Ramadan bullet journal – FREE printable

Ramadan activity free printable journal planner family kids

NOW UPDATED WITH 5 NEW PAGES! (links below or click on images)

Over the last few years, millions of people have used and benefitted from – or, at the very least, heard about – the bullet journal method (a useful introduction to what the method is here). It is so popular because it can be really helpful: A hybrid between a planner and a journal that is completely customisable. It is a simple, inexpensive tool to track your to-dos, organise your thoughts, set your goals and work towards them, track your habits and, in general, keep every thought that is worth keeping, so that you can find it again.

Muslim journal Islamic bujo Ramadan kids printable

Why a Ramadan Bujo?

The thing about Ramadan is that it is one month of the year. A month that, for the believer, bears rewards like no other. A month that must be used well; a source of mercy that we must squeeze to the last drop. Sometimes, and for some people, the feeling of anticipation that accompanies it can be tinged with anxiety: Will I live up to the standards I hold?

Some of the concepts and techniques of the Bullet Journal Method can be easily applied to the goals of a Muslim in this blessed month, for spiritual productivity, reflection and self care: Know what you want from this time, be conscious of how you spend it and be grateful for every act of worship that you carry out, however small.

A Ramadan Bullet Journal can definitely help with that, in sha’ Allah.

Islamic resources Ramadan Muslimsh journal planner

Who is this for?

Anyone who can write can benefit from this simple resource at his or her level. I will be using it and I will make copies for my children. My older two (aged 13 and 10) will probably write or doodle in it and use the trackers, especially as a distraction if they get tired or hungry during the day. My 5 year old will want her own copy, not to feel left out, and I expect she will just doodle in it or try write a few words.

Different people will find some of the pages I offer more useful or more appealing than others. Print or copy what applies to you.

Several of the pages can be used in different ways: An 8 year old might not have lots of appointment and deadlines to keep track of in the calendar, but she can use it to write a memory or highlight for each day (more on this below).

How to use it

If you already are a lover of bullet journaling and you enjoy spending some time with your stationery (*rubs hands*), you might prefer to use these pages as inspiration and copy them out onto your notebook.

If that is not your cup of tea or, like me, you need multiple copies and don’t have the time (or patience!) to create them all by hand, print them out and either stick them on the pages of a notebook, bind them into their own booklet or punch them and add them to a binder or to your existing planner.

Please note that, if you plan to use the daily planner/journaling page (the very last of the file) you will need to print out 30 copies of it, one for each day. The same applies to the Qur’an Mind Map: they are note taking pages and you might need to print out more as you go.

What pages are included?

The 1442 Ramadan Bullet Journal comes in two different accent colours (both easy on your printer!): Gold and Blue. Each of them has two cover designs to choose from (I simply couldn’t settle on one). Each of the two colour versions includes the same pages:

  • Monthly grid (a hijri/gregorian calendar): Appointments/deadlines, or daily highlights, or daily memory, or lesson tracking, or daily doodles, or shorthand journaling, or meal planning… side column could be used for a running to-do list or notes. Note: Hijri dates are left blank for you to fill in once the moon is sighted!
  • Monthly log: the horizontal version of a calendar, you can use it for any of the uses of the monthly grid.
  • Gratitude log
  • Fast tracker and Qur’an Tracker: colour in or mark the fasting hours for each day. (PLEASE NOTE THESE PAGES HAVE BEEN REMOVED, AS THE SCHOLARS STATED IT IS NOT LEGISLATED TO TRACK ACTS OF WORSHIP. See below for new additions!)
  • NEW! “Fast Aid” Kit: A spread to help you pinpoint your struggles during the fast and reflect on what could help, with encouragement to find evidence from the authentic sources of Islam.
  • Sleep tracker: colour in or mark your sleeping hours for each day.
  • Mood tracker: colour code your mood and choose a prevalent one for the day.
  • Iftaar gallery: doodle (or record) your iftaar every day.
  • Small victories: Record something that you are happy to have accomplished each day.
  • NEW! Qur’an Words: Increase your Arabic vocabulary and linguistic knowledge – one word at a time! Choose a word from the Qur’an each day. You may add a note on the meaning or usage in the space provided.
  • NEW! Qur’an Quotes: Have you ever read an ayah that really touched your heart and thought “I must remember this one” but then you carried on reading and forgot to make a note of it? This is the page for you!
  • Qur’an Mind Map: Use these pages to write down tafseer or linguistic benefits. You can chose between 4 designs depending on how many section you want the page to be divided in (4 section in one page, down to 1 taking the whole page) and how much you want to write for each surah/ayah.
  • Ramadan goals: think about what is important that you achieve this Ramadan, reflect on the steps that will take you there in sha’Allah and record your progress.
  • NEW! Iftaar Notes: Make a note of your favourite iftaars, or those you would like to try, or the most memorable ones that your family will always associate with Ramadan 1442/2021! You could also use it as a collection to come up with your own recipes, to build healthy meals and even count calories or track macros.
  • NEW! Super Suhoor: This collection was inspired by a comment suggesting I create something with a healthy eating theme. Nutrition is more important than ever when we are fasting, so you can use this page to create ideas for your ideal suhoor, to note down new ideas and recipes or to make note on the beneficial properties of the various foods you want to include. It can be used to teach children the importance of heathy eating.
  • Ramadan daily page: inspired by the layout of popular bound planners such as Hobonichi and Stalogy, this page has a timed column on the left and space for notes, journaling or anything you want to write. Beside the date, you can also record the weather and the phase of the moon.

A reflection of your Ramadan efforts

You don’t need a bullet journal to be successful and make the best of Ramadan: Sincerity to Allah and hard work are all a believer needs. But, if used throughout (even if you skip a few days and have to play catch up a little!), a bullet journal can become a reflection of your efforts in Ramadan; it can collect your best moments and your struggles on the journey to become a better worshipper, in sha’ Allah; it can also act as a memory keeping tool, recording the development of our growing children as Muslims.

I ask Allah to let us reach Ramadan, to let us strive in it, sincerely seeking His pleasure and to shower us with His Mercy and Forgiveness!

FREE DOWNLOAD Ramadan Bullet Journal – GOLD (UPDATED)

FREE DOWNLOAD Ramadan Bullet Journal – BLUE (UPDATED)

If you download and use this printable, or if it inspires you to create your own Ramadan bujo, please share on instagram and tag @salamhomeschooling in sha’Allah!

Muslim planner ramadhan free printable islam

7 steps to restart your homeschool

7 Tips to start homeschooling after the holidays

Assalamo alaykum and welcome.

Download your FREE TA-DAH list HERE

We all have some really good homeschooling streaks: we are all nicely settled into the routine, learning takes place, the parent feels reasonably in control and everybody is pretty happy. And then… BOOM! Staying guests. A family trip. Eid. A stomach bug. The routine is broken. Maybe it is already a week after that important celebration or milestone for which you took time off and you were expecting to definitely have resumed by now… but you haven’t.

