Category Archives: Quran

Death and hifdh

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Last week was a very intense week for us a family. A sister Solace UK had been supporting was dying and eventually did return to her Lord. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioun. So formal home Ed kind of flew out of the window as I had to arrange for transportation of the body, the ghusl, janazah and then burial.

Despite not being as available to the kids as I normally am, they got to experience praying the janazah, and witnessing the actual burial of our dear sister. Real Islamic studies lessons subhanaAllah…They saw the body taken out of the coffin, lowered into the grave, and the wooden planks positioned over the body. They then contributed in filling the grave with the crumbled earth. It was a very moving experience for them and I think it left it’s mark on R.

A sister asked me if it would be too much for them. I said no. Death is a part of life and it’s a reality they need to know and remember.

Since then, she’s developed a sudden interest in the journey of the soul after death and the signs of the day of judgement. So I’m in the process of stocking up some books inshaAllah. If you can recommend any good titles, please do let me know.

This has led us onto thoughts about R’s hifdh. I’m of the opinion that a child doing hifdh should never really stop hifdh but to reduce it if more time is needed for murajaah. However, recently we have decided to stop her hifdh for about 10 days. Her murajaah has become very intense in recent weeks and we feel it is best to do a huge intense round of murajaah before continuing. We have always had the target of her completing her hifdh by age 10 and inshaAllah Allah will bless her to reach that target. But after the recent death, it has changed our perspective somewhat.

There’s no rush. In fact, I’d rather she finishes later by 16 and memorises it well and really solidifies and consolidates her hifdh than to complete by age 10 and her hifdh is patchy.

We’ve also been thinking about our intentions towards hifdh. Since R has been memorising, she has always wanted a huge party with her friends once she finishes inshaAllah. I have no problem doing that for her but I want all of our intentions to be pure and so we’ve decided to postpone the party some time after she completes all her hifdh. In that way, we hope that our intentions will be purer.

After she completes her hifdh, it still be a private affair. No one knowing aside from us in the family. Trying to link that back to shukr and being grateful to Allah. Then later on we’ve agreed she can tell her friends so as to invite them to her party. I don’t want her to start advertising it as soon as she’s completed as it interferes with her intention. And it affects my own. Life is preparation for the next life. We need to be careful what we say and do and how we do things…. As they either have a positive or negative effect on our next life.

May Allah help us all. Ameen

Every day is different

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No two home Ed days are the same.
Some days we knuckle down to a lot of book work. Other days we don’t do any book work at all.

For example today, I fell ill and just couldn’t do anything. So my plans didn’t materialise but that was absolutely FINE.

We had an autonomous day. I actually see these autonomous days as real home Ed. .. More than the structured days. I love them and really need to make more space for them.

So this was our day:

R woke up prayed and did her hifdh.
Boys woke up and read in bed and then played with their cars.
Baby S woke up and I gave her her milk (she still breastfeeds).
We all had breakfast and spoke about all sorts as is usual at breakfast times for us!
Boys did murajaah.
R did her murajaah.
Boys played and watched a documentary.
R carried on with a paper quilling project she’s working on. She’s really into that at the moment after borrowing the tools from a friend.
We had lunch and prayed.
Kids decided to watch a few documentaries.
I put baby S to sleep and fell asleep with her.
Woke up and a delivery from my dad arrived for Z (he turned 6 today) … a new electronics set.
The boys spent ages using the set.
R decided to do a few electricity and magnetism experiments.
Prayed.
Tested R on her hifdh and some murajaah.
Did a bit of tidying up together.
Prayed maghrib together.
Kids played, read and entertained their baby sister.
Had dinner.
Tested out a new projector for work… They were amazed – felt as though we had a home cinema lol. (We don’t have a TV at home).
Got ready for bed. Duas and adhkar.

A very chilled out autonomous day. Love these days. I don’t see them as unsuccessful home Ed days as home Ed is life. . It is real living. Embracing the flow. .

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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Murajaah (quran revision)

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I haven’t posted about hifdh for a while, I think it’s mainly because it’s just part and parcel of life and we just tend to get on with it.

I thought I would share some of the ways we schedule hifdh and murajaah which I hope will be  beneficial for some of you.

Okay, so to start with, if anyone has a goal in mind for their children to inshaAllah become huffadh one day, I really recommend you start with your children when they are young… it doesn’t have to be a lot but as long as there is consistency.

I see a huge difference between children who were memorising from a young age and children that haven’t.

Let your children get excited about quran, do a little everyday and keep at it. It will pay off later when they are seriously doing hifdh and have to spend 3-4+ hours per day on hifdh and murajaah. This may seem a lot and it is if a child has not been accustomed to  spending regular time with the Quran.

The aim is to build the child’s ability to memorise a minimum of a page a day. Once they reach this level then the real journey begins. Again, it might seem a lot but if a young child is used to memorising say 1 ayah per day then 3 then 5 lines, then 10 etc then 1 page it will inshaAllah be easy for them.

I’m not going to speak too much about the way to do hifdh as a) there are many different methods and b) anyone can become a haafidh with time and dedication.

What I’d like to focus on is murajaah (revision). Oh my… murajaah. ..*sigh*

Murajaah is a journey in itself. It is very much a journey for the one memorising as it is for the one ensuring that the murajaah is regularly being done.

Let me start by saying that murajaah is probably more important than hifdh. A child who memorises but doesn’t have a regular and consistent murajaah program is wasting their time. There is no point memorising if revision does not take place.

