Math Poems

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My 6.5 year old struggled with advanced math concepts when it came to addition and subtraction. He knows his number bonds, can add numbers well but when it comes to carrying forward (in addition) or borrowing concept (in subtraction), he would have a brain freeze!

We literally went through the concepts in multiple ways for over 6 months. We kept leaving it for a while and then coming back to it later, hoping to be able to get it this time!…but it was always a struggle…until……

We found the math poems!

These poems have worked wonders for us! He has not only mastered the concept, but can also trace his working step by step by going through the poems he memorized. Masha’Allah this is a life saver for all those struggling with this similar concept.

Download the Math Poems in PDF format here

The day I discovered: “Routine”

Julie bogart! This is one name I have to take when discussing the topic of “Routine”. Julie from Bravewriter is a living homeschooling manual. Seriously, if you haven’t checked her podcasts, do so right now! Her experience and the ease with which she explains her strengths and weaknesses, ups and downs, good days and bad days, divert your mind to look for the silver lining!

I have always been a scheduling kind of person. I don’t like to plan my lessons in advance (not that i haven’t tried doing that), but i do appreciate some sort of structure. Last year, I tried assigning days to subjects. For example: Saturday was always a free day and i chose this day for “Art”. I thought we would get creative and enjoy the freedom as we will all be in a stress-free zone. What happened? You guessed it! No art happened for over 6 months! Every Saturday (which is a weekend for us down here in Doha), something came up! We were either outdoors, or had guests or something else. Art was never going to happen. This made me miserable…

I started planning my second year of homeschooling in August. I wanted to make major changes as we had slacked off quite a bit. By this time all we were able to do was Math (consistently). This is when i listened to Julie Bogart and heard about routine. Julie emphasizes on having a routine as opposed to a schedule. A routine is flexible, schedules are rigid. Schedules throw you over when things don’t go as planned leading to unnecessary stress and anxiety.

My children love structure and I always thought, going without a “Schedule” will effect my kids big time. My older one cannot function without a proper schedule. Upon searching more I came across a post on “Sonlight” website (link provided at end of post). This is when things changed for me completely.

This article introduced me to the 3 part homeschool routine: Morning Time, Table Time and Tea Time! I embraced it instantly. This is what my homeschool needed! A routine with flexibility as well as structure.

So my children know, every morning there will be a Morning Time, a Table Time and a Tea Time. The topics we cover under each “Time” can vary day in day out. At the end of the day, you can say you covered three aspects of homeschool routine! How do i schedule my routine 3 part homeschool routine? My next blog post covers just that…

This is the link to 3 part homeschool routine by Sonlight

 

Homeschool Planner

So..i have been on the lookout for a decent homeschool planner. My criteria was quite demanding. I found some wonderful planners online but they didn’t meet my requirements.

I wanted something that would incorporate two children, would be completely undated and simply colourful!

I have designed this planner for my personal use, and i have taken inspiration from various planners available online. It is very simple and basic. If you would like to use it, feel free to download and use. I also design customized planners, if you would require so.

The benefits of this planner are that they can be used starting at any time of the year. You can handwrite all information you require. For every month there is a book list, resources required and unit study planning page. Attendance pages are just for my accountability. Something to look back to and plan the consecutive years. I would love your feedback on this.

Download My Homeschool Planner (Full Colour)

Download My Homeschool Planner (Grayscale)

Download My Homeschool Planner (Lesser Colour)

Monotonous homeschool routine….!

So, we started off homeschooling with a lot of vigour and excitement…and that is what homeschooling is all about! Breaking free from the norms of the society and culture, relishing oneself, whilst stimulating the untapped zones of the brain.

However, lately, our focus has been diverted to hours upon hours of written work, exercises and the urge to move forward. Target-driven approach you may say, which has led me to my laptop to do some research on how to make homeschooling fun. I would love to have input from anyone who comes across this blog post…in the meanwhile, here are some amazing finds…which i believe will surely help boost the morale around here and spark up some imagination and excitement.

Visualize It: As you read a story aloud, have your child draw a picture of what is happening in the story. (Abeka- website).

Oh i love this one and i can’t wait to try it!

Be a Reporter: Let your child create her own newspaper. She can interview family members or friends for stories. After writing the stories, she can glue pictures next to each article (Abeka- website).

