Summer at last!!!

Bismillah,

Alhamdulillah we have been thoroughly enjoying fine summery weather for the past week. It is so hot and we have been so busy trying to make most out of this weather. I let the kids spend a great deal of time out in the garden. Here is the list of things we do in the garden

1. Qur’an hifdh
2. Painting
3. Collecting different types of leaves and see who has the most diverse collection
4. Collecting twigs, grass, wild flowers and think of a quick arts/crafts project to do
5. Read books on the trampoline
6. Enjoy ice lollies, milk lollies and homemade juice/smoothies on the benches
7. Have circle time and picnic
8. Praying asr salah together out in the garden
9.  Lie down and observe the sky and different shapes of clouds
10. Water fight with garden hose

We do baking a couple of times a week as usual, mostly we bake traditional uzbek somsa and bread.

Last week we did lots of arts/crafts. We planted some flowers in big flower pots and have been learning more about flowers. We learned that flowers need sunshine and water to grow, their growing cycle (from seed to flower and back to seed etc) and we have labelled all the flower parts as well. This is the 1st flower they made. It was very easy and fun. Let kids draw 4 outlines of their own hands, draw the nails for petals and get children to number the nails/petals (to practice numbers Sumayya wrote numbers 0-20 and Safiyya 0-10), arrange and stick in flowery position, cut out a circle from construction paper for the middle part (they can write their own names in the middle), used pipe cleaner as a stem and tissue paper as a leaf.

The second flower was to learn the flowers’ living cycle and flower parts. 1. Ask a child to draw outline of a flower on hard stock paper. I drew one on board and they copied. 2. Cut out a circle for the middle, we used a construction paper. 3. Cut out a stem and leaf from construction paper or any harder coloured paper. 4. Use folded tissue papers to fill in the petals. 5. Ask a child to write a sentence about flowers. 6. Label the flower parts (flower, petals, stem, leaf, root) and ask children to write or copy the words in the correct places.

We have also included small folding book on one corner of the paper. I used 1/4 of A4 paper folded in 4. They got to design and decorate the cover as you can see above. When it is opened I asked children to draw a picture of seeds on 1st page and write the word Seed, draw picture of root on 2nd page and write the word. And When it is opened fully draw the picture of a flower, write the word and colour in (1st it opens horizontally and 2nd vertically and so it is taller on last opening)

Safiyya’s flower

Arabic. We read Arabic story books, review the vocab, watch the prophets’ stories in Arabic and practice handwriting daily. Alhamdulillah it has been going well.

Sumayya’s writing

Safiyya’s writing

Reading and handwriting. Sumayya has been enjoying plenty of chapter books. She has been reading one of the Geronimo Stilton series. She finds the language a bit hard to understand, it is full of humour and witty language. Something good for a change but I wouldn’t spend money on such a book lol. Usually I just use Charlotte Mason’s narration method for reading comprehension. I wanted to see how Sumayya does the worksheets on reading comprehension and printed some pages from Have Fun Teaching’s Grade 1 level. She found them all much too easy and I was once again convinced that continuously using worksheets is boring and doesnt actually put child’s mind in touch with ideas presented in text. If child is asked to narrate, however, she will have to use her own imagination and understanding capability and extract which bits of the story she remembers most etc. It gives us parents a clue on their use of words, imagination, ideas and what interests them most etc.

I found nice handwriting and spelling curriculum recently (the link is given in useful websites page). But I didnt have time to print and organize all the materials yet. We have been using this Reading and Copywork a sister compiled some time ago. I downloaded it from homeschool forum and using it just now with Sumayya.

There are hadiths and verses from the Qur’an, as well as nice short stories to read and reflect. After reading child is asked to copywrite 1-2 sentences from the story. Sumayya loves this book, alhamdulillah

We discussed the above hadith with Sumayya after she read it. It left her thinking deep, then she wrote You will be with the one you love. I love Allah and His Messenger. 

