Homeschool Prep

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

 

 

 

How to Start Homeschooling | Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum

how to start homeschooling, choosing a homeschool curriculum

To start homeschooling, you need homeschool curriculum. But how do you choose?

In this part of the world we are blessed with an abundance of homeschooling resources. There is a wealth of free information online and with the click of a button you can have homeschool curriculum shipped to your door the next day. But with so much available, many mothers feel overwhelmed.

how to start homeschooling, choosing a homeschool curriculum

When you’re learning how to start homeschooling, it is difficult to decide which one to go for. How do you choose between them all? They all look so good! Right?

In episode 26 of the Raising Mums podcast, I talk LIVE on Facebook and Instagram about what you need to think about when you start homeschool curriculum shopping. I also teach you the three things you need to think about before you buy anything!

If you want to know which homeschool curriculum to chose for your children,

WATCH THIS VIDEO!

How to Start Homeschooling Course

 Launch your Homeschool is an online course designed to help Muslim families who want to start homeschooling. It will guide you as you navigate and design your own path home-education. Built upon a foundation of Islamic values, and the framework of the Charlotte Mason Philosophy, I’ll be there supporting you step-by-step!

I strongly believe that there is no one-size-fits-all curriculum for homeschooling. So in this program, I give you the tools you need to find your own way, based upon your values, your unique children, and your family dynamics.

A large part of learning how to start homeschooling is the planning. That’s why I’ve dedicated several modules in the course to Homeschool planning and time management; so that you can begin your homeschooling journey positively and with confidence. 

I also go into detail about common mistakes homeschoolers make in their first year so you can avoid them!

The aim is for everyone who enrols in the Launch Your Homeschool course to go from feeling overwhelmed, unsure and confused; to confident, excited and well prepared for coming homeschool year.

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How is it taught?

I know first hand how little time mothers have to study when their children are young. For this reason I have kept the lessons short, around 20 minutes, but packed with value, so that you can watch them during nap-time or while you have your morning coffee. Everything is pre-recorded, and you have lifetime access, so you can go back and rewatch any of the lessons whenever you want. 

In addition to video lessons, you’ll get access to a buzzing private student community on Facebook, all the homeschool planning material you’ll need to plan out your year AND 4 LIVE Q&A sessions with me!

Enrolment closes TODAY! Sunday 19th July 2020, at 11.59pm GMT.

To find out more, and to see if LAUNCH YOUR HOMESCHOOL is for you…

CLICK HERE! ** LAUNCH YOUR HOMESCHOOL ** 


I’ll be taking a few weeks off from these LIVE Facebook and Instagram broadcasts, but I’ll be back again after Eid for some more Raising Mums goodness! insha’Allah.

Peace and Love,

how to start homeschooling
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Be a Homeschool Planner! |The Benefits of Planning Annually

homeschool planner

If there’s one thing I have learnt over these past few years of homeschooling my children, it is the benefits of being a homeschool planner!

Planning annually has so many benefits for us especially as we reside in Saudi Arabia and spend our summers in England. Regardless of where you live though, I find having a rough plan for the year can benefit your Homeschool in many ways.

Be a Homeschool Planner!

Looking at your calendar for the upcoming year and being realistic about what is happening, whether it is a holiday booked, a wedding to attend or you’re giving birth, will allow you to focus on balance and ease for your Homeschool life.

Of course not all plans are set in stone, but preparing yourself mentally will ease any stress that comes along with unexpected events.  So here are my top tips on why you should plan your Homeschool for the year if you aren’t already doing so. 

Homeschool Planners are One Step Ahead!

The biggest benefit being a homeschool planner, and preparing at the start of the year, is being one step ahead in acquiring resources, finding books, planning outings or activities.

Of course spontaneous and unplanned events/days can have their own benefits too, but that feeling of seeing the bigger picture when you’re in the midst of homeschooling life or things aren’t going as planned really is a life-saver on your difficult days of homeschooling.

So annual planning helps you keep on ball without worrying about what could have been because you’re one step ahead with your vision for the year.

Homeschool Planner

You know exactly what you want your children to achieve by the end of the year. This should also prevent you from worrying if you fall into the social media comparative trap. 

Related: Preparing your Homeschool for a New Year

Keeping in Budget

Many people ask me about my Homeschool budget and I tell them I spend under £200 or less annually, depending on how many books/resources we may need and I’m sure this varies from Homeschool to Homeschool.

But if you are finding you’re spending way more than you need to or way more than you can afford to, you need to ask yourself why that is. Is it because you found yet another Homeschool bargain buy or that you feel your children really need it because everyone else seems to be buying it too?  We can all fall into that trap!

Homeschool planner

But with an annual plan, where you are focussing on an overview of the year, knowing what your possible learning topics will be, budgeting can prove to be quite useful. Always ask yourself if the resource is re-sellable, can be used by all your children and is it good quality and long lasting before you buy.

