Mar 22, 2020 COVID-19 and Homeschooling
The COVID-19 outbreak and school closures have put many families in a completely new dynamic. These are unprecedented times for all of us, especially for those who now have children at home from regular school. Muslim Homeschool Network (MHN) has compiled some tips and resources to continue our children’s education in light of the current environment, anxieties, and rapidly changing situation we are all facing.
Please read our articles and blogs compiled by members, along with many more resources in our resources link.
Posts from our members:
- I don’t want to homeschool, but…
- Five quick tips for unexpected homeschoolers
- How COVID-19 changed my homeschool day
- How to “socialize” in a time of “social distancing?”
As we all strive to adopt a new normal, we remember Allah’s promise to us that he will not task a soul more than it can bear. Let’s make the best use of this time and pray for everyone’s iman, health, and safety.
With love and support,
Your MHN team
Mar 21, 2020 How to "Socialize" in a time of Social Distancing
“And this is how you make your box!” exclaimed Farah* as she held up the folded calendar paper to a group of other girls who had gathered together for a virtual playdate. With the COVID-19 outbreak, and especially Orange County’s current order banning social gatherings of any size, online playdates are a welcome respite for children who are missing their friend time.
Seema* came up with the idea when her daughters expressed sadness at missing their masjid friends, whom they played with twice a week after their local Qur’an class. She contacted a few moms on Whatsapp and set up a Zoom meeting for the girls. The girls meet almost daily and look forward to their time sharing stories, reading poems and stories they have written, discussing current events, or teaching others how to do crafts.
With school and class closures also looking to extend to the summer, Zoom has become a familiar platform as many institutes use it to deliver their classes online. Anyone can download the application and use a free account. Participants can use their cameras and audio capability to do live video chats with a group of people. Zoom meetings max out at 40 minutes for those who have a free account, but a new meeting can be restarted easily.
What the moms (and children) have found out is that online meetings work best with fewer people (5-7). While it has its limitations, it is still a great option to keep face-to-face connections with not just friends, but keep connections or reconnect with families in other places.
Based on the success of this meeting and a few (jealous!) male siblings, the boys also plan to start Zoom playdates.
*names have been changed to protect privacy
Mar 21, 2020 How COVID-19 changed my homeschool day
Some of our members weigh in on how they are trying to make the most of staying at home.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the two main sources of regular departure from the home were the masjid and the library, and we miss both very much. However, in trying to make the best of the situation, we are enjoying this opportunity to slow down. Our mornings have not changed much since we rarely left the house before lunch but because we aren’t rushing to complete a certain task or lesson to make it somewhere in the afternoon, our mornings have slowed down slightly. Utilizing technology has been vital so the kids can keep in touch with family and friends. Also, engaging in interactive classes on Outschool.com and Art and Wilderness Institute has helped tremendously with outsourcing quality learning experiences and interacting with their peers and mentors. It has also allowed me more time to listen to Qur’an review for longer periods of time, work on fun projects, bake, build with modeling clay, and have more unstructured time to read books aloud and play outside together. The lack of outside commitments has given our family the opportunity to refocus our energy on each other. Although, increased time in the house also means increased mess and increased sibling friction, alHamdulilLah, it has been manageable.
Just a few weeks ago we were going to a co-op once a week, debate club twice a week , Qur’an twice a week and baseball practice twice a week for each child. The library was our lifeline. Now, with all the closures we are just home like everyone else. The first few days were nice as it gave the kids downtime. We decided to have a special family meeting to talk about what is going with the COVID-19 and the temporary changes we would experience. We made a list of activities we can do and integrated into a simple routine. We are doing math and read aloud daily. I am taking this time to let each of the kids do a special project that they are interested in and want to explore more. They will present it to the family. The children are listening to audio books a lot. With so many choices with online learning tools, I am trying to go through them and select a few that work for our family without being overwhelming. We have a lot of board games we are going through. The kids also go play in the backyard, play basketball and practice baseball. We go for a bike ride or short hikes. I am also getting the kids involved in cooking and decluttering their rooms! We fill in these things around mealtime and prayer times.
