Khushoo’ is considered to be the soul of the salaah and its essence. (Source

Khushoo is a position of total and extreme submissiveness and humility in front of the Deity in Truth and the quiescence/tranquillity of the heart and the limbs. One does not move except where commanded and is not at ease except where commanded. It is an obligation in action due to the necessity of obedience and the abandonment of disobedience to the Deity in Truth. Whoever discharges this obligation during the prayer then contradicts it (behaves otherwise) upon departing from the prayer he has caused diminution/annulment of (his Khushoo') to the extent of his disobedience. 

I've gotta a few requests lately for resources on khushoo, but have never prepared any to date on this topic. But, it has been a topic that I have been wanting to cover with my kids so I went off to find some resources to try to put something together. We may end up simply reading through the articles, but if I end up preparing anything, in shaa Allah I will share it here at TJ. These look like great resources (below) to pull together something beneficial and I can't wait to share them with my children, in shaa Allah.

Do you have resources (links, lessons, etc) that you think would be beneficial?
If so, I'd love for you to share them in the comments as this is an area that many are interested in.

Importance of Learning Arabic

Importance of Learning Arabic
Shaykh Uthaymeen said:
"From the benefits of learning the Arabic language is correction of the tongue with the Arabic tongue which the speech of Allah was revealed in. Because of this, understanding the Arabic language is extremely important. But the sciences of the Arabic language are difficult in the beginning and becomes easy thereafter. It is the example of a house made of cane (the likes of sugar cane), but its door is made of steel. Meaning, it is difficult for one to enter, but once one does, is is then made easy. Due to this, I encourage the student to learn the foundations of the language in order to make the rest easy for him/her."
Courtesy the SALAM Yahoo Group
From "The Status of the Arabic Language in Islam", Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah:
".....the Arabic language itself is part of Islam, and knowing Arabic is an obligatory duty. If it is a duty to understand the Qur‘an and Sunna, and they cannot be understood without knowing Arabic, then the means that is needed to fulfil the duty is also obligatory. There are things which are obligatory o n all individuals (fard ‘ayn), and others which are obligatory o n the community or Umma (fard kifayah, i.e., if some people fulfil them the rest are relieved of the obligation). This is the meaning of the report narrated by Abu Bakr Ibn Abi Shaybah who said: ‘Isa Ibn Yunus told us from Thawri from ‘Umar Ibn Yazid that ‘Umar wrote to Abu Musa al-Ash’ari and said: “Learn the Sunna and learn Arabic; learn the Qur‘an in Arabic for it is Arabic.” According to another hadith narrated from ‘Umar, he said: “Learn Arabic for it is part of your Religion, and learn how the estate of the deceased should be divided (fara‘id) for these are part of your Religion.” This command of ‘Umar, to learn Arabic and the Shari’a combines the things that are needed, for Religion involves understanding words and actions. Understanding Arabic is the way to understand the words of Islam, and understanding the Sunna is the way to understand the actions of Islam…”
Courtesy THM SadaqaGroup

Sheikh ul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said:
The Salaf would admonish their children when they made Arabic grammatical mistakes. Due to this, we are ordered, whether it be an obligation or a recommendation, to preserve the Arabic (grammatical) laws, and to correct the tongues that have deviated from the correct speech. By doing so, we preserve the methodology of understanding the Quran and the Sunnah. We also preserve the following of the Arab in their manner of (correct) speech. If people were left with their grammatical mistakes, this would be considered a great deficiency and despicable mistake. (source: Majmoo' Al Fatawa 32/252)

A Brief Journey Through Arabic Grammar

A nice quick introductory reference guide to Arabic grammar concepts; 27 page PDF

Download "A Brief Journey Through Arabic Grammar" (direct download link; off site)

Lesson Planning Master Activity List

Have you spent a lot of time (like me) wracking your brain trying to include a variety of fun, creative, meaningful activities for your kids' lessons that include as many different modes of learning (reading, writing, listening, speaking) and hands on activities as you can?

Phew! That's a lot of work, isn't it?

Well, I got tired of wracking my brain week after week,  day after day and came up with a master list of activities that I could refer to give me some ideas as I planned each week. I thought other fellow educators might find it helpful as well. I came up with this list several years ago and added a few more activities in this version.  If you know of any other great activities that would go well on this list, please leave a comment to share with others.
Master Lesson Planning Activity LIst

Daily Alphabet Practice

Sharpen alphabet knowledge with a daily alphabet practice session! This handy sheet can help!

