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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Be an education facilitator not a teacher!

Many of us, when we embark on our home education journey, begin with the school-at-home model....you know what I'm saying!

 We ourselves don't know any different. We went to school. School is what we know. We know how to sit at our desk, whilst the teacher provides the information they tell us is needed. We know if the teacher doesn't tell us that we will be tested on something, then we don't need to bother ourselves learning it! We know that the student knows nothing and the teacher knows everything.

So that's what many of us, when we start teaching our own children at home do.....we do home-school. We stand at the front of our children and dictate the ABC's and 123's, whilst they protest at our teaching attempts, because they don't want to copy out sentences or write about what the Victorians used to wear! Later when they are in bed we sob ourselves to sleep, in a panic, questioning, whats wrong with my child, why is my child not wanting to learn!!!!! If he was at school he would have to sit there all day doing as he is told...

....And then, in that pit of self doubt, that panic that my child is not learning.....that's when we start to open our minds and think outside the box! That's when we begin to learn ourselves, that effective learning is not a product of effect teaching.

Our children from when they are born, are natural learners. They learn a whole language...some even learn 2 in just the first couple of years of life, they learn to crawl, walk, taste, run, jump, draw, they constantly ask questions and want to know about everything going on around them. They always want to ask why and how and back to the why again!

...Then school happens. We start telling them what they need to learn and how they are going to learn it....and all that natural inclination towards learning seems to stop! We get tantrums and melt-downs. When we do school-at-home, we are doing no better than what the school education system does, we are forcing them to halt their natural inquisitiveness and desire for learning, and instead dictate to them what we feel is important for them to know, whether it interests them or not, whether it is important to them or not.

When we start to listen to our children, and allow them to show us that home education is not school-at-home, and we let go of all our own years  in the public education system, then the real learning begins, and we see our children flourish alhamdulillah!

Children, like adults, have interests. Children, like adults, find things brain-teasingly boring! Children, like adults will often produce better results and remember information which is of interest to them, and forget or not even learn that which is of no interest or relevance to them!

Let go of the notion that you are your children's teacher, and instead think of yourself as an education facilitator. Whats the difference? A teacher will tell the pupil what they should know and how they should do it. An education facilitator will help the pupil to find what he needs to fulfil his study, merely assisting him in his quest for knowledge.
If your child has a sudden interest in volcanoes, then why subdue that natural passion by making her learn about the North Pole instead? Facilitate her in finding out about volcanoes.....help her find books, set up meetings with a volcanologist, let her design her own project to teach you about volcanoes! Trust me, she will do all the work herself....why....because she is interested!

Sure, some things have to be learnt, Arabic, Qur'an, Islamic Studies, probably a little bit of numeracy and literacy.....but it doesn't have to be done with the school-at-home mentality. Teach these subjects with an education facilitator approach....and see the difference it makes.


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Shoe box marble game!

Take one ordinary shoe-box....and 15 minutes later its transformed into a marble throw game!

You can use these to make maths more fun too....adding the points together makes great addition practise without the drama!

You can make these as simple or as magnificent as you like.....whatever you do, the kids will enjoy the fun of it!

Kids often love seeing ordinary every day objects.....junk....revamped into something they can use. Its exciting! More exciting than a brand new toy from the shop...and lets face it, whether its a new toy or a transformed box the novelty will wear off after a day or so, so why spend all that money!


Use your imagination and encourage the children to use theirs! Give them a box and some craft materials and see what game they can come up with!.... Give siblings a box each so they can all design their own game then all play at the end! Trust me, they'll have fun, and you'll have a couple of hours to put your feet up with a nice cupper.....or catch up on the laundry!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

The "I can't homeschool" niggles!

So, you have been home educating for a while, and out of nowhere, you start getting the heebie-geebies! Panic is running through your viens as you start looking at your kids and questioning, am I doing the right thing?

Home schooling little preschoolers seemed easy enough, getting out the playdoh to make letter shaped sausages, counting ladybird spots to ten, even learning the times tables up to twelve was a piece of cake once the art of memorisation was mastered!

But now, the world of grammar, long multiplication, atoms and Bunsen burners draws ever closer and it seems more than just a little intimidating....and you are the one who is supposed to teach this stuff!

You're looking at the neighbours kids who attend the local Islamic school and are thinking, well they seem to all be doing alright mashaAllah... as you start daydreaming about how you could fill your day without your little chicks scurrying after you everywhere you go!

Maybe the kids are not getting enough stimulation with me at home, you start to doubt as you nervously think about imaginary socially backward teenagers who can't adapt to the society outside their own four walls!

Am I doing the right thing?

If facilitating your children to grow up worshipping Allah Alone is doing the right thing, then yes you are!

If taking responsibility for your children's welfare and upbringing is doing the right thing, then yes you are!


If protecting them from negative influences that can potentially damage their character and Islam is doing the right thing, then yes you are!

If helping and guiding them through each of their milestones and being there to share it with them is doing the right thing, then yes you are!

