How to Teach your Four year old to Read…if they want to!

How to teach your 4 year old to read

Learning to read is one of the most important skills our children will ever learn, yet as parents, most of us have no idea how to begin!

Keep reading and I will walk you through the 3 simple steps and show you how to teach your 4 year old to read!

How to teach your 4 year old to read. Resources, books, online programmes and tips to help your 4 year old learn to read.

This blogpost contains affiliate links. See Disclaimer for more information.

This article is written from my own experience. By the age of 4, my son was reading fluently. Now at 5 years-old, he can pick up almost any book, read it and enjoy it. At the moment he’s especially keen on our encyclopedia!

And that’s what it’s all about for me; opening up the world of books to them whenever they’re ready.

Whether you home educate, or your children go to school, these simple steps will help you to teach your 4 year old to read. insha’Allah.

IMPORTANT NOTE:
Not all children are developmentally ready to read at 4 years-old.
PLEASE PLEASE don’t force a child who is not ready!!! It will do more harm than good!

However, if you’re child is ready and eager to learn to read, this article will show you how I did it, so you can ‘Teach YOUR Four year old to Read In 3 Easy Steps.’

1. Develop their Love of Books and Stories

If a child love books, the he will love to read.  If he loves to read, he will love to learn. Insha’Allah.  

This is by far the most important factor in teaching your child to read and if you take nothing else away from this article please take this…

A child who is self-motivated will learn to read, and learn any other skill that they want to learn, much quicker and more easily than a child who is not self-motivated.

Love books, love reading , love learning

If you have to force your child to read, it will be much harder for both of you, take longer, and may even cause your child to dislike reading altogether.   

So how can you encourage this self motivation?

There are several ways that you can nurture a passion for reading in your children.

– Read to your 4 year old

Set aside time everyday to regularly read aloud to your children. Make that time special for them. Cuddle up under a blanket by the fire, drink hot chocolate or just let her sit on your lap. She should look forward to that time with you. Make it magical. Give her your undivided attention, full of your love and affection, and read her incredible stories that will feed her imagination.

– Surround them with books

Fill your home with as many books as you can afford. There should be a small collection of books in every room for your children freely to look at.

If you have space, you may even make a little ‘reading nook’ for your home, a specially designated space, used only for reading and enjoying books.

How to teach your 4 year-old to read! Books, resources, online games, tips and advice.

However you decide to implement this principle, it will teach your child to give importance to books, and thereby give importance to learning and seeking knowledge.

– Take a regular field trips

Trips to libraries and other places of knowledge can show your kids that your family’s passion for reading is not in isolation, but there are many like minded people who share your enthusiasm. When they see other children excited by books, they will join in!

How to teach your 4 year-old to read! Books, resources, online games, tips and advice.

STEP 2: Turn Off the TV

If your television is on all day, the books will most likely be left on the shelves. Not only is TV highly addictive for small children, becoming a bad habit that is hard to break, but it will also teach them that the TV is important; and more worryingly, that what the TV says is important!

There are many benefits to turning off the TV, but the most relevant to this article is that it WILL cause your children to read more. I have seen it in my own home. With no other distractions, children will pick up the books you have put in each room and read for fun.

How to teach your 4 year-old to read! Books, resources, online games, tips and advice.

My children do have restricted daily screen-time, but I work hard to make sure that the TV and other devices are off for most of the day.

So, even if you can’t remove the television completely, try to at least restrict how much TV they watch. Limit the hours that the television is put on, and keep it off the rest of the time.

STEP 3: Buy the right books!

  If you feel your child is ready to start learning to read (often referred to as Reading Readiness) you will need to invest/borrow some books to help you to begin.  

The first thing you will need is a ‘Primer.’

We have used the Primer: The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading  by Wise and Buffington

Another highly recommended alternative is

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

A primer teaches the rules of reading, beginning with the phonetic sounds of each letter. It then progressing to blending, through to difficult multi-syllabic words.

By the time your child finishes one of these primers, you can be completely confident that they can tackle any other book out there.
Although the books above are printed in the U.S. they are suitable for children in the U.K.

Once your child has learnt the sounds of the letters, they can also begin reading short books called ‘Easy Readers’, whilst continuing the later lessons in the primer.

For the early stages I would recommend the easy readers: Bob Books First!

Read With Biff, Chip And Kipper

Having progressed through one of these box sets you can move onto more challenging readers. There are many sets and curriculum available that you can follow if you wish.

My advice would be to choose books according to your child’s interests rather than following a rigid curriculum.

Whether its fairies, cars, horses or monsters, there are a multitude of easy readers available to buy online and borrow from the library.

Elementary Student Reading in Library

Do not worry that you are not completing every book in the series, or reading them in the correct order, because if you are working through a primer, then your child will not miss any of the ‘rules’ they need to know.

What is more important at this stage is that they continue to love reading and books, and the act of reading does not become a chore to them.

After the ‘Easy Reader’ stage they can read anything they want to, with some guidance from Mum!

Related: Day in the Life | What Homeschooling is REALLY LIKE!

Further Book Recommendations

For more comprehensive reading lists, ordered by age, ability and topic, I would recommend Honey for a Child’s Heart
 by Gladys Hunt.

If at any point your child seems to loose interest, just take a break for a few weeks.

Pinterest is full of fun activities for you to do with your child to improve her reading skills without opening up a book. She will be learning to read without realising it!

On those days when the kids are sick, or they just don’t want to cooperate, we love using Reading Eggs, an online reading programme full of games and songs.

– Related: Full review of the Reading Eggs programme HERE!

At this young age it is vital that you remain flexible and take a relaxed approach to teaching reading. Make it enjoyable and have fun!

So that How to Teach your Four-year-old to READ in 3 Easy Steps!

Of all three steps it is step one, instilling a love for books, that is the most important.

Without it you will face a constant struggle with your child, in an effort make them cooperate and do something they have no desire to do. If they love books, they will want to read.

