Category Archives: Math

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.

 

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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Breakthrough with Zuzu! !!

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SubhanaAllah by the mercy of Allah I’ve had a huge breakthrough with Zuzu today. Those who have a ‘different child’ will know what I’m talking about. It’s a child that has your face on the prayer mat constantly imploring Allah for guidance and sabr.

Aside from creative making and skateboarding, it’s an uphill struggle teaching Zuzu. I have to be extremely patient with him which I’m often not 😦

He is very slow academically and really not interested in very much. Teaching him is such a test SubhanaAllah. Multiple times I’ve considered putting him in school.

Today I saw a completely different side to Zuzu. We were doing some Singapore Math and initially I thought this is going to take him a very long time. The thing with Singapore Math is something called CPA… You can read more about it here:

http://www.mathsnoproblem.co.uk/concrete-pictorial-abstract

SubhanaAllah I feel like crying. Not only did Zuzu really understand it but for the first time ever he really enjoyed math and asked me to do 2 more exercises!!!

And the reason why he ‘got it’ and enjoyed it so much is because he’s a kinesthetic learner. Meaning that he has to physically touch or handle things in order to learn. Singapore Math is quite big on this. I always had an incline that he was this type of learner. However today, as I sat with him and watched as he whizzed through exercise after exercise because he was using different manipulatives that he moved around, it dawned on me where I’ve gone wrong as his educator and mother.

Today was such a huge moment for both him and myself. Not because he asked me todo more math and enjoyed it. But because I now realise what I really need to do as his mother and educator and hopefully inshaAllah this will change so much for him. Ameen! !

So I’ll be doing heaps and heaps of research on kinesthetic learners,  kinesthetic parenting and discipline.

Truly a light bulb moment even though it’s been staring me in the face for such a long time!

Singapore Math

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I really don’t know where the time goes! Can’t believe tomorrow is Wednesday!!

Kids have been pretty much doing their normal share of formal work. Watching documentaries and the usual imaginative play, zuzu’s arts and crafts and Y’s drawings!

R went on a trip today to the British Library where she attended a book making workshop. She was fascinated by the library but a bit disappointed that it is only for adults!

I’ve started a new math program with the boys which I’m really happy with alhamdulillah. It’s called Singapore Math. I listened to a workshop a few weeks ago and spoke to a fellow home edding sister who uses it and I was sold! I can see the difference in my boys already mashaAllah.

The ages in Singapore are different. So grade 1 there is actually year 2 here in the UK but the program is so thorough that even my nearly 4 year old is really understanding math! Because we’ve started at grade 1 it’s a year and a half in advance for Zuzu and 2 and a half years in advance for Y (were they to be in school) so am taking it nice and slowly.

I’m not a huge fan of swapping and changing resources as I feel quite a few home educated children kinda suffer whilst mum is constantly trying out something new which leads to no consistency. Math needs to be consistent even ifonly done in tiny small doses. I used to be like this when R was younger and learnt the hard way!

The boys were learning math using different resources but now I feel better that I’ve chosen something for them that I’ve researched and seems to suit their way of learning.

I was going to start R off on Singapore math but decided against it as she needs consistency in her math rather than changing to a new method.

I hope to blog more about Singapore math as it really is great. Singapore leads in math results for children in the world and now I can see why.

If you’re interested, do a search in YouTube and you’ll find lots of videos as to why this is a great program and why the UK is using it in several schools.

Big thumbs up from me. Anyone else using it?

Recent maths

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R

Previously, I was simply following the order of the textbook we were using for math but I found that R found it boring and I don’t want her to hate math like I did at school. So we no longer follow the textbook order or only use a textbook.

For this year, I’ve separated the year into monthly math topics. Then each week I choose different resources to teach that concept. Sometimes she’ll do some exercises from the core book we’re using (Galore Park) and I’m trying to use other resources too.

For example, at the moment she’s learning about negative numbers. We looked at a physical number line and watched this video:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2FI1bjm9UG8&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D2FI1bjm9UG8

We then discussed temperatures on a thermometer and after that she did a few exercises on negative numbers. I’m currently in love with Anchor charts from the US as a tool for learning. So she’ll be designing one for herself about negative numbers and the rules for adding and subtracting negative numbers.

Each day R has math I start off by giving her some mental math exercises as I feel she needs to keep on top of certain math concepts aswell as getting those brain cells working!

We tend to wrap up math with some time on Mathletics.

Zuzu and Y

For the boys we’re currently working on learning numbers 1 to 30, recognising them, writing them, counting from 1 to 30 in 1s, 2s, 5s and 10s. We’re also going to look at greater than and less than and some basic fractions work.

We’ve been learning the teens using the montessori materials…Here’s how. …

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We use the montessori units and tens wooden cards and number beads. As I only have one number 10 card we use the teen number wipe off cards too.

I start off by showing the boys the number 10 card and then recap that one row of gold beads is 10.

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I then take one of the unit cards like number 2 in the above picture and place it over the unit zero on the number 10 card and say ‘ten and two is 12’. This is so they understand that the teen numbers have a base of ten and a unit number. I then made number 12 using the montessori number beads and placed it next to the card.

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Once I showed them a few, I put everything back and they independently repeated the above for each number.

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Rather than simply teach them the number through recognition, this helps them to understand place value.

Once they’ve completed all the numbers, I then do a random test such as ‘put your right hand on number 14, give me number 18, what number comes after 12’.

I can only do one son at a time so whilst one is doing a hands on activity like the above one with me the other is using Mathletics.

I find that my boys need hands on methods to learn new things and the montessori method is perfect for this.

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.

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.