Reflections on the self and habit-formation


I have been trying to research and learn more on disciplining and habit-formation lately. I have been trying to improve my relationship with my children, not that it is broken, but perphaps I might take it to the next level inshaAllah.

I’m trying to deal with some painful moments by staying calm and by listening to kids without reacting and by correcting them without overreacting. And subhanAllah, I find it so hard, so so hard. It is a constant struggle, a constant battle to keep improving one’s self. And I have a lot to improve. May Allah help us all mothers out there.

One of the things I wrote down in my notebook three weeks ago “Habit No. 1: Greet each child with a big smile and a hug in the morning. Gently ask ‘Did you sleep well’ and have some cuddly moment reciting morning dua together (Alhamdulillahiladhi ahyana ba3da ma amatana wa ilayhin nooshur)”. Even this small habit is taking me ages to stick to. On the days kids wake up too early or I am up all night with the baby, I come downstairs all grumpy. But need to keep working with patience, perseverance and supplication on forming this habit.

I should learn more about disciplining kids without spanking. As well as reading some great stories about manners and good actions, I often use the Islamic Concepts such as the angels Kiraman Katibin, the book of Illiyun, the reward of entering jannah etc. Often this works, Alhamdulillah. Only sometimes I am not patient enough… So in order to make disciplining easy, I am also trying to develop some good habits in the kids. But even to do that, my priority is to focus on myself. SubhanAllah, I have to reeducate myself and constantly strive for a better ‘myself’  in order to give kids ‘best’ tarbiyya I could. Like the old saying ‘Example is the best sermon’.

Some Habits to develop:

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A reminder from kids

Today at bedtime I read the story of Hud a.s to kids. As usual, Sumayya was asking me lots of questions throughout the story. These days she is asking more and more about the concept of death, what causes people to die and what happens afterwards etc.

When it was snowy about a month ago, we talked about how ice might cause car crash and people might get injured /die and therefore mommy needs to drive very very slow. We had this conversation in the car. Plus we have really old neighbour who is in and out of hospital and doctors predicting he will go away soon (we have been very close to this old couple, wife- Italian, husband- Ukraine). So, we talk about Stephanie and he might die soon etc. Sure they will miss him…

So, I am reading “Hud a.s was born in nothern Arabia” and she goes “O the prophet Muhammad a.s was born in Arabia too. So they were together”

-No, Hud a.s lived before Muhammad a.s. He died before Muhammad a.s was born

-oh he died because he was too old or because he was in car crash

-hmmm, he was old

-so all of us die when we are old

-yes we do. and Allah has a record of our good/bad deeds. So He calculates it on day of Qiyamah and if you have more good deeds He will give you jannah

-Will He give you jannah too?

-I don’t know. If I have more good deeds inshaAllah ….

-If I am in jannah and if you are not there then I will look for you….

SubhanAllah, when I try to explain things to kids, it’s such a powerful reminder to myself.

So I was reminded at bedtime that we are only here temporarily and our deeds are being calculated and our actions are being recorded and will be brought to us ONE day.

A glimpse into our Saturday


One thing that demotivates me to blog is to be taking pictures all the time, like today lol. SubhanAllah, hats off to moms who run a blog. Most homeschool blogs I follow do weekly summaries to post. Alhamdulillah, I so enjoy reading them. But, another thing I find hard is, one can do so much in a week with a child and how to select what activities to showcase in the blog without bombarding it with pictures. I need advice and tips from bloggers on these matters. Myself, to start with I decided to do a note here and there, as and when I wanted. I don’t want to be too strict with weekly summaries etc, but I can do daily summaries when I feel motivated inshaAllah. Like today :)

So today, kids woke up at 6 am and me a little later. We prayed fajr as usual together, did dhikr and made dua. Safiyya’s most repeated dua lines “Ya Allah, give shifaa to my eczema. Let me drink orange juice, have kiwi in jannah. Give me some healthy sweeties that doesn’t make me eczema in jannah etc” then never fails to ask me again and again “Mommy, will all the chocolates and sweets in jannah be healthy?” and I always say yes :). Sumayya’s most favourite thing to ask is for a baby brother named Mohammed. Then she says “Ya Allah, give me lots of good deeds and protect me from bad deeds. Let me listen to mommy. Let me be a good girl. When I do something wrong, I shall do something good straight after it and help me” something along these lines :).

