Secrets to Success in School

parent-teacherIncome or social status is not the predicator of student’s success. Real triumph comes when families collaborate in the following:

  • Creating a learning environment at home
  • Expressing high expectations for their children’s achievement and future careers
  • Becoming involved in children’s education at school

Positive results of parental involvement in their children’s schooling include improved achievement, reduced absenteeism, improved behavior, and restored confidence among parents in their children’s schooling.

A good way to start is by actively participating in the parent-teacher meetings:

How to make parent-teacher conference work for your child

Ways to tackle the conference

When the parent is called for a meeting with his child’s teacher, the parent may feel nervous. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Parents should be on time for the conference. They should plan not to run over the amount of time that has been set aside.
  2. If the parent is working, he/she should set up a time to meet, which is good for both the parent and the teacher.
  3. When teachers and parents work to help the child then the conference is at its best. Both of them stay calm. It helps no one when they argue and blame each other for problems the child is having.

Getting ready for the conference

  1. Before the conference the parent should talk to their child. They should find out what is their child’s favorite subject and which is their least liked subject.
  2. Ask the child if there is anything their child wants their parents to ask the teacher.
  3. The parents should make sure that the child does not worry about the meeting. Make him understand that you are meeting with the teacher to help him.
  4. Before parents go to the school, they may write notes about: the youngster’s personality, troubles, habits, hobbies, and life at home, which the parent feels essential for a teacher to be familiar with.
  5. Parents can make note of school policies or programs a parent may have some concern about.
  6. Parents can ask about the child’s progress.
  7. Discuss ways a parent can help the child by working together with the school.
  8. The parent should be ready to see samples of the student’s work, which the teacher might show to them.
  9. Be receptive to the ideas the teacher will give to improve the child’s performance.

After the conference

  1. The action plan on which the teacher and parent worked should be started immediately.
  2. The child should get the feeling that the parent and the teacher care.
  3. Check the child’s behaviour and class work and home work to see if the action plan is working or not.
  4. To discuss the progress the child is making, stay in touch with the teacher.
  5. Meeting the child’s teacher should build strong parent teacher partnerships. This partnership will help the child get the best possible education.

At home a parent can help their child in the following ways:

  1. Read to your child his/her favourite books, stories etc.
  2. Check homework every day
  3. Discuss school progress with teachers
  4. Limit his TV viewing
  5. Ask your child everyday “How was school today?”
  6. Help with homework even if he has a tutor at home
  7. Actively organize and monitor your child’s time at home to minimize wastage of time
  8. Parents can watch news and documentaries, and rent educational videos with the kids
  9. Visit museums, zoos, botanical gardens, and historical sites with your child
  10. Parents and children should read articles together that are found in the newspaper and magazines. Go to the library also
  11. Vacations should be made into a learning experience.
  12. Children, who have a broad foundation of knowledge and background on a variety of subjects, will find schooling and learning easier and interesting. It is the responsibility of the parents to share the world with their children.

Beat School Stress

In a student’s life school stress has a very negative effect. It may have to do with too much homework in the spare time. Try these strategies to cut out that stress.

  1. The child should stay organized. It will help him be in control, and that helps him to keep stress at bay.
  2. The student should also take mini-breaks throughout the day to chill out. Whether it is to nap, write in a journal, or take a walk, he should do something he enjoys regularly. Changing the surroundings even for five or ten minutes can give a new perspective and let him/her feel energized.
  3. The student should be allowed one big chunk of time at least once a week to have fun.
  4. Everybody makes mistakes, and nobody’s perfect. Do not disown the child if he or she has an occasional performance shortfall.
  5. Use stress to motivate your kid to get things done. When the child does some work, he should be happy with himself.
  6. Teachers need to give their students a break now and then and realize how much work they have piled up.

Students can own success

A Student should prepare himself to succeed in his studies. He can try to develop and appreciate the following habits:

  1. The student should take responsibility for himself. Responsibility is recognition that in order to succeed he can make decisions about his priorities, his time, and his resources.
  2. Center himself around his values and principles. He should not let friends and acquaintances dictate what he considers important.
  3. He should put first things first. The student should not let others or other interests, distract him from his goal.
  4. He should follow up the priorities he has set for himself.
  5. Discover key productivity periods and places.
  6. The student should prioritize his most difficult study challenges.
  7. There should be study spaces for morning, evening where the student can be most focused and productive.
  8. First understand others, then attempt to be understood
  9. When the student has an issue with the teacher, for instance a grade that is questionable , an assignment deadline extension, the student should put himself in the instructor’s place.
  10. He ought to look for better solutions to problems. For example if the student has not understood the course material he should not just re-read the material. He should try things like consulting the professor, a tutor, a classmate or a study group.
  11. He should look to continually challenge himself.