Alhamdulillahi Rabbil aalameen. If something causes us to get closer to Allah (SWT) then it is certainly His MERCY, not a punishment. This thought has been constantly resonating in my mind ever since the COVID-19 quarantine. I strongly believe that it is up to us to make the best of our situation and there is khayr in everything–every “test”–that Allah(SWT) sends our way. That being said, having been relieved of my day to day outdoor commitments, here’s a list of ideas I’ve either started implementing or plan on beginning this week and next, inshaAllah. Read more here.
Mar 21, 2020 Hopes and Goals During the Quarantine
By Qanita Mohiuddin
Alhamdulillahi Rabbil aalameen. If something causes us to get closer to Allah (SWT) then it is certainly His MERCY, not a punishment. This thought has been constantly resonating in my mind ever since the COVID-19 quarantine. I strongly believe that it is up to us to make the best of our situation and there is khayr in everything–every “test”–that Allah(SWT) sends our way. That being said, having been relieved of my day to day outdoor commitments, here’s a list of ideas I’ve either started implementing or plan on beginning this week and next, inshaAllah.
My 10-year-old son is memorizing the Qur’an (please make duaa for him). I’m using these days to focus on his memorization, review and strengthen the pages that he’s already committed to his memory, delve deeper into the meanings of the verses he’s memorizing, and also memorize surahs myself insha’Allah. I’ve also outlined goals for my daughters to ensure that they do not digress in their Qur’an studies.
My daughters are 9 and 6 years old and I’m taking this time to teach them the different meanings of what they say in prayer. It’s always been on my never-ending, ever-growing list of goals to accomplish and staying home has really opened so many doors, alHamdulillah.
Since the children don’t have anywhere to be in the morning (we normally have classes, sports, etc that require somewhat of a schedule) I hope to wake them up for tahajjud once or twice a week and teach them how to ask from Allah swt. This is the ultimate time to taste the sweetness of worshipping in the early hours.
4. Read Aloud:
I just finished reading aloud The Ember Ends by S.D. Smith. I’m using every extra minute I have to read aloud to my children who are of all ages.
My children do lots of art while listening to audiobooks via scribd, audible, and epic. Magic School Bus Videos: Yes, I’m giving myself some grace and allowing them to watch an episode or two from The Magic School Bus series on Netfllix. It’s highly educational and it gives me some peace and quiet which I cherish and NEED.
We still play board games, tag, and basketball together. Staying home frees up so much time to connect with our children and I’m drowning in gratitude.
A total unexpected outcome of the quarantine is that my food actually tastes good and my children are enjoying nutritious meals for once. I love using deep conversation starters at the dinner table such as “share something that you’re grateful for about each of your siblings.” It’s priceless to hear them genuinely complimenting each other.
8. Social Life:
My children deeply miss their friends and I miss seeing my sisters and work colleagues too. I started a zoom hangout for my daughters and it’s evolved into a super-creative meeting where the girls teach each other crafts and read stories or poems they’ve written.
As long as the children are reading, writing, and doing math daily, I’m a happy (and grateful) camper. Magic School Bus videos take care of Science (wink, wink), and studying about the history of viruses, the governor’s power to commandeer hotels & enforce lockdowns, etc takes care of Social Studies!
10. Spring Cleaning:
This is the time to give your children a spray bottle with diluted vinegar and some washcloths to have fun cleaning out the windows, fans, blinds, walls, doorknobs, etc. It’s also a great time to reorganize homeschool bins, bookshelves, art supplies, etc.
11. Potty Training:
Finally, my husband and I hope to use this downtime to potty train our toddler! LOL.
All plans aside; we plan, Allah plans, and indeed Allah (SWT) is the Best of Planners. May He guide us all to make the best choices for our families and communities and may He reward us all for our patience and efforts.
Author’s note: I am a homeschooling mother of six, and also serve as a homeschool teacher for Cabrillo Point Academy. If you need assistance with anything homeschool related, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Mar 21, 2020 I don't want to homeschool, but...
By Nishat Ahmed
PANDEMIC! No, not the game, but reality. Everywhere you look, it’s a mad scramble. Moms are especially stressed. The morning solitude is gone and suddenly YOU are responsible for your child(ren)’s day to day education. Mothers who work outside the home now have twice the load and half the time.
