Watch this video and spend the day with us! See what home education in the UK really looks like for Our Muslim homeschool!
Home education simply means to educate your children outside of the mainstream school system. What that looks like for each family is different but for us, as it does for many others, it involves plenty of time outside, sports and activities with friends and formal studies at home.
Watch how we teach Quran, our swimming classes, outdoor time and a heart-to-heart chat about “What homeschooling is REALLY like!”
This video and blog-post was sponsored by WordUnited, who kindly sent me their Arabic and Phonics programs, and compensated me for my time. This blog-post also contains affiliate links. See Disclaimer for more information.
WordUnited is an incredible website that stocks hundreds of high-quality educational resources for children aged 0-13. They have everything you can imagine on that site, from beautiful baby toys, resources for literacy, numeracy, science, special needs and even multicultural toys section! With hundreds of new products being added every week, WordUnited is set to become the next big thing!
WordUnitedkindly sent me two sets of books to review; the “Let’s Read” program, which teaching children the foundations of phonics, and the “Let’s Read Arabic” program which teaches children how to read Arabic words.
Each set consists of eight books. As your child progresses through the program, they gradually increase in complexity and build upon lessons learnt in previous books.
The books are small and easy for young hands to hold, as well as colourful and engaging to to children. They illustrations feature realistic high-quality images of objects that children will be familiar with in their lives. I really appreciate how the creators of these books have used visual cues to highlight the individual sounds that make up each word.
These books are ideal for home educators are they include parent guidance at the beginning of each book. This is really important to read as it clearly explains what is being covered and how to use that particular book effectively. I love it when a curriculum make it simple for parents!
The books can be purchased individually, or as a complete set.
Throw away the workbooks! Pack away the textbooks! Teaching a foreign language to a young child requires you to think differently about what learning looks like!
The most effective method of acquiring a foreign language is the same method as a child acquires their mother-tongue; through regular exposure to the language in their daily lives.
Charlotte Mason said that young children learn languages through, “the ear, and not the eye,” (Vol 1. p.301), and so when we begin teaching young children, initially it is the ear that needs to be trained as the child becomes accustomed to the sound of that new language.
Before we jump into workbooks and expensive curricula, teach your child to speak the language at home through play and by natural exposure to the language.
This blog post has been written in collaboration with WordUnited, who gifted my family their write-and-wipe flashcards and compensated me for my time. Our Muslim Homeschool uses affiliate links in blog posts and the sidebar. Please see Disclaimer for more information.
How do we teach young children a foreign language?
Young children can learn a new language by hearing it used in their day-to-day lives, without the need to use extensive curricula.
“The child should never see French words in print until he has learned to say them with as much ease and readiness as if they were English.” Charlotte Mason (Vol. 1, p.301).
Ideally, this requires at least one of the parents at home to know this language to a basic level, or for them to employ someone else who does. However there are no end to private language tutors or classes available in most cities, as well as online.
“French should be acquired as English is, not as a grammar, but as a LIVING SPEECH. To train the ear to distinguish and the lips to produce the French vocables is a valuable part of the education of the senses, and one which can hardly be undertaken too soon.” Charlotte Mason (Vol.1 p.301).
Once your children are familiar with the words, and how to use them in their speech, you can introduce them to the written appearance of those words. Before beginning them on workbooks, I would recommend usingflashcards. Flashcards are an ideal way to introduce children to the written form of any langauge, and can be used in games and activities to help keep children engaged.
At what age should I start teaching a new language?
To put it simply, children should be exposed to the foreign language as early as possible. We all know from our own children, that at the age of two years-old, toddlers may have grasped only a handful of words. However by the time they become three, they are able to hold a conversation and articulate their needs and interests with relative ease.
During these 12 months, there has been no “formal” teaching. Rather the child has heard the language spoke frequently used in the context of real-life, and that is all he/she needed to learn to speak it.
Thee ages 2 and 3 years-old are critical in language development, and thus this is the ideal time to begin introducing a new language to them.
However, whatever age your children may be, I would recommend you begin talking to them in a foreign language as soon as finish reading this blog-post!