Whatever the cause of the disruption, the problem is one and the same: you cannot restart.

The kids don’t want to touch the curriculum with a barge pole and – making things even harder – neither do you!

Naturally, I have been in this predicament a number of times, so I came up with a little action plan for when your homeschool is struggling to get going again.

If you think – as I probably would have thought too, at least initially – that this might take a whole week, and that’s a long time not to be doing “actual school work”, then try to force everybody back into it and see what fun it is! (Just kidding! Don’t do that. Bear with me and read on, insha’Allah).

Task 1: Seek help where help is to be found

Nowadays, ranting seems to have acquired human right status; when things don’t go their way, many take to social media and indiscriminately “let it out” to a bunch of strangers or people that – for the most part – are not very relevant in their life. The believer, on the other hand, remembers that she has a Lord who is Merciful and Who manages all affairs with the utmost wisdom.

Don’t vent. Instead, seek help where you can find it. Seek help from Allah, as in the heartfelt advice that the Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) gave to Abdullah ibn Abbas (rady Allahu anhuma):

“…Be mindful of Allah and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, then ask Allah alone; and if you seek help, then seek help from Allah alone. […]”

You have a Lord that loves you to ask Him.

Anas (rady Allahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

اللَّهُمَّ لَا سَهْلَ إِلَّا مَا جَعَلْتَهُ سَهْلًا ، وَأَنْتَ تَجْعَلُ الْحَزْنَ إِذَا شِئْتَ سَهْلًا

“Oh Allah, there is no ease except in that which You have made easy; and, if You wish, you can make the difficulty easy.”

Collected by Ibn Hibban, graded saheeh by al-Albani

You don’t have to necessarily be hit by a major calamity in order to make these amazing words yours; they are perfectly suitable for anytime you feel deflated and at a loss when it comes to homeschooling and parenting (or life) in general.

Task 2: Reconnect

Often, when there is a break in our homeschool, parent and children each become absorbed in doing their own thing, typically those things they feel they don’t have enough time to delve into when homeschooling is on.

It can be hard to go back to structured learning while the interest for this activities we have thrown ourselves into is still so alive.

It is a good idea to do something to reconnect with our children first; in other words: do “nothing” together. I am talking about premeditated, intentional “nothing”: play games, bake a cake and invite friends, read aloud, go for walks… ask them if there is something they would like to do together and indulge in it without the pressure of having to “get work done”.

Task 3: Accept reality

Take a step back and accept that our life is made of days and each of them may come with change.

This is true of every aspect of our lives and we can certainly observe it in the patterns of our family life. Things did not change because you were unable to maintain them: they changed because such is the nature of our existence on this earth. And our nature, as human beings, is to pick ourselves up, reassess things and carry on, insha’Allah.  

Your homeschool is not a regimented institution. Your children are not in the army, nor are they in a conventional school where “they have to [fill blank]”. It is certainly not your job to make it like that!

Your homeschool does not need to be flawless in order to be an absolutely brilliant place of knowledge and growth.  Break away from that mentality if you find it is affecting you and let go of the guilt.

There was a time when change in our homeschooling setup, caused me severe insecurity and even upset me. Part of the solution to that is to put our trust in Allah and know that when He closes a door, something better for us must be on the horizon.

Task 4: Make a TA-DAH! List

We are all familiar with the concept of a “to-do” list; well, a “ta-dah” list is the opposite: instead of writing down the things you are yet to do, list what you have already achieved!

You can compile one for each child and also one for yourself as a parent and educator.

Alhamdulillah, sometimes you have to write it down to truly see how far you have come. Having this list in front of you will consolidate the notion that you have been an effective teacher and you did facilitate learning for your children.

This activity is guaranteed to encourage you and make you feel more positive about this whole homeschooling business!

Involve your children and physically write down all the amazing things that they have learned about and all the skills they have mastered.

Celebrate all the lightbulb moments, all the things – big and small – that they remember feeling happy or proud about. Include every little growth experience you can think of. From learning to tie shoelaces to showing ability to forgive; from learning how to say “hello” in a foreign language, to mastering the rules of checkers; from starting to offer the fajr prayer at its time, to learning to do a load of laundry; from perfecting the ability to shower without completely flooding the bathroom, to memorizing that hadeeth that will stay with them forever.  

You, mom, do it too. Have a list to record your own learning and growth. You are in as much need of it as your children are!

Download your FREE TA-DAH list HERE

Free printable learning log ta-dah list to celebrate learning. Use as a bullet journal spread or for your homeschool planner

Task 5: Face the curricula

At this point you enjoyed a good dose of bonding with your children and the much needed “pat on the back” that is your TA-DAH! list. You must now take stock of the materials you were using before things ground to a halt.

Don’t worry: you are ready.

Armed with a big cup of coffee – quietly creep up to the bookshelf/drawer/basket, so not to spook the books, especially after they have been abandoned in their environment for so long and are no longer used to human contact. You might find it useful to have a cookie at hand too.

Seriously, it won’t be that hard. The books won’t bite you.

Get them all out.

All you need to do it separate what has worked well for you from what did not; what you want to work with now and what might be more suitable for a later time. Decide what to carry on with and what to abandon. Streamline the whole system by reducing the materials to a minimum (what is needed as opposed to what would be lovely to also incorporate, if you see what I mean).

Homeschoolers tend to be great book lovers, educational philosophy hoppers and sometimes curriculum hoarders, but if a certain method/book/style (even – temporarily – a subject!) is putting you off resuming your homeschool, ditch it!

How to reconnect with kids in your homeschool after the holidays. Tips for homeschooling moms

Task 6: Freshen things up

Introduce a new, fresh, desirable subject to replace something you are taking a break from (gardening? Spanish? design?…). Try out a new approach to homeschooling (unschooling? Workboxes? Charlotte Mason? …). If it is feasible in terms of family routine (and budget), sign your kids up for a new activity. Include videos or documentaries to supplement your textbooks. Start (or restart) having regular poetry tea-times! (those really reinvigorate our homeschool, alhamdulillah!). Make life skills and/or handiwork part of your homeschool.

You know your children well, so you may want to surprise them with the above or you might brainstorm with them and involve them in the decision process.

Ask your kids what they are curious about, which subjects they would like greater focus on and what activities they would like to try out or allocate more time to.

Jot down everything. If your kids are anything like mine, there is bound to be some ideas that are very, very much out there. Do not dismiss those either: just because you are unable to take your children to space or coach them to kung fu mastery, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn about it. In any case, a few years down the line, it will be delightful to read that jetpack building and mining for gold in your backyard were part of someone’s plans.

Task 7: Plan for relief, not torture

You have tightened the bond between you and your students; you celebrated successes and accepted limits; you narrowed your focus by selecting the materials that you intend to use; you ignited interest and fuelled the will to learn; you breathed new life into your homeschool, kept yourself adequately caffeinated… and sprinkled the whole thing with du’a to Allah for ease and guidance.

