Our Islamic Studies curriculum has done us fairly well for a few years, but we’ve since changed some things. I’ve talked about how to manage with puberty in full force, and one thing is to scale back on some academics, particularly memorization.
Care Bear used to be a whiz when it came to memorization, but puberty has put a wrench in everything and now memorization can be quite challenging. As I posted in our curriculum post, we use Ad-Duha’s Islamic Studies curriculum as our guide, and I still highly recommend them to anyone who will listen. Here’s what we’ve done to adjust:
Work each subject at its own pace
We were getting hung up on one surah (chapter) for a long time and pausing everything else (Arabic, du’a memorization, learning the 99 names of Allah) in order to keep everything in sync with the parent/teacher guide. We are now familiar enough with how to use the resources provided by Ad-Duha that I felt comfortable veering away from the parent guide and continuing with other subjects while we focused on memorizing one surah.
Focus on effort, not on results
Before puberty took hold, Care Bear had a goal of memorizing two ayat (verses) every day, totaling 10 a week, which she usually surpassed. After puberty hit, some days we would meet the goal and some days we wouldn’t. The days we didn’t meet this goal turned very frustrating as they started to stack up time and time again. I don’t want Islamic Studies to be a frustrating subject and something she dreads, so we moved focus on how much effort she puts into it. We have nearly the same results as before, but far less frustration for both of us.
Each subject has its own day
Islamic Studies consists of Qur’an memorization, tafseer (explanation and background of verses), Arabic, du’a (supplication) memorization, and learning the 99 names of Allah and their meaning. At first, we would do all the subjects every day in review, and concentrate on one subject for new content. Islamic Studies was taking an hour or two each day and the amount of memorization got quite cumbersome. Again, after puberty hit and memorization became much harder, we would both be burnt out by the end of the lessons. About a year ago, I split up the week so we worked on only one subject per day together, and she just needed to use her own time each day to review the other subjects and make progress, in sha Allah. This worked very well to reduce stress, and she likes completing things and just showing me she’s done whenever possible.
Delay some subjects
Two subjects seemed to never really gain traction: Arabic and du’a memorization. Arabic because Care Bear got to my level and I struggle taking her further, and du’a memorization because we were getting to du’as that are rare to use, so any time we reviewed, I would find she forgot the previous du’a and we would go back to memorize them again. I’ve decided to pause covering these subjects in our Islamic Studies lessons and come back to them at a later time. In the end, my goals are that my children know the miracle of the Qur’an, understand the themes and lessons contained within, and memorize as much as possible because of the following hadith:
“The one who was devoted to the Qur’an will be told on the Day of Judgement: ‘Recite and ascend (in Ranks) as you used to recite when you were on earth. Your rank (station) will be at the last verse you recite.” (Abu Dawud & Tirmidhi)
Given these goals, we retain the subjects that most closely match these goals, in sha Allah.
Use Nouman Ali Khan lectures for tafseer
Ad Duha is currently redoing their tafseer books, and so while I think their tafseer books are fabulous, they are not available for the suwar (chapters) we are working on. We were using the Iqra books, but I wasn’t satisfied with the tafseer and felt like we were just reiterating the translation and not getting any deeper. Alhamdulilah, a friend on Facebook posted the link to the Nouman Ali Khan podcasts, including his tafseer lectures. We’ve been using these for a few weeks now and I can tell Care Bear is intrigued by the added level of depth.
In sha Allah we’ll keep moving forward with using Ad Duha’s terrific curriculum and resources, and making adjustments as needed. Isn’t that the beauty of doing it yourself? Being able to customize things!