Reception

Homeschool Curriculum Choices: Kindergarten & 1st Grade

I am so excited to share Our Muslim Homeschool Curriculum choices for 2016-2017.
In the U.K. my sons would be in Reception (Kindergarten) and Year 2 (1st Grade).
We follow an eclectic approach, drawing heavily from the Classical approach and the Charlotte Mason method.
Please WATCH THIS VIDEO to see what books and resources we are using this year in our homeschool. If you want more information, or would like to buy anything for your family, I have given links in this blog post for almost everything that is mentioned!
I hope you enjoy the video and find benefit in it!

Introduction

Well-Trained Mind:
Home Learning Year by Year:
For the Children’s Sake:
Charlotte Mason Companion:
Pocketful of Pinecones:

KINDERGARTEN

MCP Phonics:
MCP Maths:

FIRST GRADE

MATHS

Saxon Math 3:
Rays Arithmetic:
Problem Solving:
Maths for the Gifted Student:
Kumon Multiplication:

LITERACY

Well-Trained Mind:
First Language Lessons:
Spelling Workout B:
Spelling Workout C:
Read Me Out Loud:
A Child’s Garden of Verses:
Montmorency’s Book of Rhymes:
Winnie the Pooh:
Carol Vonderman Handwriting:
The Content of Character:
The Black Ships before Troy:
Bambi:
Charlotte’s Web:
A Bear Called Paddington:
Just So Stories:
Hardy Boys:
The Happy Prince:
The Wind in the Willows:
Jungle Book:
Raggedy Anne:
Winnie the Pooh:
Audible FREE TRIAL:
http://amzn.to/2bO0BVz
(UK) 

Audible FREE TRIAL:
http://amzn.to/2bO11Lq (USA)

Magic Treehouse:
Tutankhamun:
Time Warp Trio:
The Odyssey:
Stories from Ancient Eygpt:
The Trojan Horse:
The Greek News:
Croco’Nile:
Magic School Bus:
MTH: Leonardo Da Vinci:
Usborne: Leonado Da Vinci:
Laurence Anholt Books:
The World of Peter Rabbit:
My First Story Writing Book:

HISTORY

The Story of the World:
The Story of the World Activity Book:
Usborne Ancient Egypt Sticker Book:
Egyptian Painting Kit:
Egyptian Mummy Kit:
Book of Centuries:
Book of Centuries Cover Page:

SCIENCE

What’s smaller than a pygmy shrew?:
Switch on, Switch off:
What makes a Magnet?:
What is the World Made of?:
Germs make me sick:
Usborne Science Encyclopaedia:
DK Science Encyclopaedia:
Berenstain Bears:
See inside your body:
Everybody has a Body:
Magnetic Science Kit:
Usborne Spotter’s Guide:
Usborne Beginner Series:
Looking at Nature:
Burgess Bird Book:
A Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady:
Handbook of Nature Study:
British Birds Handbook:
Food for Free:
First Book of the Seashore:
Little Book of Outside in all Weather:

ART

Famous Paintings Cards:
Children’s Book of Art:
Lives of the Great Artists:
Start Exploring Masterpieces:
Famous Artists:
Children’s Book of Art:
Heinmann First Library:
Easy Carpentry Projects:
Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you found this blog post useful and got some ideas for your family.
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment below.
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In need of your duaas.
Peace and Love xx
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Kindergarten Islamic Studies Curriculum

In our Muslim homeschool we use many different resources to create our Kindergarten Islamic studies curriculum.

In my humble opinion, Islam should not be taught to young children as an academic subject, with workbooks and heavy texts. Instead it should be learnt naturally and organically by children from watching their parents and peers throughout their daily lives.

Kindergarten Islamic Studies Curriculum

Learning about Islam should lead to it becoming a natural part of your child’s being and a part of who they are. This cannot be achieved from books and academic exercises, but from good company and righteous parents who set a good example.

That being said, I have listed some materials we use to direct our learning and spark conversations.

