Monthly Archives: December 2010

Two weeks..

Standard

All of us have slowly been recovering. Then R was really ill yesterday and still isn’t 100% today, so we’ve been taking it easy. She managed her Quran today and a bit of math and is doing some glass painting as I type this. Z is playing with his train set and baby Y is napping.

As always, have been thinking about home ed, my kids, what I want them to gain from this HE journey. And so, I’m doing a ‘pilot’ for the next two weeks.

Despite the fact that the block timetable was going really well, I have put it away for the next two weeks and instead, I have cut down her timetable to the following:

  • Quran – hifdh, muraajah, reading
  • Arabic – Rosetta Stone, Al tilmeedh, reading
  • English – handwriting and one of grammar, spelling, comprehension or creative writing
  • Math
  • Quran Curriculum/Islamic Studies

Everything has gone. The reason for this is that I want her to have the time in the day to explore her interests. A sis on the homeeducatorsandukmuslims2 list gave a fab idea and said that it would be good to keep a little notebook. Everytime your child asks you a question about something or wants to learn about something, note it down and start searching for books, online stuff, experiments and activities related to their questions/interests.

So, I want to leave more room in the day for this kind of thing and so have cut out everything else. Will see how it goes and keep you updated.

Ill

Standard

I think there is a really nasty bug going around. Baby Y has had high fever since Monday night. Z threw up three times, hubby has also been throwing up, I’ve been feeling like I want to throw up but can’t and R is bouncing around mashaAllah – the only one that is okay!

I had a whole week of home ed planned out, but subhanAllah, I really don’t have the energy. So, we’ve had a very easy week so far. We’re normally at our home ed group at this time, but we’re all staying at home in our pyjamas.

 Quran as usual, reading, and a few crafts. And just sitting talking, blowing bubbles, blowing up balloons and imaginative play. (Poor Z, with an older sister, I always find him in little dresses and clips in his hair! lol)

Anyway, here are a few things we’ve done this week, if you’d like to try them out with your own.

‘a’

Standard

Z is currently 2. 8 months old and I said I would never start anything formal with him like I did with R but it looks like he might be ready for a little something. Its strange because this was around the same time that I actually started home educating R formally.

Well, here is some stuff that I did with him. What is great about the second one is that you can use all the ideas you used with the first one. I don’t need to plan at all. Because I kept all of R’s work when she was 2.5 years old, I can look through that folder and take the ideas and do them with Z. It was funny because as I did some of these with Z, R remarked “I remember doing that!” I’m surprised she can remember that far back!

Beautiful..

Standard

Do you remember my ‘Thoughts’ post and the sister who came to see me which triggered off those thoughts? She left a comment on this blog and I just had to make it into a post because it was sooo beautiful and she refreshed my own will to home educate mashaAllah. Hope it has a positive effect on you too.

(She didnt give me permission to post it and edit some bits lol, so just ignore her praise of me. I’ve got too many flaws and shortcomings to be worthy of such praise. Anyone who has heard me scream at  my kids will testify to that!)

Here are her words:

Assalaamaualaykum,

I am the ‘local sister’ umm raiyaan met the other day. Alhamdulillah I have read the comments to ummR’s posts with deep interest. I feel I want to clarify what I meant when i was discussing with umm R about how people approach home-ed. To make it clearer I’m going to describe my chain of thoughts that had led me towards wanting to home educate.

I have always been a working mum since my eldest was 5 months old, right up to a day before my 2nd was born and then started back at work when she was 2 months old. Why I was working is a long story in itself but once a sister I know was very upset, she had had a reunion with her university friends and they were discussing their careers progressions and she felt like a ‘low achiever’ because she had not used her degree for two years and then became a mother, she stopped working and had been a full time mum for the previous 7 years to 4 kids.

I consoled her, she is a fantastic mum, her children have excellent Islamic morals, knowledge, manners, interpersonal skills and they’re bright, she manages her home well. I called her a ‘career mum’ and that she had made motherhood her career. Furthermore, where us ‘working sisters/mums’ get our salary for our careers mainly in thus dunya (some of us do good work in our careers and are also hoping for reward in the hereafter), her salary would be mainly in the hereafter. Saying this to her, my own words echoed in my head for months later… Our children are our sadaqa jaariya, but it’s not about the quantity of kids u have, it’s about how u raise them with quality. And deep down I think we all know it’s not even about the end result.

Since that day i really have been viewing motherhood as a career, something u need to train in, develop in, be the best in, work for and expect your ‘salary’ for.

Then recently i was in hospital and was quite I’ll, my daughter asked me if I was going to die. SubhanAllah I really thought about what would happen when i die, what would she remember of me, what had I taught her, what would be my sadaqa jaariya in her?

This coincided with me thinking a lot more about home ed. When I sat with umm raiyaan she really inspired me and I saw how home ed, is not something I am choosing for protecting my kids at all, they are already in Islamic schools and I do actually feel that is protection enough for the moment, so no, for me home ed is not in anyway a solution to the problem, it is an answer for how to actually raise my children myself.

