Category Archives: Character

Boys Update

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Thought I would quickly do an update on the boys home ed as time is just flying by and mashaAllah they’re progressing nicely. So just trying to capture their progress.

Y just turned 4 years old a few weeks ago and Z is inshaAllah going to be 6 tomorrow!

Personality

Z: Z has always been my challenging child. He still is mashaAllah but is calming down. I’m beginning to finally understand him! I think a large part of my frustration was that I was trying to change him. But now I realise that I have to work with who he is and that has brought more harmony within home. He is my most affectionate child subhanaAllah and I do love him dearly. Zuzu has surprised us in recent months in terms of what he is doing academically – more on that below.

Y: Despite being 2 years younger than Zuzu, Y is as tall as his brother. His friends who are the same age as him look tiny next to him. I often have to remind sisters when Y and other boys are arguing that actually he’s the youngest or the same age. I think due to his height and the way he speaks, people including myself expect him to behave like a 6 year old. I would say Y is my wise child. Yes, he screams and throws tantrums like any 4 year old but he is my wise child mashaAllah. He speaks like he’s been raised in an upper class family. Everyone we come across laughs at how posh he is. His vocabulary is huge and sometimes in a normal conversation, he surprises me as I really can’t understand where he learnt ‘big words’ and is able to use them in the correct context?! He’s the nerd of the family!

Quran

The boys do hifdh and murajaah daily. They start off with murajaah and then do their hifdh. We were taking this very slowly with Z as he would sometimes take 1 week to memorise a small ayah. But mashaAllah he’s started to improve and is able to memorise more in a shorter space of time. Y is just like his sister R, Allahumma barik alayhi, he has a very sharp memory. And so at the moment, we’re warming up his brain and then we are going to start him on serious hifdh later on towards the year.

Arabic

The boys do Arabic evey day. At the moment their Arabic consists of learning how to read and vocab. They are at the same level and so it is easier to teach them together. So far they have learnt all the names and are able to recognise all of the Arabic letters, they have alhamdulillah learnt all the letters with fatha, kasrah and dammah. And are now reading simple 3 words. This has very much been taught using hands on methods, competitions between them, moving around etc. Learning how to read with a Qaidah wouldn’t work with these two and so alhamdulillah the hands on way of teaching them has really worked. I’ll try and post the types of games and methods we have been using.

English

Z: Z is alhamdulillah reading simple books. Daily, we review phonic sounds such as ai, ee, igh etc. And we also do a quick test of sight words. Then some handwriting, maybe a spelling test or spelling workbook pg, some new phonics work, he reads to me and then it is either comprehension, sentence structure, poetry etc. Sometimes this is workbook related sometimes its a game.

Y: I didn’t want to put any pressure on Y as he has only just turned 4 but he loves to learn mashaAllah. And so Y is roughly at the same level as Z. And I do the same with him as I do with Z. Alhamdulillah he’s reading simple books now and can write.

Math

Both boys are using Primary Mathematics from Singapore Math. It is Grade 1 which is roughly Year 2 level and mashaAllah I am so very happy with this program. I think Z has a mathematical brain. He is really surprising us in maths. His mental maths is mashaAllah better than what I remember of R. He really enjoys Singapore Math and just loves doing Maths. I try to use lots of different hands on resources to supplement our maths lessons.

Science

I had to rejiggle our schedule. We now do Science one day a week and I ensure it is hands on and fun. We don’t follow a curriculum. It is based on what we have, what their interests are etc.

Islamic Studies

We are currently making a lapbook on the creation of Allah. It is a simple lapbook I did with R when she was little. Most of our Islamic Studies take place through discussion and my daily Islamic reading to them immediately after breakfast. This initiates questions and discussion. We live Islamic Studies – I don’t believe it should be taught via textbooks at such an early age.

Other

Z is mashaAllah a fantastic swimmer. I wish he would do more sports but he isn’t really interested. The only sport he loves is skateboarding! Y is learning how to swim and loves football. Z is still forever making things. His interests at the moment are: inventions, earthquakes, landslides, and anything to do with war (artillery, soldiers etc etc). Y still loves drawing and recently loves colouring. His interests are practically everything. He is like a sponge that wants to know and understand everything. I’m struggling to keep up with him to be honest. Both boys play with their magnets, make geometrical designs using coloured wooden shapes, play educational games on the computer, watch things like How Its Made, Fierce Earth, Absolute Genius etc. They role play A LOT!! Sometimes I laugh at what a simple toy becomes during their role play. Eg we have these bright orange hot wheels type tracks that are quite bendy – from these orange plastic sticks,  they have made a pretend camp fire, swords, a bridge and the list goes on! Oh and they love playing with their little sister mashaAllah. She loves them and just lights up whenever they play with her. I think she might be a bit boisterous as she grows!