1. I Love Islam by Noor Art

This curriculum can be purchased from Noorart. We set aside time to read one chapter a week from this book. We are using Book 1 with our Kindergartner, which is aimed at children aged 5-6. There are five more books in this series covering ages 4-9.

Kindergarten Islamic Studies Curriculum

This book is divided into five units introducing the Muslim child to:
– Basic beliefs (Aqeedah)
– The Life of Prophet Muhammad pbuh (Seerah)
– The Five Pillars of Islam
– The Muslim World
– Prophetic Manners

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Contents Pages: 

I Love Islam Contents Page
I Love Islam Contents Page
I Love Islam Contents Page

This book also comes with a CD, with nasheeds and stories to go along with each chapter. There are also workbooks available at NoorArt that can be used with this book, although we have not tried these ourselves.

A Look Inside:

A look inside I Love IslamA look inside I Love Islam
A look inside I Love Islam

I Love Islam also introduces children to the Ninety-Nine names of Allah. We have been supplementing these lessons with lots of Arts and Crafts:
Al-Khaliq
Al-Malik


2. My First Quran Story Book

As part of our morning routine, w read a story from My First Quran Story Book
every day. This book is a collection of Quranic stories and is aimed at children aged 3-9 years-old.

 3. Memorisation of Quran

As our boys are still young, we don’t teach memorisation of Quran yet, but rather focus our efforts on instilling a love for the Quran. However we do expose the children to Quran as much as we can through Audio CD
, listening to us recite, and Youtube videos:

There is also a fantastic series of books, The Mini Tafseer Series from Ad-Duha institute that introduce tafseer (explanation) of Juz ‘Amma to children. They are based on the teaching of Ibn Kathir and are really excellent. I have personally learnt a lot from them myself. They’re written for children to understand and enjoy.These can also be purchased from NoorArt.


4. Homeschool Co-op

We are fortunate in my community to have a number of other Muslim families who home-educate their children. Our children all come together once or twice a week to learn about Islamic topics in a relaxed and fun environment.

So this is how we ‘teach’ Islamic studies in our Muslim homeschool for my Kindergartener.

If you have any resources that you use with your children, please let me know in the comments. It’s always interesting to see what other Muslim families are using to teach Islam in their homes.
Also if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below and I will answer them as best I can insha’Allah

Thank you so much for stopping by our blog!

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Please remember us in your duaas.  


Peace and Love.

Story of Ibrahim: Mobile Craft Activity

Story of Ibrahim craft
Story of Ibrahim craft

This week in our Muslim homeschool we have been looking at the story of Prophet Ibrahim (AS). 
In my humble opinion, I find children retain these Islamic stories better if they are followed up with a hands-on activity. This craft is very quick and easy, and will help your children to remember what they have heard.
The story I related can be found in the Quran [6:75-80]. We began by reading a simplified version of this story from the I Love Islam Series: Book 1.

The story tells us how Ibrahim (AS) asked his people if they believed a star was God, but when the star disappeared in the morning he said, “See! That star is not Allah. Allah would never go away!

Then he asked his people is the moon was Allah, but when morning came he said, “The moon cannot be Allah, because Allah would never go away.”

Finally he asked them is the sun was God, but inevitably the sun set and so the sun too could not be Allah. Allah always exists. He never sets and never goes away!

After we finished the story it was ….CRAFT TIME!

Materials Needed

Foil card (Various colours)
FREE PRINTABLE
String
Glue Stick
Materials for Story of Ibrahim craftScissors
Permanent Marker
Sticky Tape
Hole punch

1. Begin drawing a sun, moon, star and a large semi-circle onto the foil-card with the permanent marker. Allow the children to cut them out.

2. Cut around the wording on the FREE PRINTABLE and glue it to the large semi-circular card.

3. Cut three lengths of string (approximately 15 cm each) and tape either the moon, sun and star to the bottom of each piece of string.

4. Tape the other end of the string to the semi-circle. In my opinion, it looks best if the strings are all different lengths.

