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.
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.
1. Start 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.
2. Assemble all the ingredients you require for this meal prep.
3. Mix all the ingredients together according to the recipe you are using.
Learning the ninety-nine names of Allah should not be just about memorising a long list of names. It should be something that helps children to understand their Lord and form a relationship with Him. It should be more than just words on the tongue, but should touch their hearts and deepen their love for God.
One way of engaing young kids in Islamic education is through arts and crafts
This week in our Muslim homeschool we learnt the name:
Al-Malik – The King and Owner of Dominion.
We began by talking about the definition:
‘Al-Malik is both the Owner, who possesses, and the King, who has complete authority and commands what He possesses. The One to whom the commanding and forbidding belong to. The King, The Sovereign Lord, The One with the complete Dominion.’
Whilst the kids were making the Crown Craft (outlined below) our conversation went something like this:
“Allah is The King. He is The King of kings. He is your King!
But what is a King? What does a King do?”
After a bit ( NO…. a lot!) of prompting they arrived at the answer,
“A king owns everything, tells everyone what to do and punishes those who disobey him.”
“But who owns the King? Who tells him what to do? Who punishes the King if he is naughty?”
“Allah is the King of Kings! Al-Malik!”
It is important for your children to understand that He is not like anything they can imagine. He is not like any King they know, and He most certainly does NOT have a crown!
Children’s Crown Craft
Fun fur (1-2″wide)
From the gold card, cut out two strips, each approximately 2″ wide.
Staple two card strips together. This will be the base of your crown.
Spread PVA glue along the bottom half of each card strip and stick the fun fur along this edge. It will look best if you allow some of the gold card to show at the top.
Meanwhile cut out 4 more gold strips from the card, each 1″ wide.
Staple 2 strips together, with the gold side facing inward.
Once the glue has dried on the fur, staple the wider card strip together, making sure that it is the correct size for your child’s head.
Attach this across the top of the crown base.
Repeat from step 5 with the remaining strips and staple perpendicular to the first arch.
Decorate the crown with stickers and jewels.
When everything has dried, push the tissue paper up into the underside of the crown and use your selo-tape to secure it in place.
Now your kid is ready to be a king (or Queen!). Whilst they play remind them,”You are a King, but who is your King? Who is the King of kings? Who is al-Malik? ……. ALLAH!!!!
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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!
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.
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!
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 Celery Sticks
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.
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.
6. Season to taste.
At this point, you can decant the sauce into small containers to store in your freezer.
7. Serve on cooked pasta and sprinkle with cheese.
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.
As a part of our Muslim homeschool, I am teaching my children the ninety-nine names of Allah. It is my opinion that Islamic education should be be taught in a creative and fun way and that is how I have approached this week in our Islamic studies.
This week we were looking at the name al-Khaliq, or The Creator.
We began by discussing the definition of al-Khaliq:
“The One who creates something from nothing and determines and creates according to the proper measure and proportion of each thing. The One who plans and determines how, when and where to create. The One whose works are perfectly suited, appropriate, fitting and proper.”
Then I gave out the Al-Khaliq colouring sheet and whilst they were decorating it, we memorised ‘al-Khaliq. The Creator.’
As a homeschooling mom, I spend the best part of everyday with my children. They witness and learn from my character and actions every day. But there is one problem, I am a perfectionist. What effect will this have on my children?
I have spent much
time reading and reflecting on perfectionism and parenting, and wanted to
answer the question: Are Perfectionists Bad Mothers?
The short answer to this question is: Yes, they can be bad
mothers IF they don’t do something to control it.
Of course being a perfectionist has its positive points. The
house is usually presentable, there is home-cooked food for every meal, the children
are dressed well; but underlying this outward image is an inner struggle and
discontentment with every action and every effort.
I come from a long line of perfectionists and no doubt at
least one of my children will follow me in this.
New studies have shown that
perfectionism is primarily a genetic trait, and the parenting and the
environment a child is exposed to only play a secondary role. This means that
perfectionist parents not only have to deal with their own drive for
perfection, but also their children’s too!
If a perfectionist mother has such high expectations on
herself, then it only follows that she too will have high expectations for her
children. If she cannot tolerate her own imperfections, she will not tolerate
them in her child. This inevitably leads to the child feeling that her parents
are constantly dissatisfied with her, and feeling inadequate.
