Homeschooling my children allows us to follow their interests and passions, and gives them a freedom to learn what they want to. In the past, this approach has lead us down many fascinating avenues, and this year my eldest son asked me if he could learn touch typing! I was delighted to discover the online programme TypeKidsand couldn’t wait to begin using it in our homeschool!
My family was gifted full access to TypeKids for review, and I compensated for my time.
Why Teach Touch Typing?
The primary reason we are teaching touch typing in our homechool this year is because my son wanted to learn it!
In the near future, we hope to utilize his typing skills in our homeschool by allowing him to type some of his narrations and the special study units that we do as part of our Charlotte Mason curriculum.
In his future, I believe touch typing will be a necessary skill if he wants to attend college or university. Similarly, most professions today will require some skill in typing and computing.
Thankfully, once you learn to touch type, you know it forever (assuming you practice the skill regularly)! It’s a bit like riding a bike!
TypeKids is an online touch typing course for children, that has been creating with the aim of being “The Most Fun Course in the World!”
The course is pirate-themed…which (of course) my son loves! It uses a combination of exercises, reviews and games to teach children to type efficiently and accurately. He especially enjoys being rewarded for his success with special badges and access to new games!
I remember the programme I used to learn typing and (without saying too much and giving my age away!) this course worlds apart from that archaic programme! It is colourful, fun, entertaining and my son looks forward to using it.
TypeKids for your Homeschool
We use TypeKids just once a week as part of our homeschool schedule for just 10-15 minutes. However, as the parent, you are given the freedom to decide yourself how often your children will access the course.
One of the huge benefits for us is that TypeKids is easy for my son (8 years-old) to navigate independently. This means I am free to work one-on-one with my younger son on another subject when his needs my focused attention.
As lessons are completed, TypeKids send parents progress reports via email, so that you can keep track with how you child is doing with the programme. You could even print out these reports to add to your homeschool records.
TypeKids is a fantastic programme for those of you who are looking for a fun approach to teaching touch typing. For more information visit TypeKids.com
They currently have a FREE TRIALavailable so your children can try the first three lessons for FREE! If you would like to try it out, visit their website.
Do your children know how to touch type?
Do you consider it an important skill to learn?
What resources have you used to teach them to type?
Please share with us all in the comments below.
LATER EDIT 12/10/18
It has come to my attention that a character in Lesson 3 uses the word “dumb@*!” I was surprised that this word would be used in a children’s programme! However, I have not come across any other strong language in this touch typing course.
Watch this video and spend the day with us! See what home education in the UK really looks like for Our Muslim homeschool!
Home education simply means to educate your children outside of the mainstream school system. What that looks like for each family is different but for us, as it does for many others, it involves plenty of time outside, sports and activities with friends and formal studies at home.
Watch how we teach Quran, our swimming classes, outdoor time and a heart-to-heart chat about “What homeschooling is REALLY like!”
This video and blog-post was sponsored by WordUnited, who kindly sent me their Arabic and Phonics programs, and compensated me for my time. This blog-post also contains affiliate links. See Disclaimer for more information.
WordUnited is an incredible website that stocks hundreds of high-quality educational resources for children aged 0-13. They have everything you can imagine on that site, from beautiful baby toys, resources for literacy, numeracy, science, special needs and even multicultural toys section! With hundreds of new products being added every week, WordUnited is set to become the next big thing!
WordUnitedkindly sent me two sets of books to review; the “Let’s Read” program, which teaching children the foundations of phonics, and the “Let’s Read Arabic” program which teaches children how to read Arabic words.
Each set consists of eight books. As your child progresses through the program, they gradually increase in complexity and build upon lessons learnt in previous books.
The books are small and easy for young hands to hold, as well as colourful and engaging to to children. They illustrations feature realistic high-quality images of objects that children will be familiar with in their lives. I really appreciate how the creators of these books have used visual cues to highlight the individual sounds that make up each word.
