Category Archives: Islamic Studies

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.

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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

Bilal (RA)

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I do like to document ‘moments’ so that I can look back on them.

My kids are obsessed with the upcoming arrival insha’Allah and are getting very excited.

I have a birthing ball which they think is the best thing ever – they jump and roll over it – to be honest, I think they’re making more use of it than I am!

This morning after breakfast, Zuzu lay on the floor and placed the birthing ball on his chest and said ‘The One, The One’. It was such a funny but sweet moment – it took me a couple of minutes to clock on that he was imitating Bilal (RA).

He does keep us entertained masha’Allah.

As for me, lots of menstrual type cramping but other than that – playing the waiting game…

Planning-ish for 2012/13

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Been in ‘planning-ish’ mode.

Not as much planning as I’ve done before. But feel ready to start properly again in a couple of days insha’Allah.

Thought I’d share what academic planning I’ve kind of decided for the children insha’Allah.

R who is now 8 years old:

Quran – she has started her new hifdh program with the goal to complete her hifdh in 2 years time inshaAllah. A lot of the time in the week is being devoted to this inshaAllah.

Arabic – Carrying on with the Madinah Arabic books for children, plus a new program called ‘Understand The Quran – children’s course’. Am hoping this will aid her in her hifdh. Masha’Allah she can understand some ayat here and there and sometimes translates to me but I would really like her to really understand the Qur’an a lot more. We’re taking a break from Studio Arabiya for now but may return to it later on insha’Allah.

Islamic Studies – very much a part of life – lots of practical elements, discussion and application. I feel this is the best way to learn the deen. As she’s growing, I want to focus a lot on taharah insha’Allah.

Math – MEP Year 3 and I’ve just registered her on Conquer Math

English – Galore Park, new Spelling book series, First Language Lessons for grammar and handwriting. Really want to push her in her creative writing so got a few resources for that plus insha’Allah my two years of Creative Writing components for my degree will hopefully come in handy.

Everything else will be as and when she wants to do it.

Activities – Pottery for one term, Swimming, Archery (just starting down the road from me alhamdulillah and quite cheap!), Kickboxing and Cubs (she’s too old for Beavers now)

Zuzu who is now 4.5 years old and Y who is 2.5 years old (although they’re 2 years apart, Y seems to know as much if not more than Zuzu so thinking of doing light stuff with them together):

Quran – basic small surahs

Arabic – learning the alphabet

English – phonics and reading loads to them

Math – MEP Reception and Conquer Math Reception

Lots and lots of fun preschool unit studies based on what they enjoy/interested in.

Activities for Zuzu – Swimming, Jujitsu and Beavers (when he turns 5 insha’Allah)

Maybe I’m overdoing it on the activities front but I’m trying to squeeze in as much as possible between now and when baby is born insha’Allah as I have a feeling no.4 is not going to be easy from what I’ve heard from others – so might be out of action for a while!

That’s about it – oh and all subject to change depending on where this year takes us! Can’t believe I said that – so different to how I first started as a home edder!

Eating books and saying goodbye!

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That time of the year again when Ramadan has flown by and we’re approaching the 1st of Shawwal already!

A few days ago, I felt a bit frustrated that R hadn’t completed her MEP Year 3 as was planned for this month. But then, I put my correct ‘lenses’ on and realised that she has masha’Allah acheived so much more than that this month – and much more meaningful things. Masha’Allah, with only 1 or 2 days left of Ramadan – she has fasted the entire month with the correct eating times of suhr and iftar. She wants to do the 6 days of shawwal too but seeing how loose her trousers have become, I’m not quite sure I’ll let her. But then I’m wondering if I should stop her from doing a good deed that she knows will gain her extra reward. As they get older and start to display their own ‘deeny decisions’ sometimes best to take a step back?

She has also completed her memorisation of another juz this month masha’Allah tabarakaAllah and is now praying all of her salat on time. So, really – who cares about the silly MEP program when alhamdulillah our children begin to implement the commandments of their Lord. How easy it is to lose focus of what is important.

