Top Tips for Homeschool Success
“What have I gotten
myself into?!” If you’re a homeschooling parent and find yourself pondering
this question—a bit more often than not— here are 6 splendid ideas on how to
help make homeschooling your kids more productive, Insha’Allah.
1. Establish respectful discipline methods. Determine
how to handle misbehavior and incomplete class work and homework assignments.
Many teachers eagerly confide that often the greatest difficulty with teaching
is managing behavior rather than teaching the material itself.
Knowing effective ways of managing your child’s misbehavior
can help simplify the teaching process significantly. If you can get your child
to cease talking, sit in his seat and follow along with your instructions, you
will have accomplished a major part of your teaching job. There are loads of
ways to respectfully encourage your child to comply with your directives. One
remarkable way is delaying an exciting and desirable activity until the end of
the class period or end of the day.
Let’s say you’re having science class and part of the lesson
is to collect an assortment of leaves from outside. Children generally enjoy
participating in outdoor activities. Remind your child that if he stays seated
throughout the lesson and follows along in class, the two of you will be able
to complete class a few minutes early and go outside to gather the leaves.
Perchance he periodically still needs reminding, let him know, casually, that
whenever you have to stop the lesson to correct him, this takes away from the
extra time you two might have. This discipline technique not only encourages
appropriate conduct, it also teaches your child to self-manage his own
behavior. You accomplish two goals in one!
It is reported the Prophet (saw) said: Allah did not send
me to be harsh or cause harm, but he sent me to teach and make things easy.
2. Avoid reinventing the wheel. If you’re a novice
and a bit nervous about taking on the admirable job of homeschooling your
child, take the easy route when starting out. Although, some parents prefer
designing their own learning materials for teaching, this may not be the best
solution for you. There is an abundance of educational materials you can
purchase for teaching most areas of study.
Educational materials including student texts and teacher’s
editions ranging from arithmetic to science can be purchased online from
academic textbook companies. There are publishers that specialize in
educational materials for kindergarten through 12th grade. The
fantastic thing about these companies is that you can purchase the student
edition as well as the teacher’s edition. The teacher’s edition, of course,
provides answers for your ease in teaching. But they also provide you with an
assortment of lesson plans, teaching techniques, and extracurricular activities
you can use when teaching your children. This can be invaluable when trying to
manage on your own.
Alhamdulillah, you can even find Islamic learning materials
for a variety of subjects. Susan Douglass has a book collection for grades
Kindergarten through six. The set provides a great selection of Islamic based
stories that include reading comprehension questions and lesson correlated
activities. The titles can be found under Islamic School Book. Another fine
educational selection is the Emaan Reading Series by Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal
Philips. This compilation of 58 paperback books provides wonderfully
colorful and entertaining stories for children 6 through 9-years of age. The
excellent aspect of these readers is that the vocabulary is specifically
designed to be age appropriate.
If you’re still a little queasy about starting your
homeschooling journey, here’s an even simpler way than searching out and
purchasing your own materials-- join a homeschooling program online or in your
area. You will get the moral support you need, and some programs even provide
you with free materials! How about that for ease?
If The Prophet (saw) had a choice between 2 halal
things, he'd pick the easier one. (Bukhari)
3. Don’t over schedule. In an effort to provide your
child with an optimum educational experience you might be inclined to bite off
more than you can chew. Keep in mind that even public schools rotate certain
classes periodically as opposed to scheduling them daily. Avoid attempting to schedule every subject
into a single day. You will likely run yourself ragged—if you’re even able to
accomplish this feat in the first place. Your primary lessons should be
reading, writing and arithmetic—those age-old subjects.
Here’s a tip for history lessons and the sciences if you
find little time to teach these subjects: check out books on these subjects
from the juvenile section of the library for your child to read for pleasure,
homework or extra credit. These books are often easy-reading and more
entertaining than school texts, and your child will still be exposed to the
4. Realize you can’t do it all. Homeschooling is a
fulltime job . . . so is maintaining a home. Realize that the kitchen may not
remain sparkling clean, clothes might pile up, and dinner may not be ready on
time—or at all. On occasion, try opting for meals that are less time consuming
but still healthy: Yogurt fruit salad; oatmeal, fruit and nuts; sandwiches and
smoothies. Be sure to discuss with your spouse ahead of time your concerns—and
his--about your time management issues while homeschooling.
One option you might consider is having the kids help out
more around the house. Explain to them that you need extra help now that you
are homeschooling. Create a schedule of chores you need help with and designate
certain children to be responsible for them. Some parents are uncomfortable
with the quality of housework their children perform. They feel it’s easier to
do it themselves or not have it done at all. And that’s fine, too. Everyone has
their own comfort level.
5. Appreciate your assets. Often times homeschooling
parents consider their own abilities inferior to teachers in standard schools.
Try minimizing these comparisons. There are many factors that make a great
teacher. And there are just as many factors that contribute to children
learning better. One important point educators tend to agree on is that
children learn best when they feel secure and accepted. What better environment
than one’s own home can these two attributes be felt?
This is not to say you should not continue educating
yourself in ways of improving your teaching abilities. We should always seek to
become the best we can. Browse the internet for helpful teaching techniques you
can use with your child. Improve certain academic skills, if need be. Contact
home school organizations to gain personal assistance in your job as a
homeschooling parent. Attempting to improve your abilities will help you feel
more secure in your role as a homeschooling mom.
6. Welcome the opportunity. Last, but not least,
realize that homeschooling your child provides you with great leverage in
fashioning his thinking and perspective of the world. You can address class
lessons from an Islamic perspective. You are free to teach your child that Allah
(SWA) is completely in control of everything in the world—the movement of the
stars, the setting of the sun, the orbiting of the moon. You can openly explain
to your child the harms and ills of today’s society. You can protect your child
from feeling inferior to those who deride him for not conforming to their way.
In essence, you have the opportunity to, insha’Allah, raise your child up as a
slave of Allah.
O! You who believe, save yourself and your families from
Hell-fire, whose fuel are humans and stones. (At-Tahrim 66: 6)
Grandma Jeddah is the mother of 11 children and 16 grandchildren. She has taught hundreds of students for over 30 years at an Islamic school in Los Angeles, California. She has written dozens of articles for Muslim magazines, newspapers and blogs. She is the author of, Discipline without Disrespecting: Discover the Hidden Secrets of How to Effectively Discipline Your Muslim Child--And Keep Your Peace of Mind while at It. Order her e-books at: http://www.grandmajeddah.com/