These books are ideal for home educators are they include parent guidance at the beginning of each book. This is really important to read as it clearly explains what is being covered and how to use that particular book effectively. I love it when a curriculum make it simple for parents!
The books can be purchased individually, or as a complete set.
Online learning games are an effective method of improving children’s literacy skills and increasing their confidence in reading.
For years I have been using Reading Eggs in our home to teach the children to read. You can imagine my delight when Reading Eggs reached out to me and asked me to review their online reading programme! My children have enjoyed and learnt so much from Reading Eggs and I am so excited to have the opportunity to share that with you here!
This blog post has been written in collaboration with Reading Eggs, who gave my family free access to their online Reading programme and compensated me for my time.
I have used reading eggs with both my sons from the age of 4. After beginning the programme, I witnessed their literacy skills improve tremendously in a short space of time and, most importantly, their enthusiasm for reading grew!
Reading eggs is so much fun and it works!
What is Reading Eggs?
Reading Eggs is an Award-winning online reading programme for children aged 3-13. It is a safe online learning environment that gives children access to hundreds of reading lessons, thousands of interactive activities and over 2500 e-books!
Reading Eggs have also recently launched a Reading Eggs Junior, which is a new online learning programme for toddlers (ages 2-4) to introduce younger children to letters and pre-reading skills through songs, picture books, interactive activities and videos. It’s a lot of fun!
Benefits of Online Learning
Here a some of the benefits of incorporating online learning in our homeschool:
Reading Eggs has been cleverly created to allow children to maneuver their site with little need for grown-up assistance.
My children were easily able to progress through their lessons without my help, and soon worked out how to access all the other features of the programme.
Nothing hinders learning more than a lack of confidence. I have seen this in my own home. However as our children became more fluent in reading and progressed through the various levels of Reading Eggs, their confidence grew!
Builds Positive Associations with Reading
Reading Eggs is so effective at teaching reading because its is fun. From my experience, I found my kids wanted to do their reading lessons and were disappointed if, for some reason, they couldn’t do it one day!
My eldest son really enjoyed the phonics songs and the interactive nature of the lessons.
My youngest son loves the reward system they have in place! After completing the lessons, the children are rewarded golden eggs that can be exchanged for virtual prizes. This was a great incentive for him to work through the various levels. He loved completing his lessons so he could fill his virtual house with all the prizes he had won!
It’s wonderful to know that whilst they are playing and having fun, they are learning to read!
Mummy can rest!
Let’s be real for a moment! Online learning is not only an effective method of teaching children, it also has real benefits for homeschooling parents.
It gives me time to do other much needed things; like putting on the laundry, preparing lunch, teaching my other children, or just unwinding for a moment with a cup of tea!
Online learning is a fantastic means for parents to educate their children at home. Reading Eggs is an incredible programme and resource, and I would genuinely encourage you all to visit their website to see if their programme would work for your family.
If you have any questions about how we incorporate Reading Eggs into our homeschool curriculum, or if you have any queries about the programme itself, please leave me a question in the comments below.
Finding arts and crafts activities for your children to do can be a challenge, especially if you’re not a “crafty” mum!
The Toucan Boxis a subscription service that delivers everything you need to your door, to create an fun art project!
The reason I wanted to try our the Toucan box, was for convenience! It can be challenging as a homeschooling mum, to find different art projects for my children to do, and then purchase all the supplies that it needs. The Toucan box promises to deliver everything I need to my door… so I had to try it out!
If you click on the links to Toucan box in this blog post or use my referral code, and then place an order, I will receive 50% off my next purchase.
What is a Toucan Box?
The Toucan box is a subscription service that delivers creative craft boxes to children aged 3-8 years old. The boxes come in 3 different sizes:
Petite: Provides everything you need to create an exciting activity. This box fit through the letter box and contains a activity book with puzzles, games, recipes and fun facts. This craft box is deliveredfortnightly.
