Last Drop Film Launch

Bismillah,

One of the fine educational places to take your children in Riyadh is Mishkat Interactive Science Centre.

It’s located in Alaqarya Plaza on Olaya Street. The centre is mainly dedicated to raise awareness about renewable energy and how to recycle energy. The children will learn where energy comes from and how it’s used in life through hands on activities. The displays are child friendly and interactive. 

Unfortunately the centre isn’t open to public. It only opens few times a year to deliver science workshops and showcase some science projects going on in the kingdom. 

We had a group visit there last year with Riyadh Homeschool Group where children attended some workshops and enjoyed their time playing with different machines inside. (You can call the number at bottom if you want to organise your own group visit)

Here’s their website http://www.mishkat.org.sa 

This coming Saturday 25th February, they will be showing a film called The Last Drop as well as delivering a number of science workshops.(you can find more information below)

I would highly recommended it to all parents with children between the ages of 4-12. Your children will love the activities and facilities are very accommodating – salah zone, wheelchair access, clean toilets, café with hot beverages and snacks, picnic area and reading corner etc. 

Children are usually grouped according to their ages and will be in different rooms to attend workshops. Parents can’t accompany children to the workshop area but can watch through the large glass doors what their children are doing. There’s a special picnic area for families downstairs if you want to bring your own food. You can also buy hot and cold drinks and snacks in their cafe. Their gift shop also sells various educational toys and games for the little ones to take home. 

So, below is the information about the event this coming Saturday. They are quite strict about tickets and you have to book in advance to attend. They don’t allow entrance at the door without prior booking. 

THE LAUNCH OF OUR EXCLUSIVE FILM LAST DROP

What if you got lost in the desert without a drop of water?
Mishkat Interactive Center will make you live a journey between the past and the present through our new exclusive film
The Last Drop

About the Film

The film presents the topic of Water in an elaboration of its importance in our daily lives, and the challenges that Saudi Arabia is facing to provide desalinated water and its overall relation to energy.  Furthermore, emphasizing the role of science and modern technology in addressing water scarcity and how to engage the future generations in encountering such obstacles!

The film is designed by Mishkat Interactive Center team to explore more about the journey of water desalination together!
WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ?
Discover an adventure about our Past & Present
Exclusively in Mishkat
We celebrate the film premier with a special package of workshops and activities for you & your family to enjoy..
WHEN?
Saturday  25th of February 2017
From 2:00pm – 10:00pm
TICKET
Book your free Tickets NOW!
http://lammt.com/Mishkat/LDFL?lang=en
HOW DO WE GET TO THE CELEBRATION SITE?

Address: Alaqarya Plaza, Ground Floor: Gate A
7235 Olaya, Olaya ST. 12244-2392 Riyadh
Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia
For more information you can call Visitor Services.

E-MAIL: Info@Mishkat.org.sa

TEL: +966-11-8086060;  4099-4100

https://en.mishkat.org.sa/the-last-drop 
I hope your children will enjoy the event. If you are busy this weekend, it’s still worth visiting the place in the future for a good indoor family day out. 

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Qur’an schools in Riyadh 

Assalamu alaykum, 

Over the past months I have received numerous messages regarding schools and daars in Saudi Arabia, what’s the difference between them and where best to send a child to memorise Qur’an. In this post I will try to answer those questions and provide information about Tahfeed schools or Daars. 

Firstly, most private Arabic schools that follow the Saudi curriculum already have Tahfeed programme. The parents can choose the option of enrolling their child in Tahfeed programme where child will be taken out of other subjects and spend more time to memorise the Qur’an. Children will still get to do Maths, Science etc but their time at school will be more dedicated to hifdh and will be missing out on some of the topics/activities in other subjects. It’s important to note that not all Arabic schools have this option. Schools like Dar Al Arqam, Ar Rowad Arabic, Al Forsan Arabic, Al Faris provide this facility on campus whereas Ahad Arabic where my children attended last year didn’t have intensive Tahfeed programme. Hence they were going to a local Tahfeed school in the afternoons. 

