Growing kids

Bismillah,

We have been so busy, as usual, alhamdulillah. I might have told before that we live socially very demanding life- alhamdulillah. I always try to keep in close relationship with other muslim families we got to know over the past years, especially some of them have children around the same age as ours. I don’t want kids to miss out on “socializing” aspect, plus it gives them a chance to practise their English (as we only speak Uzbek at home). Sisters along with babies and toddlers and older siblings in and out of our house, we can feel the sense of belonging, the sense of community alhamdulillah. It is such a blessing to be surrounded in such company and our children always remind each other of Allah swt as. We really enjoy listening to their conversations whenever we get a chance. May Allah continue this friendship and protect and preserve our children for us and us for them.

I started teaching another 7 year old girl, alhamdulillah. So, there are usually 4-5 of them in our classroom (my two girls, 6 year old twins-a boy and a girl and 7 year old girl). Safiyya doesnt always stay with us, as she finds some of the activities too challenging. Whenever she distracts the class I send her out. Otherwise, she is always at the background and I try to provide some fidgety things- beads, sticks, pipe cleaners to keep her busy.

We always start with dhikr and make dua that Allah gives us all beneficial knowledge. They read 2-3 surahs each and a page from Ahsanul Qawaid daily. At the moment they are doing copywork from Ahsanul Qawaid, they copy 8-10 high frequency words from the Qur’an. Alhamdulillah, they are improving. We usually pray dhohr together.

Literacy. I use a lot of Islamic literature for our literacy activities. At story time we always choose one non Islamic and one Islamic story book to read. I read some pages and let kids read a page each in turn. I let Safiyya read some short words that she knows how to read. MashaAllah, she can read most 3 letter words. And she is more interested in books than ever before. Following the story time, I ask them do some copywork for their English handwriting. They usually copy the dua of a particular prophet from the story we read or ayah from the Qur’an or a hadith where the story is derived from. Alhamdulillah, I think copywriting the powerful messages sent through the Qur’an and Hadith will help them to understand the moral of the story better.

When we read the story of Hud a.s they copied the message Hud a.s delivered to His people.

And I also do a spelling check using the words from the story. Usually I choose between 6-8 words from the story and ask children to write those words without looking at the book. I will just say them outloud and they have to write the words down and number them. I check at the end if they have correct spelling. Then they have to copy the words in which they have made a spelling mistake.

This is the spelling test I did based on the book called The Way to Jannah by Learning Roots.

We also read the story of Ayyub a.s and kids copied his dua.

Sometimes when we read a story I ask them to summarise the story in 5-6 sentences, basically narration but very short narration. When I ask them to narrate they keep going on and on lol. Alhamdulillah, they have got really good memory so they keep telling me every detail. And we have a short dictation based on the story. I read out the sentences and they have to write down without looking at each other. MashaAllah, Sumayya’s spelling is the best in the group though she needs to improve her handwriting. So, this is an example of our dictation based on one of the stories we read about a little girl called Jane.

These are examples of Sumayya’s Arabic handwriting.

These are the kinds of activities we do regarding numeracy. Alhamdulillah, as they grow older it is becoming easier for me as they do lots of self-studying. I am enjoying teaching more and more.

Numeracy/Maths.

We have been continuing with MEP Year 1 with math. Alhamdulillah, I like this programme so much, math concepts introduced like a building blocks and slow pace. It is moving towards logical thinking and mental math now. Other children in the group use their fingers or math manipulatives and Sumayya said today “Before I used my fingers now I use just my own brain” lol. Alhamdulillah, she is excelling in math.

For example, I ask them to write an addition sum for the number 5, using any of the numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. And she wrote all the options such as 0+5=5; 1+4=5; 2+3=5; 3+2=5; 4+1=5 and finally 5+0=5. We do lots of equation based problem-solving such as you have 4 how many more shall I give you to make it 7. Or, I say Marjaan has 2 more than 3 apples but Sumayya has 3 less than 8. So, who has more? And she quickly said we have the same amount, calculating things in her head. Other kids do simple additions and subtractions really well but struggle a little bit when it comes to equation or problem solving. Anyway, I am really happy with MEP books and programme and inshaAllah continue using it.

Here are some sample pages of the MEP workbooks.