Sibling Rivalry

They fight. And they fight a lot!!! And I’m not talking about little squabbles but sometimes full on physical fighting. I hate it and it really does get to me. I feel like a policewoman most days. But I guess it is normal. They are 2 boys very close in age who are in each other’s faces every day. I’m working out ways to keep them separate at times just so as to have a bit of peace!

How I’d like to improve

I would like to be more patient and shout less! I really would like the fights and taunting to reduce. I would like to be able to read more to them and do more art. I’d love to do more project work but find once I’ve got the basics out of the way, there just isn’t enough time. When the clocks go forward, I want to spend more time outdoors inshaAllah.

 

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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! 

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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? 

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Choosing Good Friends

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I’m sure we’re all aware of the hadith that a person is upon the religion of his friend.

I think some home edders are a bit naive in thinking that home ed children are all of good character because they’re at home. Far from it. We still need to be on top of our children’s characters.

Sadly I came across an incident a few weeks ago about something R said to another girl at one of her activities. It’s the first time I’ve come across her being unkind to someone else. I was naturally very upset. When I questioned R about it she didn’t realise the impact of her words. And burst out crying. She was so sorry but it was a good lesson for her and since then she keeps asking me whether something she has said seems offensive so I’m happy that she’s more aware of her words.

I want my children to be good friends to others and for them to have good friends.

I’ve realised that if I want my children to display good characteristics it has to start with me. If I’m rude they’ll be rude. And that scares me. My gosh I have so many bad characteristics and the older I get the more difficult it is to change. This reminds me as to how important it is to cultivate good characteristics within my children when they are young, me being a good role model and the importance of them having friends who will remind them to uphold good characteristics and vice versa.

I had a discussion with R today. I told her whilst friends are important, she doesn’t need many friends. .. only a good few ones. I reminded her that she must always choose her friends wisely and that how she behaves towards others is what she will get in return.

Through these discussions I’m realising so much about myself. We so desperately want our kids to be great Muslims, with exemplary characters… but what about us?

As someone who was very needy of friends as a teenager, I don’t want my children to feel a desperate need to have friends but at the same time I want them to have a few really good ones that help them grow as people and as believers.

I no longer feel that need for friends anymore. And I’m quite content with the few good ones I rarely see but help me grow as a person. I just pray that my children have positive people around them as they grow and that I too am able to change myself.

This home ed journey is very much a learning path for me too…

Improving their character (and mine)

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Remember that post I wrote recently? The one where I took some time out to really reflect about where we’re heading in our home ed and as a result changed quite a few things in our home ed?

Well one of the realisations I came to is that whilst academics are important, my ultimate goal is that through this home ed journey I try to raise mumins who love their Lord and have exemplary characters.

So, as part of our weekly home ed I’ve devoted a part of a day to focus on a characteristic.

I don’t want this to simply be me telling them how to behave. Rather I want them to really understand why that particular characteristic is important and for it to become habitual for them.

This week we focused on speaking nicely to one another. One aspect of home ed I find difficult is sibling rivalry. And a lot of the arguments in our home start because someone isn’t speaking nicely. Aside from that I believe that we as Muslims should be conscious of how we speak.

I sat with the children and we spoke about how it feels when someone doesn’t speak nicely to us. I then asked them to role play an example of speaking badly and what that leads to. They went away and came back and did the role play for me. We then discussed how it feels to be spoken to nicely. Again they went away and prepared a role play for me. It was a really good one and I was surprised at the different ways that showed this positive character trait.

After that we took a piece of paper and decided to make a poster to remind us to speak nicely. I let them lead in this and this is what they came up with. ..

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To make it fun we decided to create a family challenge. Whenever someone speaks nicely they get a tick. Person with most ticks gets a prize at the end of that week. The reason behind this is to get them into the habit of speaking nicely. Yes, they might be doing it for the incentive but my hope is that by doing it regularly and me praising them for it, that they will want to do it more often and it will become a part of their nature.

I also told them that sometimes ummi doesn’t speak nicely and so they need to remind me too. I can’t tell you how many times they’ve said ‘Erm ummi…’ (pointing to the poster). But I’m glad as it’s making me look at myself too.

If I want certain characteristics in my children I must have them too!

P.s. At this time of writing z who is normally the first one to shout and say mean words is winning masha’Allah!!