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Thursday, 14 July 2016

Homeschool Favourites | July 2016

It's summer! Although the weather might seem more like October here, our Muslim homeschool is in serious summer holiday mode! School is out for summer

However, just because our formal schooling is taking a break, it does not mean that the learning stops. 

This month, we have been using some fantastic educational toys and picture books during our 'down-time.' and I'm so excited to share these with you!

Muslim Homeschool July Favourites

I'm also running another GIVEAWAY this month, so scroll down to the bottom of this blog post to enter :)

For an overview of all the products mentioned, please WATCH THIS video:

Homeschool Favourites | July 2016

Drill and Design Activity Centre

We have had toy for years but recently rediscovered it at the back of my boys closet! Don't you love when that happens?!?! 

The Design and Drill Activity Centre encourages children to make patterns on the design board using screws. It comes with a spanner, screw-driver and working drill!

Homeschool Favourites Design and Drill Game

My boys absolutely love it! It can be used to teach colour recognition, develop fine motor skills, and encourages creativity...all whilst playing with tools! 

It's such a clever concept! 

Homeschool Favourites Design and Drill Game

Homeschool Favourites Design and Drill Game

Our Design and Drill set has lasted us for years; nothing has broken and it shows no signs of all the hours of play it has received! Recommended for children aged 3+.

Rocket Science Kit

This Rocket Science Kit by Thames and Kosmos was my son's favourite birthday present! 

It is filled with fun experiments about space and rockets. It comes with an instruction manual that describes the 18 experiments very clearly. 
Homeschool Favourites Rocket Science

This Science Kit kept my son entertained for hours!

There are some really cool experiments involving a "stomp-on rocket" and using balloons to propel various vehicles around. It's a must-have for any child who is interested in space!

Homeschool Favourites Rocket Science

However, after a few uses, this Science Kit has started to break and come apart. Honestly though, for less than £10, I think it is totally worth it! I am hoping to purchase some of the other Science kits by Thames and Kosmos soon. 

Homeschool Favourites Rocket Science

The Story of the Elephant Pop-Up Book

This month we have been enjoying this Pop-up book about the Story of the Elephant.

It is filled with loads of interactive flaps and tabs, and is beautifully illustrated

In the back there is a pocket with a map, and figurines of the elephant army and Ka'ba to colour in. 

It is not just a book, but a whole educational experience! 

The Story of the Elephant is probably one of my families favourite books ever! And that is saying something because we have A LOT of books!!!

I have written a Book Review on this wonderful book. If you are interested in reading it, and watching the Youtube video, HERE is the link.

The Story of the Elephant is available to purchase from Ibraheem ToyHouse .

Little Muslimah Picture Book

The Little Muslimah is the latest addition to our collection of Islamic picture books. 

Homeschool Favourites Little Muslimah

This book is a 'true story' and was written as a surprise gift for the author's daughter. 

Umm Sumayyah told me, 
"It was priceless seeing the look on my daughter's face as she read this book about a little Muslim girl and then suddenly realised in the middle of the book that the book was about her and featured all her belongings!  It took 1 year to secretly make the book as I got her to pose for hundreds of photos for the illustrator without letting her know why.  I'm so happy that I can now share the with the rest of the world and InshaAllaah some other families can enjoy it too."

Homeschool Favourites Little Muslimah

It is a charming story about a little girl who can't get to sleep unless her mummy tells her why she loves her so much. It is so sweet and the perfect bedtime read

You'll also notice that they have been very careful to show no faces in the illustrations. 

Homeschool Favourites Little Muslimah

If you are looking for a new picture book for your children, 
I would recommend this one for children under 5.

Homeschool Favourites Little Muslimah

Homeschool Favourites Little Muslimah

Tajweed Nasheeds

This is CD of Nasheeds is such a great discovery! It teaches children the rules of Tajweed through songs.
Homeschool Favourites Tajweed Nasheeds

The songs are easy to memorise and fun, and they are sure to have your children singing along. Honestly, I find myself singing them long after the kids have gone to sleep!

Homeschool Favourites Tajweed Nasheeds

These songs make the rules of Tajweed easy to remember and I hope they will make my children excited to learn the Quran insha'Allah. 

I have written a blog post about this CD. If you like to know more about the Tajweed Nasheed CD then CLICK HERE!

Homeschool Favourites Tajweed Nasheeds

To purchase your own copy, visit Olive Tree Study Support

Mini Muslimah Doll

These dolls are absolutely adorable! They are hand-made in the U.K.They are just so pretty!

Homeschool Favourites Muslimah Dolls

For Eid, we gave the smaller dolls out in gift bags at the end of the party. 

Homeschool Favourites Muslimah Dolls

They are so cute, and I can't wait to see what other designs she will come up with! 

I hear there will be a boy version and a niqabi version coming soon! 

You can visit the Mini Muslimah shop HERE


It's Giveaway time!

Homeschool Favourites Muslimah Giveaway

This July I am thrilled to share FOUR of my favorites with one of you!!!
I will be giving away:

- One copy of The Story of the Elephant Pop-up and Play book 
(RRP: £19.99)
- One copy of Little Muslimah picture book (RRP: £10.99)
- One Large Mini Muslimah Doll (RRP: £20)
- One Tajweed Nasheeds CD (RRP: £14.99)

The July 2016 Favourites Giveaway will run until Friday 22nd July 2016 at 12AM GMT.
The giveaway is open Internationally.
All entrants under the age of 18 must have parental permission to enter.

Please aware that if entering overseas, you may be liable to pay customs tax (or the equivalent), so please check beforehand.

You can enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter widget posted below (click HERE is you would like to know more about Rafflecopter).

I’ll announce the winners on THIS blog post and contact them directly through email. The winner has 24 hours to respond, otherwise I will have to select another winner.

I hope you enjoyed seeing what products we've been using in our homeschool this month. 

I'd love to hear about the things your family has been loving this July :)

Please let us all know in the comments below.

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.

See you next month insha'Allah!

In need of your duaas.

Peace and Love xx

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Saturday, 9 July 2016

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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