If encouraging your children to think for themselves and facilitate what interests them is doing the right thing, then yes you are!

If giving your children the right to progress at their own level with encouragement and support is doing the right thing, then yes you are!

If helping to implant a love of learning, a love of seeking knowledge as they grow into adulthood is doing the right thing, then yes you are!

If allowing your children to study the Qur'an and Islamic Sciences is doing the right thing, then yes you are!

If giving your children confidence and a Strong sense of self worth and belief without fear of rejection is doing the right thing, then yes you are!

If helping your children grow into independent, responsible adults who can motivate themselves and benefit the society at large is doing the right thing, then yes you are!

If helping your children to make good friends who make good companions is doing the right thing, then yes you are!

If being able to bring the bonds of family together with strength and unity is doing the right thing, then yes you are!

If taking responsibility of what your children learn is appropriate for their age, ability and values is doing the right thing, then yes you are!

If stepping up to the plate and being a parent is doing the right thing, then yes you are!

If raising your children in the best way to please Allah, so that when the Angels are sent to start taking them to account they know how to enjoin the good and forbid the evil is doing the right thing, then yes you are!

Take a deep breath, and say alhamdulillah!
May Allah rectify all our affairs and make it easy for us and our children!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Home School Mission Statement Planner....


Following the last article regarding writing a mission statement for your home school, this next post seeks to offer abit of a helping hand if you are not quite sure where to start.

The first thing to realise, is there is no right or wrong in this....your home school mission statement is just that...yours. Perhaps it will even change from time to time as your family grows and changes over the months and years.

To aid your drafting process why not try this planner to help organise your thoughts before inking your final statement!
Its just a rough plan to help start your thoughts rolling, to get you thinking about what is important to you.
Once you start, you will probably find some important factors not included in this planner...that's great! You are thinking about what is important to you and your family. This planner hopes to just get the ball rolling in your mind....you do the rest!

Whats your Home Schooling Mission Statement?

mis·sion state·ment

Noun:
A summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual.

Mission statement... sounds like something a high profile business executive would write to keep his desire for global consumer domination, on focus, not something you would find in a home school classroom...right!?


What exactly is a mission statement anyway? Its quite simple actually, it basically sets out the goals of an organisation, its intent.
As "Head Principle" of your own homeschool, every one of us whether consciously or subconsciously have desired goals for our children and their education.
By putting these goals and desires in black and white, we can bring to the forefront of our mind, important points which can help us to keep focused and inspired, especially on those days when we need that inspiration!

Think about your aspirations and goals for your family. What do you want for them Islamicly, academically, emotionally, socially...whatever important factors you have in mind, list them.
Think about both the short term goals as well as the long term.
How can you help your family, after Allah's Help and Guidance, to achieve those objectives?

Your mission statement doesn't need to be a PHD theses, it doesn't even need to be an A4 page long!
 All it needs, is to document what is important to your homeschooling family.

What do you do with your mission statement once its written? Well, keep it somewhere you can find it! Put it in your diary, stick it on the fridge, file it, decorate it and hang it up in your classroom...put it anywhere you know you will find it when you need it!

Having something written in slate, can help to keep you on track, but most importantly, serve as a good reminder to help you through those dark times when home ed doesn't seem to be going so well, those days when you are asking yourself "what do I think I am doing?" or questioning if the kids would be better in school?!

Everyone gets those niggles, and those who say they don't....they are one in a few alhamdulillah. Use your mission statement to inspire and remind you just why you decided to home educate in the first place.

...Most of us need that reminder some time or other...and often the best reminder is your own!


Need help writing a mission statement? Read the second part to this article HERE!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Sweet n Sticky bites!

Want to give the kids a sweet treat without the additives, MSG's and e-numbers that keep them bouncing off the walls?

Try one of these sweet n sticky bites, a nutritious snack with all the taste!

Ingredient quantities are approximate, alter as you feel necessary to get a consistency that will stick together and hold its shape.









What you need
  • approx 1 cup dates
  • approx 1 cup of nuts
  • 2 tea spoons raw cacoa powder (you can leave out if don't have)
  • goji berries and /or raisins
  • desiccated coconut
Method
  1. Grind the nuts in the food processor.
  2. Pit dates and add to the nuts in the processor
  3. After nuts and dates finely chopped and blended, add a few drops of water (as needed) to make sticky and bind together.
  4. Add the raw cacoa powder and blend to mix in.
  5. Add the berries and combine with hands.
  6. Line a small square tin with grease paper, pour out the mixture and spread evenly, pressing down as firm as you can so mixture will hold shape when cut. (or instead of in a tin, you can just mould the mixture with your hands into a square shape)
  7. Sprinkle the dessicated coconut on top.
  8. Cut into bite size squares and refrigerate for about an hour before serving to allow the mixture to firm up.
For variant recipies, you could try adding a few whole nuts or seeds to give abit of crunch, or a couple of spoons of raw honey!
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