Just got back from a week of camping with some other home educating families. Feeling a bit down to be back in London. I so wish for the idyllic, green, free life for my kids. ..
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
We recently attended the best museum exhibition we have ever attended.
The Extreme exhibition in the tiny Horniman museum is on until November and really was just fantastic. Completely hands on.
It does cost to enter but a sister told us about the family membership. We basically got our money back for the visit by paying £32 for the year. And we get free access to all exhibitions as many times as we want.
Here are some pics. I highly highly highly recommend attending. We’ll definitely be going back again inshaAllah!
Game to play on a large screen about the extremes of the earth.
Huge block of ice and then a screen that measures the heat. Kids had so much fun rubbing their hands and faces on the ice and then walking over to the screen to see the cold blue bits.
Huge screen where you can take pictures as though you’re standing in the Arctic and then email it to yourself right there on the spot.
Measuring how much water in your body.
Artificial Cave to walk through
Machine that shows how and why we sweat.
And there was much more.
There are other free exhibitions in the museum too …. Some not suitable as display voodoo etc. But if you buy the family annual membership then there’s an aquarium downstairs too.
Oh and outside are beautiful grounds with a small farm area with a few animals and picnic indoor area near the farm. It’s a full day out. Did I say I highly recommend it lol! If you can, definitely arrange a visit and sign up to their newsletter as their exhibitions change and are normally fantastic like this one.
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(1) If there were a series of online home education webinars, would you attend? If yes, what topics would you hope to listen to?
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Whilst I’m a firm believer in planning home Ed, I’ve learnt over the years that it’s crucial to be spontaneous and follow the child’s lead.
I was going to go and post a few items and Zuzu was jumping up and down to go to the post office to post his card to his penpal. Instead of taking all 4 kids with me, I delayed it to when my husband could be home with the other three. On route, we discussed the need for a stamp, writing the address and his own on the back and what happens to the letter once we’ve paid for postage. Simple conversation really but what was nice was it was just the two of us and rather than me tell him about the process, he witnessed it. Our local post office is run by a Muslim aunty and uncle and they answered his questions and let him observe everything they were doing. I truly believe Home edders need to try and grab these moments of interest and act on them.
Whilst at the post office, Zuzu saw a rack of postcards. It reminded me of something I’ve wanted to do for ages. …
So when we came home, we finally signed up to http://www.postcrossing.com and the system initiated three addresses: one to Russia, one to Germany and one to the Netherlands! All recipients were adults. Zuzu and R both wrote their messages. And I wrote the last one with a message about Islam. What is great is the recipients will never have your address to reply to! So I’m seeing this as a good dawah opportunity inshaAllah.
I highly recommend Postcrossing but make sure you understand how it works and don’t let your kids do it on your own as it involves adults too! Oh and on the advice of another sister who has been doing it, when your post comes through don’t let kids who can read pick up the post!
We’re planning to make this educational by marking in green on a map of the world where we’ve sent postcards to. And then in blue arrows all the countries that have sent us postcards. For each country we’ll learn something about that country.
Do check it out!
At our home Ed group the boys made rockets using an empty water bottle, card, tissue paper and stickers. Simple but has already been used loads in creative play!
The girls did paper quilling. R has already done this before and wanted her own tool and set of special paper quilling paper. But I didn’t get round to getting it for her. Glad I didn’t as each girl got to take their quilling tool and paper home with them much to R’s delight.
Paper quilling is beautiful. If you Google it there are some amazing pieces made by both children and adults.
I definitely recommend trying it out.
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?
My plan was to make the blog private due to some personal reasons. I didn’t feel many readers would mind as the comments on the blog have been quiet in recent posts.
I was quite shocked at how many private emails I received requesting it to remain open as it has helped with ideas for kids, resources etc. I think most of you readers are lurkers! !
I apologise if I haven’t responded to you privately. There was one email that I received from a sister who doesn’t comment but has been following the blog for many years. It touched me, made me fill up with tears and made me rethink my decision to go private. So inshaAllah it is public again and to the sister that sent me that email. .. Jzk for having a profound impact on me and causing me to reflect on what I do and what’s important to me.