What is the best foreign language to teach a child?
This is of course a matter of opinion! We have chosen to teach Arabic because of its connection with our faith, and French because my husband’s Mauritian heritage.
Others may suggest Spanish, Mandarin, or even Latin. I would advise that you look at your own family, where you live and what languages would be most useful for your children’s future.
Games and Activities to Teach Young Children a Foreign Language
To see these activities in more detail, and watch my family playing these games…
WATCH THIS VIDEO!
1.Daily Language Time
For one hour everyday, have your family speak ONLY in the new language.
If they need something from you, they will have to ask for it a foreign language. Likewise, when you speak to them, speak to them in the new language. By doing this, you are putting the language in a real-life context that helps young children to learn.
Charlotte Mason tells us that “…the child thinks in sentences” and so the most effective way to learn a new language is to have the words put into the context of sentence and place.
2. What’s in the Box?
Fill a box with items you have in your home. Then pull one out at a time and ask your child (in the new language), “What’s in the box?” Pass the object to them and they should give you an answer in that language, in a full sentence if possible.
Why not put cutlery or plastic animals in the box, or try different vehicles, fruit and veg or other household items. The possibilities are endless!
3. At the shops
When shopping with your children, read out the shopping list in a foreign language and ask them to retrieve the items for you. If your child is older, they could even write out the shopping list in the new language for you.
This simple activity makes learning fun and interactive. Your children will not even realise that they’re having a language lesson!
Call out the colour in the new language, and ask your children hunt for something that colour in the room and bring it back to you. Once they get used to that, you could begin to include numbers and other vocabularly: “I want three red cars, ” or “I want two balls.”
5. Get Moving!
This game is one of my favourites!
Make sure that your children have plenty of room to move about as you call out a command, such as “Run!” or “Jump!” in the foreign language. The children will then have to do that action until you call out the next one.
6. Sing along
Children have an incredible ability to retain songs, so use this innate ability to help them learn the new language!
Sing nursery rhymes and children’s songs in that language. If you don’t know any yourself, look on Youtube! There are so many in different languages that you can listen to for free.
7. Bi-lingual books
Read you children’s favourite bedtime stories to them in a foreign language. This is an easy and enjoyable way to add exposure to the language with very little effort on your part. You will be amazed at the selection of bi-lingual books available at the library for you to take out.
Once you children a comfortable understanding and using certain vocubulary in the context of their lives, you can begin to teach them how these words look in the written form and encourage them to write them themselves.
The Word United flashcards are available in English, Arabic, French, Spanish and German; teaching the alphabet, numbers, colours, shapes and actions in each of these languages.
Each card shows the word or letter along with a beautiful high quality photo on one side; whilst the other side has that word written out, followed by a tracing and hand-writing exercise. These high quality cards are kept in a magnetically closing box, along with two wipe-able board pens.
These beautiful flashcards introduce children to the foreign language in it’s written form, and allowing them to have hands-on practice spelling the words too.
If you are interested in purchasing the Write-and-Wipe flashcards for your family, visit their website (www.wordunited.com), or visit the Word United Amazon Store .
Remember, very young children learn language through their ears, and not their eyes!
Hold back on workbooks and textbooks until you children are starting to understand the spoken language. The ages 2 and 3 years-old are critical in language development, and thus this is the ideal time to begin introducing a new language to them.
When your children are ready to move onto the written form of the language, try using bi-lingual books and flashcards, like the ones from Word United.
This will your children with a solid foundation with which to master another language and help them in their further study of that foreign language.
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. I would also love to hear how you have successfully taught your children another language.
Also, make sure to scroll down to the bottom of this blog post to enter this month’s GIVEAWAY!
This blog post is part of a sponsored collaboration with Word United, who generously sent me their products to review. Our Muslim Homeschool uses affiliate links in posts and the sidebar. Please see Disclaimer for more information.
WATCH THIS VIDEO!
Word United Write and Wipe Flashcards
We are using the write and wipe flashcards from Word United to enriched our homeschool English and foreign language curriculum.
These cards provide a hands-on approach to learning a language that has kept my children engaged and enthusiastic to learn more!