Safiyya was initially doing MEP Year 1 but she finds it really difficult now and so I have just been reviewing numbers 0-20, counting 0-20, Arabic numbers 0-10, colours and shapes in English/Uzbek/Arabic in addition to very basic addition. She is not yet ready to do subtractions and generally we use lots of math manipulatives with her. I have got the below poster from rahmah homeschool and thought it would be nice to have it on her bedroom wall and go over it every day before bed time inshaAllah.

We are also continuing with K12 reader programme to improve her handwriting and reading. Alhamdulillah, she finds these worksheets easy and enjoys them.

Geography

We do map drilling and use the globe every time we read a story. When we read the story of Musa a.s I ask them to show me Egypt from the map, and draw pretend line where he has travelled, find river Nile where his mother put him as a baby in the basket. When we read the story of Hud a.s they found out he was from Yemen and found Yemen on the globe. Prophet Ayyub a.s was from Syria and they found Syria. And I ask simple questions such as “Is Arabia on the east or west of Red Sea?” “Is Makkah on the north or south of Yemen?” And alhamdulillah they can answer well looking at the globe. They noted that lots of prophets was from Egypt, Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Syria  and surrounding area and asked me which prophet came from England. I didnt know any prophet from England so I said I dont know but Allah knows. Alhamdulillah, very curious children lol.

This is our Good Deeds Tree that hangs on our classroom wall. Whoever collects the most number of flowers every 4 weeks will get a prize inshaAllah.

And we mostly cook together with my girls. It gives me a chance to practise some of their vocab in Arabic. I keep asking for names of vegetables and fruits and some kitchen tools in Arabic and Sumayya answers while Safiyya mostly copies what she says. But, inshaAllah, she must be internalizing and learning.

Anyway, we have made a new dish yesterday called Maqlooba from an Arab cuisine. We tried it 1st time at our friend’s house in London 2 weeks ago. We all liked it. Me, Safiyya and Sumayya found the recipe on youtube and watched it a couple of times. And we made it together. They were very curious about this new dish. Alhamdulillah it was so yummy, the whole family enjoyed it, including little Ibrahim.

Finally we bought Ibrahim his 1st pair of shoes today. It was such a mission lol because his feet are so chubby. We got them measured in Clarks and his size was no less than 5 I. His sisters had size 5 H as 1st shoes so his feet must be even chubbier. Anyway, the guy said they wont do any shoes in size 5 I, 5 H was the biggest width they could provide and alhamdulillah we found a pair that fit his chubby feet. He is so much into books, just like his sisters, mashaAllah. He walks really fast now. He loves spending time outside, always asking us to take him out by holding one of us by hand and walking toward the door lol. He mimics and imitates most nursery rhymes, his favourite is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Wind the Bobbin Up. He loves when we sing it together and does the actions so well. We all call him sheikh lol. Potty training is going well, hope he will be fully out of nappy by 18 months inshaAllah.

Ibrahim loves playing with his sisters. They play run and catch, hide and seek and a ball. It has been a good couple of weeks since he started playing football. He doesnt play other babiesh ball games, but kicks the ball and runs after it. He is just so hilarious as he is so short and chubby running after football half of his size. He only turned 1 on Sunday but already plays football, mashaAllah. May Allah protect and preserve all our children and make them among the pious Muslims amin.

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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.

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.

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.

Sumayya’s letters

Bismillah,

I have mentioned before that my 5 year old is always writing letters to her aunties and friends. The only problem is the pen pals at the receiving end dont always post a reply to her- poor thing keeps asking me when she is getting reply letters back. SubhanAllah, everyone is so busy and so entangled in their own lives and one can hardly make time to go out to post office to post a letter. I have a bunch to post and I have not been able to post to people.

Anyway, before I finally send them off I decided to post a few here.

Last Friday we have invited all the sisters and family friends we know over to our new place. Alhamdulillah there were so many people of all nationalities and backgrounds gathered for dinner at our house. Obviously a lot of them have children around Sumayya and Safiyya’s age, a bit older and a bit younger etc. So most of their friends were here. Sumayya noticed the next day that her friend Sarah didnt turn up.

