Category Archives: English

Spelling PDF

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A number of you have asked me for the spelling pdf I mentioned in a recent post. Here it is.

http://www.primaryresources.co.uk/english/docs/phonics_and_spelling_programme.doc

Y wrote his first word and read his first book!

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I apologise if some of the posts I write seem irrelevant. I sometimes write posts more for myself as a record.

Y had a few firsts! He’s 3 years old 8 months old and loves drawing and writing. He’s constantly with his magic board or a piece of paper and pencil.

He was busy drawing a few days ago and called me to come see what he just drew. I expected to see a picture or some numbers as he’s forever writing numbers. He had written his first word all by himself and it was. ..

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I was so touched!

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Zuzu is reading the Bob books to me. And I thought I would try the first Bob book with Y as he knows all of his phonics. He has expressed in the past that he wants to try and read to me too just like zuzu does but I said no. To my surprise he was able to read the first one mashaAllah. He wanted to read more but I don’t want to put any pressure on him as he’s still so young. I see so many similarities between R and Y. But I’ve learnt through my experience with R to just let him be and progress organically with certain things.

Wind project

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We’ve been learning about Wind this month. It’s been so much easier learning altogether rather than do different projects. Just requires me to look at different age  appropriate activities.

We still have another week learning about wind and I have a few more activities lined up for them.

But this is what we’ve done so far. ..

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R wrote a descriptive piece using each letter of the word wind. I encouraged her to use her senses as she wrote the piece. Not sure if you can see what she wrote, it says:

Whistling gracefully on lovely gentle days. And blowing fiercely through angry stormy times.

Invisible and delicate, it can shatter into a dangerous storm.

Not visible to the eye but can be heard by the ear in sounds of whoosh and whoo.

Dark and dareful in a storm, destroys everything in a hurricane. Swirling round in a tornado.’

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She built a windmill using a Thames and kosmos kit called wind power 2.0
A few months ago, I and a few sisters ordered some Thames and kosmos kits as the price is so much cheaper when you buy in bulk. The prices are more than 50% cheaper! I’m so glad I arranged the order as the kits are fantastic mashaAllah and a good investment as the other kids will inshaAllah use them too.

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This particular windmill creates electricity and a bulb lights up without any electricity supply. This led to a discussion about how windmills are used to produce electricity for homes etc. We learnt about the science involved and how it works.

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With the boys, we read books about Wind and had a bit of fun blowing different objects around using a straw. We also watched some videos of tornados and hurricanes which amazed the boys.

The above windmill also charges rechargeable batteries. Managed to find rechargeable batteries in the pound shop! So R is planning on conducting that experiment. Let’s see if it works!

A sister has arranged a trip to a local windmill in January inshaAllah so that will tie up this project nicely inshaAllah.
I’ll post up some more of what we’ve done next week inshaAllah.

How we learn English

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Bit of a longish description of how we learn English and some pics of stuff the kids have been up to in their English lessons. ..

We formally study English three times a week. I say ‘formally’ because we are a book loving family and most of our English studies occur informally.

R

Each time we study English, R completes 1 page of joined up handwriting practice. She now writes in joined up handwriting. She’s amazed that it is faster than print. I give her a spelling test using a reception to year 6 pdf I found online which includes age appropriate spelling tests.

She then completes another activity for English. This month, this is working through Galore Park. Next month we will be taking a break from that and instead work on a specific English topic for the month.

I read to R almost daily. At the moment I’m reading this book to her. …

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Aside from her independent reading I’ve also asked her to start reading to me again. She’s currently reading this to me. ..

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I’m trying to ensure the books we read to each other are Islamic books as read aloud times are beautiful bonding moments. What is better to bond over than islamic books?! It’s nice because we often discuss what we’re reading which leads onto questions, opinions and how we can act upon what we’ve read. I highly recommend read alouds. It isn’t just for little ones.

