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I’ll be back LIVE again next week, Sunday 19th January 2020 at 10am GMT, with another episode of Raising Mums on my Facebook and Instagram accounts insha’Allah.
Next week we’ll be discussing…
Homeschooling during Pregnancy!
I hope I’ll see you there!
Peace and Love,
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How do we teach our kids to read? It can be overwhelming to even think about it!
I’m thrilled to be able to introduce you to a reading programme that is simple for parents to follow at home. The Reading Eggsbook packs are fun, will engage your children’s imagination, and are highly effective!
We all want our children to read more, and enjoy the rich world of reading books brings! The best way to nurture this enthusiasm for reading in your home, is to start their experience with books in a positive way.
If they enjoy the process of learning to read, they will be eager to pick up books themselves to read in their own time.
That is why I believe the Reading Eggs programme is so effective. I have used their online platform for many years with my elder children. Today, I excited to introduce you to their range of books.
Reinforce learning with fun phonics games using their Flashcards.
You’ll Love Reading Eggs Books if…
-You want to provide your children with a solid foundation in literacy.
-You’re a really busy mum, and you are looking for something that is easy to implement and that your children can do a large part of independently.
-Your children enjoy colourful and visually stimulating books.
-You have children aged 3-6, who are just beginning to read.
Using the book sets from Reading Eggs, alongside the online platform, provides a complete learning programme to teach your kids to read. Through this programme your children will learn phonics, sight words, and develop a deep love for reading. insha’Allah.
Does center parcs serve halal food? Are the swimming pools segregated? Is it worth the money?
There are just a few of the questions I received on my Instagram and Facebook accounts after sharing some photos of our holiday there. In this blog-post, I’ll be sharing my honest review of Center Parcs, based on our stays in the Longleat and Whinfell forests, from a Muslim family perspective.
We spent three-four nights in the Longleat and Whinfell villages and overall we loved our time there. In fact, after only returning from Centre parcs a few days ago, we’re already planning when we can go back!
Center Parcs is a great holiday destination for families who want to “escape” from a city or suburban life, and spend some time in a quiet, green, natural space, without sacrificing any comfort at all!
In Centre Parcs you can take part in a huge range of outdoor and indoor activities, spend time in their indoor pools, go shopping, have a coffee or a meal out, or relax in you own private sauna back at your lodge. The resorts are luxurious, full of fun things do for all ages, and all interests.
I’m not going to go into all the differences between the resorts and accommodation. If you want more information, visit the Centre Parcs Website.
Instead, I want to talk to you about our personal experience there, the positives and the negatives, all from a Muslim family’s perspective.
Is it halal?
First, lets deal with the most commonly asked question from my Muslim followers….is the food at Center Parcs halal? Unfortunately, the restaurants at Whinfell and Longleat did NOT offer halal options.
However it appears that some of the resorts can offer halal meals if you book ahead. A friend of mine visited Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire and was able to pre-order halal food when booking at Cafe Rouge, Las Iguanas, Huck grill and Rajendra Pradeep curry house. MashAllah!
So it’s worth definitely worth checking ahead, before you decide which resort to stay at, to see if they can offer halal meals in their restaurants. You can contact them directly HERE.
However the restaurants do offer vegetarian meals. My favourite restaurant on site is “Las Iguanas”, which serve eclectic South American cuisine. They have loads of vegetarian dishes, so everyone will find something they like insha’Allah.
Since we eat halal, and healthy food, we preferred eat most of our meals in our lodge itself. The kitchen was modern, clean and very well-equipped.
Why we love Center Parcs
There are so many activities to do there, that you will not have time to do everything you want! The choice is incredible! There are indoor and outdoor activities to suit every age, ability and interest. Even if its winter, and raining, and cold, there is still loads to do and enjoy.
The lodges are very comfortable, clean and well equipped. There are a variety of different accommodation to choose from, depending on your budget and the size of your group. Recently, we chose a lodge with its own infra-red sauna and daily house-keeping which was wonderful! In some of the resorts they even have luxury tree-houses!
