MEP: Year 1

Bismillah,

Alhamdulillah we have now finished the 1st ten lessons from MEP Year 1 with Sumayya. It seemed too easy at the beginning but now I am doing plenty of supplementary activities based on teaching guidelines and we are all enjoying it.

We are still improving the concepts of less/more, how many more/how many less, repeating patterns. But, the exercises in the workbook is getting more challenging.

As you can see child has to figure out what to do, how many to sticks/dots draw to make signs correct etc. She reads the instructions by herself and if confident goes ahead if not asks me to explain what to do.

A letter to grandma

Bismillah,

Thanks to Skype, we have been enjoying talking to my brother and sister recently. They didnt have laptop+internet before  so it was the first time the girls got to see their aunty and uncle. They are getting to know her cousins too. Maybe these might have encouraged them to be a bit more talkative to their grandparents on the phone. Usually they dont like speaking to my mum and dad on the phone. My mom and dad dont have either laptop or an internet connection yet but inshaAllah we will get a chance to see them through skype when they visit my brother in the capital soon.

Anyway, the bottom of the matter is, Sumayya is so keen on writing letters on MS word.  She wrote a letter to my mom.

She drew herself, Safiyya and Ibrohim on the picture. And she has asked her grandma to bring some cats and chicks when she comes over inshaAllah.

She has been using MS Word for 3-4 months and can type words, can insert shapes and choose colours for her shapes and choose borders/lines for decoration. First we let her do work on MS Word but now we limit it to a great extent as both myself and hubby fear that it might overtake her handwriting. At this point she needs lots of practise with her handwriting. As kids grow older, naturally they get more curious about all the technology out there so inshaAllah will have plenty of chance to explore. But, as much as we can, we should try to limit the use of technology at this early years. That is what we have decided.

And for her English handwriting, I am letting her do copywork. InshaAllah when she is better I ask her to do written narration for composition.

  

 

 

The Best Foundation

Bismillah,

A couple of weeks ago I was reviewing the kids learning progress with each subject and I was thinking of their developing little personalities. It is then I made the decision to focus these early years more on Qur’an and the Islamic Studies. We all want to give our children the best foundation. And I am sure we all agree that best foundation is found in the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

So, I have kind of made a new very flexible curriculum to follow. I will add it as a new page called Curriculum. And you can see there the main subjects to be covered in our curriculum is Qur’an– hifdh/memorization, reading/tajweed and Tafseer; Arabic– improve all the language skills such as reading, writing, listening and speaking; Islamic Studies– Aqeedah, Seerah, Prophet’s Stories and Fiqh.  These will be the main subjects taught and we try to incorporate literacy/numeracy/geography/science into these subjects.

For example, for literacy we read one of the prophet’s story and I ask kids to narrate me the story. Choose up to 5 vocabulary and ask them to give me definition. And for geography we find on the map where that prophet was born, find on the globe where he travelled and in which direction the town is in relation to our current country. (i.e ask questions like Is Iraq east or west of the UK etc?) So, I have dropped using the geography and science workbooks. SubhanAllah, we have been super social since Sumayya stopped attending public school and so had to prioritize the subjects to cover due to time restrictions as well. Anyway, I think all the readers get the hang of our new curriculum as we go along inshaAllah.

So, the past few weeks we have done lots of work in line with our “The Best Foundation” curriculum. We hae completed Surah An Nasr and Surah Al Masad Qur’an centred wordworkbooks and these helped us tremendously to move on with our tajweed.   

We read the story of Nuh a.s and kids can narrate the story in the right sequence/order of events. They coloured a picture based on story, cut out and pasted on to a hard-stock paper. Then each decorated their own papers. Sumayya tried to draw her own ship with animals on board.

