Gone are the days when a snow day off from school meant romping around in the snow, making snow angels and snowmen, or trudging through knee deep snow to find the best sledding hill.
The times have changed, and our children are facing more academic testing, a non-negotiable curriculum, and more homework than ever. Many studies have indicated that the loss of a few days of school can adversely affect academic performance. And due to strict safety concerns within each district, schools are known to close at the first hint of a flurry, keeping kids out of school for days at a time.
Many schools have been urging parents to keep their kids on a schedule so they don’t head back to school having developed “amnesia” on their days off. Teachers post assignments on-line and send kids home with backpacks full of worksheets to be completed.
But this is also a great time for students to catch up on other work, such as learning Arabic, memorizing another surah, and brushing up on their Islamic studies.
Hadia Cheema, Senior Coordinator at Study Sparkz, a private in-home tutoring program, shares with us some ideas she applies within her own full house.
- Cheema recommends simple activities for younger students, such as painting or drawing the snowy white flakes.
- Preschoolers can also read and practice writing the Arabic alphabet. There are also plenty of fun Islamic activities and youtube videos on-line, along with listening to whatever Surah they are currently practicing, and reading along with it.
For Elementary Schoolers:
- Cheema recommends having your child write a poem or an essay about the beauty, color or symbolism of the snow.
- If your child has a subscription through their school, they can practice math on-line with Dreambox, or another math app.
- They should practice reading the Quran daily, and get extra help with an app such as القاعدة النورانية
- A great way to include the entire family is to assign a prophet story or a story from the Quran for them to research and then have them present it to the family.
For Middle Schoolers:
- Since the second quarter has recently ended for Virginia and Maryland, Cheema urges middle schoolers to organize and prepare for the next quarter. They should reflect on their grades and see how their agenda or planner could be improved for the coming quarter.
- They can also write a summary of a book they recently read, as they are expected to be reading books monthly, or you can assign them a short Islamic story or lecture to research (age appropriate), and present it to the family.
- Cheema also plans to watch the Umar series episodes with her kids, teaching them the life of Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, the second Caliph of Islamic State, before and after he embraces Islam.
- A snow day is a great time to catch up on the next SAT prep day. Students can work on their college essays, organize their binders, or finish that upcoming project that they have been procrastinating on. Many students already have their assigned test dates, so be smart and study.
- Snow days are the perfect time to catch up on family game nights and get the kids involved in word board games, such as Scrabble. Chess is a another great one!
- Also, incorporating an 8 or 30 min lecture by Nouman Ali Khan can be a very productive time with the family to listen and reflect.
At the end of the day, snow days mean more time spent with the family and a great time to practice your faith without the hustle and bustle of a non-stop day and racing to after-school activities. And after all is said and done, don’t forget to bundle up and head outside for some fun in the snow.