Category Archives: Preschool

To all home educators


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

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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? 

(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? 

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(10) Would you be interested in a home education resource library?

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(11) Please state any other type of help or support you would hope for in your home education. 

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Forest school again… For the younger ones!


I completely forgot that the home ed group we attend had booked the forest school today for the little ones aged 5 and under. So we were back there again today. Z and Y both had a blast and were both so keen in engaging with the forest school instructor. In fact I feel Z got more out of this session than the session for the older kids yesterday.


They started off by talking about the life of a tree and pretended to be seeds that grew into shoots then trees etc. They then took a basket and had to follow the trail of pine cones which would take them to the forest.



They all then collected different leaves, berries etc and brought them back where they made a giant collage and a small clay collage each.



Highlight though were making these herb dolls by taking out the insides of an elder branch, inserting a pipe cleaner and then threading on a conker. The rosemary twigs acted as arms and legs for the doll.

What I love about forest school is the children are at one work nature, get absolutely filthy and really use their creative skills in the natural environment.

Quite a few of you have emailed me asking me for details. Details of the one I’ve mentioned is here:


Kids updates and next year…


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…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

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


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!

Planning-ish for 2012/13


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!

Recently in pictures..


Just a few things we’ve been up to…

Here are some plants_3-4_vocabulary_cards we used for our Plants topic incase anyone wants to use them. R matched up the words to their meaning and we discussed it in relation to what she read in this book plants_3-4_nf_book_-_mid.

More funny moments with Z


This is so I don’t forget – Z seems to be on a roll at the moment!

1. Z: Ummi, are you Muslim?

Me: Yes.

Z: I’m a Muslim.

Me: Yes you are mashaAllah

Z: Is Allah Muslim?

Me: Smiling at his complete innocent ignorance!


2. Z: Ummi, if Allah puts us in the fire…

Me (cutting him short): Allah, won’t put you in the fire inshaAllah. Allah loves you.

Z: Yes, but if Allah did put us in the fire – are there ambulances in jahannam to take us out?

Me: (trying to contain my laughter)


3. Z is obsessed with letter ‘s’ and the sound that it makes. He spots ‘s’ everywhere – on the road, the back of cars, posters, billboards, books, on the computer – everywhere!

So, today at dinner – he kept getting off of his chair.

Me: (shouting for the fifth time – quite angry by now): Z, sit down!

Z: Sssss is for Sit in Sit down

Me: anger completely gone and laughing!

Another Ummihomeschoolsme Day


Monday 2nd February 2012

  • Breakfast
  • Changed Y’s nappy
  • Watched debate on youtube between Sheikh Haitham Al Haddad and three non Muslim speakers from the Netherlands
  • My own work
  • This week, we’re taking a break from hifdh – so I’m testing R on every surah she has memorised.
  • Boys played whilst I was testing R. Z kept bothering Y, so he ended up sitting right next to me as R couldn’t concentrate and I couldn’t either!
  • R went over some minor mistakes she made in another room
  • Whilst R was doing that, Z and Y coloured the ‘a’ jolly phonics page, did the ‘A’ on starfall, then an ‘a’ apple craft involving colouring, cutting and glueing
  • Tested R on the mistakes she made.
  • I did some more of my work
  • Boys watched Andy (he discovers animals) on Cbeebies
  • R – we did Math together then I left her to do some independent work
  • Whilst R was doing that, I read a few books to the boys
  • Took a phone call
  • Marked R’s maths
  • Z then started on Reading Eggs (I’m going to write a post on this – fab site!)
  • Y did a Montessori activity – using tweezers to transfer pom pom balls to an ice cube tray
  • R helped me tidy up all the toys
  • R did some spelling pages
  • Free watch for the boys / R was free to do what she wanted – she chose to make some patterns with her cuisinnaire rods and then colours the pattern into her Math book
  • I left everyone to it and finally past midday got aroung to the breakfast dishes, emptied all the bins and hoovered downstairs
  • Lunch
  • Dressed everyone (yes we do Home Ed in our Pyjamas 🙂 )
  • Dhur
  • Left for R’s pottery class – boys fell asleep in the car – so I used that one hour to respond to some emails and read a book I took with me
  • Picked up hubby on the way back home
  • Asr
  • Snack
  • R then started on Reading Eggspress (its the same as Reading Eggs but has a special program for 7-13 year olds – she is hooked – plays live players around the world, can buy things with her reading eggs for her avatar)
  • Z threw a nasty tantrum
  • Cooked
  • Boys – playing and fighting!
  • Folded dried clothes / filled machine
  • Phone call
  • Dinner
  • R to kickboxing class
  • Boys – play
  • I tried to finalise some details for the Jewellery workshop I’m organising for South London home edders
  • Collapsed on the sofa for a few minutes rest
  • Sent a couple of emails
  • Rest of the evening from this point onwards is waiting for R to come back, all of them to sleep
  • Preparing home ed for tomorrow, some work I need to catch up on, and then ME – TIME! Well, whatever time I get as I normally crash out completely after that!