Please leave me a comment below and tell me how you are teaching your children to read. What resources have you used? What are some of your children’s favourite books?

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Please remember us in your duaas.    

Peace and Love.

how to teach your 4 year old to read

Picture Books To Encourage GOOD CHARACTER In Muslim Children

The books we read to our children affect them. The words
and the images linger in their minds, especially before they fall asleep. The stories resonate in their hearts and  can leave a lasting impression. Such books have the power to teach a child life-long lessons, in particular, good
character.

Muslim Children's Books for good character

 

Below are a list of some of my family’s favourite picture
books that encourage upright character and good morals.
These books do NOT contain the stories of the Prophets (pbut) but are works of fiction. Truly the best of characters was that of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and the other Prophets of Allah (pbut), and to them we should look for the best example. A list of my favourite Islamic children’s books will be published soon insh’Allah.  

This is NOT a sponsored post. These are genuine recommendations and are books that I read to my own children.

Whilst all the books listed are suitable for any child, those
marked with a (M) are specifically targeted at Muslim children. 

Montmorency’s Book Of Rhymes by T.J. Winter (M)T.J. Winter (Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad) has written this charming collection of rhymes. With it’s fantastic characters and beautiful illustrations, rich language, and subtle moral undertones, it is a timeless classic that should be a part of every Muslim child’s collection.

‘The Masjid Mouse he has a house
Inside a minaret,
Because his roof is high and dry
Above the rainclouds of the sky,
His home is never wet.’
Four Feet, Two Sandals by Williams and MohammedA heart-warming story of two girls and their friendship in a refugee camp in Pakistan.

‘In the morning Lina went to do the washing, wearing
beautiful sandal. She picked her way to the stream, careful to keep her sandal
out of the filth. Her old shoes has been ruined on the many miles of walking
from Afghanistan to Peshawar, the refugee camp in Pakistan. She had carried her
brother, Najiib, no bigger than a water jug then, but just as heavy.’


The Librarian Of Basra by Jeanette Winter
Based on a real story, this is the tale of a librarian’s struggle to protect the city’s books during the war in Iraq. One cannot help but be moved by her love of knowledge and literature.
‘All through the night, Alia, Anis, his brothers, and
shopkeepers and neighbours take the books from the library shelves, pass them
over the seven-foot wall, and hide them in Anis’s restaurant.’


Wangari’s Trees Of Peace by Jeanette Winter

Based on a real story, a woman’s fight to save the trees of Kenya, and restore the natural order in her homeland.

‘…Wangari returns to her Kenya home and sees a change. What
has happened? She wonders. Where are the trees?’
The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia DonaldsonA fun and silly book, for those fun and silly moments! George wishes he wasn’t the scruffiest giant in town, so he buys himself a new outfit..a new outfit that will help a lot of other animals in ways you wouldn’t expect!

‘As he hopped, he sang to himself,
“My tie is a scarf for a cold giraffe,
My shirt’s on a boat as a sail for a goat,
My shoes is a house for a little white mouse,
But look me up and down –
I’m the smartest giant in town.”’

Hilmy The Hippo Series by Rae Norridge (M)
This series follows Hilmy the hippo as goes on adventures, learning from his mistakes a he goes.‘“Hilmy,” said the large hippo. “There has been no rain for
a very long time. Our waterhole has dried up. You must be kind to us and allow
us to share this beautiful waterhole.”
’ (Hilmy Learns To Share)

The Perfect Gift by J. Samia Mair (M)A story about appreciating nature and living in submission to Allah.

 

‘Sarah thought that the woods had never looked more
beautiful. Sarah took her special path to the right that only she knew about. The
path led to a stream that meandered silently through the woods.

Thank You O Allah! By Ayesha bint Mahmood (M)

This book is aimed at children under 6. It encourages gratitude to Allah for all the blessings He has bestowed upon us.

‘So dear younger Muslims,
Indeed we must say,
“Thank you O Allah!”
Each night and each day.
For beautiful blessings,
That Allah does give,
Let’s keep thanking Him
As long as we live!’

 

What books would you add to this list? I would love to know. Please leave me your recommendations in the comments below.

To make sure you don’t miss the next blog post,Subscribe to my mailing list.For a daily look into Our Muslim Homeschool follow me onInstagramTwitteror Facebook.

Thank you for visiting our blog!
Please remember us in your duaas.
Peace and Love.

You might also like:

Muslim Homeschool Curriculum
Click
 
 
 


.

HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM CHOICES 2015-2016

Year 1 and Preschool

It’s that time of year again…and I love it!
It’s time to plan next year’s Curriculum for Our Muslim Homeschool!

Like most homeschooling families, I started planning for the next year of home education at least 6 months ago, and have been slowly collecting different resources as I find them. This is what we are going with this year!

This blog-post contain affiliate links. Please see Disclaimer for more information. 
My children are 5 and 3 years old.
Below I have listed the curriculum we will be using for M as he starts Year 1 (Kindergarten) from September. For A, my pre-schooler, we will not be following a set curriculum, but will draw ideas from few different books, which I also have listed below.
The books listed below are the ‘main’ texts we will be using, but we will also draw from many other resources that we have at home; as well as online and from our library.
We also enjoy frequent field trips!

If you are interested in any of these books, just click on the title of the book for a link to Amazon  or the relevant website.Please note: This does not include our reading list, i.e books (fiction) that M will read or will have read to him.

 

I hope our curriculum helps to inspire other Muslim Homeschooling Families, as so many others have inspired me!

