homeschool life

What is Homeschooling? | Life and Learning in a Muslim Homeschool

what is homeschooling? Life in a muslim homeschool

The beauty of home education lies in its diversity. When I’m asked “What is homeschooling?”, I struggle to answer! Home education looks different in every family you come across. It’s true!

However at its core, homeschooling is when parents have chosen to educate their children outside of mainstream schools. Simply put, it is when parents take a much greater responsibility in the education their own kids.

The reason why homeschooling looks so different in every family is because home educators don’t believe in the “one-size-fits-all” approach of mainstream schools. Instead, homeschoolers are creating bespoke learning experiences for their family, based upon their ideals, beliefs and the individual needs of their children.

what is homeschooling

I am delighted to bring Shazia into this space, to share her story with you here. Her approach to raising her children is an inspiration to me, and her many followers on Instagram.

In this blogpost, Shazia explains what homeschooling is to her family; what it looks like, how it all began, and some parting advice for those who want to know how to start.

It’s truly an honour to share her insights with you here. 

what is homeschooling

Life in a Muslim Homeschool

“Assalaamu alaykum, my name is Shazia and alhamdulilah I am a mother of three beautiful children aged 13, 11 and 8 years old. We live in the East Midlands in the UK and I began to home educate nearly 7 years ago.

As a family we love to spend much time together, whether it is in the outdoors, at museums, heritage sites, islamic events or just being at home snuggled up to watch a movie or playing board games.

We love travelling and especially visiting Muslim countries to explore the rich Islamic history they have to offer, perform ziyarahs, and absorb different cultures. 

We do plan things last minute and are quite spontaneous and adventurous in our trips, the children and their dad more so than me. I have woken up to being told we are going France and by the evening we are driving into Paris, or that we are going camping in Wales on a late afternoon and are pitching our tent as the sun begins to set.  

How our Homeschool Journey Began

We never started off as a home-schooling family. In fact, I had never even come across the concept of home-schooling until my husband mentioned it to me when the children were toddlers and I was contemplating nursery settings.

At that time, I wasn’t keen on the idea and never pursued it until the children began attending school. This is when I began to feel the void of them being away from me for so many hours.

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

I started to look more into home education and then deregistered them from primary school. The work at primary level was so basic, and I felt confident that as someone with a university degree, and as a part qualified accountant, I could just teach them at home and enjoy them during these most precious years where they need me to help them build a strong foundation.

Alhamdulilah, Allah facilitated this opportunity for us as it has truly been such a blessing for us as a family. My elder children have now started their journey into secondary school education so I now have just one child at home who has never entered the school system.  

What is Homeschooling to us?

A typical day in our home always begins with Fajr prayer followed by the recital of Quran and dhikr. I feel it is so important to feed our soul early in the morning and then feed our body.

This structure has always helped us to begin our day in a calm and relaxed manner. Once the elder two have left for school, I sit with my eight year old to read our current read aloud book. This is normally followed by literacy work around the book which may be comprehension worksheets, creative writing, or poetry.

We have a short snack break and begin her maths work. I prefer to keep our lessons hands on and find unit studies allow us to incorporate many subjects from one topic.

We have plenty of free play time in the day and I try to plan days in the week as our ‘outing days’ and a few as our ‘home days’ as this helps me to balance my household chores for the week.

We have a very large home-schooling community in our city and many activities are always being arranged. We take part in a monthly forest school session, climbing, ice skating, cooking club and many random park meet ups.  

Related: Homeschool Day in the Life with Arabic Flashcards

How to Start Homeschooling

Due to Covid I’m sure many parents will be wanting to embark on the home education journey and many will have decided it’s not for them. Either way, we are all home schoolers, some on a full time basis and some when the children return from school/weekends or holidays.

Having children in school and at home, I know there are pros and cons to both. What matters the most is you and your child being happy. You know your child best and you are the only one who will ever want them to succeed in deen and duniya more than any other teacher.

You really will make some of the most amazing memories together in this time. Admittedly home-schooling isn’t easy, and requires a sacrifice from you in your time, income (if you have to leave work to pursue it) and personal interests. It doesn’t mean you lose all of these but you must forgo part of them for a greater thing which is time with your children.

