Category Archives: Age 2-3

Extreme exhibition

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We recently attended the best museum exhibition we have ever attended.

The Extreme exhibition in the tiny Horniman museum is on until November and really was just fantastic. Completely hands on.

It does cost to enter but a sister told us about the family membership. We basically got our money back for the visit by paying £32 for the year. And we get free access to all exhibitions as many times as we want.

Here are some pics. I highly highly highly recommend attending. We’ll definitely be going back again inshaAllah!

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Game to play on a large screen about the extremes of the earth.

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Huge block of ice and then a screen that measures the heat. Kids had so much fun rubbing their hands and faces on the ice and then walking over to the screen to see the cold blue bits.

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Huge screen where you can take pictures as though you’re standing in the Arctic and then email it to yourself right there on the spot.

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Measuring how much water in your body.

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Artificial Cave to walk through

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Machine that shows how and why we sweat.

And there was much more.
There are other free exhibitions in the museum too …. Some not suitable as display voodoo etc. But if you buy the family annual membership then there’s an aquarium downstairs too.

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Oh and outside are beautiful grounds with a small farm area with a few animals and picnic indoor area near the farm. It’s a full day out. Did I say I highly recommend it lol! If you can, definitely arrange a visit and sign up to their newsletter as their exhibitions change and are normally fantastic like this one.

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Cleaning bottoms

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Nope, no one has hacked into my blog. This is not spam.
I hope this post helps out any home edding mums who are seriously stressed out. Four words: Let go of perfection.

Right. Some home edding mothers want it all – a house that looks like a museum, homemade gourmet meals, daily bathed children, on top of the children’s education academically, children who are these perfect little believers, the perfect wife, still striving in personal ibadah and the list goes on and on and on.

A lot of home edding mums really beat themselves up – A LOT! A lot are still looking at what their children would be doing in school and use that as a bar to measure their children’s progress.

I have a question for you – do teachers clean bottoms? The answer is no! Do teachers cook 3 meals a day for their children? No. Do teachers clean their classrooms? No. Do teachers breastfeed whilst teaching? No. Do teachers manage different aged children? No.

So, why on earth do many home ed mums try to replicate school at home and why do many keep referring to what their children’s peers are doing, studying, learning at school. Anyone who does this will have a nervous breakdown!

I seriously became ‘free’ when I stopped referring to what they do in school, how they do it etc. Home Ed is not about the national curriculum. Home Ed is about my family’s values, my children’s strengths, my children’s interests and how they learn. Why should I feel compelled to follow a system designed by a bunch of individuals that have never met my family? Where is it written in stone that children aged 7 must know x, y and z and if they don’t know this – they have failed??!

So, if in one day the only academic learning my children have done is read – I don’t see that as unsuccessful home edding. If on another day – they have spent all day doing book work, I don’t see that as over pushing them. Each day is different in home ed.

My eldest will islamically be 10 in a few months time. I can’t believe it – it seems like only yesterday she was like her baby sister unable to speak! They grow so fast. There’s plenty of time to be fully structured – when they’re preparing for exam stage. Until then, following their interests, getting the basics right and having a fun time being together as a family and discovering the world is what suits us.

Dear home edding mums, let go of perfection. If you’re passionate about your children falling in love with learning and discovering, then you’ll have to accept the house will never be 100% clean. Bunging a pizza in the oven and quick meals will become a norm.

I was and probably still am a ‘clean freak’. I love organisation and I love a spotless clean home. But I’ve had to seriously let it go. Years ago, so much of my time went on cleaning that I didn’t have enough time to sit down and read to my kids, or play a game with them or just engage in a conversation of their choice with them.

So I realised I can clean til my hearts content when the kids are older. I can become Chef of the year when I have more time. But right now, its about ‘being’ with my babies. Educating them, facilitating their interests and nurturing them. That is my priority – not the cleaning and cooking.

I’m serious when I say – anyone who is holding on to what children do in school will have a seriously depressed home ed life. Let go of it and watch the transformation in yourself and your children. Let go of perfection. In the future, what will your regret be? That you didn’t clean enough? Or that you didn’t read enough to your kids, didn’t focus enough time om nurturing their faith? Live your home ed life as to the ideal image of your children as adults.

To all home educators

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Please support this sister as in turn her venture might end up supporting you:

Asalamuu alaykum

Are you home educating? Interested in home education? The Home Educators Hub needs your help! 

We have a wonderful work in progress that will be a great resource for home educators. 

Please help us by completing the following few questions and email it back to homeeducatorshub@gmail.com

Feel free to forward it on to all home educators! 

(1) If there were a series of online home education webinars, would you attend? If yes, what topics would you hope to listen to? 

(2) Do you use tutors to teach your children? If no, please explain why. 

(3) Do you plan or intend to plan your child(ren)’s home education in advance? 

If yes, do you feel you need assistance with this? 

If no, please explain why. 

(4) Which of the following options would you choose and why? 

A. A ready made individualised home education plan for your child (ren)

B. The above with resource lists of everything you need. 

C. The above with actual resources.

(5) Would you be interested in a unit study/topic planning service? 

