Islamic homeschool

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

 

 

 

Islam For Kids: 10 Summer Activities For Muslim Children

Islam for kids: Islamic summer activities for kids

Summertime is the perfect time to create fun learning opportunities for your children. Making Islam fun for kids can seem like a daunting task, but here are 10 activities to help your children enjoy Islamic learning and the lovely summer weather at the same time! 

And for the days when the weather doesn’t seem so inviting, there are some great indoor activities as well!

Islam for kids: Islamic summer activities for children

This blog-post contains affiliate links. See Disclaimer for more information.

Islam For Kids: All About Allah

Making Islam fun for kids begins with nurturing a love of Allah (SWT). These 3 interactive activities make a great a start:

99 Names Hunt

Print out the names of Allah from this website and stick them around your house or garden for your kids to find. Choose places that are clean and keep the the names off the ground. This can be a regular activity and you can focus on certain names each time you play.

Photo credit: quotelovin.com

To make the game a little more challenging for older children, try saying the English name and your child has to find the Arabic translation, or vice versa. This activity is perfect for opening a discussion about the many amazing qualities and attributes of their Creator. 

Would you like some more 99 Names activities? Discover other ways to teach the 99 Names through play!

Related: How to Teach the 99 Names of Allah to Children

Allah Created… Nature Study

Go for nature walks and help your kids create their very own scrapbook of beautiful things Allah (SWT) has created. They can press flowers or leaves into their book, draw sketches of animals, go birdwatching or collect specimens of minibeasts! This bug catcher kit is loads of fun for little explorers!

Nature Study is a wonderfully interactive way to discuss the purpose and perfection of each thing Allah has created. Your kids will learn how different creations work together, such as when bees collect nectar from flowers! If you’d like to make Nature Study a regular part of your homeschool, check out these posts.

Related: Nature Study for Children

Feelings Wheel

This activity is a beautiful way for your kids to develop their own personal connection with Allah (SWT). Using the feelings wheel, they can see Allah as their Lord Who is there for them when they are feeling sad, angry, sick or happy. This will create healthy discussions about emotions as well as reinforce their learning of Allah’s names and attributes. 

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Islam For Kids: Qur’an Study

Just because summer is here doesn’t mean the Qur’an lessons need to stop! Add some creativity to your Qur’an sessions with these activities:

Take It Outside

With the sun shining and the temperatures rising, it can be difficult to hold your kid’s attention during Qur’an lessons. So, pack a cosy blanket and a picnic and take it outside! This will be an exciting change for your kids and help them associate positive and happy memories with learning the Qur’an.

Qur’an Journaling

Get creative and pull out all the art supplies! Using this simple structure for Quran journaling, help your kids interact with the Qur’an and engage with it. The art supplies make this incredibly fun and your kids will learn that the Qur’an can teach and comfort them when they need it.

Related: Help you Children Memorise Quran FAST!

Islam For Kids: Salah Time 

Use the summer weeks to help your kids focus on their salah and develop a healthy prayer habit!

Salah Tracker 

Salah trackers are a brilliant way to help children become personally responsible for their own salah and celebrate their progress. Allowing your kids to be independent with their salah shows them you trust their own prayer journey. These trackers from Muslim Mommy are perfect to get you started!

Prayer Space

Having a dedicated prayer space for their salah adds to the excitement for children. Fill their space with things they love that will help them feel positive and happy during every salah time. Plus, you can bond as you set up the space together! Help your children design their own salah posters and add comfy cushions to curl up with whilst they perform their post-salah adhkar (supplications). Check out this amazing Salah Space!

Islamic Calendar | Rajab Activities for Children

Islam For Kids: Stories of the Prophets

Studying the prophets is the perfect way to help children discover wonderful role models. With Muharram upon us, why not focus on the amazing stories about Musa (AS)?

