February 6, 2012
It’s all about the kids
Whenever we talk about homeschooling the first thing we think of is our children. We all ask different questions. At what age can they start? Is it better for them? How will they make friends? Can they go to college? We think of our children first and rightly so, because they are the center of our world. However, is it really just about them?
While homeschooling my children there have been some unintended consequences that I have had to cope with. These unintended consequences are that I am learning as much as I am teaching, if not more, and I am certain that I am not alone. Often times we focus upon the advantages homeschooling has for our children and forget about the teacher within the homeschooling equation, and the benefits that come out of it. It has been said that we retain only a certain percentage of information through reading, listening, and experiencing something, but that we retain the greatest amount of information through teaching. This is probably because in order to teach something you have to understand it. Sometimes just through trying to teach a subject to your child, you fortify information that may otherwise have been forgotten, misunderstood, or less coherent.
Many a time I have been looking though my son’s curriculums and realized that there are major gaps in my knowledge, things that I need to relearn. Personally I have found this realization has served as a driving force for me to push myself in my educational development, to learn new things and even to go back and relearn those things which I never had a handle on in the first place. It is a humbling experience. I want to remember how to do algebraic equations, understand the periodic table, do chemistry experiments by watching vinegar and baking soda react. Some of it is remembering childhood, but a lot of it has to do with that thirst for knowledge that seems to have been lost while “growing up” and moving into “the real world”.
Homeschooling isn’t just for kids
I must confess I’m not just homeschooling my kids, I am homeschooling myself in the process as well. I don’t believe education ends with a piece of paper, be it from a high school, or a university. I define homeschooling in a much broader sense than just teaching my children the equivalent of a public education, but rather I see it as a love for knowledge that transcends age levels and carries on throughout life. I love to study alternative medicine, agriculture, and the social sciences like history and political science. A lot of times in my own studies I develop a love for a subject or find something really cool that makes me say to myself “Hey this would be really great to teach the kids”, and then it becomes a lesson or even a completely new subject in our curriculum.
For me learning is a life process and I hope this is how my children will view it too. I want to be an example for them. I am always searching for new beneficial things to learn. As they see dad also in the books every day reading and learning I pray it has an effect on them. As they see me involved in their education I pray that they too are involved in my grandchildren’s education. I pray it is something that my children will pass onto theirs throughout the generations, and as I homeschool myself. I hope that they will too.
–Nick is a Muslim father of two boys and has been married for the past five years. He is currently homeschooling his children with his wife, while managing work and being a fulltime student. He maintains a blog about his experiences, curriculum ideas, and advice at www.abihomeschoolstoo.blogspot.com
October 2, 2011
These are a few pictures from some of our math activities. Nice and easy DIY math games that children can enjoy for a long time!
Graphing with leaves
Had a great time collecting them and then observing them. A fun way to introduce graphs
Homemade flash cards with number on the front and the amount of star stickers on the back
DIY pattern sheets, we made this on the computer and cut out the similar shapes, then had the children glue them in the right place
Egg Carton Math.. we let the children paint the egg carton and numbered the inside… you can have children put the amount of cheerios or beans in each numbered slot
July 14, 2011
For our observing insect life portion of our homeschooling, last week we did the butterfly and this week we did a brief look at the firefly. Sometimes our homeschooling fun has its late night moments. My friend Nasrin had us really excited when she shared a video on her page of her and her son’s firefly collection!
Not only did we want to catch them, we also wanted to explore the details of the firefly. We went to the park with our flashlights (our version of imitating the firefly- thanks Nasrin!) and waited until it had gotten dark. The first firefly we caught landed on Tasbeeh’s kufi 🙂 and that set the tone for the rest of the night! Many children at the park joined us as we searched for fireflies and each child gave their own thoughts on where fireflies lived and how to catch them.
Not only did I share this experience with my children but several other children in the neighborhood 🙂 No one wanted to go home but it was getting late and I did not want to keep the fireflies for too long. We brought them home and fed them leaves, even a banana peel. After that they became more active..flying and lighting up in the jar. They really gave us a show then!
Tomorrow inshaAllah we will go into more detail on the life of the firefly. It was very interesting to see them up close!
July 8, 2011
Day 2 of our Observing insect life, our focus this week was on the butterfly. Our first day we went trough the various stages of the butterfly life cycle. Day 2 after getting to know the stages we made a caterpillar out of bottle tops. This is a simple idea that I have seen done on the Teach Preschool website: http://www.teachpreschool.org
We picked different size bottle tops, dipped them in different color paints and put it on the construction paper. After we finished we added some googly eyes to the caterpillar.
We reviewed the caterpillar and what it eats and what happens in the next stage.
Lessons that we learnt from this experience:
and more facts on the caterpillar
Before we did the bottle top caterpillar we read the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and it really helped to get them ready for the lesson also the book goes through the stages again and it only reinforced the previous days lesson. We often collect bottle tops in our so we were very happy to put them to use 🙂
June 13, 2011
What an awesome way to teach children about the importance of good deeds, prayer, and how muslims behave.
We are taking part in the Little Mu’mins Project inshaAllah as part of our islamic studies in homeschool we will print out our copies of Little Mu’min and teach him surahs, make him go to the kaba and teach him all about islam.
After he is done living with us we will them send him on his way to another persons home, and thus they will teach him some more about islam and record all the things he has learned and he goes off on his journey once again to another home.
This is similar to a penpal project except this Little Mu’min goes from home to home around the world and is taught about islam from all the families he visits.
You can download the male or female version here: http://islamichomeschool.edu20.org/
Thanks to Nasrin for coming up with this awesome learning experience for our children. Register and Please use the word “student” as the registration code.
“Parents first download, and print one of the “Little Mu’min” templates from our gallery. Each mu’min comes with their own prayer rug, hasanat journal, Qur’an, and miniature kabba. Each child will color and cut out their chosen character, and fold each so they can fit into a standard sized envelope. ”
I wonder where our Little Mu’min will go! If you have signed up for this project let us know and spread the word with other familes