Secondly, there are Tahfeed schools in almost all areas of Riyadh (or Saudi Arabia). They are called Daar. What I noticed is that they are very strong on Tajweed and focus a lot on memorising with the correct pronunciation. Aside from hifdh, they will have classes on Aqeeda, tafseer and hadith but they primarily focus on Hifdh. 
While almost all Daars follow more or less the same syllabus, some are run differently than others. Most Daars run from Asr to Magreb in the afternoons  (approximately 3-6pm with slight variation as salah times change). However, some big Daars also have morning classes between 8-11am. 

My children attended Daar Al Imaan last year on Imam Saud Road. They were very happy so we continue attending classes there this year. They only do Tajweed and Tahfeed, no Arabic language. They pick up some language as Arabic is the language of instruction, but it’s not taught at academic level  (no reading or writing in Arabic) 

Amongst the English speaking expats, there are a couple of daars particularly popular because of their approach to cater for non native Arab learners- Dar Dhikr and Dar Raed. 

Daar Dhikr has been established for a very long time. Most British families I have come to know in Riyadh who have been living here for 10+ years vouch for this place. It is welcoming and for a long time was the only place that taught Arabic for non Arabs alongside hifdh. They have developed their own materials and system of teaching Arabic as a foreign language and still the most sought after place for learning Arabic language. They have morning 8-11am and afternoon 3-6pm classes. It is for women and girls, no boys over 6 can enrol  (the same with most other daars)

The only problem with the place is that it is too far from us. Most expat families I know of live in and around Granada, Qurtoba, Izdihar, Ishbiliya areas  (exits 7,8,9). And the place doesn’t provide transport this far out unless there’s a minimum of 6 people to collect from the same area. Sharing a ride is a popular choice but can be hard sometimes for various reasons like timings, reliability of drivers etc. Below is the location for Dar Ad-dhikr for Quran learning – دار الذكر لتعليم علوم القرآن للجاليات

2563 Qays Ibn Al Mulawwah, As Sulimaniyah, Riyadh 12621

https://goo.gl/maps/wf2F5uiF1Q92 

Next, Dar Raed is relatively closer but they don’t specifically provide language lessons like Daar Dhikr. They are run like other daars in that while they are very strong on Tajweed and emphasise on memorising with the correct pronunciation, they don’t have as much experience in teaching Arabic as a foreign language. 
Below is the information I received regarding their morning and afternoon classes for both native and non natives along with the location at the bottom. 

 بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم 

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته


With Allah’s assistance and support, studies at Daar Ar-Raa’id have resumed. 

May Allah maintain its adherence to His Book and Sunnah of His Prophet  (may Allah bless and grant him peace ) and may He protect it against the trials and tribulations that lead to the deviation from the right path. Aameen.


Registration will be taking place this week starting Sunday 8/5 AH – 5/2/2017 

Please hurry by immediately registering your name and details and of anyone who you know that would also like to join.


Classes will begin with the help of Allah next Sunday  15/5 AH – 12/2/2017 


Khalid Ibn Ma’daan, may Allah have mercy  on him, the noted Taabi’ee scholar from Syria, said “When a door leading to good is opened up for one of you, then you should hasten to it because you do not know when it will be shut. “

(Abu Nu’ayn Al-Ashfahaanee, Hilyat-ul-Awliyyaa, 5/211 )

In the name of Allah the Most Merciful the Mercy Giver

 

DAR AR-RAA’ID 

center for women (for the memorization of the Quraan)

 

We are pleased to announce the program and registration for the year 2016-2017( 1437H – 1438H)

 

🗯 *The morning program consists of the following*:

 

📌*Quraan memorization classes for adults*:  

🔻• Level one: from sura Adhaariyaat to sura Annaas 

〰– tajweed for beginners (pronunciation and characteristics of the letters). 

🔻• Level two: from sura Yaaseen to sura Qaaf

〰 – the rulings of noon saakina and mudood. 

🔻• Level three: from sura Al-muminoon to sura Assajdah 

〰– rulings of the pronunciation and characteristics of the letters. 

🔻• Level four: from sura Al-hijir to sura Al-hajj 

〰– the rulings of waqf wal ibtidaa. 

🔻• Level five: intensive memorization for those who have completed the Quran.