There is a supermarket onsite, which stocks almost everything you could need if you want to cook at home or have forgotten to pack something. It is slightly more expensive than supermarkets outside the complex.
The swimming pools are warm and clean. The changing rooms provide family cubicles so that all the family can change together. You do not need to pay for the lockers. You can bring your own swimming towels from home, and avoid paying the fee for beach towel hire at the pool. There are loads of slides to enjoy, a wave machine, and lovely areas for toddlers to splash about in.
I wore a burkini with a coverup into the swimming pools, with no issue from lifeguards or other staff. If you choose not to swim, you can sit comfortably next to the pool, or in the poolside cafe, whilst someone else takes the kids into the pools.
There is a large and luxurious spa, with a huge range of treatments available. Before or after your treatment you can enjoy complimentary use of the sauna , steams rooms and swimming pools in the spa complex.
The staff at check in, in the various centres, those leading the activities, and even the cleaners, were courteous and professional throughout.
As we visited Whinfell forest around Christmas time, we were able to enjoy a free fireworks display around the lake (which was amazing!) and visit their winter wonderland for free.
Points to consider before booking
Although access to the indoor swimming pools is free, all other activities come at an extra charge. The prices of the activities are more than you would expect to pay outside the resort.
There is no prayer room anywhere onsite. This means during the winter, you really have to plan your activities carefully around the prayer times.
The restaurants do not serve halal options. They are however very clear about which are vegetarian. I loved the vegetarian options they offered in Las Iguanas! Cafe Rouge does a lovely breakfast too.
There is alcohol served on site. We only came across people drinking when we went to the bowling alley, and had to walk through the bar to get there. Not ideal!
The swimming pools are not segregated.
Some of the accommodation is a long walk from the main activity centres. If you chose a lodge further out, you may need to bring your own bikes or hire them there. Cars are not allowed to drive onsite, except on check-in and check-out days.
There is music playing in the shopping areas, but not in the sports and activities centres.
Center Parcs is a mid-range to luxury family holiday. In my opinion, it is worth the cost! We came back from our most recent holiday at Whinfell Forest saying that, “This was the best holiday we’ve EVER had!”
I hope this brief blog-post has helped you to decide whether you want to visit Center Parcs one day.
If you have anymore questions, please leave them for me in the comments.
Ramadan is coming! Mothers everywhere are trying to find a way to create a meaningful and worthwhile Ramadan experience for their children. But honestly, it can be a little overwhelming! I’m here to tell you that you can create lasting and beautiful memories of Ramadan for your children with these easy and simple activities!
This blog post is sponsored by the Miraj Stories App, who allowed my family full access to the app and compensated me for my time.
For many mothers, the lead up to Ramadan can be a little stressful. Whilst we are excited at the prospect of entering this blessed month, it can also be a time of worry and anxiety: Will I be able to fast? Will I have enough energy to take care of my children? Will I be able to cope?
On top of all of this, we are bombarded with images of Ramadan preparation on social media; amazing women who have hand-crafted beautiful decorations, Ramadan calendars, purchased baskets full of new books and toys for the month, cleaned their home top-to-bottom and already bought their Eid gifts!
For women, like me, who have not done many (or any) of these things it can be a little demoralizing. Before Ramadan even begins, you are left feeling like you’ve failed already.
Well, I’m here to tell you that you haven’t. Although this type of Ramadan preparation is useful and/or beautiful, it is not essential. You do not need to do any of those things to create a meaningful and worthwhile Ramadan experience for your children.
All you really need, is to be happy and present with your children during this coming month. Yes, you heard me! You only need to be happy and present with your children!
When you are joyful, and your fill your home with your positive energy, you are creating a joyful atmosphere within your home. When you are happy, they are happy.
Instead of over-exerting yourself with complicated crafts and children’s activities, I want you to instead start a new tradition. This Ramadan, I want your children to remember that joyful atmosphere; when mummy is always there, with us, smiling; a time when she sat with us more, listened to us more, told us stories and played with us. These are the things that will leave them with a positive experience of Ramadan.