Wait, what just happened? I didn’t plan for this!
Yet here we are, mandated to stay home until the crisis is averted. We are all homeschoolers now. Fear not. You can be more than a temporary teacher of facts and formulas until the schools take over again. Welcome to homeschooling!
Firstly, no two homeschools are alike. We respect that and stand by it. Home education is all about personalized education, tailored to the individuals that make it. Therein lies the challenge.
Second, we want to make it clear that you are not living in normal homeschooling circumstances. We do not stay home all the time. Social interaction is not severely limited. And no mother can work full time AND teach full time AND maintain her home full time. So keep your expectations to a minimum. Focus on what is essential to maintain a happy home, and leave the rest for later.
Lastly, accept that there are uncertainties abound. How can I keep my children occupied? My spouse is working from home, can he cope? How can I make enough space for a classroom? What curriculum should we use? Is there a schedule to follow? Where can I find resources for specific ages? I’ve never taught anything, will my kids listen? When am I mom, and when am I teacher? Should I involve my husband?
The list of questions can be never-ending and paralyzing. But it doesn’t have to be. We don’t promise answers because only you know what is best suited for your family and home situation. But we can help you reach clarity and confidence in your decisions. Take comfort in the fact that the overwhelming majority of families who start on the homeschooling path never look back.
Your homeschooling journey might be a short detour, but we hope you walk away with a strong new support system, and with great experiences that will shape your years to come, insha Allah.
Muslim families are free to use the resources our community has to offer, conveniently posted on our website. We want you to succeed beyond expectations because we all have the same end goal: To please our Rabb, and safeguard our loved ones. Dear Sisters, let’s wholeheartedly support each other to this ultimate end.
To start your journey on the right foot, check out our Quick Tips to Start Homeschooling. Excellent, tried and tested advice by Muslim and non-Muslim bloggers, on how to keep the sanity and remove anxieties. Implementing these strategies from veteran home educators will go a long way in creating a positive atmosphere in your home.
We also have an inclusive and growing list of amazing resources, many that are absolutely free. (Yay! Freebies!)
Insha Allah, the Socal MHN community will continue to work to offer our support and guidance as the situation develops.
Take it one step at a time. Be strong, stay safe, and keep your trust in Allah.
Mar 21, 2020 Five quick tips for unexpected homeschoolers
As Muslims, first and foremost we rely on Allah and ask him for guidance. Here are some tips some of our homeschoolers have compiled to better your education at home.
1. Homeschooling is 90% parenting and 10% is academic.
The most important thing we can do is model how we want our kids to behave. Know that behavior (especially negative behavior) is a symptom - not the real issue. It is our job to decode it and get to the root of the problem. To find great tips, head over to www.ahaparenting.com for advice in each age group. As you teach your kids at home, know that this is a special time you can learn more about them and have an opportunity to strengthen your relationship.
2. “I want you to know that children are resilient creatures and they are learning machines,”
says Caitlin Fitzpatrick of My Little Poppies (Suddenly, unexpected, homeschooling…and enjoying the ride!). If you spend the next two to three weeks together and you do absolutely nothing that would qualify as educational-with-a-capital-E, your kids will be fine. Better yet? They will still learn new things! Sure, it might not look like something they would learn in school, but they will learn this week.
3. Keep the calm.
Ladan Rashidi from Baby Gizmo offers this: “Keep in mind, while you’re struggling with everything that’s going on, your child has had their school close down, and they’re most likely hearing words like “very sick,” “hospital,” and “death,” so this can make it a scary time for them too. Our children, even the older ones, look to us for calm and guidance through any emotional storm. Let’s do our best to be that for them.”
