We must remember that the success of our homeschool should not rest on how much curriculum we complete or how quiet the little ones were during school time. Rather, the success of our homeschool should be determined by whether or not we accomplished what Allah has planned for our family each day. For me, this may include some valuable lessons brought to me by the demands of my toddler or an in depth conversation with my middle schooler. Maybe I'm just filled with thankfulness that my children finished a task without complaining or needing consistent prompting. How about when we all stopped everything to pray and listen to Shanaz recite the new Surah she has been working to remember. For me these are my little thankful moments that can not be measured by state standards. As much as I like the idea of sticking to a tight schedule, homeschool life can be unpredictable at times. In fact no two weeks have been the same. What really matters is that you are nurturing each child, you are trying to teach developmentally and that you celebrate your children's growths, abilities & contributions. All the rest seems to fall in place as Allah allows.
Here are a few tips on making each homeschool day successful:
1. Create a caring learning environment
Your home must be a warm, loving & safe space for children to learn and grow. What makes homeschooling so awesome is you can establish the learning environment that is best for your children. It's sad to thinking about the children who are not excelling in school simply because their classroom environments are not conducive for learning. When children know their basic needs will be met like feeling safe and being loved, greater levels of learning can occur. Children are able to experience a positive and productive sense of their power to learn, grow, and contribute. A caring learning environment enables children to maintain positive interactions, which promotes resilience as well as cognitive learning.
• Children learn how to speak so others will listen respectfully. They also learn how to listen when others are speaking, how to solve problems, and contribute to the family.
• Children have opportunities to participate actively, to belong, and to exercise some control over their lives.
• They feel empowered when they are able to make choices during the day, to establish goals for themselves, to make decisions about their home education, and to participate in work that is meaningful and engaging.
• Collaborative learning is encouraged as children learn within their family. Children have multiple opportunities to work with different family members, who all add value to their home education.
• Children learn to share ideas, take turns, solve problems, listen to others, and receive and offer help.
2. Establish regular family meetings
Participating in family meetings enables children to learn what it means to be a part of the family; where all members exchange ideas and listen to each other. Some meetings may be held as part of the daily homeschool routine, while others are called in order to handle a problem, to enrich a lesson, to share exciting news and what has been done during homeschool, or to formulate a plan for a family goal. You can make it a point to have a brief family meeting during or after dinner. Usually everyone is relaxed and willing to talk during this time. I like to make it interactive by asking what was the high point of your day and what was the low point of your day. For the Littles you can ask what was the most exciting thing you did today and what part of your day was not very exciting. This is a great time to get feedback from your children about their homeschool experiences.
• Children help discuss necessary rules, solve problems, and resolve conflict. These meetings can include Quran and/or hadith reading and stories. Adding Islamic lessons helps children relate your house rules and family or educational goals to their fundamental beliefs. Children need to be taught what to do but also why we do it. This helps to establish their lifestyle based off Quran and Sunnah.
• Parents can address differences of opinion, rather than imposing solutions.
• Everyone's contribution is accepted and all collaborate.
• Children learn that there are multiple solutions to problems and that the family can make decisions together.
2. Learning from Experiences
Discuss with your children what they think will happen if they choose a particular activity. Invite them to choose an option, try it out, and then report what happened back to you. then have them pick their next activity. Talk about both experiences. What happened when you worked on your science? What did you learn? What happened when you worked on math? What did you learn? Which activity did you like the best? What will you want to try next time? I personally do not work on too many subjects in one day. For example, we may do Math & Science on Wednesday and Friday work on Reading Language Arts. This method called block studying helps to simplify the work load and allows for each lesson to sink in. We include story time each day no matter what and that consist of them picking out a book and me reading it out load to them.
• Make lessons as interactive as possible.
• Allowing children to choose their activity ensures you will have their attention because they chose the subject matter.
• For older children have them keep a learning journal to write down important points about the lesson and also to write down their thoughts on the activity. A learning journal is great for future study and reflection.
3.Help them communicate their feelings
Parents can help their children see that they have an influence over what happens to them. You help your children process positive and negative experiences by asking simple questions. Teaching your children to properly communicate their feelings is very beneficial. They will also begin to analyze situations to find cause and effects of their actions. This is great for teaching natural consequences. If you are homeschooling Littles, good communication practices help to cut down on screaming and crying. Instead of having tantrums they begin to communicate how they are feeling. Here are some communication basics to use everyday for just about everything.
• What happened?
• How are you feeling?
• Do you like this feeling?
• What did you see?
• What did you say?
• What did you do?
• Why did this happen?
• What caused that to happen?
• What could you do differently next time?
• What did you learn from this experience?