Build A Boat 

Stretch those S.T.E.M muscles and build a boat! Begin with the famous story of Musa’s mother placing him in a basket as a baby and floating him along the river. Use these ideas to build your own sturdy boat or basket. Then, if the weather allows, head to a lake, river or stream nearby and discover how sea-worthy your models are! 

Photo Credit: inspirationlaboratories.com


Red Sea Study 

You can’t learn about the Prophet Musa (AS) without learning about the Red Sea. The story of Musa splitting the sea to escape from the evil Pharaoh has all the ingredients children need for an engaging story!

However, by studying the Red Sea you can help your children realise how true the story is. Knowing the sea really and truly exists will upgrade this story from exciting to mind-blowing for your children. Help your kids draw, colour or label their own map of the Red Sea. You could take this further and put together a geography presentation!

Seerah Story Time

Well, after all these activities your kids will be going to bed fulfilled, happy and oh-so-tired! Soothe them to sleep with a regular bedtime story of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Make sure you end on a cliffhanger each night! This will leave your kids eager for the next instalment the following night. Curl up in bed together and bond over the beautiful stories that fill the life of the final messenger. This book from Leila Azzam is a wonderful addition to any Islamic library for kids.

Share your summer!

I would love to see what you and your children get up to this summer! Tag @OurMuslimHomeschool on Instagram or Facebook and share your summer activities so we can all see what fun you’re having!

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What Is Hajj? 16 Activities to Teach Kids About Hajj

what is hajj? 16 Activities to teach your kids about Hajj

Eid al-Adha is almost here! We can use this special time to teach our kids what Hajj is and why it is so wonderful. Use these activities to not only teach your kids about this amazing journey, but to create meaningful memories and experiences. 

We can sometimes feel like our time for worship is diminished when we are doing chores or taking care of the kids. However, teaching them about Hajj can be filled with rewards when done with the right intention.

What is Hajj? 16 Activities to teach kids about HAjj

What is Hajj?

Abu Hurairah narrated that he heard Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) say:

“Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit any obscenity or transgression will return [free from sins] as he was on the day his mother gave birth to him.” (Al-Bukhari)

Hajj is one of the five basic pillars of Islam, and it happens once every year during the month of Dhul Hijjah. Muslims from all over the world make their way to Makkah in Saudi Arabia. Each Muslim must make this journey at least once in their lifetime, if they are able. Therefore, 10 days of this special month are celebrated by Muslims around the world in recognition of those performing Hajj.

However, just because you’re not making the blessed journey yourself, doesn’t mean you and your family can’t honour the pilgrimage at home.

Try these Hajj-themed activities to teach your kids what Hajj is and why it is so special. 

Sensory Activities

Hajj Sensory Bins 

These sensory bins from The Muslimah Guide are easy to make and fun to explore. Find stones to throw at the jamaraat with the Muzdalifah bin, pour water using the Zam Zam bin, and use the Safa’ and Marwah bin to tell your kids the story of baby Ismail.

Finger print painting

This activity designed by Muslim Kid Genius will show the wonderful diversity which exists within the tawaf ritual. Little ones will love getting their fingers in some paint! As a result, you can teach them about the unity of Muslims from all backgrounds walking around the Kabah together. 

Papier mâché kabah 

What is Hajj? 16 Activities to teach your kids about HAjj
Image Credit: https://imanbendjedidi.wordpress.com

What is a Hajj lesson without a Kabah activity? Using teamwork and the many cardboard boxes we save “just in case”, build your very own Kabah using this papier mâché method. You could use this Kabah for the tawaf ritual during the role play activity below. Scroll down for details!

Mixed media Picture 

Mixed media pictures are wonderfully fun to make, because you can literally use anything to fill your picture with texture. Little ones will particularly enjoy this activity, and even your older kids will be pretty impressed with the results. Check out this amazing picture from A Muslim Child is Born.