Let your child start a Blog: My 9 year old was absolutely thrilled with this idea. He has this passion for learning about living creatures. A year ago, it was all about panthers and big cats, this year it has moved on to bugs and creepy crawlies. He has such an amazing record of information that i think will be exciting to write a blog on…plus, he is a techie! (like mother like son!). I am thinking, what greater way to incorporate Language Arts, Science, Research and IT…all in ONE lesson. Bring it on!

Get out of the house (classichousewife.com): So Guilty!!! Yes we do go out! Maybe more than i would want to…but they still haven’t been able to make permanent friendships with other homeschooling children. I blame myself entirely for this. Being an introvert does not help one bit! However, life is all about learning and all about change…maybe with the help of my children and the motivation, i will be able to break free from this bad habit…and practice what i preach and that is to “Make more friends”.

Smile A LOT! I need to stick this in every nook and corner of my home! As simple as it may seem, it can often be overlooked so easily! It amazes me! We get so tied up in the daily routine, deadlines, targets and football practice…that we just forget to smile!

The purpose of this post, is to remind homeschoolers…and especially myself…on how important it is to keep the fun factor moving….It is easy to follow a curriculum, it is easy to attain targets…but what’s important? Making happy memories!

I will indeed come back to this post, more often than i expect…

 

 

The Big Decision!

confusion

The Mind – during decision making!

For all those that know me will probably know how much i freak out when it comes to making life changing decision…i think, we all do! This is the worst part of adulting…making D-E-C-I-S-I-O-N-S.

This one wasn’t just about moving countries, or changing jobs…it was something huge! It was about the life of our children, their future, their entire failure and success…we were taking this in our very own hands…homeschooling!

Lets take a step back from here and understand why we even thought about this in the first place…

The idea about homeschooling had been in and out of our minds for quite sometime. Three years ago, we were immersed in the idea but never had the courage to take the plunge. It was too scary! How could I, a mother, who has never taught any child before, pull my children out from mainstream schooling and wreck their future? It was just too difficult to accept and topped with uncertainties and lack of confidence…we ditched the idea. The boys went back to school and i found a wonderful job. Life was busy, very busy.

To give you a feel of how our life transformed by my ability to work and support our home…read this…we were living in absolute luxury. Family time was drastically eliminated from our lives. It was a fast paced, materialistic life. This went on and on and on for a year. My children demanded time, particularly my time…as a mother…i didn’t have any to give them.

Life started becoming a burden. Here was the slump, the dreaded slump we face after having a very enjoyable materialistic life. Alhamdulillah for this blessing…this is when you get the wake up call…that something isn’t going right.

It was the 7th of September, 2017…the worst day of my working life. I cannot put into words how horrible my day was at work. Usually, i am a very strong person, i do not break down as easily, that day i did. I had had enough.

I remember ranting to my husband on that day, and sarcastically saying, “I will homeschool them”. I didn’t get a single reply from him all day…odd. Only after he came home, he said to me, “I think this is a sign from Allah, this is the right time to start homeschooling”. I stood there, watching the words pour out, in shock. He was right.

SubhanAllah, i do not have words to express how things happen. I frantically looked up to find the homeschoolers group in Doha. I stumbled upon a post that said there was a homeschoolers meet up at IKEA the following Saturday, the 9th of September, for people who were new to homeschooling or couldn’t make up their minds about it. We had to go.

Saturday, was the day everything changed. We went to the meet up, asked numerous questions and while asking those questions, i felt that my mind and heart was at the right place. I was ready to homeschool. During this difficult decision making process, my dear friends were of utmost assistance. They pushed me through, made me feel i was good enough and confident enough to stand up for myself. And so i did…stand up for myself and the future of my children.

September 10th, 2017…i resigned. It wouldn’t have been so easy, if it wasn’t for the sake of my children. Three days into the decision making process and my mindset had been transformed.

I am able to trust a stranger, being with my children for over 8 hours a day…but i do not trust my motherly instincts and my ability to teach?

Working in a school had opened my eyes to various aspects. Children are social animals. They are free birds, who like to soar high in the sky…that is when learning happens. However, in a school setting (with intentions not being questioned here), just with the sheer amount of children in a single building, this freedom is compromised. Children are constantly asked to “shush”, constantly asked to “suppress their thoughts”. Academically, the attention a child can get from a teacher with 20 children isn’t good enough for me.

I have taught my children how to walk, talk, manners, hygiene and more. I was their only educational institute when they were born. What makes me think i can’t do it anymore?

And so…we took the plunge. We were officially going to homeschool and we still are…Alhamdulillah.

Thinking about the reactions we had from people around us..? let’s leave that for another post shall we?