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Children’s Eid Party Ideas

Children's Eid Party Ideas

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

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

Children's Eid Party Ideas

Children's Eid Party Ideas

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

3D Eid Gift Wrap

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

Eid gift wrap Children's party ideas

Photo Credit: MarthaStewart.com

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

Eid Dessert Table

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

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

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

Children's Eid Party Dessert Table

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

Children's Eid Party Melon Dessert Table

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

 

Eid Party Crackers

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

Children's Eid Party idea Crackers

Photo Credit: MarthStewart.com

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

Eid DIY Balloon Column

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

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

Balloon column Eid Party Ideas for Children

Photo Credit: Waafia

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

Eid Party Favour Bags

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

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

Eid Party Ideas Favour Bags

Photo Credit: Architecture Art Design

For more information on this design idea, click HERE.

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

Eid Party Ideas Mosque Favour Bags

Photo Credit: HelloHolyDays

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

Those were our 5 Children’s Eid Party Ideas!

Children's Eid Party Ideas

How do you decorate your home for Eid?

Do you have any ideas for party games?

Please leave your ideas in the comments below!

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

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

 

Eid for Kids | Multicultural Kid Blogs

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

Participating Blogs

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

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

Easy Arabic Alphabet Cupcakes!

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Arabic Alphabet Cupcakes

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

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

 

You will need…

Equipment:

 

Ingredients:

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

For Decorating:

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

Cupcake Recipe

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

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

Icing Recipe

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

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

  3. Add the milk and mix well.

Let’s Decorate!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

Cooking-Skills-iHomeschool Net


Educational Games for 2-8 Year Olds

7 Delightful Children’s Books about Eid

Eid Books for Children

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

Eid Books for Children

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Children's Eid Books

Sweet dates to Eat

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

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

 

Hassan and Aneesa Celebrate Eid

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

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

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

 

Eid by Maria Migo

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

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

Children's Books for Eid

Eid by Maria Migo is suitable for children aged 2+

 

An Eid for Everyone

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

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

Muslim childrens books about Eid: An Eid for Everyone

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

 

Rashad’s Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr

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

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

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

 

The Best Eid Ever

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

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

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

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

Books about Eid for children Ilyas and duck

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

Eid Childrens Books

Eid books for kids

 

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

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

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

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

10 Points of Homeschooling Advice from Veteran Homeschool Mom

Homeschooling advice from veteran homeschool mom

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

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

Homeschooling advice from veteran homeschool mom

Advice to noew homeschoolers from veteran homeschool mom

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

Academic rigor is secondary

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

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

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

Don’t let others dictate your homeschool

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

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

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

Get acquainted with various homeschooling methods

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

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

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

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

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

Homeschooling advice from veteran homeschool mom

Less semester-long classes

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

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

Ask help from the community

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

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

Grades and deadlines

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

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

Less is more

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

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

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

Never, ever stop learning

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

Veteran homeschool mom advice to new homeschoolers

Make du’a

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

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

Ramadan Basket Ideas + GIVEAWAY!

Ramadan Basket Ideas

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

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

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

We are also running another GIVEAWAY this Ramadan!

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

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

Ramadan Basket Ideas

What is a Ramadan Basket?

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

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

Ramadan Basket ideas and inspiration for children

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

Watch This Video:

Links to Products Mentioned:

Ramadan Sticker Chart

It’s Ramadan Curious George Book
Little Explorers Magazine

Ramadan Calendar

Ramadan Planner

Rabbi Zidni Notebook

Colour-In Eid Cards

The Great Night Journey (New Edition)

Baby Traveller Bismillah

Five Prayers Each Day
Hassan and Aneesa Go to Madrasa

The Night of the Moon

Under the Ramadan Moon

Sweet Dates to Eat
Ramadan Moon

An Eid for Everyone

 

GIVEAWAY!

It’s Giveaway time!!!

Ramadan Basket Giveaway

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

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

This giveaway is open internationally!

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

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

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

Homeschool Mom Tag on YouTube!

Homeschol mom tag on Youtube

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

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

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

Homeschol mom tag on Youtube

Homeschool Tag Questions

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

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

WATCH THIS VIDEO:

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

My Favourite Homeschooling Books

For Mothers:

Teaching from Rest by Sarah McKenzie – Amazon UKAmazon USA

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

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

For Kids:

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

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

Pinocchio by C. Collodi – Amazon UK – Amazon USA

 

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

I am tagging anyone who would like to take part.