I would say sit down and plan how you want to educate your children, how you will allocate your household chores during the week and how much time you need for your own self. Don’t forget to have time for your own self, for your own spiritual needs where you can pray Salah and read your Quran without interruption.

When you are elevated spiritually you will feel happier and be able to give the best of yourself to your children. May Allah put barakah in your home-schooling journey and do perform istikharah before you make this decision.”

what is homeschooling

Thank you Shazia, for showing us what homeschooling is for your family. JazakAllah khayr. That was so inspiring! mashAllah

You can follow Shazia, and her incredible our home-schooling journey on Instagram  CLICK HERE


If you would like to share your family’s unique Homeschooling Experience with our community, please get in touch!
We’d love to hear your story too. insha’Allah.

Peace and Love,

Our Muslim Homeschool Dr Gemma Elizabeth

 

 

 

The Two Big Reasons Why We Homeschool!

Reasons why your should homeschool your children

One of the most common questions I am asked online, and in my real-life, is why we chose to homeschool. Why do we do home educate our children?

In the latest episode of Raising Mums I share the TWO reasons my family homeschool.

Raising Mums is a weekly broadcast that streams LIVE from our Facebook an Instagram pages. This week hundreds of you watched and joined in the conversation, discussing why we homeschool our children!

The Two Big Reasons why you should homeschool your children!

If you want to find out the TWO reasons why we homeschool

WATCH THIS VIDEO:

The TWO Reasons why we homeschool are:

  1. It enables us to provide our children with a true education. Education is the ordering of a child’s affection – meaning that they love that with is good, and hate that which is bad. Educating our children at homes helps us to ensure that this will be the focus of their education.
  2. I Love it! A successful homeschool depends upon the happiness and contentment of the mother (assuming she is the primary educator). Make sure you do what you need to do to find joy in your homeschool day, and your children will reap the benefits.

If you want to know more, make sure you go back and WATCH THE VIDEO!

Why we homeschool the children. 
the aim of education as 
to order a child’s affection.

So tell me, why do YOU homeschool? What reasons drove you to make the big decision to educate your children or home? Why are consdering homeschooling for your children?

Let’s chat in the comments below!

If you enjoyed this episode of Raising Mums, I think you’ll love “Sustainable Homeschooling | Securing your homeschool for the future,”-  CLICK HERE

Thank you for stopping by. I’m so grateful to have you here. 

If you have any questions, pop them for me in the comments below. 

You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest

Peace and Love,

99 names Allah children

Sustainable Homeschooling | Secure your Homeschool for the Future

This week I was LIVE on Facebook and Instagram talking about some of the ways you can ensure you’ll be homeschooling for many more years to come insha’Allah.

I’m speaking to the mum who wants to homeschool, and is planning and preparing for this new adventure.

I’m talking to mum who homeschools now, but feels disheartened. Who feels that it’s not going the way she thought it would, and she feels like she’s failing.

I’m talking to everyone who homeschools sharing my nuggets of wisdom as to how you can continue to homeschool for many years. There are things we can do in our lives, to make homeschooling a sustainable, longterm experience for us.

WATCH THIS VIDEO!

Next week, Sunday 13th January 2019 at 10am, I’ll be back on Instagram and Facebook LIVE discussing, “Homeschool Under Threat| Homeschooling with a baby.”

I hope I’ll see you there!

Previous LIVES Mentioned

“I’m just a mum, is that enough?” – CLICK HERE.

“Preparing your homeschool for the New Year.” CLICK HERE

If you have any more questions, feel free to leave me a comment down below.

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

LIVE Questions! | Homeschooling, mum guilt, reading & evil eye!

This week on the Our Muslim Homeschool Instagram  account, I was LIVE answering your questions.

We talked about:

  • Keeping children motivated
  • Evil eye and envy
  • Dealing with mum guilt
  • Learning to read
  • My conversion to Islam
  • and a lot more!

It’s a great episode! I’m sure you’re going love it!

Here it is!

WATCH THIS VIDEO!

