Just before they left, we were quite busy with home ed (not the textbook sort though – more hands on natural home ed 🙂 – some of which I’ll document in this post incl another one of Z’s conversations at the end!
R’s swimming lessons were going very nicely. I feel sad that she is just learning how to swim but better late than never. The last two swimming groups fell apart – one was at a local leisure centre which closed and was knocked down half way through her lessons. The other was a Muslim swim group and that stopped aswell! This group is going well alhamdulillah and R and Z have the same swimming teacher but on different days.
My brother came to visit us about a week or so before they left and he informed us of Venus and Jupiter being visible. We went outside and took some pictures. My brother who has always been interested in astronomy explained why this was happening and that it doesn’t happen very often. He went as far as explaining that the biblical stories of the three wise men following the stars may have been the planets Jupiter and Venus aligned. He also showed us where Mars was.
SCIENCE AND NATURE
We have a small garden alhamdulillah and in Spring it comes alive! We have set up about 9 bird feeders in our gardens and we receive lots of different species every day mashAllah. Lots of squirrels also frequent the garden and I feel that this is a good learning opportunity for the kids. We have had robins, pigeons, magpies, tiny little bright green birds that we are still trying to find the name for and more.
This year, we decided not to plant veg. The children decided that they wanted the garden to look pretty and so all three of them sat on the ground with a huge sack of soil and filled up loads of plastic cups. They then planted seeds in the cups and we are currently watering them. Once we see some shoots, we’ll replant them all into the actual soil of the ground. The kids were literally covered in soil but its the experience that matters most (my gosh how I’ve changed – years ago I would have had a fit if they had the tiniest bit of soil on them!)
ART R completed her Jewellery course and made a matching set (earrings, bracelet and necklace).
Both of them have also been making things for their playmobil pieces out of recycled cereal boxes.
We attended the Hajj Exhibition at the British Museum – I was very disappointed. Hardly interactive, not child friendly at all and definitely not worth £12 for the ticket (alhamdulillah we got it free as we went with a home ed group). I started speaking about my hajj experience to a non Muslim lady and before I knew it I was surrounded about 20 people at the exhibition – always a dawah opportunity wherever we go and thats what R and I spoke about after we left.
ENGLISH A month ago, I blogged about R’s desire to become an author. One day over a meal, she said ‘It would be so nice if I could interview a REAL author’. I quickly jumped online and emailed a dear friend, author of From My Sisters Lips, Far from Home and founded of SISTERS Magazine. I told her about R’s dream. She agreed and I broke the news to R. I had to try not to laugh – her eyes were wide with amazement. ‘Ummi, I can’t believe it! A real author’. She was shocked. Two days later, she sat in front of the laptop on Skype and asked her questions. They ranged from how it feels to be an author to how to start and end a chapter, how to choose characters, how to bring the story to life, language techniques. Both Naima and I were quite surprised at the careful selection of R’s questions. And Naima ended the interview saying how ‘on the spot’ she felt – more so then journalists from newspapers! R was well chuffed mashaAllah especially as she had seen some of Naima’s books in the British Museum shop. I told R that Naima was an ordinary person just like the rest of us – but it was her passion for writing and her commitment that made her an author. I could see that R was very impressed by this sister. And in a world where children’s role models are half naked and downright stupid, its nice that she has a new role model like Naima mashaAllah.
After that, R made a book using card and paper, and began writing her very own chapter book called ‘Horse of Horses’. It was freestyle and I didn’t correct her spellings, grammar etc. She has taken a break from it now that she’s in Algeria but I hear that she’s itching to return to it.
MORE SCIENCE Before she left, we started a project on Plants. We were looking at the different parts of a plant and did an activity which was very hands on.
R took a daffodil from the garden and took apart the different parts of the flower. She then stuck them down on a piece of paper and labelled them. We discussed what each part’s function is. Much more interesting then simply reading it in a book. I noticed one day going to the park that she remembered as she told me that this was the stamen of another flower she saw.
At dinner, we were eating chicken. This is how the conversation went:
Z: Ummi, what is chicken made of?
Me: Chicken is made of chicken Zuzu
Z: No, but what is it made of?
Me: Chicken is chicken (wondering how else I can answer the question)
Z: (getting frustrated now) NO! What is it made of?
Me: (understanding he really didn’t get it) You know the chicken that you find in the farm?
Me: The chicken you are eating is the same as the chicken in the farm.
Z: (looking up into thin air – trying to comprehend it all and then almost near to tears) But we need to love and look after animals – so why are we eating it?
Me: Allah made the animals so we can have clothes and so we can eat.
Z: (Looking quite frustrated at this new revelation!)