YEAR 1 / Kindergarten Curriculum

Islamic Studies

It is my opinion that religion should not be taught as an academic subject, but rather it should be something that children witness as part of normal life, learning from your example and other good company. However there are some books that we will use for activities and to stimulate discussions:

My First Quran Story Book by Saniyasnain Khan & Maria S Puri

I Love Islam Textbook: Level 1 (With CD)


Available to purchase from the HOMESCHOOL SHOP

 

QURANIC MEMORISATION 
At Home

ARABIC

Dino Lingo 

First Thousand Words in Arabic

Language Arts

READING

PHONICS:

Modern Curriculum Press Phonics, Level A

 

SPELLING:

Spelling Workout, Level B by Modern Curriculum Press


 

HANDWRITING:
Copy-work from some books of Hadith into these Handwriting school exercise books

Math:

History/Geography/Social Studies

For this year we will follow an interest-led approach for the humanities. By this I mean that we will have a relaxed approach to these topics, studying what-ever M wants to learn about using books from our local library.

Science:

We will be primarily doing the study of nature this year. However when the weather doesn’t allow us to go outdoors, we will use the latter two book for fun science experiments:

Looking at Nature: Bks. 1-4 by Elsie Proctor

Usborne Spotter’s Guides:

Trees

Woodland Life

Bugs and Insects

Birds



 

Mudpies to Magnets: A Preschool Science Curriculum

 
Everybody Has a Body: Science from Head to Toe

Sport:

Football
Trampolining with home-ed group
Bike rides / country walks / trips to the park

PRESCHOOL CURRICULUM:

These books provide me with ideas for preschool activities and learning games. They are a great resource!

 

Where Is Thumbkin?: 500 Activities to Use with Songs You Already Know

Slow and Steady Get Me Ready 

If you would like more ideas for Curriculum choices, particularly for older children, I would recommend visiting Noor Janan HomeschoolandIman’s Home-school; both great resources for Muslim Homeschoolers.
To make sure you don’t miss the next in the series, please Subscribeto my blog, or follow me on InstagramFacebook or Twitter.

If you have any questions, or any ideas for future posts, please leave them for me in the comments below. If you have a blog post about you homeschool curriculum. please feel free to link it below. I’d love to know what your using!
Thanks for stopping by!

Peace and Love.
Living history curriculum islamic

You might also be interesting in…

 

Click HERE

 

A Muslim Homeschool: A DAY IN THE LIFE

A typical day in our Muslim homeschool, doing Reception (Kindergarten) and Preschool with three small children.

M is 5 years-old, A is 3 years-old and K is 7 months-old.

6.45

‘MUMMMMMMMY! I WANT ICECREAM!’ I crack open one eye, to find
A has crawled into the bed in the night and seems to have kicked his dad out.

‘MUMMMMMMMY! I WANT ICECREAM!’ Before he wakes the baby, I slid myself out of
bed, eyes still half-closed, and shuffle downstairs.

He gets grapes. I get
coffee.

Feeling slightly more human, I feed the cats and then have some
cereal.

7.20

K wakes up. I nurse her and head back downstairs to finish
my cereal.

It‘s gone soggy.


7.35

My husband needs to
drop off his car at the garage at 8am today, so the kids and I need to go in my
car to give him a lift home. So I do the unthinkable….I wake up M!

He’s not
happy.

After putting a load
of nappies in the wash, I make the beds and then give the kids breakfast. It
just cereal and juice this morning, and a baby puree for K.

Then I quickly scan through my emails on my
phone.

8.00

After a lot of whining, we get everyone into the car … still
in their pyjamas. I throw an abaya over mine and jump in the car.

On the way to the garage I see kids already dressed,
presumably having eaten something, bags packed, and heading off to school.

How
do their mum’s do it?!?

Superwomen no doubt!

I can’t help feeling a little smug
though as we all drive home in our pyjamas for a second breakfast!

8.15

When get back from the garage, my husband leaves for work on his bike.

A is unusually grumpy so I feed him. The cats are complaining to, so I feed them.

8.25

I remember that I need to post something on Instagram that
morning. 

Whilst typing on my phone, K starts crying. So I  finish writing the photo caption one-handed, bobbing her up and down on my hip. 

The cats start meowing that they want
to go out, M starts reading out facts from a dinosaur book, and K is still
crying.

8.40

K starts to settle down, so I grab my chance to clean the
kitchen.

A falls over and hurts himself, M is still reading
aloud (very loudly) out of his dinosaur book and K starts crying.

I give up and take K
upstairs.

9.00 

After a clean nappy and nursing, K is asleep.

I finish cleaning up the kitchen.

9.10 

I take out our ‘workbox.’

We settle on the living room floor and read from the children’s Quran the story of Qarun.


Next M reads to me from his ‘I can read’ easy reader book, and A listens.

9.30

In the kitchen, I help A make a picture of a summer garden with
paper flowers and tissue paper.

Whilst M is doing some Math fact drills and
word problems
at the table, A goes an plays in the living room and I make another coffee.

9.40

I take the meat out of the freezer for tonight’s dinner
and write a to-do list for the day, making sure to write down the things I’ve
already done, and then tick them off!


K wakes up. I bring her downstairs, and find M is angry because
he can’t do one of the Maths questions.

After diffusing the situation, I take M upstairs to get changed. This makes him angry again!

10.30

All the kids are out of their pyjamas…I am not.

I go downstairs
to discover a cold cup of coffee that I forgot about.


I cut some fruit for the kids and then feed the cats again.

M picks up some of the tissue paper that A left on the kitchen
table and starts to make a ‘buttercup picture’. A wants to join in, so I have
to get more art supplies out.

A gets bored after two minutes and demands a
story. K starts to fuss.


At the kitchen table I read to them from yet another
dinosaur book, whilst nursing K.

11.05

We start getting ready to go out. We had planned to go
on a nature study today, but the weather is bad, so we’re going to an indoor
play centre
instead.

Not nearly as ‘wholesome’ but it’ll have to do.

11.15

Start getting the kids shoes on and get them into the car to leave.

11.35 

Actually leave.

We stay at the play centre for two hours.

The boys find a
group of kids to play with and I hardly see them whilst we are there,
except when they want their lunch!