Z

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For zuzu. .. he also does English three times a week. Each day for English, he will do one page of handwriting, one spelling test using the same pdf I use for R. He reads 1 book to me – currently the Bob books, completes 1 page from this Scholfield and Sims workbook…

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He then completes a fun hands on activity related to our current monthly topic for English.

Y

Y does exactly the same as zuzu but is not reading yet so does not read to me. And is working through a different workbook.

I also read aloud to the boys a lot as I feel it helps them with their own reading. I’m currently reading The 7 habits of happy kids to them and lots of books they randomly bring me to read to them.

Some of the hands on activities they’ve done recently.

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Can’t remember if I posted this. Boys running to different letters spread all over the floor.

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Matching uppercase and lowercase letters.

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Q tip painting to teach uppercase and lowercase letters using a cotton bud and paint. We then made it into a book.

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More matching uppercase and lowercase using letter stamps.  I’m sure you can tell what one of our English topics was this month!

The kids also use Reading Eggs, Reading Eggspress, Starfall and Spellodrome.

What do you do in your English lessons?

Handwriting without tears

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For the boys, I’ve been using the program Handwriting Without Tears. It’s an American system for teaching handwriting and I feel it is great. A lovely sister bought the book for me all the way from the US when R was little but by the time it arrived R was already able to write.

But now alhamdulillah it can be used for the boys. Let me run you through how it works. ..

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So I can use it for the remaining 3 children who will be learning how to write, I photocopy the pages.

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The lesson starts off with me showing the boys how to write the letter on a small chalkboard. I was given these tiny chalkboards and they are perfect size for this program. It is important that they see each step of writing the letters in the specific order.

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Next, I wipe off the letter in a wet sponge in the same procedure of writing the letter. It has to be in the same order. So the shape of the letter is still visible on the board because of the water.

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After this with a dry cloth, I then dry the letter. .. again ensuring I’m drying it in the correct order of forming the letter.

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After this the boys then do it with their boards and chalk, sponges and dry cloths. And then I give them a sheet from the book to complete independently. Above Y is completing his sheet.

What is great in my opinion about this method is the repetition of chalk, wet sponge and dry cloth. The child sees the method of writing the letter three times. The size of the board is crucial and is great because the child uses the board edges as margins for the letters. It is very difficult for small children to form letters freely on a page. And so drawing the necessary lines along the edges of the board helps them control each letter or number.

Handwriting Without Tears includes lessons for uppercase and lowercase letters aswell as numbers. We do a page a day whenever we do English. MashaAllah I can honestly say it has been really good for the boys.

Oh and I found the app on the ipad so sometimes they can supplement it with that.

Hope this helps anyone looking for a handwriting program for their children.

Real home ed and ramadhan

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We’ve pretty much stopped formal work apart from R’s quran schedule and Arabic. For Z, he’s continuing with quran, Arabic and lots of reading eggs.

MashaAllah his reading has really picked up and we had a wonderful moment last week. He decided to grab a piece of paper and a pen and without me asking him he wrote the words ‘see, cat, the and man’. I couldn’t believe it mashaAllah. And now he’s sounding out loads of words, he sees words everywhere when we’re out lol. This is it inshaAllah. When they start acting in this way they’re ready. So am going to carry on as it seems the method I’m using is working with him now alhamdulillah.

Despite not doing much formal work, I feel that we’ve had some real home ed days alhamdulillah. Recently I’ve met a few ‘readers’ of my blog and I cringe
Read the rest of this entry

Kids updates and next year…

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As I write this, R has gone on a trip with her father to the Birds of Prey Centre. It took them about 2. 5hours to get there and inshaAllah they’re enjoying it. There was a special groupon discount which I snapped up for my husband as he loves wildlife. And he decided to take R with him.

So, its just the boys and baby with me today and I’m in a mode of reflection..

Another home ed year (formall home ed year that is!) is moving towards its end. I really don’t know where time is flying.

R is going to be 9 Islamically in Ramadhan, Z is 5, Y is 3 and baby S is going to be 7 months old in a few days inshaAllah. It feels like only yesterday I was waddling around like a duck – ready to pop!