That is a happy Ramadan. That is the Ramadan tradition you want to create in your home.
And that is what its blog post is all about – Simple, easy activities that you can do with your children during Ramadan. These activities will not tire you whilst you’re fasting, they’re free (or cheap), and they can easily be done with things you already have in your home.
Instead of focusing on the final product, as most children’s activities seem to, these activities are centered around building connections with your children; creating deeper bonds and greater meaning to your family’s inner life.
Easy and Free Ramadan Activities
Ramadan is a perfect time for children to learn more about the Quran, memorise it and read it. But I want you to step away from the preconceived ideas you hold about what the study of Quran should look like. I want you, this Ramadan, to make it fun!
By playing simple games as a family, your child will want to read and memorise more Quran than ever before!
An example of such a game would have all players sitting in a circle, reading the same Surah. Each person takes a turn to read one ayat. When you the person reading says a certain word, or letter, or tajweed rule, the other players have to stand up! Alternatively, if its appropriate, you children could act out action when they hear in in a Surah, like “read” or “say”.
These kinds of games will have you children excited by the Quran, learning more Arabic, Tajweed and memorising as they play. To see how we play these games,WATCH THIS VIDEO!
Be Household Partners
Fasting can take it toll on parents physically, making household tasks difficult at times. During Ramadan, encourage your children take on certain roles within the household. Instead of telling them that they “Have to do something now because you’re tired”, tell them that you are going to “let them help this month now that they older and more responsible.” The language we use is so powerful.
Although some children might complain a little (or a lot) at first, if presented to them well, these new roles will have them feeling valued and respected. Although they may not seem like much fun, these roles actually help to create feelings of belonging and validation in a child’s psyche.
If you can, chose activities that you will do together, such as cooking or cleaning up after a meal. By working together to prepare the food or tidy up, children will learn that they are an important part of the team. However tasks that they do completely independently are also valuable as they will help to boost their confidence.
Why not allow them to chose the menu for iftar from your cookery books, or have them make the rice or bread everyday. Although learning these skills is valuable, what is even more worthwhile, is the lesson that they’re learning: that you trust them with this task, and that you value them and their contribution.
Examples of household task could include:
Preparing, serving or clean up after meals
Washing, folding, or putting away laundry
Tidying up toys at the end of the day, hoovering or dusting
They’ll remember that Ramadan is a time when the family all pulls together and helps one another. Isn’t that such a perfect lesson for this blessed month?
You can watch how we implement a household partnership in THIS VIDEO.
Ramadan Toy Rotation
Although it can be lovely to buy new toys and books for Ramadan, to present to your children on the first day, many people are not in a situation where they can do that.
Instead, I would encourage you to implement a toy/book rotation system in your home. Before Ramadan begins, put some of the children’s toys out of sight (we hide ours in the attic). Then, when you bring them back out again on the first day of Ramadan, the children will be so excited. If you have enough toys, you could do a weekly rotation, putting away and bringing out “new” toys from your attic every week.
I would also recommend a basket of toys that is only allowed to be used during “quiet time”, and you’ll need to be quite strict about that! In my home, I hope to establish a “quiet time” in the late afternoon, when I start to feel tired and get headaches. Then I know, with this special basket of toys to entertain them, I’ll get some time to rest.
The great thing about restricting access to toys, and creating rotations, is that you do not need to buy anything, rather you are just making the most of what you already have.
Children’s Prayer Corner
Once again, show your children that you respect them and their spiritual nature, by giving them their own prayer corner.
Turn a corner of your home into an inviting space for them to prayer. You can do this without the need to purchase anything. Use existing prayer mats or rugs in the corner. If you have it, use something to partially partition the space off, like a short bookcase, screen, or large basket, to physical separate the prayer space from the rest of the room.
