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.

Winter is back

Bismillah,

We have had really cold weather over the past couple of weeks. Children started playing out in the garden daily for a couple of hours in mid February. But the weather has been so down again after the 8th of March, on which date we had our big uzbek sumalak party in Manchester. It was so boiling hot on that Saturday the 8th of March 2013. We were thinking of doing the BBQ out in the garden the following weekend. But, subhanAllah, it has been snowing on and off since that date. The temperature is usually below zero outside. We have not been able to finish off our planting project in the garden. Today, after 2 days of non-stop snowing it was about knee high. My husband took kids to local library yesterday. They got stuck in snow and had to be rescued (by me). May Allah keep everyone safe amin.

Homeschooling is very much continuing, alhamdulillah.

Big S.

We do English 2-3 times a week. We do Charlotte Mason style dictation for her spelling once a week. Alhamdulillah, her spelling is excellent. I still need to teach her a lot of punctuation marks though. We try to get her talk about the books she reads. However, she is less and less willing to narrate the story. She just tells us what the story is about in 1-2 sentences. I noticed when she reads books in English and asked to narrate in Uzbek, her brain finds it difficult to do language-switch. It is at this point she gets frustrated because she does not know much of vocabulary in Uzbek in order for her to tell the story fluently. She mixes up a lot of English words to narrate the story. So, I have started to focus on her narrative skills in the English language only. And we usually do written narration as she prefers it to write down rather than to do it orally. Alhamdulillah, she loves writing. I printed out a set of reading comprehension cards. Each card states a question such as Who is the main character? What is the main character like? Which season does the story take place? Are there any sad/funny parts? Which part is your favourite? Would you recommend it to a friend and why? So, she chooses a book to read to me. We discuss the book a little. Then I hold one card at a time. She reads the question and writes the answer down. It helps with grammar/spelling/reading comprehension as she is trying to make her own full sentences, learning to use the correct tense and summarizing the story in the right order etc. Finally, she is practising cursive writing with a workbook. She is not too keen at the moment but she does try.

Maths. She is revising the last 20 pages of MEP YEAR 1. I did look into Kumon Math and other Math workbooks but preferred MEP to all of them. Maybe because we have got used to this programme. It is challenging enough for her and it is not straightforward like Kumon Math. For example, in MEP Year 1, she has learned

  • addition and subtraction using numbers 0-20
  • introduction to multiplication/division,
  • the use of calendar (days of the week, months of the year and how they rotate, how to find a certain date and see which day of the week it will be etc)
  • Lots of problem solving
  • The use of money (coins and notes etc)
  • Odd/Even numbers, 1 digit, 2 digit, 3 digit numbers, units etc
  • Mental maths- how to add/subtract 2 digit numbers mentally, counting by 3’s, 4’s, 5s, 6’s etc

Generally speaking, I am very pleased with what the programme offers and inshaAllah intend to continue with it. I do not want to start MEP Year 2 as I thought it could be too challenging for her current level. Like I said, we have resumed our maths classes after a long break and want to revise MEP Year 1 thoroughly inshaAllah.

Science. She is currently on another KS2 Science workbook learning about shadows, reflection and light. I will update in more detail when she finishes her book inshaAllah.

Qur’an hifdh. Alhamdulillah, we have been able to do a lot of muraajah the past 2 weeks. Every day I ask her to recite 4-5 surah off by heart which she does. Then she chooses 1-2 surah to read from Quran for her tajweed. Alhamdulillah, it is going well so far. I pray Allah makes it regular as we seem to be going through the phase where we do Quran regularly and progress a lot. Then once we drop it we just go into looong break after which we struggle to restart our Quran/Tajweed lessons.

Arabic. She is still continuing with her Madinah Arabic Book 1 and Gateway to Arabic Book 2. She is memorizing lots of vocab, practise handwriting and her Arabic reading improved a lot, mashaAllah.