Having a plan to fall back on 

Even if you take a more child led approach to your homeschool, and feel that being a homeschool planner may not be worth it, there are some things beyond our control.

Seasons, the weather and nature being some of these. If you enjoy nature studies, then it may help to look ahead at the seasons of the year to jot down a loose plan to focus on seasonal plants, grow a garden, butterflies or visit farms etc. The same can be applied for certain topics linked to festivals and celebrations.

Homeschool planner

Nevertheless, on days when life is chaotic and you feel you may be losing your vision or goal with your homeschool, it may just be handy to have a plan or vision to fall back on. Its reassuring coming back to the goals for the year and knowing you’re actually doing great!

Related: Productivity and Time Management for Homeschool Mums

Acquiring resources ahead of time

As mentioned above, acquiring resources ahead of time (in sales) or at the start of the year allows you to take a more intentional approach to what you need.

Having said that, recently I found my children are immersed in stuff! Much of this is because we haven’t had the opportunity to sell on our used games or books we no longer need at the end of each year, especially as we tend to buy more each summer.

homeschool planner

When you’re a homeschool planner, you can assess what resources you already have, which you could possibly swap or sell on and use that same money or more to purchase whatever it is you need for the year. There may be times you find resources at a great price to use in your Homeschool in a few years, but ask yourself do you actually need it now?

Focus on your annual plan to keep within your budget and allowance. Reserving library books ahead of time and ensuring you have the books you need for your topic is another advantage.

Related: Homeschool Curriculum 1st & 3rd Grade

Homeschool Planners Don’t Panic!

Being mentally ready for your homeschool year could reduce some of the stress and panic that can come with homeschooling especially when things aren’t going to plan!

Homeschool planning at the start of the year means you have sat down and thought out in a realistic way of how much you can actually teach your children in a year.

Sometimes we tend to want to teach everything and so very quickly because of their interests. So, this is a great time to get your children involved, ask them what they want to learn, give them some options and find out their interests.

homeschool planner

Finally, because you will already know your child/children’s ability levels, therefore aim to plan realistically for progress by taking the whole year into account, you won’t have time to panic, hopefully!

Author Bio

Hafsa is a former Primary School Teacher turned Homeschooling mama teaching her two daughters the love for learning through arts, crafts, fun and play. Originally from London, Hafsa now resides in the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia where she loves to share her Homeschool journey, tips and planning advice over at http://www.mamateachesme.com

Preparing your Homeschool for the New Year

Homeschool prep for New Year

As we move into the New Year, I always recommend that during this time of transition, homeschooling families should take some time to reflect on the successes and failures of the previous year, the lessons learnt, and set some new intentions before pushing ahead into the New Year.

During this time, before beginning your next homeschool term, seek clarity and direction for your family by getting quiet, turning inward, making dua, and asking yourself some very important questions.

Homeschool planning new year

WATCH THIS VIDEO

Watch this YouTube video, when I went LIVE on my Facebook and Instagram accounts, and chatted with you about preparing your homeschool for the New Year, and talked you through the questions listed below.

Seek Clarity for your Homeschool

1) What was my favourite homeschool memory of last year?

2) What was my most painful homeschool memory of last year?

3) If you were to summarise the last year homeschooling in one word what would it be?

4) What areas were really successful?

5) What areas/people/topics/activities drained me? What drained the kids?

6) Where can I get help?

7)What can I cut out?

8) Where can we grow, further develop in our homeschool?

9)What areas don’t allign with my homeschool/family vision?

10) What positive change(s) can I implement going forward into the next year?


There are far better things ahead than we ever left behind.

C.S. Lewis

I hope that this video and the questions I’ve posed will help you find the clarity you need moving forward, and help you to live a life with your family that aligns with your values.

If you would like to share the answers to any, or all of the questions above, I would love to hear them! Please leave them for me in the comments below.

Peace and Love,

Living history curriculum islamic

Homeschool Planning: Part 1

Reflecting and Evaluating Last Year

It is that wonderful time of the year! Surrounded by a mountain of home-education books and homeschool curriculum, I get to plan next year’s homeschool… and I love it! 
I think all homeschool mums out there can understand the excitement of new curriculum and new plans with “This year is going to be different,” ringing in our ears. 
Homeschool planning

However before I jump in and get too excited, I realised it was important to really reflect on last year before I make the same mistakes again. 
To reflect on what went well….and what did not! 
I would advise every homeschool mum to do this. 
Don’t get carried away and start planning next year, no matter how tempting, until you have evaluated last year. 
I would recommend you get the kids involved too. Ask them what did they enjoyed learning about, and what did they dislike. 
I have learnt so much from this little exercise; not just about my homeschool, but also about the way my children learn and about the way I function too. What is important to me and my happiness?
Here is my reflection and evaluation of last year:

Evaluation of our Homeschool 2015/2016

In 2015/2016 I was homeschooling two boys: a 5-6year old (K5 in U.S. or Year 1 in the U.K.) and a 3-4years-old (Preschool). This blog-post will focus on my elder son, as the youngest did very little structured schooling this year.

