Homeschooling 101

How to do Picture Study Lessons in your Homeschool

Picture study charlotte mason homeschool how to

Picture study is one of the easiest components of a Charlotte Mason education to incorporate into your homeschool curriculum. You do not need to know anything yourself about art, or art history. I repeat …You do NOT need to know ANYTHING about art or art history to begin. All you need is knowledge of the method and a few worthy resources.

Picture study charlotte mason homeschool how to

Why is Picture Study important?

In today’s society, the importance of the arts has been superseded by STEM and the other sciences. We have lost touch with the great artistic masters of past. Now, the masses only see fragments, distorted reproductions of the original genius of these men and women. For most of us, the only exposure we get to great art might be a coffee shop using the Mona Lisa in it’s logo, or a travel advert for Japan using a work of art by Hokusai.

Many of us will have heard of  Leonardo Da Vinci, or Claude Monet, and will have seen their art used in advertisements on billboards and the TV, but have little to draw upon from our own education.

Just as the great works of literature give us glimpses in the the mighty thoughts of the world’s great authors, so too picture study can give us insight into the ideas and minds of those artists. It puts children in touch with worthy ideas and inspires them with something more than modern life can offer.

” We cannot measure the influence that one or another artist has upon the child’s sense of beauty, upon his power of seeing, as in a picture, the common sights of life; he is enriched more than we know in having really looked at a single picture.” – Charlotte Mason

 

charlotte mason picture study

Picture study offers our children a store of images in their mind, to balance out the media’s influence and attempt to monopolize their senses.

Picture study also:

  • Improves a child’s power of observation
  • Develop a sense of beauty
  • Connects them with an artist of a piece of art
  • Helps them to form opinion about art and their own taste in it
  • Encourages them to draw and be creative themselves

How to do Picture Study

From the ages of 6 to 15 Charlotte Mason recommended that children become acquainted with at least thirty of the world’s most famous artists.

I have filmed a short video, showing glimpses into our own Picture study lesson, in the hope that it will make what is written here clearer.

WATCH THIS VIDEO!

First begin by choosing the artist you wish them to study. In our first year, we began with Leonardo Da Vinci as it was easy to find the resources we needed, and I was slightly familiar with his work.

However, please remember, you do not need to know ANYTHING about the artist before you begin. In fact, it will only add to your enjoyment of this subject, as you find yourself learning alongside the children.

Examples of artists to study include:

  • Van Gogh
  • Claude Monet
  • Hokusai
  • Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Cezanne
  • Georgia O’Keeffe

The next step is to find six works of art by that artist for that school term, and studying three different artists per year.

Display one of those pieces in front of your children, and ask them to look at it closely, in silence. Allow them plenty of time to, not only absorb it, but to think and ponder over it. Then, when they are finished, hide the art from them and ask them to describe it.

Try your best not to prompt them with leading questions, like “What colour was her dress?” or “What was the weather like?” Just simply say, ” Tell me about it.” They will almost certainly not remember everything, but they don’t need to. By narrating in this way, they are performing a much higher thought process; of observing, processing, recalling and articulating those thoughts in their own words.

Muslim homeschool circle time
Artwork on display during school day

If you prompt too much, you are in danger of having your children become dependent on your questions, like we often see in school comprehension worksheets and multiple choice questions. Allow your children to think for themselves.

If your child is not used to narration, and is struggling to recall it or articulate his thoughts, then let him see the painting as he narrates. It is difficult skill to develop, so take it slow and try to keep the atmosphere joyful.

For older children, you can allow them to sketch from memory what they saw if they would like to.

Charlotte Mason picture study

 

 

The next step is to display that piece of art somewhere in your home so that the children can see it frequently through out their day.

The following week, repeat the process with the SAME piece of art. You will hopefully find that your children have more to say!

It can be helpful to tell the children a little about the artist or the painting before you begin. If the painting is about a story, it can be helpful to tell your children this story before you begin the picture study. Likewise, knowing a little more about the artist they are studying, will help them to form connections with him/her. Knowing more about the mind behind the art will encourage your children to look more closely at the work itself.