Once again, as we talked about a household partnership, within their prayer corner the children should have roles. Let them decide who will be the Imam, who will call the Athaan, and who will keep the space tidy. Perhaps you will want to rotate the roles between them. Depending on the age of your children, they probably wont pray all the prayers, but aim for at least one each day for younger children. And I encourage you to join them in that space sometimes, but make sure you ask their permission first!
A similar idea that you may have seen online is setting up an itikaaf tent for the last ten days of Ramadan. In a simple play-tent, put out the children’s Islamic books, tasbeehs and anything else they may need, and give them the freedom to use that space as they see fit.
Use Digital Resources
There are an abundance of online resources and apps that are available on the market today. Many of them are free, or very inexpensive. I am of the opinion, that in moderation and supervision, screen-time can provide great benefits to your children.
The app primarily aims to teach children Arabic, Quranic stories and Islamic morals.
A Free version of the app is available, but for all the features you would need to purchase it. It is available on for Apple and Android users. When you first launch the app, you are given the option of using it “Music-free” or “With music.”
It’s difficult to put an age range on this app, because it has something for children of every age!
Children of all ages will enjoy listening to the audiobooks, which are what made Miraj Stories (also called Miraj Audio) famous many years ago, and you can see why! They are undoubtedly the best producer of Islamic audiobooks on the market. The stories themselves are beautifully written, but the narration itself makes them captivating! We are currently listening to the story of “Ibrahim and the Fire” and it’s quickly becoming a family favourite!
Younger children will love the interactive books, where children take part in the story as it unfolds, and learn Arabic along the way! We are using the Arabic letter books with my 3 year-old daughter. Firstly the child traces over the letter, and then watches a short animated story centred around that letter. It’s adorable! There are also interactive books that teach children about the prayer and some of the 99 Names of Allah.
The video stories are delightful, the characters utterly charming, and they will have your kids laughing and learning so much as the go. These short videos are a great halal alternative to YouTube and similar apps.
The Miraj Stories app also gives you access to a range of picture books called the “Stories from the Quran.” These stories are narrated for you with lovely sound effects, but personally I prefer to turn the sound off and read them aloud to my children on the sofa or cuddled up in bed! In fact, your older children could even read the stories themselves. Either way, there as so much ways you could use these picture books in your home.
It is clear that the people behind the Miraj Islamic Stories app value children, and respect them, so much so that they have produced an incredibly high quality product for them. There’s nothing cheesy or tacky about this product!
It’s all about providing children with the best there is to offer. The illustrations and animations are beautifully hand-drawn, the interactive element is cleverly thought out, and the audio books are exceptionally well written and narrated.
The whole app has been considered extremely well, and it is obvious from using it, that no expense has been spared in its development. It truly is the best of its kind.
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.
Online learning games are an effective method of improving children’s literacy skills and increasing their confidence in reading.
For years I have been using Reading Eggs in our home to teach the children to read. You can imagine my delight when Reading Eggs reached out to me and asked me to review their online reading programme! My children have enjoyed and learnt so much from Reading Eggs and I am so excited to have the opportunity to share that with you here!
This blog post has been written in collaboration with Reading Eggs, who gave my family free access to their online Reading programme and compensated me for my time.
I have used reading eggs with both my sons from the age of 4. After beginning the programme, I witnessed their literacy skills improve tremendously in a short space of time and, most importantly, their enthusiasm for reading grew!
Reading eggs is so much fun and it works!
What is Reading Eggs?
Reading Eggs is an Award-winning online reading programme for children aged 3-13. It is a safe online learning environment that gives children access to hundreds of reading lessons, thousands of interactive activities and over 2500 e-books!
Reading Eggs have also recently launched a Reading Eggs Junior, which is a new online learning programme for toddlers (ages 2-4) to introduce younger children to letters and pre-reading skills through songs, picture books, interactive activities and videos. It’s a lot of fun!
Benefits of Online Learning
Here a some of the benefits of incorporating online learning in our homeschool:
Reading Eggs has been cleverly created to allow children to maneuver their site with little need for grown-up assistance.
