Monthly Archives: May 2009

Thoughts on Planning for the rest of this year and next…

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If R was going to enter school this coming September, it would be her ‘first’ year of school at reception level. We have been homeschooling now for the past 2 years. My approach has been the structured approach with some flexibility and I feel under slightly more pressure now that the coming year would be her entering school.  But, as per the advice of a few sisters, I am going to take it as easy as possible as masha’Allah we have covered quite a lot of the reception and some year 1 work already.

Next year is going to be a tough year for me – it is going to be my final year completing my English Language and Literature degree and so come September, I want to be fully prepared for R’s HE so that I don’t spend my time planning/searching for resources. I simply won’t have the time.  I don’t even know if I will have time to blog! Anyway, I have sorted all of the resources per subject into files. I just need to sort them into a monthly order. A sister who used to HE masha’Allah gave me folders and folders and folders of stuff for R to do. I am so very grateful. Alhamdulillah. And another sister, allowed me to photocopy quite a lot of reception stuff. So, workbook wise – I am sorted. I do want to make it fun though, so what I am going to do is make a structure for the year and slip in arts and crafts activities, projects, lapbooks, trips into all of that so that she enjoys it as much as she has been. I need to get all of this done way before August, as I want to spend the first few weeks of August spiritually preparing for Ramadhan inshaAllah and I do not want to plan or do anything else during Ramadhan except the Ramadhan activities I have planned.

As for this year, I have decided to scrap the rest of our timetable (!) Anything that we haven’t done will insha’Allah be incorporated into next year’s timetable. So until Ramadhan, we will be focussing on the following:

1. I want to consolidate all work on her Qu’ran reading. She has been working her way through the Qaeedah, but I would like to see her reading Qu’ran by Ramadhan insha’Allah.

2. I want to really push her reading skills insha’Allah. She is reading more to herself now and I just feel she needs a lot of my time sitting listening to her, reading to her and encouraging her to read more. So, a lot of phonics work and sight reading etc.

3. I would like her to finish the hifdh that she is working on insha’Allah.

4. Reading fiction in Arabic – insha’Allah the Qaeedah should help with that.

5. And anything else that she would like to do .

I feel that if she can do the above, then it will really make next year’s HE  quite different and more exciting for her. But if it doesn’t happen – no worries.

I do really like this aspect of HE, trying to get everything ready for next year. I just hope that I can make it as fun as possible for her insha’Allah. Make dua for us please.  🙂

It’s All About Nature…

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Not much sitting-down-with-pen-and book HE has been done this week. But, we have been to a few places and the facts we have both learnt is amazing. For example, did you know that owls don’t ‘poop’ as other animals do. Instead, because they swallow their prey whole, they bring up their meals in the form of a pellet! In one picture, I tried to capture an owl’s pellet that was dissected by one of the girls from a HE family that we went with. You can actually see the skull of a rodent! SubhanAllah.

The first visit was to the Butterfly Enclosure which is located just outside of the Natural History Museum, London. It was organised by a sister and we had quite a few Home Education Ummis turn up. It was quite hot inside, and butterflys were flying everywhere! Landing on heads, hijabs and hands. There was also a feeding table and a glass case showing real caterpillars turning into butterflys.

The next visit on the same day was in the Natural History Museum, again organised by the same sister. This time, we enjoyed a ‘bugs’ workshop. And yes, with real life bugs! 🙂 There were centipedes, millipedes, cockroaches, a spider and much more. R got to stroke the leg of a rather large spider. I kept well back (except to take the picture of course!)

And finally, we spent today in East London with another HE family (dragging both husbands with us) and spent a good four hours at the Wildlife Event. It happens once a year and mashaAllah it was brilliant. Apart from the fact that there were real life animals brought to the event, animals that actually live in London’s wildlife areas, there were tents of many organisations. Each organisation provided activities for the children to do and masha’Allah all the children had so much fun making the activities as well as learning about wildlife and nature. Apart from making an arts and crafts dragonfly, beetle and butterfly…they also made a bird feeder using twigs, an apple and pumpkin seeds. We don’t have a garden, but we are off to our local common to hang the apple on a tree and insha’Allah observe the bird feding. I have got so many ideas of doing things with R and the rest of the HE families I know. Fancy a Bat walk anyone??

Today, really made me realise how important it is for our children to be surrounded by Allah’s creation, learn about it, appreciate it and love it! Insha’Allah I think I need to look into the Charlotte Mason method a little bit more.

Right, it is 11pm! I am shattered and off to bed. See you soon…inshaAllah 🙂

Two moments to treasure…

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Masha’Allah, R has been reading for some time now, alhamdulillah. But yesterday she did something which I had actually been discussing with a sister only hours before. We were talking about the transition between learning to read and independently reading. Masha’Allah the sister’s daughter had done that and I wondered with great anticipation when R would become a ‘reader’. I was brought up surrounded by books and they have always played a huge part in my life and so I really wanted this for R, but for her to obviously do it in her own time and when it is right for her. Well, whilst I was on the IHSAN Forum, this happened:

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I heard her start reading behind me and I didn’t budge. And masha’Allah she read it to herself! I didn’t ask her to get the book and read, she just casually got up, picked up a book and read! I can’t tell you how happy and proud I was. Masha’Allah. Allah (Swt) allowed for me to give my child the gift of reading. Have I ever expressed how much I love Home Education!