Products mentioned (aff.):

Ordinary Guide to Teaching Reading: https://amzn.to/2QMg6jh

Bobs Books: https://amzn.to/2QmrT8y

Oxford Reading Tree: https://amzn.to/2PvDMn7


If you missed Last week’s LIVE Video: When motherhood gets you down….Try this! :

CLICK HERE


The next LIVE broadcast will be on Sunday 30th December 2018 at 10am GMT insha’Allah, where we’ll be discussing, “I’m just a mum. Is that enough?”

Make sure you follow me on Instagram so you can watch LIVE! 

I hope I’ll see you there!

Peace and Love,

Living history curriculum islamic

Eagles, Apples and Bears! Our Homeschool Week | 2nd – 6th October 2017

Homeschool UK Charlotte Mason

It’s been wonderful to get back into our homeschool curriculum this week, after the disruption of last week! We’ve been learning more about the Vikings, have enjoyed some great works of literature and made loads of art projects from our Toucan box.

Read on to take a look into a typical homeschool week with us, using the Charlotte Mason approach to education and the Ambleside Online homeschool curriculum.

charlotte mason homeschool uk hawthorn

Monday 2nd October

This morning the kids worked through a few lesson of CTC Math, on the computer. They are enjoying the programme and benefiting from the way it approaches maths. My eldest learnt about map co-ordinates and different types of graphs; whilst my younger son learnt about the concept of symmetry. It was a fun morning!

Today in circle time, we learnt about famous viking explorer, Leif Erikson and looked at another famous painting by Hokusai, “Mishima Pass in Kai Province.”

We have been using a wall calendar for picture study, as they are very inexpensive compared to art books, and can hang easily on our wall; allowing the kids to look at it and learn from it throughout our school week.

Muslim homeschool circle time

Tuesday 3rd October

The highlight of the day was the Toucan box came in the post! Thankfully the boys had already done most of their school work before it came, otherwise nothing would have been done! It was all very exciting!

We have recently upgraded to the largest of their boxes, the “Super box”, which contains 4 different craft activities and a picture book. To read a review of the Toucan box and see an un-boxing video we made, CLICK HERE.

For more information about Toucan Box, visit their website HERE and use the referral code GEMMA-9E6X to get your first box free!

Out of the four, the boys decided to do the underwater scene first. It turned out lovely, and we read the picture book that came at bed-time.

Toucan box

Underwater sea craft from toucan box

The postman also brought a new new book to go along with our study of Medieval Britain, A Knight’s city by Philip SteeleThis book is AMAZING!

It is filled with the most incredible pop-ups that are so intricately designed. The book takes you on a tour of life in a medieval city, and it is full of great information along with pop-ups of a cathedral, castle and bridge. It really sparked my boy’s imagination and has helped them to visualise the scenes in the living books we are reading from.

Medieval history pop up book for kids

Sight word game for kindergarten

After all the excitement, we spent a little time in the afternoon reviewing sight-words with the game POP from learning resources.

Wednesday 4th October

Today we learnt about Hereward and his battles with William the conquerer. Never heard of Hereward….me neither! But if you are covering medieval history this year you should look him up!

We also raed about Prophet Nuh (Noah) from the book Lives of the Prophets by Leila Azzam. We discussed how Nuh’s wife and son were not from the believers, and how faith is a gift from God and should be cherished.

The afternoon was filled with activities outside the home; like Quran class and a Muslim beaver scouts meeting.He came back with even more badges for me to sew on! MashAllah.

Thursday 5th October

Along with the usual school work, the boys had a swimming class this morning. The long drive there gave us an opportunity to listen to the literature component of our curriculum Understood Betsy.

We have really been enjoying listening to the audiobook version on Audible. In fact, I have personally enjoyed it so much, I have been tempted this week to put it on for myself to listen to whilst I was getting on with housework! It’s really good!

After swimming, and a Seerah class with their other home-ed friends, we went into our garden to enjoy the autumn sunshine.

We have been using these flashcards from word united to teach handwriting and reading to my 5-year old, as well as using their French and Arabic range for foreign language study.

Handwriting flashcards

Toddler fun!
Keeping herself busy…You have to pick your battles with 2 year-olds!