4. Sometimes, ditch the busy work.
If you’ve been sent home with work to complete with your child, try to determine if this is a true challenge for them and material they need to learn or if it’s just busy work. (A large) part of homeschooling is knowing what your child knows and moving on, and knowing what they don’t know and spending more time on that topic. Busy work will drive you and your child crazy, don’t do it! You are responsible for their education for these next few weeks so make it enchanting, lively and worth it. (A Cup of Home)
5. Self-care is the secret sauce.
It is not selfish to take care of yourself. Eleanor Brown said, “Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” It’s important that you find ways to take care of yourself and mental health so that you will also be able to take care of your family. This could be reading a book, taking a nap, drinking tea before the kids wake up, letting go of a self-imposed expectation, calling a friend, taking a walk or drinking more water. Whatever fills your cup… do it more. Because the last thing we want is to feel is burnt out, stressed, or feel convinced that we aren’t measuring up. Taking care of yourself will give you clarity, focus, and motivation to be successful through this turbulent time.
Feb 5, 2015 How to choose good reading material: Part II- Fiction
Part II – Fiction
Does fiction belong on your family’s bookshelf? Is it educational? If so, what kind of fiction is good for Muslim kids to read?
Many avid readers (myself included) will say that fiction is a wonderful way to explore, imagine, and escape. Fiction is entertaining and mood-altering. At its best it can be educational and transformative. At its worst, it can be complete fluff. Fiction can teach valuable lessons or instill harmful ideas. No doubt about it, fiction is powerful. That power can be a little frightening to parents who are eager to keep their children on the Straight Path. An article written by Jonathan Gottschall for The Boston Globe on April 29, 2012 makes some amazing and thought-provoking points about fiction. I encourage parents to read the entire article here.
Here are some outstanding excerpts from Mr. Gottschall’s piece:
“The more deeply we are cast under a story’s spell, the more potent its influence. In fact, fiction seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than nonfiction, which is designed to persuade through argument and evidence. Studies show that when we read nonfiction, we read with our shields up. We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story, we drop our intellectual guard. We are moved emotionally, and this seems to make us rubbery and easy to shape.”
“So those who are concerned about the messages in fiction — whether they are conservative or progressive — have a point. Fiction is dangerous because it has the power to modify the principles of individuals and whole societies.”
“But fiction is doing something that all political factions should be able to get behind. Beyond the local battles of the culture wars, virtually all storytelling, regardless of genre, increases society’s fund of empathy and reinforces an ethic of decency that is deeper than politics.”
Knowing that fiction can influence readers so persuasively, we parents want to make sure the books our kids read are mostly positive. Here are some criteria I look for in a book:
1. A good, clear moral.
Even if the story contains some bad characters who make unwise choices, is there a good, clear moral to the story? Will my children easily recognize the life lesson that is meant to be taught, or is it too ambiguous? Does the life lesson agree with our Islamic values?
2. An admirable protagonist.
A protagonist who is basically good and who, for the most part, reflects my family’s values. If my child is going to relate to a hero of a book and get immersed in his fictional world, we want to make sure that hero is someone we want our child looking up to and emulating. No protagonist will be perfect, but he or she should basically be a positive role model.
3. A clearly evil antagonist.
Young children cannot handle ambiguity, so the bad guy should be someone who is obviously, consistently bad. By the end of the story, he should be punished or reprimanded, or his character should change for the better, so that young readers learn the consequences of bad behavior. If he is rewarded for bad behavior, or if it is not clear whether he is bad or good, that gives confusing messages to youngsters who are learning right from wrong.
4. No “intolerably unwholesome” content.
This is a judgment that all parents will have to make for themselves, based on their own standards. I say “intolerably unwholesome” because there are some un-Islamic things we might tolerate in a book (for instance, the mention of the words “girlfriends” or “boyfriends” in a book with no details about the relationships), and there are other, major things that we simply will not allow (like graphic romantic/sexual scenes or sadistic violence, for instance). The criteria for “tolerable” and “intolerable” might differ a bit from family to family. In an ideal world, all our kids’ books would be wholesome and Islamic in nature, but that is certainly not the case. Popular, secular books for pre-teens and teens are particularly rife with un-Islamic references. Dating, alcohol and drug use, violence, and foul language can almost always be found, to some degree, in books for older kids. Our job as parents is to decide whether or not to allow our child to read the book. What if our child is begging to read it? One option is to read out loud to them, skipping the inappropriate parts. If the idea of reading aloud to older kids seems strange or unnecessary, check out this excellent article by educator and author Jim Trelease.