Child’s Learning Style

Self-Directed Learner


I realised that my eldest son is highly self-motivated and my interference in his learning can actually hinder his progress! He only needs to be given the resources and gentle prompts , and he will learn on his own. He learns and retains the most from his own reading.The best thing about this self-directed approach is that it encourages his love of learning and allows him to take control of his own education. 

However…he is only 6! So I have to find a balance next year, allowing him more time and control in his education, whilst at the same time making sure he has a firm foundation in the basics. 
Facts, facts, facts

He LOVES facts and figures, and has recently developed an interest in science. So this coming year I need to encourage this interest and develop a really engaging sciecne curriculum for him, that will cover things he is interested in, as well as introduce him to new concepts. 
As we are starting history this year, I need to find a way to utilise his love of facts, in our history lessons. 

Need for structure


Although he enjoys learning independantly, he also benefits from having routine and structure in the day. It is important to him to know what to expect that day, and what is coming the next. This coming year, I have bought him his own academic diary, in which I will write out the lesson plans briefly, so he knows what is coming. 
I struggled this year in establishing consistent routines. This is something that I NEED to address this year for his sake. insha’Allah.
Needs fun and silly too!

Because of his personality, it is easy for me to forget that he is only 6 years-old and enjoys doing silly things too! This coming year, I want to incorporate more fun activities and experiments into his curriculum.  

Homeschool planning

It is also important for him to blow off steam! He needs to run, jump, do ‘kung-fu’ moves, just like any little boy! So this year, I have to schedule in outdoor/free time every day….without fail!

Short Lessons


My recent discovery of the Charlotte-Mason approach to homeschooling had me trying shorter lessons with my son. 

These worked very effectively as he knew that he had only a short amount of time to learn/do the material and he really focused during this time. In my head, because of my experience at mainstream schools, I thought that a lesson ‘needed’ to be around 40 minutes long….but why should it be! Who says it has to be! 

When you are working one-on-one, shorter lessons are actually very effective. This coming year, I will be shortening lesson times in all areas. 

My Needs

This last year has been massive for me, in terms of self-knowledge and feelings of self-worth! One of the things that I realised about myself, is the need to be creative!
Homeschool planning

This coming year, I hope to utilise my creativity to create an awesome science curriculum for my son, and well as doing some great crafts to go along with out history and Islamic studies. 
I’ve also realised that I am a control-freak! I need to relinquish this control over my son’s learning, and allow him to dictate the pace and content of at least some areas of study. It’s going to be hard!

Stop Worrying

He’s doing ok! Alhumdulillah! Socially, academically, emotionally…he’s fine! mashAllah.
Part of being a homeschool mum…nay….part of being a mother period, is that we worry and we fill our thoughts with guilt. “What if I hadn’t done that…” or “Maybe I should have done it like so-and-so”. I realised that I shouldn’t compare my child, my home or my homeschooling to anyone else. It does nothing but fill you with guilt or helplessness. 

Allah does not judge you by other people’s standards. He only asks you to do your best with the tools he has given you. 

Alhumdulillah we are doing well, and I pray it continues.

External Teachers

There is often a feeling amongst some home-educators that if you are using a tutor or sending your child to classes, your not really homeschooling “properly”! Of course, this is nonsense. There is no “proper” way to homeschool. 

Homeschooling planning

My son seems to really enjoy the variety that external teachers brings to his education. He attends a number of co-op classes, which he seems to be doing very well in. I have also found private tutors to help with languages (not my strength), and he loves those classes. So my feelings are that perhaps I should continue with these classes, and perhaps even find classes outside the home. 

So you see, this short exercise in reflection, that took only 10 minutes to think through, has brought me so much clarity for next year’s plan, and stopping me from repeating the same mistakes. If you are homeschooling your children, I would highly recommend that you do this too!

Are you starting to plan your next year of home-education? 
How do you start the planning process? 
What worked well for you last year, and what changes will you be making this coming year? 


Id love to hear from you! 
Please share with me in the comments below 🙂

In Part 2 (COMING SOON), I will go into details about how I plan out our school year, and the books and resources I use, as well as my planner and all that ‘good stuff’!!!

Make sure you don’t miss the next blog post by Subscribing to my mailing list.

For a daily look into our homeschooling day follow me on InstagramTwitter or Facebook.


In need of your duaas.

Peace and Love

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Slow Cooker Freezer Meals

The New Homeschool Year is about to begin!

