Islamic Books for Children

Bismillah,

So, your child can read. She is reading books. I suppose after children start reading and have developed the joy of reading, the most important task for parents is to provide them with good books. Books that help them to broaden their horizons; Books that help them to understand the world; Books that help them to differentiate between what is good and what is bad; Books that help them to shape a morally responsible character; Books that promote virtue and discourage vice.

Alhamdulillah, there are many Islamic story books out there than ever before. I would not say we get lots of choice or we always get the quality we want. Nevertheless, the market is developing and with each year behind, we can see more and more Islamic story books aimed at Muslim children of all ages.

Here is my long awaited book review for some of the books we have purchased awhile ago. Alhamdulillah, children have learned so much through these books.

1. A Concise Children’s Encyclopedia of Islam– big S is very much into encyclopaedic books at the moment. I would especially recommend this for children between the ages of 7-10 as they get to read about various phases of Islamic history, Muslim countries, inventions made by Muslims scholars, Islamic rituals and much more. Very interesting to read and beautiful illustrations (with no eyes)

2. Room 101 and Other Stories– I was very much impressed with this book. It is definitely a MUST have book for each Muslim household. Stories were originally written in Arabic by Dr. Ahmad Bassam Saeh, later translated into English by Dr. Imran Alawiye. There are twelve stories altogether, written both in Arabic and English (half a page in English, half a page in Arabic). A great tool for those children who need to practise their Arabic reading and vocab through stories. The book is made using great quality paper, hardcover and contains beautiful illustrations. Each story is so relevant and appealing to today’s society.  Children are encouraged to draw their own conclusions through characters’ behaviour and actions. They learn through each story that whenever a bad/evil is committed there will be a consequence to meet; Whenever good is done there will be a reward to reap; The head of all good deeds is the obedience to Allah swt. Big S (who will be 6 next week inshaAllah) loves this book and reads it every night. Little S (4 year old now) loves to be read as this is too difficult for her to read by herself.

3. Stories of the Prophets– again this book was written originally in Arabic by Sayyed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, translated into English much later. This is ideal for more older children between the ages of 9-12, as it uses text only and no illustrations. It presents the lives of major prophets’ sent by Allah in more greater depth, using Qur’anic and hadeeth references. It is very informative, yet simple and easy to understand for children 7+. Ideal to be used as textbook in class, at home or school etc. It helps a child to understand all prophets’ mission through perceptive observations. Highly recommended

4. Allah and Me- Learning to Live Allah’s Way, teaches that a Muslim does everything for Allah. The book helps to form a strong faith in “Allah knows what is best for us”. The stories are short, simple and easy to understand. There is a Q&A and task based activity after each story. So, you can invite a child to have a follow up discussion after each story to find out what Allah expects from children, what He likes, what He dislikes etc. I find this book very practical as we often refer to one of its stories during the day. The stories are appealing and relevant to most children’s daily life. Allah and Me discusses some Islamic virtues/rituals which we should practise in our daily life in order to live according to Allah’s will. A perfect book to link child’s every action to Allah; to introduce a healthy dose of love of Allah and fear of Allah. (Illustrations are okay)

5. The story of Muhammad saw in Madina– simple and concise introduction to seerah for slightly older children, I would say 6+. Our 6 year old really enjoyed reading it all by herself. Great book to be read to children 4+. Excellent quality paper and excellent illustrations. Stories contain informative explanations and vivid descriptions.

6. These are set of story books published by The Islamic Foundation. We have had them for awhile now. I would say big S grew out of them but they are perfect catch for small S, so ideal for children between 4-6.

Hilmy the Hippo series, 5 books with excellent content and illustrations in this set titled: Hilmy the Hippo learns to Share; Hilmy the Hippo learns to be Grateful, Hilmy the Hippo learns about Death; Hilmy the Hippo learns about Vanity, Hilmy the Hippo learns not to Lie. 

I Can series, 4 board books with awesome illustrations in this set: I Can Read Qur’an Anywhere, I Can Wear Hijab Anywhere, I Can Make Dua Anywhere, I Can Say Bismillah Anywhere.