I have realised that murajaah will change throughout the hifdh journey…. sometimes due to the student’s needs and sometimes due to the needs of the ‘murajaah manager’!!

Eg, a few weeks ago R’s murajaah was to read 2 juzz per day of quran she has already memorised with the aim of completing all of what she has memorised at least in 1 week to 10 days. I assigned this to her partly because prior to that we had done a long spell of me testing her by listening to all her memorised ajaza and partly because I just didn’t have the time to test her on previous hifdh. The most important thing is to keep the murajaah going even if the child is just listening.

At the moment R’s daily murajaah consists of the following:

1. Preparing the portion she had memorised that morning. Preparation here means that she needs to get it ready for me to listen to. No mistakes allowed. So, she does her hifdh in the morning and then prepares that portion she did  for me later in the day. I listen to her and underline the mistakes in the mushaf. If she makes mistakes she has to go back over it again and again until it is perfect.

2. Preparation of the last 5 pages memorised. She is allowed 3 small mistakes. I then listen to her and again mark the mistakes.

3. Old hifdh. .. this is all old hifdh. At the moment she has to prepare 10 pages for me to listen to. I then listen and underline any mistakes. We just move from juzz to juzz. The only problem with this is it takes ages for her to be tested on all previous hifdh by just doing half a juzz per day, so I tend not to do this regularly as it takes up so much time and is tiring for her and causes me worry because it’s a long time before she revisits the first 10 pages I tested her on. If we’re doing murajaah this way, then I try to ensure she’s listening to as much old hifdh as possible whilst doing easy tasks.

4. Preparation for the following day’s hifdh. She has to read, listen and rescue that portion 10 – 15 times just before she goes to sleep. The reason for the timing is that she goes to sleep with it and it is fresh when she wakes up with that portion being repeated in her mind when she does her hifdh in the morning.

After this, I think I will put her back onto reading and listening and reciting ti a few ajaza per day as the testing 10 pages is quite long and slow. It is very important that the child revises all quran memorised in no longer than 2 weeks otherwise they forget.

I’m not sure if any of this has helped and I’m sorry if I’m not making sense. . My eyes are forcing  themselves closed.

In summary, be very strict with your children’s murajaah, swap between them listening, Reading and reciting and being tested. Murajaah without testing isn’t really murajaah. They need to recite whatthey’ve learnt tosomeone. Balance is needed.

The mother must be ready to sacrifice he time to test/listen etc. It isn’t easy but inshaAllah it will be worth it for them and us. Ameen!!

9 years old

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Today is the 15th of Ramadhan and R has turned 9 by the hijri calendar. To me, this is more important than when she turns 9 by the Gregorian calendar as the Islamic calendar is what Allah and His Messenger have stipulated the Muslims go by.

Can’t believe it was 9 years ago today that my darling R entered into the world. I feel quite emotional writing this. I remember very clearly the day she was born and here she is 9 years old already masha’Allah.

This Ramadhan, I’m very proud of her (not in an arrogant way but more in a motherly-love kind of way). This is her second year of fasting the whole month and mashaAllah she has kept all of her fasts. She also decided to set herself the goal of reading the entire Qu’ran this month and day 15 she is masha’Allah tabarakAllah on track and will have completed her 15th juz today.

We did have the same goal but I sadly am way behind her. I think I seriously underestimated how difficult fasting would be in the heatwave that we’ve had, plus breastfeeding (baby S seems to be feeding more and more) and then the sleepless nights. Alhamdulillah, despite all of this, I have managed to keep all of my fasts. But am lagging behind on the Qu’ran front. I don’t think I’ll be able to finish reading the Qu’ran this month but alhamdulillah am so happy for R as if she continues in the way that she has, then this will be her first ever time completing her recitation of the entire Qu’ran – and what better time to do it in, then the month of Ramadhan – the month she was born in. Insha’Allah it will be something she’ll remember.

Aside from that, not much else going on. R has stopped her hifdh during Ramadhan. Didn’t plan on doing this but she was so passionate about completing her recitation of the Qu’ran that she just couldn’t have managed her normal hifdh timetable at the same time. So instead, she has been doing an extra juz a day of murajaah to really try to consolidate it. I know this might seem a lot – one juz recitation and then a separate juz of murajaah but it is doable if split up in chunks in the day.

R has also had her daily Arabic lessons and apart from that, she’s been free to do what she likes. She has been knitting a hairband for her sister, baby S and has been reading a very lovely book about the stories of the Prophets. This book has been on our shelf for some time and can’t believe we haven’t read it sooner. It really is just perfect for R’s age. It isn’t for adults and isn’t for little kids – its more for the age bracket of 8-13 I would say.  So, she’s been enjoying that.

As for the boys, it has been Qu’ran revision. Stopped on the hifdh front too. And looooots of Reading Eggs. Z’s reading has really taken off masha’Allah and I have now taken out the Superdragons reading set and he is reading simple books to me. Yay! Been waiting for this.

Half way through Ramadhan, I’m determined not to get depressed at not being able to achieve what I had set myself to do. Alhamdulillah, I take comfort in knowing that our intention is rewarded even if we did not complete the deed. And it is all about the intention behind deeds and not the deeds themselves. Allah knows our situation, He knows…

Hope you’re all having a wonderful Ramadhan. Please remember us in your duas.

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.

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