5. Punch a hole in the top of the semi-circle with a hole-punch, and use some string to hang your mobile up. Our mobile has taken pride-of-place hanging from our kitchen curtain pole!

Story of Ibrahim craft
How have you taught your children this story? I would love to hear! Please leave me a comment below. 
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Thank you so much for stopping by our blog!
  
Please remember us in your duaas.  


Peace and Love. 

Teach Your Four-year-old To Read

IN 3 EASY STEPS

This article is written from my own experience. By the Grace of Allah, I was able to teach my son to read fluently when he was 4 years-old. Now that he is 5, he can pick up almost any book, read it and enjoy it. At the moment he’s especially keen on our encyclopedia!

Whether you home educate, or your children go to school, this article will help all parents who want to help their children to learn to read insha’Allah.

IMPORTANT NOTE:
Not all children are developmentally ready to read at 4 years-old.
PLEASE PLEASE don’t force a child who is not ready!!! It will do more harm than good!

However, if you’re child is ready and eager to learn to read, this article will show you how I did it, so you can ‘Teach YOUR Four-year-old To Read In 3 Easy Steps.’

Step 1: INSTILL A LOVE OF BOOKS

Love books, love reading , love learningIf a child love books, the he will love to read. 
If he loves to read, he will love to learn. Insha’Allah.
This is by far the most important factor in teaching your child to read and if you take nothing else away from this article take this:A child who is self-motivated will learn to read, and learn any other skill, much quicker and more easily than a child who is not self-motivated.

If you have to force your child to read, it will be much harder for both of you, take longer, and may even cause your child to dislike reading altogether. 

So how can you encourage this self motivation? There are several ways that you can nurture a passion for reading in your children:

Read to them

Set aside time everyday to regularly read aloud to your children. Make that time special for them. Cuddle up under a blanket by the fire, drink hot chocolate or just let her sit on your lap. She should look forward to that time with you. Make it magical. Give her your undivided attention, full of yor love and affection, and read her incredible stories that will feed her imagination.

Surround them with books

Fill your home with as many books as you can afford. There should be a small collection of books in every room for your children freely to look at.

If you have space, you may even make a little ‘reading nook’ for your home, a specially designated space, used only for reading and enjoying books.

However you decide to implement this principle, it will teach your child to give importance to books, and thereby give importance to learning and seeking knowledge.

Take a trip

Trips to libraries and other places of knowledge can show your kids that your family’s passion for reading is not in isolation, but there are many like minded people who share your enthusiasm. When they see other children excited by books, they will join in!

Step 2: TURN OFF THE TV

If your television is on all day, not only will this become a bad habit for your child, but it will also teach them that the TV is important, and more worryingly, that what the TV says is important!

There are many benefits to turning off the TV, but the most relevant to this article is that it WILL cause your children to read more. I have seen it in my own home. With no other distractions, children will pick up the books you have put in each room and read for fun.

Even if you can’t remove the television completely, at least restrict how much TV they watch. Limit the hours that the television is put on, and keep it off the rest of the time.

Self motivated reading without television
Reading Dr Seuss. mashAllah

Step 3: BUY THE RIGHT BOOKS

If you feel your child is ready to start learning to read (often referred to as Reading Readiness) you will need to invest/borrow some books to help you to begin.
The first thing you will need is a ‘Primer.

We have used the Primer:

The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading  by Wise and Buffington

Another highly recommended alternative is

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lesson

 It teaches the rules of reading, beginning with the phonetic sounds of each letter, and then progressing to blending, through to difficult multi-syllabic words. By the time your child finishes one of these primers, you can be completely confident that they can tackle any other book out there.
Although these books are printed in the U.S. they are suitable for children in the U.K.

Once your child has learnt the sounds of the letters, they can also begin reading short books called ‘Easy Readers’, as well as continuing the lessons in the primer.

For the early stages I would recommend:

  

Having progressed through one of these box sets you can move onto more challenging readers. There are many sets and curriculum available that you can follow if you wish.