Grande: Provides all the materials needed for 2 craft activity, as well as a children book that goes along with the theme of the box. This box also contains a parent card containing further ideas for activities and games. This box is delivered monthly.
Super: This box contains everything you child will need to complete 4 craft activities, along with a children’s book and the parent card. This box also comes monthly.
This boxes have been designed by educational experts, and are Montessori-inspired, to help develop a child’s key skills.
Toucan Box Unboxing
I decided to purchase the “Petite” box, just to try out the service and see what the craft activities were really like. I also really like the convenience of the petite box fitting through the letter-box, as we are often out during the afternoon when our postman arrives.
I received a FREE BOX along with my first order, and you can too if you CLICK HERE.
Before my children saw the boxes, I quickly filmed this un-boxing video for you!
The petite Toucan box really surprised me! The quality of the material were excellent, and the instructions were very clear. In this case, the Pirate-themed box actually contained 2 craft activities, when the it is only supposed to have 1, which was a lovely surprise!
Furthermore, the activities book also contained another craft activity to make a “pirate’s hook”. Although all the supplies were not included in the box, there were things we already had at home, like foil and glue! My son loved doing this craft, along with all the puzzles the book also contains.
What surprised me most about the Toucan box, is that it prompted an entire afternoon of imaginary play! My boys pretended their bunk-beds were a Pirate ship; even the sofa became a Pirate ship later in the day! They went out into the garden on a treasure hunt, they made pirate names for each other ….and the playing went on and on!
In my eyes, as a mother, that is the ultimate sign of success; that my children were so inspired by these craft activities, that they took them and the ideas they had learnt, into their imaginary world with them!
We are all really looking forward to the arrival of the nextToucan box!
If you would like to order a Toucan box for your family, CLICK HERE. By clicking on this link, you will also receive a FREE GIFT BOX along with your order.
Alternatively, type in the following code at the checkout, and you will receive your FREE GIFT BOX too: GEMMA-9E6X
Have you ever used a children’s subscription service? Would you recommend them?
Keeping up with the demands of creative kids can be difficult…would you agree?!?
This blog post has been written in collaboration with CTC Math, who gave my family free access to their online Maths programme and compensated me for my time. The following may also contain affiliate links (see “Disclaimer”)
Tears. Tantrums. Frustration. For many of our children, Maths can be a struggle; a struggle for chldren to learn and a struggle for homeschooling parents to teach.
When you are homeschooling a gifted child, teaching Maths can be be just as challenging. Gifted children can also end up crying over their Maths, but the reason for their tears is not a lack of ability or understanding, but instead due to frustration, boredom or trying to simply dealing with the intense emotions that gifted children notoriously experience.
Teaching maths to the high-achieving and gifted student can be both immensely rewarding and incredibly frustrating for homeschooling families! Although gifted children are usually quick to understand an apply mathematical concepts, they also bring with them a unique set of challenges that other homeschooling parents may not have to face.
It is worth noting, that there is a difference between “giftedness” and being a high achiever. For more information about the difference, read this simple introduction from Psychology Today.
It’s also important to remember that not all gifted students are “gifted” in Maths. Being intellectually gifted can mean an increased aptitude or talent in any number of academic subjects or creative pursuits. However, for simplicity’s sake, when I talk about “gifted” children in this blog post, please assume I am referring to those who are mathematically gifted.
From my own personal experience, I have compiled my top tips on “How to teach Maths to gifted and high-achieving children”, to help you teach Maths to your own children. This advice is what has worked in my home, and I hope that is will give you some ideas for your children too.
1. Forget the Way You Learnt Maths!
Unless you were fortunate to be homescholed, the likelihood is that the way you learnt maths is not going to work for your gifted children. Conventional all-in-one math curricula do not work well for gifted students.
Many of us are used to the idea that a math concept is taught, examples are given, and then the student practices this principle by completing many practice questions. Gifted students often no not need as much practice as conventional workbooks offer. They are able to fully grasp the concept and move onto its application much quicker than conventional curricula allows for.