This year has been quite busy – the pregnancy and birth of baby S and then almost 2 months in Algeria for the kids. We haven’t got as much formal work done this year but there have been lots of experiences and other ways of learning which are, in my opinion, more enriching than written work.

So a few updates and thoughts for next year…

QURAN

R: It takes up a lot of time in the day. I have devised a system where we split up all her Qu’ran into about 4 sessions. There has been a lot of trial and error recently with regards to murajaah but alhamdulillah I think we’ve found a system that seems to be working masha’Allah. The aim was for her to complete her hifdh by age 10. We’ll see how that goes…please make dua! For next year, we’re going to increase her daily hifdh portion again inshaAllah so need to reduce some other stuff.

Z: We started Z on his hifdh and mashaAllah he is up to Surah Humazah. He does hifdh and murajaah daily. Plan is to continue this from Sept but try to increase his daily hifdh amount.

Y: We do very light hifdh with him. He has memorised a few of the small surahs and some of his duas.

ARABIC

R: She continues to speak with her father in Arabic but it is now mixed with the Algerian Derja. She can differentiate between the two. She watches a lot of Arabic cartoons. I have downloaded a huge collection of Arabic story books for her which she reads – need to try to make this more of a daily thing. We have just returned to Studio Arabiya. R got bored with it last time as the work was far too easy and she wasn’t being challenged. She now has a teacher that deals with the intermediate/advanced students who already know how to speak Arabic and she is finding the lessons more enjoyable.

Z: Z is learning his Arabic letters and sounds. We hope to have this finished so he can move onto the Qaida within the next month or so insha’Allah.

Y: Y is also learning his Arabic letters but much more slowly. He does the same Arabic letters activities as Z but at a slower pace.

ENGLISH

R: It has been a mixed bag for English this year. Haven’t stuck to one set curricula. Instead chose bits and pieces from different resources. This seems to have worked better for R. She really doesn’t like to stick to one set textbook for English and rather studies English through topic work. I think I’ll be carrying this on insha’Allah. Am making a list of resources to use and topics to cover from September inshaAllah.

Z: The focus has been reading for Z. It is as though a lightbulb has been switched on for Z mashaAllah. He is finally understanding a lot and just generally is a much more pleasant child mashaAllah. There was a time where I found it difficult to bond with him as he was so challenging but we are so much closer now as mother and son and I love him to bits mashaAllah. Back to reading – he’s progressing well. Using a variety of resources. My aim is to get him reading comfortably and fluently insha’Allah. He’ll be using reading eggs and some other resources that I have.

Y: Y has learnt a lot of his letters and phonics informally. I’ve noticed he has a good memory mashaAllah and just seems to remember a lot without any formal teaching. He has asked me to teach him how to write and so I’m going to work with him on that insha’Allah. He also has his own reading eggs account. Wouldn’t have been able to afford this had it not been for a fantastic deal created by a sister. Basically got reading eggs and mathketics for each child for about £5 for the year mashaAllah. Bargain alhamdulillah.

MATH

R: We did some MEP this year. Not as much as I wanted but I have looked at what R would cover in school for math at her age and I am comfortable that despite not doing as much math as I wanted her to do, she’s pretty much covered what she would need to know through the little she has done mashaAllah. Just goes to show that a home ed child doesn’t need to do nearly as much as schooled children and can still learn the same subjects. Decided to choose a different math program for this year. Have enroled her onto mathletics – so will see how this goes. Any recommendations for year 4??

Z: Feel as though Z struggles in this area. Going to try to do montessori math with him for next year insha’Allah.

Y: Y is really good at math mashaAllah! He has really surprised me. He knows and understands a lot about numbers and counting and shapes etc. And he really enjoys it. Going to try and see where this goes inshaAllah.

OTHER SUBJECTS:

Islamic Studies: It has been through reading, discussion and practical application. I feel I need to step up in this area with R especially as she’ll be approaching the golden age of 10 when some things will become fard for her.