It is now time to put it to paper. Planner paper, scrap paper, digital “paper”… whatever works best or appeals more to you. Make sure that planning your homeschool is not a task that overburdens you. It is worth spending a few moments figuring out how you want to plan to make your life easier, and not to follow what you perceive to be a winning planning methodology.

For example, not everybody finds it useful to lesson plan, and, even if you do, how detailed do you want your plans to be? Make it yours. Making it yours meaning that you might decide not to write it down at all.

If you wish to write your plan, start small: distribute little chunks of work to each of your homeschooling days for the coming week, to test your way of planning is suitable to your needs and easily manageable before committing any further to it.

Once you are happy, you may proceed to plan months ahead or even the whole year. Personally, I never dare to go that far.

Actually, it is not a matter of “daring”: it is just knowing that, when we are all settled and the whole system is running smoothly… BOOM! A 3 days conference to attend. My Arabic exams. Grandma coming to visit for a week. A spell of awesome weather and you just can’t stay indoors… aaand we will be back to TASK 1!

Does your homeschool ever suffer disruptions or runs out of steam?

What do you do to get started again? Share your tips in the comments below!

tips to resume study in your homeschool. Muslim homeschooling after holiday

Our Ramadan 1440 Homeschool (with tween friendly activities)

Ramadan activities for tweens

Assalamo alaykum and welcome.

In case anyone is still on the fence on what to do this Ramadan homeschooling wise, or needs a little inspiration or simply would like a peep into our homeschool, this is what I have planned out for this Ramadan, insha’Allah.

Formal homeschooling

None. (Hear my boys whoop!)

Ramadan is our only yearly “school” holiday. We don’t do Summer or Winter holidays, but homeschool throughout the year and take a week off every few months either when we travel to see family or when family travels to us from abroad.

It is a great perk of home education to have complete control over your holidays and arrange your “terms” to suit your family’s schedule.

I considered carrying on with maybe a “lighter” version of our usual homeschooling, due to the fact that sometimes the boys can get bored and turn a bit grumpy if they have too much freedom… but I decided to have some more crafty and recreational activities ready to surprise them with instead (see below).

Islamic studies

Islamic Studies will be pretty much our only subject of study until after Eid. We will insha’Allah read “Sittings in the Month of Ramadan” by shaykh Salih al-Fawzan (hafeedhahullah) and complete the workbook I created to make it easier for my children.

Find out more about our FREE Sittings in the Month of Ramadan workbook and download it HERE.

what to do to engage older children in Ramadan Muslim homeschooling

Ramadan basket

I always wanted to try out a morning basket but out morning are always too full, alhamdulillah.

Morning baskets are essentially a collection of books that are enjoyed together. It doesn’t have to be a basket (ours is an old, battered magazine rack that I revamped a few years ago); it doesn’t have to be in the morning either, which is why it is something high on my list after Eid, insha’Allah.

Much has been written and shared online about “morning baskets”, in a nutshell: someone reads out loud, everybody enjoys it. Some children may like to occupy their hands with colouring or some other similar activity while the reading carries on.

In the past I tried to include only books related to Ramadan, but I ended up disliking most of them and getting rid of them. So we will use the old Ramadan ones that we like, plus some new titles I bought super cheaply off ebay or second hand from my local buy&sell community.

The “basket” will include:

  • “Sittings in the Month of Ramadan” by shaykh al-Fawzaan (hafeedhahullah)
  • Picture books that Miss3 will enjoy
  • colouring/lettering books (I am thinking neon chalk pens or metallic!)
  • Pens or colouring equipment and paper
  • Our existing Ramadan related picture books
  • Some new non fiction titles (we will swap these around over the month, otherwise my poor magazine rack will explode…)

The non fiction books don’t have a specific theme, they are just books I thought it would be nice and educational to read. I bought most a while ago and just hid them to save them for Ramadan. They are: Timelines of Everything , What’s Where in the World , History year by Year, Birds (Eye Wonder), Guide to the Oceans, City (Eye Witness), Castle at War, Illustrated Book of Great Adventures.

PLEASE NOTE: I do not unreservedly agree with, nor do I deem appropriate, every single thing that is inside these books. Insha’Allah, before I present them to my children I will go through them and edit them as I see fit and I recommend you do the same.

Arabic seeds

(Disclaimer: I have just bought my own membership, full price. Arabic seeds doesn’t even know I am writing this.)

As a linguist and a lover of languages, I never had to be told twice that, being a Muslim, I should learn Arabic. In fact I started teaching myself my “alif, baa, taa” even before I embraced Islam. Alhamdulillah.

So this would make teaching Arabic to my children a piece of cake, right? erm… not so much. I have been told by my son that I “like grammar too much.” I have since been looking for ways to make the language more of a fun, “living language” and delve more into its usage than its in depth study.

Arabic Seeds does just that. I was told about it a few months ago, but there was so much going on already in our life and in our homeschool, that I postponed my subscription. But in Ramadan there will be space for it, insha’Allah. I subscribed with Miss3 in mind… but I am sure her older brothers will want to have a good nose about it and will benefit too.

Entertain tween kids in Ramadan with lego challenges games and crafts

Surprise activities

PLEASE NOTE: These are not Ramadan themed activities. My boys are 11 and 8, and past the age of the DIY moon and stars mobiles and the “good deed trees”… Their connection to Ramadan can – and insha’Allah will – happen through study. I still wanted to give them activities for two reasons:

  • To give them a constructive way to entertain themselves during the day of fasting
  • To make time to do something fun together (which is not always a given when you homeschool, even if you are around each other practically 24/7…)

In a previous post I explained how I went about choosing 30 fun activities for my children, one for each day of Ramadan. The categories I chose, based on my children’s interests, are: Lego, STEM activities, easy recipes, general crafts (of the slightly laborious kind), origami and board games.

I thought it would not be sustainable to have a completely different set of activities for Miss3, so I picked activities that her brothers would enjoy and I will adapt most of them to allow her to participate, insha’Allah. It is easier than getting an 11 year old boy to get excited about decorating a paper tiara.

Here is our activity list, insha’Allah. We will do most of these and some of the days, we will use a couple of board games/paper and pen games we never played with before. You will find more on my Ramadan 1440 Pinterest board.