Musharakah: Sharing Profits and Losses

Vol 1-Issue 2   Islamic FinanceWhat is Musharakah?

Musharakah means ‘sharing.’ The root of the word is Shirkah, which means ‘being a partner.’ Under Islamic law, Musharakah is a joint enterprise, formed for conducting business, in which all partners share the profit according to a specified ratio, while the loss is shared according to the ratio of the contribution.

Differences Between Interest-Based Financing and Musharakah

1. In interest-based financing, the financer predetermines a fixed rate of return on a loan, irrespective of the profit earned or loss suffered by the debtor. In Musharakah, the return is based on the actual profit earned by the joint venture.

2. If a Musharakah joint venture fails, the financier also suffers a loss. In a system based on interest, the financier secures himself against such an eventuality by fixing a rate of interest.

Basic Rules

Musharakah or Shirkat-ul-amwal is a relationship established by the parties through a mutual contract. Therefore, all the necessary ingredients of a valid contract must be present. For example, the parties should be capable of entering into a contract; the contract must take place with the free consent of the parties, without any duress, fraud, or misrepresentation. However, there are certain rules specifically related to a Musharakah contract.

Rules of Capital

The capital in a Musharakah agreement should be:

  • quantified (Ma’loom),
  • qsecified (Muta’aiyan),
  • not necessarily merged,
  • not necessarily in liquid form.

Management

Every partner has the right to manage the business as well as to work for it. However, the partners may agree upon a condition that the management would be carried out by one of them, and no other partner would work for the Musharakah. In such case, the ‘sleeping partner’ would be entitled to the profit only to the extent of his investment – the ratio of his profit would not exceed the ratio of his investment. However, if all partners agree to work for the joint venture, each one of them would be treated as the agent of the other in all matters of business.

Rules Regarding the Distribution of Profit and Loss

1. Profit:

  • The profit ratio of each partner must be determined proportionally to the actual profit of the business and not in proportion to the capital invested by him.
  • It is prohibited to set a fixed amount for any partner or attach any specific rate of profit to his investment.
  • It is allowed for both partners to agree on profit percentage according to their investment, no matter if both of them work or not.
  • If an investor is working, his profit share can be more than his capital investment, no matter if the other partner is working or not.

2. Loss:

  • Loss is distributed exactly according to the ratio of investment.

Termination of Musharakah

A Musharakah will stand terminated in the following cases:

1.  If the purpose of forming the business has been achieved. For example, if two persons had formed a partnership for a certain project, e.g., buying a specific quantity of cars in order to sell them, and the cars are purchased and sold with mutual investment, then the contract stands terminated.

2.  Every partner has the right to terminate the Musharakah at any time, after giving his partner a notice that will cause the Musharakah to end.

3.  In case of a death of any one of the partners or any partner becoming insane or incapable of carrying out commercial transactions, the Musharakah stands terminated.

Termination of Musharakah Without Closing the Business

If one of the partners wants termination of the Musharakah, while the other partner would like to continue with the business, a mutual agreement should take place. The partner interested in the business may purchase the share of the partner wishing to terminate his partnership.

(Courtesy: Meezan Bank’s Guide to Islamic Finance)

Throwing an Eid Party

eid party

Eid is the time for celebration and delight, showing our gratitude to Allah, meeting relatives and friends, and sharing with the needy. As parents, we would like our children to have a meaningful time on this most joyous of occasions. So, why not make your kids’ Eid memorable and filled with fun by throwing a party for them and their friends? Here are a few ideas for creating an enthralling Eid party.

Eid Related Party Decorations

  • Put up posters of Eid greetings in 3-4 different languages, such as Arabic, Urdu, English, etc. This will be a good conversation starter.
  • If budget allows, create an Arabian Peninsula look with a tent in the corner, date trees, etc.
  • Put up colourful lights in the party area.
  • Hang little paper-made crescents with buntings and tinsels.