If yes, what would you expect from such a service? 

(6) How often do you use online resources in your home education?

(7) Do you see ideas on websites, blogs and books that you would like to try with your child(ren)? 

If yes, do you feel you have enough time to prepare these activities? Would you use a service that would prepare these activities/resources for you? 

(8) How often do you speak to other home educators for advice on home education? 

(9) Do you feel it is important to speak with more experienced home educators? If yes, why? 

(10) Would you be interested in a home education resource library?

If yes, what types of resources would you hope to borrow? 

(11) Please state any other type of help or support you would hope for in your home education. 

Many thanks for completing the questions. 

Do like us on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Home-Educators-Hub/1402235363369019

Don’t miss out on our week of free home education freebies coming soon! 

The Home Educators Hub

Dua challenge

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There are some Muslims who without fail will always say their morning and evening adhkar. There are others who cannot simply pray the fardh salah. They must pray the 12 rawatib. And others cannot leave or enter the home without saying the relevant dua.

All of the above feel out of place should they miss any of the above. They feel like something is missing and almost perform the above as though they were obligatory acts of ibadah.

As a revert, sadly, those who were around me during those early few weeks and months did not show me the importance of adopting the above. And so trying to get into the ‘habit’ of never missing some of the above acts of worship have been an uphill struggle. It’s taken me many years to reach a point where some of them become habitual… others I still need to push myself that bit more.

With children, especially when they’re young, are like sponges. They are clean slates and what we engrave on them will inshaAllah always remain.

This is why I feel it is essential that whilst they’re young that they get into the habit of doing certain things so that when they’re adults it is so second nature they do it without thinking. My hope is that by working on developing these habits that they will be a means of ajr for them when they are adults.

So I’ve begun to think of ways to get them into these habits. We’re working on getting into the habits of saying our situational duas.

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As adults we choose to do acts of ibadah because we want reward and we want Allah to love us and be pleased with us. For very young children, it is difficult for them to have the same motivation.

So I sat with the children and spoke about the importance of saying our situational duas. I told them that all of us need to get into the habit of saying our duas. So the challenge is to remember to say the duas we already know, to remind one another to say them, to learn new ones and to help one another in learning them. For every dua they say, they get to choose a sweet. For the boys I further explained that just as I’m rewarding them, Allah rewards us with hasanat and stores them for us. And we’ll see all the stored hasanat in Jannah inshaAllah.

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As a reminder, I created the above poster as a reminder for them and replaced certain dua posters in different positions around the house. Some posters have been up for years so changing the position slightly has made them take more notice.

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They made bags to store their sweets and the dua  challenge jar is placed on our main table to serve as a motivation.
This past week they’ve really gone for it mashaAllah and they’ve been saying most of their duas and learning new ones. But what has been so nice to see is them encouraging and reminding each other mashaAllah.

I’ve even withheld from giving them sweets as rewards for a few days to see if they’d still say their duas and masha’Allah they did.

It’s also been good for me to get back into saying certain ones.

I think I’ll carry on with this until the sweetie jar is empty and then hopefully they’ll have got into the habit.

In pictures…

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So busy subhanaAllah. No time to post but thought I’d share some of what we’ve been up to in pictures…

Freestyle junk modelling. This is Z's robot

Freestyle junk modelling. This is Z’s robot

R finished this knitted bag in Algeria

R finished this knitted bag in Algeria

Snake art with the boys

Snake art with the boys

Yummy cupcakes made by R - she loves baking and alhamdulillah I can now sit back and relax and let her do it alone.

Yummy cupcakes made by R – she loves baking and alhamdulillah I can now sit back and relax and let her do it alone.

Counting activity and number recognition with the boys

Counting activity and number recognition with the boys

R taking an interest in BSL Sign Language

R taking an interest in BSL Sign Language

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Y in the taste experiment!

Y in the taste experiment!

Taste experiment R  prepared.

Taste experiment R prepared.

Decorating numbers - we do lots of stuff with these. Hide them around the house and they need to find number 1, 3 etc. Run to number 4. All numbers at top of the stairs - the boys run up and grab the number I shout out. Works well as my boys can't keep still.

Decorating numbers – we do lots of stuff with these. Hide them around the house and they need to find number 1, 3 etc. Run to number 4. All numbers at top of the stairs – the boys run up and grab the number I shout out. Works well as my boys can’t keep still.

Air pressure experiment with R - fill up a glass of water - place a card on top. Turn it over and watch how the water doesn't fall out.

Air pressure experiment with R – fill up a glass of water – place a card on top. Turn it over and watch how the water doesn’t fall out.

Learning high frequency words

Learning high frequency words

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Z placed these body part cards onto Y's body.

Z placed these body part cards onto Y’s body.

Changes

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Life is full of changes and so home ed must change – it can never stay rigid.

I don’t seem to have much time to blog at the moment but will try and do what I can here and there til I can get back into a good flow insha’Allah.