  1. Lego rubber band powered car
  2. Lego secret codes
  3. Lego mosaic world map
  4. Lego guess who? (We don’t to Harry Potter or Star Wars or any of those magic/fantasy books, I just thought asking questions about such weird looking characters would be fun)
  5. Lego paper crimping and circle drawing machines
  6. Lego catapult
  7. Lego endless cube
  8. Lego disaster island challenge
  9. Tensile bubbles
  10. Family fingerprint investigation
  11. Paper circuit cards
  12. Stick raft building
  13. Craft sticks launchers
  14. Paper tetris
  15. Simple homemade lemonade
  16. Watermelon ice
  17. Ice cream in a bag
  18. Mesfouf (sweet couscous)
  19. M&Ms cookies (one for the day before Eid!)
  20. Dara (3 in a row game with a twist)
  21. Spider bowl game
  22. Pictionary words for kids (some won’t apply to our kids)
  23. Yarn bowls
  24. Paper plate weaving
  25. Shaving foam marbled paper
  26. Geometric Islamic art
  27. Fibonacci art
  28. Geode garland (free geode template HERE)
  29. 3D paper stars
  30. DIY hairclips

I ask Allah to give us all a blessed Ramadan and shower us with His mercy.
This is Allah from us. What have you got lined up for this Ramadan insha’Allah?

How to plan NO SPEND Ramadan activities

Ramadan activities for childre cheap frugal no spend craft ideas

Assalamo alaykum and welcome.

It is our most special time of the year.

As Muslim parents, we want to nurture in our children this powerful association to Ramadan so, from a few months before, the ideas start being thrown around on how to meaningfully mark this precious month.

No two Ramadans are ever the same but, in our household, there has been a constant presence every Ramadan for the last few years: The Ramadan mailbox (more info on what used to go inside it when the boys were younger HERE).

Everyday the boys would run to it as soon as they got up in the morning.

But what had started as a purely educational endeavor has, with time, become a materialistic PAIN. I started introducing a small toy the first day of Ramadan and then every Friday. Last year they had some sort of tat from an online pound shop every single day.

Meaningful and Minimal

I like to give my children something that entertains them; we know that it was the practice of the Sahabah to distract fasting children with simple toys when they became hungry. And it surely works, alhamdulillah. However, this year I will be aiming to a MINIMAL spend (to NO SPEND) Ramadan preparation for my children’s activities. The fun stuff insha’Allah. My main reasons are:

  1. to make better use of our money, and
  1. to reduce the amount of junk in my house, not increase it!

All this without disappointing the kids of course.

They will be informed about the change of direction their beloved Ramadan mailbox is taking, and it will still be great fun, insha’Allah.

They won’t be simply handed some play thing: they will be given a chance to do something fun in which we can all participate, insha’Allah.

With some careful planning we can keep the expenditure to a bare minimum (or spend nothing at all!); the easiest way to achieve this is to use what we already have available in the house.

Ramadan activities for children Muslim homeschooling cheap frugal no spend

Is it really NO SPEND?

It can be if you want it to be.

The point of the exercise is NOT to think of all the cool activities we would like to do in our homeschool and then shop for them. Rather, the opposite: see what you already have available and then find activities to use it in a fun, educational or meaningful way.

You might still need to spend something if you decide to do so.

For example, if you think everybody would love making things out of clay, and you don’t have any, then I am not suggesting you go dig up some soil from the stickiest corner of your garden. Buy clay.

However, you might have some hobbies or occasionally do crafts and have some materials lying around or stashed away somewhere (which homeschooling mom doesn’t???).

If you knit and have bags of leftover yarns, look for some cool projects that your children could make using those, instead of using the clay everyday and therefore needing to buy a truckload of it.

Reduce the shopping list to the bare minimum: don’t come up with more than 1 or 2 projects for which you will need specific tools and materials that you will have to spend on.

If you think something is worth buying for your homeschool (or for the experience of it), buy it. But be moderate with it.

The point is to save money by not buying what we don’t need. You could go to an art supply shop and go crazy, or go online and buy a boxful of craft kits just because they are on sale, but that would be a whole other type of exercise!

Coming up with a list of 30 activities, one for each day, can seem like a huge task, so I tried to break down the planning process into manageable bites. Read on, and let’s make this Ramadan special for our children, bi-idhnillah.

1. Make an inventory

In order to use what you already have, you must first know what you have.

Rummage through all your craft supplies, make a list of anything for your kids that you bought a surplus of and might have stashed away. Look everywhere for something that could be painted/ upcycled/ used in a DIY game.

You can also ask any crafty auntie, grandma, friend or neighbour if they have scraps of materials they are happy to get rid of.

You could include:

  • Stationeries
  • Craft materials
  • Art supplies
  • Toys/books you have but the children have never seen
  • Toys/books that the children have forgotten about
  • Toys you already own but can put a twist on
  • DIY toys out of recycling
  • Books you own and that you can create activities for
  • Magazines (ask on buy/sell communities)
  • Board games (there is a lot of free printable ones online)
  • Easy, kid friendly recipes
  • Good deeds ideas
  • Ideas on how to write a letter to someone
  • Receiving an encouraging message from someone they love
  • Experiences (such as outings and playdates)

And anything else that your family would enjoy!

Ideas to engage and entertain kids in Ramadan, Islamic activities and craft - homeschooling

2. Narrow down your categories

Are your children crazy about Legos? Are they into cooking? Engineering? Art? Gardening? Board games? Jewellery making? Drawing comics?… whatever they like to do for fun, or whatever new activity you think they would like to pick up, it can be broken down in a series of small, manageable activities.

I suggest to have a few different categories for variety and to maintain a certain surprise effect throughout the month, insha’Allah.

Make sure you have 30 in total. Job done, alhamdulillah!

If you are planning for different age groups, keep in mind that not all activities could be suitable for all of your children. You may need to adapt them to suit younger ones.

In order to keep this as easy and manageable as possible for you, I recommend to avoid having to come up with alternatives for different age groups as much as possible; rather, each child can do the one designed project as well as they can or with as much input as they need from you.

For example, the only activities that I really don’t want Miss3 to be involved with are the one involving button batteries (she doesn’t put things in her mouth anymore but I am nervous about that) and the pom pom hair clips making, because it will be her Eid present from her brothers insha’Allah, so it needs to be kept secret. On those 2 occasions she’ll have something else to do.

It is unlikely that she will care to take part in a Lego STEM challenge, but she will have her own baseplate to build what she wants and I expect she will enjoy rummaging madly through the bricks like her brothers.

3. Hit Pinterest

What if you know your child would enjoy hand sewing but you don’t know the first thing about it? One of the greatest advantages of the digital age we live in is that access to free learning is probably greater than it has ever been.

Pinterest is a brilliant tool for inspiration. Search for “beginner projects” in whatever craft or field you think your child would enjoy and create a board to keep all relevant results.

I make a Pinterest board every Ramadan (which, for sentimental reasons, I can never seem to delete afterwards…).

Here is my Ramadan 1440 board, if you want to have a peek.

You will find links to blog posts that also have video tutorials. If your children are small and you are completely clueless on how to build a raft with sticks or paint peg dolls, it is worth spending a little time to go through all information you have saved and educate yourself beforehand, so that things can go more smoothly when you present the activity.

If you only have older kids, it might be even more fun to learn together from scratch, insha’Allah.

4. Make a list of supplies

You now have 30 activities lined up, each will need supplies and, in order not to forget anything, I recommend compiling a master list of everything you will need for the whole month worth of activities.