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Quiet Time Activities

Hajj ritual display

What is Hajj? 16 Activities to teach kids about Hajj
Image Credit: muslimlearninggarden.wordpress.com

Use items from around your house to set up a Hajj ritual display like this one from Garden of Knowledge. This is a great way to help your kids visualise the various rituals for the 5 days of Hajj. For kids who love Lego, set them a challenge to set up their very own Hajj Lego diorama like this one from Muslim Learning Garden. 

Transportation colouring sheets 

Discuss with your little ones the various ways someone can travel to Makkah. Explain how the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions travelled from Madinah to Makkah before we had planes and cars! Your kids can use various art supplies such as pastels, paints, and collage materials to make these transportation colouring pages fun and creative! 

Tracing pages 

Train those fine motor skills by giving younger kids these tracing pages from Muslim Learning Garden. You can discuss tawaf, pelting stones at the jamaraat, the tents in Mina and even the run between Mounts Safa’ and Marwah.

Reading time

An activity as effective as it is timeless, reading will always be a joy for your kids when you get involved. There are so many kids’ books online which cover the Hajj pilgrimage in a fun and beautiful way. 

Related: The 9 Best Children’s Books about Hajj

Get Crafty Activities

What is Hajj? 16 Activities to teach your kids about Hajj
Image Credit: acraftarab.com

Make an old Hajj map

Give old treasure maps a creative spin and talk to your kids about the different locations which are so important to the Hajj pilgrimage. Plus, you could use these maps in the role play activity below! Scroll down for details.

Kabah paperclip bookmark 

This activity from A Crafty Arab is brilliant because not only can your kids have a lot of fun making these paperclip bookmarks, they will make wonderful little Eid gifts from your kids to other family members. 

Mosaic art 

Teach your kids the wonders of mosaic art as they learn the patience and perseverance it takes to make something truly amazing! These Hajj-themed pictures will make great gifts. Plus, what child doesn’t like getting glue on their fingers?

Foam pilgrims

What is Hajj? 16 Activities that teach your kids about Hajj
Image Credit: helloholydays.com

Teach your kids about ihram (the garment pilgrims wear on Hajj) by making these amazing foam pilgrims from Hello Holy Days. Your kids could use them as props for role play or when using their Hajj displays from the activity above. 

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Group Activities

Role play

Get the whole family involved and role play the rituals of Hajj, just like this post from Multicultural Motherhood. This can be done inside or outside. If you’re inside, use a different room for each location. Use your maps and your papier mâché Kabah from the activities above!

Sheep cupcakes 

What is Hajj? 16 Activities to teach your about Hajj
Image Credit: landolakes.com

Make some delicious cupcakes for Eid al-Adha. These sheep cupcakes will be lots of fun to make and the whole family can join in and decorate them. Try using some gummy sweets from the Halal Sweets Company, and don’t forget to stock up on Halal marshmallows. 

STEM Day 

Using these 4 challenges from The Muslimah Guide, let your older kids put their engineering skills to work. Using these challenges as a guide, you can have a Hajj-themed building competition. Complete with prizes, of course!

Family Quiz 

It’s time to put all your Hajj knowledge to the test – as a family. Host a Family Quiz Night using these questions from Education Quizzes. Switch up the fun by letting your kids hold the question cards and test YOUR knowledge!

Related: 7 Delightful Children’s Books about Eid

Islamic Studies for kids

Have fun!

The most important aspect of this special time is to have fun with your kids. Use these activities to create positive associations with Islamic learning and bond at the same time.

If you try any of these activities with your kids, make sure you take a photo and share it on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #ourmuslimhomeschool so I can see it!

For more resources and activities, check out the Our Muslim Homeschool Free Resources Library. It has hundreds of Educational resources to teach children about Islam, including Hajj!

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Homeschool Resources | Favourites from 2019

Homeschool resources

The past year has lead to some great discoveries! Some of these homeschool resources were a part of our plan, whilst others were unexpected pleasures!

Homeschool Resources | Our favourites from 2019, to help you pick the Best Homeschool resources for your children!

This blog-post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see Disclaimer.