My children were easily able to progress through their lessons without my help, and soon worked out how to access all the other features of the programme.
Nothing hinders learning more than a lack of confidence. I have seen this in my own home. However as our children became more fluent in reading and progressed through the various levels of Reading Eggs, their confidence grew!
Builds Positive Associations with Reading
Reading Eggs is so effective at teaching reading because its is fun. From my experience, I found my kids wanted to do their reading lessons and were disappointed if, for some reason, they couldn’t do it one day!
My eldest son really enjoyed the phonics songs and the interactive nature of the lessons.
My youngest son loves the reward system they have in place! After completing the lessons, the children are rewarded golden eggs that can be exchanged for virtual prizes. This was a great incentive for him to work through the various levels. He loved completing his lessons so he could fill his virtual house with all the prizes he had won!
It’s wonderful to know that whilst they are playing and having fun, they are learning to read!
Mummy can rest!
Let’s be real for a moment! Online learning is not only an effective method of teaching children, it also has real benefits for homeschooling parents.
It gives me time to do other much needed things; like putting on the laundry, preparing lunch, teaching my other children, or just unwinding for a moment with a cup of tea!
Online learning is a fantastic means for parents to educate their children at home. Reading Eggs is an incredible programme and resource, and I would genuinely encourage you all to visit their website to see if their programme would work for your family.
If you have any questions about how we incorporate Reading Eggs into our homeschool curriculum, or if you have any queries about the programme itself, please leave me a question in the comments below.
Finding arts and crafts activities for your children to do can be a challenge, especially if you’re not a “crafty” mum!
The Toucan Boxis a subscription service that delivers everything you need to your door, to create an fun art project!
The reason I wanted to try our the Toucan box, was for convenience! It can be challenging as a homeschooling mum, to find different art projects for my children to do, and then purchase all the supplies that it needs. The Toucan box promises to deliver everything I need to my door… so I had to try it out!
If you click on the links to Toucan box in this blog post or use my referral code, and then place an order, I will receive 50% off my next purchase.
What is a Toucan Box?
The Toucan box is a subscription service that delivers creative craft boxes to children aged 3-8 years old. The boxes come in 3 different sizes:
Petite: Provides everything you need to create an exciting activity. This box fit through the letter box and contains a activity book with puzzles, games, recipes and fun facts. This craft box is deliveredfortnightly.
Grande: Provides all the materials needed for 2 craft activity, as well as a children book that goes along with the theme of the box. This box also contains a parent card containing further ideas for activities and games. This box is delivered monthly.
Super: This box contains everything you child will need to complete 4 craft activities, along with a children’s book and the parent card. This box also comes monthly.
This boxes have been designed by educational experts, and are Montessori-inspired, to help develop a child’s key skills.
Toucan Box Unboxing
I decided to purchase the “Petite” box, just to try out the service and see what the craft activities were really like. I also really like the convenience of the petite box fitting through the letter-box, as we are often out during the afternoon when our postman arrives.
I received a FREE BOX along with my first order, and you can too if you CLICK HERE.
Before my children saw the boxes, I quickly filmed this un-boxing video for you!
The petite Toucan box really surprised me! The quality of the material were excellent, and the instructions were very clear. In this case, the Pirate-themed box actually contained 2 craft activities, when the it is only supposed to have 1, which was a lovely surprise!
Furthermore, the activities book also contained another craft activity to make a “pirate’s hook”. Although all the supplies were not included in the box, there were things we already had at home, like foil and glue! My son loved doing this craft, along with all the puzzles the book also contains.
What surprised me most about the Toucan box, is that it prompted an entire afternoon of imaginary play! My boys pretended their bunk-beds were a Pirate ship; even the sofa became a Pirate ship later in the day! They went out into the garden on a treasure hunt, they made pirate names for each other ….and the playing went on and on!
In my eyes, as a mother, that is the ultimate sign of success; that my children were so inspired by these craft activities, that they took them and the ideas they had learnt, into their imaginary world with them!