I even get to read for ten minutes whilst K
naps in her car seat.

2.00 

Get back home.

A has fallen asleep in the car. K has not.

M goes straight
into the house, opens up his dinosaur books and starts reading and making
notes. I put a ‘Peter Pan’ audio-book on for him.


I get K out of the car, and leave her in her car seat,
whilst I carry A from the car to his bed.

K start crying. After nursing, I try to rock her to sleep.

It does not work.

After praying Dhuhr,  we come downstairs and I give her an apple slice to chew
on whilst I clean the kitchen again and empty the vegetable scraps into the
compost bin outside. 

2.45

M takes out his Atlas and starts seeing where in the
world dinosaur fossils were found.


                M:
“Mum, you know Kazakhstan?”
                me:
“Ummmm….”
                M: “Is
it under Russia?”
                me: “Ummmm…..”
                M:
“Yeah, I think it is.”
                me: “Ok
then.”

2.55

K starts to fuss, so I carry her on my hip and hang out
the wet laundry with one hand.

3.00 

M decides he wants to ‘do’ his calendar now.

3.20 

After changing K’s nappy, I put her in the door-bouncer
and start preparing dinner (lamb curry and rice).

Whilst that is cooking,
I wake up A.

3.30       

                me: “What
country do you want to learn about today?”

                M:
“Zambia.”
                me:
“Zambia?”
                M: “Yes”
                me:
“Which dinosaurs were from Zambia?”
                M:
“Actually, lets do Morocco.”
                me: “OK
then.” 

After collecting all our different atlases and social
studies books, I read from them the pages about Morocco whilst they draw and
colour the Moroccan flag.

We talk about Moroccan food, architecture, how the
families live, the capital city, the landscape and…what dinosaur fossils were
found there!

A day in Our Muslim Homeschool

M decides to start a notebook called ‘Dinosaurs around the world.’
I find a few short documentaries on Youtube about Morocco, and fold laundry
whilst the boys watch them.

4.30 

M plays ‘Dino Dan game’ online for having a ‘good
attitude today.’ A is happy watching.

4.45 

K nurses and falls asleep.

4.55 

I clean the kitchen again.

5.05 

K wakes up and happily watches the boys wrestling in
the living room.

Their dad comes home from work.

5.25 

Dinner is served.


The cats are hungry again.

5.40 

I clean the kitchen again.

6.00 

I make a cup of coffee again and fold laundry again.

6.10 

We all get in the car and head back to the garage to
pick up my husband’s car. The boys go in to ‘see how they fix the cars’.

6.40 

We get back. After changing A’s and K’s nappies, I
finish folding the laundry, and then tidy up all the toys in the living room.

The boys pretend to help and I’m too tired to make them.

6.55 

Once all three kids have had a bath and are in their pyjamas, I pray
Asr.

7.40 

Their dad occupies the boys in the living room,  so I hoover the upstairs
of the house.

8.00 

I feed K some baby porridge, nurse her and put her to
sleep. (Sigh…one down, two to go!) 

8.30 

I need another coffee, but its too late. I make a mint
tea and grab some biscuits instead.

8.45

After some gentle persuasion, I brush the boys teeth, read
them two stories, and sit with them till they fall asleep.

A day in our Muslim homeschool

10.00 

They are finally asleep. (phew!)

After praying Maghrib, I put away all
the folded clothes, tidy up all the toys that are littered around the house,
hoover the living room, and take a chicken out of the freezer for tomorrow’s
dinner.

10.40 

The rest of the evening is spent reading some Quran, praying and watching
Youtube.

Before bed, I scrawl down a quick to-do list for tomorrow, and throw a
load of clothes in the washing machine to wash overnight.

12.30 

Sleep!

Baby K wakes up twice in the night.
A wakes me up at 6.30am.

Writing this has made me realise that:
(1) I drink WAY too much coffee
(2) My cats eat a lot
(3) Half my life seems to be spent cleaning my kitchen!

How does your day look as a homeschooling mum? Is it similar to mine? I would love to know. Please leave me a comment below.


COMING SOON!

‘Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2015-2016’

Our curriculum choices for this coming academic year for Year 1 (kindergarten) and Preschool.

To make sure you don’t miss the next blog post, Subscribe to my mailing list.

For a daily look into Our Muslim Homeschool follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Thanks for visiting our blog!

Please remember us in your duaas.
Peace and Love.

Resources To Start Your Own MUSLIM HOMESCHOOL


Want to homeschool your children? Don’t know where to start?
In Part 3 of this series ‘Homeschooling:Getting Started,’ …

I will be listing useful resources for Muslim families
considering home education, or for families in the early stages of the process.

If you are looking for a source of INSPIRATION or practical advice on HOW TO DO IT, check out the links below.

Useful resources to start your Muslim homeschool
If you missed Part 1
or Part 2 in this series ‘Homeschooling: Getting Started’, please click the links
below.



All the resources in this list are linked to Amazon (affiliate links) or other relevant websites. 

Resources for New Homeschoolers


Books


National Curriculum – Parents Guide, UK

Educating Children: Classical Advice for Modern Times
by Imam Muhammad bin Ahmed al-Ramli, Abdul Aziz Ahmed (2013) Hardcover
Translated
by Shaykh Abdul Aziz Ahmed

Honey for a Child’s Heart
by Gladys Hunt
Written to encourage parents to read to their children. Contains excellent recommended reading lists.

The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home
by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise



They also have a website and a Youtube channel.
Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School
This book is based on the US Education system. Still very useful.

A Funny Kind of Education
by Ross Mountney
Memoir of a homeschooling family.


Muslim Homeschool Resources

Blogs


Blog are fantastic for giving you an insight of how REAL families homeschool and the different ways you can do it.
Bloglovin– Follow all the blogs you love from one place. Useful search engine. Just type in ‘homeschool’ or ‘Muslim Homeschool’ to find all the relevant blogs.