Theme-Based Eid Parties

Older kids (7-12 years old) can have an Eid party around a special theme:

  • Islamic attire theme. Children could come wearing clothes from different Islamic countries. You can also ask them to come in special Islamic head coverings, such as Topis, turbans or Arab headgear for boys and pretty scarves for girls.
  • Muslim country theme. Ask the kids to bring along something related to any Muslim country of their choice (a flag, a book, crafts, photographs, etc.) They can paste the country’s name on the objects and display them during the party.
  • Theme of foods mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah. Serve honey, pomegranates, dates, olives, olive oil, etc. Posters, wax replicas, and paper cutouts of the fruits and vegetables can be used as decorations.
  • Sharing the joy of Eid theme. Mothers and older children can have an Eid party at the local hospital or orphanage. They can take some eatables and gifts for the needy kids.

Gaming Zone

What’s a kids’ party without games? You can mould some of the games to give them an Islamic colour.

Games for younger and older kids:

  • Quiz between 2 teams on Islamic knowledge. Ask simple, age-appropriate questions about Muslim countries, Islamic practices, simple Duas, etc.
  • Story time. Read a story on any of the prophets or companions.
  • Passing the pillow. Short questions about the likes and dislikes of the Prophet Muhammad (sa), about his family and more.
  • Lemon in a spoon race.
  • Treasure hunt.
  • Memory game. Place objects in a tray and show to each child for 10 seconds. Later, ask them to write down the items they can remember.
  • Drawing competition. Topics can be: what you did on Eid, what you ate on Eid, making an Eid card for your parents, grandparents, or best friend.

Games for mothers and kids together:

  • Draw four pictures of Islamic objects on large sheets of paper, for example, a Masjid, a prayer mat, a Hijab, Kabah. Get four parents to hold up a picture in each corner of the room (if the place is small, in different rooms – make sure hallways are clear). Stand in the centre and call out one of the names – children then should run as fast as they can to that corner. You can also use Arabic names or draw sites of Islamic importance, such as the sacred mosques. Keep the game short and fast.
  • Charades. Each mom will have to act out a word to make her team guess what the word is. For instance, the word ‘Wudhu’ can be demonstrated by doing the actions of the ablution.
  • Gifts for the poor. A table can be laid out with some fruits, small packs of biscuits or chips, toys etc. With mom’s help, each child can pack a small goody bag and take it home for giving to the servants, who work in their house. This will apprise the child with a sense of sharing and caring for the deprived ones.

Ideas for Goody Bags or Give-Aways

Kids always love taking home a reminder of the party. According to your pocket, you can prepare the goody bags matching the Eid mood of the party.

Big budget

  • CD of “Sound Vision”
  • Audiotape of “Sound Vision”
  • Some religious activity book e.g. flowers of Islam series
  • Stationary set
  • Toys
  • Chocolates
  • Biscuits

Economical budget

  • Stickers (I love Allah, etc.)
  • A set of 3 religious activity sheets
  • Some other religious souvenir (key chain)
  • Stationary items
  • Balloons
  • Chocolates
  • Biscuits

Want More Ideas?

  • Play children’s Islamic songs in the background.
  • At the prayer time, offer Salah in congregation. (Moms and children together.)
  • Children can have a camel ride, if it can be arranged.

Story Time with a Difference

Beforehand, prepare a simple story with 4 main characters or objects – for example, a boy’s name, a prayer hat, a Masjid, the Quran. Build a story around them. Draw or write each character / object on a card. The more children you have for this game, the better, so that there are 3 or 5 ‘Masjids’, 3 or 4 ‘prayer hats,’ etc. Get the children to sit on chairs in a circle with spaces between the chairs. Begin to tell the story. As the children hear their card name mentioned, they have to get up, run around the circle, and sit back down again.

(Courtesy: http://www.islamichomeeducation.co.uk/)

Yummy Foods

Here are ideas to satisfy those growling tummies:

Finger food for 3-6 years olds

  • Mini pizzas
  • French fries
  • Nuggets
  • Sandwiches
  • Boiled sweet potatoes
  • Seasonal fruits

Kids food for 7-9 and 10-12 years olds

  • Kebabs
  • Burgers or bun kebabs
  • Rolls
  • Cholay
  • Samosas