From 3 to 4…

Bismillah,

Very late Ramadan Mubarak to all!!! May Allah bless us with good deeds and enable us to rip the rewards of the last ten days, amin.

I don’t know where to start and what to write. SubhanAllah, I have been super busy with the arrival of baby Saida. Allah has blessed us with a baby girl on 13 June 2013. Alhamdulillah, she is healthy and growing well. As you can guess from the title of this post, there is a massive difference from being a mother of 3 to a mother of 4. I am so tired and exhausted these days. Each wants attention, each wants one-one time, each wants a bit of love and hug and each needs disciplining. I am so tired of being the judge between the elder 3. They are always fighting for the same book, pen, pencils or crayons or something else. I am often stuck trying to think how to deal with sibling fighting and sibling jealousy between them, or trying to think of ways diverting one of their attention to something else. I think any mother learns how to be a super clever with 4 young children under her arms.  And I am no exception, slowly but surely adjusting to be a mother “with- multiple- children- born- within- short- age gap”. Ya Allah, please make me among the patient…

Home-ed has pretty much stopped well before the arrival of the baby. The main reason was the warm weather we had over the past 2 months. Kids have been literally spending all day outdoors playing. They are out in the garden from 8am till 8pm. Both of our neighbours’ daughters come out and they have spent a lot of time with them. They often go barefoot in the garden, love playing with sand and mud, like digging, running, jumping, throwing, collecting sticks and leaves, making stuff out of everything and anything they could find out in the garden.

They collected lots of different flower petals and sealed in a jar with some water to make a perfume the other day. Sumayya likes to make things using leaves. Alhamdulillah, they are so good at keeping themselves busy. If I give them a bit of resources and instruction, theyspend some time being creative. They make things out of any packaging or paper/newspaper we have at hand.  Because I have not had a time to plan and organize more structured learning sessions, they have had a lot of creative play time. MashaAllah, they learn better when they take the lead through their own ideas and plans (but also fight a lot when left unsupervised, one wants to stick it here and another wants to stick a there and third thinks sticking is not a good idea)

I just have to be a bit more patient and to do a bit less shouting. I just have to do a bit more connecting and a bit less correcting. I keep trying to remember my own childhood, how I grew up and how I behaved etc. I can only remember the flashbacks of happy moments. I want them to have a memory of happy childhood. I keep making dua asking Allah to give me the ability to deal with their arguments and fights in a more calmly manner. I often think I might break their confidence with my “no-stop-pointing-out-only-the-negatives”. It is true though, we don’t notice quick enough to comment when children are so nice, behave and play well together. But, as soon as something goes wrong, we jump with criticism. I have read a lot of posts by Hands Free Revolution in my search of guilt-free parenting. MashaAllah, she writes very useful stuff

Anyway, here is the photo reportage of how they have been spending the summer.

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Sumayya cutting pictures out of newspaper for her story

Safiyya is making flashcards for herself

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Sumayya building a masjid with a friend

We took them to have a paddle and swim in the big fountains at the city park daily when the weather was nice.

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Ibrahim at the city park

Ibrahim loves playing football in the water

We take them to Lister park 2-3 times a week where they can discover the nature in botanical gardens, play in the playground and go visit the gallery inside the Cartwright hall.  Sumayya often rides her bike and Safiyya rides a scooter. We need to get her a new bike soon (Alhamdulillah, we are lucky to live so close to this park)

Safiyya and Ibrahim outside the Cartwright gallery

I have resumed the Qur’an hifdh sessions again at the start of Ramadan after we had had another 2-3 weeks break. It is just so difficult to restart once we stop. Sumayya had a lot of meltdowns and did not want to memorize or revise any surahs she has memorized before. As soon as I call her for Qur’an, she starts feeling “not so well”. I remind them both of the benefits of reading and learning the book of Allah, give them treats for doing well. But, subhanAllah, can not think of how I can make it more enjoyable for them.  One day when I asked Sumayya to revise some surahs, she started reciting unwillingly and she started crying. I was so angry and upset so I asked, “Why are you crying? As soon as it is Qur’an time, either you are tired, either you are hungry, either you have headache. How do you want to enter Jannah if you don’t want to learn Qur’an. Even if you don’t want to, you have to force yourself. It will be difficult at first, but then Allah will make it easy and enjoyable for you. You have to keep trying.” At that she was crying even more because she knows I am right. When she knows she is in the wrong she feels sorry for herself and cries even more. I wanted to tell her off but I calmed down myself. So I asked again “Why are you crying, just tell me?” and she goes “Because I have to cry when I make dhikr of Allah”. I burst out laughing. She quickly thought of a healthy alternative to why she cries when she reads the Qur’an. Anyway, 20 days of Ramadan already behind, and we have just re-established our daily Qur’an hifdh sessions in the mornings. May Allah make it continuous, amin.