Websites

Great for learning the legal side of home education
Islamic Parenting: Raising upright children
Online course by Seekers Hub Global (free). Highly recommend.

Social Media


There are so many homeschoolers using social media to show how they home educate their kids. Many have coordinating blogs and Youtube channels.

Pinterest
Brilliant for getting ideas how to teach a topic or craft project ideas.

Facebook
Join your local HE group for updates on events.

Instagram
Supportive online community of like minded homeschoolers.

Youtube

There are so many videos out there of homeschool curriculum, homeschool room tours, etc. My favourite channels are:
JadyA
A Farmhouse Full
Erica Arndt

Local Home Ed group



As I mentioned before, you can find your local group of homeschoolers on Facebook. Another place you can look is Home Education in the UK who have a list of all the homeschooling groups around the country with contact details. Surrounding you and your children with like-minded people is so important, especially in the beginning. Go along to one of the group’s social events and ask a lot of questions. That’s what I did!

Starting this ‘journey’ is such an exciting time. The main advice I would give is learn as much as you can about home education, stay flexible, and don’t be disheartened if things don’t go as planned. It’s still early days!

We are so blessed to have this opportunity to stay home and educate our children. Alhumdulillah!

For more experienced home educators: What resources would
you recommend for a newbie homeschooler? Please share with us in the comments below.

Next in this series:


You think you want to homeschool your children? See what it really means to home educate! This is how a real Muslim family does it! CLICK HERE

To make sure you don’t miss the next in the series please Subscribe to my mailing list.

For a look into Our Muslim Homeschool follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Click HERE to see Part 2 in the series: Homeschooling: Is it really for me? Advantages and Disadvantages of Home Education

Homeschooling getting started

If you have any questions, please leave me a comment below and I will do my best to answer them insha’Allah.

Please remember us in your duaas.
Peace and Love.

HOME EDUCATION: Is it really for me?

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Homeschooling

Do you like the idea of homeschooling, but are not sure what
it will entail? What does home education really mean in a practical real life
situation? How do I know if it will be right for us?

This article will highlight some of the pros and cons of
homeschooling so you can make an informed decision.

Muslim Homeschool
You will need to decide personally how important each
positive or negative is to you. This will depend on your character, your
situation and your child. Homeschooling is a fantastic option, but it is not
for everyone. I hope this article helps you to decide if it is for you.

If you missed Part 1 in this series: What is Homeschooling? A guide to what home education is, could be and definitely is not! please click HERE

PROS

 
Control
Home education gives you almost complete control over WHAT
your child is learning and HOW they are learning it. It also means parents can control what your child is exposed to: friends,  books, music, peer
pressure, bullying, religious teaching to name a few.
Whilst there is some truth in the argument that children
need to learn the social skills to deal with these negative things, there is a lot of
harm that can be done to a child, particularly to his character, when exposed
to them on a daily basis.
Flexibility
 
Homeschooling allows you to schedule school around you family’s needs, and not schedule the
family needs around school.
For us this means we rarely do formal school on a Friday as it is
our Sabbath. Instead, that time is spent reading Islamic children’s books,
doing an Islamic craft, or something like that. When they are older, we will use that time to go to the mosque for Jummah too insha’Allah.

Muslim Homeschool
As a home educator, you have complete flexibility over what
you are teaching you child. You can add in subject that they wouldn’t be
learning at school (e.g. Arabic) and disregard those subjects you find
inappropriate (e.g. sex education).

If the curriculum you buy is not working
for your child, you can switch to another one in the middle of the year. Or if
he is not understanding a concept well, you can go back and revisit it. If your
child is gifted in a topic, you can provide her with more challenging material
that she would not get at school.

Home schooling also give children the opportunity to pursue
their talents that would otherwise be difficult if they were at school 6-8
hours a day. If you child is a talented tennis player, you can fit his school
work in around his sports lessons. The same can be said for any talent or
interest that your kid may have.
You can book holidays in ‘term-time’ and benefit from
cheaper rates! You can stop and start school whenever you need to, as long as
your child learning is not interrupted too much. For example, over Ramadan, we
do very little formal schooling, but will make up for lost time over the
summer.
Better exam results
 
It has been shown in studies in the US that children who are
home educated performed better
on standardized testing, than those in
mainstream education [1].
One reason for this is you are providing you child with
one-to-one tuition for every subject, every day, rather than sharing the
attention of the teacher with thirty-five other kids. You will be tailoring the
way to teach each subject to the unique way your child learns. You will be
pushing him when he finds something easy, and going back when a concept is not
understood. So its hardly surprising really that home-educated kids are doing
so well!
Family Benefits
Spending all that time together, and sharing all those
memories inevitably brings a family closer together, especially the bond
between siblings.
Muslim Homeschool
No school runs!

I know this sounds silly, but listen!

Imagine allowing your children to wake up whenever they
naturally get up, having a relaxed breakfast, and not having to ‘rush rush
rush’ to get everyone ready and out the door! No waiting in traffic, no
stressing about uniforms, or thinking about packed lunches, washing sports
kits, remembering book bags or signing forms. Instead mornings are just…EASY!

CONS

 
Responsibility
This is the big one that everyone fears! Instead of handing
over the responsibility for your child’s education to a group of strangers, YOU
are completely responsible. If they don’t do well academically or personally,
the responsibility is on you.

Personally, I think even if your child was at school, you
are still entirely responsible. The day you had your baby, the day Allah
entrusted that soul into your care, was when you became responsible and
accountable for the education of your child.
 
Parental Sacrifice
Homeschooling your children will almost always require one
parent to put their career on hold. Therefore is usually means that home
educating families have to live off one-income alone.
 
Other people’s
reactions
Since homeschooling is almost completely unheard of in the
UK, most people are either confused or shocked when you say that the kids are
homeschooled. Most will make the assumption that you are depriving your kids in
some way.
But sometimes people will surprise you with positive
comments like, ‘Aren’t your kids lucky!’ Or ‘I wish we’d thought of that!’
 