When I first started homeschooling, I came across a Saxon Phonics sampler.  In the daily lessons, the program included an alphabet activity session where basic alphabet principles were reviewed.  I loved that idea and over the years, I have used (on and off) some sort of daily alphabet practice session. 

I recently took my two youngest school age children out of the public homeschooling program that my older kids are in so that we could go at a more relaxed pace and hit the basics that I just didn't feel we were covering in the program.  I'm still trying to get us into a routine, but one thing we started on  yesterday was the daily alphabet practice session.  Now, I wasn't prepared so I just wrote out the alphabet on a piece of paper and sort of did things from the top of my head.  The two did alphabet sequencing activities and they had to share the one handwritten alphabet that I had provided.   That didn't work so well as you can imagine.  So, I decided that today, in shaa Allah, I would be prepared. So I make a daily alphabet practice sheet that not only included an alphabet strip, but also a list of prompts/questions for me to ask the kids and a place where they can practice sequencing.  

Each of the kids gets one in their binder, so when it's time for this session, we can just dive right in, in shaa Allah.

You can download a PDF copy of the sheet below the image. I hope this can be a timesaver for someone else too!

Daily Alphabet Practice Notebook Page &  Alphabet Strip


Mean, Mode, Median & Range Notebooking Page

Great for student's notebook to review or use while doing assignments.

Mean, Mode, Median, & Range Notebooking Page

Download Mean, Mode, Median & Range Notebooking Page (PDF)

Liven Up Math with Week by Week Essentials!

Out of all my amazing homeschool finds over the years, my favorite resource for math that I have stumbled upon is North Carolina's Week by Week Essentials for math.  I have used them on and off over the years and they have been such a blessing. They are great as a math supplement and, in desperate times, they have served as my main math curriculum. 

I'll share with you a little about the materials and tell you how to access them, in shaa Allah.

The main resource of the Week by Week Essentials are the 36 weeks of supplemental math activities. 

Each  of the 36 weeks contains the following:
  • For younger grades, a printable math game (they are really simple, but can be a lot of fun)

  • A weekly Keeping Skills Sharp review sheet. I like these because as you can see, each week, they cover multiple strands (numeration, geometry, measurement, etc).

  • A mental math activity

  • Approximately 5-6 real life/application type problems

But there's more.

For each grade, there is a Classroom Strategies download which gives you activities and games for teaching various standards. 

Grade 1 example:
 Grade K example
Grade 6 Example:

Then there are black line masters that you can print out and use for the activities:

And then if you are into assessment instruments, there is an indicators list that you can use to assess mastery of concepts:

And a profile assessment where you can track the mastery of concepts.

As you can see, there's quite a lot of resources here, for grades K-8.

Now, where can you get all this great stuff? Here are two options:

1. You can visit the NC site and download all of these items. A drawback is that you have to download all of the different components separately for each grade. But you can mosey over there and select whatever you want, if you don't want/need everything.

If you are pressed for time, try option 2.

2. Download ALL the materials for each grade in their own PDF file (one file per grade). As I said, I've used these for years and through all our moves, I would lose my floppy disk or CD (yikes, old right?) and would have to return and redownload everything. So one year, I took the time to compile all the materials for each grade into their own PDF files.

Now each download is over 400+ so here's a little tip for navigating through them. I was able to add bookmarks, so you can skip to whatever you need (the 36 weekly packets or say the classroom strategies). When you open up the document, you should see a list of bookmarks in a left panel as shown. They usually come up, but if they don't, click on the little blue bookmark (shown by a red arrow) and then  you see the list of bookmarks.

I cannot stress how much these resources have helped us over the years. You can use them as a supplement (they also work great for over the summer to help combat the "Summer Slide") or, if you find that you have a student that doesn't take well to math textbook work, you could try it out as your main math curriculum (you may feel a little uneasy if you yourself are used to textbooks, but I've often found for some of my boys, using these can engage them a little more than sitting them down to a textbook full of problems).  

So I'm done singing their glorious praises. I hope you check them out and benefit from them as much as we have.

My Fluency Progress Tracker

Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately, quickly, and with expression.
Fluency is important because it provides a bridge
between word recognition and comprehension.
(Reading Rockets)

One of the methods that I have used to help my kids improve their fluency is repeated reading. Essentially, you pick a reading selection, have your child read the same passage several times each day for a week or so and record how many words they have read per minute.  With each reading throughout the week, they try to beat their previous score. This has always worked really well for us (when I can keep it consistent).  More about this method can be found here (Tracking My Progress: Fluency) where the author of the post gives simple instructions on how to carry out repeated reading. She includes a Fluency Progress Tracker which I really liked. But if you know me, I had to put my own spin on the tracker and create my own. 