  

We have finished the first 10 lessons from Ahsanul Qawaid with Sumayya and Alhamdulillah she is reading well. The lessons are getting more difficult for her now, she found the beginning too easy and could read independently. She has learnt the use of “tanvin” (an, in, un) and the long Aa sound (fatha+alif next to letter as you can see on the following pages). I kept explaining to her how fatha+alif make long “aa” sound and she calls it double A now. In the exercises to read all the words are the high frequency words from the Qur’an and whenever she comes across that she knows from a particular surah, she recites the full ayah and we try to guess which surah the word is taken from. (Usually even I cant remember which ayah the word is from even though we remember the full ayah)

Safiyya is still learning the 3rd lesson, the use of fatha/damma/kasra for a, i, u sounds. And she is learning the letters in different forms too. Alhamdulillah she is very keen since she started Arabic school

  

Aqeeda, we are still learning the names and attributes of Allah swt. I take 10 out each week. Sumayya reads, Safiyya does letter hunting on flashcards and we talk about meaning/discuss.

 

Arabic- they do 1-2 pages from their workbooks as and when they want. They are memorizing new words. Sumayya has picked up lots of words from her Arabic story books. Alhamdulillah my husband reads aloud to them daily. One day I was sat trying to read one of the story books called A Strange Circle and Sumayya kept translating for me all the words I asked for. I genuinely didnt know the meaning and when I checked from the back she was correct, subhanAllah. And another day they were watching one of the Arabic Cartoons and it kept saying “Li Maza” and I asked her and Sumayya said it meant “Why?” . Also when Ibrahim cries she says “La Tabki” “Don’t cry”. So, her spoken Arabic is just coming along. And she is doing copywork for her handwriting.

Safiyya is trying to write the individual letters independently, no tracing. Alhamdulillah, she is trying well lol. And she has memorized all the words for Jism- Human body parts and trying to write them independently as most of them are 3 letter words. She knows a couple of Arabic songs for body parts and another about cat that she absolutely LOVES singing. I forgot to take picture of her independent handwriting. She can count till 10 in Arabic and recognizes the number 0-10. Now she is learning to count till 20. I gave her this basic math sheet just to keep her busy one day when I was trying to explain something to Sumayya. I am trying to find more work for her independent self-study time, I really need this so that I could give some individual time for both.

  

Sumayya has started using Scribe from Learning Roots for her handwriting. I got it last year but thought it was a bit too advanced for her level at the time. And I think I was right. She is really enjoying it at the moment and it is based on copywork. It moves from copying individual letters to letters in different forms to words to sentences and it provides copywork for a few hadith at the right end. I would highly recommend it to any sisters trying to improve their kids Arabic handwriting, age 5 and above would use it more to the purpose.

  

 

Serious Discussions

Bismillah,

My kids seriously trying to engage in conversations about Hereafter, Jannah and Allah swt. Usually I link one of their daily tasks to good deeds->Kiraman Katebin->Day of Judgement->Jannat and rewards to good belivers etc.

Sumayya and Safiyya are both so inquisitive about all the little details and keep asking me more and more questions. So, the other day I was flashing the names of Allah swt at circle time. Sumayya, mashAllah, can read in Arabic and improving daily. She reads the flashcards and if I know the meaning I try to explain. She read the word AlJamiyl in Arabic and I was saying that it means The Most Beautiful. Usually we have made a rule that none can say “I am the most beautiful” or “so and so the most beautiful” etc in our house. We always have to say that everybody is beautiful and equal. Therefore Sumayya started arguing with me

Sumayya: No, mommy. Everybody is the most beautiful
I said: Allah is the Most Beautiful and then everyone else is beautiful
S: No, but everyone is beautiful as well
I: Yes but Allah is the most beautiful.
At this point Safiyya too started arguing
Safiyya: No mommy, Allah is beautiful and everyone is beautiful, same-same.
I: Allah is more beautiful than everyone else. You, me, daddy- we are all less beautiful than Allah swt. Allah is the best beautiful

They were both so touched by this, by the fact that Allah is the absolute most Beautiful that there is nothing and none to compare to Him azza wa jal on earth. Well, to be honest, I too get so emotional when I try to explain these things to my kids. Explaining it to little children in a language that is appealing to them reinforces all the reality of the Beauty of Allah swt in me. SubhanAllah, even writing this I am getting so emotional thinking will I be able to get to see Him swt in the Hereafter?

