish routines within the house that will benefit you all in later years.

Examples include good personal hygiene, cleaning up after themselves, no whining or bickering; anything that could lead you to frustration in the future is best dealt with whilst they are young, through loving an gentle means.

“A child must not be left to his human nature.” Vol. 1 p. 102 – Charlotte Mason

” …the child who is not being constantly raised to a higher and higher platform will sink to a lower and lower.” Vol. 1 p. 103 – Charlotte Mason

Spend time outdoors

Try to allow your children to spend some time everyday outdoors in natural environments. Allow them to explore and play freely for as long as you can spare.

Not only is being outside good for their physical health, but also for their spiritual and mental well-being. A child who spends his time collecting rocks, building dens, identifying birds, and such like, will have a mind full of wholesome interests; so full that there will be little room for less desirable interests, such as TV and video games.

“…a love of Nature, implanted so early that it will seem to them hereafter to have been born in them, will enrich their lives with pure interests, absorbing pursuits, health, and good humour.” – Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1 p.71

nature study

Make the most of their memory

In these early years, young children have the most incredible capacity to memorize almost anything with seemingly little effort. Use this time to encourage your children to memorize the Quran. There is no need to have any structured lessons, unless they seem to enjoy it. Instead, just allow them to listen to the Quran in the home whilst they are playing or eating their breakfast, whilst travelling in the car or as they fall asleep. This is such a simple and effective way for young children to learn the Quran, and will set them up well for more formal study in years to come.

The early years are also the best time to learn a foreign language. If you would like to learn more about how to do that, CLICK HERE to read how to do it!

Prepare for formal schooling

The age you begin to prepare them for more structured school-work is up to you. In our home it has been different for each child depending on their development.

Before they start formal schooling you may want to teach them the letters of the alphabet, numbers, and how to write and read simple words.

For this we have enjoyed using the Write-and-Wipe flashcards from WordUnited. There are a variety of sets available including the alphabet, numbers, colours, shapes and actions!

flashcards wordunited flashcards wordunited

Each card shows the word or letter of the alphabet, along with a beautiful high quality photo on one side; whilst on the other side the word or letter is written out, followed by a tracing and hand-writing exercise. I really appreciate how well-made these cards are and I am sure they will last us for many years insha’Allah. All the flash-cards are kept in a magnetically closing box, along with two wipe-able board pens.

These beautiful flashcards introduce children to the alphabet, numbers and simple words, and also give your children the opportunity to learn to write and read in a relaxed and fun manner.

homeschooling young children homeschooling young children

In addition to English, The Word United flashcards are also available in Arabic, French, Spanish and German. To read about how we have used these cards to teach Foreign Language in our homeschool, CLICK HERE.

If you are interested in purchasing the Write-and-Wipe flashcards for your family, visit their website (www.wordunited.com), or visit the Word United Amazon Store .

You also find them on Twitter and Instagram.

how to homeschool young children

Educating young children is so much more than reading, writing and maths; it’s about nurturing their whole beings in alignment with their natural development.

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

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth our muslim homeschool

 

My Journey Towards Slow-Living | Homeschool Reflections

slow living homeschool reflections

Last night, when the little ones were asleep, and it was just me and him in the living room, my eldest son turned to me and said,

” You’re like your old self again Mummy…You’re knitting.”

I could have cried.

He’s right. I am starting to feel like my old self again; that silly, impulsive, fun-loving girl, that girl that thought and cared deeply about everything, that girl who loved practical jokes and being goofy!

slow living homeschool reflections

But she got  pushed aside so I could become responsible and capable; to be a “better” mum and wife; or a least in the same way everyone else seems to be.

But instead of becoming more capable, I just became hurried. Instead of cherishing those special moments with my family, I hurried them onto the next one without taking the time to experience it; without truly living it. In an effort to be perfect, I forgot to be present.

As my old self re-emerges, my relationships with those around me is growing. I’m no longer just functioning as a wife and a mum, but I’m learning to connect on a deeper level and be vulnerable again with those I love.

What happened to cause this change?

Simply, I’m slowing down.

Instead of striving towards doing more, I’m seeking out quiet. Less distraction, less disruption and more time to reconnect with those I love the most. Instead of trying to fill every “empty” space and time slot in my life, I am embracing the silence. Instead of doing more and more, I’m doing less but with more meaning and more heart.

And so to dear boy, my old self said back, ” Yes,” I told him, “I’m back.”