After 2 weeks, switch to another piece art by that same artist. In so doing, your child will some to  know at least 6 of the artist’s works each term. That’s an incredible achievement!

Picture Study Resources

For the art prints themselves, I would always recommend getting the largest prints you can find and display easily.

Postcards and images in art textbooks are often too small for multiple children to see at once, and inevitably loose the finer details.

We personally use wall calendars of a specific artist. These tend to be much cheaper than books, the prints are a good size, and they are easy to display on our kitchen wall. Here are a few examples of some we have used:

Georgia O’Keeffe

Hokusai

Claude Monet

Another option, is to look for larger “coffee-table books” on a specific artist. You can usually find some in your local library or on Amazon.

We have also used “Print Packs” from the Great Artist Collection. These contain a selection of six beautiful colour prints along with extensive information about the artist and his/her work:

Paul Cezanne UK USA

Vincent Van Gogh UK USA

Renoir UK USA

Claude Monet UK USA

 

The organsiation Simply Charlotte Mason also produces lovely Picture Study Portfolios that contains eight prints and a handbook.We have not tried these ourselves, but I have heard they are a excellent.

Children’s artist biographies can also be found at the library, but I would strongly recommend pre-reading these so you can omit the less-wholesome parts of the artist’s lives that young children do not need to know about. However, it may be worthwhile older children knowing the full picture, as these parts of their lives will have inevitably influenced their art, and will make for meaningful discussions with you.

Here are a few artist biographies, in the form of living books, that we have enjoyed with our young children:

  • Linnea in Monet’s Garden  UK USA
  • My name is is Georgia (O’Keeffe)  UK USA
  • Camille and the Sunflowers (Van Gough) UK USA
  • Cezanne and the Apple Boy UK USA
  • Leonardo and the Flying Boy UK USA

During their lesson, we use a wooden cookbook stand to hold the calendar or book.

From the age of fourteen, art history is incorporated into the Charlotte Mason curriculum, where children learn how the artist worldview would have influenced their art.

homeschool how to

The picture study lessons will take no more that 10-15 minutes a week, but the influence that they have will be lifelong. To be able to store “a couple of hundred pictures by great masters hanging permanently in the halls of [their] imagination” is a worthy endeavor.

Other useful Picture Study links

It you have any questions about picture study please leave them for me in the comments below.

Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog and read my thoughts on this topic.

Peace and Love,

Charlotte Mason Picture study how to

 

Raising Children on Words | Literature-Based Homeschooling

road through the woods rudyard kipling

The power of words, their ability to turn hearts and move men should never be underestimated.

In fact, it has become one of the few truths that I stand by: that words can change the world.

One of the greatest proofs of this are the scriptures of the Abrahamic religions. Muslims, along with Jews and Christians, are called the “people of the book” and it is through the Divine words of revelation that God chose to guide us; words that forever changed the world.

“It is He Who sent down to thee, in truth, the Book (Quran), confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (Quran) (of judgment between right and wrong).” – Holy Quran 3:3

This blog post contains affiliate links. Please see Disclaimer for more information.

Words, in their ever varied and beautiful forms, also make up the backbone of our literature-based homeschool. It is by the craftsmanship of the many great authors we read, that my children gain knowledge and are inspired to learn.

Through the words of others, they are taught what it means to be human; the good, the bad and everything in between.

The beauty of well crafted words sometimes catches me off guard, as if placed in my path for a reason; to remind me, teach me or just to make me smile when I need it the most.

road through the woods rudyard kipling

One such occasion was when we were visiting a local park. Despite having been to the same park for years, it was only on this visit that I noticed a small second-hand bookshop hidden above the ice-cream parlour. After the ice-creams were enjoyed, we all ventured up the narrow wooden staircase in the lofted roof. Tucked up under the eaves were hundreds of second-hand books, neatly arranged on old mismatched bookcases. The delight of finding this “secret” treasure-trove was not lost on my children, who quickly set about scouring the shelves looking for “the” book for them.

Tucked upon the first bookcase were two gems; the first of which was an old copy of Enid Blyton’s “The Enchanted Wood published in the 1960’s. The second was Discovering Poetry: Vol 4 Freshfields,” a collection of nature poetry collected by E. W. Parker.