-But you said you had invited them as well, mommy
-I did but they were on holiday in Europe so couldnt come
-But I miss Sarah all the time
-I know we will invite them again when they are back from holiday

She then sat down and wrote a letter to Sarah and asked me to post it the very same day. I havent been able to do so. So, Amina, if you are reading this please know that we miss Sarah and would be very happy if you could pop over sometime inshaAllah. It says “Sarah please come to my house. I have been looking for you. Love from Sumayya”

One day she was talking about visiting aunty Nargiza in London.
-Mommy, remember we stayed over at aunty Nargiza’s house in London
-Which aunty Nargiza? Omar and Yusuf’s mom?
-No we went there but we never slept in their house. It was a different Nargiza. She didnt have boys, she only had girls
-Oh you mean aunty Nargiza who came to sumalak party. She has no children she is not married. You saw here when we went to Eid party to Hafiza’s house as well, right?
-No, different Nargiza. She has children, she has two girls, Maryam and Aliya
-Ah, I remember now. How could you remember you were so small then
-I know but I still remember we all slept in their house
So, she sat down and wrote a letter to aunty Nargiza whom she had only seen when she was about 2-3 years old. It says in Uzbek “Aunty Nargiza, I have been to your house once. Let me go to your house again. (then in the box in the right hand side) Please come to my house” . She then decorated her letter.

Another one to myself which says “I love mummy”

Another one to myself. I was trying to have a Quran revision session with her and she kept refusing. After a couple of days of missed sessions she was not as fluent as she was before in her reading. MashaAllah she can now read the Qur’an and almost finished memorizing Juzu Amma. Anyway, I was upset that she had forgot how to read some surahs that she was easily reading before. She was upset too. She went to her room and came back with the following letter which says “Mummy I am sad I was crayying in my room I forgot the Quran. Please teach me the Qur’an”. She was crying so badly but even then she decided to decorate her letter for me lol.

This letter to her friend Rowda, our 6 year old Arab next door neighbour at the old house. The girls both are missing their friends and our neighbours but still dont want to move back. The letter says “I love you Rowda. I am kind to you. Please come to my house”

This one was to aunty Guzal. They were expecting her the other weekend when we had lots of Uzbek families over and when I told them aunty Guzal is not coming they were a bit sad. Anyway, every time Sumayya writes to Guzal she decides to make a purse for her. I cant remember the full story but when we went to visit them last summer I might have said something along the lines “Khala Guzal is rich and has more money” I cant remember why I said it but I might have been trying to explain something. Guzal do you remember anything and why she keeps making purse for you one after another? And always from a tissue paper and the incorrect spelling of “kashlug”, Russian word for a purse lol

 

Sumayya really misses her friend Hafiza. Even though she has plenty of English speaking friends, when Uzbek families get together and Hafiza is not there she keeps asking me if they will be coming or not. I say no because they live too far now. The other day we were looking at some old pictures and we were talking about place we went etc. She kept asking me and her daddy to print some old pictures of her and Hafiza for nearly half a day. Then when I did so she quickly wrote a letter with cutting and pasting the picture to the top of her letter.

Then she was in the process of writing a letter to Hanifa. Below is Safiyya’s not finished letter to Hamza and Sumayya’s not finished letter to Hanifa. Safiyya can write names of people mashaAllah. She can write anything when I spell them out but she is a bit lazy and leaves things half way through. (Sumayya was writing another letter to Hamza as well, all morning she kept busy with paints- she had decided to paint some pictures for Hamza.)


These are some of the letters they have been writing. They keep writing daily. Now I have a new idea in mind to practise their handwriting and spelling inshaAllah and will share it in due time.

We have moved- alhamdulillah!!!

Bismillah,

The great thing about home-schooling is to cope with life’s every aspect with children running under your feet. Wether you have a hospital appointment or moving a house- this is a real life education and children are part of it. To cut a long story short, we have moved a house. Moving in itself was such a big experience, packing, unpacking and organizing things around the house etc.  Add to that tests and trials we faced when moving, alhamdulillah it was all such a humbling experience. And we keep praying and asking Allah swt to bless us in this place and make it fruitful for us.

Thanks to moving I have completely reorganized our books and learning boxes and have been able to sort a lot of homeschool resources. We got rid of the junk papers piled up inside our files. Oh sisters, you all should have seen the amount of paper- honestly it took me good few hours to sort the papers and there was a mountain of paper to recycle. We have got a seperate library/homeschool room in our new house and we are all loving the space in it.  InshaAllah when I have more time I will share the pictures on how we organized the room.

