Summer at last!!!

Bismillah,

Alhamdulillah we have been thoroughly enjoying fine summery weather for the past week. It is so hot and we have been so busy trying to make most out of this weather. I let the kids spend a great deal of time out in the garden. Here is the list of things we do in the garden

1. Qur’an hifdh
2. Painting
3. Collecting different types of leaves and see who has the most diverse collection
4. Collecting twigs, grass, wild flowers and think of a quick arts/crafts project to do
5. Read books on the trampoline
6. Enjoy ice lollies, milk lollies and homemade juice/smoothies on the benches
7. Have circle time and picnic
8. Praying asr salah together out in the garden
9.  Lie down and observe the sky and different shapes of clouds
10. Water fight with garden hose

We do baking a couple of times a week as usual, mostly we bake traditional uzbek somsa and bread.

Last week we did lots of arts/crafts. We planted some flowers in big flower pots and have been learning more about flowers. We learned that flowers need sunshine and water to grow, their growing cycle (from seed to flower and back to seed etc) and we have labelled all the flower parts as well. This is the 1st flower they made. It was very easy and fun. Let kids draw 4 outlines of their own hands, draw the nails for petals and get children to number the nails/petals (to practice numbers Sumayya wrote numbers 0-20 and Safiyya 0-10), arrange and stick in flowery position, cut out a circle from construction paper for the middle part (they can write their own names in the middle), used pipe cleaner as a stem and tissue paper as a leaf.

The second flower was to learn the flowers’ living cycle and flower parts. 1. Ask a child to draw outline of a flower on hard stock paper. I drew one on board and they copied. 2. Cut out a circle for the middle, we used a construction paper. 3. Cut out a stem and leaf from construction paper or any harder coloured paper. 4. Use folded tissue papers to fill in the petals. 5. Ask a child to write a sentence about flowers. 6. Label the flower parts (flower, petals, stem, leaf, root) and ask children to write or copy the words in the correct places.

We have also included small folding book on one corner of the paper. I used 1/4 of A4 paper folded in 4. They got to design and decorate the cover as you can see above. When it is opened I asked children to draw a picture of seeds on 1st page and write the word Seed, draw picture of root on 2nd page and write the word. And When it is opened fully draw the picture of a flower, write the word and colour in (1st it opens horizontally and 2nd vertically and so it is taller on last opening)

Safiyya’s flower

Arabic. We read Arabic story books, review the vocab, watch the prophets’ stories in Arabic and practice handwriting daily. Alhamdulillah it has been going well.

Sumayya’s writing

Safiyya’s writing

Reading and handwriting. Sumayya has been enjoying plenty of chapter books. She has been reading one of the Geronimo Stilton series. She finds the language a bit hard to understand, it is full of humour and witty language. Something good for a change but I wouldn’t spend money on such a book lol. Usually I just use Charlotte Mason’s narration method for reading comprehension. I wanted to see how Sumayya does the worksheets on reading comprehension and printed some pages from Have Fun Teaching’s Grade 1 level. She found them all much too easy and I was once again convinced that continuously using worksheets is boring and doesnt actually put child’s mind in touch with ideas presented in text. If child is asked to narrate, however, she will have to use her own imagination and understanding capability and extract which bits of the story she remembers most etc. It gives us parents a clue on their use of words, imagination, ideas and what interests them most etc.

I found nice handwriting and spelling curriculum recently (the link is given in useful websites page). But I didnt have time to print and organize all the materials yet. We have been using this Reading and Copywork a sister compiled some time ago. I downloaded it from homeschool forum and using it just now with Sumayya.

There are hadiths and verses from the Qur’an, as well as nice short stories to read and reflect. After reading child is asked to copywrite 1-2 sentences from the story. Sumayya loves this book, alhamdulillah

We discussed the above hadith with Sumayya after she read it. It left her thinking deep, then she wrote You will be with the one you love. I love Allah and His Messenger. 

This one was a verse from the Qur’an “Verily the promise of Allah is true”. Then she wrote a letter to her dad underneath that says “I love my daddy. He reads Arabic books to me. He buys me an ice cream. He takes me to the park. I *love sign* dady”. I was meant to send this to Father of the month competition over at Abi Homeschools too, but never got around it subhanAllah.

Safiyya has been doing lots of phonics activities. Like I said, she is a bit lazy to read, finds it a bit hard to concentrate and join the phonics. But she is too quick to do phonics related activities. Maybe I should try flashcards with her again inshaAllah.

Matching words that start with the same letter sounds

Identify and circle the beginning sound of each word

Practice handwriting and numbers.