 

📌*Memorization of Islaamic texts*: 

🔻• Level one:  

〰-Usool athalaatha by sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul-wahaab  

〰-Shuroot assalaah by sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul-wahaab 

〰-A set amount of chapters from Kitaab attawheed by sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul-wahaab 

 

🔻• Level two: 

〰-Al-aqeeda al-waasitiya by ibn taimeeyah 

〰-Set number of chapters from Kitaab attawheed by sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul-wahaab

 

📌*Non Arabic speakers section*: 

🔻• Level one: 

〰memorization of juzz Tabaarak and revision of juzz Amma. 

🔻• Level two: 

〰memorization of juzz Mujaadala and revision of juzz Tabaarak and Amma. 

〰• Attajweed: for beginners (pronunciation and characteristics of the letters). 

〰• *Arabic language classes* for non Arabic speakers.


📍(this includes programs and activities in Islaamic knowledge for all the above levels)

 

📌*Kindergarten Section*

 (🔻Beginners,🔻Intensive 🔻and  Advanced): 

〰• Memorization of some surahs of the Quran.  

〰• Islaamic studies. 

〰• Letters and numbers in Arabic and English.

〰• Reading and writing in Arabic and English.   

          

📍 (plus fun and educational activities)

 

 

🗯*The afternoon program consists of the following*:

 

 📌*Quran memorization classes*: 

🔺• for mothers who are able to read.  

🔺• for mothers who are unable to read. 

🔺• for those who have completed memorization of the Quraan. 

🔺• for beginners. 

🔺• for the upper grades from primary level. 

🔺• for the lower grades from primary level. 

  

📌*Kindergarten Section*

 (🔻Beginners 🔻and advanced): 

〰• Memorization of some surahs of the Quraan.  

〰• Islaamic studies. 

〰• Letters and numbers. 

〰• Reading and writing.

 

📍(plus fun and educational activities) 

 

🗯*Registration and timings for the morning and afternoon sessions are as follows*:

  

📌*Registration started online*

 

🔺• Registration for the individual classes:


https://goo.gl/forms/vUk4zMELB8VG0qvF3



 

🔺• Registration for kindergarten:

 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfoTnv9YnFtNbXEyMKsA0_KovBmJIsx1FvapPZnCiZuj-zYGw/viewform?c=0&w=1&fbzx=-8680676602864968807


 

📍The new term will begin  on Sunday 18th  September , 2016  ( 17/12/1437H) 

🔺The morning session is 5 days from Sunday to Thursday

 from 8am to 11am  

🔺The afternoon session is 4 days from Sunday to Wednesday

 from straight after Asr prayer to the adhaan of Maghrib prayer.

 

📍child care is available. 

📍transportation will be available to all areas on the condition that there are 6 or more students from the same area. 

  

📩 We can be contacted via:

Mobile :0530203134

Twitter :  @dar_elraed

Instagram: @dar_elraed

Facebook : dar alraed



🗺 location:

http://goo.gl/maps/EJTJa

In my personal experience, I have come to realise that regardless of which place we send our children for memorising the book of Allah, that push and motivation should come from home and parents. I know most of us are busy with work or other duties and find it hard to dedicate time and effort for each child. Attending daars certainly help Alhamdulillah. However for the parents of children who attend Daar Dhikr or Daar Raed, the struggle remains – they have to allocate time at home for a child to complete his/her assigned hifdh or other tasks at home. 

May Allah help us all to find the time and energy for the journey of understanding, memorising and living His book. 

Video

Building circuits and writing descriptions

Bismillah,

The time seems to be flying past. SubhanAllah, weekend comes around so quickly and before you know it is Monday again.

English
We read an extract from the book Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes. Kids read and answered questions. They also learnt about the use of adjectives in descriptions. Points to remember:

  • Adjectives are words that describe nouns
  • When we read stories adjectives in description help to create an image in our head
  • Adjectives that are synonyms used together to create more effect (Ex. The puppy had a white, soft, fluffy fur.)

Children identified adjectives in descriptions and wrote their own description of something for the class to guess. Year 4/5 group also learnt about making adjectives by adding suffixes to nouns (Ex. danger- dangerous)

Maths

All kids did the following problem solving activities in groups.
Guessing the number. They have numbers 1-100 in front of them. They have to listen to the description of a number and guess what number is. So example: The number is greater than 50. The number is even number. If you add the digits you get 13. The difference between the digits is 3. What is the number? Answer 58.