Oftentimes there are parts of the book and issues that are raised that we need to discuss with our teens. We can answer any questions they have and explain the proper Islamic perspective. Books can be a great conversation starter and can help bring up topics our kids might be too shy to ask about.
Finally, I would like to offer my own family’s list of favorite juvenile fiction. Other than a few of the books (marked with an asterisk) I have read and approved all of them, based on my own criteria, which the knowledge that I would need to discuss some of the topics with my kids. My thirteen-year-old son and/or eleven year-old daughter have read the books marked with asterisks. I approved these books after reading reviews of them and discussing some of the questionable material with my kids. If you have any concerns about the suitability of a book, please do look up another parent’s review, or read the books for yourself.
Books for Early Readers:
The Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne
A to Z Mysteries series by Ron Roy
The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner
The Cam Jansen series by David A. Adler
The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
The Arthur Chapter Books series by Marc Brown
Nate the Great series by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
Books for Intermediate Readers:
The American Girl series by various authors
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
Heidi by Johanna Spyri
Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maude Montgomery
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann D. Wyss
The Molly Moon series by Georgia Byng
Smells Like Dog, Smells Like Treasure, and Smells Like Pirates by Suzanne Selfors
The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty G. Birney
The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The You Wouldn’t Want to Be . . . series by various authors *
A Tale of Two Castles and The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
The 39 Clues series by various authors *
Ida B. . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World by Katherine Hannigan
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit
Hoot and Scat by Carl Hiaasen
Tuesdays at the Castle and Wednesdays in the Tower by Jessica Day George *
The Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
the Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows *
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo
the Max and Maddy series and the Harriet Bean series by Alexander McCall Smith
Books for Teens:
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
The Ranger’s Apprentice series and The Brotherband Chronicles by John A. Flanagan *
The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan *
One Came Home by Amy Timberlake
Holes by Louis Sachar
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Copernicus Legacy series by Tony Abbott and Bill Perkins *
Johnny Tremain by Esther Hoskins Forbes
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Sep 17, 2014 How to choose good reading material -- a brief guide for the Muslim homeschooler
We all know that reading is immensely important to our children’s education. In this Information Age, however, we have such a wealth of material to choose from–both printed and online– that it can be difficult to narrow down our options and choose what is really beneficial. Since homeschooling parents have quite enough on their plates, this brief guide is intended to provide busy parents with a bit of direction when choosing reading material for their children.
As Muslim home educators, one of our chief priorities is instilling and promoting Islamic values. One of the best ways to do this is to read books and articles that address Islamic topics. The body of Islamic literature for children is growing and improving but still does not have the breadth and sophistication of non-Islamic literature. However, several MHN members have discovered some inspiring Islamic-themed books and have listed them in a Google document. The list, which all members are encouraged to use and contribute to, can be found here.
As with any written work, Islamic compositions are best comprehended when parents and children discuss them together. Parents can ask questions, catered to their child’s age and ability, to enable deeper comprehension and retention. Some thought-provoking questions might be:
What do you think the moral of this story (or the main point of this article) is?
(while stopping at a critical moment in the plot) What do you think will happen next in the story?
If you wrote a sequel to this story, what would it be about?
Which characters in this story display good Islamic manners? Which do not?
What would you do in this character’s situation?
Does this article relate to your life? Why or why not?
In addition to books, websites like www.suhaibwebb.com, www.muslimmatters.org, and www.islamicity.com have numerous well-written articles on Islamic topics. These pieces can be a great starting point for lessons and discussions about the deen. Of course, some articles on these sites are geared more towards adult readers, so parents are advised to pick and choose which items they want their child to read, rather than directing the child blindly to the website.
In addition to Islamic literature, non-fiction will be an obvious educational choice for Muslim homeschoolers. If a child is not yet a proficient or enthusiastic reader, it will be particularly important to choose books and articles that are age-appropriate and interesting. Nothing is more discouraging to a student than trying to slog through a book that is too difficult or boring. If the child is supposed to be studying a topic independently as much as possible, then reading a book at or below her reading level is best. If a parent has the time to read aloud, answer questions, and assist the child with her studies, then a more difficult book would be suitable.
