Excessive Love of the Life in this world

The inability to weep is caused by Hardness of the Heart.

Hardness of the Heart is caused by multiplicity of the sin.

Multiplicity of the sin is cause by forgetfullnes of the Death.

Forgetfulness of death is caused by ambitious expectations.

Ambitious expectations are caused by excessive Love of the Life in this world.

Think.

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How to help a child memorize Qur’an

Bismillah,

For a long time now I have been thinking to write on how to help our children to memorize Qur’an better. I wanted to refresh my thoughts on the topic as well as reminding myself and my sisters of some of the things I have read/heard/experimented to aid child’s memorization skills. Here are some tips I have come up with.

1.  We should clarify our intentions. Are we helping our children to memorize Qur’an for Allah’s sake or do we want to show off with them? We might often ask our children to recite a surah in big gatherings and if they do so we pride ourselves on their achievements. While I think there is nothing wrong with being proud of their hard work, the same time we also have to check our intentions: Am I raising a child to prove his/her abilities to a group of people or for the sake of Allah? If our intention is clear, it is perfectly fine if a child doesnt want to recite a surah in front of family friends/relatives when asked to do so. The fact that he/she has memorized and Allah is aware of our attempts should be enough for us. (Planned Qur’an circles are exception)

2. Make Qur’an memorization sessions a family habit. I was speaking to one of the moms whose daughter comes to our house on Fridays for little girls’ islamic circle. “My child finds it so hard to memorize an ayah?”, she said. “How about yourself?” I asked. “Do you find it hard or easy?”. Well, the answer is she doesnt memorize any new surah or an ayah from the Qur’an. And I myself only recently resumed my self-memorization class after reading a passage in one of the books I am currently reading. It made me think… How can we impose this task on a child if we dont make the effort ourselves? It is said that before giving dawah on something, you first have to act on what you advice. First, make it a habit for yourself and then preach others do the same. Only then your dawah will have a greater impact on people around you. If we- adults of the household- make the effort to learn a new ayah/surah from the Qur’an on a daily basis, our children find it more easier to do the same. There was a time when I just started teaching Sumayya Qur’an, I would sit down and learn my own surah while she did hers. This has helped me to realize how hard it is to learn something in a foreign language by heart. So, I would be more tolerant if children made mistakes whilst reciting, more patient if they keep getting confused between two ayah. Who am I to demand perfectness in memorizing and reciting from little ones if I am not perfect myself?

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How I taught my daughter to read: Part two.

Bismillah,

In my previous post I forgot to mention the fact that English is our daughters’ second language. We emphasize ‘no English’ policy at home except when we do literacy games/sessions or read aloud a book in English. Also at bedtimes, we read a mixture of English, Russian and Uzbek books. But I always translate it into Uzbek and point out the morale of the story/we have a little discussion of the content in Uzbek. Since recently Sumayya has been doing most of the translation herself. Still, I would say her English vocabulary is limited compared to her Uzbek vocabulary. She can’t express her opinions as clear in English as she would in Uzbek. Now she can read books like children’s encyclopedia, but I am not sure of her comprehension skills.

Anyway, this note was supposed to be about different methods of learning how to read and which one worked best for us. I just wanted to clarify the fact that for those who are native English speakers, maybe your children can start reading even younger. I have read and heard of cases where children started reading at 2, though I personally think it is too early. Perphaps, age 3 is ok to introduce a child to reading. what do you think?Anyway, the first thing I have used to familiriaze my daughters with letter sounds were wooden ABC puzzle and ABC building blocks (wooden cubes). Sumayya could recognize all the letter sounds of English alphabet at 18 months. Make sure you teach a letter sound not the name of the letter. Many ABC nursery rhymes, alphabet friezes follow the names of the letters instead of a sound. This can then be confusing when child shows interest to read. To get better understanding of what I am saying, you may watch “Apple apple a a a” song by Barbara Milne on youtube inshaAllah :). So I would get Sumayya to finish the puzzles and sing along to Barbara Milne’s song above, pointing to letter sounds on our puzzle. We have used this puzzle set extensively in a number of ways. For example, when finished sorting the puzzle, I would ask her point to sound “K” and she may point to letter ‘c’ or ‘k’. Both would be correct and I can remind different words with both ‘K’s. Later on we started playing a different game, I say K is for and pause. She then had to think of a word beginning with ‘K’ sound, as in ‘cat’ or ‘kitten’. You may take the chance to explain both ‘cat’ and ‘kitten’ begin with the same sound, but they are written differently. Sometimes we swap roles. We enjoy swapping roles where sumayya or safiyya becomes mommy and teaches me. So, they point to letters, explain what sounds they make then ask me the kind of questions I usually ask. Swapping roles can always be enjoyed when learning any subject, Alhamdulillah.