Alhamdulillah kids didnt miss much of schooling during moving but I didnt have the will or time to post anything. I took a lot of time to reflect, review and making plans- both for myself and for my kids.

We do Qur’an hifdh and Qur’an reading daily in the mornings. The first thing we do to start the day is listen to Qur’an during or just after the breakfast. When we finish our hifdh session we read a page from Ahsanul Qawaid. Sumayya is on lesson 21 and Safiyya is still learning different shapes of letters on lesson 4/5.  Alhamdulillah both doing really well. Sumayya has memorized surah Naba and surah  Abasa. She has still got to memorize surah Naziat to finish juzu Amma. Safiyya has memorized surah Takathur and learning surah Qoria at the moment.

Arabic- we read from their Arabic vocab books and short stories. I always review the vocab with them during the day. I keep pointing to fruits/vegetables in the kitchen and asking for their names in Arabic when cooking or cleaning in the kitchen or pointing to objects and ask “Ma Hadha?” around the house all day long. So we get to practise lots of Arabic vocab during the day like this, very casually and informally. Safiyya has learned all the body parts and colours in Arabic recently. She can also read three letter words such as anf-nose, fam-mouth etc.

Arabic writing- Sumayya copywrites from books or Scribe and Safiyya is trying to independently write the letters. She has lost interest in tracing.

Reading- Sumayya is always reading and as usual I get her to narrate to me the stories on the go. She reads between 5-8 books a day on average, some days more or some days less then that. Safiyya can read from Jolly Phonics flashcards and I have not been able to spend much one-on-one time to improve her reading recently. She spends a lot of time on starfalls doing the phonics related activities. Before I used to allow them spend 30 mins daily on online interactive educational web-sites doing some phonics/math related activities. Now since Safiyya has figured out how to open up the web page on her own, I often find her sitting and doing starfalls on her own. I really used to restrict a lot but now I think since I am not doing anything beneficial with them then why not? Especially with moving, having both on the laptop doing some educational activity came in so handy to me that I stretched my daily 30 mins to an hour, some days up to 2 hours but with lots of breaks in between. Whoever is reading this, how much time do you guys allocate for your children to spend on interactive educational web-pages a day and at what age? Anyway, personally I didnt notice her reading improved with more starfalls activities. I think me spending more time with her on literacy would work better inshaAllah and I believe she is ready to read.

Writing- we do copywork for handwriting with both girls. Sumayya does written narration for composition. She also writes like a daily journal on one of her notebooks jotting down things she did during the day with plenty of spelling mistakes. But I can always figure out what she meant to write, alhamdulillah. She is always writing letters to her friends. In fact, she writes at least one letter a day. She was missing her friends Rawda and Kavsar- our old neighbours with whom they spent a lot of time playing together. I said we would invite them over for dinner one day inshaAllah. She wrote an invitation card for both of them and said “Please come to my new house and I want to go to your house”  with pictures. She spent a lot of time decorating those cards. One day we were expecting Dawud and Marjaan- their friends. Mum said they couldnt come because they were not feeling well. As soon as I announced this to the girls Sumayya did Get Well Soon card for both D and M, inside she wrote a letter and dua- La Basa Tohur inshaAllah and drew a picture of herself and D and M. In the picture the sick child was lying down on bed and Sumayya was touching his/her forehead. And underneath the dua, mashaAllah. And Safiyya kept asking me to buy flowers and presents for them because they are not feeling well.  I dont know if I have mentioned this before but Safiyya has started writing her full name sometime ago and now does so well, mashaAllah.

Math- we are doing 1-2 pages every other day from MEP Year 1 with Sumayya. It is just getting easier for her. I have got an Uzbek math workbook used for Year 2 at schools back home that got sent to us by grandma recently. InshaAllah will try to incorporate that as well. When we dont feel like doing workbook, usually I ask her to write numbers 0-50, and then circle all the odd numbers or even numbers.  Then to skip count by 2’s 0-20 or by 3’s 0-30 or I quickly write simple addition problems with numbers 0-20. Sumayya really likes spontaneous tasks like this. She does them quickly and enjoys the variety of tasks. I usually ask Safiyya count 0-20, write numbers 0-20, and do simple addition with numbers 0-10 or more/less activities with numbers 0-20. She counts 0-20, recognize numbers 0-20, is very confident writing numbers 0-10 and trying to write numbers 10-20. She is confident in identifying which number is more and which is less, improving addition and doesnt yet know the concept of odd/even. But inshaAllah, again I will have to spend more one-on-one time with her since she easily gets distracted and has shorter attention span than her sister.