During a busy homeschool day, it can be hard to find the time to cook, let alone cook something healthy and nutritious. Don’t get me wrong, last year I found myself resorting to frozen meals or takeaways all too often. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day! I decided that this year I would stop making excuses and get organized before our homeschool year began.

Homeschool  Prep Slow Cooker Freezer Meals

Before our homeschool year starts, I wanted to fill up the freezer with a variety of slow cooker freezer meals that we can turn to on those super busy days. If I know that we are planning to be out of the house all day, or if we have to be somewhere very early in the morning,  I can rest easy knowing that we have these slow cooker meals already prepared in the freezer.
The idea is that you do all the prep work, like chopping vegetables and measuring out ingredients, in advance, and put everything into a zip-loc bag. 
Then the night before, just take one packet out of the freezer and allow it to defrost overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, empty the contents of the bag into the slow cooker, set on low, and leave to cook until dinner-time. That’s it!

Please note: There are some ingredients you cannot freeze (e.g. yoghurt), but you can still prepare everything else in advance, and just add those separately when you’re ready to cook.

When your house is chaotic, you kids are fighting and you have 101 other things to do, at least you know that dinner will be ready on time! No chopping, not peeling, no stirring and no mess to clear up afterwards!
These meals should be eaten within three months of being frozen.

1Start by writing the name of the dish, any ingredients that need to be added later, and the best before date on the zip-loc bags.

Get zip-loc bags ready

2. Assemble all the ingredients you require for this meal prep.

Assemble Ingredients
3. Mix all the ingredients together according to the recipe you are using. 

(If you would like to see which recipes have been using, CLICK HERE to see my Pinterest board of CROCK POT RECIPES.)

Mix ingredients in a large bowl

4. Decant into the zip-loc bags.
 I find they are easiest to fill if you loop them over the top of a jug or bowl.

Use jug to hold up zip-loc bag
5. Then seal the zip-loc bags, making sure to squeeze out as much air as possible.

Homeschool  Prep Slow Cooker Freezer Meals
Honey Sesame Chicken

Homeschool  Prep Slow Cooker Freezer Meals
Beef Stew

6. Pop them in the freezer and they’re ready to go!

I am so excited to see how these freezer meals work out. Please let me know in the comments below if you tried this out and what recipes you use. I love finding new recipes!

If you are interested in seeing which recipes I use, please CLICK HERE to see my Pinterest board of CROCK POT RECIPES.

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

For a daily look into our homeschooling day follow me on InstagramTwitter or Facebook.

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

Peace and Love.

Simple Pasta Sauce Recipe



The new homeschool year is about to begin!

One of the things I like to do before ‘term’ starts, is to fill up our freezer with home-cooked meals. Meals that I can quickly defrost for a nutritious lunch or dinner on those busy homeschool days.

When you home educate your kids, the Freezer Is Your Friend!

One of my favorites is this Simple Pasta Sauce….It’s delicious!

 

Simple pasta sauce

Even better….its packed with vegetables but your little ones won’t know it!

With FIVE different vegetables, you can be sure that your children are having a tasty and nutritious meal.

Simple Pasta Sauce
Some of the vegetables needed for this sauce

This recipe makes 8-10 servings. That’s quite a lot, so you can freeze the extra in small containers for later.

This is great for those busy homeschool days when I need to prepare a quick lunch. I can just boil some dry pasta and defrost this sauce…et voila…a delicious home-cooked meal!

Recipe

 

Ingredients

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 Celery Sticks
2 Onions
2 Red Peppers
2 Garlic Cloves
2 Cans of Chopped Tomatoes (800g)
1 Tsp Sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Grated Cheddar Cheese to serve

1. Dice the celery, onions, peppers and garlic.

Simple Pasta Sauce

2. Heat the oil in a large pan, and saute the vegetables
3. When the vegetables have started to soften and change colour, add the chopped tomatoes and sugar.
4. Simmer until all vegetables are cooked.
5. Pour this sauce into a blender/food processor and blend until the sauce in smooth. It should have the consistency of a thick yoghurt.

Simple Pasta Sauce

6. Season to taste.

At this point, you can decant the sauce into small containers to store in your freezer.

Simple Pasta Sauce

7. Serve on cooked pasta and sprinkle with cheese.

Simple Pasta Sauce

Seriously, this sauce tastes great! Give it a go! You can add cooked chicken or
sauted mushrooms if you want to bulk it up, or just enjoy it as it is.

Please leave me a comment below and let me know how you liked it.

 

Thank you for visiting our blog!

To make sure you don’t miss the next blog post, Subscribe to my mailing list.For a daily look into our homeschooling day follow me on InstagramTwitter or Facebook.

Please remember us in your duaas.
Peace and Love.
Homeschooling children

 

 


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