My advice would be to choose books according to your child’s interests rather than following a rigid curriculum.Whether its fairies, cars, horses or monsters, there are a multitude of easy readers available to buy online and borrow from the library.

Dinosaur Easy Readers
Dinosaur Easy Readers

Do not worry that you are not completing every book in the series, or reading them in the correct order, because if you are working through a primer, then your child will not miss any of the ‘rules’ they need to know.

What is more important at this stage is that they continue to love reading and books, and the act of reading does not become a chore to them. After the ‘Easy Reader’ stage they can read anything they want to (with some guidance from Mum!).

For more comprehensive reading lists, ordered by age, ability and topic, I would recommend Honey for a Child’s Heart
 by Gladys Hunt.

If at any point your child seems to loose interest, just take a break for a few weeks. Pinterest is full of fun activities for you to do with your child to improve her reading skills without opening up a book. She will be learning to read without realising it!

On those days when the kids are sick, or they just don’t want to cooperate, we use Reading Eggs, an online reading programme full of games and songs.

At this young age it is vital that you remain flexible and take a relaxed approach to teaching reading. Make it enjoyable and have fun!

So that I how I taught my Four-year-old to READ in 3 Easy Steps!

Of all three steps, step one (instilling a love for books) is the most important.

Without it you will face a constant struggle with your child, in an effort make them cooperate and do something they have no desire to do. If they love books, they will want to read.

Please leave me a comment below and tell me how you are teaching your children to read. What resources have you used? What are some of your children’s favourite books?

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Please remember us in your duaas.
Peace and Love.

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Ramadan Decorations: Lanterns

Ramadan Decorations Lanterns

Lanterns are an festive way to decorate your home during Ramadan and to prepare your home for Eid. They are very easy to make and something that even the youngest children can help with.

Materials

  • A4 foil card
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Sequins(optional)
  • PVA glue (optional)

How to make it

1. Turn the foil card horizontally, and cut a strip 1/2″ from the end.

Ramadan decorations
2. Using a pencil, lightly draw a line 1″  from on the top and another 1″ from the bottom of the card.
Ramadan decorations
3. Take the larger piece of card, turn it vertically, and fold it in half.
Ramadan decorations

4. Then cut into the card, starting at the folded edge, all the way up to the pencil line. You will need to make between 12-14 cuts, each about 1/2″ apart.

Ramadan decorations

Ramadan decorations

5. Now its the fun part! Unfold your card and decorate. We used sequins and glue. If your children are younger you could use stickers.

Making Ramadan decorations

6. Once the glue has dried, hold the card horizontally in your hands and curve it round. Holding the edges of the card together, use your stapler to secure it. Then take the small strip of card you cut off in step 1, and staple this to the top of the lantern to act as a handle.

Ramadan decoations

7. Push down a little on the top of the lantern to make it ‘fan’ out.
You lantern is now ready to hang and decorate your home for Eid and Ramadan.
Ramadan decorations

Ramadan decorations

Ramadan decorations
I would love to see photos of the lanterns you make with your children. Please share them with me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook
Please keep us in your duaas.
Peace and love.

Making an alphabet caterpillar

This homeschooling activity was inspired by the book ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle. This preschool activity helps with letter recognition, putting the letters in the correct order, sequencing, as well as letting the lil’ ones be creative and have some fun.

Alphabet Caterpillar
Alphabet Caterpillar

How to Make An Alphabet Caterpillar

Begin by having you child draw around a circular object, like a cup, to create at least 27 circles. We used lots of different coloured paper, to make it more interesting.

Tracing a circle
Tracing around a cup

Then either cut the circles out yourself, or let him/her have a go. In my case I did most of the cutting myself as Dino-boy is still a little young.

Next ask you child you put glue the circles down in a particular order (Blue, green, red, blue, green, red etc.). I was amazed at how excited Dino-boy got by this exercise. It was wonderful to see.

Gluing the circles in a sequence
Adding the eyes

Then draw on /stick on the eyes. We had some foam eyes left over from another craft pack, so we used them. It gave our caterpillar a rather menacing  look!