So update from us. .
We’ve had in laws over from Algeria staying with us over the last few weeks. As the children hardly ever get to see my husband’s side of the family every year due to them living abroad, it has been nice for them. But it’s also meant that pretty much everything has gone out of the window!
I find it quite frustrating as R’s Quran schedule is badly affected. She feels it too! We have started to get back to some sort of normality since they left.
Aside from lots of play, the kids have visited practically every museum in London due to taking the in laws.
I found some cheap sets of magnetix on gum tree to add to the boys collection. They take that out 5x + per day.
R attended a local textiles class and made the cushion in the picture above. She used the sewing machine and glue gun. Quite a nice pretty result mashaAllah. The sister who teaches the class is very creative mashaAllah and it was very kind of her to set up a class just for home educated girls during her break from being a teacher.
We also attended a trip visiting the Brixton windmill which R particularly enjoyed. It came at the right time as we had just finished a project on wind. This windmill is one of the only ones in inner London and is 10 mins from where we live. .. Didn’t know it existed!
Zuzu is as creative as ever. Here he has made a Knight costume and wouldn’t take it off for ages! !
Amazing what he can make with bags, paper, tape and a cereal box!
Finally, a sister shared this excellent article with me. I definitely recommend reading it. ..
I would highly recommend that home educators sign their children up to muslim scouts. R has been attending scouts since she was 5 years old. She started as a beaver and is now a girl cub up until age 10/11.
It is very reasonably priced. It’s about £25 for about 3 months and she attends once a week for 2 hours.
MashaAllah the scouts group she attends are run by some amazing sisters who really want the best for the girls. They really are inspiring leaders mashaAllah.
They have instilled some good habits into R, the sports and games are fun and the trips they arrange are amazing mashaAllah.
Recently R attended a church visit as part of her faith badge. Her scout leaders really prepped the girls islamically for the visit. Yesterday R experienced rifle shooting for the first time and in 2 weeks they’re going camping (without their parents) for 2 nights.
Other trips have been the yearly scout funday, a cave expedition. They did a cake sale for the public etc.
Muslim scouts are everywhere all over the UK. So do check them out inshaAllah. Looking forward to zuzu starting next year inshaAllah.
Starting with the positive – yesterday Z went on his first visit alone to HIS friend’s house (ie without his siblings or me!)MashaAllah Z has really taken to her son. We had arranged this about 10 days ago and he was counting down the days. I went to pick him up after a few hours and he was really happy to have visited his very own friend. He seems to be wanting more and more time with ‘his friends’ these days. I think he’s slowly leaving that ‘very youngish’ age where his parents and siblings were enough. What I realised, was how important it is that I provide the same opportunities for all my children and not just my first born.
I had a full day of home ed planned today which completely went out of the window as I had to rush baby S to the hospital. Sadly, the situation has not been resolved, and if she is showing the same symptoms tomorrow, I am going to have to take her back to the hospital and demand some tests. I feel so frustrated with these hospitals!
To end on a positive note, this time last year, I was enduring the pangs of labour…yes, I cannot believe it – baby S is going to be 1 years old tomorrow inshaAllah subhanAllah! I really don’t know where this year has gone.
So, a little about baby S – she’s spoilt by all mashaAllah. We all love her to bits mashaAllah tabarakAllah. She loves Arabic anasheed. She stood alone in the middle of the room for the longest time ever today much to the delight of her siblings. She can say Ummaa (Ummi), -ish (points to the fish), uh oh (when something happens), and today she said another new word – ‘dog’! We couldn’t believe it. She actually pointed to a dog in a baby book that R reads to her about 5 times a day and said ‘dog’ and then kept on saying it whilst pointing which had us in fits of laughter.
It was a nice end to a bit of a stressful day. I’m quite worried about her health subhanAllah. Please make dua for my little baby S – that Allah protects her and grants her good health. Ameen.