The kids are ALWAYS
there!
Of course, most of the time, I view this are a good thing. I
love their company. Homeschooling would be a very difficult thing if I did not.
But there are days, that all mums go through, when you just ‘need a break.’ But
when you homeschool, there is no break from the kids…..EVER!

There are times when it can be emotionally very draining, and it is not uncommon for mum’s to suffer from ‘burnout’ if they don’t take steps to avoid it.

 
Your house will never
be tidy
So if the kids are always home, then it follows that it will
always be a mess! That, in addition to the fact that, you will have to find
space for all the extra books, science experiments, art supplies, and all other
manner of ‘educational resources’ that will inevitably end up littering every
available surface. Your home will never be a show home, but it will be filled
with memories that are (in my opinion) worth so much more.
 
Keep kids active
It will be your responsibility to make sure the kids stay
fit and healthy. At school children do sports at least three times a week and
run around in breaks etc. If they are not attending school, you need to find
ways to keep them active. Choose something that your child enjoys. Don’t force
them to do a sport they dislike, just because their peers at school are doing
it. Think outside the box. Hiking, skating, rock climbing are just as good
forms of exercise as any organised sport.

Muslim Homeschool

 

 
Requires planning
Even if you have a very relaxed take on home education, you
will still need to have some level of organisation and planning. Personally, I
like to have the year planned out in general terms, and then plan in detail just
one month ahead of time.
Planning out what subjects you will cover and how you will
‘teach’ these subjects does not need to be complicated. For those overwhelmed
by all the choices, or concerned that they won’t cover ‘everything they need
to,’ should consider a boxed curriculum. These are more expensive, but contain
all the texts you need for every subject, all the worksheets and even a
timetable to follow. There are numerous websites and books available, most from
USA, that outline what should be covered and when. I will cover my recommendations
the next post in the series.
 
You have to ‘find’
friends/ social opportunities
If you yourself are very shy or suffer with social anxiety,
this may find this aspect of homeschooling difficult. You will need to ‘get out
there’ to give your children opportunities to meet new people and make friends.
But consider this negative point to also be a positive one.
You can encourage friendships for your child that you feel may benefit him, and
limit friendships with kids who might be a ‘bad influence.’ If done well and
with thought, your child will know how to interact comfortably with children of
all ages, races and different backgrounds to their own. Something that no
school can offer.
 
Cost
Homeschooling can be more expensive than sending you child
to school. You will need to buy things that ordinarily he would get for free at
school.
However, there are curriculum choices for every budget and
if you spend wisely, it doesn’t need to break the bank. Just remember that
peer-pressure itself can be very expensive and think of all the money you’ll be
saving by not having to buy the lastest toy, shoes, clothes, video game or
mobile phone for your child. Or going to every classmate’s birthday party,
class Christmas presents and other school events.

http://www.risk.net/risk-magazine/news/2339013/corporate-hedgers-fear-otc-liquidity-drain
There are so many free resources online, as well as
homeschooling communities that sell things second-hand once their child has
finished with them. So don’t be put off by the cost of homeeducation, it can be
done to within your budget.
 
Local Education
Authority
You may be asked for a home visit from an LEA official or
school nurse, or be asked to provide some kind of written information. I would
recommend dealing with these authorities with a touch of caution, and do your
research on what information you need to give them by law, and what you do not.
 
Further Education
If you decide to put your child into school at a later date,
you may find it difficult to get them a place in the ‘best’ schools.
You also need to consider University. Universities in the UK
do accept homeschooled kids, but it will require you as a parent, to correspond
directly with the university early on, to find out what records need to be kept
and what other requirements they may have. Like with all things in homeshooling,
the responsibility is with you and it just requires a little more planning. You
may want to consider sending you kid to a university in the United States, where
colleges are more familiar with home education and some actually now prefer
home educated students [2].

So now you’ve heard the truth. You know the main advantages
and disadvantages of homeschooling and I hope this helps you to make a decision
on whether to home educate your child.

Next in this series:



A guide to Books, websites and other resources that I have found useful and those that I could not be without!

To make sure you don’t miss the next in the series please Subscribe to my mailing list.

For a sneak peek into Our Muslim Homeschool follow me on Instagram,
Twitter or Facebook.

If you have any questions, please leave me a comment below and I will do my best to answer them insha’Allah.

Please remember us in your duaas.
Peace and Love.

What is HOMESCHOOLING?

A Guide to what Home Education is, could be and definitely is
not!

 
 

Home education is on the rise! However many people in the UK still do not realise that homeschooling is an valid and legal option for the education of their children. Many naively think they know what it is, but they really don’t! In this article I will outline what home education is, what it could be and what it definitely is not!

 

 

To homeschool in the UK is an extraordinary thing!  In 2007, it was estimated that only 34,000
students are being home educated in the UK [1].
Whilst it is almost certain that this figure has increased since then, compared
to the massive home-ed movement in the United States, where there were
1,770,000 children being educated at home in 2013 [2],
homeschooling in this country is still in its infancy.

I get so many messages and emails from Muslim women, who are considering homeschooling, but have been ‘put off’ by misconceptions and false ideas of what it entails, often assuming that it would be much harder than it truly is. So to discover what homeschooling really is, we will begin this article by looking at what it is NOT and those things that ‘put people off’!

 
 

To homeschool you have to….

 

Recreate school at home

 
This is something that almost all new homeeducators do at
the beginning, calling upon their memories of school and how ‘teaching’ was
done.  Whilst this may work for some, it
is definitely not a requirement. You do not need to structure your day like
that at school, stand at the front of the class lecturing, create a classroom
in your home, and you don’t even need to follow the National Curriculum [3].
If you want to mimic the school environment you can, but if you want to do your
‘own thing’ with your children, you are free to do so. Remember, you chose not
to not send your child to school for a reason, so think twice before you turn
your home into one.
Homeschooling Getting Started

 

Be a teacher

 
There is a preconceived notion among many that only a teacher knows how to teach ‘properly.’
 