I recommend printing out all the instructions first (this will also help you later on, so you won’t have to be fiddling with your mobile all the time as you do the activity); from each set of instruction, copy the list of things you will need.

To make this task easier (and – admittedly- because I thought it would be fun), I created a little printable checklist for your materials.


Then proceed to tick what you already have (which should be most things – insha’Allah!).

5. Assemble your stash

There might be some things (such as food items) that you will need to get at the last moment, but, other than those, I recommend getting everything ready before the start of Ramadan.

Gather everything you need and, if you can, put all the materials for a given activity in a separate bag (I am thinking ziplock kind freezer bags or sheet protectors for very small or very flat things), ready to open and go.

Obviously, if you need glue for 15 of the activities, I am not suggesting having 15 glue sticks, one in each bag; within reason, prepare it ahead of time as much as you can.

Keep all bags together and, of course, hide them well!

I ask Allah to let us all reach Ramadan and let us and our families take maximum benefit from it.

Have you got something special planned for your children this Ramadan?

Share it with us in the comments below!

FREE RAMADAN PRINTABLE materials list for activities and crafts

Minimal Homeschool Planning

Simple minimal homeschool weekly planning with free printables

I never trained as a teacher. When I see a lesson plan, I want to run away (and I usually do). I never buy the teacher’s book of anything: I know I won’t have the patience to go through it.

When I started off with my 3 year old, I used to overplan and overthink. I expected myself to create every single resource from scratch for it to be adequately tailored to my child (madness). I would write down everything in a lot of detail, including reflections on what the benefits of each detail would be.

After having poured my heart and soul into writing that in depth, lesson “plan” (more like a big long essay), my son would do the activity in 40 seconds and move on. I would then proceed to torture myself with self doubt (Am I hopelessly inept at this? Is there something wrong with this kid?).

After that, I resorted to “winging it”. Not so much by choice, but rather because the idea of a homeschool plan scared me:

What if I don’t stick with it?

How do I even write a homeschool plan?

As for the first question, I can only promise that, should you decide that total spontaneity works best for your family, I won’t rat you out to the planning police.

As for “How” you plan your homeschooling, I shall give you some simple principles to get it done in a minimal, doable, not overwhelming fashion.

Despite an innate tendency to bite off more than I can chew, I have to say that – alhamdulillah – if the last 8 years of homeschooling have taught me anything, it is the importance of keeping it simple.

So, here are some steps to create a simple plan for your homeschool: not too rigid or too detailed, but an amazing tool for the day to run much more smoothly!

I can write this post with all my heart, especially after having attempted to homeschool for one week without a planner. It It was an experiment and it turned out to be – how shall I put it? – the opposite of fun.

Read about my No Planning Homeschooling experiment HERE.

Simple way to plan homeschooling for beginners + free weekly planner

How to plan your homeschool year

It may seem a very big task to the novice but, generally speaking, it all boils down to answering  the following:

  • What will you use?
  • How many weeks will you homeschool in the year?
  • How many units/lessons does each subject have?

This way of planning will NOT tell you from now what exactly you will be doing at precisely 10.27 on the second Wednesday of June. However, it will help you visualise how long it is likely to take you to complete the resources you have chosen and, on a weekly basis, it will make it easier for you to be productive and to take in how much you actually do.

So, let’s get started!

1. Lists are your friends

I love lists. Not only because they give you a chance to use that awesome adult stationary that you hide from the children. The way I see it, making lists is the first step to organize ideas and come up with new ones too! What should you list? For each child make a list of:

  • Core subject (keep it minimal!);
  • Extra subjects (you might rotate them through the year);
  • Topics or subjects your child wants to learn about;
  • Resources you will use for each subject (books, websites, subscription sites, videos, activities, tutors, clubs, coops etc…). List ONLY what you actually plan to use!
  • If you have a small child, you may want to list activities rather than subjects (such as book bags, sensory play, tray activities, life skills activities, games etc…). For each activity, list the materials you will need. Tick off the ones you already have.
  • List books you want to read aloud with your children or include in your morning basket (or, if you are like us, in your Evening Basket)

Later you will divide and allocate everything you have listed in a portion of your homeschool year, but first, what exactly is your “homeschool year”?

2. Define your homeschooling time

This task will help you take stock of what your “school year/week/day” will look like. You need to know this in order to know what you can fit in them.

Cross out all holidays/celebrations/trips you know you are going to take and all days you already know you will not be homeschooling.

See how many weeks of homeschooling you have left. TA DA! there’s your homeschool year.

  • Your week: How many days a week do you plan to homeschool? Which day(s) will you have as days off?
  • Your typical day: While I do not recommend using a schedule as such, it might help to know roughly what is your time block for homeschooling (only morning? Morning and afternoon? Whenever we feel like it as long as we do at least x hours? Or as long as it takes to do x amount of work?…)

The point of this exercise is to see how much time you have each week to fill with what you would like to study with your children.

Remember that life happens: setbacks are encountered, ideas change and opportunities arise. Let this be a helpful tool and a source of peace of mind for you, rather than something you must achieve at all costs and will cause you a sense of failure if you don’t. The planner is not the boss of you!

3. Distribute your resources through your year

Do this part of the planning with your resources opened in front of you. See in how many lessons/chapters each resource breaks down into and make a note of it.

Assign each of those portions to a time chunk (a chapter a week/ a lesson a day/ etc.).

This is not to become something that you must abide by, but rather a general indication of where you could be in the maths book in 6 months and how long it could take to complete that science book you do twice a week.

With the passing of the days and weeks, you will see what works and what you may need to adjust.

4. A week at a time

This is the part I find most beneficial and that I actually stick to the most.

While I was writing this post, I did have a go at designing my own weekly planner (which you can download and print for free to your heart’s content); however, until this moment I very happily used one of the pages from the beautiful and super useful planner by A Muslim Homeschool to plan my children’s weekly lessons (or most of them).

Click here to DOWNLOAD my FREE HOMESCHOOL WEEKLY PLANNER in 43 colours (+ a monochrome option) and print as many copies as you will need.

In the top row of boxes I write the days of the week (in my house, we usually start on Saturday and end on Wednesday, but that’s entirely up to you). In the first column to the left I fill in the boxes with the subject names. Typically I use one sheet for both my older kids, split horizontally and colour coded in their respective favourite colour.

I fill in the row for each subject by opening the book or other resource I am using and allocating portions of it to each day I intend to teach that subject. How big a portion depends on various factors such as how hard the child would find that task and how much work you intend to assign for the other topics that day.

Not everything needs to be planned, there are non-core subjects that I consider ok for my children to do as they feel like it.

I think of this weekly plan as something that – if for some reason I was not available – my children (or husband) could pick up and follow to complete an adequate day of “school” work.