You can make a YouTube video, write a blog post

or just leave your answers in the comments below!

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

 

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

All about SNAILS! – Homeschool Unit Study

Snails Homeschool Unit Study

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

Homeschooling gives you the ultimate freedom to chose and adapt what your children learn, how they learn it and when!

This month we decided to follow the interests of my youngest son (4 years-old), and learn more about snails!

We found some fantastic resources, and have put together some fun snail-related activities, to create a rich and well-rounded unit study for young children.

This snails unit study incorporated literature, language arts, science, nature study, art, and even maths!

 

Snails unit study homeschool

We postponed some of the read-alouds and activities I have planned, and instead dived whole-heartedly into the world of snails!

If you decide to give any of these ideas a try, please share you photos and tag me on Instagram or Facebook!

Snails Homeschool Unit Study

Snail Nature Study

It all started when we discovered snails hiding under the ivy that grows over our garden wall. The kids and I collected a few of the snails and sketched them for our nature notebooks.

I ran into the house, pulled out the Comstocks Nature Study Handbook, and turned to the lesson about snails. This book is amazing!

It had a few pages about snails for me to read and familiarize myself with, and then loads of questions and points of interest for me to ask the children. It’s a fantastic resource for nature study.

Nature study snails

Pet Snails

Well, as you can imagine, the kids didn’t want to part with the snails, so we set up a special snail environment for them in the house so the boys could continue to observe them.

Snails Homschool Unit Study

To create the snail tank, we spread an inch on damp soil across the bottom, and the added some bark and stones for the snails to hide under. We added a very shallow jam-jar lid for water, and various fruit and vegetables for food.

Snail Homeschool Unit Study

We kept them with us for 3 days, careful to position the tank in a cool and quiet spot, out of direct sunlight.

snail habitat for unit study

When those three days came to an end, my youngest son was very sad to release them back into our garden. He had enjoyed having them around!

This was my children’s first introduction to the responsibility of having a pet. They had to feed “their” snails and look after them. It was a very valuable lesson.

Science

The study of snails lends itself wonderfully to learning more about life cycles. For this we watched this YouTube video, followed by a read through our science encyclopedias.

Whilst we were looking through these encyclopedias, we discovered how snails fit into various food chains. After some discussion and drawing various food chains out, we watched this Youtube video for some fun! It’s a song all about Food Chains!

The encyclopedias we used for this unit study were:

The Usborne Science Encyclopedia

The New Children’s Encyclopedia

Science: A Children’s Enyclopedia

Learning about food chains for homeschool unit study

Language Arts

Whilst the snails were with us, the children observed their behaviour and their “personalities”. From this they decided upon names for them all (Leo, Sweetie and Apple) and together we talked more about their characters.

Snails Homeschool Unit Study
…excuse the spelling!

This character development exercise was the first step to begin writing an adventure story featuring our snails as the main characters! We’ve had a lot of fun with this activity!

Living Books

I hunted all over the internet looking for some good literature about snails. I wanted a book that would capture my children’s imagination, whilst at the same time teaching them more about snails.

My favourite find was Are you a Snail? by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries. This picture book is aimed at children under the age of 7. It is a charming little book that goes through many of the physical characteristics of snails, their habitats, what they eat and their predators in a narrative style. On top of all that, the illustrations are beautiful!

Snails unit study

Another book that we used was Amazing Pictures and Facts about Snails by Mina Kelly. Although I do not believe this would meet Charlotte Mason criteria for a living book, my sons enjoyed reading from this book. It is essentially a collection of interesting facts about snails, accompanied by some interesting photos! Don’t be put off by the initial appearance of the book (it’s self-published) …the content is great!

Snails Homeschool unit study

Art

In addition to their initial sketches, we copied pictures from the Are you a Snail? book to create some lovely water colour paintings for out nature journals.

Snail Homeschool Unit Study

My toddler joined in the fun too, creating her own snail from coloured tissue paper!

Snails Homeschool Tissue craft

Another craft, that keep my children’s attention for days, was this Hama Bead Snail Kit. They came out beautifully! The boys were so proud of their work that we have been using it as a centre piece on our dining table!