In addition to these, my youngest son carried home a hardback copy of Stories from Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne as though it was the most precious thing in the world.

Back home, over a cup of tea, I opened the poetry book and the first poem that met my eyes made my heart flutter. I can’t make out if it was a pang of recollection from a distant childhood memory, or simply the power of the poem’s vivid imagery.

Road through the woods

This is the poem I read,

The Way Through the Woods 

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate,
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few.)
You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods.
But there is no road through the woods.

By Rudyard Kipling

road through the woods rudyard kipling

I read it over and over again, and it made me smile.

Words can do that; they can bring joy and delight when before there was none.

Then I read it to my kids. With their eyes closed and the room quiet, they felt it too. They told me about, “The lost road,” and “The horses hooves,” and they talked together about how roads were different in the olden days. They got it. They saw it in the minds and they felt the words.

Together we enjoyed those words, written many years ago by a man we never knew. Those words brought us closer. That poem is now something we share, like an inside joke or a happy memory.

By exposing my children to these great authors and poets, who are masters of their craft, I hope that my children will one day be able to yield the power found within words and use it for a noble purpose insha’Allah.

One day, when they are grown, and they hear the words of that poem again, it will trigger something within them and make their hearts flutter as they remember; and then perhaps they will pass these words onto their children.

Words connect us, they move us, and so too can they shape us. That is why I raise my children upon the best of them.

raise children on words dr gemma elizabeth

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth our muslim homeschool

FREE Student Planner for Charlotte Mason Homeschools

This FREE student planner has been created to help homeschooled students to plan, or keep a record of, their daily work. It’s also a fantastic way to help older students take responsibility for their independent work.

We created this FREE planner to help children stay motivated, and encourage punctuality, diligence, order and attentiveness in their education.

 

Charlotte Mason daily student planner checklist FREE Printable

 

The checklist covers every subject that the student is required to do every day in a Charlotte Mason homeschool, i.e. their daily instruction, along with how long each lesson should take, and the time frame within which all “daily instruction” must be completed.

“In the first place, there is a time-table, written out fairly, so that the child knows what he has to do and how long each lesson is to last. This idea of definitive work to be finished in a given time is valuable to the child, not only in training him in habits of order, but in diligence; he learns that one time is not  “as good as another”; that there is no right time left for what is not done in its own time; and this knowledge alone does a great deal to secure the child’s attention to his work.” – Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1 p.142

 

ambleside homeschool planner

The planner has  “Time Frame” written across the top of the page, so you can set out for your child when “school-time” is for that day. If the work is not completed within the time set-out in my home, then there are consequences for my son. This teaches him to focus and be attentive to his work during those “school-hours”.

charlotte mason timetable

Charlotte Mason strongly recommends that lesson are kept short for young children,

“…the lessons are short, seldom more than twenty minutes in length for children under eight…” – Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1 p. 142

and so we have included a space for you to fill in how long each lesson takes. Timings will vary depending on your child’s age and personality.

charlotte mason homeschool planner

We are using this planner/checklist ourselves alongside Year 2 of the Ambleside online curriculum, which adheres to the Charlotte Mason educational philosophy.

If you would like to see how we have adapted the Ambleside online curriculum to suit our family’s needs, CLICK HERE.

The subjects covered in their Daily Instruction, as outlined by the Ambleside Online curriculum, are:

  • Math
  • Reading
  • Foreign Language
  • Copywork
  • Exercise/ Physical activity
  • Narration (at least one a day)
  • Memorization & Recitation (In our home that means memorisation and recitation of Quran. In your home it may mean poetry, prose, Scripture or something else.)

The planner also includes a “Narration” extension page for students whose narrations are longer, and need more space than is given on the first page. These extension pages can be printed onto the back on the first page for more lengthy narrations. These pages also have a “date” marked on the top giving you the flexibility to use them separately if you wish, and not with the planner itself.

narration printable sheet

In addition to their “Daily Instruction”,  your children may also have other lessons to complete. These subjects typically vary from day-to-day and are often subjects done as a family, such as history, nature study, artist study etc. In addition to our “Daily Instruction” planner I would recommend your students are given a simple spreadsheet of  their timetable for these other important subjects,

In my own home, I have found this checklist to be an excellent way to motivate my son to complete his work diligently and finish within the time allowance set for him. The earlier he can complete his daily work, the more free time he has!