Outdoors- mashaAllah we have got such a lovely and big garden at this place. They spend sometime outside every day even though the weather has not been that great recently. But we do miss going for longer walks in woods and going to playgrounds in parks. We have not been able to get out much recently and still trying to settle, subhanAllah.

Creativity- they have never missed making things. They never let me put yoghurt pots, cereal boxes, milk bottles in the recycling bin now. They have always got some kind of make and do ideas in mind. Especially little Safiyya!!! It takes us forever to clean up their mess but they always participate in the cleaning process so we are not bothered too much. Alhamdulillah, even when I am busy with other things and cant give them my full attention- they can keep themselves busy with one of their arty projects. I just give them a cardboard or cereal box, scissors, glue sticks and anything I can find and leave it up to them. They decide what to make and how to make and just get on with it, mashaAllah.

Aqeedah/Prophets stories- we have not been able to do anything constructive. But we do read lots of books on prophets, do little quiz on the spot, discuss the story, do Q&A on aqeedah on the go all day long. Any experience we come across- be it eating, dressing, talking- I try to remind that the angels are writing down and Allah is watching and will be counting our good/bad deeds on the day of Judgement.

Apart from these, Safiyya has been struggling with her eczema and asthma recently. I think her illness affects her behaviour- she becomes very whingy and keeps arguing with Sumayya or myself. I do believe this child is my test and I do blame myself for not being patient enough to bear some of her actions. She always gets herself into trouble, subhanAllah. I dont know how and why but she keeps falling off things, or does things that would hurt herself. We had so many visitors over the weekend and she somehow managed to hit her head against one little boy’s head and ended up having such a deep cut inside her lips. It was bleeding for ages. Then yesterday she put her finger inside pencil sharpener and pretended to be sharpening a pencil and ended up cutting her nails halfway through, subhanAllah. She does cheeky things not out of not knowing it would harm her but out of curiosity. She is an experimentalist and tries everything to find out what happens next, even after I have clearly explained to her that we should do A because of B etc. I often find myself shouting at her and then feeling guilty and asking to forgive me later on. I really dont know how to come out of this habit, out of this ritual. I seem to keep going round and round, no way out of it. It will surely pass but I dont want to damage anything in her, I dont want to damage her creativity, I dont want to make her even more stubborn with all this shouting and I dont want her to become attention seeker….I pray Allah swt make things easy for me and guides me to the right conclusion, amin.

I will do a separate post on our experience with eczema and asthma. I always find other sisters’ such experience helpful and sisters have asked me in the past what we did for Safiyya, what worked and what didnt etc. InshaAllah I will share the experience in due time but will have to finish my post here for now.

The Best Foundation Curriculum Summary: Weeks 28 Feb-11 March 2012

Bismillah,

SubhanAllah we have been so busy over the past couple of weeks and I find it hard to commit time towards blogging regularly. But I guess that is the same issue with all blogger homeschooling sisters, mashaAllah. Blogging does help me to contemplate and review our homeschooling and identify what steps I shall be taking next in terms of kids progress with each subject.

So, we have been trying to stick to our new curriculum. And Best Foundation is based on Qur’an and the Sunnah. All the other subjects are incorporated into one of our main subjects. Geography based on seerah, handwriting based on aqeedah, math based on Qur’an etc.

And here is what we have been doing over the past weeks.

Qur’an Hifdh

Alhamdulillah we do listen to Qur’an 20-30 mins each morning. I go with each child individually to revise 5-6 surahs they have already memorized. And we listen to a surah we are memorizing 3 times at the end, repeating after the sheikh.

Sumayya is now memorizing Surah Naba and Surah Abasa. She can read them both from the mus’haf and when she does it she recites them both without pausing. But when she recites them purely from her own memory then she does pause quite often and can’t remember the next ayah until I mention the beginning of it. Safiyya is now memorizing surah Takathur.

