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Home Education: Where to start

﴾ وَالَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا ﴿

And those who say: “Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the pious.” (َQuran, 25:74)

We can officially say that we are now a full time home educating family. Yep, COVID-19 paved the way for us by the will of Allah. My 8 year old has been asking to be home educated for the past year and my teenagers were convinced that they would learn more and better at home but it was a difficult decision because I am doing what I want to do such as teaching online and designing Arabic resources for my non-native sisters, therefore my day is organised as I like it and home education (as we have been down that route for many years for my older kids) means a lot of commitment from the parents. However, now schools are closed and studying is over the internet, it is time to take that decision and go for it, after praying istikhara and asking Allah’s guidance first.

I have made so many duas (supplications) to Allah to help us with our home education routine and it is only Allah’s help that made us come to where we are now with home education. Now, with the power and might of Allah, we need to be consistent, easier said than done sometimes!

Since we have home educated before we are going to follow the same pattern. To be honest with you, I believe in taking things easy and slowly increase your workload . We start off with one or two subjects a day for a couple of weeks. After that we add another subject and then a couple of weeks on, another subject is added and so on. It all depends on ones circumstances and most importantly one’s mental state so that one continues and not get burn out!

Quran studying

We have started with the most important subject in the human’s life and that is the Quran. Yes, we start with the subject that we, the parents, view is the most important.

However, some times we may not be confident in teaching the Quran then we should either get a teacher just like we do for other subjects we view are important and are desperately for our children to learn such as English, maths and science. Or use the internet to gather your resources, Youtube or merely make it a 30 minute sit and listen to a reciter reading while the children follow in their Qurans. It all depends on the age of the children and your circumstances. Every family does what works for it.

Alternatively, watch a Youtube video on the meaning of a sura of the Quran. The most important thing is that one starts off with the Quran. This will give the child the idea that studying the Quran IS THE MOST IMPORTANT studies one can do. Here is a list of some YoutTube channels that may help you with your Quran studies:

Next is the Arabic language because it is the language of the Quran. Again, if one is not confident in teaching Arabic, then get a teacher. Alternatively, it can be merely reading some sentences in Arabic and inviting the child to copy them out, or read an Arabic book or watch a youtube video. Below are some links you may find useful:

  • Learning Arabic Daily life is the channel for Hidaya Centre. An excellent channel for learning Arabic. They explain grammar in a simple visual manner and all in Arabic. Then they use the grammar and vocabulary in meaningful everyday sentences and that is what you want to focus on. Definitely my way of teaching.
  • Learn everyday Arabic – another good channel to learn about about hobbies, tourism, travel, going to the doctors and many other topics.

Islamic studies is the next subject and we are starting with the pillars of Eeman: the belief in the prophets. We live in times of tribulations and calamities where religion is being target by those who follow their whips and desires. Nowadays our kids are prone to be snatched by the social media mentally or physically. There is so much on the internet and social media that teaches immorality, wrong belief or simply put questions that may cause one to doubt their religion.

Therefore, it is important for kids to know and understand answers to questions such as why we believe in the prophets and Messengers, why are they humans and not angels or jin, what is the purpose of the Messengers and prophets? Such questions open the doors to any other questions they may have about the Prophets, messengers, religion etc… It is better for them to hear the correct answer in a logically manner from an Islamic point of view first before they hear it from any where else.

So far, for my 8 and 12 year old we are studying: Quran, Arabic, Islamic Studies and maths.

You may start your Islamic studies with whatever topic you see your children need to know about. Then the topics changes according to your kids needs and interest. That is how we teach Islamic studies. By needs I mean always start with what needs to be affirmed their correct belief first and foremost, the the 5 pillars of Islam (the meaning of shahada, paryer, sadaqa, fasting and hajj) then other topics as and when needed.

Maths is the next important subject for us and so that has already been introduced within a few days into our home educating routine because I have the resources for their age group and there is a lot of free maths resources on the internet to download and print.

Next I will introduce English to them in the form of science or geography depending on their interest and what information I gather for their age groups. I am not too fussed about analyzing English texts and knowing English in detail because their English is pretty weak as they have been on the Arabic system from the beginning and can just read English. Therefore, they need to develop their English vocabulary first by studying other subjects, then, when they are ready to start learning English as a language we will do that.

We all try to start our day with the Quran

As for my 14 and 16 year olds they are at the IGCSE exams stage (UK secondary school examinations). They also start with the Quran. Then they start with whatever subject they want. I have already sat with them and discussed what exams they want to sit this coming year and they have split the book of the subjects they want to study into sizable junks. Then they just need support, explaining what they don’t understand or direct them to my teacher, good old YouTube and Google! I also provide them with exam questions for the topics they are studying (from SaveMyExams.com for science), mark their answers, go through with them what needs to be re-understood etc… Basically provide a support role for them.

We study Arabic to understand the Quran and Islam, therefore, we study Quran and Islamic studies in Arabic only.

As for their Arabic, the 16 year old has already sat his IGCSE Arabic exams and I have already started teaching my 14 year IGCSE Arabic and had stopped. Now, we need to resume. For Islamic Studies, we are going to use the following telegram channel and listen and discuss what we see and read:

  • @jeelacademysa – instagram page

The New Rising Generation Academy has different routes for different age groups. They address topics that are relevant to that age group. This one is designed for teenagers but it is all in Arabic as we try to study Islamic studiesin Arabic. After all, why do we study Arabic? In our family we study Arabic to understand the Quran and Islam, therefore, we study Quran and Islamic studies in Arabic only. We may occasionally listen to talks in English.

In conclusion we tailor our home education to the needs of our kid’s ages and our ability to gather the necessary resources to teach them. Initially, the focus is on the younger ones as they need more help while the older ones can see to themselves just while the younger ones settle down to their routine. Then, the focus shifts to the older children. Never think that the older ones don’t need your attention and support. My 14 year old was complaining the other day that I give more attention to his younger siblings than to him in their studies! However, three things that are constants and never change throughout the children’s ages is the study of Quran, Arabic and Islamic Studies.

May Allah grant us success in raising our children. May Allah keep us firm on a fruitful routine for our home education journey because we struggles with keeping up with routines.

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