My Zuzu


Zuzu is Z’s nickname. It came about when we were in Algeria – my brother in law called him Zuzu when he was about 6 weeks old and it has stuck with us ever since. 🙂

I feel somewhat emotional writing this post and wallahi the tears are forming. Motherhood isn’t easy – in fact its the hardest job anyone can ever do. And it is particularly trying when you have a challenging child. I think Zuzu was a shock to me as he is the complete opposite to his sister. He is demanding, emotional, stubborn, strong minded and will argue his point of view and yes all at the tender age of not even 4! He is who he is and I have finally realised that I cannot change him but nurture his good qualities and work with what I have and that is his unique personality mashaAllah.

I have been advised by many sisters that he will change as he gets older – they told me that when he was 2. Two years on and he is the same old Zuzu. His strong personality has often made me cry – wondering if he would be better off in school. There have been times where he has driven me absolutely angry mad where I really wonder what I’m doing wrong. I have cried to Allah, made so much dua for him that he will turn out okay and that Allah shows me the best way to handle his strong character. SubhanAllah, since the last part of my pregnancy with him (3 week pre-labour of 2-3 min contractions apart!) he has been my test.

Sometimes we look at people and we think that everything is rosy but we do not know the struggles people go through behind closed doors. Every mother wants the best for their child and every mother hopes that their child will grow up to be a good rounded indivdual. As Muslims, our aspirations for our children are even greater.

It has been a struggle with Zuzu and there have been many times where I have pondered as to how he will turn out. But this week – something has changed – I’ve had a breakthrough with him.

I don’t know whether its because I have consciously spent more time with him or whether it is the answer to my duas. Only Allah knows. But this week, I have seen a MASSIVE change in my son. He is speaking a lot more, asking more questions, understanding what I’m saying more and smiling and making us all roll over in laughter. He has become a very affectionate little boy and not the terror I thought he was.

This week, he has shown qualities I never knew existed. Tuesday, he had his second swimming lesson (he’s never had any lesson prior to this) and he shocked us all by going under the water and picking up a rod from the bottom of the swimming pool floor. The teacher came and spoke to me afterwards and commented on how hard he tries. Other children takes weeks and months. I couldn’t believe she was talking about my Zuzu – who I thought would struggle with anything.

And then, this week I started to teach him some phonics. I was amazed at how quickly he was learning his sounds, how much he enjoyed doing the fun activities with me and it made a huge difference to how he was during those days. Don’t get me wrong – he still has his moments especially with his little brother but something has changed mashaAllah.

I feel terrible for how I have labelled him. I now see my son, Zuzu, as a child who is different, unique with amazing potential. I guess its down to me as his Mum to help him with his potential and to bring out his best qualities. I often feel very guilty as a Mum – I think all mothers do. I have often felt particularly guilty about how I am with Zuzu but he said something to me a few days ago which made me smile. He said, ‘Ummi, you’re the best in the world!’ I really hope by approaching him in the best possible way that would be good for HIM will make me just that – the best Ummi for my children.

Here is my Zuzu’s week of home ed:

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I was looking for some activities that R did when she was younger (to do with Z)  and so started browsing through old posts in the blog. And then I came across a few old posts. It is quite interesting to see how she has progressed in her home ed. Some of the posts made me laugh – particularly this one:

And also, when she wrote her name for the first time:


R joined me and we started looking at older posts together – smiling. In most of these activities, she was younger than Z is now and it makes me feel slightly bad that I haven’t done as much with him. 😦 But I guess that is how it goes, the more children you have. I also feel that I wouldn’t want to do so much formal learning with him: a) he really isn’t ready yet  b) I don’t feel the need to do formal work with him at his age as he would learn it all much quicker when he is that little bit older anyway. I’ve finally seen how the child’s brain changes the older they get especially around the 7 year old mark! There is definitely some truth in the saying of Ali (RA).

Anyway, always good to look back at work the kids did when they were younger as it allows you to see the progress they’ve made. Often, we home edding Mums are quite hard on ourselves but I think we’re doing a great job – so reminisce away dear sisters and look at how your children have grown and changed.