Hama bead snail craft for homeschool unit study

Hama beads homeschool snail craft

Maths

Did you know that the spiral of the snail’s shell perfectly correlates with the Fibonacci sequence?!?! Neither did I! This is the same sequence that is seen throughout nature in the petals of flowers, bracts of a pinecone, hurricanes and galaxies.

By chance, we came across the Fibonacci sequence in my son’s Maths book: Marvellous Maths by Jonathon Litton and Thomas Flintham. If your child enjoys maths, I’d recommend this book It’s full of pop-ups and flaps all about Maths, and is suitable for children aged 7+.

Maths snails unit study

Maths book for snails homeschool unit study

We looked at the numerical pattern and then tried to draw our own “snail-shell-spiral” using the Fibonacci numbers.

My younger son (4 years-old) enjoyed measuring the length and shell height of the different snails, and recording it in a table.

Measuring snails for homeschool unit study!

 

This unit study was not planned. Instead it just evolved on its own!

We were able to incorporate literature, maths, science, nature study, English composition, and loads of arts and crafts.

My children and I learnt so much from this unit study. I can’t wait to see what interest my children next develop for us to explore!

 

What unit studies have you done recently in your homeschool?
How do you develop your children’s interests?

 

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

 

Getting Started with Charlotte Mason for Young Children

Getting started with Charlotte Mason for Young children

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The following post is from Shannen at Middle Way Mom

It just me, or do very few homeschooling methods refer to little ones being in the mix of a typical homeschooling day?

One of the things that has drawn me to the Charlotte Mason method, especially in the season of life with three kids 6 and under at home, is how welcoming it is for young children.

Not only is there a focus on letting children have lots of time for free play, exploration, and short lessons, but she even addresses the youngest of children in her book Home Education.

Charlotte Mason for Young children

Using Charlotte Mason as a guide, our homeschool is just in the very beginning stages of formal learning. No formal lessons are to start before age 6, but let’s not confuse this though with the idea that we do not teach a child anything.

Instead, a child learns from their environment. How?

Getting outside

Ms. Mason spent a good deal of time in Home Education explaining what an ideal day looks like, and how one should spend hours out of doors each day, even up to 6 hours a day.

What do you do during that time? She gives a lot of guidance, and adds that we shouldn’t bring a story book to read. Instead, the child should be fully engaged in playing and exploring. It’s not like there isn’t enough for them to do!

Also, the mother should not be giving lots of instructions or information while they are outside, but rather a small nugget of information, or pointing out something interesting in nature from time to time.

Overall, her advice is to let the child’s mind have time to think and process what is around them.

A game she suggests to hone the habit of attention from an early age is this: While the children at a park or nature reserve, ask them to go and look at something, maybe a house or farm, and remember all that they can. The child should come back and retell it to you in the most detail they are able. It’s fun for children if mom takes part in this game from time to time as well!

Honestly, when I first read the advice to get out for 6 hours a day, I thought, “Yeah, maybe if I was the nanny! I have to cook dinner and manage the house!”

6 hours is a lot, and unless I get a meal in the crockpot before I go, that’s not something we can always do. Of course, 3 hours is better than 2 and 2 hours is better than 1.

Do what you can. Especially if you have a small child that needs to nap, don’t beat yourself up over not spending 6 hours a day outside.

 

Charlotte Mason for Young Children

Habits

“The formation of habits is education, and education is the formation of habits.” – Home Education, pg. 97

Ms Mason makes no question about it: habits are the foundation to a strong education and personal life. Without them, we flounder without direction.

I wish I would have been turned on to this idea far sooner in my life, and as such, I have to believe that helping my young children build habits might be one of the best gifts I give them.

Even as young as an infant, she mentions the value of habits. We know that a toddler who is in the habit of using the potty from an early age, whether they successfully use it or not, is more likely to be fully potty trained earlier than a child who is introduced to the potty haphazardly.

For young children in the modern age, it’s not hard to get them started with simple things like emptying a dishwasher, putting their clothes away, and picking up their toys before they go to bed. When it becomes part of the natural rhythm of their days, they don’t fight it as much as a random command when Mom just can’t take the mess anymore.