If a student shows interest in a topic but then is forced to read a complex description that is above his level without any parental guidance, he will likely lose his spunk and momentum. On the other hand, subjects like science, history, and even mathematics will be enhanced and enlivened by appropriate, well-written non-fiction works. If a child shows a passion for polar bears, the Civil Rights Movement, the Theory of Relativity, rainforests, tessellations, or nearly anything else, the local library will have a wide variety of books on these topics. Books that are not available on the shelves can be ordered from other libraries, often for free or for a minimal fee. The library is, in fact, a homeschooler’s best friend, offering nearly limitless, free materials allowing parents the opportunity to use a variety of books and resources to teach a topic. For instance, we can teach history through biographies, historical fiction, primary sources, and shorter, specialized books rather than one all-encompassing (and less thorough) history textbook.
It is not wise for a scholar to rely on one or two books, particularly if the topic is complex. Remember, even non-fiction books are written from an author’s point of view and may contain hidden biases, leave out information, or even endorse untruths. To raise our children to be critical thinkers, it is important to teach them to analyze and question what they read, and to seek out various points of view. In the study of history, in particular, there will often be many different versions of “the truth.” What seems like fact to the conquering nation, for instance, will be disputed by the conquered people, who had vastly different experiences. So which version of any historical event is the “truth?” Let your kids read all points of view and decide for themselves, rather than relying on the author of a history book.
Magazines geared toward young readers can also be a fun and educational source of non-fiction reading material. Ranger Rick magazine, published by the National Wildlife Federation, appeals to animal lovers, and there are two different levels for younger and older readers. American Girl Magazine contains many wholesome and educational pieces for preteen girls. Kids Discover magazine, which I have not read, looks promising as it explores nature, science, geography and history in an ad-free format. All of these magazines can be perused at the local library before making an investment in a subscription. Finally, Saudi Aramco Young Reader’s World is a free, online source for various interesting topics that relate to the Arabic-speaking and Islamic world.
I hope that this advice about non-fiction will be useful to fellow homeschoolers. In my next blog, insha’Allah, I will address fiction and whether or not that genre has an important role in a child’s education.
Jun 24, 2014 Ramadan Calendar Project
This a Ramadan Calendar project that Sr. Hana did recently. The supplies and instructions are listed below and some pictures are attached. You can view all the pictures here.
Have fun crafting!
- The wooden letters/numbers are from Craft Cuts specifically this page. (I ordered 1 inch letters/numbers at 1/8 inch thick with no paper template, in the comment box choose “offset” for bold or “no offset” for regular lettering. The calendar that doesn’t have “Ramadan Mubarak on it yet has no offset numbers) (each order is custom so give it about 2 weeks for delivery)
- 100% wool felt from A Child’s Dream specially this page. (Choose from any of the bundles: summer, fall, etc. this felt will become your pockets on the calendar, you’ll have enough felt to make several calendars this way if each pocket is a different color, or at least 2 calendars if you buy just one bundle.) You can buy acetate felt from Joann’s and Michael’s for a fraction of the cost.
- 100% wool felt for backing of calendar. Also purchased from A Child’s Dream. I used an 18”x18” square piece.
- Gold or silver metallic thread. ( It can also be purchased from Joann’s with a coupon :)
- Metallic sewing needles for sewing machine
- Wooden dowel from Michael’s (1/16 to 1/8 of an inch in diameter)
- String to hang the calendar from the dowel
- Glue (any white glue will work, but I like Tombow Mono Liquid Glue)
- Wooden star embellishments by Studio Calico
- Cut 30 pockets to 2 7/8 wide by 21/2” tall.
- Fold over the top 2-3 inches of the 18x18 felt backing to make insert for wooden dowel and sew a straight line across the top.
- Arrange “Ramadan Mubarak” letters at the top (don’t glue them yet).
- Arrange the 30 pockets and pin them in place once you have the right spacing (I left about a 1/4 inch spacing between each row).
- Remove letters and sew pockets (with sewing machine or by hand).
- Glue letters and numbers.
- insert dowel and hang.
What do you fill the pockets with? I have a couple non-candy ideas:
- We will have 30 sahaba cards with highlights from a sahaba’s life, you have to guess who it is (answer on back).
