Archive for ‘Parenting’

February 6, 2012

Confessions From A Homeschooling Dad



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?

Who benefits?
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

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June 2, 2011

>Hand Prints and Feet Prints

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 I love when we decorate our wall with hand prints and foot prints, the children always give a funny look when it comes to putting their feet in paint!

Simple hand and foot prints can say so many things and make the best keepsakes. They do not stay little forever so this is our small collection of hand prints and food pritns that we made.

You can use homemade paint too if you do not have any, we have a nice recipe for homemade paint that we use, check it out on our previous post on how to make paint

I even like to include my own hand with my children, it’s okay to get messy sometimes and enjoy the moments that you cannot get back. I learned a lot this past weekend at the Natural Birth Natural Body conference in Philadelphia. I learned the importance of making the best memories and being our childrens example. You can either make nightmares or pleasent dreams.

We prefer sweet dreams and making the best memories

April 18, 2011

>Making Memories

> I was inspired to write this article because today my son turned 1 subhanAllah The reason I started homeschooling, was not only to take the lead in my child’s education but to have that family bonding time, that is really important from a young age. The rewards and joys of being a stay at home homeschooling mom are endless and today I am reminded of how blessed I am and grateful for all that Allah has given me and my family. From before the moment of conception I knew I wanted to homeschool and be an active mommy.
 I dreaded the thought of being one of those parents who claimed “I don’t play with kids..” or “I can’t wait until they get out my face and go watch tv…” how awful is that? How hurtful it is for me, to even think parents talk to their children this way. I knew that from the time my children were born I wanted to make the best memories with them. I have spent much time looking and searching for ideas and new ways to homeschool my children and I feel and see the benefits subhanAllah.

Some people may look at me funny, when I say I am homeschooling, they ask me “How old are your children?” I reply “3, 2, and 1” they give me this look like: What could you possibly be doing with a 3, 2, and 1 yr old that is considered homeschool? I do not let those looks and ideas bother me. I used to doubt myself and say well maybe what I am doing is not worth anything.

My husband, being supportive and kind had to remind me that providing them with an environment that is stimulating them intellectually, physically, spiritually and emotionally is something we should do at an early age and not neglect the fact our children have rights over us! The early years are important for a childs development and I wanted to be sure they were being engaged mentally and exploring their world in the best way. Alhamdulilah I am happy to say that my children are a gift and that I must take care of them and give them the best for their development.
Our fun activties are prescious family times, filled with fun, smiles and bonding mashaAllah.  One of the things I enjoy is painting with the children, some parents cringe at the sight of paint, but I remember when I let my two year old, when he was one paint himself, as long as they were safe, I was fine with a little paint here and there. I’m happy when they are enjoying their creative expressions and their smiles makes everything worthwhile.
In the picture is Tahmeed’s hand, he is my youngest child and at two months old we decided to have him finger paint with us. Your child is never too young for you to do activites with them. There is so much blessings in benefits for being active in your child’s life spiritual and more. Habeebee Homeschooling was also started to help those parents find age appropriate ideas, to inspire and motivate parents. We encourage family bonding and being involved! We share on facebook, twitter and this blog how tos and articles to help parents.
Many people will say why homeschool children that are under 5? Why not! From the womb they encourage mothers to talk to their babies, and read to them. When children are born why should we stop?

Continue a love for learning and reading, children under the age of 5 are like sponges this is a good time to teach a new language…make their world a place of learning and fun:

Early interactions have a decisive impact on the nature and extent of adult capacities.
Children learn in the context of important relationships. Early care and nurture have a decisive, long-lasting impact on how people develop, their ability to learn and their capacity to regulate their own emotions. Research on the impact of early attachments confirms that warm, responsive caregiving is essential to healthy brain development.