I rarely plan our lessons for more than a week at a time because, if you don’t complete everything and something needs to roll over, I would find it too much of a mess to amend everything (the domino effect! I don’t know how some people lesson plan for a whole year).

Free weekly homeschool planner printable

5. Apply wisdom

  • Be moderate in your expectation: If you want your child to study 10 different subjects as well as train as a gourmet chef, be a professional athlete and maybe sometimes eat, sleep and play, do not expect her to do an hour of each per day.
  • If you have never homeschooled or taught (or learned) in a 1:1 setting before, know that, what takes an hour to accomplish in a class of 20 children, only takes a small fraction of that time with 1 or 2.
  • How much work should you plan per day? Consider what the child in question is able to achieve and how much it is appropriate to “push” him.
  • Don’t forget to facture in any other scheduled activity outside the home (don’t fill her days excessively).
  • Be mindful of his emotional state. Children sometimes go through particularly sensitive patches; they might have a lot in their head. You must take that into account and to go easy on him at times. On the other hand, they can also get complacent, bored or a little lazy and therefore need a fresh challenge.
  • Observe and adjust accordingly: If your child consistently cannot go through the amount of work you set for her, it might very well mean your expectation are excessive.

Having this kind of planning in place has massively improved our homeschool: We are more productive, there is a lot less stress and frustration (usually generated by not knowing what is going on!) and – last but not least – going  through all the pages of completed weekly plans gives the frazzled, insecure, guilt-ridden homeschooling mom a well deserved boost of confidence!

What about you?

How do you make planning work for you?

Free homeschool weekly planner

11 Tips to get started homeschooling

How to start homeschooling tips beginner

Assalamo alaykum and welcome.

If you are reading this, chances are that you are somewhere between blind panic and utter excitement.

You may be a young mom with your first toddler, rearing to plunge into formal education with her to give her every ounce of yourself; or a mother whose children, for whatever reason, have not thrived, or even suffered, in school; maybe you are worried about the world we live in, where many fundamental values are rapidly been eroded, and want to safeguard and nurture faith in your children in a largely non religious society.

Wherever you are in your journey as a mother, just by being one you have a responsibility given to you by Allah. Homeschooling is a way in which we work to fulfill it.  Alhamdulillah, it is the way my family chose. Sometimes out of sheer passion and deep conviction, other times for mere lack of a better option, but here we are.

This post is not meant to provide a fool-proof, comprehensive, step-by-step program so that, if you go through it, you will suddenly emerge a successful homeschooler. I simply compiled a list of practical tips that might help you feel less overwhelmed and bring your very own homeschool closer to becoming a reality, insha’Allah.

With that in mind I created a fun simple (and FREE) GET YOUR HOMESCHOOL STARTED printable to help you jot down your ideas and find your feet as an emerging home educator.

Help for new homeschooling moms

1.  Upgrade your intention

Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

{Indeed actions are considered based on the intentions, and everyone will be rewarded according to what he intended.}  (Collected by al-Bukhari and Muslim).

If you want to home educate to feel or be regarded as super-mom, you will shortchange yourself. Homeschooling our children for the sake of Allah is a treasure that is there for the taking by those who are sincere.

Be determined not to miss out on it and rectify your intention daily: to be a mother that Allah is more pleased with; to really take charge of raising and educating the children He entrusted you with; to model the exemplary character you want to see in them; to teach them beneficial knowledge: the knowledge of their Creator and of their purpose in this life.

Writing a mission statement for your homeschool is a brilliant exercise to achieve clarity in your intention: it brings out what really matters to us, our values, our drive. Read here about how to write a homeschool mission statement.

2. Let yourself be inspired

Sampling what the main educational philosophies are about is sure to get you thinking about the way you want your homeschool to be. You don’t have to delve deep in any of them, but it can be interesting to see what they brought to the table. You will probably find that some ideas resonate with you much better than others.

Of course, as Muslims, we know that the only guidance that is complete, comprehensive and flawless is that of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, so take every educational philosophy with a pinch of salt. Never feel as though you have to fully subscribe to one of those schools of thought and stick with one method. And never turn off your critical filter.

Another way to be inspired is to see what other homeschoolers are doing. Remember, I said inspired, not intimidated!

Yes, blogs (those of people who – unlike me – know what they are doing with technology!) and social media are full of pristine images of unattainable perfection that main generate feelings of inadequacy in the reader … blah blah blah. It is up to us to be mature enough to know that there is life beyond the styled photography.

First of all, we must remember we are all humans and there is bound to be a certain amount of mess out of the shot and all around that beautiful arrangement. Secondly, someone’s fabulous online presence is by no means a hint at our “un-fabulousness”!  As with everything, be careful who you let yourself be influenced by.

3. Build beneficial connections

Who said inspiration and support has necessarily to be found online? Before child rearing was at all on my radar, I became friends with a sister 10 years older and 3 kids wiser than me, who home educated. I was impressed, Allahumma baarik. I was impressed with her children and what she was doing for them, instead of pursuing her career. Soon after, I got married and had my first son and I found myself automatically turning to this friend for advice on education. Her insight was pure gold for me who basically had just come to motherhood – let alone homeschooling – from a whole other planet! I have been picking my friends’ brains ever since. It is a reciprocal service. This of course goes way beyond borrowing each other’s resources and exchanging reviews on curricula: A good sister, who is a good friend and homeschools, can be an invaluable presence at the coffee table, when things have not gone well and you need to have coffee and pick up the pieces. Your lives are similarly invested in the upbringing and education of your respective children, so she can grasp the magnitude of successes and milestone reached with far greater appreciation than other friends or family members who have never tried their hand and home education.

You do not have to be super outgoing to meet up with someone who home educates, have a chat and ask all your questions. I cannot stress it enough: the support of your fellow homeschoolers is invaluable. Find some you get on with. Become friends.

4. Determine subjects and levels

Make a list of the subjects you want your child to learn. Don’t forget to include Islamic sciences such as Qur’an, Arabic and whatever branch of Islamic knowledge you deem suitable at this point. They don’t necessarily have to study all the subjects all the time and it helps to keep the list minimal. Have an idea of what your child’s level is. If you are in the UK, and you are not adverse to the school system, you can check out the National Curriculum guidelines for the various subjects your child would be taught if he was in school. If you are removing your child from school you will know how he was doing at the level he was. Otherwise you can go by your child’s age, look at resources for that age and see how they work for them, then adjust accordingly with more challenging or easier materials and build on that. It is possible that he might be at different levels in each subject.

5. Gather your materials

You have decided on a bunch of different subject, but what curriculum do you pick for each? again, your fellow homeschoolers will be a great asset in helping you take this decision insha’Allah. Ask for reviews, ask them to show you their books or lend them to you. Some will have homeschooled multiple children and have sampled a variety of approaches and curricula. You don’t have to agree with them and what has worked for their children may not work for yours, but do benefit from their insight! Do not go line on on a crazy excitement-fueled shopping spree and spend hundreds of pounds without having even had a look inside the books or having given a little thought to how that is going to work for you. Plus, books are not the only way to learn.

