The Beginnings of Homeschooling…

For some time now I’d decided that I wanted to try my hand at homeschooling my kids.  I mean heck, I am a teacher and all.  But I find myself having a hard time waiting…I’m not the most patient person.  The problem is, I’m still kind of clueless about how to go about it.

Can I start now? What do I want to teach?  And once I decide what I want to teach them, how will I go about it?

I know enough at this point to realize that we probably won’t have anything structured in the day, since my kids are only 2 years old.  This is basically what we’ve been focusing on so far:

  • Reading Aloud.  I’ve been reading aloud to my kids since the week they were born.  I began by laying them down on the bed or in my lap, and holding picture books over them.  We focused on books with lots of alliteration and repetition.  At this age they are beginning to learn the direction that books go in.  They are gaining vocabulary.  They are also building stamina…the more we do it the farther we can go in the book before they get antsy.  Now its taken on a new meaning.  Reading aloud means snuggling together and talking…lots of talking.  We talk about the pictures.  We talk about what comes next.  Sometimes, we don’t even spend them much time actually ‘reading’.
  • Book etiquettes.  This is a touchy subject.  I have this idea in my head of how I want my kids to fall in love with reading and books.  In order to achieve that, I have to give them some ‘alone time’ with books.  Time for them to pick them up on their own and explore them by choice, unassisted.  But we all know that means running the risk of some wear and tear.  At this point, I’m kind of ‘over it’.  We keep books on low shelves in their room, but they are ALL board books.  Library books are checked out every 6 weeks (about 6-7) and we keep those high up on a counter.  They can reach them if they really want to, but they’re out of sight for the most part, and usually come down when mama is there to read them.  The books in their room are semi-ripped.  But the crazy thing is, they sometimes spend hours looking at the pictures on a ripped off cover, so I don’t really get rid of the ruined books.  While we’re still working on the whole ‘we don’t rip books’ thing, we also don’t step on them, and we try to keep them on the shelf.  (the highlight of my day today was when Musa was cleaning up before nap time…I had placed a book on the shelf with the binding facing up and he came behind me and turned it so it faced out…is it crazy that THAT made my heart melt?!  It was better than a hug!)
  • Arabic.  So I don’t really speak Arabic, which can be kind of problematic when you’re trying to teach it to your kids! 😉  So there’s a couple things we do.  We watch arabic cartoons on YouTube and on DVD’s.  This helps get them acclimated to the phonemes (sounds) in the Arabic language, but I’m not fooled into thinking it does much more then this!  The real key to language acquisition is keeping it interactive.  What I need to do (we’ve been kind of lazy about this) is continue teaching them one word at a time by actually using that word.  We started with the names of some fruits and other household objects but I really need to keep this up.
  • Quran.  As most of us do, we have been reciting and playing Qur’an to the kids for a while.  Recently though I noticed a big leap in their memory, so I thought I’d try to start actively trying to help them memorize.  Instead of starting with a surah, we started with a du’aa (rabbanna atina fid-dunya to be exact).  I broke it down into chunks, and paused in between each ‘chunk’ for them to repeat.  I noticed that they memorized the beginning very quickly, and pretty soon instead of repeating what I said they would say what came next.  They still don’t say the whole du’aa on their own though.  I think we are a little ways away from that.

Saira Siddiqui


  1. Glenn Doman’s system outlined in ‘How to Teach Your Baby to Read’ is a little overboard in my opinion, but I think his idea of teaching the itty-bitties to read by sight isn’t a bad one at all, as long as one doesn’t neglect the phonics later. One doesn’t have to be so structured about it as he is and do the whole thing; but LABELING things around the house, writing family members’ names on big flash cards and reading them together for fun, and playing games with the flash cards all worked well for me. Also, making your own books about the kids and your family and reading them together is good. The kids always seem to memorize those because they are so meaningful. I made one for Sarah when she was two (almost three). We used photos of her and she helped decide what to say underneath each picture.

  2. assalamualaikum,
    I love your website mashaaallah. I was reading Umm Sarah’s comment and this is why I clicked on this post in particular. I also used Glenn Doman’s method with all my kids. And I want to say that mashaallah, even when not followed to the T, the program works mashaallah. I did it somewhat to the littlest detail (roughly) with my first, and she was reading at age 3 + and she is now a very avid reader, and we did do Phonics later on too but bec she was already reading, when we did Phonics, it was very breezy. The rest of the kids are like that too. With my 5th, I started Glenn Doman when he was a baby, but then stopped bec he had multiple food allergies and i was just struggling dealing with that and learning about it, so I dropped it. And I tried starting it up again but he wasn’t that interested but he is now also reading a lot, out of his own will, and understanding it too (most of it) I’d say that the teach to read by sight is best done when they’re young, and Phonics shold follow later on. I also did somewhat of the same with learning to read Arabic, so they basically learned to read WITH tajweed, without knowng the tajweed rules, and now, I’m teaching them the tajweed rules in detail and i noticed that it’s so easy for them to get them, as opposed to me when I was younger. So I guess the order what is taught and how it’s taught do matter. I don’t know if this can be generalized to all children, but it worked with my kids, and so maybe it might work with yours too if you’re interested. For the glenn doman method, I also used our own photos and i modified the method a bit and somewhat used the concept of the method when teaching Arabic. jazakilah khair for a wonderful site!

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