Category Archives: Reading

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! 

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. 

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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.

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?

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.

Library Wonders

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R has been complaining recently that she doesn’t have any books to read. She’s pretty much read everything we have at home and even re-read some books. She’s been asking me for some time to take her to the library but I placed a condition that she has to step up a notch in terms of her hifdh.

Today after she completed her Qu’ran for the day – I drove her to the library and she took out loads of books! Fiction and non fiction. She began reading one of the books before the librarian could even finish issuing and stamping it lol! I think she felt deprived!

It’s Black History month this month and R picked up a book on slavery which she read today – this led to a lot of discussion which was really very interesting masha’Allah. It was nice to engage in conversation about this topic for a few reasons – she chose the book so clearly had an interest in it, its an opportunity to delve into her Nigerian background and mine! It was also a great opportunity to discuss how most of the African slaves were Muslims.

She also picked up another book about Victorian living – she’s really interested in this and has often picked up books about this period before. I think I’d like to start a project off about this with her as she really finds it fascinating. It was an interesting book about the food, lives, and dress of the Victorians.

The rest of the books were novels and she was sooooo happy when she found THREE Black Pearl Ponies books which her home edded friend Ia told her about online. The other books she chose were a Roald Dahl book and a few Michael Morpurgo books.

I’ve always advised R to read one novel at a time and she can read as many non fiction books as she likes. However, she protested saying that’s boring and so what she tends to do is read about 3 at a time. One in the morning after she wakes up and she reads it before she goes to sleep. Another one for car journeys and one for during the day. I find this very confusing but she seems to be able to pick up where she left off with all of them. So, at the moment, she has Shadows by Michael Morpurgo on the go aswell as a Black Pearl Ponies book.  She had tears in her eyes as she began to read Shadows. I asked her what it was about and she told me a little about an Afghani boy that has been imprisoned – thats it so far.

I do love the fact that she masha’Allah loves reading but I sometimes worry that it will come in the way of her hifdh. I’m kinda glad I have something I can take away that’s beloved to her if she doesn’t do her hifdh and murajaah properly. I know that sounds a bit harsh – but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do when pushing your child to complete their hifdh insha’Allah. May Allah aid us all. Ameen.

The library really and truly is a wonderful place and I don’t think I could home ed without it unless we were super rich and could order from thebookpeople.co.uk on a weekly basis! Any home edders out there who don’t take your kids to the library – seriously reconsider – its a wonderful place that can capture your child’s imagination and curiosity about the world. And its free!

After going to the library, we took a quick trip to the supermarket as R wants to make sunflower seed bread rolls – so bought the ingredients for them. On our way back home, we were driving and I noticed a bright blue and pink ELC Play kitchen with a sign that said ‘PLEASE TAKE ME’. I screeched the car to a halt lol and there was this almost brand new kitchen being thrown out by a nursery. So, popped it into the car and the boys and R played with it most of the afternoon. Amazing what some people throw out!

Back with Ibn Batutta (finally a post with pics!)

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Monday we kinda started back up with some formal home ed. It feels like AGES since we’ve done anything slightly structured and I know that R was somewhat happy to be starting up some lessons again. It was nice to have some sort of structure to the day but this time with a calm sense of flexibility (in my mind!)

R’s Quran schedule has begun which is taking up most of the day but alhamdulillah we still seemed to get through a lot on Monday:  Galore park English lesson, some quick revision on conquer math and…

an Archery lesson where R discovered she’s left handed for archery!

Return back to her kickboxing class and discussion on what topic she’d like to learn about.

For the boys, covered a little Qu’ran, a little bit of Conquer Math, lots of playing, stenciling and colouring and some English…

Started off by making flags (straws and scrap paper) with the boys. I began to write down the phonics I wanted them to learn and Z wanted another plain one. He said ‘Ummi, I’m going to draw apple’. I expected him to draw an apple but instead he wrote the letter ‘a’ all on his own. I was so pleased that he remembered how to write it even though we’ve hardly done any writing and that he linked it to the word ‘apple’.

I’m going along with the pattern used in the Bob books which I used to teach R (seems like an eternity ago!) Wrote the letters on both sides.

I then wrote out the letters on paper and stuck it to the wall (see next pic). Boys took turns holding up the correct flag as I pointed to the letter. Changed it a little with Z and asked him to tell me the sound – masha’Allah was surprised he remembered and got them all right!

Then let the boys be the ‘teacher’ and they took turns pointing out to the letters and the other one had to hold up the flag and say the sounds. This time Y got it and said a few sounds correctly! They had a lot of fun!

R wanted to start off with a history topic. She initially thought about studying about the Romans but then wasn’t sure so I had a look at the resources we have at home as well as some files saved on the computer and made a few suggestions to her. In the end, she decided to learn about Explorers and Ibn Batutta.

So, yesterday she read a few chapters from this book:

(jzk to the sister who leant it to us – finally in use! 😉 ) and has begun with some thought provoking questions:

* What were some of the dangers that early explorers faced, both real and imagined?

*If somebody from the 1400s were to time travel to the present, what differences would he or she find?

*What types of explorers are alive today? List their occupations and names.

*What are some of the reasons that someone would become an explorer? What qualities would this person have to possess?

We engaged in a lot of discussion and I noticed that in general,  we need to engage in more discussion. I think I’m going to revisit this book which I have on my bookshelf for some ideas:

I can see how important it is to instill creative and critical thinking skills – otherwise whats the point, they might as well go to school!

Today, its been hifdh, Arabic, trip to the library with the boys where I spent ages reading to them – nice change reading to them in the library.

We then all picked the green beans from our garden – its the only vegetable we’ve grown this year but there’s loads of it masha’Allah.

Then looked at our compost which we’re trying to grow and guess what – all the fruit peels, vegetable ends have actually grown into soil!

Here’s R showing me the homegrown soil masha’Allah! Its taken at least a year.

I really believe its one thing learning about something via a book but actually doing it first hand is something else!

R is doing some quran revision whilst I’m finishing this off and then off to a swimming class and then back to some of her topic. I’m going to start the boys off on a lapbook I know they’ll love insha’Allah.

Am absolutely exhausted but seeing them enjoying learning without the confines of school is definitely worth it alhamdulillah!