This one was a verse from the Qur’an “Verily the promise of Allah is true”. Then she wrote a letter to her dad underneath that says “I love my daddy. He reads Arabic books to me. He buys me an ice cream. He takes me to the park. I *love sign* dady”. I was meant to send this to Father of the month competition over at Abi Homeschools too, but never got around it subhanAllah.

Safiyya has been doing lots of phonics activities. Like I said, she is a bit lazy to read, finds it a bit hard to concentrate and join the phonics. But she is too quick to do phonics related activities. Maybe I should try flashcards with her again inshaAllah.

Matching words that start with the same letter sounds

Identify and circle the beginning sound of each word

Practice handwriting and numbers.

Numeracy. We try to reinforce the concepts presented in MEP Year 1 with lots of easy but fun activities with Sumayya. For example we play one less/one more; two less/two more game. First, I shout out 5 numbers. She has to write down in silent what number is one more than each of those I shouted out, and what number is one less than each of those. So, if I shout out the numbers 9, 45, 87, 79, 18 She would have to write down one less numbers: 8, 44, 86, 78, 17. Then she would have to write down one more numbers: 10, 46, 88, 80, 19. Then I shout out another 5 numbers but this time she would have to write down 2 more and 2 less numbers than those I shout out. I check at the end and count how many ticks she collects. Write down Excellent if no mistakes. Simple but fun and easy. We play this game using numbers 0-100 and Alhamdulillah she does so well. Planning to do 3 more/3 less and 5 more/5 less games next week inshaAllah.

We do some worksheets with Safiyya. We review her numbers 0-20, both recognition and handwriting. Alhamdulillah she does well. We do lots of counting activities with her, keep reinforcing shapes and colors too. She has learned shapes, colours, numbers in Arabic too.

Apart from those we have been trying to spend more time outdoor. Last week we went to City Park to enjoy the fountains, to Lister Park to enjoy the playground and we went for a walk to Chellow Dene Reservoir, pictured below.

We also enjoyed having my friend Vanessa over from Scotland for 2 days. It was so nice to see both girls spending good time with their aunty and bonding well. Alhamdulillah.

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Using their own initiative

Bismillah,

One of the overdue posts lol. I used to read at sister Umm Raiyaan’s blog about her child started doing things on her own initiative. I used to get so excited about my little ones being so one day. And Alhamdulillah time has gone so fast and it is hard to believe in 2 months time it will be 5 years since I have first become a mother. Blessed with the title twice since then lol.

If anything I could recall Sumayya benefitting from public school- it was this. She has started doing things on her own initiative, be it make and do projects or study-related things. She was constantly making things for her friends and teacher at school, writing letters to them and always reading books she brings from school.

I remember one of the 1st things she made completely on her own was a camera made out of toilet roll paper. Unfortunately I have not saved a picture of that project but she has used toilet roll paper, popsicle sticks and 2 milk bottle lids to make a camera. I have no idea who injects such ideas into her head and how she comes up such unique ways of proceeding in terms of practicality.

Then she has made a rocket from a kitchen roll paper and wrote down the names of all her friends vertically (not horizontally as we usually do). Then she made a book from an empty nappy box. She cut the hard card board box into smaller rectangle sized chunks. She wrote a sentences on each rectangle and drew a picture to go with a sentence. Then she has arranged each rectangle into pages and used cello tape to put the pages together. Such a talent. Honestly, we have made a lot more complicated things in the past. But, WE have made it TOGETHER. Usually, when we make things together it goes like this:

I have an idea->I research arts/crafts projects on this->I print the instructions->I get together all the necessary items (construction paper, foam, pom-poms, glue etc)->I give instructions->Kids will do it

But all three things I mentioned above, a camera, a rocket and a book, goes like this

Sumayya had an idea->She had thought of the practicality of going ahead with it->she has decided what make/do things to use for her project (toilet roll paper, kitchen roll paper, nappy box, cello-tape etc)->she found those things->she figured out what to do step by step->she made them

Honestly, she used to amaze me those days with her imagination and creativity. I think she got the motivation from school as every week they were supposed to bring in empty cereal boxes, milk bottles and things to use in classroom. Maybe group work, pair work encouraged her to show off her talents like this, wallahu A’lam. But she has not been making things on her own initiative.