 

To get your FREE STUDENT PLANNER,
CLICK HERE

 

 

daily charlotte mason planner

I hope that this student planner helps your children to take responsibility for part of their education, and motivates them to be punctual, diligent, ordered and attentive in their education.

If you have any questions on how to use this planner/checklist with your family, please leave me a comment in the comments section below and I will do my best to answer it.

Peace and love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth our muslim homeschool

 

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.

A Day in the Life | Our Muslim Homeschool (2016)

Hi Everyone! 
  
This is A Day in a Life of Our Muslim Homeschool

Watch what we do on a typical day; from early morning Quran, morning lessons, craft projects and our afternoon nature walk!

Come along and see how we home educate our  children!


WATCH THIS VIDEO:


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If you have any more questions, feel free to leave me a comment down below.

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In need of your duaas.

Peace and Love xx


Educational Games for 2-6 Year Olds





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Homeschool Planning: Part 1

Reflecting and Evaluating Last Year

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

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

Evaluation of our Homeschool 2015/2016

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

Child’s Learning Style

Self-Directed Learner


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

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

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

Need for structure


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

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

Homeschool planning

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

Short Lessons


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

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

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

My Needs

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

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

Stop Worrying

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

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

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

External Teachers

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

Homeschooling planning

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


In need of your duaas.

Peace and Love

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My Five Favourite Homeschoolers on Youtube

Watching other homeschool mums on Youtube has been such a fantastic source of information and inspiration.

Many of these homeschooling families share their schedule, curriculum choices, and give you a glimpse into their daily lives.

Muslim Homeschool Picks for Youtube

I often will watch these amazing ladies whilst I’m folding laundry or washing dishes.

For busy mums Youtube can be a great way to find information and new ideas.

If I’m having a tough day with the children, I like to watch other home educators to lift my spirits: a little ‘pick-me-up’ when things are getting rough!!!

Here are my Five Favourite Homeschoolers on Youtube:

Full Time Wife Life

Abby, from Full Time Wife Life, has some lovely day-in-the-life videos, as well as awesome planning and scheduling tips for the homeschool day.

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MsBasimah24

A recent discovery of mine, MsBasimah24 is full of energy, positivity and totally real! I love her videos, and can’t wait to see more from her:

A FarmHouse Full

Nicci, from A Farmhouse Full, is a mum of seven (soon to be eight mashAllah). As well as homeschooling, she makes videos about pregnancy, her garden, and frugal living.

Erica Arndt

Of all the Youtube homeschoolers, Erica Arndt is probably the most famous. Her blog is packed full of incredible resources, and is well worth checking out! On Youtube, she talks about homeschool curriculum, organisation, amongst many other things.

Habeebee Homeschooling

From the inspirational Ameera Rahim, the Youtube channel Habeebee Homeschooling talks about home education from an Islamic perspective. There are only a few videos, but they are full of insight mashAllah.

Those were my favourite Youtube homeschool channels.

And finally…

Don’t forget to check out MY Youtube channel too!


Our Muslim Homeschool



Do you watch any homeschool moms on Youtube? Which channels would you recommend to other home-educators? Please let me know in the comments below.

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Thank you so much for stopping by!

Please remember us in your duaas.

Peace and Love.

New Homeschool Mum…Don’t Give Up!

The transition into home education can be a difficult one. Many families struggle when they first start homeschooling, especially with time management.


“How can I get all the cleaning, cooking, and do everything else, as well as teach my children?
I just never seem to be able to get on top of things?
I just don’t have the time to do it all.” 





Home education does not suit every family, but before you give up homeschooling, here are a few tips that I have learnt to help a struggling homeschool mum:

1. Look for the Wisdom

The difficulties you face in your home, with your children, are no less of a trial or test than the difficulties people face at work. Acknowledge that your problems are real problems, worthy of your concern and find comfort in the fact that Allah tests those he loves.