Anyway, my girls were so moved to know that Allah is the most beautiful and immediately Sumayya asked her next question

-Mommy, is Allah a boy or a girl
-He swt is not a boy nor a girl. We don’t know that Sumayya
-But does He have eyelashes
-I dont know Sumayya. (then I looked at her innocent face for shortwhile). Do you really want to see Allah?
-Yes, mom, I really want to see Him
-Then you have to be really good, extra good. You always have to listen to me, daddy, grandma. Never fight with Safiyya, be kind to all your friends, share your clothes with miskeen and do all the good deeds in the world. Then on the day of Judgement Allah counts all your good and bad deeds. If you have more good deeds then Allah swt will enter you into Jannah and that’s where you see Allah

Then I could see what I said was really having an effect on her. Whenever we read a story, if a character is good then kids keep asking me if he/she is in Jannah. I say I dont know except when we read the prophets’ stories then I know the answer is yes. So, they know all the prophets will be in Jannah together and all the good people will be in Jannah together. And Allah is the only one who can decide it.

They have got into the habit of reading a surah from the Qur’an and making dua before bed time. None asked this, none mentioned;, it was Sumayya’s initiative and when I praised her for doing so Safiyya joined. Usually I read to them 2-3 books, read the surah Falaq, Nas, Ikhlas and leave the room after blowing on to them. Thereafter they read various different surah from the Qur’an, their evening and before bedtime duas in Arabic  plus they make long list of duas in Uzbek. With lights off, I wait behind the door to catch what they are saying. So, Sumayya was making the following dua last night

-Ya my Allah, will I get to Jannah or no….(long pause) Please send your angels to count my good deeds soon. Will have more good deeds or no, my Allah please let me have more good deeds. Let me listen to mommy and go to Jannah

SubhanAllah. They keep asking me so much about Jannah too, usually the question is if there will be an item X in Jannah. Such as, will there be a seaside? a lake? a bouncy castle? an ice-cream van, princesses, castles etc. I have to give them long list of things they could find in Jannah. I say to Safiyya “You can eat as much orange as you like in Jannah because none gets eczema there”. They know none gets poorly in Jannah and none gets dirty even if they play in the mud lol.

I am teaching 2 other homeschooled kids 2 days a week. MashAllah they are such wonderful kids of age 6. We had a long discussion on Jannah with them too and kids were so quick to bring out all their knowledge of Jannah at circle time. Dawud, one of the kids, was saying “You know in Jannah people dont need a bathroom. You can eat all you want but you still dont need a toilet” lol. I was so impressed with his knowledge lol. Alhamdulillah, I try to build on the love of Allah, the love of Qur’an and the love of the prophet saw in a positive way. So, the description of Jannah really motivates them to be the person we want, inshaAllah.

Whenever I want my girls to get on with their little tasks I remind them of angels writing down their good/bad deeds. Also at circle times I do mental comparisons with good/bad deeds. This is a bit too easy for Sumayya but we do it for Safiyya and her elder sister has a turn too, even if she finds it too easy.
-You have 8 good deeds and 5 bad deeds which one is more. Tell me when I clap.

They havent had a chance to use their good deeds tree lately but they somehow remembered it today and were rushing here and there, polishing, tidying etc in order to earn a leaf for their Good Deeds Tree. Alhamdulillah, they help me out a lot around the house.

MashAllah, whatever we do we try to link it back to Allah swt and end up having an important conversations on Aqeedah. Even little Safiyya has picked up so much about HereAfter from our little discussions here and there. I feel this is the real blessing of homeschooling.  We can be an “in-the-moment” mom in the lives of our children inshaAllah.

My little helpers are washing the dishes after breakfast. They bake 2-3 times a week and help with tiding up daily. MashAllah.

   

Educational Arabic cartoons

Bismillah,

As I have explained in my previous posts, when teaching a second or third language to children, we should aid their listening skills first to get their ears used to various different sounds in a particular language. Children will pick up vocabulary from context as well.

