Principal's Message

Message from the Principal: Brother Eric Ali-- When guiding our children toward proper Islamic character, we must remember that part of being a wise teacher or parent is being kind and gentle with our children. During the time of the Prophet (saw), a Bedouin urinated in the masjid. Immediately the Prophet’s companions rushed toward the man to beat him. But the Prophet (saw) told them to leave him alone. After the man finished urinating, the Prophet (saw) told him, “Verily, filth and urine are not permitted in these masjids. Indeed, it is for the remembrance of Allah.” The Messenger said to his companions, “I was sent to make things easy, and I was not sent to make things difficult.” And he poured a bucket of water over the urine. Even though our children were raised in Islam, eventually they will have to choose to be Muslims. Let’s help make the proper decision easy for them.-- Al-Madinah School: 1635 South Saint Andrews Place, Los Angeles, California 90019-- (1-323) 296-5961

Friday, October 17, 2014

5 Steps to Goal Setting to Get Homework Done (By: Jameela Ho)

5 Steps to Goal Setting to Get Homework Done
Jameela Ho

What are the things that your children like to put off doing? Most likely it is doing their household chores or their homework. Wouldn't it be wonderful to get your children to do these things without having to nag them to it? If only they could just tidy their rooms by themselves, vacuum the floor and take out the garbage when they see that these things needs to be done. If only they could just sit at their desk, open their books and do their homework of their own accord.

So how do you get your children to not put off doing what needs to be done? Nagging has never worked and external rewards and punishments only work for a short time. What they need is something they can use to regulate themselves instead of some external enforcers doing it for them.
The most empowering way to encourage your child to be more responsible is to teach your child goal setting.

There are five steps:

1. Establish Goals
Be Specific: Ask your child to write down what he needs to do. He should be specific and detailed. “Doing homework” is too general because it could mean any homework. “Finish math homework early” would be better.

Use “I am”: Include the pronoun “I” as though he has already achieved it, such as “I am going to successfully finish my math homework early.”

Phrase it Positively: Make sure that the goals are positively phrased. Change anything that is negative into positive. If he writes “I will not waste time” then change it to “I make the best use of my time.”

Once your child has his goals written down, have him read them out loud and revisit them each day. By reading them each day, his mind can be refreshed and he can continue to be motivated.

2. Find Strategies
The second step is to find ways he can reach his goals. So have him brainstorm and think of as many ways he can. Write them down. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous or silly they are, because once he has exhausted all his ideas, he can go through each one and select the ones that are most effective and efficient for his goals.

Here is an example of how to create a strategy. Ask your child to think of all the ways he could successfully finish his math homework. Maybe he could first have a snack then sit at his desk and begin his math homework. If he has other homework, such as English, he could get another snack before starting on the English assignment. He could continue on in this manner.

It is very important here that your child comes up with his own strategies so that he can own it and motivate himself to follow through, otherwise you might as well not use this approach as you would be providing your child with your own rules to follow (which is often ineffective with some children).

Once your child has listed all his ideas and decided which ones would best serve his goals, you can question him about whether his ideas are appropriate or not. Ask questions you don’t know the answers to, otherwise you might unintentionally direct him toward your own personal ideas, which might lessen his motivation.

Don’t worry about immediate success. Allow your child to work by trial and error, which can be an effective method of learning. To help him determine success or failure, there is the review in Step 4 in which you can ask him how things are going. If things aren’t working out as planned, he should revise and choose a better strategy.

3. Set deadlines
Your child needs to set a time limit for his goals. This will encourage him to complete his goals in a timely manner, as there is an urgency to do so. “I will successfully finish my math homework early before dinnertime,” gives him a deadline to work towards. “I will make the best use of my time every day before 7 o’clock” gives him a definite goal to work towards, as well.

4. Chart Progress
Make a time chart for Monday through Friday. Have your child keep a record of the times he finishes his homework each day. At the end of the week, review the chart. Ask your child if he reached his objective for each day. If he did, he should determine what made that possible and if he didn’t, he should determine what stopped him from fulfilling it. He should then brainstorm again or look back at the list from Step 2 and choose a different strategy to reach the goal. Keep refining the strategies until your child has found the perfect one for accomplishing his goal.

5. Celebrate Success
The last step is to celebrate any success that your child has made. So at the end of the week, if he successfully accomplished his goals, he can choose a reward. Get him to make a list of rewards that he would like to celebrate with. It should be something sufficient enough to get him excited and motivated to keep going, yet not too excessive like a party. The reward could be extra time on the internet, a movie, or a few hours free time to do whatever he likes without interruption– whatever your child comes up with that is reasonable. Each week he can choose from this list.

This process is similar to the rewards (Behaviour Chart) system parents use, but instead of parents determining what and how children should accomplish their goals (and behaviours) it puts the power into the child’s hands, and they decide what they need to do and how to get themselves there. This not only empowers them but it also motivates.
If you like this article and want to apply it to your own goals then please grab your copy of my book ‘Successfully Done: 16 Easy Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Finally Reach Your Goals’ at Amazon  Get started because I want to help you achieve your goals.

Jameela Ho firmly believes that every child should have access to quality education and that parents can provide it with a little help. Throughout her years as a teacher, her passion has been helping children learn and helping parents get the same training as teachers.

Parents often feel frustrated and anxious about their children's education. They are genuinely concerned about helping but feel helpless because of a lack of knowledge or skills. For this reason, Jameela offers consultations and workshops to simplify teaching and parenting, both online and offline, as well as an education centre called 'ILMA Education' to teach children and parents.

If you are a parent (or teacher) who needs the tools to help your children, then please visit and or send me a message and we can discuss how I can help you.


  1. MashaAllah great ideas! I have an 8 yr old son who likes to be independent and i feel how important to let them decide their own goals and strategies. Jazakallahu Khayr.

    1. Alhamdulillah. Let me know how it goes. In the meantime, head on over to my blog where I've created an infographic of these 5 steps for easy reference. Just click on it and save.


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