Think about this.
 
Whilst a teacher may know how to manage a class of thirty-five kids without it descending into anarchy, who knows your child better? Who knows how she learns best? Who knows what motivates her and what she is interested in? Who would put that child’s interest above and beyond her own?
You, as a parent, can be the best and only teacher your child will ever need. Of course, it will require a little effort on your part, but it certainly doesn’t mean you need to go out and start a teacher training course!
 

Stay at home all the time

 
Certainly, in my situation, nothing could be further from the
truth. Home educators seem to have this uncanny ability to make anything and
everything a ‘learning opportunity!’ You do not need to be sitting at a desk
with a textbook to be learning. In fact sometimes the best and most lasting
lessons are those seen and done in the ‘real world.’Furthermore, because you
are in control of how you plan the ‘school day’, you can take educational trips
whenever you want. If the sun is shining you can pack up your Maths books and
take them to the park, or instead of learning about coastal processes and wave
erosion from a dry textbook, you can pack up the car and head to the beach.
What better way to learn about the natural world, than to experience it first
hand; a trip to the woods, a walk in the countryside. The world is your
classroom!
 
Homeschooling on the go

Depending where you live in the country, there are also many
sporting and musical groups for children of all ages that homeschoolers can
make the most of, and many of these are free.

 
Since you are working one-to-one whith your child, the
material you need to study each day takes considerably less time that if they
were at school. At school they have to share the teacher’s attention with thirty other students, waste time with assemblies, standing in lines, and other ‘busy
work’. All of which are not for the benefit of the individual student, but rather
for ‘classroom management.’ So, with all this extra free time, there is plenty
of opportunity to go out and about, visiting National trust properties, going
rock climbing, learning to swim and pursue any other interest or talent  your child may have.
 

Have a gifted child

 
 
Yes it is true, some homeschooled children are geniuses! And
yes, homeschooled children do perform better in standardised tests, often
working at least one year above their school peers [4], but not all home educated kids are geniuses. Most, in terms of their IQ at least, are
pretty ‘normal.’
 

Have a stupid or delinquent child

 
Some people, particularly those of an older generation, will
make the assumption that you homeschool because your child got expelled from
school for bad grades or bad behaviour. I cannot deny, that this may be the
case for a few families, but like I said before, most homeschooled children are pretty ‘normal.’
 

Be a highly religious/ new-age type

 
A growing number of families who practice their faith,
whatever that may be, are choosing to home educate due to concerns over the
moral upbringing school offers, or fails to offer, their children and the
potential harm the school environment could do to their character and faith. In
the UK a large proportion of homeschoolers are from religious families. However there has been a massive increase in numbers who have no particular religious
affiliation, many of whom are professional middle-class families, disenchanted
by the education that mainstream schools offer.
 

You need to be wealthy

 
Nothing could further from the truth. In fact most
homeschooling families are living off one-income, whilst the other parent stays
home full-time.
 
Whilst I am the first to admit that I have an unhealthy
addiction to all things ‘educational’ and must be Amazon’s best customer, none
of these things essential to provide your child with a wholesome,
well-rounded education.There are so many curriculum, books, computer
programmes, educational toys, craft kits etc. that are marketed at mums and
dads like us. Remember, most of them are money making ventures, and whilst there
may be some merit in their products, they are NOT necessary for your
homeschool.
 
All you really needs are pens, paper, a library card and
maybe an internet connection. As the children get older you can borrow and swap
books with other homeschoolers, and even share teaching responsibility (called
a co-op) for certain subjects with other mums. It is not the money you have that determines how well your child
does, but the time that you give him.
 

 

Homeschool quote

 

What is homeschooling then?

 
 
It is anything you want it to be! That’s the great thing
about this form of education. You can make it into whatever you wish. You can cater to your family and child’s needs and interests. You can adapt it to your own education
philosophy or integrate your religious teachings into everyday classes. If you
choose to create a traditional classroom in your dining room, you can. If you
want to provide Montessori resources, you can. Many people travel the world,
whilst  their children learn on the
go.  Some prioritise religious teachings,
whilst others organise their day to allow their children time to excel in sporting or musical talents. Others choose unschooling or project-based learning or
classical education. (Don’t worry if you don’t know what all these terms mean…you
soon will! What matters is that you want to homeschool and you are taking the first-steps.)
 
The key thing here is that homeschooling can be whatever you WANT
it and NEED it to be.
 

Next in this series of articles:

PART 2:
‘Homeschooling: Is it really for me? The ADVANTAGES and DISADVANTAGES of home education.’

 

To make sure you don’t miss the next in the series, please Subscribe to my blog, or follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.If you have any specific questions, please leave them for me in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them insha’Allah. Thanks for reading!

Peace and Love.

Muslim Homeschool

 

 
 
 
 
 

References:

Ramadan Decorations: Lanterns

Ramadan Decorations Lanterns

Lanterns are an festive way to decorate your home during Ramadan and to prepare your home for Eid. They are very easy to make and something that even the youngest children can help with.

Materials

  • A4 foil card
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Sequins(optional)
  • PVA glue (optional)

How to make it

1. Turn the foil card horizontally, and cut a strip 1/2″ from the end.

Ramadan decorations
2. Using a pencil, lightly draw a line 1″  from on the top and another 1″ from the bottom of the card.
Ramadan decorations
3. Take the larger piece of card, turn it vertically, and fold it in half.
Ramadan decorations

4. Then cut into the card, starting at the folded edge, all the way up to the pencil line. You will need to make between 12-14 cuts, each about 1/2″ apart.

Ramadan decorations

Ramadan decorations

5. Now its the fun part! Unfold your card and decorate. We used sequins and glue. If your children are younger you could use stickers.