Odds and Evens. Kids have 4×6 grid with 24 boxes. They have 18 counters. They have to put the counters in the boxes in such a way that there are even number of them in each row and columns. This was really hard as they struggled to understand the problem. And they kept trying to place the stones in different boxes but couldn’t solve it.

Activity with cubes. 4 cubes are used to make a stand for 3 winners at the Olympic Games. If 9 cubes are used to make a stand for 5 winners, how many cubes are needed to make a stand for 7 winners? Answer 16.

Mashallah, these activities are really helpful to develop reasoning and logical thinking. Some children are finding it difficult solve the problems as they are not used to these kind of problems in Maths. They mostly struggle to grasp concepts, to really understand what is the problem. Some elder children understand the problem but don’t have the tools or strategies to solve the problems. I am hoping these will become easier inshaAllah as we practice more in the future.

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After group activities, they did their individual works. Year 3/4 group- practice adding and subtracting with numbers upto 1000. Some kids struggled with subtraction and the rule of “borrowing”. Also, a couple of students need more explaining and practice in place value. Year 4/5 group covered working out the area and perimeter of a rectangle. Again, a couple of students struggled multiplying two digit numbers which they will need more practice.

Science

Following on from Electricity unit, kids learnt about materials used in building circuits such as conductors, insulators and resistors. They practiced building parallel and series circuits using water. They learnt about electrons and how salty water can act as conductor and lets electricity pass. They fixed problems in incomplete circuits.

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Alhamdulillah, most children have completed their homework which is really important. It is difficult to make a progress unless parents reinforce what is taught in class at home and children practice outside classroom. We look forward to week three inshaAllah.

Weekend School

Bismillah,

Alhamdulillah, we have started our Raising Sahabas weekend programme in Riyadh. This year we have Year 3/4 group and Year 4/5 group and studying core subjects Maths, English and Science according to British Curriculum. I will be posting weekly updates here inshaAllah as much as I can.

Week one.

English

  • LO- Reading Comprehension in a story poem. Children read the poem “The Owl and the Pussycat” by Edward Lear and answered questions. We did short dictation for spelling and studied Adjectives. Year 4/5 group studied comparatives and the use of adjectives in a descriptive writing. They had worksheets to complete in pairs and when they finished they did peer-checking (marked each other’s work) Each group had a list of nouns. In pairs, they had to list as many adjectives as they can think of for each noun. We also covered how synonym adjectives used together to create more effect (i.e tiny little puppy)

Maths

  • Problem Solving. I found this really good resource online full of problem-solving activities. Each lesson we start with circle time where they have to solve 2-3 problems in groups. So the problems they had to solve last weekend
    1. Count the number of squares in this shape. Most answered 4 but the answer is 5. Second, move two of the sticks to make 6 number of squares. Only two sticks and two moves allowed.

solution

I gave them out cards numbered 1-9 and they had to be divided into three groups in such a way that the total sum adds up to 15 in each group. MashaAllah, they solved this problem in two different ways.

Third task was to guess the number. It is an odd number between 0-50, has 2 digits, the difference between the numbers 1 and the total sum of 2 digits is 5. MashaAllah, one student guessed the number 23 straight away.
Then we did geometry. Year 3/4 group worked on identifying the line of symmetry in different shapes. Year 4/5 group learning about regular and irregular polygons; measuring angles and finding the missing angle in any given shape.

Science

We learnt about circuits and they enjoyed building circuits. They read through the information, followed the instructions and worked on various projects making parallel and series circuits using a bulb, an alarm, a fan etc.

Alhamdulillah, kids had so much fun building circuits. Looking forward to next week!

New academic year- new beginning 2016-2017.

Bismillah,

Alhamdulillah, the new academic year has been very productive so far. Despite the fact that we have had a new addition to our family- baby Sara!!! We have been blessed with a daughter who is a month old already.
Since I am full time stay at home mom again, all kids are being home-ed (no Arabic school this year). We are trying to catch up with the British curriculum as much as we can. Sumayya is doing Year 4/5 syllabus and Safiyya is doing Year 3/4 material. I have also started teaching Ibrahim this year- he is ever so happy to be doing more structured/formal work with his sisters. He is learning phonics, dolch words and basic addition/subtraction at the moment.