Fluency Progress Tracker

You can record the average scores for daily repeated readings for up to nine weeks.  Each day, you or your student plots the average wpm score, then as more points are plotted, you can connect the dots to see the trend and any improvements.

As with most things, I struggle being consistent with doing repeated reading everyday. But, my nine year old and I have been doing them on and off for the past six months and I have really seen improvement. When we first started, his first grade level repeated passage score was 42 wpm. We were consistent for about 4-5 weeks and we saw improvement. We just picked back up on it this week and his score on his first reading was over 100 wpm! So, if you have a struggling reader, this is one activity you might try. I can't say that the repeated reading was the only reason for his improvement, but it does help. It also helps you teach your child how to read with expression/intonation which is important because when your student reads in a monotone level, it is not as engaging and thus comprehension can suffer because the brain kind of tunes out, at least that has been our experience.

Download TJ Homeschooling's
Fluency Progress Tracker

Dramatic Play Ideas

When I played restaurant and grocery store with my next to youngest daughter yesterday,  I realized that I just didn't really truly play with my younger kids like I had played with my older kids when they were younger (of course in those days, there were fewer of us).

We had so much fun that I resolved I simply have to try to play more like this, inshaa Allah. So, I snooped around and found my old list of dramatic/role playing play ideas that I had compiled several  years back.

Here's the post. I hope you can find some great ideas to make memorable moments that both you and your child(ren) will remember. 

Dramatic play (fancy name for role playing or just plain play) can be an excellent way to help your child develop his/her thinking and social skills. It can also be just an excellent opportunity for you to spend time with your child and help develop those skills as well as help increase your child's vocabulary. Below is a list of dramatic play ideas that I have compiled.

I'm a big kid so sometimes when we play, we go all out. One time the kids and I played Optometrist. Being a power computer user, I made store signs and downloaded an eye chart from the internet as well as paper glasses for the kids to cut out and decorate. We took the eye exams and fitted them for new paper glasses. I made medical cards, basically the works.

Another time we played library and I printed out their own library cards with their name on it.. And still another time we played restaurant and made up menus.

Of course you don't have to go all out like this, the important thing is to have fun. Kids will have fun playing with mom or dad, no matter what. I also found out that this was an excellent opportunity to introduce new related vocabulary to them and explain how so and so worked, getting in some life skills.

Dramatic Play Ideas

  • Airport
  • Apartment Rental
  • Baby Sitter
  • Bakery
  • Bank
  • Barber
  • Beauty Shop
  • Bike Shop
  • Book Store
  • Bus Driver
  • Butcher Shop
  • Camping
  • Car Dealership
  • Clothes Stores
  • Construction Worker
  • Cooking Demonstration Show
  • Doctor's Office
  • Employment Agency
  • Exercise Instructor/Gym
  • Eye Doctor
  • Farm/Farmer
  • Fireman
  • Fisherman
  • Gardener/Planting a Garden
  • Garbage Man
  • Grocery Store
  • Hospital
  • House
  • Housecleaner/Cleaning Service
  • Judge/Court
  • Library
  • Map Maker
  • Masjid/Imam
  • Mechanic
  • Oil Delivery
  • Parking Attendant
  • Pet Store
  • Pizza Delivery
  • Policeman
  • Post Office/Mail Carrier
  • Preschool
  • Repairman
  • Restaurant/Delivery/Deli
  • School
  • Science Lab
  • Secretary/Office
  • Shoe Store
  • Sports
  • Tank Delivery (kids in the Middle East will probably get more of a kick out of this than others)
  • Taxi Driver
  • Towing Service
  • Toy Store
  • Travel Agency
  • Wal Mart
  • Water Truck (again, inspired by living in the Middle East)

Related Links

Responding to JazakAllahu Khayrun

Source: Salaf us
Some people always say "Aameen, wa iyyaak" (which means "Aameen, and to you also") after someone supplicates, "Jazaak Allaahu khayran" (which means "may Allaah reward you with good"). Is it is an innovation to reply with this phrase all the time?
ANSWER by Shaykh Muhammad 'Umar Baazmool, instructor at Umm Al-Quraa University in Makkah
There are many narrations from the Companions and the from the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam), and there are narrations describing the actions of the people of knowledge. In these narrations, it is said to them, "Jazaak Allaahu khayran," there is no mention that they used to reply specifically with "Aameen, wa iyyaakum."
Due to this, my position on a person clinging to this phrase, "Aameen, wa iyyaakum," after any supplication, not just "Jazaak Allaahu khayran," is that he has fallen into an innovation that has been added (to the Religion).
So in these kinds of circumstances, Muslims can use this phrase sometimes, and abandon it sometimes, but they must not cling to it as if it is an established Sunnah of the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam), and Allaah knows best.
This was translated exclusively for from a cassette recording with the knowledge and permission of the shaykh, file no. AAMB021, dated 1423/7/18.