If. like me, you have been feeling frantic and frazzled for too long; if you are exhausted with the pace of the life you have created for yourself; if you miss your old care-free self and those relationships of those you love, then perhaps you too need to slow down.

 

“It’s about rejecting the myth that every day is a new opportunity to prove our worth, and about the truth that our worth is inherent, given by God, not earned by our hustling.

It’s about learning to show up and let ourselves be seen just as we are, massively imperfect and weak and wild and flawed in a thousand ways, but still worth loving.

It’s about about realizing that what makes our lives meaningful is not what we accomplish, but how deeply and honestly we connect with the people in our lives, how wholly we give ourselves to the making of a better world, through kindness and courage.”

– Shauna Niequist, Present over Perfect.

If this seems completely irrelevant  to your life, then I’m happy for you…I really am.

But I wish someone had told me long ago, before I wasted all those years, that what you seek is not achieved or found by hustling and busyness; rather, it lies in the silence within you.

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth our muslim homeschool

 

FREE Student Planner for Charlotte Mason Homeschools

This FREE student planner has been created to help homeschooled students to plan, or keep a record of, their daily work. It’s also a fantastic way to help older students take responsibility for their independent work.

We created this FREE planner to help children stay motivated, and encourage punctuality, diligence, order and attentiveness in their education.

 

Charlotte Mason daily student planner checklist FREE Printable

 

The checklist covers every subject that the student is required to do every day in a Charlotte Mason homeschool, i.e. their daily instruction, along with how long each lesson should take, and the time frame within which all “daily instruction” must be completed.

“In the first place, there is a time-table, written out fairly, so that the child knows what he has to do and how long each lesson is to last. This idea of definitive work to be finished in a given time is valuable to the child, not only in training him in habits of order, but in diligence; he learns that one time is not  “as good as another”; that there is no right time left for what is not done in its own time; and this knowledge alone does a great deal to secure the child’s attention to his work.” – Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1 p.142

 

ambleside homeschool planner

The planner has  “Time Frame” written across the top of the page, so you can set out for your child when “school-time” is for that day. If the work is not completed within the time set-out in my home, then there are consequences for my son. This teaches him to focus and be attentive to his work during those “school-hours”.

charlotte mason timetable

Charlotte Mason strongly recommends that lesson are kept short for young children,

“…the lessons are short, seldom more than twenty minutes in length for children under eight…” – Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1 p. 142

and so we have included a space for you to fill in how long each lesson takes. Timings will vary depending on your child’s age and personality.

charlotte mason homeschool planner

We are using this planner/checklist ourselves alongside Year 2 of the Ambleside online curriculum, which adheres to the Charlotte Mason educational philosophy.

If you would like to see how we have adapted the Ambleside online curriculum to suit our family’s needs, CLICK HERE.

The subjects covered in their Daily Instruction, as outlined by the Ambleside Online curriculum, are:

  • Math
  • Reading
  • Foreign Language
  • Copywork
  • Exercise/ Physical activity
  • Narration (at least one a day)
  • Memorization & Recitation (In our home that means memorisation and recitation of Quran. In your home it may mean poetry, prose, Scripture or something else.)

The planner also includes a “Narration” extension page for students whose narrations are longer, and need more space than is given on the first page. These extension pages can be printed onto the back on the first page for more lengthy narrations. These pages also have a “date” marked on the top giving you the flexibility to use them separately if you wish, and not with the planner itself.

narration printable sheet

In addition to their “Daily Instruction”,  your children may also have other lessons to complete. These subjects typically vary from day-to-day and are often subjects done as a family, such as history, nature study, artist study etc. In addition to our “Daily Instruction” planner I would recommend your students are given a simple spreadsheet of  their timetable for these other important subjects,

In my own home, I have found this checklist to be an excellent way to motivate my son to complete his work diligently and finish within the time allowance set for him. The earlier he can complete his daily work, the more free time he has!

 

To get your FREE STUDENT PLANNER,
CLICK HERE

 

 

daily charlotte mason planner

I hope that this student planner helps your children to take responsibility for part of their education, and motivates them to be punctual, diligent, ordered and attentive in their education.

If you have any questions on how to use this planner/checklist with your family, please leave me a comment in the comments section below and I will do my best to answer it.

Peace and love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth our muslim homeschool

 

Games and Activities to Teach Young Children a Foreign Language

foreign language games and activities for kids

Throw away the workbooks! Pack away the textbooks! Teaching a foreign language to a young child requires you to think differently about what learning looks like!

