Education is no longer about rote learning or memorizing details and facts. Our children still need to develop fundamental skills such as reading and writing but, in reality, we are living in a time when learners need to take a more active role in their own education. Children need to be engaged; they need to develop and learn skills that the outdated, “traditional Industrial Revolution education system” and passive learning style, can no longer provide them with. We need to redefine standards and curriculum. We need to ask ourselves exactly what it is that we want our children to know and be able to do and how we are going to teach them in a way that produces sustainable learning; learning that will benefit them in their future. The fact is however, education has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. As Muslim homeschoolers, we need to be at the forefront of “reinventing the wheel”.
There have been significant technological advances over the last two decades . There’s no getting away from it – the digital age is here to stay. Technology is advancing faster than we are. As home educators, we have to continually develop and enhance our skills by not only staying up-to-date with new research in the field of education, but also by reflecting on our own experiences. “Learning for the 21st Century” and “21st Century Skills” are amongst several new buzz phrases we are starting to hear regularly. So what does that mean for us?
Technology drives change. As a result, success in society will require skill sets in the 21st century significantly different from those of the past. If we don’t teach our children to use technology, they will be left behind. Technology in the classroom does not mean that if your child has completed a mathematics or English exercise, he or she can go and play on the computer. It means, using technology as part of the lesson. Learners find technology engaging and recent studies are already proving that students who receive instruction incorporating technology have shown a dramatic improvement in achievement. Technology provides a platform for using more up-to-date and relevant information.
Many homeschooling families use a set curriculum from registered homeschool organizations like Clonard, Impak, Brainline, Think, etc, to name but a few. Some of these already offer a digital option. But for those who feel more comfortable still using books, it is important that you incorporate technology into your daily program. Here are some links to help you get started in incorporating technology:
Before my children were presenting their projects on Microsoft PowerPoint, they would type them up on Microsoft Word and present them digitally, instead of printing. Now, all projects must be Microsoft PowerPoint presentations – no paper and flashy, expensive folders. This is an opportunity to teach our children to be environmentally friendly by not using paper unnecessarily.
- Islam Web
- Mydiny – interactive Islamic Studies games and lessons
- Islamic Net – Islamic online games for kids
- Islamic Playland
- Muslim Kids Guide
- Muslim Kids TV
- Learn Arabic with Arab Academy
- Fatwa Online – for older students / teenagers
- Islam Q & A
- Maths Buddy is an online math tutor. Students watch and listen to a video tutorial and work through examples. Once registered, students receive a weekly progress report. Maths buddy can be used instead of another math curriculum or as an additional supplement.
- IXL is another interactive, online math tutor, which tracks student progress and motivates students by rewarding them with certificates for their achievement.
Maths games for fun activities and extra support :
- Learn English Kids – interactive alphabet games, reading, writing and spelling exercises etc:
- IXL – Language Arts and interactive English lessons from preschool to grade 12
- Kids World Fun – English, Math, and Science from preschool to grade 10
- Kids World Fun – interactive science for preschool to grade 6
- E-learning – interactive science lessons from preschool to grade 6 (including Math, Language Arts, Life Skills, and Science)
- Fun Science and Technology -for kids grade 1 to grade 8
- IXL Science
- Interactive Geography (requires a flash player)
- Geography Games
- Kids Geography – games, videos and worksheets
Basheerah Van Wyk Mollagee is a homeschooling mother to five children. She has been home schooling for over 20 years. Her eldest two daughters are both studying towards Bachelors degrees with IOU (Islamic Online University). Basheerah is also a certified Early Childhood Development teacher, has a TEFL diploma, and is studying towards a degree in Bachelors of Education. She maintains a homeschool blog aimed at South African homeschoolers and consults with new home schooling families.