A Caring Neighbour– A Caring Neighbour

Our Grandad– 

 

 

Cindrella- an Islamic Tale- Cinderella - An Islamic TaleFinally, the set of books about “Know How’s” by Writeway Publications for younger children. These are not story books but lists a number of things about How To Be a Good Muslim on various topics with beautiful illustrations on each page. There are 4 books in this set titled  How To Eat and Drink; How To Be A Good Child; and How To Be Safe; How To Keep Clean. These have been little S’s favourite books recently and little I loves them too.

Alhamdulillah, we have been so far very pleased with our purchase of Islamic books for children. I have to admit that they are a bit expensive sometimes. But, we can not purchase them in charity shops, most libraries in the UK do not provide great variety of Islamic story books for Muslim children and these books are definitely not available in car boot sales. So, we have no choice but to buy them sometimes. InshaAllah, it is a good investment in shaping our children’s character. I can see this especially in big S since she reads these books all the time and then questions me on certain aspects of our life in order to understand more; or certain actions of book characters to make out the conclusion.

Eid Mubarak!!!

Bismillah,

 

Eid Mubarak my dear sisters. Taqabbal Allahu minna wa minkum- May Allah accept our humble efforts of worshipping Him, our siyaam and qiyaam and all the other good deeds we may have done for His pleasure only. SubhanAllah, one can feel how time if flying by especially in Ramadan. It only feels like yesterday, the day we started fasting and today we are already celebrating Eid ul Fitr of 2012. Another Ramadan is gone, another Eid is gone- may we become someone who is better in spirit and soul until the next one inshaAllah.

We have been so busy this Ramadan subhanAllah. We have hosted few iftaari gatherings in our house, attended as much as ten family iftaar dinners elsewhere. I think it was the 1st year for our girls to experience Ramadan practically- their efforts to fast, attending taraweeh prayers at the mosque and of course Ramadan camp where we learnt much about Ramadan, Fasting and Eid ul Fitr through practical workshops and hands on activities.

I have been much too busy to blog.  Re Ramadan camp, in Week 3 we learnt about Laylatul Qadr and and in Week 4 we learnt about Zakat al Fitr and Eid al Fitr in detail. We made lapbooks and bulletin boards (of which I still havent taken any pictures).

The girls have also finished Ramadan activity pack 1 from Smart Ark– mashAllah it was such a nice set of activities that kept them busy every day. We have continued our homeschooling in the mornings with variety of activities re numeracy and literacy.

Sumayya is always reading and writing, as usual. MashaAllah, I can see her character emerging and sometimes I can see bits of me in her subhanAllah. She is writing stories and illustrating them, training to be an author inshaAllah. We still use narration for reading comprehension but she is doing more written narration of most of the stories she reads by herself. I can’t believe how good her spelling is- she hardly ever makes a spelling mistakes. Some days we read a story at circle time- all children read a page each. Then we discuss the story and I do spelling test or dictation based on the story and mashaAllah she does really well. And when she decides to narrate the story in writing- she uses the correct grammar. It is almost like someone has taught her lots of grammar and spelling, mashaAllah. She still has some punctuation mistakes like full stops, commas etc. She also did lots of handwriting using Ramadan Copywork from TJ. MashaAllah, we both learnt so much from these 30 ayah/ahadith about Ramadan and fasting. She would read, copywrite the work and we would discuss the meaning daily.

Safiyya is trying to improve her handwriting too, she did some copywork with her sister but usually I have to push her a lot. I am taking things very easy and slow with her as she is very creative and imaginative but not so eager to do “academic work” lol. InshaAllah I am trying to say “yes” to her as often as I can. My problem with her is she is always cutting and sticking…. and collecting yoghurt pots, milk bottles and all sorts of other things in the house- Allah knows how much mess she makes a day and she does things that could drive any mother nearly mental lol. But, I know it is me, not her and this is what upsets me. The fact that I can not be patient enough, tolerant enough, and understanding enough with my growing young child….this is what upsets me. She is only turning 4 and yet I expect her to behave the same as her older sister….So, it is me, not SHE, who needs to change approaches and styles inshaAllah. I have been thinking a lot about her recently and I think 3 hour preschool thing in the afternoons would do her some good inshaAllah….