~Happy Birthday Tahmeed, let the good times roll

~Habeebee Homeschooling~

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April 16, 2011

>Feeling Overwhelmed

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So You’re Feeling Overwhelmed?
Alhamdulillah you have entered the realm of homeschooling. May Allah bless you on such an amazing journey ameen. This is a wonderful time to make many memories with your child(ren) and promote a closeness in bonding and establishing a lifelong love of learning. You may be new to this journey or finally getting into the groove of it. One thing we can all relate to is that feeling where we can become overwhelmed. This feeling can come from many places and happen at any time. The purpose of this article is to focus on ways to avoid that feeling and if it just happens to catch you, the steps you can do to get rid of it.
A typical homeschooling day could be working with more than one child, taking care of your home, cooking and cleaning. One day it might feel like it’s too much. I recommend several steps to help overwhelmed parents.
1.) Keep Allah First.
There are many duaas one can say in times of frustration. In keeping Allah first you are putting more barakah into your actions. When there is a mistake or problem, seek refuge in Allah and make duaa for patience. Make a wudu and pray a few rakats, this gets you spiritually grounded and focused. Also when your soul is at ease, everything else falls into place. Before you begin the day’s lesson say Bismillah, recite faitha and keep the remembrance of Allah. Look to Allah for ease and your days will go smoother. Express gratitude for what you do have and goodness will increase. The more you show gratitude the more you will enjoy the honor of teaching and being a homemaker. We must remember that others may not have the benefit and pleasure of doing such an extraordinary task, in that we must show thanks and remember Allah for everything He has given. There is an ayat in the Quran that says:
It is through the remembrance of Allah that the heart discovers rest.” 13:28
2.) Take care of yourself
We are often very absorbed in what is going on in our homes that we tend to neglect ourselves. We must remember that we are an important part of our home and that if we do not function the whole structure of the house is thrown off. This goes into our homeschooling as well, if there isn’t enough time taken to get refreshed, relaxed, and rejuvenated then we will approach our homeschool in a manner that does not warrant a positive energy, we won’t put forth that “give it your all” energy. As I mentioned our homes run smoothly when we tend to take care of ourselves. More importantly if we spiritually take care of ourselves, it would be better for our mental and physical state as well. Of course there is nothing wrong with other outlets to take care of yourself such as a spa day or maybe its shopping for some as we all know that when you look good you feel good. I often recommend that if the day becomes too much then take time out, even if its 10 minutes, use that 10 minutes to make a wudu and a few rakats, it will change your vibe and put your soul at ease. Allah mentions good treatment to ones parents in the Quran, and for our older children we must share this with them as well
“And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years, he says, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims.” 46:1
“And We have enjoined on man [to be good] to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him and his weaning was over two years. Be thankful to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination.”31:14
3.) Organize your time
I mentioned in an episode of Homeschooling Now! that organizing your time will lead to an easier homeschooling life. For instance, if you take the time once a week, say Sunday to sit down and map out the goals and accomplishments you would like to achieve during the week this would help you get your priorities in order. If the library story time is on Wednesday then on Tuesday the clothing should be ready and laid out for the next day. Lunches can be packed in advance and library cards put in their proper place. When Wednesday morning comes everything is ready to go, you are not rushing to find everyones clothes and shoes, there is some organization. Preparation is the key as my husband Ameer Idris always says and its true. You know the library is on Wednesday and so on Sunday night when you sat down to write out the sechdule for the week then you already knew ahead of time to prepare for that day. I also recommend investing in a calendar, the kind that is big and you can mark down the days of doctors appointments, story time, and family visits. It helps in homeschooling because you know that the homeschooling day will go differently based on that schedule and you know that you may need to work a little longer the day before because you won’t be doing much on the day of doctors appointments or you will know what work you need to focus on later in the week. Alhamdulillah for the joys of homeschooling

4.) Support Support Support

A lot of moms (especially ones that are homeschooling for the first time) become overwhelmed when they do not know what to do or how to begin. Having a strong support system is important for mothers to have that extra vote of confidence that they may be lacking and also it is good for advice and ideas. Sometimes we feel alone and we need to reach out to others. Alhamdulillah the Islamic homeschooling scene has increased and there are many resources for support. We have parents on the Habeebee Homeschooling group on facebook that are very good at encouraging and supporting other mothers. Also the group provides an outlet for questions on parenting. There comes a time when we may question our role as a mom and teacher, these are the times when we should seek much support and assistance. Mothers have come to the Habeebee Homeschooling group because they just did not know where to start. Also mothers come to show support and positive encouragement when there are accomplishments and success in a child’s homeschooling experience. On these groups we mention free resources that help in getting mothers started; sometimes we all need that extra push but alhamdulillah a loving one that will help you in the best choice you have made…which is taking the lead role in your child’s education.

5.) Don’t compare your child or yourself to anyone else

Now this list was not comprised in a particular order, except number one. After number one the rest of these steps are individually important and when put together can change your homeschooling, a lot and even outside of that. These steps are beneficial in everyday life. Our last step is not comparing your child or yourself to anyone else. I recently mentioned on the radio show about this issue. As parents we tend to measure our accomplishments by when everyone else has reached theirs. Your child is unique and moves at his or her own pace. What another child has done does not mean your child will reach the same level at the same time. Simply let go the notion that your failures and success lies in the hands of others. Do not doubt your parenting just because little Ahmad across the street can sing his ABC’s backwards but your son Jabril wants to spin in circles all day. While we can promote, encourage and support our children, we cannot force them to reach levels they aren’t ready for yet. Know that true success comes from Allah and that we can make duaa and ask Allah for that tawfiq, keep being patient and enjoy our children. Homeschooling done in a loving environment that promotes the love of Allah and His Messenger salallahu alayhi wa salaam and a love of education will help a child to blossom before you know it.
The (only) protection comes from Allah, the True One. He is the Best to reward, and the Best to give success. 8:4 <!–[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]–> <!–[endif]–>

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-Ameera Rahim of Habeebee Homeschooling, is a contributing writer that resides in Brooklyn New York. A homeschooling mom of four she loves promoting early literacy, establishing educational households, and support groups for homeschooling moms.
April 15, 2011

>Time Out: Not Just For Children!

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                                                          The children are crying, the place is a wreck, and you just can’t seem to get it together today. It happens to all of us, what is important is how we behave and act when we get off track. Are you the kind of person to yell? Say a bad word? Slam doors? or Give the children a harder time than usual because you are in a bad mood.
 
 Sadly, many of us let our emotions get the best of us, we must learn to master or feelings and know when to take a break. I say parents need a time out too, what happens when a parent takes a time out? They regroup, reflect, and feel refreshed. Then they are able to get back into the “game” with a whole other attitude. One that keeps the team together and motivated.
One of my dear friends said the M in mom does not stand for machine. I like to say the M stands for miraculous, we are able to dedicate ourselves to our family and be the strong backbone of support. The house functions much better when we are at our best but if we are not, everyone suffers. This is a list of reminders for parents when they need to STOP and take a time out.
1. Keep Allah (God) first. Turn to Him at all times and ask for Him to increase you in sabr (patience) and sakina (ease)
2.Take a breather, go for a walk and change the enviroment.
3. Seek the support of family and good friends. They can help you achieve number two and take the load off
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4. Motivations! Talking to other moms/parents can inspire you and give you a pep talk and boost
5. Have fun, laugh, smile and thank Allah for your blessings.. there are so many you can lose count!!