Science: Am also considering a curricula this year. Any recommendations?

History: R loooooooves history and has probably read most if not all of the Horrible History books. I have just subscribed her to the All About History magazines for kids. I’d love to teach her more history but with everything else and hifdh taking up most of the time, she’ll just have to do with reading about history at the moment.

Art: R still loves to knit. And yesterday at a carboot sale we bought some balls of wool. She’s going to start a new project insha’Allah. She doesn’t get to do much other art apart from some activity sets we have at home. I’m not very artistic and so I hope I am not depriving her of this just because I don’t like it very much!

Z: Z loves to paint – need to do more of this next year.
Y: Y is surpisingly really good at drawing mashaAllah especially for his age. Again, he keeps on surprising me. But as child no3 I just don’t have the time I wish I had to really develop the areas he seems talented in. Need to think of ways in which I can have more one on one time with him. Maybe it will improve once baby S gets a bit bigger.

Sports
R: R did archery, horse riding, kickboxing, bmxing and swimming this year. She no longer does archery. And she no longer attends swimming lessons as I feel at almost 9 years old, it was time to stop her going to public swimming lessons. Instead, I am going to take her swimming weekly inshaAllah. The swimming lessons served their purpose – she now knows how to swim – so they were definitely worth it alhamdulillah.

Z: Z is very good at sports mashaAllah. He can swim the whole width on his back and most of the width on his front mashaAllah. He recently moved up from Aqua Tots 2, skipped stage 1 and is currently in stage 2. He’s like a fish in the water masha’Allah. He also does kickboxing but missed loads of lessons whilst in Algeria so couldn’t go fir grading this year. He also does football which he absolutely loves. I was really hoping to find a great football club and found one that really is just excellent mashaAllah. Z has also learnt how to ride his bike without stabilisers. He still needs a push off at the beginning but then pedals a lot on his own. Aim is to improve so he can join the other kids on the bmx ramps at the bmxing classes.

Y: Y goes to football classes too. He loves it more than Z! Hoping to enrol him for swimming aqua tots2 from September inshaAllah.

Other Activities

R: R also goes to cubs (scouts) which she just loves! They are taking te girls camping after Ramadan inshaAllah. They learn so much and do so many different activities. Quite a few friends go there and she’s developed some nice friendships mashaAllah. I’ve also heard of a practical skills club for girls for 4 hours on a Saturday – they do Qu’ran and Arabic which I won’t be putting her in for but the other subjects are Islamic Studies and lots of practical stuff like cooking a meal, first aid, table laying, sewing projects, etc etc. But it is quite expensive so am not sure.

Z: Hoping Z will join beavers after March inshaAllah.

R spends free time (although not much of it) reading – she is allowed to read in her bed from bedtime til maghrib time when she prays maghrib and esha together. She loves baking and its great for me as I have a very sweet tooth. She loves the Thursday home ed group and meeting with her friends especially two of them who she meets on Skype now and again. She enjoys playing board games and watching documentaries.

Z and Y: Z is obsessed with a game on the ipad called Temple Run. He’s very good at it. And its a good incentive to get his work done WELL. If he does this, then he is allowed to play on it. He loves going on his scooter and running free in the park lol! Z is also obsessed with cutting and sticking. I find paper everywhere. This year I’m going to use a lot of cutting and sticking resources to teach him his formal work as he really understands a lot through cutting and pasting! Y likes playing with action figures and string! The things he does with a piece of string is quite amazing lol! He has created parachutes with paper and string for his action figures. He’s quite creative. He loves talking and loves me reading to him. He is a computer pro lol mashaAllah and knows how to use the computer without any help. He likes playing computer games. Give him a sharpened (has to be sharpened) pencil and paper and he’s off drawing lots of different things!

And that’s about it. I hope Allah gives me enough energy and patience to continue through next year. Home ed is hard work and what gives is the mother lol! But I guess certain sacrifices need to be made. May Allah make it easy for us all. Ameen.