Numeracy. We try to reinforce the concepts presented in MEP Year 1 with lots of easy but fun activities with Sumayya. For example we play one less/one more; two less/two more game. First, I shout out 5 numbers. She has to write down in silent what number is one more than each of those I shouted out, and what number is one less than each of those. So, if I shout out the numbers 9, 45, 87, 79, 18 She would have to write down one less numbers: 8, 44, 86, 78, 17. Then she would have to write down one more numbers: 10, 46, 88, 80, 19. Then I shout out another 5 numbers but this time she would have to write down 2 more and 2 less numbers than those I shout out. I check at the end and count how many ticks she collects. Write down Excellent if no mistakes. Simple but fun and easy. We play this game using numbers 0-100 and Alhamdulillah she does so well. Planning to do 3 more/3 less and 5 more/5 less games next week inshaAllah.

We do some worksheets with Safiyya. We review her numbers 0-20, both recognition and handwriting. Alhamdulillah she does well. We do lots of counting activities with her, keep reinforcing shapes and colors too. She has learned shapes, colours, numbers in Arabic too.

Apart from those we have been trying to spend more time outdoor. Last week we went to City Park to enjoy the fountains, to Lister Park to enjoy the playground and we went for a walk to Chellow Dene Reservoir, pictured below.

We also enjoyed having my friend Vanessa over from Scotland for 2 days. It was so nice to see both girls spending good time with their aunty and bonding well. Alhamdulillah.

Ibrahim took his 1st steps

Bismillah,

This post is about our boy. Alhamdulillah, Ibrahim started walking at just 10 months. He took his 1st steps a couple of weeks ago and now is officially walking. We are yet to buy a proper pair of shoes for him. Poor boy is borrowing Safiyya’s first pair of shoes (they dont get worn much right he-he ). He seems to borrow most things of his sisters, well we just say it doesnt really matter at this age lol. But, to tell the truth, we often don’t have time to take him to shops. Anyway, a visit to Clarks is long overdue inshaAllah.

He is so active physically, always on the move, mashaAllah. If he is not crawling, then walking, if not walking then ,climbing up and down the stairs. He does have very unique tricks that he loves to perform for us, mashaAllah. I need to record them sometime, inshaAllah.

Although everyone keeps saying he is big and healthy, he often has cold, subhanAllah. Coughs, runny nose and the past few days odd temperatures through the night etc, may Allah give him shifaa’ and make his illness the means of purification for us.

He went to his check up this week. He has 8 teeth, eats well, plays well, physically very active and weighed 13,5 kgs. Big boy, mashaAllah. He likes listening to some nursery rhymes on youtube, listening to surahs on our digital Qur’an, reading all sorts of books. He can use his index finger so well, he uses it for anything and everything. He makes a hook with his index finger and tries to grab things from under the table or sofa. He tries to open the door with that one finger. He turns the pages over with that hook style index finger.

He does say few words in our language, namely dad, grandma and grandad- maybe because these are easy to pronounce. He is learning the animal sounds and names of animals. He is also learning how to name his body parts. We ask him typical questions like “What does cow say?” or “Where is your ear? Show me your mouse?”. MashaAllah, he is doing so well on these.

We sing plenty of nursery rhymes with him. He likes Wind the Bobbin up best, also Apple Apple a a a and Once I caught the fish Alive. We watch both those on youtube, the ones by Barbara Milne. He gets real excited and copies the actions and tries to join in when it is playing. He seems to differentiate really well between sounds. He likes repeating after me too, he doesnt get the words right but he mimics my facial expression and says something in baby language in the same manner and tone. It is actually quite funny, Alhamdulillah.

We will continue in the same manner with him, listening to Qur’an daily, singing nursery rhymes, watching educational clips on youtube (the ones that help to learn phonics, numbers, shapes and colours for now), reading books and playing games. He is physically very very active anyway, so apart from taking him outdoors, parks, playgrounds as and when we can- I dont have to push him that much.

Oh, he started going to local playgroup on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I also plan to take him to the library on Thursdays with his sisters. Sisters are often kind to her but sometimes can be a bit mean. That often happens when I am cuddling him or playing with him, they will be like “Oh you dont cuddle us that way” or “Mommy why dont you ever play that game with us?” etc. SubhanAllah, they can be a bit jealous even if the gap between them and Ibrahim is so wide.

InshaAllah when he is a little older he can join his sisters. I am planning to do some painting and arts/crafts with him as well. InshaAllah, may Allah make him healthy and among the pious of this ummah, amin.

Fresh beginnings

Bismillah,

I said I have been reviewing lots of methods and materials re our home education. Alhamdulillah, we are having much more productive days, with the blessing of Allah swt.

Aqeedah. The past weeks we have been learning more about Tawheed– tawheed rooboobiyyah, tawheed uloohiyya and tawheed of names and attributes of Allah swt. We did the following workbooks and we also did Outside My World workbook from um an Numan.

We did this workbook about planets last year with Sumayya but I dont think she appreciated it much or understood it better. So we did it again mashaAllah. Though this time Safiyya didnt show much interest.

Arabic.Alhamdulillah, we get to do little bit of Arabic language daily. We read short stories, revise the vocab, practise the handwriting and watch the stories of prophets’ in Arabic language.

Safiyya’s writing worksheets includes tracing and copywork. Sumayya’s writing- She gets to do some matching and joining the letters type of activity worksheets. These were her homeworks from Arabic School. Alhamdulillah she can read words without fatha, damma, kasra and she can make out a word from individual letters.

Literacy. Alhamdulillah we managed to go to the library last Thursday after a long break. They got to choose lots of books from new arrivals. Our local library won some kind of big funding and keeps receiving lots of new books. They are all so lovely- I found many great examples of Aesop’s Fables. Each story was made an individual short story book with reading comprehension worksheets inside. We loved it. Sumayya has been reading her new books. We have also got 2 chapter books- one is Dora- which I didn’t really like but she insisted. It was actually nice set of 6 stories inside. The other one is about a girl who thought her parents were always nagging her. She went to a parent swap shop and tried all sorts of other parents but in the end thought her parents were the best, even if they nagged them all the time. Sumayya didn’t finish this one yet but I read it whilst still in the library and really liked the content, storyline and everything and suggested that she should choose it. She looked through and happily agreed. So we are doing lots of reading with both Sumayya and Safiyya. Sometimes Sumayya gets to do some reading comprehension worksheets but mainly oral narration of the story followed by discussion is very fruitful, mashaAllah. And Safiyya is trying to read and decided to do this spare workbook I got in sale sometime ago. MashAllah she can read the standalone words inside and fill in the missing phonics.

Creativity. We have been doing a lot more painting than before. Following our bug-hunting fun, we decided to make ladybirds one day. I think it is ladybirds breeding season as we found so many of them each time we went to the park.

We get to do baking at least a couple of times a week. Girls both love playdough and always make their own bread if I am making bread or whatever I am making. And they get to eat their own as well.

They play different kinds of pretend games and role-plays in the garden. Sometimes Safiyya plays the mommy, sometimes Sumayya plays the mommy. Or they both become aunty X and become friends and invite each other over for a meal etc. They have each got a designated area for a house lol.

Qur’an-hifdh. Sumayya mainly revising Juzu Amma. Safiyya is still memorizing Qoria. And we have been planning the Qur’an party for sometime in the end of May inshaAllah.

Qur’an reading. We practise from Ahsanul Qawaid daily. We also did Surah Maun wordbook from um an Numan. MashaAllah Sumayya reading well now. And Safiyya still hard to cooperate when it comes reading in Arabic.

When they dont know what to do they always come and ask me for a coloring page. I have big pile of Islamic coloring pages printed for use on days when we feel bored etc. Kids love coloring any time though, alhamdulillah. I will give link to some really nice Islamic coloring workbooks inshaAllah.

Outdoors and feeding birds

Bismillah,

Staying true to my plans, I took them to Lister Park 3 times last week. Each time we spent around 2 hours walking, bug-hunting, climbing trees, observing flowers, collecting acorns and leaves for Sumayya’s nature projects and finally, of course, playing in the playground. Alhamdulillah we live so close to this awesome park. One day I even took them to the Cartwright Hall Gallery- there was a gallery about 19th century English countryside with collection of people’s clothes, household items such as washboard, iron, rocking chair etc, and the exhibition of countryside pictures by some artists. It was really good and so interesting. I always loved history and especially like and try to learn more about the Victorian England. So, it was really interesting. They even made little displays of little towns such as Idle (not far from us) which used to be proper countryside back then.

Anyway, kids all love being outdoors, regardless of the weather. Sumayya can easily walk for a few hours without ever complaining. She likes climbing and is so confident in all her physical activities. She even jumped from the top of the tree once- which nearly gave me a heart attack lol. MashaAllah, she is so good. Safiyya, on the other hand, not very creative outside. She doesn’t have ideas about what to do and what to collect and what to make in nature. She is very creative inside, always cutting and glueing or even socially she is not reserved like her elder sister. She likes making conversations with people. But, I think we havent tried enough to develop her physically. She doesnt like climbing because she is always scared. She walks long hours with breaks in between. She often likes holding my hand and walk together instead of going off to explore things independently. I have to push her to get to the top of swing etc. Anyway, a friend offered to have Sumayya on Thursdays to teach her Maths and I think we are going to spend more one-one time with Safiyya to get on with her reading and gymnastics inshaAllah.

Apart from that, we have been exploring things in our garden. I mentioned before that Sumayya is so crazy about birds. She loves them so much, she always watches them from the kitchen window. As we have lots of different kinds of trees in the garden and the kitchen being high, we can easily see their nests and when we sit down for breakfast we all watch birds flying in and out of their nests. And Sumayya keeps making assumptions and stories about bird families. “I think this one is a mommy bird”, “She has just gone out for water”, “I think they are looking for a worm but cant find one and that’s why twittering very loud” etc.

So, today we went out to feed the birds in our garden. There were 4 bird feeding stations in our garden. I thought there were only two initially and I led kids to the 1st I knew. But then Sumayya found two other feeder stations- obviously kids have been spending a lot more time in the garden lol. Anyway, we didn’t have proper bird food but we had old breads. Kids made bread crumbs from old bread and we filled up the bird feeders. Alhamdulillah, they really enjoyed it. Sumayya kept saying “We are being kind to our birds and they will say JazakAllah khayr to us. But we dont understand their language. Only Allah and Sulayman alayhissalam know what they are saying”. She really wanted to hold a bird in her hand- this is her one time dream. Even when she was a lot younger she wanted to hold birds, feed them by hands etc. So, she was waiting for ages to see if birds will come down and land on her hand. But they don’t obviously, subhanAllah she was a little sad about it.

And we have a dish where our birds drink water from.

 

New classroom

Bismillah,

Alhamdulillah we have been having very productive days with kiddies. Our cellar has been converted into a granny flat with seperate bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom. It has been empty ever since we moved, well it has only been a month and a half. I have decided to turn it into a school- the bathroom is right next door to living room (which I am using as a classroom). And I can line up the kids to walk into the kitchen and give their snack there inshaAllah. I had this idea but I was thinking it might be a bit cold. But alhamdulillah, it is not that cold and it actually gets warmer quicker due to rooms being smaller in size (comparing to upstairs rooms).

So, I said to kids that they have got a new classroom now. And when we go down to our school I am not their mommy but the teacher. So, they have to listen to me better and work harder. They were both so excited about the new school within our house and they have been following all the school rules, alhamdulillah.

We have made a good deeds tree and hang it on the wall. They collect flowers with their names on it for reciting a surah nicely, neat writing and doing their literacy/numeracy work without being lazy. Alhamdulillah, we have been having more productive days as we get in a proper learning mood as soon as we go down (both myself and children).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have put some of our old posters on the walls; numbers 0-20, ABC phonics, The Solar Planet, Map of EU, shapes- these are mainly for Safiyya to keep revising inshaAllah. And we have a separate reading corder with shelf which we have been using to put up our Islamic Bulletin Boards. I gave most of ours away to Islamic nursery that a sister opened last year. So, we will be making more IBB and then display 2 different ones each week to review inshaAllah.

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am using the drawers and worktops of the kitchen as my resource centre lol. Alhamdulillah though, it worked out nicely. I can put my things in the drawers and because it is in a seperate room kids dont get distracted. I only take whatever we need during our sessions into the classroom and if need be for some more paints, crayons, cards etc- I quickly get it as it is only next door to our classroom.

And I keep most of our materials in boxes- easy for me to take out when I need. There are 2 big red boxes. One is called literacy box and in there we can find all our literacy/reading related materials- flashcards, phonics matching puzzles, lots of reading related jigsaw puzzles, rhyme games, 3 part MTS cards, lots of phonics related wooden knob puzzles, learning box, Jolly Phonics books etc. The second one is called numeracy box- again full with numeracy/math/numbers related materials, matching cards, sorting cards, flashcards for shapes/numbers, marbles and beads for threading and other small objects/math manipulative, numbers related jigsaw and wooden puzzles etc. These are great for circle time activities, for quick revision and review to refresh kids minds inshaAllah.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have smalled pink drawer style boxes. One keeps arts/crafts related things. The other one is for Academic workbooks- I dont heavily rely on workbooks but use them as a last resort when I haven’t planned something for the day. So, I would rather keep them in a seperate box and pull out one when we need inshaAllah. And the third is our Arabic/Islamic box. We use this box to keep our Islamic Studies and Arabic language related activities- Box of Manners, Dua Cards and Qur’anic Opposites jigsaw puzzles from Learning Roots, Arabic alphabet wooden puzzle and jigsaw floor-puzzle from Emaan Productions and lots of other homemade matching/sorting card games.

Summary week ending 29 April 2012

Bismillah,

I have been thinking a lot about how to get children in their cooperative mood be it cleaning or tidying the rooms or do our homeschool session. I have been reflecting and reviewing  and inshaAllah want to restart the things that we missed the past few weeks- I will add them to our plans for next week.

First, we have not been going for swimming for almost 2 months now and the girls keep asking me all the time. InshaAllah I am planning to take them again from next week.

Second, we have not been to library for more than a month. Again we used to go on Saturdays but ever since we moved we have been having visitors over at our new place every single weekend. Our local library is open till 7pm on Thursdays too and now I am planning to take them to the library every Thursday afternoon where they can do some arts+crafts and we can read books as well as taking new books for them to read at home.

Third, due to move and due to weather they have not been able to spend that much time outside. I really miss going for longer nature walks myself and I think the girls are getting bored too. I am planning to take them to playground at local park at least once a week and go for local walks. MashaAllah we have little woods nearby where we can walk.

Apart from these, I have been thinking of doing more practical things to instil the love of learning more in children. Teaching or improving life skills such as swimming, jogging, cooking, tidying etc as well as doing more arts+crafts for numeracy and literacy inshaAllah.

We do Qur’an hifdh, Qur’an reading and Arabic almost daily. I have been doing more numeracy with Sumayya. I have started using Math textbook used for Grade 2 at schools back home. Some bits she finds easy and some bits she finds it very challenging (book is aimed at 8 year old children). All in all, I think it is really good and a lot more challenging than any math workbook or textbook I have seen aimed at 8 year olds in the UK. But I think we will stop it for awhile now and do a lot more math manipulative activities to revise the math concepts presented in MEP Year 1.

Sumayya finished Juzu Amma and improving her reading. What I like best about her is that she is so well trained and understands things when explained. If she is feeling lazy I can explain to her that reading Qur’an would help us to get to Jannah easily. And she co-operates well and does what she is told to do easily and quickly. Alhamdulillah.

Safiyya is learning surah Qariah and we are still struggling to get her on co-operative mood. I had been using my phone the past week- I record her reading the surahs she revises daily and play it back to her. When she sees I am recording she sits still and reads them nicely and as soon as she finishes one surah she keeps asking me “Can I watch it mommy please?” I say “No, few more surahs and I will let you watch it at the end”. She keeps asking me and she keeps getting distracted and doesnt seem to sit and repeat after me without getting herself into trouble every time. May Allah give me patience with this one…. : P

We have done the tafseer of surah Falaq this week. We talked that we all get scared of dark sometimes and if we recite surah Falaq then we will be under Allah’s protection. Alhamdulillah they regularly read surah Falaq, Ikhlas, Naas before bed time and they finish off by making a long dua. I love listening to their duas every day mashaAllah.

Following 3 weeks non-stop rain we had really nice weather yesterday. But back to rain today subhanAllah. Anyway, yesterday they had a nice time painting in the garden. Our garden is levelled- it has 3 levels and they were sponge painting initially but got their paintbrushes out after little while and spent nearly an hour painting.

Alhamdulillah another week is gone. My plan now is to do lots of practical, hands-on activities that allow Ibrahim to join in as well as making it more fun and engaging for Safiyya. Do Qur’an hifdh, Qur’an reading and Arabic language minimum a day and literacy+numeracy constructively every other day. Otherwise they are always doing informal literacy and numeracy learning on the go. Sumayya did lots of math the past few weeks but we need to do something to improve her handwriting skills and spelling.

Safiyya has learnt all the phonics and numbers up to 20. She can easily identify beginning/ending sound in any given word. She can read short words if she concentrates well but she is just too lazy to focus and quick to read by pictures only. The same with additions- when she decides to focus she does them really well but she just shouts out any random number without even thinking most of the time. But, alhamdulillah, she is only 3.5 years old and I think she has picked up a lot. She needs more one-one time which I havent been able to give her subhanAllah. She has been enjoying doing the phonics related puzzles lately

Next Steps in terms of extra-curricular activities :

Wednesdays: Nature walks alternate between Chellow Dene, Lister Park and Heaton woods inshaAllah.

Thursdays: Go to playgroup in the mornings and visit library late afternoons.

Fridays: Gardening (we have so much gardening to do but done nothing due to bad weather)

Saturdays: Swimming

May Allah give us patience and tawfeeq to do things just for His sake.