The Word United flashcards are available in English, Arabic, French, Spanish and German; teaching the alphabet, numbers, colours, shapes and actions in each of these languages.
Each card showcases the word or letter with a beautiful high quality photo on one side; whilst the other side has the word written out, and then space for tracing and hand-writing practice. These high quality cards are kept in a magnetically closing box, along with two wipe-able board pens.
If you would like to learn more about these flashcards, WATCH THE VIDEO above, visit their website (www.wordunited.com), or find them on Twitter and Instagram.
I know it can be fun to see how other families home-educate their children; but more than that, I hope you found something useful in our YouTube video. Whether its a new book to read, or a new idea, I sincerely hope that by sharing these moments of our lives with you, I am helping you and your families in someway.
If you would like to see more of us, and an almost daily lookinto our homeschooling day, you can follow me on Instagramor Facebook.
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.
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.
This blog post was sponsored by aliandsumayaschool.com. See disclaimer for further details.
Teaching your children about Islam can be a daunting prospect! Where do we start?
How do we teach the material?
Once they do start learning the various Islamic sciences, how do we keep up the momentum and maintain their enthusiasm.
How can we encourage our children to want to learn about Islam?
What are the best online resources available to help parents?
I was recently introduced to the Ali and Sumaya school, an online Islamic school, that teaches children the principle Islamic sciences, from the comfort of my own home.
It has been such a blessing to incorporate it into my children’s Islamic education, and I am so excited to share it with you.
WATCH THIS VIDEO where I show you around the Ali and Sumaya school!
CLICK ON THE VIDEO BELOW:
What is an Online Islamic School?
When we first logged on, I was so impressed! It’s like an Islamic version of ABC Mouse! mashAllah! Instead of teaching phonics or maths, it teaches children Quran, duaas, Arabic, and more!
The children absolutely adore it, and really look forward to doing their lessons! I have seen an incredible shift in their attitude towards learning the Islamic sciences. When I announce that it’s time for Ali and Sumaya school, they rush to get to the computer and watch one another do their lessons.
They even recognize the characters in the school from the Ali and Sumaya DVDS, which only adds to their enthusiasm!
However since we began the programme, about 2 months ago, they have continued to offer more levels,and add more learning material to their website every month!
How does it work?
Most lessons offered involve your child watching a short animated video, where the material is explained. These videos have been made to a very high standard! The audio is clear, with beautiful recitation of Quran, and the animation is amazing!
Then after practicing what has been taught, they complete a short quiz to ensure they have understood the lesson.
They way the school assesses memorisation is very simple, but very clever. The teacher will recite part of an ayah or duaa, and then conceal part of it with a “beep”. The child then has to decide what is missing from the duaa, and select the correct answer from a number of options.
If they pass the quiz, they are awarded a “badge.” The badges are the equivalent to virtual stickers, and my kids love collecting them!
A nice feature on the site is the presence of a leader board. For every lesson you complete, you are awarded points, and the students with the highest number of points will feature on the global leader board.
What age does my child need to be?
There are no specific requirements for age or experience. The only thing I would recommend is that your child should be able to comfortably use the mouse or a tablet, otherwise they may struggle to complete their lessons.
Are their sources reliable?
There are so many different ways people practice Islam today, especially with regards to worship. The creators of the Ali and Sumaya school consulted a number of religious teachers from Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
If you have any further questions about the scholars and sources that were used, you can email the Ali and Sumaya school directly. Click HERE for their contact details.
How long are the lessons?
The time each lesson takes does vary between subjects and levels. However, the makers of the Ali and Sumaya school recommend that children spend 10-20 minutes on each lesson, as few times a week to get the most out of the programme.
We have chosen to use these online classes slightly differently. Instead of everyday, we have been using the Ali and Sumaya school as a reward for good behaviour or academic achievement! They enjoy using this online school so much that they will actually work towards it! They really do love it!
Benefits of Online Learning
Personally, I think the biggest benefit of using an online school like the Ali and Sumaya school, is that the kids enjoy it! Subhanullah, what a difference it makes to your child’s learning when they are having fun!