This means that if you ask you gifted child to work through a conventional math programme, they will become increasingly bored and frustrated with its slow pace and repetition.
Instead, you need to get creative in the way you teach maths to gifted students! One way of doing this is by providing them with a variety of materials.
2. Use a Variety of Maths Resources
It may surprise you to know, that maths does not need to be taught with a textbook and workbook! In fact, there are many other ways that mathematical principles can be taught. In my experience, these are often more effective and memorable than the traditional maths textbook.
Problem solving/Critical Thinking – Develop you child’s analytical and problem solving skills with critical thinking books and exercises.
Computer Programmes – Incorporating computer programmes into your curriculum can be a fantastic motivator for children. Our favourite online Math curriculum is CTC Math (see below)
Variety of different workbooks – Mix and match different teaching styles and approaches to keep your gifted child interested and engaged in their learning.
3. Chose a Curriculum that allows for Flexibility
The introduction of CTC Math into our homeschool has provided us with both the structure and the flexibility that my children need. Using this online Math curriculum 3-4 times a week, has helped to ensure that my children are not missing any important concepts as they “jump about ” within their other varied maths resources.
It is also gives the student and parents the flexibility that is needed for so many gifted students. You no not “need” to complete previous lessons in order to move onto the next level. You do what YOUR CHILD NEEDS to do…and I love that about CTC Math!
In previous curricula we have tried, my son became infuriated with the unnecessary repetition and practice questions. With CTC Math, if your child understands the concept, you can move on!
It also allows you to enter your child into any grade that you, as the parent, feel is suitable. CTC Math has allowed my 6 year-old son to start 4th Grade maths, and it is wonderful to finally see him challenged by an online Maths programme.
The lesson begins by watching a short 4-9 minute video where a concept is taught by audio and animation. Then the student takes what they have learnt, and applies it to a series of practice questions. Parents are kept informed of their child’s progress with a weekly email showing their marks throughout the week.
The people behind CTC Math are very supportive of homeschooling families and offer 60% OFF the cost of the curriculum + 6 MONTHS FREE to homeschoolers! This massive discount is only available to homeschooling families. If you are interested in finding out more, CLICK HERE.
CTC Math works fantastically for gifted students because of the flexibility it offers. You can go back and repeat lesson, and you can jump as many lessons ahead as your gifted student wants to. In addition to this flexibility, it also gives parents the security of knowing that everything is being covered and there will be no gaps in their child’s knowledge.
If your child has a natural talent for maths, they will enjoy bringing it into their other school subjects.
For example, we have studied maths whilst learning about Leonardo da Vinci and his incredible inventions. My son also learnt the “Pythagoras theorem” during our study of Ancient Greece. Together, we discovered the Fibonnacci sequence when learning about snails and their shells, in nature-study.
If your child is interested, maths can be brought into almost every subject as it is an integral part of our real-lives.
4. Apply Maths to Real-life situations
Life is full of learning opportunities, and maths is no different. In your day-to-day life, you can engage your gifted children with mathematical problems and meaningful learning. Here are just a few examples of how:
Calculate distances trigonometry or estimate using the time it took to travel
Help with finances and accounts – if like me, you run a business from home, having a child that loves maths can be very useful at times!
Working out quantities needed for cooking or home-improvements
Teaching gifted children maths is challenging, and is certainly not simple! However, with a little creativity, it is very possible and very rewarding.
Gifted children need our attention and guidance, as much as other children do. Without it, they are at risk of become disengaged, uninterested and underachieving.
I hope this blog post has given you some inspiration and ideas of how to teach your gifted or high-achieving children Maths at home.
This blog post was sponsored by aliandsumayaschool.com. See disclaimer for further details.
Teaching your children about Islam can be a daunting prospect! Where do we start?
How do we teach the material?
Once they do start learning the various Islamic sciences, how do we keep up the momentum and maintain their enthusiasm.
How can we encourage our children to want to learn about Islam?
What are the best online resources available to help parents?