I could go on an on about habits and young children. If you are wanting to jump right in with working on building strong habits, a good book to start would be one where Deborah Taylor-Hough compiled all that Charlotte Mason said about habits throughout her six volume series into one book: Habits: The Mother’s Secret to Success: Volume 1

Reading and number sense

When my oldest daughter was young, in the early 00’s, there was no pressure on parents for kids to learn to read before Kindergarten. It was generally expected that in Kindergarten kids would learn their letters and numbers formally for the first time.

Now, just 10 years later, the conversation is completely different. Now kids are expected to have a foundation of reading before they reach Kindergarten. So often I read moms in groups sharing their worry and stress about their 3 year old not knowing their letters.

Either the tide is turning again, or it’s just the circles that I’m surrounded in, but the philosophy Charlotte Mason has of waiting until the child is 6 before teaching them to read is catching on.

Waiting to teach children formally does not mean that we don’t teach them anything at all. Naturally, numbers and letters come out in day to day life and there’s nothing wrong with pointing out things like what a road sign says or letters in their name.

What is encouraged though, is to leave the worksheets and easy readers until the child can be successful with them right away. Let learning be a joy for them instead of building the idea that learning is a struggle.

With my own 4 year old, she knows some letters and most of her numbers. While my 6 year old is working on her own lessons, I may give my younger kids wipe clean books and white board markers. The wipe clean books have letters and words in them, and we’ll point out sounds that letters make, but she’s never tested on it later. The information is presented, and if it is worthwhile to her, she’ll try to remember it.

As for numbers, my Kindergartener knew her numbers, but didn’t have much number sense before we started Right Start Math. Since my preschooler usually sits with us for math lessons, she has picked up on things a little earlier, but again, she’s not tested on any of this at any time.

Your purpose

First and foremost, building strong habits and morals are the core purpose with young children. Ms. Mason did not direct attention to anything more than she did to habits throughout her book Home Education (which focuses on children under 9 years old).

Your purpose as a parent and educator is not to fill their minds with information, but rather to build character traits as best you can in them so they can be effective students when it is time for them to study in a more serious manner.

In regards to education, the purpose of the young years with the children is not about memorizing letter sounds or math facts. The entire purpose of creating an environment where children are exploring (ideally mostly out of doors) is for children to build a love of learning.

Formal lessons should be enjoyable to them when they get to that stage, and something they look forward to when they are young.

Our Muslim Homeschool blog

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

Meal Planning for Ramadan + FREE Printable

Meal Planning for Ramadan

We all know that to make the most of Ramadan, we need to prepare ahead of time.

Being organised will help us to use our time more wisely during this Blessed month. This includes spiritual preparation, physical preparation and practical preparation.

As a busy homeschooling mum, cooking and preparing food takes up many hours the day. This Ramadan I have decided to meal plan for Ramadan so that I can spend less time in the kitchen, and have more time doing other acts worship insha’Allah.

Get Ready for Ramadan with this FREE Meal Planner! Meal Planning for Ramadan

 

For more about meal planning in Ramadan:

WATCH THIS VIDEO!

 

 

This blog post was written as part of a Meal Planning Collaboration with loads of other bloggers. You can find links to their articles or videos at the end of this blog post!

Benefits of Meal Planning in Ramadan

 

  1. Grocery Shop before Ramadan

When you are fasting, shopping for groceries can not only be tiring, but make fasting more difficult that in needs to be. By planning what you will be eating for the month, you can purchase many things ahead of time and minimise the hours spent trawling the supermarket shelves.

Meal Planning for Ramadan

 

  1. Eat more Nutritious Food

After a few days of fasting, we often slip into the mistake of just making whatever is easy or satisfies our cravings! If you plan your menu ahead of time, you can consider what foods are more nutritious and beneficial for you to eat before or after you fast. Taking to the time to think about nutrition, and food that will give you long lasting energy and hydration, will help to make your fasts easier on your body insha’Allah.

  1. Less Time in the Kitchen

Meal planning allows you to be efficient with your time. You will know precisely what to cook and prepare, and so you can use your time most effectively. This may mean marinating something the night before, or preparing vegetables earlier in the day when you’re less tired. Whatever works for you! You may even be able to prepare some dishes ahead of time before Ramadan begins, and keep them in the freezer.

Also spend some time thinking about what you are going to give your children to eat. When you are fasting, it can be hard to keep up with the demands of hungry children. Try to plan some nutritious and easy to make lunches and snacks for your kids.