Then I asked Dino-boy to stick some alphabet stickers onto the caterpillar’s body, in order. In hindsight, it may have worked better if the stickers were stick on first, before each circle was glued down. However, both achieve the same learning outcome. If you child is older, you cold have them write out the letters on each circle.

Sticking on the letters…
Next, we drew on the legs. Technically a caterpillar has only 6 legs, so I guess ours is more like a millipede!
Draw on the legs…
Our Very Hungry MILLIPEDE!
Then we added some grass and a sun, and got a bit creative! 
Peace and Love 

Teaching the Arabic Alphabet to Preschool Children

Teaching the Arabic alphabet to Muslim children in the West is often done after the English alphabet, as a second language. Despite this, there are so many way we have found to make learning Arabic fun and enjoyable for your preschoolers. Below I have listed my favorite resources and activities to help all Muslim kids learn the Arabic alphabet and have fun doing it. These recommendations are primarily for young children (under 4s) but could be used for any child new to the language.

Arabic for preschoolers
  1. Montessori cards

As I was beginning to discover the Montessori method of education  and browsing through the plethora of information online, I stumbled across a great website, ‘Noor Janan Homeschool’. In amongst her free printables, I found these lovely Arabic Letter Cards. After printing and laminating them, we have used them a multitude of ways. I ask Dino boy to name the letter, or to pair with matching letter, put them in order or we play a memory game with them.

Arabic Montessori Cards

  1.     Playdough

On the same website (Noor Janan Homeschool) there are Arabic playdough cards, where you  mould the playdough into the shape of the letter on the card. Dino boy was not interested in these, so after laminating them, we now use them as colouring in sheets, and simply wipe clean after. As he is colouring in, we talk about the letter, its sound, words that begin with this letter or what its shape reminds us of.

Playdough Arabic Letters
  1. Telling a story

I came across this method on Youtube on the safida34 channel where you tell a story with the letter. For example with Ba, Ta and Tha:
“Ba, Ta and Tha are three boats. One sunny day, they decided to go out on the seas and catch some fish. Ba was not a very good fishing boat, and he left his fish in the water (Where the fish are representing the dots on the letters). Ta did very well mashAllah and caught two fish and Tha, who had the longest fishing rod (sticking your tongue out to make the sound of the letter) caught three fish.”

  1. Puzzles

We have been fortunate to receive a few puzzles, wooden and card, of the Arabic letters. These are available from amazon and many Islamic bookstores. I use these when I want to kids to do some Arabic, but they are not in the mood for anything ‘heavy.’

Arabic alphabet puzzle

  1. Islamic Playground

This website Islamic Playground is a recent discovery of mine. Although I do try to limit screen time for my kids, there are occasions when they deserve a treat! There are two lovely games on this site
–          Drag and match game where the player has to match the letters and as they do it the letters sound is played.
–          A journey through the Arabic alphabet. The player has to walk along the letter and as they reach an obstacle on the path they will be asked an ‘Islamic’ question to get past. Although this one does require mum or dad’s help, it is well worth it.

  1. Painting

Sometimes the simplest things work the best! Either write out the letters yourself, or ask you child to, and then paint them . Simple but it holds their concentration!

  1. Workbook

The website  rahmahmuslimhomeschool  has a wonderful workbook for ages 3+ to help your child recognise and begin writing the letters. Dinoboy LOVES this. I’ve put it in a ‘grown-up’ folder for him which only adds to his excitement!

Arabic alphabet workbook



8. Youtube
There are many songs and videos on Youtube to help you child become more familiar with the sounds and shapes of the letters. These are our favourites:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gI3oBB_n1AU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dQ3lizkjuE
The main thing that I always need to remind myself of is, that at this young age, it should be fun. Make it light, frivolous, smile and make happy memories!

Teach your children Arabic

I would love to hear how you have taught your little ones the Arabic alphabet. Please leave a comment in the box below.
Please remember us in your duaas.
Peace and Love.