I was recently introduced to the Ali and Sumaya school, an online Islamic school, that teaches children the principle Islamic sciences, from the comfort of my own home.
It has been such a blessing to incorporate it into my children’s Islamic education, and I am so excited to share it with you.
WATCH THIS VIDEO where I show you around the Ali and Sumaya school!
CLICK ON THE VIDEO BELOW:
What is an Online Islamic School?
When we first logged on, I was so impressed! It’s like an Islamic version of ABC Mouse! mashAllah! Instead of teaching phonics or maths, it teaches children Quran, duaas, Arabic, and more!
The children absolutely adore it, and really look forward to doing their lessons! I have seen an incredible shift in their attitude towards learning the Islamic sciences. When I announce that it’s time for Ali and Sumaya school, they rush to get to the computer and watch one another do their lessons.
They even recognize the characters in the school from the Ali and Sumaya DVDS, which only adds to their enthusiasm!
However since we began the programme, about 2 months ago, they have continued to offer more levels,and add more learning material to their website every month!
How does it work?
Most lessons offered involve your child watching a short animated video, where the material is explained. These videos have been made to a very high standard! The audio is clear, with beautiful recitation of Quran, and the animation is amazing!
Then after practicing what has been taught, they complete a short quiz to ensure they have understood the lesson.
They way the school assesses memorisation is very simple, but very clever. The teacher will recite part of an ayah or duaa, and then conceal part of it with a “beep”. The child then has to decide what is missing from the duaa, and select the correct answer from a number of options.
If they pass the quiz, they are awarded a “badge.” The badges are the equivalent to virtual stickers, and my kids love collecting them!
A nice feature on the site is the presence of a leader board. For every lesson you complete, you are awarded points, and the students with the highest number of points will feature on the global leader board.
What age does my child need to be?
There are no specific requirements for age or experience. The only thing I would recommend is that your child should be able to comfortably use the mouse or a tablet, otherwise they may struggle to complete their lessons.
Are their sources reliable?
There are so many different ways people practice Islam today, especially with regards to worship. The creators of the Ali and Sumaya school consulted a number of religious teachers from Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
If you have any further questions about the scholars and sources that were used, you can email the Ali and Sumaya school directly. Click HERE for their contact details.
How long are the lessons?
The time each lesson takes does vary between subjects and levels. However, the makers of the Ali and Sumaya school recommend that children spend 10-20 minutes on each lesson, as few times a week to get the most out of the programme.
We have chosen to use these online classes slightly differently. Instead of everyday, we have been using the Ali and Sumaya school as a reward for good behaviour or academic achievement! They enjoy using this online school so much that they will actually work towards it! They really do love it!
Benefits of Online Learning
Personally, I think the biggest benefit of using an online school like the Ali and Sumaya school, is that the kids enjoy it! Subhanullah, what a difference it makes to your child’s learning when they are having fun!
When a child is self-motivated and interested in learning the material, they will retain that information more effectively than if you are forcing them to do their lessons. The Ali and Sumaya school is a fantastic way of nurturing a positive attitude towards studying Islam.
One of the biggest challenges we face as parents today, is the constant struggle we have with limiting screen time. This internal battle happens in almost all of us everyday. Many of us feel guilty at the amount of time our children spend watching TV, or playing on other electronic devices. What is wonderful about the Ali and Sumaya school, is that that guilt is gone! My children can go online, and do their lessons, and learn something really beneficial! Alhumdulillah!
The Ali and Sumaya school provides a halal alternative to the mainstream media. Furthermore, it is a safe and wholesome way for children to spend beneficial time online.
How do I enroll my children?
The creators of the Ali and Sumaya school only take in a limited number of students each term so that they really get to know those pupil’s needs, and assist them as much as possible.
If you would like to secure your child’s place for this terms intake, you can visit their website: AliandSumayaschool.com for more details.
If you have any questions about the Ali and Sumaya school, and how we use it in our home, please leave them in the comments section below!