Routine

As I always emphasize, the most important thing in any home-ed family is the routine. Once you establish routine, certain things become habitual and we as mothers don’t have to nag our children to complete their daily tasks.

For example, last year when I was working full time, we didn’t have any home-ed routine. I was trying to fit in little bit of work here and there but nothing on a regular basis. As such I always used to nag Sumayya to do Maths. As most of you know, she has a strong disliking towards Maths and used to have emotional meltdowns. Every little maths worksheet used to take ages to complete. I spent long hours lecturing her on the importance of Maths……it was exhausting.

Alhamdulillah, however much she hates it, we now do Maths daily and I don’t have to ask her to do it. After we came back from England, we made a timetable for the new academic year and stuck to it for 4 weeks. It has just become a habit now. So this is our home-ed routine now.

  1. Wake up and have breakfast.
  2. Immediately after breakfast, they make wudu and read 2 pages of Quran
  3. The girls have to do 2 pages of their Maths books daily. Safiyya is currently doing Countdown Grade 3, Sumayya is doing Countdown Grade 4. Unless they are starting a new topic or stuck on a problem, my help is not needed. I spent most of this time with Ibrahim, doing phonics, reading and writing, addition and subtraction with numbers 0-10.

نتيجة بحث الصور عن ‪countdown maths grade 3‬‏نتيجة بحث الصور عن ‪countdown maths grade 4‬‏

4. English.
Ibrahim is learning how to read at the moment. I bought him a few phonics books, set of flashcards and lots of books. He has memorized most of the books but that is fine. He has learnt to spell most CVCs and does copywork for handwriting daily. We do some phonics, reading comprehension where I read outloud the story and he has to answer the questions, and dictation of CVCs for spelling. He is doing really well alhamdulillah. We do very short lessons, 5-10 minutes of each activity and we always stop as soon as I notice he is getting bored or tired of doing the same thing. I never insist to finish anything with him. If he asks to stop in the middle of something, I always agree and leave it to the next day.

Safiyya is currently working through the Year 3/4 syllabus I made for her. We incorporate Writing With Ease Level 3 (complete writing programme incorporating punctuation, spelling, reading comprehension), Full Language Lessons Level 2 (mainly grammar with reading comprehension) and various worksheets from the web.
Sumayya has just started Complete English for Secondary 1. It contains 3 books, study book, workbook, writing and grammar practice book.

نتيجة بحث الصور عن ‪complete english for cambridge secondary one‬‏نتيجة بحث الصور عن ‪complete english for cambridge secondary one‬‏نتيجة بحث الصور عن ‪complete english for cambridge secondary one writing and grammar‬‏

We usually study between 10am-1pm, with breaks at various points. Alhamdulillah, the girls can both study independently and require very little help. I spend very little time teaching them, mostly just supervising to make sure they are on task.

5. Usually between 1-2pm we have lunch, pray dohr and play a little.

6. Hifz revision/Play. Alhamdulillah they are going to Tahfeez from Asr to Magreb daily. So after dohr they have to revise and memorize their given ayahs by a teacher at Tahfeez school.
7. They go to tahfeez 3:30-5:30pm.

8. When they return from Tahfeez school around 6pm, we have a family dinner. After dinner they usually get to watch something for an hour or so.

9. Play time- they play for a couple of hours in the evenings.

10. They go to bed around 10pm daily.

Alhamdulillah, in between tending to one hundred needs of each child, breastfeeding, changing nappies and washing bums, we have so far been able to stick to our new home-ed routine and had a very productive start to the year!!! Alhamdulillah.

Praying for all our home-ed friends for a very productive year full of bonding and connecting. Happy Homeschooling and Happy Teaching my sisters.

Preschool years: What shall I be doing?

Image result for teaching how to readBismillah,

“Please can someone tell me what they are doing with their 5 year old that would be in Year 1. My boy is literally refusing to do everything! He won’t read, he won’t watch phonics, he won’t write and he won’t even colour or draw! I’m at my wits end!” ( Chronicles of a homeschooling mother)

I often get this question from homeschooling mothers who decided to home-educate or simply wants to take an active role in their child’s early learning:

What shall I be doing with my child at home? I want to teach him how to read but I don’t know where to start?