After they finish hifdh, I ask Sumayya to read 1 surah from 29th juzz. MashaAllah, she can now read the Qur’an, though she finds it a bit difficult and challenging at times. I think she enjoys reading more than memorizing. Then we read either from the English or the Uzbek translation of meanings of some of the surahs they have memorized.

One day we read the tafsir of Surah Burooj. They were so impressed with the story of “The owners of the pit”. Then we all watched the Boy and the King and loved it. We had long and fruitful discussion afterwards. You can watch it here with your kids when you have a spare time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0hJU4rvKqw

We have not been able to do anything specific on Ramadan other than following their Ramadan calendar. I had 4 Ramadan calendars from Islamic Relief’s Hilal kids’ club. I don’t know where I got them initially but I have had them for the past couple of years and waiting for the girls to grow a bit older to use them. They all came in Ramadan pack with a calendar, “I am fasting” stickers, penny-box and some activity sheets. They both made the penny-box using the materials provided and have decorated a sadaqah jar each as well. Every day after the Qur’an session I give them some pennies or any other changes I could find in my purse. That is their treat for learning Qur’an during Ramadan. They are so eager to calculate how much they could collect till the end of Ramadan. They want to donate it to the needy in Uzbekistan inshaAllah.

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Ramadan calendar with flips for each day of Ramadan

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They can read and follow up a good deed for that particular day under each flip

Sumayya can easily fast till 6-7pm in the evening. Safiyya fasts till lunch lol. She eats so often and so much (or so it seems to me). Ibrahim just knows we are fasting and therefore can not eat.

I ask Allah swt to grant us all mothers a beautiful patience, bless us all with pious children who could serve as means of purification and entering Jannah for us all amin. May Allah make us content with what we have and make parenting easy and enjoyable for all. Please keep me and our family in your duas inshaAllah.

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A bedroom wall decoration and the best gift for Eid ul Adha….

Bismillah,

-Mommy, why are you praying now? It is not dhohr yet?
-I know, I missed fajr this morning and I am upset…..

There is this time in England, usually around May or so, where fajr falls really early and isha prayer is really late. This is when the incident and our conversation with Sumayya took place. Nearly a month after this, she was so busy “learning her deen”  and “increasing her faith” independently.

Anyway, it was in the last ten days of Ramadan. One day she came up to me and said,

-Mommy, I made a bedroom wall decoration for you. I have put it up on the wall in your bedroom. Please go and have a look.

I went and this is what I found stuck to the doors of the wardrobe. A piece of paper tied with a ribbon…

 

And it read “When you wake up always don’t miss a prayer inshaAllah. For every one in my family. InshaAllah you will not forget to pray in the morning Satan would do wee wee in your ear so.” LOL.

 

She has initiated writing Islamic stories, letters and reminders since the last ten days of Ramadan. Here she has made a pop-out book about a boy whose dad wanted to take him fishing but he wanted to go hunting instead…There was something in there about Eid ul Adha too

 

Story about Aisha “Once there was a girl. she was nice to everyone. her name was Aisha. She always thought inshaAllah she would go to Jannah. She made a lot of dua to got the highst levl of jannah. Allah except all of her dua cause she was gratefull as well. So Allah gave her the highst levl of jannah cause she said inshaAllah. So she said Alhamdulillah” in the end. This must be the story about herself. Every time I ask her to make dua she asks Allah to give her the highest level of Jannah as well as some other things. And I say to her we are never certain of things that will happen in the future. If we wish for something to happen we make dua and we say inshaAllah. Weather we get it or not we should always say Alhamdulillah and be grateful for what we have.

 

Ok, I finish with this. This was my early gift for Eid ul Adha, titled The best gift from Allah to mummy…. She didnt want to show me until Eid but I just had to see it.

 

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.

 

Building bridges

Bismillah,

I have been telling children lots of stories from my childhood and they keep asking to travel to Uzbekistan. Also, they have started to take more interest in speaking to my mom and dad on the phone. We speak to my brother and one of my elder sisters via skype and mashaAllah they love these skype-chats as they get to see them as well. InshaAllah, I hope we will be able to take them to see their grandparents soon inshaAllah.