Perfectionist parents often confuse their own sense of
self-worth with their child’s, feeling that if the child looks good, then I
look good. However when the child does not behave as the mother feels is
acceptable, then the mother takes that personally as it reflects badly on her.
This internal pressure can often be triggered by competition;
competition with family, friend’s children, school friends or even the children
of complete strangers. This obsession with looking ‘perfect’ in front of others
is at the detriment of the child’s confidence.
Children learn from the way we
behave and can see when mom is trying extra hard to impress. Despite what we
say, they see the way we behave and act first.
But of course, no one can be perfect. Not mom and not her
child. That child’s inability to live up to expectations, will cause her a
long-term sense of failure, a lowered self-esteem, which may in turn result in
resentment and anger towards her mom.
Perfectionism can block communication between a mother and
her child. The child knows that she has to fine, so she pretends to be ok, even
when there are problems. She knows that admitting any problem will affect her
mom negatively, so she stays quiet.
Perfectionists spend so much time worrying; time that could
be time spent playing with their children, getting to know them and teaching
them life-long lessons.
These moms will often focus on that child’s ‘status’ or ‘achievements’
and no longer put emphasis on values like kindness, honesty, diligence. Surely
it is more important as parents to equip our children with good character than
with good grades.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
“The most beloved of
Allah’s servants to Allah are those with the best manners.” (Al-Bukhari)
Perfectionists have an increased risk of clinical depression,
eating disorders, suicide, and are more resistant to treatment as they don’t
want look as though they’ve failed.
So to all my fellow perfectionist parents out there….
Remove the worry from your heart and find the love.
Connect with your children
Feel happiness to be with them
Be grateful for your children
Don’t compare yourself to others
Have fun with them and relax
Let your children be who they are
Let go of expectations
Relinquish the power that you feel you have and remember
Only He can change your state and only He can ‘fix’ that which you
Instead of filling your mind with stress and discontentment, focus
on filling your heart with gratitude and submission to the Will of the Divine.
You will never find perfection in this world. Perfection is
For truly, it is in the Remembrance of God that the heart
finds Peace. Quran (13:28)
Please remember us in your duaas.
Peace and Love.
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Learning to read is one of the most important skills our children will ever learn, yet as parents, most of us have no idea how to begin!
Keep reading and I will walk you through the 3 simple steps and show you how to teach your 4 year old to read!
This blogpost contains affiliate links. See Disclaimer for more information.
This article is written from my own experience. By the age of 4, my son was reading fluently. Now at 5 years-old, he can pick up almost any book, read it and enjoy it. At the moment he’s especially keen on our encyclopedia!
And that’s what it’s all about for me; opening up the world of books to them whenever they’re ready.
Whether you home educate, or your children go to school, these simple steps will help you to teach your 4 year old 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.’
1. Develop their Love of Books and Stories
If 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 please take this…
A child who is self-motivated will learn to read, and learn any other skill that they want to learn, 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 your 4 year old
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 your 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 regular field trips
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, the books will most likely be left on the shelves. Not only is TV highly addictive for small children, becoming a bad habit that is hard to break, 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.
My children do have restricted daily screen-time, but I work hard to make sure that the TV and other devices are off for most of the day.
So, even if you can’t remove the television completely, try to 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.
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.
A primer teaches the rules of reading, beginning with the phonetic sounds of each letter. It 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 the books above 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’, whilst continuing the later lessons in the primer.
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.
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!
The books we read to our children affect them. The words
and the images linger in their minds, especially before they fall asleep. The stories resonate in their hearts and can leave a lasting impression. Such books have the power to teach a child life-long lessons, in particular, good
Below are a list of some of my family’s favourite picture
books that encourage upright character and good morals.
These books do NOT contain the stories of the Prophets (pbut) but are works of fiction. Truly the best of characters was that of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and the other Prophets of Allah (pbut), and to them we should look for the best example. A list of my favourite Islamic children’s books will be published soon insh’Allah.
This is NOT a sponsored post. These are genuine recommendations and are books that I read to my own children.
Whilst all the books listed are suitable for any child, those
marked with a (M) are specifically targeted at Muslim children.