As part of your materials, get your FREE Get Your Homeschool Started printable HERE!

6. Find a place

A place to homeschool and a place to store all your homeschooling things. Do not feel as though you need to set up a “classroom”, buy special furniture, and certainly do not quote this blog to your husband among the reasons why you “must” redecorate!

All I am saying is that it helps things to work smoothly if, at the start of each day, you do not have to chase: a) your students and b) the book and the paper and the pencil and the rubber and the glue-stick …. I don’t know about you, but this is not the kid of treasure hunt I care for! I am going to be very straight with you: both things will probably change quite a few times; even when you feel you have found the perfect setting and/or the perfect storage solution, something is going to come along and cause a reshuffle. Well, homeschooling is flexible and we must at least try to “flex” with it!

7. Be serious about it (but not too serious!)

Handing your child a colouring sheet and some crayons once in a while does not amount to homeschooling him. On the other hand, you don’t want to make it too regimented and end up inflicting on (yourself and) your children a super concentrated, 1:1 version of the very kind of pressure and rigidity you wanted to spare them in the first place by taking them out of school. It would also be nice for you not to suffer any kind of breakdown… right?

So, always think about homeschooling as a natural extension of parenting. You already have charge of these precious young people: you feed them, you make sure they are dressed and clean, you try to keep them healthy and happy, you do all you can for them to experience security and love. Now you are also taking control of their education. You know that delicate balance between laxity and strictness that we try to achieve as parents? Apply it to homeschooling as well. Sometimes you will see the fruits of your efforts and you will be pleased, sometimes you will mess up and you will have to say “sorry”. Homeschooling your children looks a lot like life!

Set up your homeschool free printable

8. Know the legal requirements (if any)

In the United Kingdom homeschooling is not strictly regulated or monitored, however, if your school aged child has ever been in school, or if you have accepted a place for her in a school (even if she has never actually attended it), you will need to deregister her. This site offers some useful information on the deregistration process which basically consists in writing a letter to the child’s school. It even gives a deregistration letter template.  If your child has never been enrolled in school, as far as I know, you are under no obligation to inform anyone of your decision to homeschool.

If you are not in the UK, do check your country/state requirements and make sure you understand clearly what your rights and responsibilities are.

9. Get started as you can

Do not wait for everything to be perfect to allow yourself to start. Do not wait to have every single book, a massive stash of purposely bought craft materials, the crayons arranged in chromatic order… In fact, it might be better if you start small and avoid building up huge expectations. You have at hand your English materials, but you haven’t received the Maths book yet? Start with what you have and use it to test the waters. Maybe do that one lesson every day for a while and see how you get on. Find your feet, then build on that. There is no lesson timetable, no school bell… nothing to dictate that you should proceed at a certain pace or in a certain way, except your own sense of what is achievable and appropriate for today.

10. Prepare for criticism

I once came across someone who, after mentioning how many tens of thousands of pounds *gasps* they spent yearly for the private schooling of their children, looked positively disgusted when I contributed to the conversation that mine had never been in school.  Almost as if I said I had left them in the wild, to be raised by wolves! when she recovered, she asked: “But can they, like… read???”

Home education has been happening for decades in the in the UK but, 10 years ago in my country of origin, the homeschooling community was almost non-existent, to the point my mother was adamant it was illegal. Even in a country like the UK where, a couple of years ago, the number of homeschooled children was 48.000 (but in reality it is bound to be more), the idea of alternative ways to educate might be welcomed with skepticism.

Your family might be completely unfamiliar with the whole concept of homeschooling and, as a consequence, fear it. You might enjoy frequent replays of  “But you are not a real teacher” interspersed with “they will grow up to be weird loners”. Prepare for the fact that it might happen. Don’t engage in arguments. Don’t let it get to you. Chances are that insha’Allah the skepticism of those close to you will soon turn into admiration. You might overhear your mother boasting about you to her friends. If your relatives need a little nudge to be supportive, why not find a way to involve them in your children’s learning? as for those critics that are not close to you, debating with them is not our job.

11. Trust Allah. Trust yourself. Trust the process

Allah says in the Qur’an:

{And whoever is dutiful to Allah, He makes a way out for him from every difficulty. And He will provide for him from places he never could imagine. And whoever puts his trust in Allah, He will suffice him.} [Surah At-Talaaq: 65:2-3]

Trust Allah. Know your Lord. Know with certainty that He has all power and ability, among all other things, to guide us when we are confused and to rescue us from our mistakes. While He sustains the whole creation, His special closeness and guidance are obtained by those who strive harder to please Him.

Trust yourself. Do not think that, because you are not a qualified teacher, your children’s education will be inferior to that offered in schools. If you can learn, you can homeschool. Remember, you haven’t always been a confident mother, you weren’t born able to manage a household or do any of the other amazing things that you have mastered. You learned them. Similarly, you will acquire those teaching skills. As you gain experience, you will feel increasingly confident as a homeschooler; formal qualifications per se will not give you that. If you don’t know something, you can look it up. You are not expected to know everything beforehand. There is nothing demeaning in learning along with your child something you don’t know or have forgotten.

Trusting the process means believing that, although you may not see quick results, the days will add up and the work you put in will show in your children, not only in their academic achievement but also, and especially, in who they are. It will not happen overnight. In fact, homeschooling is not a great source of instant gratification as much as a long term investment. But the Muslim knows that none of their sincere efforts will be in vain. And the Muslim parent that chooses to home educate, does so knowing that Allah does not abandon those who do their best on His path.

Are you new to homeschooling and something worries you?

Are you  an experienced homeschooler with more tips to add?  

Please drop us a line in the comments below!

Free homeschool planner to get your homeschool started. Start homeschooling for beginners. Free download

No planning Homeschooling

Can you homeschool without planning

For our second homeschooling week of February 2019, I decided to forsake my current homeschool planner, which I have been happily using for a solid 7 months.

Why? I am not exactly sure. Alhamdulillah, our homeschool was on a roll or, at least, so it seemed to me.

In reality, despite feeling I had found a happy balance between my current level of planning and flexibility, the steady amount of school-work related moaning from my children pointed to the fact they craved more freedom. (See how I plan HERE and decide for yourselves if it is too much!)

Alhamdulillah, some valuable lessons were learned along the way.

I kept a daily journal to capture my thoughts in real time. This is what happened.

The day before

I announced to the boys that we are taking a mini break from all the books and that, for a week, they could pick which subjects or topics to learn about, with the exception of homework that would have to get done for other teachers (for tutoring sessions and various “clubs” they attend).

I asked them to come up with at least 2 or 3 subjects of study each, in case I cannot find resources for one of their chosen topic.

MISTAKE #1: I should have told them 1 week in advance, so I could have gathered the material in a timely manner, instead of doing the last minute scramble for resources that I can see myself doing tomorrow (which I hate!…ggggrrrr).