- Photo and journaling (good gift for grandma).
- Project idea in each pocket-activity cards: sadaqa jars, paper chains, etc.
- Leave the pockets empty and fill with one memory a day for each day in Ramadan.
- A dua or hadith in each pocket for something to read each day for iftar or suhoor.
- Trade with another family and fill the pockets with something for them to read each day.
- Buy a toy that has many pieces and fill each pocket with a few pieces so they have to build it day to day (Legos would work well).
- Fill with old Ramadan memories.
- 30 goals for 30 days.
- 30 acts of kindness.
Jun 23, 2014 20 Things You Can Do Now to Prep for Ramadan
Have a Ramadan countdown calendar next to dinner table. (It could look something like this) Assign a different child to change the day.
Share hadiths about Ramadan. Make it a habit to share an ayah/hadith about Ramadan at least 2-3 times a week to get into the Ramadan spirit. (Its good to tie it to something else, i.e. do it at dinner time).
Hadith list 1 Hadith list 2
Practice fasting: Fast once or twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays to prep for Ramadan and perform the sunnah fast.
Be prepared to give sadaqa every night. Ever been in the situation when you want your child to put some money in the sadaqa box but you don’t have change? To avoid this, prepare little money pouches for each night of Ramadan for each child. You can even prepare a large Ramadan calendar with a pocket for each day and put your sadaqa pouches in there. Grab and go before taraweeh. Practice now by giving sadaqa every Friday.
Prepare for sponsoring iftars and dates. Have children write to local masajid for dates sponsorships or iftar sponsorships for Ramadan. If you plan to distribute iftar to people, plan now for who you want to distribute to, what you want to distribute, and and which days of Ramadan you will do so.
Share Ramadan stories. Share stories related to Ramadan from lives of the Sahaba or your memories of Ramadan. Have grandparents share their stories as well.
Prepare your dua list now. Prepare a customized dua list (write it down) which has duas you will do daily in Ramadan. Great activity to do with kids and have their own du’a list.
Make salaah times the focal point of your day. Work on centering your day around prayer and make it a habit by Ramadan. (Set times for each prayer)
Get the blessings of 27x reward. Pray at least five prayers at the masjid every week in jama’aah. Try to pray at least 2 prayers in congregation daily at home.
Seek forgiveness. Get into the habit of saying istighfaar multiple times a day.
Pray sunnahs. Work on your own sunnahs and train children to pray two extra sunnahs for two prayers daily. (Can increase once its a habit)
Review fiqh of fasting. Review it with your children. You can find it here.
Control your tongue. Practice now to speak with respect and use good language.
Do more schoolwork now so Ramadan is relatively free. If you intend to do schoolwork in the summer, you may want to do more now to leave the month more free for worship.
Get your Ramadan projects for kids ready. There are so many neat Ramadan related projects you can do with your children during Ramadan that you can find online on blogs Pinterest, etc. Do your research and prep now.
Make decorations. Make your decorations starting now for Ramadan so you are not rushed at the end and you just have to put them up when Ramadan comes.
Listen to lectures about Ramadan. Listen to lectures with the family to get into the spirit of Ramadan.
Prepare your daily Ramadan to-do list. Set a schedule for yourself to ensure you get your Qur’an goals in, your ibadah goals, your good deed goals in every day. Share your Ramadan to-do lists at your next family meeting.
Do your Eid clothes and gift shopping now! Get your Eid clothes ready and Eid gifts ready now so that your time and mind are free during Ramadan.
Declutter. Do a general organizing and decluttering of the house with specific goals to be done by the week before Ramadan. The spring cleaning that hasn’t happened yet, those outgrown clothes that need to be given away, the garage that needs to get organized, do them now so that come Ramadan, you aren’t annoyed by these things and your house gives you peace of mind.
Ma’ali bin Fudail said about the salaf:
‘They used to ask Allah the Almighty six months before Ramadhan to grant them long life so that they could reach Ramadhan and they used to ask Allah the Almighty six months after Ramadhan to accept their fasting’.
May Allah make us reach Ramadan and help us accomplish its countless benefits.