It is that time of year that homeschoolers start preparing to start their homeschool year and with that comes a lot of planning, effort and research into curriculums, resources and activities.
One of the most asked questions I get is about our homeschool routine/homeschool plan. It takes a lot of time to reply to every individual message outlining how I prepare for the upcoming homeschool year. So I thought it would be better to create a blog post that gives a little insight into how I do it. That way it is easily accessible for those interested and hopefully helpful. This will *not* be a detailed outline but just a brief idea that may be of some benefit in shaa Allaah.
Before I start writing about how I plan, it is important to realise that everyone is different. What works for my family and I, may not work for you and yours. Also the fact that every child is different, has different learning styles etc should be taken into account when reading other peoples homeschool plan. Remember this is your own journey and you do whatever works for you.
I first started ‘formal’ planning in 2015 but we had started homeschooling quite some time before that. I say formal planning but it was mainly for me to have an idea of how Rayyaan was progressing, what he enjoyed doing and how he enjoyed learning (his learning style). It was also to keep tabs on small goals that I had made for Rayyaan. Rayyaan has only just turned 5 not long ago Allaahumma baarik lahu so this plan is very loose and flexible. I will discuss this more later in shaa Allaah.
So this is how I broke it down. I would first do a yearly plan. I would divide subjects into catagories such as:
- Qur’aan (hifdh)
- Science themes
- Geography themes
- Miscellaneous (This is primarily fine/gross motor skills activities)
Within each category, I write down themes, ideas and topics I hope to cover throughout the year. This makes it easy for me to refer back to and tick things off as we progress. From this yearly plan I plan weekly. I take from each category and break it down further into individual activities, projects and so on. There is no limit on how long I work with Rayyaan on something. The purpose here is for him to learn and not follow any rigid plans or schedules. With science and geography I do not do much planning at all, we just have fun with it doing experiments and talking/ reading about the world around us. *Unless* Rayyaan has conveyed an interest in a particular topic then we will delve into it more and I will plan for it.
One of the most important thing for me that I do whilst planning is I ask Rayyaan himself, what he would like to learn about and I write it down and plan activities for those things. This is his journey of learning and so it has to be all about his interests. That brings me to my next point. Majority of this plan is derived from his interests and activities are interest-led. There is no pressure on him to do anything and I think that is important when teaching, especially young children. The goal here is to develop a love for learning and not make it a chore. So if Rayyaan has no interest in an activity I have planned and prefers to just play, then he is encouraged to do just that. I say this because I receive messages from sisters saying that their children sometimes as young as 2/3 will not sit and do activities. They are children and of course they will not still still for long periods of time or sometimes even at all. That is perfectly fine! You will be surprised at how much learning takes place just from playing. In fact playing is an integral part of their learning and is just as important as ‘sit down’ activities.
Spending time outdoors, at the library and in nature is also a huge part of our homeschool plan but I don’t write anything down for these things as they happen throughout our week, the entire year unless weather permits otherwise. Arts and crafts are incorporated into what ever topic we are studying at that time to make it more fun and enjoyable and so this will go in my weekly plan as opposed to my yearly plan.
Books are also a huge huge part of our daily life. We have read-aloud throughout the day and over meal times (his favourite) and read to me time (where Rayyaan reads a book/s to me or his father). Whatever we are learning I make sure we have books on it. Reading is so important and extremely beneficial for aiding in learning to read, picking up vocabulary and bonding time (there are man more benefits). If there is one thing I could recommend to you it would be to read together as much as you can. Even if your child wants you to read the same book 100 times (I have been there lol).
My primary goal is to make this journey all about Rayyaan and make it as enjoyable and enriching as possible. This is the plan that works for us *right now* but next year in shaa Allaah it may not and I may have to make changes, who knows. Flexibility and adapting to your child’s needs and abilities will make the journey much more smoother.
Last thing to mention, for the sake of your own sanity and your children’s relationship with learning, do not compare your journey to that which you see on social media. Every child does things differently, works at different paces and reaches milestones at different times. A child of the same age or younger than your own, who is working at a faster pace does not mean that you are doing everything wrong or that your child is not smart. *Every* child will thrive but at their own pace and with daily encouragement.
I pray you found this little insight into our homechooling plan useful. May Allaah place barakah in our teaching and our children’s learning. Aameen
Umm Rayyaan x