“What have I gotten myself into?” If you are 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 this year, In sha 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 many 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 are teaching a 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 said, “Allah did not send me to be harsh or cause harm, but he sent me to teach and make things easy.” [Sahih Muslim]
2. Avoid Reinventing the Wheel
If you are 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 are still a little queasy about starting your homeschooling journey, here is 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 had a choice between two halal things, he would pick the easier one. [Sahih Bukhari]
3. Don’t Overschedule
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 are even able to accomplish this feat in the first place. Your primary lessons should be reading, writing and arithmetic — those age-old subjects.
Here is 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 material.
4. Realize You Can’t Do it All
Homeschooling is a full-time 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 is easier to do it themselves or not have it done at all, and that is fine, too. Everyone has his or her 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 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 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, In sha 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.” [Qur’an: Chapter 66, Verse 6]
In sha Allah, these tips will help those who are homeschooling their children or simply need pointers for incorporating education into home life. If you have any other ideas or suggestions for homeschooling, let me know in the comment section below!