Friday 6th October

It’s Friday! Hurray!

Friday for us means nature walk! This week we went out to a patch of scrub-land near the river and explored. It was beautiful!

Homeschool UK Charlotte Mason
RUN! Woohoo!

Charlotte Mason homeschool

Along the walk, I noticed some beautiful cowslip flowers by the pavement. I stopped, without saying anything, took a photo of them and walked on. A few minutes later I turned around and found my sons sat down by the same flowers having their own discussion and conversation about them.

There was no need for me to say anything, and “force” a learning opportunity. Instead of saying, “Look at these boys,” or “Do you know what these flowers are called?”, they were able to make the discovery themselves! These are the moments that will stay with them and that they will retain, not incessant lecturing from me!

I have to remind myself often, to follow the advice of Charlotte Mason, and stay quiet! I find it so tempting, in my enthusiasm, to give constant prompting to the boys. This was a beautiful reminder to myself, that they don’t need me to do that! They have each other! mashAllah.

Nature study

Amongst some other discoveries, we found a few apples trees growing along the route, and a muddy puddle full of different foot prints; different kinds of birds and dogs (although my boys were convinced they were bear foot prints!)

My 5 year-old also found the biggest feather he’s ever seen! He was so excited and, as we had seen birds-of-prey in the area last week, and decided it was an eagle feather!

Bear footprints nature study
Bear footprints?

After a stopping off for hot-chocolate at a cafe, we started walking back to the car. It was a long walk, so I decided to distract them with Quran!

Each of the boys had to recite all the Quran that they could remember. We talked about how the Quran is the word of Allah, and everything in creation wants to hear it. So as they recited, we talked about how the clouds in the sky, the grass under their feet and birds in the trees were listening to them. Subhanullah! Before we knew it, we were back at the car!

We made it to Jummah prayer at the mosque. Although we went to a mosque I don’t usually visit, there is something very powerful about standing shoulder to shoulder with women, whom I didn’t know, praying together. Unity.

We didn’t have time to sketch and paint in our nature journal’s today, but the boys did make a lovely chicken a mushroom pie! It was a great end to the week.

How was your homeschool week?
Please do let me know and tell us all about it in the comments!

Peace and Love,

Our Muslim Homeschool Dr Gemma Elizabeth

Homeschool Update: June 2017

Watch this short video to find out what we have been doing during Ramadan and our plans for the summer!

I also talk a little about how I feel our homeschooling year is going, as well how we plan to “catch up” with the subjects we have fallen behind in.

CLICK HERE to Watch!

If you have any questions, please leave them for me in the comments section below.

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

Ramadan Basket Ideas + GIVEAWAY!

Ramadan Basket Ideas

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

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

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

We are also running another GIVEAWAY this Ramadan!

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

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

Ramadan Basket Ideas

What is a Ramadan Basket?

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

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

Ramadan Basket ideas and inspiration for children

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

Watch This Video:

Links to Products Mentioned:

Ramadan Sticker Chart

It’s Ramadan Curious George Book
Little Explorers Magazine

Ramadan Calendar

Ramadan Planner

Rabbi Zidni Notebook

Colour-In Eid Cards

The Great Night Journey (New Edition)

Baby Traveller Bismillah

Five Prayers Each Day
Hassan and Aneesa Go to Madrasa

The Night of the Moon

Under the Ramadan Moon

Sweet Dates to Eat
Ramadan Moon

An Eid for Everyone


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GIVEAWAY!

It’s Giveaway time!!!

Ramadan Basket Giveaway

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

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

This giveaway is open internationally!

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

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

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth


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Handicraft Ideas for Young Children

Handcriaft ideas for young children

The following post is from Shannen at Middle Way Mom

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

 

 

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

Charlotte Mason says:

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

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

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

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

Handicraft ideas for young children

 

What are handicrafts?

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

Learning some basic handicrafts helps children:

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

Knitting loom

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

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

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

Weaving

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

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

Simple sewing projects

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

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

Girl sewing handicraft pillow

 

Knit or crochet

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

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

Yarn or fabric dyeing

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

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

Advice for starting with handicrafts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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