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.

 

 

 

 

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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)

 

Beginning reading Arabic

Bismillah,

Alhamdulillah, by the Mercy of Allah swt, Sumayya has started reading in Arabic. She can read the surahs she has memorized very fluently. I think she does read half from the memory and half from the print. She tries to read the surahs she has not memorized and doing so well.

We have started using the book called Ahsanul Qawaid for both Sumayya and Safiyya. I loved the book and the order/presentation of each lesson. The flow of lessons is so smooth, the lessons build on each other like building blocks and child starts reading on Lesson 4.

Safiyya knows the use of “fatha”, “damma” and “kasra” and knows they make “a”, “u” and “i” sounds but like I said she finds it hard to blend sounds. She is instead memorized the written form of words. She recognizes the word “Allah” for example in Arabic and always plays word-hunting games with 2-3 words when we do Qur’an memorizing sessions. She recites all the 12 surahs off by heart, then I open the last page and ask her to find certain words namely “Allah”, “Qul”, “Nas”. Usually it has to be one of the high-frequency words (a word that is repeated many times) on that page. Alhamdulillah she is really good at word hunting.

Sumayya can read in Arabic now. Sometimes I cant believe she has started reading in Arabic, subhanAllah. I mean it is not our 1st or 2nd, or even 3rd language. We dont speak it and we dont live in Arab-speaking country. Plus the fact that she is not even 5 years of age yet makes it hard for our family and friends to believe that she can read and write in English, Uzbek and Arabic. I am not saying she is a genius of some kind. No, but it only shows that if parents put a little bit of effort and be consistent, children can read and write in 3 completely different languages before they reach 5.  Anyway, here is the book we have started using.

  

We have just finished lesson 6 and proceeded onto learning the high-frequency words of the Qur’an. Sumayya reads them easily, as you can see on the left page words like Huva, Laka, Hiya etc. Safiyya tries to identify the beginning sound or find fath, damma, kasra etc.

Sumayya has finished her Arabic Handwriting Book given by Arabic School. She now copies 4-5 words from Ahsanul Qawaid or 1-2 sentences from her Uhibbu Deeni Book. So she is doing copywork to improve her Arabic handwriting. She has a lot to improve yet as she is still not very much interested in Arabic writing

    

Safiyya has Arabic Handwriting Book that she uses at Arabic school. She is also trying to write the stand-alone forms of Arabic letters independently.

  

I have also started using the names of Allah flashcards I made long time ago. Sumayya was still a baby when I made these. My original plan was to flash these to help her to learn how to read in Arabic. (to be used as flashcards as in Doman method). But, Alhamdulillah she can now read these easily and I can use these to teach Safiyya how to read in Arabic now. So, I take 10 cards out each week for Sumayya to read/talk about meaning and I flash them to Safiyya at circle times.

Safiyya: Reading progress

Bismillah,

Alhamdulillah our days are getting busier and busier; more and more productive. All with the Mercy of Allah swt. I am so thankful for Allah has blessed us with guidance to homeschooling. The more we do it the more we fall in love.

Sumayya is reading on average 3-4 books a day. She is so inquisitive about anything she comes across in books and finds interesting.

Safiyya recognizes all the phonics now. I am using Jolly Phonics Flashcards with her as she seems to be better at sight-reading rather than blending. Alhamdulillah the set of flashcards was passed on to us by a dear sister and came in so handy to teach Safiyya how to read. I take out 10 flashcards for a week and she is learning how to read this way.

The cards have a particular sound highlighted in the middle and a word to go with it at the bottom. And if Safiyya can’t remember the word I quickly flash the back of the card where there is a picture and it prompts her to read the word.

She has also been trying to write independently. She can easily write most letters but she does struggle with some like “Z”. So, she does lots of tracing all week long and she loves doing it. Alhamdulillah, the starfalls programme really helps her to get the hang of blending. After completing the work for each word group she prints off the tracing worksheet and does it there and then.

          

I am taking things in a much relaxed manner with Safiyya. Maybe therefore I find that she is learning much quicker than her sister. I mean she was always trying to do things on the background when I was teaching Sumayya. But we only started to give her real one-on-one time, focus and attention last September 2011. I never force her, the way I used to do with Sumayya. If she loses interest in the middle of the work I just let her go and most of the time after wandering off for a few minutes she keeps coming back and asking me to sit down with her and help her to learn.

So, in 5 months she has finished learning all the letters of both English and Arabic alphabet. All the numbers (that is 0-10) of both English and Arabic alphabet. She has memorized lots of words in Arabic and has memorized from An Nas till At-Takathur (that is 13 surahs) from Juzu Amma. SubhanAllah, though we do struggle with her discipline and “creativity mode” (the way she keeps cutting everything and anything, breaking things in order to remake etc), she seems to learn things real quick.

I bought these workbooks sometime ago on sale and she loved them. I don’t like using workbooks solely but we do a lot of hands on activities to go with these workbooks. She has The Alphabet (Phonics), The Numbers and The Writing activity books.

She does 1-2 pages as and when she wants. Samples pages starting from the left: from Writing Book, from Phonics Book and below from The Numbers Book.