Very often my stories about Uzbekistan lead to some funny conversations. One day at bed time I said to them “Today, I am not going to read you a story from the book. I will tell you one from my own head”. We all lied down and I kept telling them how I used to look after our cow during school holidays. I had some friends who were our neighbours. Their names were Surayyo and Dilnoza. They were of my age. We used to call each other early in the morning and take our cows to a place far away where there were lots of wild weeds. We used to pick them up for our cows. There were big and long streams. We used to cross these streams barefoot and sometimes had bath. Our cows used to drink water from those streams. When the cows eat well, then they give lots of milk. So, I had to make sure our cow was fed fell. In the evening when I come home my dad used to say “Well done, my daughter, mashaAllah”. SubhanAllah, the girls loved this story so much, the next day they said “Mom, tell us a story, not from the book but from your own head” lol. So, I started telling them more about the village where I grew up and our house; what we did with our parents and how much fun we had. My mom-in-law tells them lots of stories in general about the lifestyle back home and they are so intrigued and want to visit soon inshaAllah.

This morning I was telling Sumayya stories about my my mom and what she used to say when I did certain things. She goes to me
-Mommy, you know when I grow older I will have my own children. You become old then so you become a grandma. You go to live in Uzbekistan like all grandma’s
-No, I dont go to live in Uzbekistan. I am gonna miss you, Safiyya, Ibrahim then. I can stay here inshaAllah
-No, no. You have to go and live in Uzbekistan like all Uzbek grandmothers. You are not English grandmother so you have to go. Then I will have my own children. Dad can stay because he needs to take me to hospital. and I will ask my children to speak to you on the phone
-I am gonna miss your children, Sumayya.
-No, no. I will tell them about everything you and dad do to me now. I say to my daughters, my mom used to do this and that with me. I will speak like you mommy. I tell them about you.
LOL

We went to the library late afternoon yesterday, checked out about 15 books. As soon as we got home Sumayya started reading and continued this morning without breakfast. I said to her
-When I was a little girl like you I used to read a lot. I loved reading so much that my mom used to tell me off saying “Go and do this job for me, that job for me instead of reading all the time”. Then I used to go and lock myself in the toilet (which is true) and read there.
-But, mom, you like it when I read. You never tell me off and say do this and that
-I know. But, we lived in the village, Sumayya. where there was so much to do. We had big fields where we grew crops and we always had 2 cows. I and my sisters had to feed them and there was lots of jobs in the village. We dont have much to do here
-Anyway, even if we have much to do you can do it by yourself whilst I read, yea mommy.
LOL

Safiyya is even more hilarious. I cant remember anything particular at this moment but she is so sharp and quick to interpret things to her own benefit. One day she was arguing with Sumayya. She must have said something not nice about Sumayya so Sumayya came up to me to complain. I said to her

-Safiyya, why did you say this about your sister, to which she replies
-But, I was not talking about her mommy, I was talking about a different Sumayya. Do you remember we met a girl called Sumayya at Dawud’s Qur’an party, I was talking about her

I didnt know what to say LOL. She only met this girl for a couple of hours, at someone else’s house and she could remember and knew how to use her when I wanted to tell her off. Anyway, I said to her not to lie because bad smell comes out of her mouth and angels will run away from her. And she goes
-Mommy, even the angels who write down your deeds run away? You know Kiraman Katebeen, even they run away when someone lies?
-I dont think so, Safiyya.

Sometimes it is hard to believe she is only 3,5. She is so sharp and manipulative lol. She talks like a great philosopher or a preacher even. She doesn’t forget to reference her speech from the Qur’an or hadith.  They went to stay with one Uzbek family without me one day. They have a 7 year old boy who plays with Sumayya. He must not have listened to his mom or he must have done something not nice so my friend (his mom) told him off and gently smacked him. And there was Safiyya preaching the mother
-You know aunty, our prophet said you should be kind to small children. You should be kind, aunty, because Allah said so in the Qur’an.
My friend was so softened by her reminder lol. Anyway, she asked
-I know. But, what did Allah say in the Qur’an about treating mothers? Should children speak nicely to their mothers?
Then Safiyya quickly turned to the boy
-You know, you should listen to your mom and speak to her nicely. Because Allah said so in the Qur’an. Only when you dont listen she can smack you. (LOL, as if she always listens to me- I thought to myself)

My friend was telling me this incident and how Safiyya quickly changed her mind about whose side she should take lol. She is so hilarious, bless her.

Anyway, I think we should talk to them more about Uzbekistan, our culture and lifestyle back home in order to build bridges with their own background inshaAllah. So, when Allah enables us to visit our families and extended families one day inshaAllah, they don’t feel like fish out of water.

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.

Awesome conversations

Bismillah,

This is just for me to remember things my kids say. I want to remember and cherish these memories inshaAllah.

My next door neighbour is pregnant at the moment. One day girls wanted to go and play with their next door friends. I said no because Rawda’s mommy is feeling poorly. Sumayya asked me why she was feeling poorly.