Dr. Muhammad Baazmool mentioned that there is no specified answer for it from the Sunnah.
To add something to that: The phrase "Jazaak Allaahu khayran" is something that is from the Sunnah to be said to express thanks or praise, due to the hadeeth:
On the authority of Usaamah ibn Zayd, he said that the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam said: "Whoever has had something nice done for him and then says to his companion, 'Jazaak Allaahu khayran,' then he has surely excelled in praising (him)."
Al-Albaanee authenticated it in Saheeh Sunan At-Tirmithee #2035 (2/392).
So then it is not like other phrases found in the sunnah that have specified answers, like:
  • 1) Al-hamdulillaah --- yarhamukallaah --- yahdeekumullaahu wa yuslihu baalakum
  • 2) As-Salaamu 'alaykum --- wa 'alaykumus-salaam
  • 3) Uhibbuka fillaah --- ahabbak Allaahul-lathee ahbabtanee feeh, etc
These are all supported by evidences.  We may not say that the response to a certain phrase must be such-and-such except with evidence.
So then a person may respond to "Jazaak Allaahu khayran" with any number of phrases that make sense, like:
aameen wa iyyaak
wa jazaak
aameen wa jazaak
wa iyyaak kathaalik
wa iyyaanaa ajma'een
wa iyyaak bi'ashri amthaalihaa
or other things in English:
aameen, and to you brother
aameen, to you likewise
and may He reward you too
and to you
to you the same
And this is done without clinging to any one phrase.  So actually "Aameen wa iyyaak" is a very sensible reply in 'arabic.  The shaykh only made a difference between saying it sometimes and saying it as if it is legislated in the Deen.
So we have to make a note here since many of us fall into this when we are learning arabic.  The phrase "kayfa haaluk" does not have a legislated answer.  It is not a must to reply, "tayyib walhamdulillaah."  This is simply something taught since it is a common conversation, like "how are you?" and "i'm fine."  It should not be taken as legislation, meaning that when you hear someone say, "jayyid walillaahil-hamd" you correct him.  Rather many of us stick to "tayyib walhamdulillaah" since it is the only phrase we know in arabic.  We do not intend to make it deen, but it is unfortunately our constant, unchanging answer to "kayfa haaluk".
Likewise, "aameen wa iyyaak."  It is just something we were taught as a conversation.  "Jazaak Allaahu khayran, aameen wa iyyaak"  Its fine like that, it makes sense.  But we have to realize it is not Deen.  The specific phrase of "jazaak Allaahu khayran" is Deen, but the reply is left up to how ever you want to answer.  I am not suggesting that you must learn all those phrases I mentioned above and meanwhile you have a lot of legislated du'aas to learn still, but you could simply not reply sometimes when someone says "Jazaak Allaahu khayran" as there is no obligatory or recommended reply needed.  You could also mix up "Ameen, wa iyyaak" with a simple "Aameen" or simply "wa iyyaak", and sometimes no reply.  Here you have four different answers.  I hope I am not complicating this issue, may Allaah forgive me.
Additional note:  The word 'Aameen' is legislated in general for du'aa.  So a person may say Aameen based on that, but not because it is specifically related to this du'aa.
And it has been related that when 'Aa'ishah, radhiyallaahi 'anhaa had heard the du'aa of those who received some charity, saying, "Baarak Allaahu feekum" she replied "wa feehim baarak Allaahu" and she used to reply to their supplications in a way similar to how the people worded their supplication.  See Saheeh Al-Waabilis-Sayyib (p.257)
And Allaah knows best.
Moosaa Richardson

Merit of Saying JazakAllahu Kheyr

Source :

And Shaikh Ahmad bin Yahyaa bin Muhammad an-Najmee said in volume one, page 68 of his book "Fathur Rabbil Wadood fil Fataawaa war Rasaa'il war Rudood", issue # 30:

(What is the) Hukum of the statement (Shukran) (said to the one) who does a favor (or the like) for someone?

The Shaikh answered: "Whoever does that has left off (something) more excellent (or bountiful), and that is, the statement "Jazaakallaahu khairan"!

And with Allaah is the Tawfeeq!
AbooTasneem Dawwod Adib

Saying JazakAllahu Kheyr