It is narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) said:
“The greatest reward comes with the greatest trial. When Allah loves a people, He tests them. Whoever accepts that wins His Pleasure; but whoever is discontent with that earns His Wrath.” (al-Tirmidhi – 2396)

If you are finding difficulties in your homeschool, begin by making duaa and praying Istikaraah.

2. Get Organised

Write to-do lists, get a homeschool planner, organise your homeschool material in whatever way works for your family. Not only will these things help you to get more done, but they will also help you to realise how much you are already achieving. This feeling of accomplishment and purpose should not be taken lightly. Everyone needs to feel that they are being productive and achieving something in their day.

Watch this for some Homeschool Organization tips:

If you do not feel organised now, take a week off school. Use the time to get everything ordered and planned out in a way that will make your homeschool run more smoothly. Then you can start again the following week on a more positive note.

3. Lower Your Expectations

What? Did I read that right?
Yes, you did!

I know this may sound harsh, but you have to lower your expectations, especially if you are just starting to homeschool, or if you have small children at home. You cannot expect your house to be as clean or your meals to be a spectacular (mine never were….mediocre at best!) as they were before you began to home educate your children.

Every ‘lesson does not need to be perfectly planned and executed. Many children retain more from self-directed, not teacher led, learning.  By adjusting your teaching style, you are allowing your children time to ‘discover’ things themselves and re-igniting the love of learning that they lost in school.

You are only human and you have the same 24 hours that the rest of us have. As soon as you  LET GO and stop putting pressure on yourself, the better you will feel and the happier you and your family be insha’Allah.

Just to clarify…I’m not saying you should live in squalor and let your children run wild! However, give yourself a break! Your homemaking and your school days will improve as your time management does.

4. Give Yourself Time

It takes time to adjust, establish new routines and to find your ‘groove.’ It also takes time for children to get used to the new routines.

Try to move gently, with patience, into this new phase in your life. Everything does not need to come together all at once. Give yourself the grace to make mistakes. Just learn from them …and move on.

Thank you so much for visiting us here at Our Muslim Homeschool! 

What do you think?

Should we lower our standards and just allow time to fix everything? 
How much time should be allow before we give up and send our kids back to school? 
How do you organise your homeschool?

Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below 🙂



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In need of your duaas.
Peace and Love.

Peace and Love.

HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM CHOICES 2015-2016

Year 1 and Preschool

It’s that time of year again…and I love it!
It’s time to plan next year’s Curriculum for Our Muslim Homeschool!

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

Islamic Studies

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:

My First Quran Story Book by Saniyasnain Khan & Maria S Puri

I Love Islam Textbook: Level 1 (With CD)


Available to purchase from the HOMESCHOOL SHOP

 

QURANIC MEMORISATION 
At Home

ARABIC

Dino Lingo 

First Thousand Words in Arabic

Language Arts

READING

PHONICS:

Modern Curriculum Press Phonics, Level A

 

SPELLING:

Spelling Workout, Level B by Modern Curriculum Press


 

HANDWRITING:
Copy-work from some books of Hadith into these Handwriting school exercise books

Math:

History/Geography/Social Studies

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.

Science:

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:

Looking at Nature: Bks. 1-4 by Elsie Proctor

Usborne Spotter’s Guides:

Trees

Woodland Life

Bugs and Insects

Birds



 

Mudpies to Magnets: A Preschool Science Curriculum

 
Everybody Has a Body: Science from Head to Toe

Sport:

Football
Trampolining with home-ed group
Bike rides / country walks / trips to the park

PRESCHOOL CURRICULUM:

These books provide me with ideas for preschool activities and learning games. They are a great resource!

 

Where Is Thumbkin?: 500 Activities to Use with Songs You Already Know

Slow and Steady Get Me Ready 

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.
To make sure you don’t miss the next in the series, please Subscribeto my blog, or follow me on InstagramFacebook or Twitter.

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!
Thanks for stopping by!