Home ed routine has started back again alhamdulillah – some updates:

Zuzu (almost 5) and Y (almost 3): I’m teaching them together as they are pretty much at the same level – got a nice routine going with them now. Impossible to teach them all in the morning as they are soooo active and can’t keep still. So, what seems to be working with them is doing bitesize small 5-10 minute stuff regularly throughout the day. And am trying design their work so that they burn energy.
What they are doing: memorising 1 ayat per day and going over what they have already memorised.
A bit of math – no writing for now – just loads of games – eg, running up the stairs and grabbing the correct number or jumping on the correct number/shape
A bit of english – a mix of jolly phonics and a You Can Read program where they learn a set of sight words – masha’Allah they’ve learnt 6 phonics and 4 sight words so far
A bit of arabic – learning the alphabet
I read to them loads and try to talk about Allah and the Prophet (saw) as much as possible. Am reading Muhammad and Maryam from the Perfecting Pillars series from Ad Duha to them every morning at breakfast.
And then LOADS OF PLAY PLAY PLAY
Sport – Z is doing swimming, kickboxing which he loves and archery

R (aged 8):
Hifdh – moving along alhamdulillah. There’s another child she knows who is roughly at the same level as her so she’s competing which seems to be working.
Murajaah – we’ve changed this to half a juz every day where she listens, reads and recites with a qari and then we have been taking a portion of her previous hifdh and listening to that and fixing any mistakes. This has been working very well masha’Allah. My husband teaches quite a few children and just leaving them to listen, read and recite is quite risky as they might be doing it from memory and keep repeating their mistakes. The ‘fixing’ of all surahs/pages has really worked alhamdulillah.
Reading – she reads a portion every day and started from Baqarah.
English – this has so far been mixed with topic work. I made a list of topics she needs to cover in English under the sub headings: wordwork, grammar, punctuation, writing etc and then I make sure she studies a topic incorporating English work into it. Currently doing a Weather project with her
Math – MEP and some other workbooks/online resources – quite slow here but insha’Allah its okay
Arabic – still carrying on with Madinah Arabic books, just started Bayyinah.tv – Arabic with Husna program which she loves aswell as reading and some online stuff
Sport – Kickboxing, swimming – she’s on stage 3 masha’Allah, archery which she loves and Muslim Scouts – Cubs
Other – she can now knit and crochet, bakes regularly on her own, helping with housework more and is currently doing a Design and Technology course for home edded children
Islamic Studies – very practical – praying, discussing, reading and acting upon it insha’Allah – focus for me for R is her character more than rolling off Islamic facts which anyone can do!

Baby S (we kept her name in the end lol!) – is 7 weeks now masha’Allah and has started smiling and giggling at things masha’Allah. Other than that – poops, sleeps and cries all day 🙂

Thats about all that I can manage at the moment – life is very busy subhanAllah

One month old..

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I really don’t know where time has gone subhanaAllah.

It only seems like yesterday that I was in the intense moments of labour. Alhamdulillah, I have taken the last month to try and rest and mashaAllah my mother in law spent the month with us and this definitely helped. She returned to Algeria a week ago and this week has been an adjustment to being an Ummi to 4 children.

This last month has been completely out of routine. The children haven’t really been doing very much academically. But it definitely has been a month of learning – life’s learning!

R really enjoyed having her grandmother here – masha’Allah she learn 4 new knitting stiches and completed quite a large piece of knitting. My mother in law also taught her how to crochet – so R has been doing a lot of this. She is currently working on a knitting project – making a small bag. She also enjoyed a trip to the Ragged School Museum with some other home edders – I actually went on this trip as a child and it was amazing so much so that I still remember it. The children enter a real Victorian classroom and kitchen with an actress acting as a strict Victorian teacher. R absolutely loved it.

We are currently trying to decide what baby’s name is – we did previously name her S but my husband wants to change her name – so at the moment – she’s nameless lol!

Yesterday, I spent most of the day planning next week’s home ed – I feel that we have been ‘off’ for far too long. I’m not sure how next week will go as it will be home edding with a newborn but we’ll see how it goes insha’Allah.

After the last month, I feel that I need to give a lot more of my attention to Z. He’s going to be 5 in March inshaAllah and I am concerned about his emotional development – I’m not too fussed about his academic progress but I am worried about his character and emotional well being. I can see that he needs some quality time with me and I hope I can give him that inshaAllah. I have been reading a lot about children who are aggressive/angry. Children that don’t seem to be interested in anything etc and also how I as a parent can change and bring about a positive reacction in my children. I feel that home ed is so much more than just academics. I want my children to emotionally and spiritually grow in a very positive way – I feel I have lost sight of that to a certain degree amongst the hifdh, math and english lessons.

Another topic – This last month has also seen an amazing thing happen within my family. My father and I have been estranged for quite some years and masha’Allah he recently got back in touch and we had our first telephone conversation a few weeks ago after so many years. SubhanaAllah wa bi hamdih – this is purely from Allah! Prior to this telephone call, he was writing to R and R wrote a few letters back. This has been quite an emotional time especially after the birth of baby. I praise Allah for the blessings He has recently brought me – walhamdulillah.

Hope to blog more insha’Allah…time permitting 😉