Apr 222014

Screen Time Sanity with TV Tickets {Printable} - www.MiddleWayMom.com

Do you battle with screen time? You know it can be a valuable tool, but on the other hand, it isn’t as interactive and exploratory as other activities. Screen time rarely consists of physical activity, so there’s a natural pull as a parent to limit the hours allowed in front of a TV or computer in each day.

Saying no to TV requests in our house almost always ended in fits, crying, and time outs. I gave in more times than I care to admit because I just didn’t have the energy to fight the coveted TV. At 3 years old, Little Miss doesn’t have the ability to understand different units of time. Saying she only has two hours of TV time each day means very little. We needed something tangible.

It started out simple. I took three pieces of notepad paper, wrote “TV” on the blank side, and put them on the fridge with a magnet. Voila! She can see how many TV tickets she has. If she’s used them all and then asks to watch something, we just have to ask her, “Do you see any TV tickets on the fridge?”

When she’s used a ticket, I put it in a drawer right next to the fridge. There was a bit of a learning curve that no, you can not take tickets out of the drawer to use again on the same day. Now, the system is a nice, well oiled machine, mashaAllah.

In general, movies are two tickets and TV shows are one ticket. This way, even if Little Miss watches a movie, plus a TV show, she doesn’t watch any more than two hours of TV. I can live with that. Alhamdulilah, now that it’s nice enough to play outside, requests for screen time have dramatically decreased. As she gets older, my hope is that she’ll learn how to budget her TV time and build the life skill of self control and delayed gratification. All in due time, in sha Allah.

On to the printable! I’ve included 6 TV tickets, and 12 labels you can use for DVD/Blu-Ray cases. If you’re like us, you have some TV shows, or 30 minute movies on DVD, so it is helpful to be able to label how many tickets each item will use. You can laminate the tickets, to keep them looking nice longer, too! Print out as many as you need, and if you’d like to share this with friends and family, please send them a link to this post so they can get it themselves. Jazak Allah khair! (May God grant you with goodness!)

Screen Time Sanity with TV Tickets {Printable} - www.MiddleWayMom.com

Apr 192014

I’ve been posting via Facebook some updates about our little family, and why the blog has been more quiet than usual the last couple months, and then it occurred to me – not everyone is a fan on Facebook. Duh!

In sha Allah we are buying a house next month. It’s a lot more stress than I thought it would be, and it is taking a lot of mental energy, even when it isn’t taking physical energy. Because of my student loans, we don’t include my name on the home loan, so the last time we bought a house, I was largely sheltered from how much work it is before the closing date. Now that I see the whole process, each hiccup has me stressed it won’t go through. It’s all by the Qadr of Allah (will of God), so if it falls through, alhamdulilah (Praise be to God). Still, it’s a headache.

Of course we are packing, thinking about paint colors, and all the normal things. We are not selling our current home since we currently live in one side of a duplex we purchased. Alhamdulilah, the last few years we’ve been living in our investment property, and in sha Allah it is time to move on. The plan is we’ll list our current home on May 1st for rental June 15th. Getting a home ready for staging versus getting it ready for rental is very similar, I’m sure. It’s all time consuming, and again, mentally consuming.

Of course with it being spring, the homeschool year is coming to a close. We are using DSST and CLEP exams as the final exams for Care Bear’s work, and that takes a lot of concentrated studying. I’m not studying alongside her, but instead helping with her study plans. We are working on breaking things into manageable chunks. Rather than looking at the entire pile of work and getting overwhelmed, she’s learning to look at the next step and move forward.

Alhamdulilah, with it the end of the school year coming quickly, it also means that some responsibilities are ending. My very last duty as a homeschool co-op co-leader was this last Thursday (at least for one of the co-ops), and I have to say, it was bitter-sweet. Alhamdulilah, the co-op provided classes I was not comfortable doing on our own, and introduced our family to the wider homeschool community in our local area. The only way it’s sweet is it’s one less thing in our schedule, and one less reason to check my email. In sha Allah we might pop in for a short class here or there.

If you read through all of this, I now consider us friends. :)

In any case, the blog is being put on the back burner in a sense. In sha Allah I’ll still have at least 1-2 new posts for you each week, but you will probably see me less on social media until Ramadan. In sha Allah see you around!

Apr 152014
Al-Maghrib's History Class: Life Lessons Learned - www.MiddleWayMom.com

photo by Alex Bruda

Alhamdulilah, I was fortunate enough to attend Al Maghrib’s new class, New Dawn, an Islamic history class. Since I’m a homeschool mom, I thought it fitting to attend a history class, especially given the lack of materials available that teach history from a Muslim’s perspective. As with almost any of Al Maghrib’s classes, I walked away with a bit more food for thought than I originally expected.

Studying history shouldn’t be simply for the purpose of memorizing facts, names, and dates. Ask yourself, why are there historical stories in the Qur’an? Allah doesn’t intend tell a story without a purpose.

Likewise, learning history should be with a purpose: to learn valuable life lessons. Learn what worked and what didn’t. Here are some of the valuable lessons I learned from Al Maghrib’s class, New Dawn.

Learn history from a variety of sources

Everyone has their slant, perspective, and agenda. Even the most neutral source will have some cultural baggage that colors their understanding of historical information. How do they center their thinking? Do they have Euro-centric thinking? Afro-centric? Makkah-centric? Everyone has an angle, and it’s important to let everyone speak. Let the facts speak for themselves. As Allah tells us in the Qur’an (emphasis my own):

Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things [Qur'an 2:256]

Too often I think we become so engrossed with defending “our people” that we only listen to what will give us ammo in a debate. Not all Muslims were great leaders, and it’s valuable to understand and accept the shortcomings of our leaders in history. Knowing as such can help us see clearly the great leaders, and what they all had in common. Learn not only from Muslim sources, but also from Christian, Jewish, polytheist, and secular sources.

Find the patterns

Our teacher, Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick, pointed out that the great leaders throughout the Islamic eras all lived close to the prophetic way. They didn’t keep much money for themselves, mingled with the people, and make sure the poor and needy were well cared for. Many times the larger and more elaborate the castles, the closer they were to their downfall. SubhanAllah! Providing free education to the populations, and never forcing Islam on the population were also very important in the success of a society.

Different leaders for different needs

It takes a different type of person to make changes than it does to keep established order. As our teacher pointed out, you have initiators and consolidators. Each are important and have their need. You can not be ruled for decades by someone who always wants to start new projects and make changes. You can’t have progress with someone who wants to maintain the status quo. You need both. Even for my own personal life, it’s good to have this outlook. Do I need to take an initiator approach, or a consolidator approach? Different seasons in life will call for different approaches.

Present global view

I need to make a clear effort to present a global view to my kids, in sha Allah. If I don’t make sure to open the conversation, and show various viewpoints, they may not learn to question information they are given. I remember being a small child and questioning commercials and their motives. Maybe it was because my parents were cynical when it came to advertisements, maybe it’s a natural skill. Either way, I can’t assume that my kids will naturally question the motivation behind information they come across. If I give them various viewpoints, they can use their own minds, in sha Allah. After all, isn’t that why Allah gifted us with reason and intellect?

What is your view of history and the value it has in your home?

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