It has been a while since my last entry… not that there was much to report homeschooling-wise! Our family has been blessed with the arrival of little Hind nearly 2 months ago, just 3 days into the new Islamic year, masha’Allah. Talk about “a new beginning”, eh?
A new baby in the house is a bit like a tornado hitting hard the usual family dynamics. Between the demands of the baby and family coming to visit from abroad, formal homeschooling is struggling to resume. And did I mention that Bilal has started learning how to read too? (Allahumma baarik alayh, there goes the loosely Montessori “let’s just play” approach!).
Alhamdulillah, I have some awesome homeschooling friends that gave me some brilliant advice, among them Umm Saphia: sister, friend and home educator extraordinaire! (Allahumma baarik). I had to name names, I cannot take credit for the following:
- Ease yourself and the children in.
- Work around the baby (not much other choice at this stage anyway!)
- DO NOT have a schedule. Instead, have a cut off point after which you will no longer try to finish school work that day.
- Start with something they want to learn.
- Give and plan rewards; first daily, then weekly and monthly… until they are back into learning mode.
So, we started off with what my two “screen starved” and technology obsessed boys are into the most at the moment: literacy subscription websites (obviously with limits!). There are games to familiarise himself with letter sounds and starting to blend them for the little one and lots of reading comprehension for the big one (who wouldn’t find it so fun if he had to do the exact same thing off the page of a book rather than a screen!).
As I felt more confident, I started breaking one of my biggest homeschooling taboos: teaching outside the morning hours! In fact, I decided WE WERE going to read some tafseer, regardless of the time. So I started gathering the boys next to me on the sofa well after dark and took out the translation of excellent tafseer of imam as-Sa’dee (rahimahullah) and we started from the end of juz ‘amma.
While clearing a drawer (to make even more room for pink baby clothes!) I found stacks and stacks of flashcards I had made when I started studying Arabic, about 10 years ago, when the thought of having to make room for baby clothes hadn’t even crossed my mind (HA!). Yusef was intrigued by this ever so-low tech technique, so I jumped at the chance and suggested we could make some for the words he doesn’t know from the Qur’an, as we encounter them in the tafseer. He was excited about it (as long as he got to write only one side and me the other; he settled for the Arabic one).
Alhamdulillah, sometimes simple, unsophisticated things are just what you needed.