A Day in the Life of a Muslim Homeschooler | The Muslimah Guide
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A Day in the Life of a Muslim Homeschooler

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life of a muslim homeschooler

 

I often get asked about what my typical day as a homeschool mom of four energetic munchkins look like.. 

Well, it’s hard to answer that question when everyday is a bit different (lol). I would have to admit that we have changed things around with the homeschooling quite a bit since we got started.  This is how we used to start our day …

life of a muslim homeschooler

Because we sometimes fell behind schedule, the Islamic studies would sometimes get neglected (okay, often :S ).  Classes were organized like the traditional ones with a teacher (me) teaching the group of students. Since I have 4 children from Kindergarten grade to 5th grade, I tried to do group lessons as much as I could.  I thought it would be easy, with only 4 children. There would sure be less distractions than in the regular classroom with 25 or more kids, right?  Well, not exactly.  It seemed like a lot of time was still being lost in “classroom management.”  (“Mom, she kicked me. Mom, he’s laughing at me”… You get the idea) So as the days went by, and the enthusiasm and energy started wearing off, I  became exhausted. Noon time, after hours of teaching to sometimes very rowdy kids, I would have to change hats, and be the lunch lady, and janitor.

“No fair!” I thought.  Teachers in school didn’t have to teach and worry about what to cook for lunch for their students, and put in loads of laundry!  Also, I didn’t like the fact they were missing out on a lot of subjects, especially the Islamic Studies.  I knew changes needed to be made. So, one of the first things I did was to switch the schedule, and have Islamic/Arabic  studies first.

 

Alhamdullilah, I have noticed a big difference it has made. Having the children learn Quran/Islamic Studies first was one of the best things that happened to our homeschool.  It sets the pace for the day, and shows them where the priorities lie. Children learn many aspects of Islam in their Islamic studies book, but most importantly they learn about Islamic manners.  In a world where parents are now racing to make their children the next Einstein, good manners got pushed aside.  Walk in the halls of public schools, and you will see children talking disrespectful to their teachers, and peers, kids cutting each other in lines, littering, etc.  Unfortunately, it is an epidemic that has hit many muslim families as well.  Although we may want our children to grow up to have “successful” careers, we also need to realize that all the money in the world will mean nothing, if our child has not learn even the basic of manners. So, I decided Islamic studies, and Quran, a guide for all humankind, had to be the priority in our homeschool.

Of course, this does not mean we do not study other subjects.  We still have a lot of subjects and tasks we have to complete each day, and since I have relatively young kids,  I decided to do something which worked like a charm in most preschools.

 

Learning Stations

Since I have four kids and limited computers and books, I set up what I call the “Morning Checklist Stations,”  and have the children rotate around the stations.

 

These include:

Quran Station (I am using HouseofQuran.com online software)

Arabic Stories Station (I set up a cd player with headphones, and a basket of children’s story books with accompanying cds. I am currently using the Kareem series)

Arabic Blocks Station (I did a review on this previously)

Islamic Studies Station (I have 3 books including Stories of the Prophets, Islamic Creed, and I Love Islam, and they read a chapter in each book).

Spelling/Copywork Station (I have a folder with all the Spelling lists printed out, and a dry erase board with the Copywork sentences taken from the book they are currently reading.)

Language Lab Station  (We are learning french right now, using the Middlebury Language Software)  

 

I strategically place the stations in different areas of the room, which I find it to be much more engaging for the kids, and allows the children the space to work with minimal interruptions.  I printed a list of tasks they need to complete each day, and placed it inside a sheet protector, so they can check it off with a dry erase marker, giving them a sense of accomplishment.  Instead of me reminding the children what they need to do next, the board now reminds them for me. Another thing I have changed is to encourage my children to be independent learners.

 

Independent Learning

 This means figuring out the answers by yourself, even if it takes hours.  This means not running to the teacher (me) every time you don’t “get” something right away.  This means managing your time so that so you can have time to do other things which interest you.  This means a much less stressful school day for the parent educator (me) 😉 

 

When I used to volunteer at the preschool, I was amazed how 2 teachers can manage twenty 3-5 year olds, without having the place turned upside down, while at home I was struggling with only 2-3 preschoolers. The trick they used was to invest a lot of time at the beginning of the year (several weeks to a month) to reinforce a classroom routine.  After this transition period, the children would work like clockwork, and move between snack time, free time, clean up time, circle time, etc. almost like they were in the military.  Of course, there are occasional setbacks but for the most part, the preschool runs a tight ship!  Routine helps children feel secure as they know what to expect, and once it is established, it makes life easier for everyone!

Another advantage of teaching your children to learn independently, and to follow a routine is that their education can still continue despite of any setbacks you may have such as appointments, and other obligations.  Also, it teaches them that they are in charge of their own education, a skill they will eventually need to learn further down the road. While my kids are learning, I now have time to do things around the house, drink my cup of tea, and work on my own studies.  This is what I would like to think of as “teaching by example.” 🙂 In fact, if your kids see you with a thirst for learning, they will also naturally follow suit. 

 So, my school day today looks a lot different than it did months ago.  Instead of trying to do everything myself, I put the ball back in the kid’s court.  I make sure my children have everything they need to educate themselves: Great books, quiet space to work, and a set routine.  Some days, it feels a bit too easy, and a part of me feels guilty.  But then I remind myself that my children are learning valuable skills which they will need in this life.