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How I taught my daughter to read: Part one

Bismillah,

Some of the sisters have asked me to share the experience of teaching Sumayya to read. For a long time I was thinking I would open a blog and then write in-detail post on this. Since it is not going to happen any time soon lol, I thought I would share a note here. InshaAllah you might find it useful and benefit from it as I have always enjoyed reading and learnt a lot from other moms’ experience who take active role in their children’s learning (not just numeracy/literacy but a broader scale…) I will try to keep this as short as possible inshaAllah :).

First step towards reading is developing the love of reading in a child. There are four practical steps any parent can do for this inshaAllah.

First, it is very important for a child to see adults around him/her enjoy reading be it a book, magazine, newspaper etc. Alhamdulillah we absolutely love reading and read a lot of books. Very often we discuss the great novels we have read with children in the backround. We have been subscribed to a local newspaper and SISTERS magazine. Though I enjoy reading after kids’ bedtime, as and when I get the chance I sit for a shortwhile reading my own things during the day when kids are around. It has been a case often where Sumayya asks why I am smiling or laughing and I say I just read something funny in my book. Or with a sad face I point to a picture in a newspaper and explain the bad news (they always cover the front page with ‘bad news’ in England).

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Good Deeds Tree

Ok, this one is to control the behavioural side of your children lol. Children usually respond to these kind of things very well. Again, get child involved in making the tree.

Explain the rules: for each good deed they earn a leaf or a flower sometimes. You write in the leaf/flower in detail what was their good deed ie: “Being patient while mommy was on the computer” (lol), “being quite when mommy was putting baby to sleep” “changed her uniforms without being told after school” “not being fussy about food” etc.

Child gets to stick his/her own leaf/flower on the tree, wherever she chooses. Encourage him/her to read his/her good deed, get them to number the leaves. (getting some numeracy, reading, writing out of the way alhamdulillah).

For every twenty leaves/flowers, you get them one prize. Again, write down the things you have been planning to get regardless and get one at a time, for each twenty leaves. Explain that for each bad deed one leaf/flower gets crossed out, so they will have one less.

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Learning chart

This is such a simple thing, I am even shy to share it. But since you asked, you will get the idea inshaAllah. This helped me to get organized with our time. That is from the time big S arrives home about 3:30pm till bed time, usually around 7:30pm. I will try to dedicate this time solely to children, as much as I can. Not always.

The chart is divided into 6 sessions as you can see at the top. The sections are called: 1.Quran 2.Arabic handwriting 3. Arabic vocabulary 4.Numeracy/Math 5. Literacy/English 6.School home work titled as S.H.L initials of S’s school. I got both girls involved in making their own learning charts. So, they got the nappy box, made flat, scocthed white sheet over it, tried to decorate it etc. On the left hand side we have got their names, on the right the prize list. When a child does an activity related to each section, she draws a smiley face under a relevant section. For Quran, they have to recite 5 surahs daily and get to draw one smiley face under quran section. For numeracy, big S currently doing addition/substraction using numbers 0-20, small S recognizing numbers 0-10, revising shapes. To earn a smiley face under Literacy section, big S should read a book, translate it to small S and we all discuss the content. whereas small S is doing 3 phonics a week plus recognizing 5 high frequency words. So, they have different targets approporiate to their age level.

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Sumayya’s dreams

My 4 year old daughter just started to embark the concept of having a ‘dream’ at night. I am not sure what age children start having dreams, but recently she has been talking a lot about ‘video’s she sees whilst asleep. I always say I will write them (our conversations) down, then kind of get busy and then completely forget the exact lines she uses when she tells me about her dreams. So this morning:

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