Basbusa turned 4 early in July, and we started memorizing Quran a month before then. So, we've been working on it every day for about three months now.
I'm aiming at one new ayah per day, taking a break every fourth day to focus only on review. (We do review a few old surahs each day along with the new ayah, but only go through the whole thing on days when there's no new ayah to learn.) At this pace, she would learn about 240 ayat in a year, which would mean she'd be somewhere in the middle of Surat Al Ghaashiya when she turns 5. (Is this ok? Too slow? I have no idea.)
How do we go about learning a new ayah? Well, first I say the new ayah for her, a word or two at a time. She repeats the words back, and we talk about what they mean. Then we put the whole ayah together bit by bit, both in terms of how to connect the words and phrases, and in terms of what the overall meaning is. Then we say the ayah ten times together, and then Basbusa says it five times on her own.
This whole process takes about ten minutes. If she's still fresh and happy, we do a bit of review, and if it's been a struggle to keep her focused or she's just not into it, we stop after finishing the new ayah.
And as for incentives... well... much as I wish I could say that my daughter memorizes Quran purely for the love of it... Basbusa gets to choose a piece of penny-candy when she's done. I think this is probably dreadful, and I'm worried that she'll end up loving the Quran because it's a route to tooth-decay rather than a route to Jannah insha'Allah. But when we started out (and we had tried several times before, when she was younger), Basbusa was completely uninterested in the whole process, even though she sees me memorizing each day, and we often have Quran playing in the car, etc. Her lessons kept turning into a battle of wills more than anything else, taking way longer than they needed to because of all the time spent trying to get her to focus. The candy helped us get past that initial tension.
Learning Quran has now become part of our routine, which Basbusa happily expects and participates in al7amdulillah, so I guess I should plan to phase out the candy. But so far, I've been chickening out, because the whole thing is so much more fun for both of us when Basbusa is excited about it. Also, although I've often told her how great the rewards are for learning Quran, I think Al Aakhira is still kind of vague to her four-year-old mind. But when I tell her that the candy she gets now, from me, is just a teeny tiny hint of all the rewards she will get from Allah later insha'Allah, it seems to be much more meaningful to her... No matter how I try to justify it to myself, though, I still can't help feeling that it can't be a good thing to bribe your kid with candy. Argh. Advice, anyone?
I'm really interested in hearing other people's stories and ideas on this topic! Or do you have a favorite site or blog or khutbah to recommend?