Oh yeah, and someone asked me about menu planning… Well, let’s just say, we like to keep things real simple with that too…

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As you can see from the menu, there is no room for picky eaters at Chez moi lol. Since, menu planning takes some organizing and planning and I have to admit that I’m not the best person in that department, whatever is in the fridge 30 minutes before dinner is what you get on your plate (in some form).  Bon Appetit!

Can you share any tips that have worked in your homeschool?

 

  • masood akhtar says:

    Your articles are superb and very informative. I don’t miss your emails and now I wait for it, as I wait for morning newspaper.
    May Allah Protect you from all evils and keep you always in His Protection.

    I have not done anything for islam and I am just a good dreamer and wish for the change in muslim society, without doing anything by myself. I feel envy with you, when I read your articles. You are masha allah very talented, capable to guide the muslim ummah.

    You will be remembered all the time in my prayers.

    • josy says:

      JazakAllahu Khair for your support and for your kind words 🙂 Alhamdulillah, I am so happy that you found our articles useful. I believe everyone has the ability to make a positive impact in their own way. And I am sure that’s what you are doing, but you just don’t realize it 🙂

  • N.M says:

    JAK for a WONDERFUL article. I absolutely love the idea of centers. I am a first year homeschooler for a first grader and a kindergarten who are enrolled in a public online school. Unfortunately, I’m deeply struggling with forming a routine. If you have time, can you please give more details on how you formed your centers. How much space did you need for each center (I have space problem as I live in a small townhouse). Did you use bookshelves, storage pins, etc for the materials. Also, how do you do spelling with your kids? How much time do the kids spend at each center?
    Also sister, what curriculum do you use? I am thinking to find my own curriculum as I’m finding the online schooling to be inflexible.
    I am so sorry for the very many questions, but I feel very desperate.
    Jazaki allah khairan for all your hard work and may allah (swt) bless you and family tremendously:)

    • josy says:

      Wa iyaaki sister 🙂 I also live in a small townhouse so I don’t have alot of space as well, so I don’t think you should have a problem setting up the learning “centers.” I guess it sounds a bit complicated, but it is really just a fancy name for activities which are scattered around my house. For example, I have the children work on their arabic blocks on the coffee table, and along a wall, I have an ottoman with a basket of books w/cds and boombox/headphones where they listen to their arabic stories. We have a computer workstation where they learn their quran using the online software, and on the dining room table, we have the islamic books laid out. InshaAllah, I will email you more about curriculum, as well as other details. If you live in Bay Area, California, I have a post on different homeschool charter options, if you feel the online schooling is not the right fit for you. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesistate to ask. Part of the reason I started blogging is so we all can share information and learn from each other 🙂

  • Mysa_s@yahoo says:

    Mashaa allah ,jazak allah khiran, I’m new to home schooling , I have kindergarten and two years old , the youngest she is big distraction for our learning since she want to do what ever her sister do that is my first problem , the second is how should I know what my kid need to learn in grade one for example if I’m going to collect the curriculum and not buying ahole set from anywhere??or how many arabice classes should thy take per week or math ?? If u could name abook I could read that help me with my first steps in homeschooling would be great .
    Shokran .

    • josy says:

      Wa iyyaki 🙂 There are standards available online for each state. For example, for the state of California, you can find all the standards here http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/ . However, given that your child is in Kindergarten, homeschooling and the fact that Kindergarten is not even required, I would set things up so that both of them can learn, and not to be too concerned about meeting standards. Every child learns at a different pace, and in the earlier years, you have more leeway, and since you are homeschooling, you have the freedom to follow the pace of your child. If your two year old mashaAllah is interested in doing whatever her sister is doing, I would definitely take advantage of that! You can incorporate alot of ideas which they use in preschool for learning letters, and numbers such as playdough and manipulatives. With regards to Arabic and Math, it really depends on you and how much you want your child to advance. I believe in the fact that incremental learning is better, so I prefer my children to learn a little bit of a subject everyday, rather than a larger chunk of material in only one or a few days. Everyone has their own philosophy and style, so you will have to find out what works for you and your family inshaAllah. I hope this helps a little bit, inshaAllah. I know homeschooling can get overwhelming in the beginning, so may Allah makes things easy for you, and guide you.

      • Maysa . says:

        Jazak allah khayran for ur answers , yes it helped me to think different, homeschooling is really overwhelming, I want to provide good education for my kids, but way too much things was on my mind , but now evrything start to take aplace and I have much better view , others experience will teach us (new on the road)alot !

        • josy says:

          Wa iyaaki Sister. I am really happy that you reached out, as there are plenty of people who are in the same boat, and it is good for them to know that they are not alone. InshaAllah, you will find your way, and please do not hesitate to ask any questions you may have. Perhaps, other people might be having the same question and you are helping them 🙂

  • Dawn says:

    I have enjoyed reading this. I to homeschool my children. 5 of them from high school to first grade. Two of my children are very interested in the Muslim faith. So of course I have been reading all I can about. I want them have the knowledge of many things not just what is outside their own house. Thank you again for such a wonderful take on being a homeschool mother and how to arrange your day. I also believe children need manners first.

    • josy says:

      Thank you for your feedback and for your positive words 🙂 I hope you are learning more about what the religion is really about from all your research.

  • Saba says:

    Wonderful… no words to describe what a great article this was. but the links are all broken. Can you please help? id like to read everything.

    • samira says:

      I am so sorry, many of the articles on the site are being updated and images have broken links. I have fixed some but the images need to be re uploaded insha allaah.

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