The most effective method of acquiring a foreign language is the same method as a child acquires their mother-tongue; through regular exposure to the language in their daily lives.

Charlotte Mason said that young children learn languages through, “the ear, and not the eye,” (Vol 1. p.301), and so when we begin teaching young children, initially it is the ear that needs to be trained as the child becomes accustomed to the sound of that new language.

Before we jump into workbooks and expensive curricula, teach your child to speak the language at home through play and by natural exposure to the language.

foreign language games children

This blog post has been written in collaboration with WordUnited, who gifted my family their write-and-wipe flashcards and compensated me for my time. Our Muslim Homeschool uses affiliate links in blog posts and the sidebar. Please see Disclaimer for more information.

How do we teach young children a foreign language?

Young children can learn a new language by hearing it used in their day-to-day lives, without the need to use extensive curricula.

“The child should never see French words in print until he has learned to say them with as much ease and readiness as if they were English.” Charlotte Mason (Vol. 1, p.301).

Ideally, this requires at least one of the parents at home to know this language to a basic level, or for them to employ someone else who does. However there are no end to private language tutors or classes available in most cities, as well as online.

French should be acquired as English is, not as a grammar, but as a LIVING SPEECH. To train the ear to distinguish and the lips to produce the French vocables is a valuable part of the education of the senses, and one which can hardly be undertaken too soon.” Charlotte Mason (Vol.1 p.301).

Once your children are familiar with the words, and how to use them in their speech, you can introduce them to the written appearance of those words. Before beginning them on workbooks, I would recommend using flashcards. Flashcards are an ideal way to introduce children to the written form of any langauge, and can be used in games and activities to help keep children engaged.

foreign language games and activities for kids

At what age should I start teaching a new language?

To put it simply, children should be exposed to the foreign language as early as possible. We all know from our own children, that at the age of two years-old, toddlers may have grasped only a handful of words. However by the time they become three, they are able to hold a conversation and articulate their needs and interests with relative ease.

During these 12 months, there has been no “formal” teaching. Rather the child has heard the language spoke frequently used in the context of real-life, and that is all he/she needed to learn to speak it.

Thee ages 2 and 3 years-old are critical in language development, and thus this is the ideal time to begin introducing a new language to them.

However, whatever age your children may be, I would recommend you begin talking to them in a foreign language as soon as finish reading this blog-post!

Teaching foreign language to kids

What is the best foreign language to teach a child?

This is of course a matter of opinion! We have chosen to teach Arabic because of its connection with our faith, and French because my husband’s Mauritian heritage.

Others may suggest Spanish, Mandarin, or even Latin. I would advise that you look at your own family, where you live and what languages would be most useful for your children’s future.

Games and Activities to Teach Young Children a Foreign Language

To see these activities in more detail, and watch my family playing these games…

WATCH THIS VIDEO!

1.Daily Language Time

For one hour everyday, have your family speak ONLY in the new language.

If they need something from you, they will have to ask for it a foreign language. Likewise, when you speak to them, speak to them in the new language. By doing this, you are putting the language in a real-life context that helps young children to learn.

Charlotte Mason tells us that “…the child thinks in sentences” and so the most effective way to learn a new language is to have the words put into the context of sentence and place.

2. What’s in the Box?

Fill a box with items you have in your home. Then pull one out at a time and ask your child (in the new language), “What’s in the box?” Pass the object to them and they should give you an answer in that language, in a full sentence if possible.

Why not put cutlery or plastic animals in the box, or try different vehicles, fruit and veg or other household items. The possibilities are endless!

3. At the shops

When shopping with your children, read out the shopping list in a foreign language and ask them to retrieve the items for you. If your child is older, they could even write out the shopping list in the new language for you.

This simple activity makes learning fun and interactive. Your children will not even realise that they’re having a language lesson!

learning foreign language for children

4. Colour-hunt

Call out the colour in the new language, and ask your children hunt for something that colour in the room and bring it back to you. Once they get used to that, you could begin to include numbers and other vocabularly: “I want three red cars, ” or “I want two balls.”

5. Get Moving!

This game is one of my favourites!

Make sure that your children have plenty of room to move about as you call out a command, such as “Run!” or “Jump!” in the foreign language. The children will then have to do that action until you call out the next one.

6. Sing along

Children have an incredible ability to retain songs, so use this innate ability to help them learn the new language!

Sing nursery rhymes and children’s songs in that language. If you don’t know any yourself, look on Youtube! There are so many in different languages that you can listen to for free.