Peace and Love.
Living history curriculum islamic

You might also be interesting in…

 

Click HERE

 

A Muslim Homeschool: A DAY IN THE LIFE

A typical day in our Muslim homeschool, doing Reception (Kindergarten) and Preschool with three small children.

M is 5 years-old, A is 3 years-old and K is 7 months-old.

6.45

‘MUMMMMMMMY! I WANT ICECREAM!’ I crack open one eye, to find
A has crawled into the bed in the night and seems to have kicked his dad out.

‘MUMMMMMMMY! I WANT ICECREAM!’ Before he wakes the baby, I slid myself out of
bed, eyes still half-closed, and shuffle downstairs.

He gets grapes. I get
coffee.

Feeling slightly more human, I feed the cats and then have some
cereal.

7.20

K wakes up. I nurse her and head back downstairs to finish
my cereal.

It‘s gone soggy.


7.35

My husband needs to
drop off his car at the garage at 8am today, so the kids and I need to go in my
car to give him a lift home. So I do the unthinkable….I wake up M!

He’s not
happy.

After putting a load
of nappies in the wash, I make the beds and then give the kids breakfast. It
just cereal and juice this morning, and a baby puree for K.

Then I quickly scan through my emails on my
phone.

8.00

After a lot of whining, we get everyone into the car … still
in their pyjamas. I throw an abaya over mine and jump in the car.

On the way to the garage I see kids already dressed,
presumably having eaten something, bags packed, and heading off to school.

How
do their mum’s do it?!?

Superwomen no doubt!

I can’t help feeling a little smug
though as we all drive home in our pyjamas for a second breakfast!

8.15

When get back from the garage, my husband leaves for work on his bike.

A is unusually grumpy so I feed him. The cats are complaining to, so I feed them.

8.25

I remember that I need to post something on Instagram that
morning. 

Whilst typing on my phone, K starts crying. So I  finish writing the photo caption one-handed, bobbing her up and down on my hip. 

The cats start meowing that they want
to go out, M starts reading out facts from a dinosaur book, and K is still
crying.

8.40

K starts to settle down, so I grab my chance to clean the
kitchen.

A falls over and hurts himself, M is still reading
aloud (very loudly) out of his dinosaur book and K starts crying.

I give up and take K
upstairs.

9.00 

After a clean nappy and nursing, K is asleep.

I finish cleaning up the kitchen.

9.10 

I take out our ‘workbox.’

We settle on the living room floor and read from the children’s Quran the story of Qarun.


Next M reads to me from his ‘I can read’ easy reader book, and A listens.

9.30

In the kitchen, I help A make a picture of a summer garden with
paper flowers and tissue paper.

Whilst M is doing some Math fact drills and
word problems
at the table, A goes an plays in the living room and I make another coffee.

9.40

I take the meat out of the freezer for tonight’s dinner
and write a to-do list for the day, making sure to write down the things I’ve
already done, and then tick them off!


K wakes up. I bring her downstairs, and find M is angry because
he can’t do one of the Maths questions.

After diffusing the situation, I take M upstairs to get changed. This makes him angry again!

10.30

All the kids are out of their pyjamas…I am not.

I go downstairs
to discover a cold cup of coffee that I forgot about.


I cut some fruit for the kids and then feed the cats again.

M picks up some of the tissue paper that A left on the kitchen
table and starts to make a ‘buttercup picture’. A wants to join in, so I have
to get more art supplies out.

A gets bored after two minutes and demands a
story. K starts to fuss.


At the kitchen table I read to them from yet another
dinosaur book, whilst nursing K.

11.05

We start getting ready to go out. We had planned to go
on a nature study today, but the weather is bad, so we’re going to an indoor
play centre
instead.

Not nearly as ‘wholesome’ but it’ll have to do.

11.15

Start getting the kids shoes on and get them into the car to leave.

11.35 

Actually leave.

We stay at the play centre for two hours.

The boys find a
group of kids to play with and I hardly see them whilst we are there,
except when they want their lunch!

I even get to read for ten minutes whilst K
naps in her car seat.

2.00 

Get back home.

A has fallen asleep in the car. K has not.