Making Ramadan decorations

6. Once the glue has dried, hold the card horizontally in your hands and curve it round. Holding the edges of the card together, use your stapler to secure it. Then take the small strip of card you cut off in step 1, and staple this to the top of the lantern to act as a handle.

Ramadan decoations

7. Push down a little on the top of the lantern to make it ‘fan’ out.
You lantern is now ready to hang and decorate your home for Eid and Ramadan.
Ramadan decorations

Ramadan decorations

Ramadan decorations
I would love to see photos of the lanterns you make with your children. Please share them with me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook
Please keep us in your duaas.
Peace and love.

Ramadan Advent Calendar

This advent calendar is so easy and quick to make. It is a great addition to your Ramadan decorations and is a fun way to get you children excited about the blessed month.

We fill our advent calendar with halal sweets, and allow the children to open them up just before we go to our daily Ramadan class. You could also put a little note inside, indicating a new activity or game that you will be doing that day, or even a little toy.

If you don’t want to make the envelopes, you can buy them premade, and just decorate them. Its super easy, so why not give it a go!

Materials

  • String/Ribbon
  • 3 sheets of good-quality gift wrap
  • Number stickers
  • 30 clothes pegs
  • Glue stick
  • Pencil
  • FREE TEMPLATE
  • Goodies to put inside!
Make  a Ramadan Advent Calendar

How to make it

  1. Using your FREE TEMPLATE, draw the outline of the envelope on the back of a sheet of gift wrap. You will need to draw the around the template 10 times on each sheet.
  2.  Cut out the envelope outlines. You should have 30 in all.
  3. Fold the envelopes and apply glue to the tabs to hold them in place.
  4. Stick number stickers on the front of the envelopes.
  5. Fill envelopes with ‘goodies.’
  6. Hang string and attach envelopes with clothes pegs. 

ENJOY! Have fun with it!

You can use any color gift wrap, coloured paper or stickers to create the look you want.

Give it a try! I would love to see how you’ve decorated yours.
Please share your photos with me and my followers on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Ramadan Mubarak!

Islamic Calendar for Children

Children’s Islamic Calendar


We love using an Islamic calendar in our homeschool. Teaching the Islamic months is an important part of any Muslim homeschool, and we use ours during “Calendar Time” in the morning.

I have been looking online for an interactive calendar for the
kids with inter-changeable Islamic months, lunar cycle and prayer times. 

However after many
months of searching, I couldn’t find anything that I felt was suitable. So I
decided to make my own and share it with you! 

It includes days, Islamic months,
Year (AH), the lunar phase and the 5 prayers times

It is so easy to make! You definitely
don’t need to be ‘crafty.’

We use this calendar as part of our ‘calendar time’ in our
homeschool day. After Quranic memorisation in the morning, the children work on
this calendar and their Gregorian calendar. 

It is a great way to introduce small
kids to the Islamic months
, the lunar phases and prayer times, as well early
years numeracy. We use it to discuss the significance of certain months in Islam, as well as a countdown to Ramadan!

Below are the instructions for how to make your own Islamic
Calendar including a FREE download 
I would love to see how yours look and how you decorate
them. Please share you pics on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag
#MyIslamicCalendar, or leave a link in the comments below.

My Islamic Calendar

Materials Needed:

  • A3 coloured card (1 sheet) – I used navy blue to match my
    Gregorian calendar
  • Laminator and laminating pouches
  • Patterned ribbon or card (optional)
  • Strong adhesive glue
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • FREE Printable Pages. Click HERE to download.
  • Coloured card (two different colours) – for the hands of the
    clocks
  • Paper fasteners (x5)
  • Velcro/Hook & Loop self-adhesive dots (13mm)
  • Small pin
  1. Cut and glue the patterned ribbon or card around
    the edge of the A3 card to make a decorative border (optional). 
  2. Cut out everything from the Free Printable Pages
  3. Arrange the cut-outs on the A3 card.
  4. Using your glue stick, glue on the ‘My Islamic
    Calendar’, ‘Date’, ‘Month’, ‘Year’, ‘Lunar Phase’, ‘Fajr’, ‘Dhuhr’, ‘Asr’, ‘Maghrib’,
    ‘Isha’ tabs.
  5. Laminate the remaining cut-outs.
  6. Using your strong adhesive glue, glue the blank
    white rectangles/squares that you have laminated onto the A3 card. These will
    act as a background to each inter-changeable section. Leave to dry according to your
    glue’s instructions. My glue required me to leave for 24h.
  7. Stick the Velcro dots onto the back of the
    numbers, months, years, lunar phases. Stick the Velcro dots onto the front of
    the blank laminated rectangles/squares on your calendar. Note: you will need
    two Velcro dots in the ‘date’ section, and one in the other sections.
  8. Now its time to work on the clocks. Using your
    coloured card, cut out 5 long clock hands in one colour, and 5 short clock
    hands in another colour.
  9. Position the clock faces on the A3 card below
    each prayer name. Using a pin, pierce a hole in the centre of each clock face,
    and through into the card below. Thread the clock hands onto the paper fastener.
    Then use your this paper fastener, to go through the small holes, securing the clock
    to the card.
Your calendar should now be ready
to use!
The calendar in this download has straight title text. After playing around with it, I felt it looked better. However, if you would prefer ‘My Islamic Calendar’ to be curved, please leave me a comment below, and I will upload another printable insha’Allah.
We keep all our extra pieces in envelopes next to the calendar; one envelope for the numbers and lunar phases (things that change frequently) and one envelope for the months and years. By keeping them in two envelopes, it makes it easier for the kids to find what they need. You could also use little baskets or attach separate pouches to the calendar itself.
I would love to see how yours look and how you decorate
them. Please share you pics on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag
#MyIslamicCalendar, or leave a link in the comments below.
Please remember us in your duaas,
Peace and Love x

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