It is about me actively choosing what i want to nurture in my children, not just imaan, literacy, numeracy and the normal curriculm subjects I’ve read about. It’s about me teaching my kids, morals, manners, character, habits, life skills, about building memories with them and ‘being their teacher and mother’ NOT being a taxi between school and home and getting them ready for the next ‘activity’ or ‘institution’ n their life, be that swimming lessons, visiting friends, playing in the park or even just getting them ready for bed.

Home-ed allows u to start with a blank sheet and start going crazy on a mind map of all the things you want your child to learn, from courage, love of Allah, gheerah for the deen, respect for women, love for animals and nature, a sense of adventure, a thirst for knowledge, concern for the ummah. then to get imaginative and bring these things to life, so my child won’t learn about caring for animals from a book but I’m trying to arrange with a local petting farm that once a fortnight he will go and brush down the ponies and take care of the animals, he won’t learn courage from studying stories of courageous people in school, he will go out and learn courage by being in situations that require that as part of home ed, be that a camping trip, mountain climbing.

I hope I don’t make umm raiyaan shy through this, but I found her inspiring because she shows no boundaries to home ed, for her, yes she has worksheets and schemes she follows, but it’s more about finding ways for her children to LIVE what they are learning. So in that respect home-ed is not mimicking school, it’s not a second best option that’s ‘safer’ than school, Islamic or non Islamic, it’s ‘unschooling’ it’s limitless learning, but only for those willing to be imaginative and actively get out there with their kids and helping them to TASTE learning, and LIVE Their lessons.

…..so that’s what i meant when I was discussing with her about home-ed not being the only option but the BEST option.

Hope that clarifies things (sorry if it’s too long)

My challenge now is to try and make being a part time working home ed mum!?!? I haven’t quite figured that out yet, but inshaAllah where there is a will and a step towards something for Allah I know Allah will show the way.

UmmH

Whilst it snowed…

Standard

we stayed at home pretty much. Except for one day when we ventured out and had a family snowfight! Much to the shock of passers by!

I’ll start with Z. ALHAMDULILLAH MASHA’ALLAH -the boy is finally calming down! He still throws some tantrums and drives me nuts sometimes but he is definitely getting better mashaAllah as he leaves age 2 and gets closer to age 3!

This week, I spent time reading lots of books to him. He likes books that have magnetic or felt pieces to move around. They are all to do with cars, fire engines or planes! He also likes doing puzzles.

Got this brand new puzzle which has numbers to 26 on one side and the alphabet letters on the other side for £1.50 at a car boot sale.

Young children do love doing crafts. So, I do aim to do at least three in the week with Z. Although, I’m not starting anything formal with him, he does need time with me and I find that he is much calmer when he knows that he’s done something with Ummi.

I drew a bus shape and cut it out whilst Z coloured in the sun and drew squiggles on the piece of blue paper. I then cut out four squares, a strip and two large circles from black paper. And he stuck them on with pritt stick mashaAllah. Very proud of his little bit of artwork!

 

Now on to R. When R and I sat together to form her timetable, she said she wanted to bake once a week. So far we have kept to this. She made yummy caramel shortbread. (I just sneaked a piece without the kids knowing!) I do try and let her do most of the baking on her own now as I feel she is capable. It builds her confidence too.

Mixed flour, butter and caster sugar into crumbs with her hands.

Then filled up a shallow tray. Put it in the oven to bake.

We could have made the caramel but as she wanted to do it herself, I thought it would be easier (and quicker) to buy a tin of caramel. So she spread it over the base once it had cooled out of the oven.

We put it into the fridge to set a bit. Then melted milk chocolate and spread it on top. Left it over night to chill. Took it out of the fridge so that it didn't crack upon cutting it. And oh so yummy with a nice cup of hot chocolate!

I really do get excited when she takes her own initiative in her learning mashaAllah. This week she did a bit of ‘still life’ art on her own. She sat at the computer and made her own laptop. She copied all the keys on the keyboard – everything. lol It took her some time and I just silently observed.

And of course the snow…

AND finally. I’ve got to mention this because it was such a hit with R! She has opened her own email account. A sister recommended it and oh my gosh has she been excited. She received her first mail from me (of course). And my mother has sent her a few, as well as another home educated friend of hers. This is actually quite a good learning tool. She is learning to type, learning to spell and write sentences all without realising it.

Only problem is, she keep asking me: “Ummi, can I check my email?” Oh dear, the fight for the computer has already begun! Anyone who has kids roughly her age who would like to converse by email, send me a message and I’ll email you her email address privately. I would really recommend setting up an email account for your kids.

Audio: How to manage effective home ed

Standard

I listened to an audio lecture recently from a homeschool expo that I registered for. It is by a Christian home educating mother in America.