I will let children watch educational cartoons for 30 mins after our daily Qur’an hifdh sessions in the mornings. It is like a reward for them mashaAllah and they really enjoy watching even if their Arabic is limited at the moment. Alhamdulillah it helps with their listening comprehension and they have picked up some Arabic words too.

The series called Quranic Stories for Children in Arabic and have been uploaded by EraseNewsecret. You can search on youtube or you can click on the link below and thereafter find all the cartoon series. There are all the prophets’ stories in Arabic that you may find useful inshaAllah

The story of Yunus a.s

 

Using their own initiative

Bismillah,

One of the overdue posts lol. I used to read at sister Umm Raiyaan’s blog about her child started doing things on her own initiative. I used to get so excited about my little ones being so one day. And Alhamdulillah time has gone so fast and it is hard to believe in 2 months time it will be 5 years since I have first become a mother. Blessed with the title twice since then lol.

If anything I could recall Sumayya benefitting from public school- it was this. She has started doing things on her own initiative, be it make and do projects or study-related things. She was constantly making things for her friends and teacher at school, writing letters to them and always reading books she brings from school.

I remember one of the 1st things she made completely on her own was a camera made out of toilet roll paper. Unfortunately I have not saved a picture of that project but she has used toilet roll paper, popsicle sticks and 2 milk bottle lids to make a camera. I have no idea who injects such ideas into her head and how she comes up such unique ways of proceeding in terms of practicality.

Then she has made a rocket from a kitchen roll paper and wrote down the names of all her friends vertically (not horizontally as we usually do). Then she made a book from an empty nappy box. She cut the hard card board box into smaller rectangle sized chunks. She wrote a sentences on each rectangle and drew a picture to go with a sentence. Then she has arranged each rectangle into pages and used cello tape to put the pages together. Such a talent. Honestly, we have made a lot more complicated things in the past. But, WE have made it TOGETHER. Usually, when we make things together it goes like this:

I have an idea->I research arts/crafts projects on this->I print the instructions->I get together all the necessary items (construction paper, foam, pom-poms, glue etc)->I give instructions->Kids will do it

But all three things I mentioned above, a camera, a rocket and a book, goes like this

Sumayya had an idea->She had thought of the practicality of going ahead with it->she has decided what make/do things to use for her project (toilet roll paper, kitchen roll paper, nappy box, cello-tape etc)->she found those things->she figured out what to do step by step->she made them

Honestly, she used to amaze me those days with her imagination and creativity. I think she got the motivation from school as every week they were supposed to bring in empty cereal boxes, milk bottles and things to use in classroom. Maybe group work, pair work encouraged her to show off her talents like this, wallahu A’lam. But she has not been making things on her own initiative.

Safiyya, mashaAllah makes things all day long. If we want her to sit still we only need to put paper, scissors and glue stick in front of her. We dont have to say anything. She always has an idea in her head. But she thinks what she made afterwards. She is not a thinker like Sumayya.

For example, she quickly cuts lots of paper into small bits. Sticks them onto another paper, wherever she wants, casually and quickly without thinking. Then she has a quick look at final project and then she decides what it is. Sometimes it can be a newspaper ad for toddler group she goes, but a little later she decides it wasnt about toddler group but it was something else lol. She is so hilarious, she always makes us laugh.

Though she doesnt make as many things on her own initiative, Sumayya does write letters. I receive love letters such as this daily from her. She usually writes 2-3 sentences and draws a picture to go with it. The one on the right belongs to Safiyya. You can see how their brain work so differently from their work lol. For Safiyya it doesnt really matter how her final project looks, it doesnt really matter what it is and it doesnt matter if she doesnt cut/paste neatly etc. She only wants to be doing something with her fingers and when she looks at her work finally she has a long time to think of what it could be. She really struggles to decide what it might be lol.

   

And she plays lots of pretend games and role-plays with Safiyya. She comes up with original story-lines. Of course none beats Safiyya when it comes to acting. So, we have perfect team lol. One making stories and one acting them out. One day they pretended a game/story involved Eid party and decided to invite grandma. Sumayya made an invitation card for her grandma.