Less time in the kitchen means more time in ibadah! It will also give you time to rest in the afternoon, so you can pray taraweeh insha’Allah.

Praying in Ramadan

 

  1. Less Wastage

Wasting food is a sin. However, sometimes due to our disorganised lives, food does goes to waste. In this blessed month, the last things we want to do is to commit bad deeds. Meal planning will help you to minimise food wastage insha’Allah, because you will only buy what you need. Also, it allows you to plan your meals so nothing is wasted. For example, if your curry only requires half an onion, you can plan to use the other half in the vegetable side dish.

 

  1. Free your Mind

Knowing that the meals for Ramadan as planned, and the shopping has been done, will free your mind!

Instead of spending time wondering what you will cook that afternoon, you can use that time to reflect on more important things!

 

The Ramadan Meal Planner

 

My gift to you this Ramadan, is this Ramadan Meal Planner. I hope that it will help you be prepared for Ramadan, and make the most of this Blessed month insha’Allah.

You may wish to plan out suhoor, iftaar and kids meals; or you may only need to plan iftaar. Please use these FREE PRINTABLE sheets in whichever way suits your family.

You do not need to use all of the pages if you do not need them. Similarly, you can print out multiple copies of each page.

Ramadan Meal Planner

It is my gift to you, to use as you please!

To get your FREE Ramadan Meal Planner, sign up here:

Get your Ramadan Meal Planner!

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If you are already a member of our online homeschooling community, you can find the planner in the “Featured Freebie” section on the FREE Resources page.

How to Use the Meal Planner

  1. Think about WHAT you want to cook

This first step it to plan the meals that you and your family enjoy eating in Ramadan. Sometimes, your family’s preferences and the type of food you eat in Ramadan is different to other times in the year.

Personally, I know my family prefer to eat lighter foods, and foods with a lot of sauce! This is the stage where you can consider nutritious value of the meal, and if it will sustain your family through the long fast or the long taraweeh prayer.

Use our Meal ideas sheets to plan out what you will be serving your family. I have included a page for suhoor, iftaar and for kids lunch.

 

Now is the time, before Ramadan starts, to get out your cook books. Look through Pinterst or Google now. Looking at all the yummy recipesout there is not easy when youre fasting. Do it now! Try to chose recipes that are simple to make, or that you can prepare now and freez ahead of time.

  1. Fill in the Weekly Chart

The next step is to fill in the weekly chart. Print out 4 copies of this chart and, using the Meal ideas pages, fill it in. You will probably be repeating some recipes throughout the month. That’s ok! My planning out the month, you can make sure those repeated meals are not too close together.

Ramadan Meal Planner Weekly spread

  1. Write your Shopping List

Use our shopping list to write out what you need to buy, and refer back to your weekly plan. You may want to print out several copies of this and use one for the butchers and one for the supermarket.

Also, print one out for this you can buy now ahead of time (like rice, lentils, canned tomotatoes etc.). Then write a shopping list for each week of Ramdan. It will be so nice for you, when Ramadan begins, to have everything already written out!

Ramadan Meal Planner Shopping list

Join discussion on Forum

To support you as you plan your meals for Ramadan, we are adding a thread on our Forum, so that you can share your meal planning journey there! Use the Forum to share which recipes your family loves in Ramadan, what you give the kids to eat, as well as how you are finding the meal planning process.

When you sign up for the meal planner, you will automatically be made a member of our Homeschooling community, and you will receive the password for the forum by email!

For more information about Our Online Homeschooling Community, please CLICK HERE,

Sign Up to Receive your Ramadan Meal Planner!

Get your Ramadan Meal Planner!

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Having your meals planned out before Ramadan begins is wonderful way to free your mind and free up your time during Ramadan.

I hope you will try it and let me know how you are getting on!

 

More About Meal Planning

This blog post was written as part of a Meal Planning Colloaboration with some other amazing bloggers including work at home mums, homeschoolers and even a certified nutritionist!

Please check out their take on meal planning too:

 

I sincerely hope that this planner helps you to make the most of Ramadan insha’Allah.

Please remember my family in your duaas.