Arabic Reading

They have been reading from their reading book at Arabic school and memorizing the vocab inside. In addition we read from Ahsanul Qawaid. Sumayya is currently on lessons 14 and 15. Safiyya is learning the different forms of letters and on lesson 4 and 5. She has just started reading, mashaAllah. I just can’t believe it but she has grasped the concept of letters have different forms at the beginning, middle and end so quick and started recognizing them very quick as well.

  

Arabic Handwriting

We do lots of copywork for our Arabic handwriting. Sumayya is still using Scribe from Learning Roots and has just started the section copying words. Safiyya has Arabic Writing Book from Goodword books for tracing but she is also trying to independently write all the letters.

  

Safiyya’s independent handwriting attempt and tracing. Some pages she did from her writing book from Arabic school with exercises. She is memorizing the vocab in that book too, alhamdulillah.

      

Seerah

We have been reading stories from the Tell Me About Prophet Muhammad saw book and have lots of discussions on the life of the prophet saw. The last story we read was about Khadija ra and her marriage to the prophet saw. And here is what they have asked me

– Did she really like the prophet saw?
-Why her baby boys died when they were babies?
-Where is she now, is she in Jannah?
-Was she prophet’s best friend?
-Why was she reach?

We have also been doing the coloring pages based on the Sealed Nectar from Easel and Ink. So far we did 2 coloring pages. It started off with prophet’s lineage. So the girls have learned that Ibrahim a.s had 2 sons named Ibrahim and Ishaaq alayhumussalam. Prophets Musa and Eesa alayhumussalam were the children of Ishaaq a.s and Muhammad saw was the only prophet from the children of Ibrahim a.s.

Aqeeda

Previously we covered the angels Kiraman Katibeen and how they count our good deeds and bad deeds. And the punishment of the grave or the fire for being naughty, the bliss and Jannah for doing more good deeds. I try to reinforce the positivity so we talk more about Jannah and rewards and therefore we should be doing more of a good deed. But sometimes by accident we may do things wrong, and when that happens we should immediate say sorry to Allah swt and follow it with a good deed. That is girls understanding and alhamdulillah when they do something wrong immediately they try to please us by doing something nice at home.

We have been learning about Jannah lately in our Aqeedah sessions. We have read a book by Goodword and done a couple of activities based on that. But they learnt that Jannah is a big garden, very big park. And we have recalled all the previous parks we have been in the past and I explained that Jannah is even biggest than any park we have been so far. It is the biggest garden with the most beautiful flowers, the sweetest fruits, the healthiest vegs, bouncy castle and toys. And everyone has their own castle in Jannah. Some of the conversations we had

Sumayya:

-Mommy, is everyone young in Jannah or old?
-People of Jannah are very young, they dont age, they have no wrinkles on their faces
-So, grandma becomes young again if she goes to Jannah
-InshaAllah yes
-So she becomes white like you
-I think so
-So, she can have babies in Jannah. Then we dont have to give Ibrahim to her

(lol, we always talk about grandma taking Ibrahim back home when she goes back because she doesnt have anyone to live with. And Sumayya suggested that she should have her own babies and grandma explained that she had babies like daddy when she was young. But now she is too old to have a baby. Therefore Sumayya came up with the above idea that inshaAllah if grandma keep being good then Allah gives her Jannah. And she becomes young again in Jannah and can have her own babies instead of taking Ibrahim from us)

Safiyya:

-Mommy, can I have sweets
-You can have in Jannah but you have to be good until then
-And the sweets never make me poorly in Jannah. All the chocolates in Jannah are healthy
-Yup. And you can have as much lollies as you like, you never get toothache, tummy ache etc
-And I never get eczema in Jannah
-That’s right
-And we dont need toilet in Jannah because there are no toilets
-That’s right. Everything is pure and clean. We eat what we like but we dont have to go to toilet
-Mommy ask Allah to give me pink castle in Jannah
-Ok inshaAllah 

  

We read the book and talked about the flowers in Jannah. Sumayya absolutely loves nature, flowers, birds, animals and planting. She is forever busy in the garden with one of her gardening projects. She has asked me to plant something so many times. It was also the 1st day of spring so we talked about the changes in nature, more sunshine, daffodils and bluebells. So it was nice arts/crafts session relating both to spring and Jannah. We got it from here. We also got the above spring badge from Easel and Ink. And when finished coloring, cutting and pasting Sumayya wrote underneath: I love flowers. I like to water them. MashAllah, these two sentences she came up with, wrote without me suggesting anything. But she composed grammatically correct sentences, wrote them with the correct spelling. MashaAllah even English is not our 1st language at home, she can read and write better than her peers whose 1st language is English. And we have not done any grammar or spelling lessons, she seems to pick up all her linguistic skills from reading lots of books.