7. Bi-lingual books

Read you children’s favourite bedtime stories to them in a foreign language. This is an easy and enjoyable way to add exposure to the language with very little effort on your part. You will be amazed at the selection of bi-lingual books available at the library for you to take out.

8. Flashcards

Once you children a comfortable understanding and using certain vocubulary in the context of their lives, you can begin to teach them how these words look in the written form and encourage them to write them themselves.

For this stage in the process, we use Write-and-Wipe Flashcards from Word United.

Word united Arabic flash cards

The Word United flashcards are available in English, Arabic, French, Spanish and German; teaching the alphabet, numbers, colours, shapes and actions in each of these languages.

Each card shows the word or letter along with a beautiful high quality photo on one side; whilst the other side has that word written out, followed by a tracing and hand-writing exercise. These high quality cards are kept in a magnetically closing box, along with two wipe-able board pens.

Word united Arabic flash cards

These beautiful flashcards introduce children to the foreign language in it’s written form, and allowing them to have hands-on practice spelling the words too.

If you are interested in purchasing the Write-and-Wipe flashcards for your family, visit their website (www.wordunited.com), or visit the Word United Amazon Store .

You also find them on Twitter and Instagram.

Word united Arabic flash cards

 

Remember, very young children learn language through their ears, and not their eyes!

Hold back on workbooks and textbooks until you children are starting to understand the spoken language. The ages 2 and 3 years-old are critical in language development, and thus this is the ideal time to begin introducing a new language to them.

When your children are ready to move onto the written form of the language, try using bi-lingual books and flashcards, like the ones from Word United.

This will your children with a solid foundation with which to master another language and help them in their further study of that foreign language.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. I would also love to hear how you have successfully taught your children another language.

Let us know in the comments below!

In need of your duas.

Peace and Love,

Our Muslim Homeschool Dr Gemma Elizabeth

| Day in the Life | + Arabic Flashcards GIVEAWAY

Muslim homeschool UK DITL Arabic

Since we began using the Ambleside online homeschool curriculum, our daily routine has changed. We are spending more time reading living books, less time doing worksheets and even more time outdoors!

WATCH THE VIDEO below to see a typical day in our Muslim homeschool.

Also, make sure to scroll down to the bottom of this blog post to enter this month’s GIVEAWAY!

Muslim homeschool UK DITL Arabic

This blog post is part of a sponsored collaboration with Word United, who generously sent me their products to review. Our Muslim Homeschool uses affiliate links in posts and the sidebar. Please see Disclaimer for more information.

 

WATCH THIS VIDEO!

Word United Write and Wipe Flashcards

We are using the write and wipe flashcards from Word United to enriched our homeschool English and foreign language curriculum.

These cards provide a hands-on approach to learning a language that has kept my children engaged and enthusiastic to learn more!

Word United Enlgish flashcards

The Word United flashcards are available in English, Arabic, French, Spanish and German; teaching the alphabet, numbers, colours, shapes and actions in each of these languages.

Each card showcases the word or letter with a beautiful high quality photo on one side; whilst the other side has the word written out, and then space for tracing and hand-writing practice. These high quality cards are kept in a magnetically closing box, along with two wipe-able board pens.

Word United English flashcard

If you would like to learn more about these flashcards, WATCH THE VIDEO above, visit their website (www.wordunited.com), or find them on Twitter and Instagram.

Word United Arabic flashcard

Other Products Featured

Arabic Flashcards
English Flahscards
Abacus
Scythe
How to Read a Book
Home Education: Volume 1
Charlotte Mason Summaries
Primer Free and Treadwell
Matilda
Harry Potter

Wizards of Once
Mr Poppers Penguins
Beatrix Potter Collection
Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

 

GIVEAWAY

This month, I  am thrilled to be sharing the beautiful Word United Write and Wipe Flashcards with THREE WINNERS!
Each winner can select ONE SET of the Write and Wipe flashcards from WordUnited.com.
The giveaway will run from Saturday 28th November  2017 until Saturday 4th November 2017 at 12am GMT.

This giveaway is OPEN TO UK RESIDENTS ONLY.

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

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 know it can be fun to see how other families home-educate their children; but more than that, I hope you found something useful in our YouTube video. Whether its a new book to read, or a new idea, I sincerely hope that by sharing these moments of our lives with you, I am helping you and your families in someway.

If you would like to see more of us, and an almost daily look into our homeschooling day, you can follow me on Instagram or Facebook.
In need of your duaas.
Peace and Love,
Our Muslim Homeschool Dr Gemma Elizabeth

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