Russian school and British gymnastics

Bismillah,

We have lately adopted more of Unschooling Approach to home-ed. Alhamdulillah we do English 2 times a week, Maths 2 times a week, Qur’an daily, Arabic 3-4 times a week. There is no timing, when and how long the lessons last depends on their mood and aptitude.

Hifdh/Qur’an Reading. Sumayya still reads tons of books a week. I am seriously thinking of cutting down on her reading hours as she is again having meltdowns when it comes to Qur’an time. She has forgotten some of the surahs she has memorized previously. Incident today gave me a final push to reach a deal with her; we have agreed every day after breakfast she goes back to her room to revise 2-3 pages I set as a task and come back down when ready to read to me off by heart. We are also reading 5 ayahs a day from surah Baqara and have read 4 pages of it so far.

Safiyya and Ibrahim do their Hifdh every morning without a problem, mashaAllah. Safiyya can read the surahs she has memorized and still on Nurani Qaida too. Ibrahim has memorized surah Fatiha and the last 3 surahs from the back (Nas, Falaq, Ikhlas). But we have to prompt the beginning of each ayah sometimes. We all use the same method: Listen and repeat.

Arabic. Alhamdulillah, Sumayya can read, write and understand a little bit. She has built on the vocab and some grammar with Gateway to Arabic Book 2. We practise handwriting too, though I decided it is not so necessary at this age. I think the main focus should be understanding from reading, hence building on vocabulary and comprehension skills.

Safiyya can read, tries to copywrite and learns vocab.

Maths. We have not done MEPs in 3 months now. Sumayya attends Maths classes at RE once a week and I do follow up class at home on what has been taught  once a week. Alhamdulillah for this opportunity and a blessing as I feel the burden of teaching Maths has been taken away. But again, I dont think this is enough once she is past 7 and should definitely be doing more at home.

English. The same old way- reading lots of books and follow up discussion with Q&A. We practise story-telling sometimes where I ask them to narrate a story off memory to me. Sumayya still reads a lot. She read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in just around 4 hours (though I dont think the content was appropriate for her age as she could not differentiate if it was real life story due to world war 1, which was a fact but then how come wardrobe can be so big to host kingdom? Children at this age do not get fantasy and it is best to delay any such books). Then on the weekend we watched the film, only half of it as it was too long. We are going to watch the next half on Saturday inshaAllah. Meanwhile she is rereading the book. She takes on a lot of writing porjects on herself simply for pleasure: writing letters, writing stories/poems, making posters etc.

Safiyya reads shorter story books but needs encouragement to read. I do guided reading even though she can read on her own. I was wrong to assume that once a child learns how to read, their reading interest will just take off and they will be flying with so many books daily. Safiyya is more interested in helping me around the house mashaAllah. She does so much tidying up, polishing and general cleaning. Everyone is always shouting out her name in our household “Safiyya, get me this. Safiyya, get me that. Safiyya, take this upstairs. Safiyya, take this downstairs”. I find it difficult when she is not around *smile*

Russian School and British Gymnastics. They have been attending gymnastics and Russian school on Mondays. MashAllah, it is the girls only session at gymnastics where they have learned a lot in just 3 weeks. They enjoy it a lot and we sometimes watch Olympics gymnastics videos and attempt to do some basic movements.

Russian school is going great too. Finally, after so many months I have enrolled them and Alhamdulillah, I am so glad I did. Although Safiyya is not much interested, it still benefits her to be in that environment where everyone speaks Russian. Sumayya, on the other hand, has picked up so much. She can read, write and understand a little bit. She has memorized poems in Russian, learnt the colours, numbers, days of the week, months of the year, seasons, fruit and vegetable names in Russian. She can say few odd words in conversational Russian and always eager to finish her homeworks on time.

At times I come so close to giving up the idea of homeschooling simply because of sibling fighting and rivalry in the house. Sumayya is always arguing with Safiyya, Safiyya is always fighting with Ibrahim and Ibrahim is always jealous of baby Saida. At times dealing and judging between them is just too much, especially if they start complaining that “I am not being fair. I am taking so-and-so’s side because I love him/her more”. I am sure this is nothing new to mothers who have multiple children within short age gap. I think of the peaceful days where I can have 5-6 hours all to “myself” without kids. But then comes the painful thought of sending them to school and I start putting the pros and cons of home-ed and public school on two sides of my scales. And then I say “Have some sabr and these days will pass”. I am having more of these thoughts lately and praying Allah will guide me to what is good.

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Children and nature study

Bismillah,

Apologies for a long absence. Alhamdulillah, as usual, we have been super busy getting on with life. Children have pursued new interests and hobbies since the last time I wrote.

Playing nature detective and studying bugs, trees, plants and all sorts of insects have been their passion lately. Also, birdwatching is at the top of their daily to do list. SubhanAllah, I have a little chuckle to myself thinking “What a typical British thing to do” lol. They are always making posters about either one of the above topics. For example, Sumayya knows the names of more than 20 odd birds and made a poster on “How to spot a bird and how to identify it” using Microsoft word by inserting the pictures of the birds where necessary. This was done completely on her own initiative without help by anyone. Hence, we were impressed with her effort, mashaAllah.