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

 

 

Handicraft Ideas for Young Children

Handcriaft ideas for young children

The following post is from Shannen at Middle Way Mom

Are you intimidated to get started with handicrafts? With small children, they have so much excitement to make something themselves, but we don’t want to present a project that frustrates them and kills that excitement.

 

 

Still, we don’t want to wait so long that our child no longer has an interest in crafts of any sort.

Charlotte Mason says:

The points to be borne in mind in children’s handicrafts are: (a) that they should not be employed in making futilities such as pea and stick work, paper mats, and the like; (b) that they should be taught slowly and carefully what they are to do; (c) that slipshod work should not allowed; (d) and that, therefore, the children’s work should be kept well within their compass.

~ Charlotte Mason, Home Education, Volume 1, pgs 315-316

Charlotte offers some suggestions for handicrafts for children under 9, but to be honest, many of them seem antiqued, or would be hard to source. So what handicraft ideas are useful for young children in our modern times?

We’ve tried a few handicraft ideas in our home with my 6 year old daughter: some very successful, and some not as much. Here I’ll share with you what I believe are some of the best projects to get started, in sha Allah.

Handicraft ideas for young children

 

What are handicrafts?

Handicrafts are more than arts and crafts. Handicrafts are useful items that serve a purpose, or decorate a useful item, like embroidery.

Learning some basic handicrafts helps children:

  • Learn the value of items, and the work that goes into them, also helping children see the issue with cheap labor to make clothing and household items
  • Practice fine motor skills
  • Find passions and hobbies to nuture both their creative and practical side
  • Teach them valuable skills they can use as they grow older

Knitting loom

How did we start with handicrafts in my home? My 4 year old, at the time, saw me knitting one day and begged me to teach her, but again I didn’t want to teach her something where she had little likelihood to be successful. Fortunately, I found a used knitting loom online and purchased that, plus I had some yarn left over from my own projects.

She took to it immediately and has been making hats and crowns (hats without tops) ever since.

At 4 years old she needed some guidance, but overall mashaAllah she did quite well independently, and she had a great sense of accomplishment

Weaving

Weaving can result in many different types of projects, the most common for kids being pot holders. We started with pot holders because it was really cheap to get the loom and the bands, but I can see it sparked something bigger in my 6 year old and she’d love if I got her a weaving loom for other projects like making scarves, placemats, or bracelets.

You can find many YouTube videos about making your own weaving loom to make a variety of projects to get you started, or find a high quality, affordable kit.

Simple sewing projects

Sewing School is a great book to get ideas for really simple projects. We started with a couple charm squares of fabric, a needle, thread, and some cotton stuffing, and with this my daughter made a pillow for her dolls. A variation of this project is only sewing three sides and not stuffing it to make a pocket, or attach a handle to make a doll bag.

The book offers many other projects kids can work on, but I loved how simple the pillow project was to get us started.

Girl sewing handicraft pillow

 

Knit or crochet

I hear many people mention how their grandmother or mother taught them how to knit or crochet when they were 5, 6, or 7 years old, but a common theme is that they didn’t stick with it. I have taught my child how to knit, because she insisted, but with the attention span of young children, it’s hard for them to even see a washcloth project through to completion.

If your child is interested in it, I wouldn’t say to hold back, but until they are about 8 years old, I wouldn’t expect a child to run with it like they would with weaving pot holders.

Yarn or fabric dyeing

Super easy, and super fun for kids! Even more fun? Dyeing their own yarn, then knitting with it themselves on the loom!

There are a lot of videos on YouTube to teach you how to dye yarn, but I personally prefer to pick up a kit from a well regarded source so I don’t waste time and money on a video that may or may not be well constructed. Knit Picks has some books, dyes, and bare yarn to purchase. Another great source is your local yarn shop, and it supports local small businesses.

Advice for starting with handicrafts

While Charlotte Mason suggests only giving a child work that they can perfect, that doesn’t mean that’s it’s perfect the first time around. Offer up some options and let your child choose something in their interest.

Also, in your day to day lives, point out items that the child could make themselves and offer up ideas.

And… the best way to encourage your child to take up handicrafts?

Do them yourself! Invite your child to help sew on a button. Knit while doing your homeschooling lessons. Quilt while watching a movie.

Not into fiber arts? Paint rocks together, garden, paint bird houses, and other useful crafts to spark an interest.

What are some handicraft ideas you’ve tried with your child?

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

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