Teaching to Read

Reading is the key to learning. Every subject will require reading and the stronger your child is in reading, the more independent and successful they can be at schooling. The first revelation in the Quran is Iqra – Read. It’s a command from Allah(swt). Learning to read is the most important step towards learning.

There are some great books out there that can help you start this rewarding task. One book I used and was successful with is, “Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons”. The use of word families, pick simple books from the library and practice with your child. Read to your child while pointing to the words, encourage your child to read one page while you read the next. Don’t focus on the spelling. It’s not important that they can spell all the words they can read, as long as they can consistently read them. With reading and practice, the spelling will eventually come.

Practice, Practice, Practice! Practice is the key to getting them to read. Encourage them to read instructions on their assignments, signs, labels, titles, ads, cereal boxes, anything and everything they can. Help them break down bigger words into syllables, cover part of the word to help them break it down, but don’t overwhelm them. If there is a word that they are struggling with help them break it down, show them how to break it down. If the word doesn’t follow a regular phonetics pattern, say it for them and repeat it as many times as they see it and they will eventually memorize the words (sight words).

As parents, caregivers, and educators, we need to provide support and encouragement to children. Teaching them to read is rewarding for them and us!

Here are some books that can help you teach your child to read:

Dr Seuss books
Biscuit series
Frog and Toad Together
Pete the Cat
Henry and Mudge
Eric Carle books
BOB books

Begin with the End in Mind

Just like anything in the world, one should begin homeschooling with short-term and long-term goals. Goals give you a purpose and direction and that is exactly what is needed, especially when things get tough.

Personal Goals

These are your goals, the parents/guardians who will be doing the schooling. These should be SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound. What do you want to accomplish on a daily basis? What do you want completed monthly, quarterly, mid-year, and at the end of the year? These goals will be how you rate your success and give you a sense of accomplishment that will help you continue. Have those goals in your mind and have them written down so you can refer back to them as often as needed, but at least once a month.

If you feel that you and your child(ren) are unable to complete your goals on a regular basis, you should reevaluate to see if those goals are realistic for your situation. Every family will have different abilities because of their family dynamics. No single mold fits every family. Don’t compare your family, children, and situations to others, it may lead to dissatisfaction and to discouragement.

Childs goals

Every Child should have their own personal goals as well. These may not be as specific or realistic as an adults but the adult can help them set them to be achievable. For example, “we will complete X number of units in X number of subjects in the month of October.” Children need to know what is expected of them so that they may pace themselves to be successful. Keep in mind that children don’t necessarily understand or view success the same way adults do. Children also may not be able to set goals for themselves and need guidance.

Don’t compare the goals and/or accomplishments of one child to another. Each child is different and develops at their own pace. As parents/educators who guide them in this very important endeavor, we must be supportive. We need to be especially supportive in times when they feel unsuccessful. Comparing them to their peers/siblings will only add unnecessary pressure and resentment towards those whom they are being compared to as well as towards those who compare them.

I am not saying not to have high expectations for your children. We should indeed have them try to their best ability but keep in mind each child’s ability is different. One child may be a whiz at math and can attain high grades without much effort whereas another child may work for hours and still get B’s or C’s; recognize their effort and not just the outcome, just as Allah judges us for our efforts and not just the outcome. Children need encouragement and a loving and caring environment to succeed. That can not be provided without the support of the parent.

Short Term Goals

These goals are for a yearly basis and can even be broken down to quarterly or mid year. This will help one stay focused and not overwhelmed. Take each day as it is and see how you can improve. If you have you feel that your goals are not being fulfilled on a daily basis, re-evaluate them and set up some simpler ones.

Maybe your goal is only short term. Some parents may pull children out of traditional schools for grades, if they have fallen behind, need extra help in certain subjects, or memorizing Quran. These are all perfectly acceptable but keep your goals clear. These goals should be explicit between the parents and child(ren). Keep communications open between all parties as clarity will allow success and harmony in the family.

Something that I have done with my children is, we have 160 lessons/per grade, our goal was to finish all the lessons by the end of May. We broke it down further to 20 lessons every month and gave ourselves one month buffer for vacation and breaks, difficulty with concepts, more engaging topics, illness, and/or anything else that may come up.

Long-term Goals

In general when people plan their long term goals, it’s a 5-year and a 10-year plan. However, in our case, you can break them down as Pre-Elementary (Birth – Kindergarten), Elementary (Grades 1-5), Middle School (6-8), and High School (9-12). The ultimate goal is what you decide between you and your family.

Is Homeschooling Right For Me?

Long ago before there were school houses, children were educated in their homes. They were not sent to schools for an education. Then there came school houses, made for those who could not educate their children at home for various reasons. Overtime, it became a tradition to send children to schools to get an education. It even evolved from a one room school that housed multiple levels and ages of children to a single level or age per a classroom.

Why homeschool? Is it right for me? Can I do it? Am I organized? What about socialization? Will my family and/or friends approve? Are they really learning? Am I equipped to teach the child? How will they get into college? How will I do it? The questions are endless but what you need to ask yourself is, am I, my child, and my family willing to make the homeschool investment?

Some of the things to take into account if you are going to homeschool your child….

  • Am I confident enough to teach my child?
  • Is homeschooling right for my child?
  • Will my child be happy? Will I be happy?
  • Will I have time to teach my child?
  • Do I have a support system at home? Outside the home support system?
  • How can I find the right curriculum?
  • What are my state’s regulations regarding homeschooling?
  • How long am I planning to homeschool my child?
  • What about college?
  • What’s the cost to homeschooling?