I got a family membership to RSPB about two months ago. We received the initial welcome pack with gift sets, books, maps and nature detective’s diaries- all have been so helpful to take on kids’ interests further. I find the RSPB’s “Nature’s home” magazine so interesting and the children’s version “Wild Times” is engaging and full of hands-on activities. Sumayya wrote a letter and drew some pictures of nature which she sent to the magazine characters penguin and woodpecker. She was super excited to receive a postcard with a message from both on two separate occasions. Yesterday she wrote another set of letters, but this time included some jokes which made me smile when I read (not because they are funny, because of her composition and how it did not make any sense. But she thinks it is funny, all of them are about birds btw). I would highly recommend to join RSPB  to anyone whose children are interested in becoming nature detectives or simply appreciates things in the nature.

In addition to receiving quarterly magazine individually for each child and adults in the family, you will also get annual ticket to allow you free entry to more than 1400 RSPB nature reserves up and down the country. I have been planning to take them to our local one for ages but never got around to materialize this intention. InshaAllah, when Allah wills it to happen, I will write a post on how the day has been. For now, we have been to local reservoir next to our house a couple of times the past week. It was great to walk through the woods, have picnic at the top and walk down by the lakeside. Alhamdulillah, the full circular walk took us nearly 2 hours with breaks and picnic in between and none was complaining of low energy (especially little I who is only 2.5 y.o)

I have also bought them a Children’s Microscope that comes with a set of everything needed to use a microscope (tubes, pincers, magnifying glasses). Alhamdulillah, children have been spending a lot of happy hours gardening and have used their microscope a few times there too on their own initiative. To be honest, I no longer have time to supervise their every single activity as I have so much running around to do, cleaning, cooking, washing clothes or folding them away, feeding/bathing baby S or tending to I’s needs, or visiting my neighbour (who has spent 2 weeks in hospital recently) etc. So, when they want to do something they will come and ask me. Thereafter I will have to watch them every now and them through the kitchen window overlooking the garden or shout a few questions from a distance to make sure they are acting sensibly.

Sumayya asked me to buy her a binocular which was advertised in adult magazine “Give Nature A Home”. The prices were between £200-2000. The particular one she wanted to own was £649. I never knew binoculars could be so expensive. So, I said to her frankly I will not be spending so much money on binoculars at this moment. Perhaps when she is much older I will think about it again. Her response was “Well, I will fund raise then you can buy me”. So, she spent a couple of days sorting her very own cupboard where she keeps some of her gifts received up today on eids or other occasions from family and friends: bangels, hair clips, hair bubbles, scarf pins and even a stone that she painted herself. She put them all in one box today and decorated the box. On the very top she wrote the message “For sale, please buy these for £1, 50p and 20p” and carried this box to work with a jar full of changes totalling £1 in case people would need change. Me and grandma had such a good laugh when she was not present lol. To my surprise, she manages to sell a few items at 60p each to her friends after lessons and explained them she was trying to raise money to buy a binoculars. And that she would be bringing more items to sell until she makes the amount required lol. MashaAllah, what a determined child (which comes with its *disadvantages*, of course, at times when she keeps arguing with us)

I would like to finish on emphasizing how children love and appreciate being outdoors when they are younger. They have innate nature to observe the simplest things around them: how the leaves are falling, how the birds are flying, how the trees are moving or how the flowers are blossoming day by day. It is when we do not take the time to listen to their interests, it is when we do not take them time to allow them be outdoors, it is only then they may simply lose this love. As they grow older, this genuine love for nature is replaced by other materialistic things. For example, I am often startled to notice in the classes where I teach that some kids find it amazing to look at a beautiful flowers and find so much comfort and joy by simply talking about colours or the smell. I can sense the gratefulness and joy in these kids. Whereas other kids walk past straight and even if I mention the topic they find nothing so attractive about the simplest blessings we can be grateful for surrounding us. I find building on the love for nature is also a great way of connecting children to their Creator by being grateful and appreciative the beauties Allah has made for us on earth. Now, make it weekly mission to go out at least once a week with your children, be it a local park, playground or your own back garden. Go out, look around and enjoy being outdoors while doing some dhikr inshaAllah.

Calling on all tutors and businesses

Great initiative mashallah

Ummi Homeschools Me

Assalamu alaikum Sisters

I am helping a sister set up a new initiative that will provide services for home educators.

She is looking for the following:

1. Tutors and teachers that wish to advertise their services (eg, you may be a science tutor or interested in running a sewing or mosaics class)

2. Centres that provide tuition, classes or programs (Arabic teaching centres, madrassahs etc)

3. Companies or businesses that sell/offer services related to anything educational for children (have you written a book, or sell stickers, or perhaps you make children’s abayas)

If any of the above applies to you and you are interested in advertising your services, feel free to contact her athomeeducatorshub@gmail.com

It is always great to support fellow sisters in their ventures, so please help by spreading the word to anyone that ticks the above boxes.

Jzk

Umm Raiyaan

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