In Episode fifteen of the Raising Mums podcast, I share some of our favourite homeschool resources of the past year.

WATCH THIS VIDEO!

Favourite Homeschool Resources

Here are a list of all the homeschool resources mentioned in the video:

Homeschool Curricula

Audio Books

Homeschool Resources - Islamic Audio Books

Books

Podcasts

homeschool resources

Thank you to our Sponsor

A BIG THANK YOU to our sponsor, WordUnited! The one-stop destination for 1000s of fun learning resources, including hard-to-find resources, books and educational toys for children from birth to 11 years old. WordUnited is the fastest growing educational toys and books supplier in the UK. Delivery is fast and customers can receive free delivery over £40, free gift wrapping and even free batteries if requested.

homeschool resources

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,

Homeschool resources
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A Week in our Homeschool | 11-15th September 2017

Muslim homeschool week

Take a peek into our homeschool week! In this blog post, I am excited to share snippets of our week!

This week was officially our 2nd week of using the homeschool curriculum Ambleside online. So far, I have found using a set curriculum strangely liberating!

Up until this point, I have always enjoyed piecing together my out curriculum. However, with my work online and my homeschool shop growing, I wanted to find something that took the pressure of me a little. So far, Ambleside online’s curriculum is doing just that!

Our Muslim Homeschool uses affiliate links in blog posts and sidebar ads. See Disclaimer for more information. 

Monday 11th September

Monday usually means recovering from a busy weekend! This Monday we kept things simple with morning school, Quran class and then a trip to the park. Today was also the first time we read from A Child’s History of the World and we loved it!

Muslim homeschool week
Pizza and Shakespeare!

Muslim homeschool week
Baby doll goes first!

Muslim homeschool week

Tuesday 12th September

Tuesdays are usually busy day for us, and this Tuesday was no exception!

With swimming, French AND wrestling classes all on one day, we struggled to do all the subjects that I had planned.

We managed most things, but we didn’t have time to read from Our Island story or Understood Betsy. Don’t worry.. we made up for it later in the week!

Muslim homeschool week Muslim homeschool week

Wednesday 13th September

The boys had fun today adding to their Book of the Centuries. We added in the historical figures Harun al-Rashid, Charlemagne and King Harold II . We also managed to start reading Understood Betsy, but my boys were not impressed! I will keep persevering!

In the afternoon, the boys went for Quran classes and Muslim scouts. Muslim homeschool weekMuslim homeschool week

Thursday 14th September

Today we read from the Burgess Animal Book and my children really love it.

They have learn so much about Rabbits and the rest of the rabbit family from the two chapters we have read. The stories are rally engaging and are a wonderful way to introduce children to biology and natural history.

We are currently in the middle of landscaping the garden, but with the torrential rains and storms we’ve had all week, nothing has been done for awhile! But the kids are enjoying the mud!

Muslim homeschool week
Happy toddler!

Muslim homeschool week

Friday 15th September

On Fridays the books are put away and we go outdoors!

This morning was spent exploring nearby woodland.

Muslim homeschool week nature walk

Muslim homeschool week nature walk
He spotted a hare! Run!

Muslim homeschool week nature walk
If you were a hare which way would you go?

Muslim homeschool week nature walk
Are you in there?

We didn’t have any kind of agenda today except that I asked them to find a leaf to take home to paint into their nature journals.

It’s been a long time since we used watercolours and I wanted them reintroduce watercolours by painting something simple.

I had a go too and it was so relaxing! I’m very keen to add to my nature journal again!

Muslim homeschool week Muslim homeschool week

Unfortunately, because we were having too much fun in the woods, and because I forgot to bring my watch, we got home too late to go to Friday prayers at the mosque. Astaghfirullah. Next week I will be better prepared insha’Allah.

In the afternoon, after their French class, the children spent time with their grandparents!

Muslim homeschool nature walk
That light….

Today, whilst out for our walk, I was struck with gratitude; how fortunate I am to be spending my days with my children and walking outdoors in the beautiful British countryside today.