Safiyya, mashaAllah makes things all day long. If we want her to sit still we only need to put paper, scissors and glue stick in front of her. We dont have to say anything. She always has an idea in her head. But she thinks what she made afterwards. She is not a thinker like Sumayya.

For example, she quickly cuts lots of paper into small bits. Sticks them onto another paper, wherever she wants, casually and quickly without thinking. Then she has a quick look at final project and then she decides what it is. Sometimes it can be a newspaper ad for toddler group she goes, but a little later she decides it wasnt about toddler group but it was something else lol. She is so hilarious, she always makes us laugh.

Though she doesnt make as many things on her own initiative, Sumayya does write letters. I receive love letters such as this daily from her. She usually writes 2-3 sentences and draws a picture to go with it. The one on the right belongs to Safiyya. You can see how their brain work so differently from their work lol. For Safiyya it doesnt really matter how her final project looks, it doesnt really matter what it is and it doesnt matter if she doesnt cut/paste neatly etc. She only wants to be doing something with her fingers and when she looks at her work finally she has a long time to think of what it could be. She really struggles to decide what it might be lol.

   

And she plays lots of pretend games and role-plays with Safiyya. She comes up with original story-lines. Of course none beats Safiyya when it comes to acting. So, we have perfect team lol. One making stories and one acting them out. One day they pretended a game/story involved Eid party and decided to invite grandma. Sumayya made an invitation card for her grandma.

  

So, it reads : “EID PARTIY! BUVAGA USSBEKISTAN. FROM SUMAYYA FAYZIDDIN. HAV A GOO EID. HUOSE ROAD. IT IS GOOD TO SEE YOU IN MY HUOSE“.

Huose Road is the wrong spelling name of our road lol.

Another thing is Sumayya is so sensitive. She cant accept shouting, telling her off and pointing out her mistakes. Safiyya is so cool with all these. But she is irresponsive as well. Sumayya responds to my reaction and tries to rectify herself, her behaviour, discipline. Safiyya, on the other hand, keeps smiling and almost tries to win you over with her smiles. Sometimes when I tell her off she does cry but then she forgets very quickly, whereas her sister remembers it for days and days. Overall, I would say Sumayya is very reserved, sensible and sensitive. Safiyya is much more confident, talkative but also cheeky and can be a bit naughty too. I sometimes struggle how to approach her certain habits (such as spitting) as I find shouting and telling off so counter-productive with her. May Allah help me and make me patient with this child.

Anyway. Here is another letter Sumayya wrote to me. I shouted at her when I was angry. I cant remember now what she did wrong but she was so upset. So she came back after a little while and handed me over this letter. I was so upset and at the same time happy myself. I gave her lots of hugs and we had the following conversation too.

 

The letter reads: “I love mummy (on the cover). To mummy. Way do you shout at me wen I do bad things. It is not good. From Sumayya Fayziddin“. SubhanAllah.

-Sumayya, what happens if I shout at you. Do you get upset

-Yea, I do get upset. If you shout at me then I want to do bad things again and again

-What shall I do then

-You should explain it nicely like this “my darling Sumayya, please do it like this, honey” lol.

Safiyya overheard this conversation and every time I start telling her off repeats those lines of her sister’s in exact same manner. Because she gets herself more into trouble than her sister, I feel I have to do something. I always make dua for kids but other than that I just have to be patient with Safiyya’s some “creativity habits” subhanAllah.

Alhamdulillah, I am glad Allah helps us being open with our children in our family. Sumayya always reminds me of saying “Auzu billahi minash shaytonir rojiym” as soon as I start getting angry and it does help. She explains her feelings rather well for her age and says if I show love when she does something wrong, she corrects herself without being told. I think it is a reminder for all moms inshaAllah.