There were some valid ideas: Mr11 said electronics and circuits, cooking, properties of metals (he needs to know in order to build his own car); Mr8 is also into circuits, he also mentioned Italian and using money. Some other ideas were more out there: metal work, martial arts (not surprised. I have been asked to include kung fu in our subjects at the beginning of this year) and then someone started a sentence with “we could buy some dynamite…”  (WHAT HAVE I DONE???!!!)

Day 1


Soon the kids will descend upon us for breakfast. I feel anxious because I don’t have a plan for today’s activities. I am regretting this “mixing it up” idea …I fear it will be a waste of time.

IDEA: Maybe I will make them come out with the plan and with idea on where to find the resources. I will also explain to them that, if the resources they need are going to come in a week, the are not going to be sitting and waiting for them without taking out the maths books.   


The morning went ok alhamdulillah. After breakfast I asked the boys to help me compile a list of subjects they want to learn about (inside my actual planner, I just couldn’t help it!) AND where we could find resources, in order to keep it realistic.

While they were doing their Qur’an lesson I briefly searched online and stumbled across Khan Academy, where I promptly registered them to the computer programming course. They both completed the intro and first lesson.

Mr8 did some of his homework for his Maths club, then we went to the library. This was great because we had books to return, nothing else scheduled and we were hunting for resources. It made perfect sense!

MISTAKE #2: I want to “let go” but I am not really letting go, am I?…

Day 2

Last night I was in bed thinking about what to do with the children: This is not good. This lack of structure is stressing me out a lot more than I thought it would. I resolved we would do the following:

  • Usual Qur’an lesson
  • Coding lesson(s) on Khan Academy
  • Each child picks a book from those he chose at the library. Read aloud.
  • Read and retell (I am not following Charlotte Mason as such, but I find this technique would be immensely beneficial and I have been wanting my children to pick it up for a while).
  • Some maths. Usual maths, from their textbooks.
  • Mr11 will make sourdough bread (he has been feeding his starter for a week now, Allahumma baarik).
  • Mr8 will also cook something, probably some treats to take to their friends’ house this afternoon.
  • A foreign language game

Day 3

7 am

Yesterday we managed to achieve all but the last 2 bullet points. I had to cut the morning work short because I had my online Arabic class and in the afternoon the boys had been invited to their friends’ house. It was ok, alhamdulillah.

We received the first of the books on electronics I bought for the boys and somehow this makes me feel a little better about the whole set-up. So now, just before the kids descend on me for breakfast, I cannot help myself from jotting down another bullet list:

  • Qur’an
  • Coding
  • Electronics book (make list of components we will need for the projects – even better if we learn what they actually are insha’Allah!)
  • Read and retell (or do something to make the information yours)
  • Maths
  • Homework for art class (tomorrow!)
  • (insha’Allah this time) a foreign language game
  • Islamic studies: brainstorm with them on how they can own their information (retell? Make a poster? Make notes? etc…)

NOTE: see how I am ending up shaping and somehow “owning” the process? I don’t think I could ever unschool nor do anything similar to it. But I am not going to label this “MISTAKE#3” because I don’t believe it is one.


We have achieved all of the above, alhamdulillah. I feel less stressed about the plan (although I still dislike the feeling of “winging it”).

I can tell there has been learning, and the boys definitely prefer doing subjects they have chosen as opposed to what I think they should be learning. I do still feel we are doing less though. We were done in about 2 hours which, even by our standards, is pretty short… * nervous laughter *

Day 4

Tuesday is the busiest day in our homeschool. It did NOT go well.

My teaching to the boys on Tuesdays is squashed between their early art class and my online Arabic at 11. After their art class I am usually ready to:

a) tell them what they are doing and

b) sit with them to guide them through what they need help with (especially Mr8)

So they are set for the whole morning before I have to go, and they can finish the work independently or with minimal input (insha’Allah).

Today it was 10.30 and I still nobody had a clue who was doing what! I ran (or, one might say, “crawled”) back to our curricula and assigned something quickly, trying to explain my Mr8 what was expected of him. I was stressed out, hungry, didn’t have time for coffee or a snack and was late to class (2/2 times this week!). The boys of course disliked doing their work like that.

Not a happy bunny.

IDEA: from next week I will schedule more things to do for Mr11 and fewer for Mr8: why didn’t I do that before? Mr11 always self motivated to finish as quickly as possible, while Mr8 needs a lot more input and more of a push to progress through the whole list of topics I have planned…does he need all that, daily? (and do I???)

I am finding myself planning next week already. I obviously missed it.


I didn’t write anything for this day and I don’t have a clue what we did. Other than trying out our first electronics project (a battery torch that did not work. Big disappointment all around, alhamdulillah. We did learn the names and functions of all the pieces though!)

Could it be that I have spent this day running around like a headless chicken?

Could it be that the wave of spontaneity and relaxation swept me off my feet and transported me to the realm of homeschooling awesomeness?  

I will leave you to guess that.

Lessons learned

It has not been an entirely pleasant experience (for me), but I surely learned some important lesson that in sha’Allah I hope will be of benefit for the future.

What I learned about my kids

My kids would love to be unschooled. Seriously, when they saw me editing this post, they asked what is “unschooling” and they both went: “WOAH! AWESOME!”

I also realised that – due character as well as maturity – only one of them would truly benefit from that way of learning.

I was reminded that my children, particularly my eldest, need more time set aside to learn what interests him (unless that involves dynamite!).

What I learned about myself

I found not planning a lot more stressful than I thought I would.

Efficiency is very important to me (I need to see that some daily objectives have been achieved).

I believe that kids can learn by following their own interests, but I cannot “do it”. I probably put myself under too much pressure to be able to “go with the flow”.

UPDATE – How have things changed?

My little experiment gave me some good insight into the way we homeschool and approach learning. It showed me that – here and now in our homeschool – the balance between structure and freedom and spontaneity needs to be reassessed.

Our single most important problem is the friction between me and the boys when they complain about having to do certain work. In fact, there often is a general sense of “oppression” related to their schoolwork. They would be very happy to only ever pick up a book if and when they love it, but I do not think that it is in their best interest to homeschool them like that. So I will try to apply my newfound knowledge in 3 ways:

  1. Remembering that the value of the overall experience exceeds the completion of a certain portion of tangible work;
  2. Unschooling might have at least some aspects that could benefit our family (I say “might” because I believe its benefits can only be truly reaped if one does it completely and over time);
  3. Trust is necessary in the homeschool: the parents must trust their children’s ability to learn freely; the children need to trust their parents in the choices they make for their benefit, even when it comes to their education.

I am also trying to relax a bit * evil laugh while stroking planner *

What about you? Have you ever experimented different methods in your homeschool?

Have you ever ditched your planner to go with the flow?

Let us know how you found it in the comments below!

no plan homeschool freedom