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One of the sisters had a series of questions for us. We will be answering them one by one in several posts. The first of which is the following.
My question really is how do you manage to teach your son all of the above subjects, and STILL dedicate enough time to his Hifdh?
Jazakallahukhayr for your questions. In regards to memorizing Quran I always feel like we need to find more time. That being said we’ve decided to take an approach in our homeschooling where we study multiple subjects at the same time. This may force us to move at a slower pace as opposed to if we did nothing but memorize Quran until our child completed his memorization. As we balance the multiple subjects, we pray that we find success is in consistency. In order to continue this method of studying multiple subjects, balance is required. The following are 6 points that I feel help us to manage our schedule
1. Sincerity and Sacrifice: We have to pray that Allah give us sincerity. He has blessed us with children and our gratitude will be shown in how we raise them. Their education is a major part of that. No one said this is going to be easy. And the beginning is often the hardest part. Most homeschool sites or blogs will omit the daily struggle, but there are tough days. Homeschooling takes up time, effort, and patience and you have to be willing to sacrifice for the sake of Allah, and remember why you are doing this in the first place.
2. Have a plan: Having a set weekly schedule as well as lesson plans, curriculums and resources ready to go will greatly help you to achieve your goals. A lot of time is saved when you know what you will be doing for the day, and you have all the books/printouts/links at your fingertips ready to go. As a result lessons go a lot more smoothly and you are able to achieve a lot more due to not wasting time searching for lessons or resources.
3. Short and Sweet: Something that we have come to realize is that not all lessons should last an hour or more, in fact some of the subjects our children enjoy most and excel in are very short lessons. The most important factor in a child’s progress is consistency. A few of our lessons really only take 20 minutes or less provided we have cooperation from our children. For example Abdurahman is reading Stories of the Prophets, and on good days this may take no more than 20 minutes sometimes even less. My Arabic Lesson teaching my youngest son Nuh to read does not take more than 20 min. Arabic Sight words with Abdurahman may take no more than 10 minutes. We spend less than 15 minutes on Geography a day. I may spend about 30 min with Quran. This is about 6 lessons in less than 2 hours. It may not seem like a lot but the tortoise wins the race. On a day to day basis things may seem slow, but when we look back we are amazed at what gets accomplished. Having long drawn out lessons are hard to fit into my busy schedule, but when I’m passing through the house on the way to a lesson at the masjid, I can squeeze in 15-20 minutes, I can’t squeeze in an hour. Keeping lessons short and sweet allows for this. It is also a benefit that I don’t have the common complaint of difficulty with my child’s attention span because we do not sit long enough for him to get bored.
4. Independent Learning: We are currently working on teaching our children to do work on their own without direct supervision. For example I will read a page of Quran a few times with Abdurahman, and then send him to the other room to read it out loud by himself for memorization. I’ve recently started teaching him to write in Arabic using a book that starts with tracing, and he typically does two pages a day by himself sitting at his desk in his room by himself. Teaching my children to become independent learners allows me to add subjects without adding additional parent to child time, which frees me up to do other things or study with the other child.
5. Be flexible: We try to disperse our subjects throughout the day. This allows our children time to play, while attend to the things that we need to get done. We may do one or two subjects at the beginning of the day then give them a break. One child may play, draw, ride their bike or do some independent work while we work with their sibling. Later on I might come back to the first child or both of them depending on the subject. Sometimes the boys will study Quran together even though they are both at different places in their memorization. They will each take turns in reading a portion of what they have memorized. Most of my lessons take place in the evenings because this is when I have time after coming back from school and work. If I was home 24hrs a day maybe we’d change things up but my schedule dictates that this is all I can do so that’s what I do.
6. It helps if Dad homeschools too: In my case it makes all the difference that my wife (may Allah bless her) is helping with most of the homeschooling. That being said judging by our Facebook statistics, it seems that the overwhelming majority of Muslims out there who are homeschooling or interested in homeschooling are the sisters. If your husband isn’t already helping out then getting a few small lessons out of him in his fleeting moments of free time really could take things up a notch. I may only be able to fit in 30 min of Quran during the each day during the weekdays, but that 30 minutes is added on top of the 45 minutes that my wife spends with my son. That almost doulbes the lesson time. Having someone in the struggle with you gives you someone to bounce ideas off of and to also lighten your workload. As I stated before my schedule is packed and so I make my lessons compact, and every little bit counts. If lessons are previously prepared than it really doesn’t take a lot of time and this may help your husband’s get involved if they are not already.
We hope you all find these suggestions helpful. Insha’Allah in our next Q & A we will be discussing the topic of “Are we doing too many subjects?”