Our Top 10 Homeschooling Tips from 2017 come from our experience of what we did, what worked and what didn’t and how we hope to do it better next year. So here’s my Top 10 tips for Homeschooling from 2017!
1.Have a Plan of what you want to cover over some of the year so you can prepare in advance.
I think this is my one bit of advice I always give to anyone that asks about how I make homeschooling look easy. But it really helps drawing up a plan or at least a rough idea of what your year looks like. When you are busier, when you plan a holiday or even seasonal changes; it becomes easy to plan in activities too such as gardening or planting (something we plan for the winter in Saudi for example). For more on planning check out my previous blog post titled Planning for the Next Homeschooling Year – where I talk about our homeschooling themes for the year. General planning, I would recommend before you start homeschooling can be found on a previous blog post titled – Behind the scenes @mamateachesme. If you are reading this and are thinking of homeschooling or starting up your own Muslim home -school, read up one of my earliest blog posts titled How to start up Your Muslim-homeschool.
2. Make the best of your situation wherever you are!
So what’s it like homeschooling in Saudi? Its hot, we are indoors a lot because of the heat…but we are really enjoying it. That’s mainly because we have made the best of our situation. We have utilised whatever opportunity we have here and made the most of the opportunities available to us here. That includes a lot of learning on the desert, the beach, the sea, Saudi Arabia and its culture, the history of Makkah, Hajj and the Kabah. When we travelled back to England for the summer, we tied in our nature themes including our fantastic project on How to grow Butterflies at home! which we enjoyed doing with Ammarah and Hibah’s cousins! This allowed us to make the most of homeschooling and celebrate learning wherever we were!
3. Collaborate with those that you can work easily with and share the same passion and vision as you!
Alongside our nursery at home where I work with a wonderful friend who pretty much shares the same passion and goals as myself for her own children, I am also lucky to know a few other homeschooling mamas who I work with to host some pretty awesome workshops for the homeschooling community around us. It really helps being around others who understand your aspiration to home-school. It is because of this that I can successfully run other workshops alongside homeschooling my girls. Our celebration of World Science Day and even World Book Day in our monthly Literacy Workshops are good examples of how well collaboration with other homeschooling mamas can be. Of course not forgetting the wealth of support and encouragement I receive from fellow homeschooling mamas and supporters on my social media pages – Thank you!
4.Routines, consistency and perseverance goes a long way!
One major lesson I have learnt over the year is routines are so important! Consistency is so important! Perseverance is so important! It is these things that are fundamental in achieving goals in homeschooling that I didn’t really expect but carried on as normal as it worked well for us. 2 fantastic examples of this can be read further in previous posts How I taught my child to read! and Teaching Qur’an to 3-5 year olds! A little everyday goes a long way subhanAllah! Ammarah practises memorisation for only 15 minutes each day taking up to 1 or 2 weeks to memorise 1 surah (chapter of the Qur’an – they vary in length), and now she has memorised 15 short surahs from the Quran which I never even thought she would achieve at this age. May Allah bless her. Similarly, her reading and eagerness to read has improved just by involving dad and changing reading books each week – we log it in a reading record!
5.Organise and take care of any resources you create or print – trust me!
When I first started my school experience as a fully qualified Primary School Teacher, my Head of Year advised me to laminate and keep all my resources – I always stuck to this advise and it worked well for me in the long run – to the extent that I am still using the very same flash cards for changing the date each day with the children! In our first homeschooling year – 2016/2017, we began quite slowly but covered a lot of different themes that year which we knew we would look into in detail the following year as our children progressed further with their reading and writing. So everything we created was organised well into folders (on my laptop) and on my bookshelf. Each time we begin a new theme this year, we have some resources we re-use from last year and this way build a bank of resources and it always comes in handy especially if you plan to have and home school your future kids! 🙂
6.Hands-on experiences are always memorable!
I’m sure this is pretty obvious but I felt the need to include it as a reminder to myself. Since my experience of homeschooling Ammarah, Hibah and their friends in the early part of the year, we found their most memorable moments of homeschooling have pretty much been the most hands on ones. So examples include, baking in the kitchen, role play and imaginative play areas, arts and crafts and outings together or with the whole family!
7.Role-Play Area preparation goes a long way!
As we all know children LOVE learning through play, that’s why I love investing in role play areas. It really isn’t as difficult as it seems, just requires a little creativity, some labelling (easily found on twinkl.com), ideas for dressing and opportunities for writing! Here are some of the role-play areas we set up that have been a success, – Builder’s site, Doctor’s Surgery, Bedouin Tent, Post Office, Market Place 🙂 I have found that the children have been keen to mark-make or copy the writing on the template sheets provided, for example, to write up prescriptions or make appointments all because we left writing templates, pencils and clipboards!
8.Log your child’s learning progress as memories!
If time permits, this is the most satisfying tip whilst homeschooling. Not only is it important to help you to see how far your child has progressed but it is as important for your child to see how far and well they have progressed! Nursery teachers tend to log children’s achievements and EYFS assessment targets a similar way. So some ideas include scrap-booking all your child’s work (which does mean you need to be super-organised) or if like me, you like to utilise social media such as Instagram, taking a snapshot of a learning activity with some notes works perfectly as it logs chronologically. In the mean time it may also encourage some-one else to follow up the activity at home with their little ones! It’s a great way of tracking progress – so on any days you start worrying you haven’t done enough – remind yourself how much your children have done already! You can find us over on instagram – @mamateachesme to see how I log our journey.
9.Breathe and take a break when there’s too much going on – take a few days off, you’re in charge!
So, this is definitely something I have learnt towards the end of the year! There are so many reasons you may not have the perfect homeschooling day or week- illnesses, pregnancy, weddings, other circumstances! Don’t to be too hard on your self when these periods come along in your life and you begin to worry that your child is falling behind! In fact they aren’t. They, like yourselves need that period of digesting and retaining the information and learning they already have! They need a break. You need a break. My kids and I are just recovering from a week long seasonal change flu – and whilst we still managed to continue with our homeschooling (due to the nursery we run at home), I still found a way of tweaking plans in order to make them easier for us to manage. Just remember, you are in charge! Be flexible. After all, that is the ease of homeschooling -alhamdulillah!
10. Celebrate the little achievements and Enjoy it!
This is pretty much how we home school and why I enjoy it so much! We thoroughly enjoy it – not because we are experts at homeschooling, but mainly because we enjoy our learning as we try to keep it creative, fun and exciting for us – the mamas too! We take time out to celebrate through parties, outings, and achievement certificates! For example, we thoroughly enjoyed our Tea Party for parents, our end of year parties, preparing for Ramadan, Our World Book Day and World Science Day! celebrations.
Hope you enjoyed the post – did I miss anything? Share your tips with us below! 🙂