We are all really looking forward to the arrival of the nextToucan box!
If you would like to order a Toucan box for your family, CLICK HERE. By clicking on this link, you will also receive a FREE GIFT BOX along with your order.
Alternatively, type in the following code at the checkout, and you will receive your FREE GIFT BOX too: GEMMA-9E6X
Have you ever used a children’s subscription service? Would you recommend them?
Keeping up with the demands of creative kids can be difficult…would you agree?!?
This blog post has been written in collaboration with CTC Math, who gave my family free access to their online Maths programme and compensated me for my time. The following may also contain affiliate links (see “Disclaimer”)
Tears. Tantrums. Frustration. For many of our children, Maths can be a struggle; a struggle for chldren to learn and a struggle for homeschooling parents to teach.
When you are homeschooling a gifted child, teaching Maths can be be just as challenging. Gifted children can also end up crying over their Maths, but the reason for their tears is not a lack of ability or understanding, but instead due to frustration, boredom or trying to simply dealing with the intense emotions that gifted children notoriously experience.
Teaching maths to the high-achieving and gifted student can be both immensely rewarding and incredibly frustrating for homeschooling families! Although gifted children are usually quick to understand an apply mathematical concepts, they also bring with them a unique set of challenges that other homeschooling parents may not have to face.
It is worth noting, that there is a difference between “giftedness” and being a high achiever. For more information about the difference, read this simple introduction from Psychology Today.
It’s also important to remember that not all gifted students are “gifted” in Maths. Being intellectually gifted can mean an increased aptitude or talent in any number of academic subjects or creative pursuits. However, for simplicity’s sake, when I talk about “gifted” children in this blog post, please assume I am referring to those who are mathematically gifted.
From my own personal experience, I have compiled my top tips on “How to teach Maths to gifted and high-achieving children”, to help you teach Maths to your own children. This advice is what has worked in my home, and I hope that is will give you some ideas for your children too.
1. Forget the Way You Learnt Maths!
Unless you were fortunate to be homescholed, the likelihood is that the way you learnt maths is not going to work for your gifted children. Conventional all-in-one math curricula do not work well for gifted students.
Many of us are used to the idea that a math concept is taught, examples are given, and then the student practices this principle by completing many practice questions. Gifted students often no not need as much practice as conventional workbooks offer. They are able to fully grasp the concept and move onto its application much quicker than conventional curricula allows for.
This means that if you ask you gifted child to work through a conventional math programme, they will become increasingly bored and frustrated with its slow pace and repetition.
Instead, you need to get creative in the way you teach maths to gifted students! One way of doing this is by providing them with a variety of materials.
2. Use a Variety of Maths Resources
It may surprise you to know, that maths does not need to be taught with a textbook and workbook! In fact, there are many other ways that mathematical principles can be taught. In my experience, these are often more effective and memorable than the traditional maths textbook.
Problem solving/Critical Thinking – Develop you child’s analytical and problem solving skills with critical thinking books and exercises.
Computer Programmes – Incorporating computer programmes into your curriculum can be a fantastic motivator for children. Our favourite online Math curriculum is CTC Math (see below)
Variety of different workbooks – Mix and match different teaching styles and approaches to keep your gifted child interested and engaged in their learning.
3. Chose a Curriculum that allows for Flexibility
The introduction of CTC Math into our homeschool has provided us with both the structure and the flexibility that my children need. Using this online Math curriculum 3-4 times a week, has helped to ensure that my children are not missing any important concepts as they “jump about ” within their other varied maths resources.
It is also gives the student and parents the flexibility that is needed for so many gifted students. You no not “need” to complete previous lessons in order to move onto the next level. You do what YOUR CHILD NEEDS to do…and I love that about CTC Math!
In previous curricula we have tried, my son became infuriated with the unnecessary repetition and practice questions. With CTC Math, if your child understands the concept, you can move on!
It also allows you to enter your child into any grade that you, as the parent, feel is suitable. CTC Math has allowed my 6 year-old son to start 4th Grade maths, and it is wonderful to finally see him challenged by an online Maths programme.
