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.
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!
We have been learning about magnetism and this kit has been a fantastic resources. It contains all the specialist equipment you need for 33 experiments (including loads of different magnets, iron fillings, magnetic discs, a compass and loads more!) and a instruction manual.
The experiments in this particular science kit teach children the basic principles of what is magnetic, why its magnetic, how compasses work, and introduces electro-magnetism. There are also instructions for some fun games you can do with the magnets!
Migo and Ali: Love for the Prophets
My kids are really enjoying this collection of stories about the Prophets of Allah. This books contains stories about fifteen different Prophets (A.S.), with a large section at the back dedicated to stories about Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.).
The stories are short, well-written and each section end with a dialogue between Migo and Alias they talk about what they learnt.
The illustrations are beautiful! It is worth noting that there are no depictions of the Prophets or Sahaba in the pictures.
They have also made the effort to have the book approved by scholars of Islam.
This wonderful book is suitable for children aged 3-8, and is one of those books that your family will pick up again and again to read together.
In Our Muslim Homeschool, we have been making an effort to teach my youngest son the letters of the Arabic alphabet. In my quest to good educational resources, I was introduced to these worksheets by Gambian Mommy.
Ngaima Sesay designed and produced these worksheets, as she was becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of resources available to teach her own children Arabic.
As a homeschooling mum herself, she recognised the need for good quality teaching material, and set about producing an incredible selection of Arabic worksheets for other mothers.
The worksheets she has put together are brilliant! There is so much variety! Whether you child learns visually, or by writing, or is an auditory learner, there are worksheets for everyone! There are even games for the kinesthetic learners amongst us!
Some worksheets are in black and white, and others in colour…they’re so pretty! It is clear that a huge amount of time and thought that has gone into these worksheets.
Each pack has instructions on how to use them, a phonics section to help parents pronounce the letters correctly, and a dictionary section to explain the meanings of words.
If you are looking for interesting and fun ways to teach young children the Arabic alphabet, I would highly recommend you
on the Gambian Mommy storeon TeachersPayTeachers.com.
Alif Baa app
When I asked my 4 year-old son what he thought of this app he said, “It’s cool!”
I totally agree with him! The Alif Baa app teaches children the letters of the Arabic alphabet, as well as some Arabic vocabulary.
There are four games to chose from:
– Flashcard style game: Where cards with each letter are shown, and sounded out, along with a new vocabulary word .
– Find the letter: The game says a letter and the student has to find it in amongst the other letters.
–Put the letters in order: The student has to put the letters of the Arabic alphabet in order in the quickest time.
– Trace the Letters: Students are shown how to write each letter and then have to trace along the dotted lines.
This app is a wonderful way to make learning Arabic fun and enjoyable for young kids.
Every child loves play dough! Make learning Arabic fun for
your kids by teaching through play….Teach Arabic with Play Dough!
Teaching Arabic to young children can be done in two ways:
through natural exposure to the language (conversations, story books, songs etc.) and
In my humble opinion, workbooks and written curriculum have limited
value in young children. Instead, for preschool and kindergarten children,
Arabic can be learnt through play.
Here are 5 ways to teach
Arabic with play dough:
An obvious place to start is teaching your child the Arabic letters.
For these activities, it helps if you have a poster or book displaying Arabic letters nearby. We used a wooden puzzle to help the children visualise the letters.
The play dough can be moulded into the shapes of the letters:
Alternatively, you can now get play dough cutters in the shapes of the Arabic letters. This set by Desi Doll company was fantastic!
The letters came out really clearly and my kids found them very easy to use. On top of that, the play dough smells like candy!
We began by doing a ‘Letter Hunt’ where all the cutters were placed in the middle, and I would call out a letter and the kids had to find it!
“Find me the letter Raa!”
“Find me the letter Meem!”
Then we used the cutters themselves to make the individual letters of the Arabic alphabet.
The children were eager to write their names in the play dough… as well as all their friends!
Whilst the children are playing with the play dough it is very easy to casually teach the colours as you go along.
“What colour is this?”
“Shall we make it in Burtaqali (Orange) next time?”
“Where is Azraq (Blue)?”
Play dough makes a great manipulative, and it is easy to mould into counters.
We used simple ball shapes, but you could use any shape/animal that appeals to your child.
We used these counters to count to ten in Arabic and then ask:
“How many balls are there altogether?”
“How many ball are Asfar (Yellow)?” etc.
Using the shape cutters and knives in our play dough kit, we were able to make a variety of shapes to to help the kids learn their names in Arabic.
Spell out Vocabulary
This activity was by far the most successful of all!
We used theletter cutters to spell out new vocabulary words; such as the parts of the face and body, food, animals etc. My five-year old really enjoyed spelling out the names of the Prophets (Peace be upon them).
Combining the sensory experience and manipulation of the play dough, with a purposeful spelling exercise, seemed to massively improve their memorisation of new words. This technique would be particularly effective for children who are tactile learners.
On top of that, it was so much fun! The children get so excited when I bring this play dough set out!
Play dough is also a great way to increase hand strength in preschool children, and improve their fine motor and bilateral coordination skills; so they will be ready to learn to write in the coming school years.
It’s that time of year again…and I love it! 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.
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 have listed below.
The books listed below are the ‘main’ texts we will be
using, but we will also take from many other resources we have at home, online
and from our library, as well as frequent field trips we take. If you are interested in any of these books, just click on the title for a link to Amazon or the relevant website (includes some affiliate links).
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 this curriculum helps to inspire other Muslim
Homeschooling Families, as so many others have inspired me!
YEAR 1 / Kindergarten
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
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.
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:
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.
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!
Teaching the Arabic alphabet to Muslim children 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 preschoolers. Below I have listed my favorite resources and activities to help all Muslim 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.
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.
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.
Telling a story
I came across this method on Youtube on the safida34 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.”
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.’
This website Islamic 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.
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!
The website rahmahmuslimhomeschool has a wonderful workbook for ages 3+ to help your child recognise and begin writing the letters. Dinoboy LOVES this. I’ve put it in a ‘grown-up’ folder for him which only adds to his excitement!