Aside from this, R has pretty much spent the whole month reading. She has read about 10 novels this month and completed the library summer reading challenge and collected all the prizes in one go. She’s in that ‘eating books stage’ that I so clearly remember when I was her age. Am happy that she looooves reading masha’Allah but am worried that it might come in the way of her new hifdh programme as she really needs to spend much more time with the Qu’ran. At the moment, she’s walking around with a book in her hand, reads until midnight in bed, reads when eating etc. I’d rather she listens to the ajaza she has memorised as a form of revision. But then I’ve always wanted my kids to have a passion for reading – difficult to strike a balance as I don’t want to put her off her goal of memorising the Qu’ran.

Alhamdulillah, I’m really happy with this Ramadhan for R. As for the boys, I’m not too happy – they’ve been bored – fighting with each other and then playing then fighting. I just haven’t had the energy to do much with them and I feel I’ve let them down but they are still very young.

As for myself, I don’t feel as though I have done enough ibadah this month. I’ve often crashed on the sofa after putting the kids to sleep. I’ve missed a few fasts due to illness and pure pregnancy exhaustion which I’m not too happy about it. And generally I don’t feel content that I’ve spent Ramadan in the best possible way. But I can’t turn back the hands of time – I guess its all about where I go from here.

So many flaws in my character, so many acts of worship I need to improve and increase in. May Allah help me and guide me. Ameen.

Feel a bit emotional as I write this – last odd night of Ramadan. Feel happy about R’s progress this month but not too happy about my own. Maybe its hormones, maybe being too busy, maybe laziness… I don’t know.

Eid preparations – have sorted eid gifts alhamdulillah. R did some baking on her own this month and has decided to make a home made chocolate cake on her own for eid. So we’re sorting that out tomorrow insha’Allah. Bought the henna and will be trying out my designs (!) on her. Most of the house isn’t clean, but again I really can’t be asked this year! I think my hormones are really kicking in lol!

Anyway, have a wonderful Eid everyone – please remember us in your duas!

Ramadhan 2012

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So, 10 days into Ramadhan – how has it been in the ummihomeschoolsme household.

Before Ramadhan, R decided that her goal this month was to FAST THE WHOLE MONTH. I warned her that they were long days and that it would be a test. She was extremely determined and masha’Allah tabarakAllah, today is day 10 and she hasn’t missed one fast mashaAllah.

SubhanAllah, when I think about it – an almost 8 year old being able to fast from 3am-ish to 9pm-ish is one of the signs of the truth of Islam. There were times during these 10 days especially during the mini heatwave that we had that I told her she could break her fast but masha’Allah she carried on.

For me, I was really worried that at 5 months pregnant I would find it very difficult but subhanaAllah, Allah made it very easy and the first 6 days were fine. Then I got really really bad flu with fever, aches and pains and chose not to continue. Today, is my first day of proper relief and so I hope to return to fasting tomorrow inshaAllah.

Nothing much has been happening. R has been praying mashaAllah and we’ve been praying in jama’ah together when my husband is at the masjid. I remember after one salah reflecting how time goes so quickly. I remember when we brought R back from the hospital as a tiny 5lbs baby and 8 years later she’s fasting and praying mashaAllah. May Allah guide her and all of our children and keep them on the straight path. Ameen.

During the day, R is focussing on Qu’ran and Math (she is almost on her way to finishing Year 2 MEP inshaAllah). I’m one juz behind in my Qu’ran reading – but hope to catch up insha’Allah. We’re trying to focus on doing some good deeds but to be honest, I’m taking it easy this year: 1) because I really don’t have the energy and 2) I don’t think R can do anymore than she’s doing due to fasting. Iftar time is nice mashaAllah and we try to share reminders and watch youtube beneficial videos.

Its a quiet one this year. We’ve attended 2 iftar invites with family friends which made it extra special for the kids – but other than that there’s a lot of imaginative play taking place alhamdulillah.

I would like to exert myself more in terms of my own ibadah. The death of my dear friend Hikmah, a month ago, has left me feeling like this really could be my last Ramadhan. Alhamdulillah, by the Mercy of Allah we can be rewarded for our intentions even if we’re unable to carry out the actions.