We finally finished MEPs Year 1 Practise Book b, so Year 1 is officially done. The past few weeks we learnt about calendar and money. They loved learning how to use a calendar. I ask them questions such as which month comes after which month, shortest month, longest months, winter/summer months. Also I ask them to circle a certain date on various different calendars (i. e find 10 January 2007) and find out which day of the week it was (i.e Mon, Tues, Wed). They have learnt shortened version of all months and weekdays. We also revised our knowledge of seasons and how times change in winter/summer (it gets dark quicker in winter etc). They had so much fun learning about how to use calendar- something practical and also a life skill…well kind of *smile*

Another skill they learnt is how to calculate the value of coins and how to use money in general. Again, I would give them a set of coins and ask them to find out who has got the most amount in value. They practised subtractions and additions using real pennies and 5 pence, 10 pence,20 pence coins. We played various different shopping games and there were some problem-solving activities provided in the book. Alhamdulillah, I am really happy for Sumayya’s mental math and problem-solving skills. MashaAllah, may Allah make it better and put into good use inshaAllah. She is quick at grasping the concept and thinking/analysing the problem.

With Safiyya, we still do counting 0-20 and basic addition with numbers 0-10. She is reading baby board books independently and joins in to read some words at circle time stories. I just let her lead when I sit with her and whatever she does I try to suggest few things and do lots of play-based activities. I hope someone of her age will soon join our homeschool and inshaAllah she can actually play with someone of her age without complaining…..

Re Qur’an hifdh Sumayya is learning surah Qiyamah and Safiyya is memorizing surah Zalzala. We talked a lot more about meanings/tafseer of ayah/surahs during Ramadan. I am hoping to buy ad Duha tafseer books for them inshaAllah. They are so interested to learn more about Allah swt and Jannah. InshaAllah, we will restart learning the 99 names of Allah and tafseer of smaller surahs more seriously now. They always keep asking me questions about Allah azza wa jal and Jannah, I figured out whatever we do during the day the subject of our conversations always lead to these two topics.

One day I said to Safiyya “You are always hungry” which is true lol. Every 30 minutes she keeps asking for food. She eats very little and very often. And she said

-“Allah is never hungry”
-I said “Yes true”.
-Allah never eats
-That’s right. Allah is free from all needs
-So, Allah is always fasting mommy?
-No, Allah doesnt fast because He does not need to fast….and here she was arguing with me
-But if He is never hungry and never eats then it must be He is fasting, mommy, yeah?

One day I read them the story of Sulayman a.s and Bilqis. How a queen had a beautiful throne but Sulayman alayhissalam’s jinn brought it to the prophet within blink of an eye. It was so beautiful etc then whilst discussing we were talking about Allah swt’s throne. And she asked me if Allah was sitting on his throne at that very moment. I said I don’t know. And she was asking me lots of other questions like whether Allah lives in Jannah or whether He swt moves etc. I genuinely can not answer some of their questions and really feel the need to study more about Aqidah and all the knowledge regarding HerAfter myself….inshaAllah. And Sumayya always rewrites some of the stories she has read with an Islamic twist, like she names the girl Aminah etc

They both are so creative, always making things and always coming up with really interesting ideas. Usually I don’t teach on Fridays. So, they take a notepad and pens/pencils and go out to *explore* the garden in which they spent at least 2-3 hours a day playing lol. They collect twigs, leaves, flowers, pull out the weeds, write some interesting notes in their notepad. They day before Eid I was busy in the kitchen and I send them out. Sumayya did maths work on her own, she wrote counting by 3s and by 5s. Then she wrote odd/even numbers 0-20, wrote some random addition and subtraction sums to herself to solve etc. Then she explored the weather- she said. She listed all sorts of weather conditions: windy, cloudy, sunny, rainy, snowy and ticked cloudy (it was like a chart). Then she wrote the ground was wet and therefore they would have to wear something long sleeved for Eid lol. It was nice cute chart with her writing and ticks. And she has made so many presents for her dad for when he returned from i’tikaaf. Every day she would spent good couple of hours writing letters to her father and making various different gifts/presents (again I never took pictures of these but inshaAllah intend to as we have still got the collection lol)

All-in-all, busy Ramadan for us. May the Controller of the Hearts make our souls firm and obedient in our deen amin.