  

So, it reads : “EID PARTIY! BUVAGA USSBEKISTAN. FROM SUMAYYA FAYZIDDIN. HAV A GOO EID. HUOSE ROAD. IT IS GOOD TO SEE YOU IN MY HUOSE“.

Huose Road is the wrong spelling name of our road lol.

Another thing is Sumayya is so sensitive. She cant accept shouting, telling her off and pointing out her mistakes. Safiyya is so cool with all these. But she is irresponsive as well. Sumayya responds to my reaction and tries to rectify herself, her behaviour, discipline. Safiyya, on the other hand, keeps smiling and almost tries to win you over with her smiles. Sometimes when I tell her off she does cry but then she forgets very quickly, whereas her sister remembers it for days and days. Overall, I would say Sumayya is very reserved, sensible and sensitive. Safiyya is much more confident, talkative but also cheeky and can be a bit naughty too. I sometimes struggle how to approach her certain habits (such as spitting) as I find shouting and telling off so counter-productive with her. May Allah help me and make me patient with this child.

Anyway. Here is another letter Sumayya wrote to me. I shouted at her when I was angry. I cant remember now what she did wrong but she was so upset. So she came back after a little while and handed me over this letter. I was so upset and at the same time happy myself. I gave her lots of hugs and we had the following conversation too.

 

The letter reads: “I love mummy (on the cover). To mummy. Way do you shout at me wen I do bad things. It is not good. From Sumayya Fayziddin“. SubhanAllah.

-Sumayya, what happens if I shout at you. Do you get upset

-Yea, I do get upset. If you shout at me then I want to do bad things again and again

-What shall I do then

-You should explain it nicely like this “my darling Sumayya, please do it like this, honey” lol.

Safiyya overheard this conversation and every time I start telling her off repeats those lines of her sister’s in exact same manner. Because she gets herself more into trouble than her sister, I feel I have to do something. I always make dua for kids but other than that I just have to be patient with Safiyya’s some “creativity habits” subhanAllah.

Alhamdulillah, I am glad Allah helps us being open with our children in our family. Sumayya always reminds me of saying “Auzu billahi minash shaytonir rojiym” as soon as I start getting angry and it does help. She explains her feelings rather well for her age and says if I show love when she does something wrong, she corrects herself without being told. I think it is a reminder for all moms inshaAllah.

 

 

 

 

MEP: Year 1

Bismillah,

I think I have mentioned somewhere before that we finished MEP Reception with Sumayya last summer. I really liked the book though some math concepts presented was a bit challenging for Sumayya at that time.

We did start MEP Year 1 this September but then clashes with public school made it unable to continue. Plus I found the beginning of Year 1 too easy. I somehow expected it to be a bit more difficult as things were getting more difficult towards the end of Reception. So, we left it there and were using some worksheets, workbooks here and there.

With push of a dear sister I started using them again. I like MEP math programme because you get the whole year of math curriculum, teaching materials along with teaching guidelines completely free. You print them off, quick look before each lesson and go ahead with your math session. Alhamdulillah the programme incorporates the use of math manipulatives a lot like counters, marbles, soft-ball plays and small objects etc. So Sumayya has resumed MEP Year 1 this week and we finished the first 6 lessons. The lessons teach the concept of odd/even numbers, comparison (more/less), patterns and opposites. There were lots of fun activities in the guidelines.

  

Below Sumayya is trying to copy the pattern and tried to identify the odd/even numbers in number ladder by drawing a little horizontal sticks next to each number two-by-two. Alhamdulillah she understood the concept of odd/even number better that way and we practised counting by two’s like 2, 4, 6, 8. She is good at one more/one less activity we do at math circle time. I ask her orally questions: “What is one more than 14?”  she replies “15”, “what is one less than 23?” she replies “22”. Now, I am going to ask her 2 more/2 less questions at circle time and she solves these problems mentally (in her head without using her fingers or pen and paper etc).

I tried to use MEP Reception with Safiyya and she finds some bits a bit boring/easy and some bits a bit challenging. (The book in itself is easy but I made it challenging with extra bits of activities for her so she found it too hard then and quite happy with her math sticker workbook)