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A clean spoon and global waming

Safiyya, when she wants to say something really important, she talks fast and quick, fearing someone might interrupt her in the midst of her important statement. So she was having a yogurt before a meal. I gave her a bowl of soup and was just about to get a new spoon. She goes in her usual (typical for 3 year old) tone emphasizing every word she possibly could: “Why, I already have spoon in my hands. Look, I am having yogurt, i already have a spoon. I can use this one for soup too, though it has bits of yogurt. Why are you wasting clean spoon and causing global warming and killing white bears and penguins” wuhahahahahaha, me and mom-in-law had such a good laugh…Honestly, she is so hilarious, our ‘delovoy’ :)

Structuring the day


How to structure/organize your day so that you can fit all your needs/duties in?

MashAllah I always find it interesting how other (homeschool) mothers organize their days, with some having as many as 9 children. SubhanAllah. I love reading about how their days go by, what they do and how moms can manage. Is it not so interesting to find out how they manage to home educate their children and learn some tips? Here is how we do it. I try to plan things around salah.

So, we start the day by praying fajr. Since they wake up so early we usually pray fajr together, followed by dhikr and dua. Alhamdulillah I don’t have to nag them to pray fajr together, it is an established habit. Dhuhr and Asr are optional – I encourage them to join but they can be busy doing their own things. Then again at maghrib we mostly pray together followed by dhikr and dua. It is such a blessing to listen to their duas – they keep asking various interesting things each time and come up with unique statements. I have to record this sometime inshaAllah :).

I get them to practise all their daily adiya – dua entering/leaving a house, entering/leaving toilet, before/after eating, before sleeping and after waking up, we try to say Rabbi Zidni Ilma at our circle times. Alhamdulillah, they both know all their daily duas by heart and often remind me to say them too!

After fajr+dhikr+dua (takes around 15 minutes) we sit down and do our daily Qur’an revision session. Safiyya recites all 8 short surahs she has memorized. Sumayya has to recite 3 longer surahs (i.e Fajr, Inshiqaq, Buruj) and 3 shorter surahs (i.e Asr, Tiyn, Qadr) or 5 average ones (Bayyina, A’la, Qoria, Tariq etc). Then they have breakfast listening to new surahs they are learning. Even when Sumayya was attendiing public school we could manage fajr+dhikr+dua+Qur’an before 8:30 am easily. If we were running out of time we would do shorter dhikr and dua and recite only short surahs. I think moms who send their children to public school but want to do more at home may want to establish this habit of early morning Qur’an session following fajr with child/children. The whole package lasts up to around 40 minutes with us.

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Subjects to cover


This is something like a curriculum. I never had a fixed, well-organized curriculum but alhamdulillah my flexible plans usually work out better for us. a) I sit down b) make a list of subjects I want to teach c) make a plan of what learning items I use for each subject.

Circle Time: Usually circle times are done to give everyone a chance to say something in a group and get warmed up etc. We use circle time before each subject in order to review previously learned areas on a given subject. That means I start each subject with 10-15 minutes of circle time where we practise and recap previous sessions.

For example, at math circle time I may ask Sumayya (born in 2007) to count 0-20, countdown 30-0, ask questions about finding one less/two more (i.e what is one less than 9, what is two more than 10 etc?). I may ask Safiyya (born in 2008) to count 0-10, countdown 10-0 and ask questions on what comes after x (i.e what comes after 9?).  I may ask both of them do any hands on activity with math manipulatives (i.e- ask them to make the repeating patterns with colored popsicles, or by threading coloured beads into a string), use number/shape flashcards (i.e put numbers in the right sequence 0-10, or sort out odd numbers etc), use shape sorters, revise using the clock with a game etc. It gives me a chance to keep revising all the previously learned numeracy/math concepts and it gives kids a chance to get their brains more engaged before proceeding onto our math task planned for that day. So, circle time serves like a pre-task where we proceed from easy to a more difficult task (term used in task-based learning).  Hence, we have seerah circle time, literacy circle time, science circle time, geography circle time etc. (On busy days when mommy needs to attend to ill baby, has visitors or couldn’t make the new task ready due to dead printer etc, we have 3-4 circle times on each subject and it is perfect chance to have 3-4 revision sessions in fun way. Kids love our circle times, Alhamdulillah)

Seerah – we use two books for seerah lessons. 1. “Tell me about Muhammad saw”  and“Goodnight stories from the life of the prophet Muhammad”, both by Goodword books . The 1st one we use for our learning session- we read one story each time and do follow up activity. It could be hands on arts/crafts project, comprehension worksheet, drawing sth based on a story and coloring (they have to choose what to draw, draw themselves and then color. And when they finish the task I ask them to narrate the paragraph/passage we read that day by describing their pictures). Whenever relevant we use map and globe. To point to Arabia on globe, find Makkah/Madinah on world map and draw a route with erasable marker etc. InshaAllah I intend to the the following lapbook towards the end of our Makkan period – click here.

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