If that wasn’t enough, she also made this:

DSC00640It is her first piece of 100% independent writing! She sat there, drew some designs on the reverse side of the paper and then wrote this. There are quite a few spelling mistakes but masha’Allah, she did it on her own. It reads (with me correcting the spelling mistakes): “Ummi I love you. Thank you for the watch that you buy for me.” Again, a moment to treasure. And who says HEd doesn’t work! Eh?! But, you know what is really special…being able to witness such moments instead of hearing about them from a teacher who is a complete and utter stranger!

Anyway, what else have we been up to?

She has done quite a bit of adding but I think she doesn’t like it or just got fed up with it, so we stopped. We continued with our weather lapbook. She has almost finished memorising surah Buruj mashaAllah.

And…we have been cross-stiching. She did this all by herself after I showed her how:

DSC00633This came from Poundland. That’s right! 3 designs complete with 3 needles, all thread, 3 pieces of mesh and 3 design to copy all for £1! She really likes this thing, so I have told her that we can buy some of the material to draw he own designs on and then embroider like that.

Due to a sister posting up pics of her children’s butterfly entries for the Nature Detectives Competition, as well as seeing that my dear sister over at Always Learning had also done it, I thought why not enter R’s version of the butterfly. There are some amazing prizes to be won. But, I just thought she would just love to have abit of an arts and crafts day. It was also an opportunity for me to explain Symmetry. Afer explaining the concept of the symmetry of a butterfly, I left her to it and she started off like this:

DSC00637and then here is the finished piece:

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She definitely understood the concept of symmetry masha’Allah. So off in the post tomorrow insha’Allah.

And finally, just to make you all laugh! Every Thursday, we attend the HE gathering in East London. The kids have a beautiful playground to play in and have the option of doing activities in the wonderful centre they give to us for two hours. This week, one of the dear sisters brought an activity along called scoubidous! Now, I have never heard of these and was intrigued. I asked her if I could have a go. And by the end of our session that Thursday, we had 10 mums sitting around the table making scoubidous. The kids were more interested in the bubble painting and playing outside, but we were hooked! All that was missing as one sister said was the tea and biscuits! It was hilarious. Anyway, here is mine..really it is quite relaxing. lol

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Happy homeschooling! 🙂

Thameena and Thawri

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A few posts back, I mentioned that we were working on a Spring lapbook. We did start it but R didn’t seem as interested. So, I put it aside til another time.

R is really enjoying the warm weather masha’Allah and loves the fact that she doesn’t have to wear her coat. And so, she is forever asking me whether she can wear her ‘jacket’ today because it is Spring. Well, the weather hasn’t been very ‘Springish’ these last few days and one of them she had to wear her coat.

Furious that the weather had changed so drastically, she asked me, “Ummi, why is it sunny one day? And raining and windy another day?” So, I grabbed the opportunity headed down to our local library and took this out:

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I then headed over to one of my favourite places on the net! And downloaded everything for a weather lapbook. Basically, I see what mini book she will be working on in her lapbook, read about it from the library book and then complete the mini book for her lapbook.

Today, we learnt about how snow forms and she drew 3 pictures to show how it forms (and I filled in the written description):

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I don’t know if you can see it, but basically ice crystals form in the highest part of clouds. They then gather together and form snowflakes which then falls to the ground. She really grasped the idea masha’Allah.

We also learnt about hail, fog and dew. We read about it and completed the mini books. R couldn’t understand how fog is basically clouds that are near the ground. So, we headed off to youtube.com and I searched for fog and we watched a video of some people walking through a cloud! She couldn’t believe it and her face lit up like she understood! 🙂 So, after that we had to search for dew and hail as well. Seeing it made so much sense to her.

The traffic lights, see my old post was a huge success and so we made this to teach the different sounds of ‘th’. I present Thameena and Thawri:

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I took a piece of card, jazzed up the sides a little bit (if you can call it that. Drew a girl in hijab and a boy in a kufi. Wrote ‘th’ on the hijab and kufi and then asked R to copy words for one type of ‘th’ on Thameena’s hijab, and the other type of ‘th’ words on Thawri’s thobe. I cannot tell you how much she loved this. She then coloured it as they were just ‘too plain’.

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She not only read all the words but played with it all day! When it was put down, she pretended to be thawri (with sword in hand) defending Thameena from those that won’t allow her to wear hijab. It was hilarious. But hey, if she’s happy, I’m happy! 🙂

Finally, I have been spending way too much time on the www.learninga-z.com site. They are allowing free downloads for one day only for the week. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to the sister who told me about this. I spent more than 2 hours downloading non-fiction levelled readers for R and other reading resources and an entire one-year science program based around literacy. Today is the last day for the sciene, but try and catch the writing freebie day tomorrow.

And I would be rude if I didn’t introduce the latest member of our family (well, she’s a member for 2 weeks) – Mineko, the terrapin. Her family have travelled to Algeria for 2 weeks, so we are babysitting. I haven’t formally introduced her to Sulhafat (our tortoise) as Mineko is a meat-eating terrapin, and I’m scared my beloved very slow tortoise will be bitten and eaten up! Anyway, here she is:

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