The lesson begins by watching a short 4-9 minute video where a concept is taught by audio and animation. Then the student takes what they have learnt, and applies it to a series of practice questions. Parents are kept informed of their child’s progress with a weekly email showing their marks throughout the week.
The people behind CTC Math are very supportive of homeschooling families and offer 60% OFF the cost of the curriculum + 6 MONTHS FREE to homeschoolers! This massive discount is only available to homeschooling families. If you are interested in finding out more, CLICK HERE.
CTC Math works fantastically for gifted students because of the flexibility it offers. You can go back and repeat lesson, and you can jump as many lessons ahead as your gifted student wants to. In addition to this flexibility, it also gives parents the security of knowing that everything is being covered and there will be no gaps in their child’s knowledge.
If your child has a natural talent for maths, they will enjoy bringing it into their other school subjects.
For example, we have studied maths whilst learning about Leonardo da Vinci and his incredible inventions. My son also learnt the “Pythagoras theorem” during our study of Ancient Greece. Together, we discovered the Fibonnacci sequence when learning about snails and their shells, in nature-study.
If your child is interested, maths can be brought into almost every subject as it is an integral part of our real-lives.
4. Apply Maths to Real-life situations
Life is full of learning opportunities, and maths is no different. In your day-to-day life, you can engage your gifted children with mathematical problems and meaningful learning. Here are just a few examples of how:
Calculate distances trigonometry or estimate using the time it took to travel
Help with finances and accounts – if like me, you run a business from home, having a child that loves maths can be very useful at times!
Working out quantities needed for cooking or home-improvements
Teaching gifted children maths is challenging, and is certainly not simple! However, with a little creativity, it is very possible and very rewarding.
Gifted children need our attention and guidance, as much as other children do. Without it, they are at risk of become disengaged, uninterested and underachieving.
I hope this blog post has given you some inspiration and ideas of how to teach your gifted or high-achieving children Maths at home.
It’s time to find out what we’ve been enjoying in Our Muslim Homeschool this month!
Welcome back friends! This month I’m excited to share a lot a wonderful books and educational resources that we’ve discovered!
There is also a GIVEAWAY this month. If you’d like to enter ,scroll down to the bottom of this post and enter via the Rafflecopter widget.
Dont forget to watch the accompanying YouTube video, to get a closer look at all the products mentioned in this blogpost.
WATCH THIS VIDEO:
January Homeschool Favourites
Life of Fred Math
I know what you’re thinking …”Not another Maths curriculum Gemma?!?!”
LOL!….I can’t help myself!
In the homeschooling circles, I have been hearing about Life of Fred Math for a long time. It is well known within homeschooling circles as an unconventional method of approaching maths. Life of Fred Math teaches maths in a narrative form, with humorous story line and a distinct lack of practice questions!
It is unlike any other maths book you’ve ever seen!
I’m not sure what it was that finally prompted me to order it, but I’m so glad that I did!
My son absolutely loves. When ask him, “What maths book shall we do today?” he always says, “Life of Fred!”
Despite a minimal amount of practice questions and worksheets, the mathematical principles we are covering seem to be sticking in my son’s mind. He loves how each chapter incorporates lots of other interesting facts and information (not always Maths related) and how the maths is put into real-life context.
We have the levels “Apples”, “Jelly-Beans” and “Icecream.” To decide which book is best for your child, visit the Life of Fred website.
For more information about Life of Fred Math, you can visit their website by CLICKING HERE.
Life of Fred can be difficult to find in the UK. I purchased mine from Conquest Books. They are the largest supplier of Homeschool curriculum in the UK, and have loads of other useful curriculum for homeschoolers. To visit there website CLICK HERE.
We have been using this sticker chart from MuslimStickers.com to establish a good morning routine with the children. My family have been using the Islamic Behaviour Chart for 4 weeks now, and the change in my kid’s behaviour in the morning has been phenomenal! No more sluggish and sleepy boys!