 

Character building with the Qur’an

Bismillah,

I cant believe how fast the days are flying by and it is only 16 or so days left till Ramadan. SubhanAllah…

I would like to update on the hifdh of Qur’an inshaAllah.

We try to listen to the Qur’an a couple of times a day. We do the revision session as usual once a day when I ask the girls both read me 5 random surahs I choose off their memory. Safiyya is memorizing surah Zalzala at the moment and Sumayya is just reviewing Juzz Amma. She can read a lot of the surahs in the next Juzz but has not yet started memorizing. She keeps reading surah Mursalat after our Qur’an revision session. She listens to a new surah a few times and she can read it from mus”haf on her own mashaAllah.

A lot of the moms complain to me how hard it is to sit their children and make them listen and repeat when it comes to memorizing the Quran.

Q: How can I motivate my child to memorize the Qur’an?

This was my answer:

1. We- the moms have to make the effort to memorize new surah alongside with our children. They should see us listening to the surah we want to memorize, repeat after the sheikh, read that surah at least a couple of times a day outloud. When we set that example, they will be motivated to copy us inshaAllah.

2. We should make the effort to make the Qur’an a living/applicable thing in our lives. We try to talk about Qur’an as much as possible in our household. When we ask children to do something or to become something we should always try to reference it from the Qur’an. For example, when we ask them to be kind, we can remind that Allah has asked the believer to be kind in the Qur’an (you can search and find specific ayah for older children). When we see older siblings making little ones upset we often ask them to say sorry. Again, we should always remind that when we hurt someone we should first ask forgiveness of that person then we should seek forgiveness of Allah swt. When we ask them to be gentle, sharing, humble and not to show off- all these things can be referenced from the Qur’an. We should make our children understand from young age that it is not we who want them to behave in certain way but it is Allah the Almighty, who created all of us from nothing and gave us everything we need- He wants us to become and behave that way and He told us so in the Qur’an. These character building statements with Qur’anic backing can be explained on the go all day long. We don’t need to sit children down to explain these. Make use of time during school run or whilst cooking and trigger some conversation about what Allah azza wa jal told us in the Qur’an. When kids don’t listen to me I always say “Allah said in the Qur’an “Worship me and obey your parents”. So, if you want Allah to be happy with you you can do as I said “.

3. One of the things my girls ask every time we make dua is going to the highest level of Jannah, inshaAllah. Whenever they feel reluctant to do the Qur’an hifdh- I ask them “So, how are you going to go to the highest level of Jannah without learning much of the Qur’an. Remember, Allah loves those who learn and live the Qur’an. So, Allah is watching you now to see if you can do it or not”. MashaAllah this works perfectly well with Sumayya as she is getting older she has more understanding of things relating to HereAfter.

4. Treats- we have no TV but we use watching some educational cartoons on youtube as a treat for learning/memorizing the Qur’an. For those who have/watch TV- it should be limited and used as a treat only. We can use Qur’an charts- where a child collects a star for each new surah learnt and parents can buy something for every 10 stars. The prize can be a real simple toy or some educational resource, a book etc. Something useful. We can also give them sweets and candies for new surah learnt. We have always restricted sweet things in our family diet (and really I dont have a sweet tooth. I can not each store bought chocolates, candies, choc-chip biscuits etc) So, what our girls receive is usually something very little- it could be 1/4 of a twix bar and they are over the moon lol. But I say to them, chocolates/sweets are unhealthy in this world only. But, in Jannah, everything is healthy. They can have as many lolly pops and chocolates as they wish for and it never affects their teeth or tummy. I say “Even if you dont feel like eating a meal and have 10 lollies a day, still your teeth don’t go black. Because everything is pure in Jannah and nothing makes you poorly there”. They love it when I talk like this about Jannah, alhamdulillah. Also, we can organize Qur’an parties when they memorize a certain juzz or a number of surahs. We also organize trips for our girls for memorizing the Qur’an and alhamdulillah they look forward to trips and try to memorize quickly.