Ignore the shirk in the audio and say ‘audhu billah’ for that part. There are some things which I disagreed with but there are some things which I found really beneficial. And when she talks about her home ed in relation to the ‘lord’, just think about what she is saying as a Muslim – because it still applies to us.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the type of blog to upload audio files as I have to pay for that. If you would be interested in listening to this – leave a comment, and I’ll email it to you. Hope you find it beneficial. Let me know what you think…

It includes the:

Why, when, how, where of homeschool.

How to multi homeschool.

How to plan.

Where to homeschool

How to manage everything else in your life

And more.

Thoughts 2…

Standard

Still thinking along the lines of what I posted yesterday and wanted to expand and clarify what I was trying to say based on a few comments.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t homeschool to protect our children or that protecting our children is wrong. Anyone that knows me, knows that I really do try to ensure that my children mix with other children of good characters and to protect them from anything that could corrupt their foundation in Islam and natural fitrah.

But I do think that there are some sisters who literally shut their kids off from the world, don’t want them to mix with non-muslims and this really scares me. As when these kids grow up and have to venture out into the world, I think they are going to have a BIG shock and find it very very difficult to cope. I know one sister’s son who was home educated who was ‘protected’ and when he did meet the world – he lost his emaan, everything. It was so sad.

And I do feel that we should home ed because it is the best option for the kids. Because in my opinion (and it is my opinion – everyone is entitled to their own opinions) when one home educates as the second ‘best’ they go into it with that frame of mind instead of seeing it as a wonderful holistic method of education for their children. The results as a result of that thinking are quite different in my humble opinion.

For example, when I was young. My Dad was VERY very strict. Although he wasn’t a Muslim, he was very particular about how I dressed, that I didn’t mix with boys etc etc He literally hid the world from me down to the things that I watched in my teens! So, when I had my bit of freedom (when my parents divorced), I literally went WILD! And it scares me so much knowing that many Muslims think that because they are Muslim, that their children are saved from this. Or that, if they shut them away from the world that they will grow up as pious Muslims. Guidance is in the hands of Allah (Swt). But I just think home ed should be about PREPARING children from the world.

There are certain things I would NEVER introduce my kids to until they are a certain age as I want them to have a firm foundation in Islam, but at the same time if my children ask me questions then I will give them as open an answer as possible. Eg. R has started asking me about hinduism and divali.

The main point of my previous post was that whatever our reasons, we should always return back to our reasons of why we home ed because this will make us better home educators. I suppose the most important thing is that we home educate to attain the pleasure of Allah (Swt).

And Allah knows best.

Thoughts..

Standard

Today a local sister came to visit us. Her children are in school but she is considering home educating them. Although I have visited her a few times, it was her first visit to our home and it was nice that R enjoyed showing her her work, lapbooks, and other completed projects.

It is amazing how many sisters are considering home education at the moment. I held an open day at my home some weeks ago, and there were roughly 10 sisters. And aside from that, I have had roughly five sisters come over at individual times asking about home education. I don’t know why there is a sudden increase in interest in home education but alhamdulillah I am always happy to answer any questions.

I had a very interesting conversation with the sister who came over today. We talked about the different ways to home educate and our conversation led us to reasons why one home educates. Some sisters tend to home educate because they feel that home education is the only way that they can protect their children from the world. We both agreed that this is wrong. Home education should be a choice because we feel that it is the BEST choice, and not the ‘only option’ left for Muslims. This actually scares me as I know quite a few sisters who shut their kids off from the world thinking that that is what is going to save them and protect them and make them these wonderful pious Muslims. Allah is the Protector. But one day these children WILL grow up and WILL venture out into the world, and so we have to PREPARE them for the world and not HIDE them from it.

Another thing that popped up into our conversation was when we home educate, we should really be involved and interested in what our children are doing. The sister mentioned a home educating sister she knows who seems to just give her kids stuff to do to simply occupy them instead of engaging in what they do. It made me think about myself. I do hope that I am not like that. I don’t want home ed to be something whereby I simply get the kids to get on with their work and then mark it at the end. And then I feel that my job is done. No, I want to be a homeeducator that takes interest in my children’s interests. That plays games with them. That reads aloud to them. I think I am on the right track inshaAllah. But as I am someone who has other projects going on in my life, I need to ensure that I don’t place whatever else I’m doing first and then just get the kids to do their work to occupy themselves whilst I have time to do what I need to.

This leads me on to the importance of reading aloud. Before I started home educating, I used to think of read alouds as something you would do until a child could read to themselves. It was only until I came across many home educators that still read aloud to their teenagers that I realised how important read alouds are for the child, and for the bond that it creates between the parent and child. Read alouds have and still are an important part of our home education. At the moment, I am reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to R. I can’t tell you how much she is enjoying this book. I read a chapter to her a day (which isn’t enough  – in her words). Read alouds really bring us closer together, it enhances her vocabulary and grammar and there are so many other educational benefits.

Home education should be about taking an ACTIVE role in our children’s learning – not by simply giving them loads of workbooks to complete but rather showing excitement, amazement, interest, and ACTUAL involvement in all that they learn and do.