M goes straight
into the house, opens up his dinosaur books and starts reading and making
notes. I put a ‘Peter Pan’ audio-book on for him.


I get K out of the car, and leave her in her car seat,
whilst I carry A from the car to his bed.

K start crying. After nursing, I try to rock her to sleep.

It does not work.

After praying Dhuhr,  we come downstairs and I give her an apple slice to chew
on whilst I clean the kitchen again and empty the vegetable scraps into the
compost bin outside. 

2.45

M takes out his Atlas and starts seeing where in the
world dinosaur fossils were found.


                M:
“Mum, you know Kazakhstan?”
                me:
“Ummmm….”
                M: “Is
it under Russia?”
                me: “Ummmm…..”
                M:
“Yeah, I think it is.”
                me: “Ok
then.”

2.55

K starts to fuss, so I carry her on my hip and hang out
the wet laundry with one hand.

3.00 

M decides he wants to ‘do’ his calendar now.

3.20 

After changing K’s nappy, I put her in the door-bouncer
and start preparing dinner (lamb curry and rice).

Whilst that is cooking,
I wake up A.

3.30       

                me: “What
country do you want to learn about today?”

                M:
“Zambia.”
                me:
“Zambia?”
                M: “Yes”
                me:
“Which dinosaurs were from Zambia?”
                M:
“Actually, lets do Morocco.”
                me: “OK
then.” 

After collecting all our different atlases and social
studies books, I read from them the pages about Morocco whilst they draw and
colour the Moroccan flag.

We talk about Moroccan food, architecture, how the
families live, the capital city, the landscape and…what dinosaur fossils were
found there!

A day in Our Muslim Homeschool

M decides to start a notebook called ‘Dinosaurs around the world.’
I find a few short documentaries on Youtube about Morocco, and fold laundry
whilst the boys watch them.

4.30 

M plays ‘Dino Dan game’ online for having a ‘good
attitude today.’ A is happy watching.

4.45 

K nurses and falls asleep.

4.55 

I clean the kitchen again.

5.05 

K wakes up and happily watches the boys wrestling in
the living room.

Their dad comes home from work.

5.25 

Dinner is served.


The cats are hungry again.

5.40 

I clean the kitchen again.

6.00 

I make a cup of coffee again and fold laundry again.

6.10 

We all get in the car and head back to the garage to
pick up my husband’s car. The boys go in to ‘see how they fix the cars’.

6.40 

We get back. After changing A’s and K’s nappies, I
finish folding the laundry, and then tidy up all the toys in the living room.

The boys pretend to help and I’m too tired to make them.

6.55 

Once all three kids have had a bath and are in their pyjamas, I pray
Asr.

7.40 

Their dad occupies the boys in the living room,  so I hoover the upstairs
of the house.

8.00 

I feed K some baby porridge, nurse her and put her to
sleep. (Sigh…one down, two to go!) 

8.30 

I need another coffee, but its too late. I make a mint
tea and grab some biscuits instead.

8.45

After some gentle persuasion, I brush the boys teeth, read
them two stories, and sit with them till they fall asleep.

A day in our Muslim homeschool

10.00 

They are finally asleep. (phew!)

After praying Maghrib, I put away all
the folded clothes, tidy up all the toys that are littered around the house,
hoover the living room, and take a chicken out of the freezer for tomorrow’s
dinner.

10.40 

The rest of the evening is spent reading some Quran, praying and watching
Youtube.

Before bed, I scrawl down a quick to-do list for tomorrow, and throw a
load of clothes in the washing machine to wash overnight.

12.30 

Sleep!

Baby K wakes up twice in the night.
A wakes me up at 6.30am.

Writing this has made me realise that:
(1) I drink WAY too much coffee
(2) My cats eat a lot
(3) Half my life seems to be spent cleaning my kitchen!

How does your day look as a homeschooling mum? Is it similar to mine? I would love to know. Please leave me a comment below.


COMING SOON!

‘Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2015-2016’

Our curriculum choices for this coming academic year for Year 1 (kindergarten) and Preschool.

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Thanks for visiting our blog!

Please remember us in your duaas.
Peace and Love.

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