5. Keep listening to Qur’an as many times during the day as possible. Whilst travelling in the car, whilst cooking a meal, whilst having breakfast etc. Most people have smart phones these days and some really cool apps. So, we can utilize the technology we have at hand and make use of every spare minute we have inshaAllah. If we get our children’s ear used to the sounds of the Qur’an recitation, they should not feel as reluctant when it comes to memorizing. It is completely foreign language to children, they don’t read, write, speak or even hear the Arabic language. So, we can imagine how hard it must be for them to memorize something in a language that their ears never heard of. I think it helps to train their ears by listening to the recitation of Qur’an from as young as newborn babies (or even in pregnancy).

6. We have “It is Qur’an time with mommy” every day. We all should make it a habit inshaAllah.  Time is crucial factor both for  parents and children. We parents should be able to choose a time that works for both inshaAllah and revise all the surahs they have memorized so far. We can make them read or listen/repeat the surah they are on at least 3 times (depending which method is being used. Older children memorize by reading a surah many times but younger ones memorize by listening and repeating. Personally, I prefer listen/repeat method as it is traditional and you are more likely to get the sounds right). Anyway, when we establish “Qur’an time with mommy” as a habit, then we don’t need to drag them/ nag them or spend long time trying to make them sit and do the hifdh. Establishing a habit in itself is an automatic motivation inshaAllah.

7. Aqeedah- we should keep working on their understanding of Aqeedah. We should establish the firm knowledge of Allah, the oneness of Allah and meanings of names of Allah swt. We should teach all the basic knowledge relating to HereAfter from a very young age and as they grow older learn in more details. Few things we have to develop strong awareness in children are: tawheed (all 3 aspects of tawheed) the pillars of imaan (belief in Allah, angels, prophets, books, the day of Judgement and Qadar). In general terms, this is what we always say to our children at home “We all have a book called Illiyun. We all have angels on our sides called Kiraman Katibeen. These angels write down our good deeds and bad deeds. Allah swt will count on the day of Judgement all our deeds to see which one is more. If we have lots of good deeds than Allah will reward us with Jannah inshaAllah”. As well as treating our children with trips, sweets or Qur’an parties from time to time, we should keep reminding them that the greatest reward is with Allah swt and in Jannah.

I was memorizing surah Qiyamah some time ago. As I memorized I was listening to the tafseer of the surah as well. I said to Sumayya “You know on the day of Judgement Allah will destroy everything. All the strong mountains will be flying in the sky. All the trees will be uprooted and strong tall building will crumble. Do you think it will be dark or clear on that day. That’s right, everywhere will be dark. But, the prophet saw said those who memorize and learn the Qur’an will have light on their face. So, if you learn and live the Qur’an, you can see where you are going. Everywhere will be dark but inshaAllah you can find your way” She was really impressed by this fact and also learning about the description of the day of Judgement. So, I thought developing their knowledge of the HereAfter would help them to feel motivated to learn the Qur’an.

8. Finally, we should all be making dua constantly that Allah swt makes this journey easy both for ourselves and our children. Allah is All Knowing, All Watching, All Seeing, The Controller of the Hearts and He can make anything possible. We are only asked to do what we can do inshaAllah.

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.

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.

The Best Foundation

Bismillah,

A couple of weeks ago I was reviewing the kids learning progress with each subject and I was thinking of their developing little personalities. It is then I made the decision to focus these early years more on Qur’an and the Islamic Studies. We all want to give our children the best foundation. And I am sure we all agree that best foundation is found in the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

So, I have kind of made a new very flexible curriculum to follow. I will add it as a new page called Curriculum. And you can see there the main subjects to be covered in our curriculum is Qur’an– hifdh/memorization, reading/tajweed and Tafseer; Arabic– improve all the language skills such as reading, writing, listening and speaking; Islamic Studies– Aqeedah, Seerah, Prophet’s Stories and Fiqh.  These will be the main subjects taught and we try to incorporate literacy/numeracy/geography/science into these subjects.