-Because she has a baby in her tummy. And when Allah gives someone a baby in the tummy they feel a little sick at times
-Oh she made dua to Allah asking for a baby?
-Yes, she did
-Do you know mommy if the baby is a girl or a boy
-No, I dont know. Allah knows
-Do babies sleep in mommy’s tummy all the time? or sometimes they keep awake?
-They sleep sometimes and they keep awake some other times
-I know Ibrahim used to kick you before he came out.
Sometimes she keeps making dua asking for a baby.  And she explains her grandma how babies come out

-You know grandma, if you want to have a baby, first, you need to make lots of dua to Allah swt. Then Allah creates baby in your tummy. First, it is very small then mommy’s tummy gets bigger. Then one day baby wants to get out, so the father takes mommy to hospital. Then in hospital there is this red button and when you press the red button the baby comes out.

(We laughed so much at her instructions. She could clearly remember the day when they all came to see me after I had Ibrahim. She pressed the red button by accident then and I told her only mommies who give birth press that button to ask for help etc)

And grandma is always telling her endless stories of Uzbekistan and how one day we all go back home. One day I said

-Sumayya, you and Safiyya might have to stay here to study at university when we all go back.
-No, mommy. Daddy has to stay with us. You and grandma and Ibrahim can go
-Why? (I was so surprised since she is usually clingy to me more than her father) 
-What if Allah gives me a baby when I am studying at university like you? Who takes me to hospital then? So, daddy has to stay with us in case I have baby he can take me to hospital in his car (LOL)

There were a couple of day when I was feeling impatient last week. I kept shouting at Safiyya.  SubhanAllah very often anger takes me by surprise and one shouting leads to another. As soon as I start raising my voice, it just seems to get louder and louder without me even realizing it. So I end up losing control of the situation and afterwards keep thinking I could have sorted this out with just one hug or gulping my anger etc. So one day I was telling Safiyya off (can’t remember the reason) and Safiyya goes

-Now mommy, what did the prophet say? He said Do Not Shout at little children (stressing every word she possibly could). I am upset now, you are a naughty mama
-And prophet saw also said you should listen to your mommy and daddy (she cuts me off quickly)
-No, he didn’t say that. Allah said that. But the prophet said dont shout at your children. You listened to your shaytaan and made me upset (she says all these so quickly so that I dont interrupt her)
-Safiyya, how about me? you are making me upset as well. When you dont listen to me I get upset and when I am upset I get angry. And if I get angry then I shout
Sumayya interrupts me quickly
-No, you shouldnt shout. Even if you are angry with her you should speak to her nicely. She is only three. That’s why you only speak nicely to her
-But when I do so, she still doesnt listen. She only listens to me when I shout
-No, you only spoke to her nicely once. You should speak to her nicely many times. Ask her once, twice, three times and count till twenty and ask her again. Like this mommy (and Sumayya was demonstrating how I should explain things to Safiyya. We were amazed at her new technique. So, if I give instructions or discipline their misbehaviour I should explain things 20 times and I should count how many times I have said it lol)

Sometimes they fight over silly things. Sometimes they are a little mean to each other. But overall, I would say most of the time they are very kind to each other, mashAllah. Since full time homeschooling they spend a lot of time playing together. They are always together, eating, homeschooling, listening to Qur’an, learning, reading books, playing with teddies, playing with legos and blocks, playing in the garden. SubhanAllah I cant imagine one without another. They are like twins but with totally different personality. They are not like each other by nature.

Though Safiyya is so small and academically a lot behind her sister, she is so clever and manipulative when it comes to play. For example if Sumayya doesnt give her something, she says “Sumayya, give it to me. Share, if you share Allah gives you more” so Sumayya shares whatever it is. But if Sumayya wants something of Safiyya and asks in the same manner “Safiyya, share please. If you give it to me, Allah will give you more”. And Safiyya goes “But I dont want no more now. When I want more then I will give you, ok”.

One day Sumayya’s friends came over and I overheard their conversation about Jannah. Actually Sumayya drew a picture of me in Jannah (will share this pic later on inshaAllah) and explaining her picture to friends:

-You know grandmas become young again when they enter Jannah. It is very big park and you can have anything you want there. When you want something it will already be next to you when you look next to you (smile)

Some random question they ask me

-Mommy, are all the animals in the world Muslim?
-Mommy how young do people become in Jannah? Do they become like me 5 (her age) or do they become like you or daddy’s age? what age they become in Jannah?
-Will there be animals in Jannah?
-Will there be ambulances in Jahannam?
-How do we see Allah in Jannah?
-What if we cant speak Arabic and we dont understand anything in Jannah?

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.