Overall, I'm really happy with it, al7amdulillah! We're definitely not setting any speed records, but a few weeks ago - almost exactly a year after we started memorizing for real - Basbusa recited the last quarter-hizb (from surat al Qari3a to the end) - without help, and with only four mistakes, al7amdulillah. That's a long time for a small number of pages, but it took us a long time to figure out how to go about memorizing! The pace picked up a lot during the last few months, when we arrived at this routine:
- Qur'an happens before we start any other activity. That doesn't mean I start chasing the girls as soon as they're out of bed, but once they're up and have had breakfast, we work on Qur'an before heading off to the library, or before starting project time, or before heading out to playgroup, or whatever the day's schedule might be. Al7amdulillah, we really have been doing it daily, so at least a good habit is being formed, regardless of how much Qur'an is being learned!
- The basic routine for memorizing is that Basbusa and I recite her current "new" sura together three times, and then she recites one page of the pages she has previously memorized, just so they don't get forgotten. (The main reason the first quarter-hizb took so long was that I didn't have a good routine for review, so by the time we got to al Qari3a, we had to start over with most of the rest of it!)
- This takes between five and ten minutes, total. I know that's not long, and that an almost-five-year-old could probably handle more if I knew how to keep it interesting for her. But at this point, if it gets longer than that, she gets fidgety. And from then on, progress gets slower and slower, because more and more time is spent trying to retain her attention rather than actually reciting.
- If she has memorized most of a "new" sura, then we might just recite the troublesome bit three times rather than the whole thing (so that the sticky bit gets the maximum amount of her freshest attention).
- Rewards: I'm still embarrassed to say it, because I still feel like I'm failing somehow if she isn't memorizing Qur'an purely for the sake of al aakhira, but she still gets a choose a piece of penny-candy each day after Qur'an. And she gets a dollar from Baba for each sura she recites for him perfectly. And she got a small gift (a long-coveted, pink-and-white jewelry box from a thrift shop) when she completed the quarter hizb. I don't know... It just makes the whole thing so much more fun for her, and the whole process is so much easier, faster and happier when she's looking forward to it. And if she memorizes the whole Qur'an for $114, that's a good deal...!
- We've also settled on a new bedtime routine that I think is also helping. After Kunafa's two picture books and Basbusa's chapter from a chapter book, I turn out the light and recite all the Qur'an Basbusa has learned until they both fall asleep. I think that's been helping with retention.
Kunafa (currently aged 2.5) "learns Qur'an" with us - she recites Al Fati7a along with me, and then either Al Nas or Al Falaq. She can do Al Fati7a by herself now, and gets most of Al Nas, al7amdulillah.