No, they’re ready long before I am!
Having a good morning routine is so important, even as adults, to having a productive day. I have seen that when we are slow to start school in the morning, we never get as much done and the children are less enthusiastic.This reward system has helped us all get ready for the day and begin school by 9am insha’Allah.
You could use this sticker chart in so many ways! When you recieve it, it is almost completely blank and you can customise it as you wish.
Receiving this book was such a blessing to our home and to our family.
Young Explorers’ Adventures in Makkah is the story of a family’s trip to Mecca for Ummrah. In addition to talking about Hajj and Ummrah, the book also relates their travels around many of the historic sites in the area.
Many of you are aware, that the authorities in Saudi are slowly demolishing and covering up sites of Islamic historical significance. Whatever their reasons, there is a risk that knowledge of these places with be lost from the general public.
This wonderful book, shows you where many of these sites can be found. It locates the house of Khadijah (ra) and what it looked like inside. It tells you about the birth place of Prophet Muhammad (saw) and where it can be found. More than half of the book is dedicated to sites around Mecca that hold an importance with the Seerah and our Islamic heritage.
Often, when you come across a book about Hajj and Ummrah it will fall into one of two categories. Either it will be very factual, listing what is fard and sunnah etc., but may be a little “dry”. Alternatively, you may find a story book which, although it is very pleasant to read, it provides little information to teach the children from.
This book falls somewhere between the two. Children are captivated by the emotive story-line that runs thoroughout, whilst also learning from the wealth of information it offers about the pilgrimages and the Seerah of Prophet Muhammad (saw).
If you are interested in purchasing this book for your family, it is available from Amazon (USA) Amazon(UK) and Wordery.com
I have been aware for sometime that mainstream bath products contain potentially harmful ingredients. Using natural and/or organic products on my children puts my mind at ease.
What a delight it was to be introduced to Tiny Twinkle Products on Instagram who produce Organic, Natural and HALAL bath products for children.
The products contain only natural ingredients, and gentle on my children’s skin. They are all labelled with the “halal” sign, and (very importantly…) they smell incredible!!!
The products in their range retail between £7.50-£18.
The business is run by a Ruhana, a primary school teacher and new mum. When I asked her to tell me a little about herself and why she started her business, she said:
“About a year ago I found out I was pregnant. This was a happy and overwhelming experience as I would become a mother for the first time. During my pregnancy I started making a list of what I’d need to get for my new arrival. I asked other mothers about their recommendations. I then heard about Johnsons baby products having cancer related chemicals and thought I don’t want to put chemical based products on my baby. So I started researching. I first made my own nappy balm with all natural organic ingredients. After my daughter was born I started using this on her, and noticed that she got no nappy rash at all. My husband was also impressed and told me to start a business selling organic baby products. Some friends and family had asked about these products as there was a gap in the market for purely organic halal baby products, so I started creating my own brand called ‘Tiny Twinkle’. Alhamdulillah, since starting, the response has been amazing. ”
If you are looking a range of halal, natural bath products for kids, I would recommend Tiny Twinkle.
For more information about their range, and to place an order, visit them on Instagramand Facebook.
It’s Giveway time!!!
This January I am so happy to be able to share SIX of my favourites with one of you! It’s MASSIVE!!!
I will be giving away:
– I’m So Angry by Sarah Javed – (RRP: £5.99)
– Young Adventure in Makkah – (RRP: £10.05)
– 1 Islamic Behaviour Chart – (RRP: 4.99)
– 3 Products from Tiny Twinkle (including the Nappy Balm, Mild Shampoo and Whipped Lotion) – (RRP: £29.50)
The January 2017 Favourites Giveaway will run from Friday 27th January at 12AM, until Friday 3rd February at 12AM GMT.
The giveaway is open Internationally.
All entrants under the age of 18 must have parental permission to enter.
Please aware that if entering from overseas, you may be liable to pay customs tax (or the equivalent), so please check beforehand.
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.