In the thick of it, sometimes forget how blessed I am but being outside reminded me of how lucky I truly am. It forces me to slow down and reflect. There is something about the light in a forest, the way is peeks through the canopy and illuminates pockets of the woodland floor, that always strikes me. There so much to learn from being still and observing creation.

This week with Ambleside online has gone very well. Although we have fallen slightly behind in our reading of Understood Betsy and Poetry, I am confident we can easily catch up insha’Allah. The only thing left to do this weekend is work through the next chapter in our Islamic studies books.

I have really enjoyed sharing our week with you, and I hope you enjoying reading about it!

If you have any questions, please leave them for me in the comments below and I will try to answer them as best I can.

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

 

Easy Arabic Alphabet Cupcakes!

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.

Arabic alphabet cupcakes - Teach you children the Arabic letters with this fun activity! Arabic alphabet cupcakes - Teach you children the Arabic letters with this fun activity!

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.

 

You will need…

Equipment:

 

Ingredients:

  • 110g/4oz Butter, softened
  • 110g/ 4oz Caster sugar
  • 110g/ 4oz Plain flour
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla paste (Alcohol-free) – Buy HERE

For Decorating:

  • 140g/5oz Butter, softened
  • 280g/10oz Icing Sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp Milk
  • Ready-To-Roll Icing (Several Colours) – Buy Here (Vegetarian)

Cupcake Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F / Gas 4.
  2. Line the muffin tin with paper cases.
  3. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl. Beat it using an electric whisk until pale and fluffy.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into another bowl.
  5. Beat the eggs and vanilla separately.
  6. Mix all the ingredients together.
  7. Spoon the mixture carefully into the paper cases.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes until risen and firm to the touch.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from tin and allow to cool completely before decorating.

Arabic alphabet cupcakes - Teach you children the Arabic letters with this fun activity!

Icing Recipe

  1. Using a whisk, beat the butter until soft.

  2. Continue to whisk whist slowing adding the icing sugar.

  3. Add the milk and mix well.

Let’s Decorate!

  1. Apply 1-2 tbsp of buttercream icing to the top of each cupcake. You can pipe it on yourself, or let your children do it using two small spoons.
  2. Flour your kitchen surfaces to prevent sticking in the next step.
  3. Roll out the ready-to-roll icing to approximately 5mm (1/2 cm) thick.
  4. Use the Arabic letter cutters from the play dough kit to cut out any letters from Arabic alphabet you wish to learn/revise.
  5. Carefully use a butter knife to lift the letters onto the top of the cakes.
  6. Continue until all the cakes are decorated.
  7. Enjoy!

Arabic alphabet cupcakes - Teach you children the Arabic letters with this fun activity!

Tip: If your ready-to-roll icing gets too warm, it will be difficult to cut out the letters. To prevent this, keep the icing in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

I hope your family enjoy making and eating these Arabic alphabet cupcakes! They would be a great addition to any children’s party, iftaar or Eid celebration!

Arabic alphabet cupcakes - Teach you children the Arabic letters with this fun activity!

Arabic alphabet cupcakes - Teach you children the Arabic letters with this fun activity!

Have you ever used cooking to teach your children an Academic subject?
What other creative ways have you used to teach the Arabic Alphabet?
Please tell us about it in the comments below!

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

Cooking-Skills-iHomeschool Net


Educational Games for 2-8 Year Olds

10 Points of Homeschooling Advice from Veteran Homeschool Mom

Homeschooling advice from veteran homeschool mom

How often do we look back on something and think, “If wish I could have done that differently.”?

Not often are we given the gift of parenting, or homeschooling, with hindsight. But with almost an 11 year gap between my two oldest kids, alhamdulilah, I’m given at least a peek into how my homeschooling decisions have played out over time.

Homeschooling advice from veteran homeschool mom

Advice to noew homeschoolers from veteran homeschool mom

I hope my hindsight can be of use to you as well, as I reflect back over the last 8 years of homeschooling, now that my oldest is, mashaAllah, graduating high school.

