Friday, 23 May 2008

New beginnings.....

Well, here we are at a new beginning for us as a family and in our home schooling.

You see, I have been ill for a few years and our home life and home education has suffered quite a bit... the extent of which is only just beginning to become apparent to me! But, Alhamdulillah I am now almost back to normal and things are about to change! I thought this would be a good medium for us to log our journey back to normality; our progress, achievements and pitfalls along the way and share our new journey into home education.

The kids got away with lots of stuff when I was ill in terms of their education and discipline..... The whole family slipped into bad habits because of the stress and our relationships have suffered, there was no structure or routine in our daily lives or the childrens' education. The whole family needs to be reigned in; new rules laid down and new routines implemented and it's not going to be easy! I sense there may be a rebellion from the smaller members of the family but DH is abroad at the moment so it's a fantastic opportunity to implement change. Once we are all settled in a routine I hope, InshaAllah, that DH will slip into the new us quite easily on his return.

I have decided to adopt a semi-structured approch to our schooling which doesn't seem to be going down too well at the moment, but hey! It looks something like this:

Islamic Studies
We have just started using a series of teaching books from the 'Islamic Education Organisation of Southern Africa'. They are a brilliant series of books and we do a different subject each day. The books are: Tahdhib (Islamic Manners); Hifz; Fiqh & Islamic Teachings; Ahadith and Islamic History (starting with the seerah of our Beloved Prophet sallalahu alaihe wassalaam). Alhamduillah, we have a teacher that comes to the house to teach Quran and Tajweed to both me and the children. I am currently learning Arabic language which I plan to teach the children myself once they are reading fluently, in the meantime I am just introducing new vocabularly words to the the children as they come up.

We do English every day using the Nelson Thorne English series. A friend introduced me to this series and it's great, it also means that I don't have to plan which is always a bonus. Each lesson builds on the last lesson and the amount and level of work increases as they work through the books. The structure of the lessons are a) story with comprehension, b) spelling and c) writing sentences. Any new concepts i.e. 'nouns', 'anyonyms' etc are explained as they come up. 'A' does one of these sections each day. It can be a bit repetitious so I am planning to introduce another aspect once we get into a routine inshaAllah. 'B' is working through 'How to Read in 100 Easy Lessons' on a daily basis that also incorporates some handwriting practice. Two younger ones are working through the Jolly Phonics programme.

For math we do daily exercises using the CPG Math Workout Books with some verbal drills for times tables etc. If the children are stuck on anything I will prepare practice sheets and we will do more work on that topic until they understand fully and then move back on to the books. I do use lots of hands-on stuff i.e. Unifix cubes, coins, buttons etc for math as they find it easier to grasp new concepts once they can physically move, count or stack it etc.

Science, geography & art
My boys love science mashaAllah. We do a joint lesson for science, along with geography and art, with two other families on a Monday. However, as they love science soooo much I am also planning to do a project based science topic with them using the lap book approach.

We don't study history as a separate subject but just tend to include it as part of our lapbook projects as either a timeline or relevant person.

Design & Technology
D&T will not be a weekly lesson but as the kids just love it I hope to include maybe bi-weekly lessons inshaAllah. DS1 has done some great things with cams so far and it's pretty easy so much so that even I feel even my 5yr old could do it.

Well that's about it folks! These are my plans for the next few months inshaAllah along with a new disciplinary approach adapted from Raising Godly Tomatoes I am hoping to be 'cooking on gas' - as they say - very soon.

Watch this space!

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