My child is bilingual, we speak a different language at home. How can I teach him to read in English?

The answer is, with very young children (3-4 year old) just READ as many living books as you can so the child falls in love with books. All children naturally want to learn everything around them. As parents, we have to be able to provide that stimulating environment for them to nurture their innate drive to be able to read, explore and develop.

First, let’s all get it right. We want to teach our children to READ so they continue reading and learning for the rest of their lives. I often hear mothers with older children complaining how their child never picks up a book to read; that they are not interested in reading or books etc. No child should be taught how to read just for the sake of being able to read. Children should fall in love with books so they naturally yearn to read. And this process should never become a chore but rather it should be enjoyable. If you want your child to love READING, here are some of the things you should be doing from young age (and don’t worry if they are 5-6 and still not reading)

  • Read aloud to your child as much as you can. When you read, discuss the story and the pictures together, ask his opinion regarding certain events in the story. When older, ask him to narrate the story back to you in the right order
  • Regularly take them to the library
  • Create child’s personal library at home with age-relevant and interesting books
  • Make a “reading basket” at home with child’s favourite books and alternate the titles each week
  • Create a cosy reading corner where you leave the “reading basket” with books for your child to look through and explore the books, even before he can read
  • Invite your child to read common words on labels, packages and signs when out and about
  • Now we have many audio-books for children. We can play them during car-journeys or simply at bedtime and when parents are busy cooking or cleaning etc. Let them listen to books

Second, play these literacy games to prepare them for reading.

  • Identifying the beginning sound of words. You say the word (i.e Book), child should say the initial sound (i. e-B), Table- T, Apple-a. Make sure you teach them letter sounds (phonics) and not the names of letters. There are also plenty of printables and apps you can use to aid child’s learning. Personally I have never used an app to teach how to read and still very traditional when it comes using online educational apps or other gadgets. But my daughters used to enjoy reading the interactive books here when they were younger. Another excellent resource is OXFORD OWL where you can access hundreds of e-books for different ages. Each book has a follow-up activity where child’s reading or comprehension skills are tested.
  • Rhyming words- find as many rhyming words as possible together. A parent says a word and a child should find a rhyming word and each takes a turn. Bee-Tree, Cat-Hat. These later come useful if you teach word families (For example, AY- play, clay, tray etc)
  • For those who want to follow Montessori method, there are lots of free resources available online. I have used Pink, Green and Blue cards here as flashcards. You can easily adapt them to use as matching or listing literacy game.
  • For those who want to follow Doman method, make as many flashcards as possible using a large print as explained here and spend no more than 1-2 minutes a day. He believes in whole-word method, in other words sight-reading. A child is shown 15 words a day to start with and keep adding the most frequently used words from child’s daily life. Children will decode and start reading the whole words at some point rather than learning letter sounds and blending.

Preschool Academics

In a nutshell, the initial step to teaching how to read is to find good quality living books. Read aloud to your child as much as possible. When he starts showing an interest, play the literacy games above (use flashcards, pictures, jigsaw puzzles, alphabet wooden blocks for various games such as matching, listing, sorting etc).

When your child starts recognizing few words, do guided reading with him. Reading sessions should be short, around 10-15 minutes a day. Always sit your child in your lap, let him choose his favourite book and start reading aloud to him. Make sure you follow the print with your finger or invite your child to follow the print from left to right and top to bottom. Ask your child to read short words (CVCs) in the book; ask to find two the same words; read a word and ask him to identify the starting sound then ask him to find another word starting with the same letter sound. Children really enjoy to reread their favourite books at this level. They build up confidence that way and even if you think they have memorized the pages rather than reading- that is absolutely fine. Memory is essential for reading.

Always ask children to narrate the story back to help with composition in writing later on. Always focus on READING before WRITING. Once children can read a few words, build sentences and ask him to copy the words he can read.

As long as we are reading to our children, discussing the events/characters in the stories together and doing a little academics at times using various methods/resources above, all children are on the right path and will teach themselves how to read in no time inshaAllah.