Montmorency’s Book Of Rhymes by T.J. Winter (M)T.J. Winter (Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad) has written this charming collection of rhymes. With it’s fantastic characters and beautiful illustrations, rich language, and subtle moral undertones, it is a timeless classic that should be a part of every Muslim child’s collection.
‘The Masjid Mouse he has a house
Inside a minaret,
Because his roof is high and dry
Above the rainclouds of the sky,
His home is never wet.’
Four Feet, Two Sandals by Williams and MohammedA heart-warming story of two girls and their friendship in a refugee camp in Pakistan.
‘In the morning Lina went to do the washing, wearing
beautiful sandal. She picked her way to the stream, careful to keep her sandal
out of the filth. Her old shoes has been ruined on the many miles of walking
from Afghanistan to Peshawar, the refugee camp in Pakistan. She had carried her
brother, Najiib, no bigger than a water jug then, but just as heavy.’
Based on a real story, a woman’s fight to save the trees of Kenya, and restore the natural order in her homeland.
‘…Wangari returns to her Kenya home and sees a change. What
has happened? She wonders. Where are the trees?’
The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia DonaldsonA fun and silly book, for those fun and silly moments! George wishes he wasn’t the scruffiest giant in town, so he buys himself a new outfit..a new outfit that will help a lot of other animals in ways you wouldn’t expect!
This series follows Hilmy the hippo as goes on adventures, learning from his mistakes a he goes.‘“Hilmy,” said the large hippo. “There has been no rain for
a very long time. Our waterhole has dried up. You must be kind to us and allow
us to share this beautiful waterhole.”’ (Hilmy Learns To Share)
The Perfect Giftby J. Samia Mair (M)A story about appreciating nature and living in submission to Allah.
‘Sarah thought that the woods had never looked more
beautiful. Sarah took her special path to the right that only she knew about. The
path led to a stream that meandered silently through the woods.’
Like most homeschooling families, I started planning for the next year of home education at least 6 months ago, and have been slowly collecting different resources as I find them. This is what we are going with this year!
This blog-post contain affiliate links. Please see Disclaimer for more information.
My children are 5 and 3 years old.
Below I have listed the curriculum we will be using for M as he starts Year 1 (Kindergarten) from September. For A, my pre-schooler, we will not be following a set curriculum, but will draw ideas from few different books, which I also have listed below.
The books listed below are the ‘main’ texts we will be using, but we will also draw from many other resources that we have at home; as well as online and from our library.
We also enjoy frequent field trips!
If you are interested in any of these books, just click on the title of the book for a link to Amazon or the relevant website.Please note: This does not include our reading list, i.e books (fiction) that M will read or will have read to him.
I hope our curriculum helps to inspire other Muslim Homeschooling Families, as so many others have inspired me!
YEAR 1 / Kindergarten Curriculum
It is my opinion that religion should not be taught as an academic subject, but rather it should be something that children witness as part of normal life, learning from your example and other good company. However there are some books that we will use for activities and to stimulate discussions:
For this year we will follow an interest-led approach for the humanities. By this I mean that we will have a relaxed approach to these topics, studying what-ever M wants to learn about using books from our local library.
We will be primarily doing the study of nature this year. However when the weather doesn’t allow us to go outdoors, we will use the latter two book for fun science experiments:
If you would like more ideas for Curriculum choices, particularly for older children, I would recommend visiting Noor Janan HomeschoolandIman’s Home-school; both great resources for Muslim Homeschoolers.
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If you have any questions, or any ideas for future posts, please leave them for me in the comments below. If you have a blog post about you homeschool curriculum. please feel free to link it below. I’d love to know what your using!
As I mentioned before, you can find your local group of homeschoolers on Facebook. Another place you can look is Home Education in the UK who have a list of all the homeschooling groups around the country with contact details. Surrounding you and your children with like-minded people is so important, especially in the beginning. Go along to one of the group’s social events and ask a lot of questions. That’s what I did!
Starting this ‘journey’ is such an exciting time. The main advice I would give is learn as much as you can about home education, stay flexible, and don’t be disheartened if things don’t go as planned. It’s still early days!
We are so blessed to have this opportunity to stay home and educate our children. Alhumdulillah!
For more experienced home educators: What resources would
you recommend for a newbie homeschooler? Please share with us in the comments below.