The time has come, my four year old has reached the point where she wants to do “real” school work. While I believe that preschool years are for playing, helping and joining with whatever is going on around the house, I also have to follow her lead and respect that she really wants to learn (and for now she is loving it). While I am still not too worried about structuring a homeschooling academic curriculum based on early mastery of reading and math, I do however need to set some ‘real’ structured time for preschool workbooks to practice writing, identify shapes and basic addition. Our focus will still be:
Learning through play:
For us, playing and learning go hand-in-hand. They are not separate activities. Young children learn best through immersion and play, that is why I think fun and playful unit studies can be a great tool to teach them. We try to integrate Islamic themes into it as much as we can. We will also continue to only buy educational toys that strengthen their literacy, numeracy, fine and gross motor skills (we love toys by Melissa and Doug and Learning resources). Like most kids, mine can spend all day playing outside and we made it a habit to play at the park, walk trails and go on “bear hunts” at least once a day. I am always fascinated as I watch them play while at the same time reinforcing what they learn, hear or read through their free play.
Kids at this age are like sponges, which means that this is the perfect time to let them memorize the easy Quran surahs and expose their tongues and ears to Quranic Arabic language (Fus’ha). One of the ways the Quran was preserved was through memorization so I tend to focus on that more now while their minds are more receptive to it. Learning the meanings and rulings is something we will work on later as they will grasp it easily when they get older. I am slowly starting to put together more unit studies for them that allows them to not only learn their letter sounds, numbers, shapes but also basic Aqeedah and tawheed.
You can download our “Letter Aa” Islamic Unit study here (The links inside the PDF are clickable and should take you to the correct websites inshaa Allah)
Manners and Character building:
The foundation to any good education is manners. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The believers who have the most perfect faith are those who have the best manners.” [Abu Daawood]
We spend most days intertwining Islamic Studies in our day to day life. We practice patience and let them know that Allah loves those who are patient. We learn gratitude, respect and sharing and of course remind them that Allah is our protector, the One who gives and that He loves the believers. If manners like saying thank you (jazakillaah khair) or please are not in place in young children, there is no point going any further.
Limited Screen time:
It helps that we don’t have a TV in the house, but limiting screen time includes all screens from the computer screen to the iPhone. I say that because my kids got into a habit of not knowing when enough is enough and that its time to move on to another activity. While I wasn’t too concerned about how long they were using it for, I did notice the behavior change. It doesn’t matter if they get 5 minutes of screen time or 30 minutes they will still turn into grouchy, whiney zombies and throw full scale temper tantrums as soon as I ask them to switch it off. At the same time, I don’t like having to be the one who does it because they need to learn how to have will power and self control.
We have been doing story time with Sister Emilie from Arabic seeds once a week through Skype and the kids love their friend Jojo (puppet) who teaches them new words and nursery rhymes every week. We also learned to read basic Arabic letters, numbers and we just started using them in conversations.
For learning to read Arabic we are still using Qaaidah nuuraniyah which really helps kids not only learn how to read but also teaches them the tajweed rules and pronunciation simultaneously.
Life skills/ practical life:
As a big fan of the Montessori method, we use practical life exercises to aid the growth and development of children’s concentration and independence as well as gain more gross motor skills. As expected, Practical Life is their favorite part of the day except the part where they have to tidy up after themselves. Everything else like helping me cook, wash, cut, polish, and empty the dishwasher is all fun for them (for now lol).
Do you use a curriculum to teach your preschooler? If so, which ones? Otherwise, how do you teach your preschooler? Comment below as I would love to know, so I can look into that too inshaa Allah.
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