Weeks 6 and 7

Bismillah,

Last week we only had lessons on Friday as we went camping in the dessert on Saturday. We did the following topics and activities:

English: Nouns and pronouns

Maths: number sequence, doubling and halving

Science: Air as a natural resources, properties of air

This week we started SATs test papers in Maths and Science. I am not so keen on standardized test as I don’t believe it holistically assesses child’s knowledge. But having worked at schools, I know this is the only practical solution to assess masses of children at certain age. For me the main reason was to make our children familiar with the test format and types of questions so at least they know what SAT tests are in case they have to go back and attend British school (you never know). Secondly, it served as diagnostic assessment. So, the results show me what I need to focus on with each child. Overall, I think it is a good experience for kids, as long as we don’t use the results to demotivate them (We shouldn’t be saying “Look, you haven’t done well. Therefore, you have to work harder”. Trust me, this message achieves exactly opposite of what we are trying to achieve)

English

We had spelling exam on Friday. I read them a story called The Grashopper and The Owl from Aesop’s Fables. They answered reading comprehension questions based on the story. Then I asked them to narrate the story back to me. They all did wonderfully well in this (oral narration). Then I talked about the key ideas- how we should be able pick up the main events of the story. And that is called The Summary.  I read out the summary of the story- there were three sentences. And they had to write down the sentences as I was reading aloud word for word. This kind of spelling test is based on Charlotte Mason’s method of dictation. She argues we should not carry dictations cold-turkey style. But rather, children should have a chance to read and discuss the passage and then be tested on spelling by writing the summary. Most girls did very well in spelling with the exception of couple of girls in KS1.

On Saturday, they had writing exam. Again, they all read the story The Fox and The Stork from Aesop’s fables. They discussed the questions in groups. And then I gave them 10 minutes to rewrite the story in their own words. Only they had to write the summary and not every detail. So they had to write 3-5 sentences. I asked them to pick up the key ideas. They all excelled in this, mashaAllah. They wrote the Summary so well and I was well pleased, alhamdulillah.

Maths

We had KS1 and KS2 SATs test papers. There is 2 papers. Paper 1 is Arithmetics and Paper 2 is Reasoning (Logical thinking and word problems). Obviously, we have not covered all the topics. I explained to the students that if they don’t understand a question, to ask me to explain it. And they can skip the questions they don’t know how to work out the answers (because we have not covered, especially geometrical questions such as measuring the angles etc). KS2 managed to finish Paper 1 (there was 24 questions). And I gave them Paper 2 as homework to complete at home. KS1 group finished both papers and tried hard. I will be making simplified test papers with questions on all the topics we have covered in the past for a couple of the girls who struggled with SATs KS1 Math.

Science

Everyone did Science papers together as a group (no actual test conditions applied such as complete silence etc). I couldn’t give them the tests to do individually as there were many topics (Health and Safety, First Aid, Circuits, Shadows and Reflections) that we have not actually covered. So, we sat in circle, one student read one question at a time, all students discussed the question and chose the right answer together. It was more enriching as we had extended discussions on some questions and I explained why and how with regards to some topics.

Homework:

English: Read and rewrite 2 short stories in your own words (Please encourage to write summaries, so around 3-5 sentences are enough)

Maths: Finish the MEPs worksheets and I will email this set of worksheets to strengthen 2 digit addition and subtraction practice for KS1 and finish off KS2 Sats Paper 2 Math at home.

Science:

Edplace offers some really good interactive lessons on all Science topics following the British curriculum year by year. One will have to subscribe to fully benefit from the interactive lessons. But, they do have free quizzes and worksheets for those on free subscription as well (I registered as free user). Since we are taking a two week break, I thought girls may want to go through some of the lessons at home. All lessons are designed and presented in a way that is needed least support and input from parents/guardians, but doing some of the follow-up questions together would really help a child.

So, you will have to click here, all the lessons are sorted by topics: Forces, Human Body, Light, Magnets etc. I want them to do the following topics: Human Body, Plants and Rocks. When you click on each of these topics, it brings a number of subtopics. This is what you would find under a Human Body: Looking at Skeletons, Muscles of the Human Body, The Human Skeleton. Then when you click on each subtopic, there is a lesson presented (you just keep clicking next button at the bottom of the page) followed by a number of questions. Child should be able to read and learn through the pictures, charts, diagrams on the screen and answer the questions at the end.

InshaAllah, these should keep them busy until we resume the classes on Friday 22nd of January 2016.