For example, for literacy we read one of the prophet’s story and I ask kids to narrate me the story. Choose up to 5 vocabulary and ask them to give me definition. And for geography we find on the map where that prophet was born, find on the globe where he travelled and in which direction the town is in relation to our current country. (i.e ask questions like Is Iraq east or west of the UK etc?) So, I have dropped using the geography and science workbooks. SubhanAllah, we have been super social since Sumayya stopped attending public school and so had to prioritize the subjects to cover due to time restrictions as well. Anyway, I think all the readers get the hang of our new curriculum as we go along inshaAllah.

So, the past few weeks we have done lots of work in line with our “The Best Foundation” curriculum. We hae completed Surah An Nasr and Surah Al Masad Qur’an centred wordworkbooks and these helped us tremendously to move on with our tajweed.   

We read the story of Nuh a.s and kids can narrate the story in the right sequence/order of events. They coloured a picture based on story, cut out and pasted on to a hard-stock paper. Then each decorated their own papers. Sumayya tried to draw her own ship with animals on board.

  

We have finished the first 10 lessons from Ahsanul Qawaid with Sumayya and Alhamdulillah she is reading well. The lessons are getting more difficult for her now, she found the beginning too easy and could read independently. She has learnt the use of “tanvin” (an, in, un) and the long Aa sound (fatha+alif next to letter as you can see on the following pages). I kept explaining to her how fatha+alif make long “aa” sound and she calls it double A now. In the exercises to read all the words are the high frequency words from the Qur’an and whenever she comes across that she knows from a particular surah, she recites the full ayah and we try to guess which surah the word is taken from. (Usually even I cant remember which ayah the word is from even though we remember the full ayah)

Safiyya is still learning the 3rd lesson, the use of fatha/damma/kasra for a, i, u sounds. And she is learning the letters in different forms too. Alhamdulillah she is very keen since she started Arabic school

  

Aqeeda, we are still learning the names and attributes of Allah swt. I take 10 out each week. Sumayya reads, Safiyya does letter hunting on flashcards and we talk about meaning/discuss.

 

Arabic- they do 1-2 pages from their workbooks as and when they want. They are memorizing new words. Sumayya has picked up lots of words from her Arabic story books. Alhamdulillah my husband reads aloud to them daily. One day I was sat trying to read one of the story books called A Strange Circle and Sumayya kept translating for me all the words I asked for. I genuinely didnt know the meaning and when I checked from the back she was correct, subhanAllah. And another day they were watching one of the Arabic Cartoons and it kept saying “Li Maza” and I asked her and Sumayya said it meant “Why?” . Also when Ibrahim cries she says “La Tabki” “Don’t cry”. So, her spoken Arabic is just coming along. And she is doing copywork for her handwriting.

Safiyya is trying to write the individual letters independently, no tracing. Alhamdulillah, she is trying well lol. And she has memorized all the words for Jism- Human body parts and trying to write them independently as most of them are 3 letter words. She knows a couple of Arabic songs for body parts and another about cat that she absolutely LOVES singing. I forgot to take picture of her independent handwriting. She can count till 10 in Arabic and recognizes the number 0-10. Now she is learning to count till 20. I gave her this basic math sheet just to keep her busy one day when I was trying to explain something to Sumayya. I am trying to find more work for her independent self-study time, I really need this so that I could give some individual time for both.

  

Sumayya has started using Scribe from Learning Roots for her handwriting. I got it last year but thought it was a bit too advanced for her level at the time. And I think I was right. She is really enjoying it at the moment and it is based on copywork. It moves from copying individual letters to letters in different forms to words to sentences and it provides copywork for a few hadith at the right end. I would highly recommend it to any sisters trying to improve their kids Arabic handwriting, age 5 and above would use it more to the purpose.

  

 

Excessive Love of the Life in this world

The inability to weep is caused by Hardness of the Heart.

Hardness of the Heart is caused by multiplicity of the sin.

Multiplicity of the sin is cause by forgetfullnes of the Death.

Forgetfulness of death is caused by ambitious expectations.

Ambitious expectations are caused by excessive Love of the Life in this world.

Think.