Qur’an party

I said to Sumayya when she finishes memorizing surah Naba we would do the Qur’an party for them. MashAllah one of the homeschooling moms I know did Qur’an party yesterday and it was awesome. We did lots of Qur’an centred activities, party games such as pass the parcel, puppet show about learning Qur’an etc. Kids and adults really enjoyed it and it was so refreshing. May Allah reward the sister. So, my girls keep talking about their Qur’an party and cant wait to finish memorizing their surahs. They keep making Qur’an charts like progress chart where they tick the box for finishing a surah. They keep drawing Qur’an tree and designing an invitation card and brainstorming ideas about how to decorate the house etc. Here is some of their cards

     here is her bakery list of things to get for the party. Her handwriting is improving too.

Tafseer

Alhamdulillah, after long hesitation on whether we should start doing something constructive on tafseer or not, I finally introduces the  tafseer using the pictorial worksheets from Little Starts of Islam. We have so far done surah Nasr and surah Lahab, we did these two because we were doing Quran centred workbooks of these two surahs from Umm an Numan. So, it was nice that they could read and understand the meaning/translation by using both.

Creativity

Alhamdulillah they are always reading, writing, making arts/crafts on their own initiative. Sumayya is always designing her cards and writing letters. If she makes someone upset she she quickly writes a letter to apologise. If she is upset with someone she quickly writes a letter asking not to make her upset. Safiyya is writing all the letters of the English alphabet independently but she cant obviously spell words yet. So she does ends up writing lots of individual letters up and down the paper and decides that it is a letter to someone in the end.

Here is Sumayya’s letter to my brother. She has never met him but they talk to each other via skype and they love each other mashaAllah. It says: To my lovely uncle Murod, I want to teach you about flowers and plants
  

Here is one of Safiyya’s letters. She draws flowers, colors them in, cuts them out and sticks them on a paper with gluestick.

Reading

Alhamdulillah Sumayya enjoys reading. On average she reads between 1 to 5 books. After much thought we have introduced chapter books and alhamdulillah this book I got from car boot sale ages ago was excellent start for chapter books. I would highly recommend it as it is a living book with beautiful illustrations and easy but not dumbed-down language.

 

Safiyya is still learning to blend. She recognizes all the phonics and some of the short words. She still uses Jolly Phonics flashcards too

Geography.

We do map drill based on prophets stories/seerah stories. When we read a story we try to locate places, towns on the globe, map, atlas books etc. We had this Picture Atlas since Sumayya was a baby but I had completely forgotten about it. As we moved the bookshelf to kids bedroom upstairs I had to rearrange books and found this. It is very interesting book and again I got this in car boot sale lol. I am telling you sisters, books are real bargains in car boot sales.
  

Russian

We still have not done anything specific for our Russian language apart from reading books and watching educational cartoons. One of our favourite books are about the Old Fisherman and the Golden fish by classic Russian poet Pushkin. I often read it before bedtime, translate the story and discuss the content. My dad always narrated this story to us when we were young and we all loved this story. One day I was speaking to my dad on the phone, I asked him to tell this story to Sumayya over the phone and passed the phone to her. Sumayya enjoyed it so much and I remembered my childhood. Grandma retold the story in that same tone and using the same language etc.

We have also watched the cartoon here

So, these are what we have been doing recently. InshaAllah when I am a bit more advanced blogger I would like to share files etc. I am trying to learn how to use box net.  I copy pasted the Easel and Ink coloring pages into word document but I dont know how to share files at the moment. So, if anyone is interested in using those then inshaAllah leave your email in the comments and I will email you the files for which there is no link in this post. JazakAllah khayr for stopping by.