When a child is self-motivated and interested in learning the material, they will retain that information more effectively than if you are forcing them to do their lessons. The Ali and Sumaya school is a fantastic way of nurturing a positive attitude towards studying Islam.
One of the biggest challenges we face as parents today, is the constant struggle we have with limiting screen time. This internal battle happens in almost all of us everyday. Many of us feel guilty at the amount of time our children spend watching TV, or playing on other electronic devices. What is wonderful about the Ali and Sumaya school, is that that guilt is gone! My children can go online, and do their lessons, and learn something really beneficial! Alhumdulillah!
The Ali and Sumaya school provides a halal alternative to the mainstream media. Furthermore, it is a safe and wholesome way for children to spend beneficial time online.
How do I enroll my children?
The creators of the Ali and Sumaya school only take in a limited number of students each term so that they really get to know those pupil’s needs, and assist them as much as possible.
If you would like to secure your child’s place for this terms intake, you can visit their website: AliandSumayaschool.com for more details.
If you have any questions about the Ali and Sumaya school, and how we use it in our home, please leave them in the comments section below!
Teaching the Arabic alphabet to kids in the West is often done after the English alphabet, as a second language. Despite this, there are so many way we have found to make learning Arabic fun and enjoyable for your preschool kids.
Below I have listed my favorite resources and activities to help kids learn the Arabic alphabet and have fun doing it.
These recommendations are primarily for young children (under 4s) but could be used for any child new to the language.
This blogpost includes affiliate links. Please see Disclaimer for more information.
As I was beginning to discover the Montessori method of education and browsing through the plethora of information online, I stumbled across a great website, ‘Noor Janan Homeschool’. In amongst her free printables, I found these lovely Arabic Letter Cards. After printing and laminating them, we have used them a multitude of ways. I ask Dino boy to name the letter, or to pair with matching letter, put them in order or we play a memory game with them.
Learn Arabic with Playdough
On the same website (Noor Janan Homeschool) there are Arabic playdough cards, where you mould the playdough into the shape of the letter on the card. Dino boy was not interested in these, so after laminating them, we now use them as colouring in sheets, and simply wipe clean after.
As he is colouring in, we talk about the letter, its sound, words that begin with this letter or what its shape reminds us of.
Tell your kids a story
I came across this method on Youtube on thesafida34 channel where you tell a story with the letter. For example with Ba, Ta and Tha: “Ba, Ta and Tha are three boats. One sunny day, they decided to go out on the seas and catch some fish. Ba was not a very good fishing boat, and he left his fish in the water (Where the fish are representing the dots on the letters). Ta did very well mashAllah and caught two fish and Tha, who had the longest fishing rod (sticking your tongue out to make the sound of the letter) caught three fish.”
4. Arabic Alphabet Puzzles for kids
We have been fortunate to receive a few puzzles, wooden and card, of the Arabic letters. These are available from amazon and many Islamic bookstores.
I use these when I want to kids to do some Arabic, but they are not in the mood for anything ‘heavy.’
5. Online Resources for kids
This websiteIslamic Playground is a recent discovery of mine. Although I do try to limit screen time for my kids, there are occasions when they deserve a treat! There are two lovely games on this site – Drag and match game where the player has to match the letters and as they do it the letters sound is played. – A journey through the Arabic alphabet. The player has to walk along the letter and as they reach an obstacle on the path they will be asked an ‘Islamic’ question to get past. Although this one does require mum or dad’s help, it is well worth it.
6. Painting Activities
Sometimes the simplest things work the best! Either write out the letters yourself, or ask you child to, and then paint them . Simple but it holds their concentration!
7. Arabic Alphabet Workbook
The website rahmahmuslimhomeschool has a wonderful FREE workbook for ages 3+ to help your child recognise and begin writing the letters. My son LOVES this. I’ve put it in a ‘grown-up’ folder for him which only adds to his excitement!
8. Learn Arabic with Youtube Videos
There are many songs and videos on Youtube to help you child become more familiar with the sounds and shapes of the letters. These are our favourites: