Reading journey

Bismillah,

A love of books and reading is one of the most precious important gifts anyone can give a child. Reading encourages imagination, builds understanding, opens up new worlds and helps children reach their full potential.

Reading with children from birth is the best way to teach them the joy of reading. It is also a special way to build relationships, encourages conversations and have fun together. Our children will reap the benefits of reading for the rest of their lives as Islam encourages us to seek knowledge from cradle to the grave.

As with many moms we read lots of books at home. I try to utilize every single minute in our busy household so whenever I get 5-10 minutes I quickly grab some books and call children to my side. They love reading and discussing the stories together. Even little Ibrahim has some of his very own favourite books that he brings us again and again to be read to him.

Ibrahim has lots of board books to look at pictures. He points to pictures and tries to talk, mostly by bubbling away. His favourite is his panda book. He also likes turning pages using his index finger in other books. He started singing “alif-baa-taa” song for us and joins us when we do “a a apple” song. If I say a a and pause he says “Allah”, if I say b b and pause he says “ball”. He always walks with a couple of books in his tiny hands- so cute mashaAllah.

Safiyya is now more and more interested in books. I read short story books to her sitting her in my lap. I hold her index finger and follow the print with her finger as I read along. Whenever there is a word that I know she can read I pause and she reads. And we continue reading in this manner till the end of story- reading together. I read long words and she reads short sight/dolch words. She can read most sight words such as “I, we, he, she, this, that, they, on, of, a, the” and we have also done some word groups with her cat-sat-mat, map-cap-tap, hit-bit-it etc. As I said in my previous post, I am using this programme to work on her handwriting and reading and Alhamdulillah she does fine copywork and she can read most words. I also use Jolly Phonics flashcards with her from time to time and Rhyme Game from Enchanted Learning. Also, she likes learning on the go; I point to words and signs as we cook/bake/play in the garden/opening some packaging/travelling in the car- and Alhamdulillah she has mastered the phonics/sounds really well. Although the foundation is there she can not yet join the sounds and read fluently. Therefore, focusing on sight words and word groups is really helping her to improve her reading with the above programme. But she is so good at talking about stories and mostly pretends to be reading a story we have read together by turning the pages and narrating it to herself in English.

Sumayya reading lots of chapter books. She reads average size chapter book containing 40-60 pages in one day. Longer chapter books with pages between 60-100 may take up to 3 days and even longer ones take about a week to finish. She loves finishing books in one go, she is so immersed in the story that she doesn’t want to do anything else unless she finishes the whole book. I realize it even more how we parents should be careful to choose books for our youngsters. You never know which part of the book the child will be internalizing and of course we always have a follow up discussion and point out all the good deeds the characters did in the books and discuss why they should not have done some of the things they did etc. Even then, it is always best to stick to books that help our children build a good character inshaAllah.

I sent the kids to the library with their dad last Thursday. Alhamdulillah we started going every Thursday as the need for new books are increasing with both the girls. Anyway, last Thursday they came back with about 20 books half of which I would not let the kids choose in the first place. One story was about how elephant lost his ears and there were some Gods and Goddesses in the story. Another was about a wicked witch, then another was about some naughty pirates. I had a discussion with my husband later about a) Is it better to let a child read such books and explain the wrong content with discussion afterwards or b) Is it better to not expose their young mind to shirk and magic at this stage? We have concluded that it was obviously better to not choose such books in the 1st place. Why would I want them to read such books? There are so many other ways of explaining what is wrong and what is right in Islam and so it is always best to feed their mind with good books and good reading that help them build a kind, caring, sharing, helpful, etc character traits. So, inshaAllah we stick to books that contains Islamically correct and morally good stories so the children get influenced in a positive way.

Here are some of the books we have read recently and alhamdulillah it has been of so much benefit so check them out from your local library. The first 6 books are all chapter books Sumayya read last week. Good books for young readers and we got them all from a local library.

1. You can do it Stanley by Irena Green- Sumayya read and enjoyed this

2. Ellie and Granny Mac by Elizabeth Maclennan- Great to encourage conversations about extended families and of course building relationship with grandmas. Sumayya read and really liked the book.

3. The parent swap shop by Francesca Simon- Oh this book was my favourite. It taught us so much how we should be grateful for what we have and always appreciate our parents and what they do for us. Highly recommended for personal purchase but also check out your local libraries as we got it from the library.

4. The Spider School by Francesca Simon- another chapter book Sumayya read last week. She did not like this book much and I think the whole concept was a bit hard to grasp for her 5 year old mind (all the way to the end the story was happening in little girl’s dream. And it didnt say at the end that the whole thing happened was her dream lol)

5. The Giant Postman by Sally Grindley- S read and enjoyed

6. Kit’s Castle by Chris Powling- good read

7. Mr Bear’s Holiday by Debi Gliori (the whole Mr. Bear series by the same author are so good. I liked both the vocab, language and the illustrations. so engaging mashaAllah). I bought these books in car boot sales but I think libraries have them too.

8. Aesop’s Fables by Aesop (I can’t stress enough how good these stories are, mashaAllah so much to do with character building. And most local libraries have a single story from the collection made into a book. We got ours from the library too, alhamdulillah)

9. Poppy’s Teddy by Louise John. We read this with Safiyya and she was happy as she could read most words inside. The whole Start Reading collection by the same authors are great, perfect for 3-4 year olds who just started reading.

10. Our all time favourite book is Cindrella- an Islamic Tale. We read this book again and again. Of course we want our girls to be like Zahra in this story and always mention her when correcting their misbehaviour or encourage a positive behaviour etc. MashaAllah, the author has done a brilliant job.

Time is precious

Bismillah,

We all know that well rounded education involves doing as much extra-curricular and non-academic activities as learning academic subjects inside classroom. In fact, I would really stress the importance of the 1st one for the first 5-7 years of children’s lives. The thing they appreciate most is the time spent with them and not just around them.

Alhamdulillah, due to nice weather (well, on and off) we have been spending a lot of time outside playing and learning together. It is amazing how much you can do in a couple of hours with children. But also I learn so much about the scope of my children’s thinking and imagination. I love having conversations with them whilst we play. I was telling them how much I miss my mom and this is the conversation we had with Safiyya.
-I wish I was sat in that air plane flying to Uzbekistan. Because I miss my mommy, I said

-So, do you really love your mom then?, she asked

-Of course I love her. She carried me in her tummy. And then I came out. She fed me with her milk and gave me a bath. She cooked for me and bought me clothes and sent me to school. She read me nice stories at bed time.
-Did she go to hospital when you came out of her tummy (she cuts me short. I could tell she was thinking something)
-Yes, she did go to hospital to have me
-Did she cry then?
-I don’t know. I think she did.
-Oh, so grandma didn’t get a sticker for being brave then. Tell her not to cry next time, doctors will give her a nice sticker (lol advice from 3,5 year old to my 65 year old mom who resides back in Uzb)

There are so many things they just say so randomly and so casually that make us laugh, think, reflect and ponder.

So, anyway, I think all mothers can relate to what I am trying to say here. And this is what we did today in the garden, spent an entire afternoon doing nothing but just being there with my children at such precious moments as above. Alhamdulillah.

1. Played hide and seek

2. Prayed salah

3. Played quick run and catch

4. Jumped on the trampoline

5. I read them story books on the trampoline

6. We pretended we were building a tent using the space underneath the trampoline and were playing there

7. Rolled on the grass and sang songs

8. Watered the herbs we planted 2 weeks ago. We planted basil, coriander, parsley and chives. They are just coming out

9. Observed the honey bees on our flowers and talked about them

10. Picked up the fallen flowers and talked about their parts- this is stalk, this is petal, this is where the honey bees go in to collect nectar etc

11. Had a picnic with fruits and little bit of ice cream on the trampoline

12. Listened to Qur’an on my mobile whilst we were sat on the trampoline

13. The girls took turns to recite 5 surah each, I recorded them and we played back to watch how they did. They always love it mashaAllah

14. We were lying down watching the clouds in the sky and talking about how they moved. They spotted 3 air planes, and spotted one cloud looking like a shark

15. I said to them “I wish I was sat in that air plane flying to Uzbekistan. Because I miss my mommy” and told them stories of my childhood.

Alhamdulillah, we had really good 3 hours studying inside (in our classroom) in the morning. We had 2 kids (6 and 7 year old) to join our homeschool session today.

Structuring our homeschool lessons.

We always start with circle time where we do dhikr and make dua “Rabbi Zidni 3Ilma” following which I also ask kids what they would like to ask Allah swt. They always ask something relating to Jannah, MashaAllah. We keep talking about this concept and they know the best of everything (flowers, sweets, bouncy castles, clothes, castles, swimming pools) are in Jannah. Today, Sumayya said “I want to go to Jannah before anyone else”. And I said “Well, you have to be doing lots of good deeds before anyone else then” *smile*.

We did Qur’an hifdh revision- I ask each child to recite 3 random surahs I choose. They have to collect 3 ticks for reciting each surah nicely. And for each 3 ticks they get one flower with message “Excellent Qur’an recitation” to stick on our Good Deeds Tree that hangs on our classroom wall.

Qur’an reading- we continue reading 1-2 pages a day from Ahsanul Qawaid. Alhamdulillah, Safiyya is just starting to read and Sumayya can read very easily.

Arabic handwriting- I wrote down 5 Arabic words on blackboard and asked children to copy the words into their notebooks.

We all prayed 2 rakaah salah together. Again we make dhikr and dua at the end.

At story time I read them a short chapter book. It was Albert’s Raccoon by Karen Wallace. Well, it was a rather long story but they all loved it. And we discussed the content. “Things have ended nicely after all but Albert really should have listened to his mom and should let the raccoon go”- D commented lol. Well, a great read for young readers.

Spelling- We did some spelling using the words in the story. After I read them a story they have a look/read through the book themselves. I choose 5 random words from the story or sometimes 3 short sentences. I read them out and children have to write the words in their notebooks. Alhamdulillah, Sumayya’s spelling is so good. And I sound out the letters for Safiyya.

Then they had snacks and break where I quickly cooked lunch.

After break we did Reading, Reading comprehension and practiced cursive handwriting. I started using this program as Safiyya and other 2 kids at very early stage of reading. It is perfect for Safiyya’s level and she can actually read and writes by herself. I try not to use a lot of worksheets but sometimes they seem to love as they feel they are making a quick progress. But, also we can adjust and make this program a bit more appealing using the high-frequency words in our daily vocab (using words like salah, dhikr, dua, Ramadan, names of Islamic months, names of prophets, names of Allah swt on spelling lists etc) and do some arts/crafts to go with each worksheet (making a cat/painting a rat on 1st week). So, I think we can have fun lessons using a little bit of everything- some living books followed by some reading worksheets, narration+reading comprehension worksheets etc.

Math- I didn’t know MEP year 1 has a practice book 2. I thought we had finished it but I checked back and it appears Year 1 has 2 math practice books. So, we will continue with the 2nd book from Year 1 MEP program inshaAllah. And we did 2 pages today. We had a really long break with girls on math as I couldn’t find relevant materials but also was focusing on other subjects. They seem to have forgotten some of the things we had learnt previously- mainly equations and substractions. Proves the fact that children learn quickly but also forget quick when we don’t utilize that knowledge or don’t review it. So, we will be doing some math daily inshaAllah. Again I use some math manipulatives and hands on activities to go with MEP.

Alhamdulillah for another productive day. May Allah swt accept every little thing we do for His sake and make our tomorrow even better and more productive, ameen.

Post party

Bismillah,

Alhamdulillah, indeed all praise is due to Allah who has enabled us to organize a fabulous Qur’an party. And massive JazakAllah khayr to all sisters who helped me with cooking and cleaning. It was the best party we have hosted so far- everyone had so much fun. We had a bouncy castle on the day so kids had so much fun following their perfomance. We also played lots of party games with kids- they all loved it. Unfortunately, I didnt take any pictures on the day. These are some of the things we did on the day.

Qur’an posters- Children has a poster each hanging around their neck and one at a time came up the stage and told the audience what they have learnt about the Qur’an.

There were 9 kids who participated in the perfomance. Each coloured and decorated their own posters, then put two holes and tied a string at both sides to hold it around their necks.

Then they made this banner together. I got large piece of paper and wrote the words and they painted it.

They have also made the story of Nuh a.s poster as they were performing it on the day.

And a glimpse view from the stage. The picture is taken post party after I already took the banner and some other decoration items off the walls. But you can see the whole view of the poster of the story of Nuh a.s

For the performance, I told the story about a group of muslim boys and muslima girls who did lots of good deeds. And as I told the number of good deeds (learning Arabic language, praying salah, learning the Qur’an etc), they were performing the relevant nasheeds and actions at the background. Alhamdulillah it all went so nicely and everyone liked it so much : D

Also we asked 3 questions at the end: 1. What is the 1st surah in the Qur’an (the opening chapter)? And can you read it please? 2. What was the first ayah to be revealed and read it please? 3. What was the name of the angel who brought down the Qur’an to prophet Muhammad saw? And 3 girls won the prizes, mashaAllah.

And of course aunties got Sumayya and Safiyya lots of presents, including some really nice books and educational resources. May Allah reward them and accept their hasanah inshaAllah.

Abu Sumayya subscribed to Little Explorers magazine for the girls. We received the last 2 issues and alhamdulillah it is such a cool magazine for all little muslim/muslimah out there. I find it very engaging. Sumayya can read it all by herself but doesnt always want to do the activities inside. She was fascinated to find out that the size of Jebreel a.s would feel the space between heaven and earth and he alayhissalam had as many as 600 wings. She was asking me questions like “Mommy, would Jebreel a.s one wing fit into this room or bigger?”

Arabic. We have been reviewing vocab and books from Arabic come first. Sumayya can read them and tries to copywrite the sentences inside.

With Safiyya we do identifying the beginning and ending sound in Arabic words inside the books. For example, pointing to the word basal (onion) I ask her “what is the beginning sound in basal? write it down please”. She says “Baa” and writes it down. Another game we play is I shout out a word and she has to shout out the opposite. So, I say “naar” and she says “jannah”, I say “mushrik” she says “muslim” etc. Alhamdulillah, she is learning new words and though she is very lazy when it comes to handwriting, slowly slowly she is improving.

Sumayya finished her Scribe book and alhamdulillah has improved her Arabic handwriting. But, like Safiyya, she doesnt like or enjoy writing in Arabic so very often I almost have to force her so that she practices and doesnt forget.

Reading. Sumayya has been reading a lot of chapter books. We went to the library yesterday and took out so many lovely books. She has spent almost an entire day reading except where we did some baking and prayed dhohr together. I will soon do another post on reading and selecting chapter books for young readers. And I took many nice living books for Safiyya too, I thought she would be able to read them by herself as they are really easy. But she is too impatient to sit still and finish reading a whole book. She quickly looks through the pictures, reads odd words here and there and done. SubhanAllah, I hope and pray this will change with time.

Sumayya is learning how to use a dictionary these days. She reads texts well above her age and comes across lots of unknown vocab. She is always asking me what a certain word means and I always explain in great details with examples. I thought I would teach her how to use a dictionary, at least introduce her to dictionary so she can use it when I am not there. I gave her a text. She is familiar with the story but the text has been made a bit complicated. I asked her to underline all the words she doesnt know in the text which she did.

Then I gave her a children’s illustrated dictionary, I got it awhile ago in 2nd hand shop for some pennies. Explained that words come in alphabetical order and alhamdulillah she found a couple of word by herself and we looked up the rest together and discussed the meanings of those words she underlined.

Extra curricular activities. As usual, we get on with Qur’an hifdh, Qur’an reading and Arabic in the mornings. Then they get to watch something useful. Then we do short numeracy and literacy activities. We finish all our “formal” homeschool seesions between 10-12am daily. But, alhamdulillah do lots of informal learning on the go all day long. We did baking twice this week, one on Monday and another today. Alhamdulillah we all love baking together and it keeps them busy for ages. I enjoy discussing things with them whilst baking, asking them questions or telling them stories of when I was a child etc.

We have also been out and about to see friends these past few days. We went to see sis Rizwana on Monday afternoon. My husband took us all to the park on Tuesday. We went to see aunty Robina and the girls’ twin friends on Wednesday and went for a walk later in the afternoon. We went to visit another Uzbek family in this town yesterday. Every day they get out to visit someone and we have at least 1 visitor daily too. I honestly think they get to do a lot more socializing being at home.

Preparations on the way…

Bismillah,

Tomorrow is a really big day for us. I mean it is big for the girls because it is their Qur’an party. And it is big for myself because I have never hosted a party for almost 90 people in my house, half of whom are children, of course. I am so thrilled and excited. We have been talking about it all past week and counting down the days. And alhamdulillah the day has come, well few more hours to go.

I am really excited because we have invited all our friends, most of whom are like our family. Friends of all backgrounds, of all ages, of all nationalities and of all professional fields will be here, inshaAllah. I really wanted to do pre and after post for our Qur’an party, to compare my excitement to my post-party reflections *smile*.

We have been preparing a lot of things for the day. We have made Qur’an posters, we have learnt children’s nasheeds to sing, we have painted a banner to hang for decoration that reads “Qur’an Party”, we blew balloons and wrote some messages on balloons “Welcome to the Qur’an party” “I love the Qur’an” etc; we have prepared the stage, got the microphone system to use for our perfomance and have been rehearsing. All this experience has taught kids so much more about the Qur’an. I can feel it- they already want to learn more and developing love and relationship with the book of God, alhamdulillah.

Among the other things I managed to hire a bouncy castle today, alhamdulillah. Sumayya and Safiyya were sat with me and they helped me to search the net, compare the prices and find a reasonable one, they chose one themed bouncy castle featuring sea and sea animals (called Under the Sea) and listened carefully when I was talking to hiring company on the phone. They thought I was buying one for them. So, when they heard people would come at 6 to collect it, they were a bit disappointed. But then accepted the fact quite happily, alhamdulillah.

I am going to have two stalls on the day. At one stall I will be show-casing what our girls have learned so far, examples of their works from all subjects we cover: numeracy, literacy, aqeedah, Arabic, Fiqh, Tafseer, Qur’an reading (tajweed) Prophets’ stories etc. Sometimes when I talk about homeschooling parents get really interested. And they ask me questions like what do you teach, what times etc. When I say I teach all the subjects above some will pose another set of questions “How can you teach fiqh, tafseer, aqeeda and tajweed to a 3 year old?” I thought show-casing the sample works of what we actually do would give everyone a better idea inshaAllah. In addition, it gives me a chance to celebrate the girls’ achievements, however small they might be, with sisters and friends, inshaAllah. InshaAllah it serves our girls right, to acknowledge and recognize their hard work in presence of their aunties might boost their confidence and motivate them to fall in love with learning even more.

Second stall hosts information about homeschooling. I have some books, brochures, leaflets about our Raising Sahabas Ramadan camp and Islamic Parenting circles, links to online resources about homeschooling etc. I have managed to recruit some mothers who are willing to join our local homeschool club lol. They are always asking me for more information and how to deal with council etc. So, I thought I will use this event as a dawah opportunity about considering homeschooling for all stay-at-home moms as an option, look into it, do research and make a decision that will help to determine their child’s future inshaAllah, in a way that is pleasing to Allah swt.

Oh, I am going to see some friends that I haven’t seen in donkey’s years. Why, only today I was sat thinking where to start my cleaning and my friend Shazia turned up at the door with her two boys. MashaAllah. And I had been thinking about her all past few days, I even wanted to tell my all other friends about her. That is how the story begins…. At Being Me conference last Sunday the sheikh was speaking about the company of righteous friends. One sign is that when you see them they remind you of Allah swt. And I remembered Shazia then. She always reminded me of Allah swt chiefly due to one main factor. She never ever allowed back-biting to happen in her presence. Everyone who has met her knows this, because of this, none would dare to speak harshly or ill of others, even in a joking way, when she is around. She would immediately cut off the conversation, cough and simply say “Shall we talk about something else?” SubhanAllah, I remembered this quality about her and I really wanted to mention her at the party. How I cried so badly at her wedding because she was planning to move…. That which she did, she moved to Pakistan after marriage and happily settled there. She comes to visit her family every now and then. And as I sat thinking about her, she just turned up at my door, subhanAllah. She has never been to our new house so I took her around and we sat down having tea. Alhamdulillah, they will be coming tomorrow. I was so happy.

And many other friends whom I have known ever since I arrived in the UK, friends from university, friends I shared a house as a single and friends I got to know as a mother- from playgroups, from local playgrounds, from swimming and from libraries. Friends I got to know recently and friends I have never met lol. It is true, a lady called me when I was gardening on Monday. She said she had a 2,5 year old girl and was really interested in homeschooling. She wanted to meet me and come to our Islamic playgroups I am planning to organize on Wednesdays. I invited her to the party and suggested maybe we can meet and talk then. She happily accepted the offer, mashaAllah. I have never seen this sister, she is from another town. And our neighbour who is kindly letting us borrow her microphone system said her friends from London- 4 ladies and 2 kids- will be coming to stay the weekend over at her house so she can not come to the party. I was like “No, you can not miss the party. Bring your friends over. The more the better” lol. Anyways, there will be some sisters I have never met. I have never met my friend Mariam’s 2 nieces and a 5 year old nephew either. The last time I saw Mariam was last Ramadan when we did iftaar at our house. I cant wait to see them all.

Anyway, I think it will be one good experience for us all. It is a day to enjoy and to be remembered for many years to come, inshaAllah. It is a get to know each other with some friends and a get together reunion with some others, and sleepover with my dear Uzbeks after everyone is gone. All in all we are expecting around 90 people and inshaAllah the weather has to stay nice.

May Allah bless this day for us and plant the seeds of love of the Qur’an in our hearts and in our children’s hearts. May Allah swt accept this day as something that is pleasing to Him

ps: Btw, there will be 3 prizes to be won by children at the party. I will be asking some questions about the Qur’an inshaAllah and the prizes will go to children who have the right answer. So, come prepared inshaAllah

Gardening and Baking and much more

Bismillah,

Alhamdulillah finally we have been able to get some gardening done over the weekend.

I was ill for a couple of days last week so we all had 2-3 fun unschooling days where kids spent lots of time playing outside; doing literacy activities on starfalls and reading eggs; reading books and watching educational cartoons. I had much needed rest and finished the book I was reading “The Brothers Karamazov” by F. Dostoyevsky. I could spend the whole post writing a review on that book lol, but I wont. All I say is this, the author always amazes me with his characters, description of events and leaves me in awe and inspiration. A lot to reflect…

Usually I teach some other children on Saturdays. But I was teaching during the week due to school holidays last week and we have been rehearsing the children’s show to be played on Sumayya and Safiyya’s Qur’an party this Saturday inshaAllah. Kids will be performing some nasheeds about salah, telling us what they learnt about Qur’an and finally perform the story of Nuh a.s. They are all so excited about the event. Last week we made the poster of the story of Nuh a.s. Children all have lines to memorize and they chose to be either one of the Muslims who supported Nuh a.s or an animal. Sumayya is going to be a bunny rabbit and Safiyya is going to be a butterfly. We got their costumes yesterday, alhamdulillah. This week we will be making Qur’an posters to tell some fun facts about the Qur’an. I will share the pictures next week inshaAllah. I am teaching a group of 8 kids tomorrow and on Friday and inshaAllah their performance is around 2pm on Saturday. We are expecting some 60 people including both women and children. I am so thrilled, may Allah bless it inshaAllah.

We had our next Islamic Parenting circle last Saturday and it was about how to help a child memorize the Qur’an. Alhamdulillah it was useful to share tips and advice with other moms. I went to Being Me sisters conference in Manchester on Sunday. Alhamdulillah I got to see and listen to sisters Zohra Sarwari and Kafaya Abdussalam live. There were some other speakers whom I havent heard of before as well. MashaAllah sheikh Alaa Elsayed was really good. I had a good day to fill up my spiritual tank and came home calm and relaxed about wordly matters. Alhamdulillah.

And finally, my big news is we spent the whole Monday gardening. We cut the grass, cut some tress, pruning, planting some seeds and flowers etc. Alhamdulillah the girls took so much interest in gardening, they are always asking me which plants are weeds to be uprooted and which plants are planted so to be left etc. We had weeds growing all over the garden so had so much to do. We planted some gladiolus bulbs 2-3 weeks ago and mashaAllah they are coming out so nicely. And we also dug and made a patch to grow herbs. Today we planted basil, chives, coriander and parsley. I got girls both a watering can each and they are always busy watering our flowers and trees. I just can not wait till our herbs grow and we reap the harvest lol. Honestly so excited. I was planning to get some sunflower seeds, sweetcorn ad tomatoes too but the seeds were so expensive where I bought them. I need to find some cheap place to buy vegetable seeds. Sumayya cut the apples and took the apple seeds out and planted them as well. I am not actually sure if they will grow or not but she was so kin.

We baked apple pie and biscuits today and mashaAllah they always have a part to do. I believe they will learn just as much from observing too but I always give them their own tasks.

Ibrahim is walking and talking a lot more now. He loves outside in the garden and always pulling our hands towards the door or pointing that direction where we go out, subhanAllah. He listens to Qur’an with his sisters, reads books, plays with his toys, goes on the  swing, watches his own nursery rhymes on youtube etc. He often has a runny nose and one of the newest things he learnt is how to blow his own nose. If we give him a clean tissue paper and ask him to clean his nose, he actually puts it on his nose, blows his nose and wipes it away. I don’t know why but we all find it so so amusing. He is there, barely walking, cant talk but blowing his nose on a tissue paper just like adults. Usually small children hate when adults wipe their nose but he seems to love it and he often poses for his nose to be cleaned by one of us. He is also saying few more words in Uzbek.

We do Qur’an hifdh daily with both the girls. Then review Arabic vocab, read books etc. They get to watch something on youtube immediately after this- usually in the mornings. In the afternoons we do some literacy/numeracy activities. Usually I ask Sumayya to read a book then I choose 5-6 words from the book and just say them outloud one after the other. Sumayya has to write them- this is something we do for her spelling. MashaAllah I do nothing official or constructive for her spelling but she just seems to know how to spell most words simply by reading a lot of books. I guess a lot of exposure to print/books helps her to remember how words are spelled/written. We do quick and random addition/substraction sums and review numbers.

Safiyya is doing a workbook on phonics/handwriting/spelling. She does a page each a day but to be honest she is not so keen on workbooks. So, if she is not willing I try not to force her. We just keep revising numbers, colors, shapes, phonics etc.

Generally speaking we all are doing fine and our homeschooling tactics are developing day by day lol. Girls are always asking questions on Aqeedah and I am always busy answering them or trying to find the right answer. Mentally it is very draining…it gets so tiring to settle their fights etc. But, alhamdulillah I should not complain too much. I realize how good my girls are when I see some other kids behaving lol.

I have some really good ideas and inshaAllah if Allah blesses them all I am hoping to make them happen soon. InshaAllah