Academic rigor is secondary

So often we spend hours upon hours trying to find the perfect book. It’ll have all the right information, with all the best activities, and thorough tests and quizzes to make sure they don’t miss a thing.

But what about the atmosphere in our home? What about nurturing that love of learning that comes naturally to children? How long do we spend thinking about that?

I wish I would have given my daughter more time to be a kid. More time to explore and learn at her leisure, and not during some scheduled hour-long exploratory time. You can’t schedule curiosity.

Don’t let others dictate your homeschool

If you’re just starting with homeschooling and you don’t have much support around you, it’s tempting to fill up your curriculum list with impressive books and resources to try to sway them that you’re not ruining your child.

Let me tell you something – a book list is not going to change many people’s minds.

Pick the resources you feel are best, for your child. How many school teachers do you think are making curriculum decisions based on what their parents or neighbors think? They choose books they think will be the most effective. Period.

Get acquainted with various homeschooling methods

Most of us have gone through the public school system. It’s all we know. Then when we start homeschooling, we dream of bulletin boards, and an in box for assignments.

Sometimes we have to jump into homeschooling because traditional school isn’t working, so we might not have a lot of time to read up on the various methodologies. Even if that’s the case, start reading the core book on each topic and see what speaks to you.

Think of yourself as an educator or mentor, not only an administrator

An administrator simply makes education more accessible. They order books, organize lesson plans, and grade work. An educator or mentor understands how students learn, how their environment affects their learning, and has some basic understanding of psychology.

Be the educator. Treat homeschooling as your career, not a task. That means reading and studying about your chosen career.

Homeschooling advice from veteran homeschool mom

Less semester-long classes

The semester long classes were great, and I love that she made some friends in those arenas, but I think we did too many, which made it hard to take part in anything else. We barely went on field trips that related to her lessons because our schedule was so jam packed with classes.

As I’m faced with the temptation of signing up for all the interesting classes again with my younger kids, I remind myself that childhood is not the only time to learn. We can, and should, learn as adults as well. If they miss out on a class about sewing, or woodworking, or reptiles, there will be opportunities for them to learn about that as an adult as well, if they so choose.

Ask help from the community

In the six years we were exclusively homeschooling my oldest (she spent the last two years at a local college finishing her high school diploma), I had three more children and we moved twice. To say I was a bit distracted would be an understatement.

Alhamdulilah, we made do, but it would have been easier if I reached out to community members to organize study groups while she was reading classic books since I did not have the time to read them along with her. If you find someone who is passionate about a subject, they are usually happy to help the young generation to explore that passion.

Grades and deadlines

We are pretty relaxed in the early years of homeschooling, but I do suggest to start grading and giving deadlines one year before you’ll be keeping specific records. In the US (though each state is different), you don’t have to keep records until the student is in high school.

It is a disservice to your child to first experience real deadlines and grades when it will be on their permanent record.

Less is more

Okay, we don’t want to take this to an extreme and ignore educating our kids, but hear me out, especially in regards to graded assignments.

The fewer number of graded assignments you give, the more weight each one has, which means they learn to give their best time and attention to each assignment. They can’t just slop something together and know that something that was easier for them, and therefore they got a good grade on, will even out the poor assignment they just turned in.

Less formal assignments, more time to sit and think about them independently.

Never, ever stop learning

Show your child what it means to be a lifelong learner. Sign up for classes, read books, watch documentaries. Even if they scoff at your boring choices for how you use your time, they will be noticing that you didn’t stop learning when you graduated. And neither should they.

Veteran homeschool mom advice to new homeschoolers

Make du’a

Last, but not least, don’t forget that striving to provide opportunities for a great education is in your hands, but the end result ultimately is not. Allah has a plan for all of us, and sometimes it may look like it’s not going your way. That’s okay, too. Patience is what we do have control over. In sha Allah be patient.

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.