Small S. Alhamdulilah, she has been able to teach herself how to read. She is now reading books aimed at young readers. We do not do anything except reading together with her. She does practise her writing with workbooks. At this stage, I do not want to push her for anything that she does not show interest. So, whenever she wants to practise her handwriting, I will just pass a worksheet with tracing words or a workbook. She seems to be very good at maths. I am surprised at most things she can do as I did not teach her the way I taught her sister. Maybe she has picked up from her big sister when I was not around. She can count 0-20 and then countdown 20-0. She does additions/subtractions with numbers 0-10 and she is so good at it. She does how many more/how many less activities, like how many more 7 than 5. For which she would have to do 7-5=2. So, the answer is 2 more. All these I don’t remember teaching her. I remember teaching this concept of how many more/how many less to big S and I so remember the frustration we both went through. Every time I asked big S how many more 7 than 5, she would simply say 7 more. Maybe she was too young..wallahu a’lam. Anyway, to me it seems little S grabs most maths concept easily. Even if she does not have a bank of concentration and feels very fidgety during lessons. She is learning lots of topic based vocabs in Arabic and currently finishing off Gateway to Arabic Book 1. Alhamdulillah, she started reading in Arabic awhile ago and improving. This is one of the simple exercises I do with her which she likes. I usually write down 8-10 words that she has learned in Arabic. I write these words without short vowels. For example, I write the q-l-m jointly for the word qolam (pen). Then I read out each word at a time and ask her to put the missing vowels (fatha/damma/kasra). She loves this game and it helped her to read more fluently. She is still on surah Tiyn on Quran Hifdh. She has finished memorizing this surah but at the moment I only do revision with her too. They both listen to Qur’an before bed time for about 30-40 mins (they fall asleep listening to Juzz 30 or Juzz 29 playing in digital Qur’an in their bedroom)

Little I. He has been up to so much lately. He is very much into books, just like his sisters. He is always making one of us read to him and loves joining in, copying the actions of the animals on pages (from illustration). He has started talking properly about 2-3 weeks ago. He is talking so fluently now. He can make sentences and can talk in full sentences, just like adults. Generally speaking, he started to walk, eat, hold a pen and write and talk a lot earlier. We all think it is because he has 2 older sisters from whom he can copy. He has learned a lot of nursery rhymes and starts joining in when his sisters sing for him. His favourite is classic Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Baa Baa Black Sheep. He loves Five Little Monkeys jumping on the bed, too. He is potty trained thanks to grandma. He loves drawing and often asks us to draw him a monkey.  He plays plasticine daily; making different shapes using the cutters. He loves shape sorters. He can name star, circle, triangle and square when we point and ask him “Which shape is this?”. He loves solving the knob wooden puzzles, playing with his legos and making tall towers with stacking cups. He is learning Arabic alphabet with Alif-Baa-Taa wooden blocks. He can count till 10. He has learned names of few colours. Like I said, I have not been able to spend much 1:1 time with him. But, he is always at the background when I am teaching his sisters and copying whatever they do. When we sit down to read Qur’an and do hifdh, he tries to listen and repeat after his sisters. He tries to say surah Ikhlas and Masad off by heart. Of course he just imitates the sounds. His sisters are teaching him everything (sometimes some naughty things too, like how to make bubbles in cup whilst drinking water or screaming or jumping off the sofa)

Anyway, it is late now and I shall be off to bed. Do let me know of my spelling/grammar mistakes as at this point I can not be asked to proofread or edit. Praying for a positive attitude for all parents out there and finish off with this inshaAllah.

Summer at last!!!

Bismillah,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Safiyya’s flower

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

Sumayya’s writing

Safiyya’s writing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matching words that start with the same letter sounds

Identify and circle the beginning sound of each word

Practice handwriting and numbers.

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

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

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

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

Fresh beginnings

Bismillah,

I said I have been reviewing lots of methods and materials re our home education. Alhamdulillah, we are having much more productive days, with the blessing of Allah swt.

Aqeedah. The past weeks we have been learning more about Tawheed– tawheed rooboobiyyah, tawheed uloohiyya and tawheed of names and attributes of Allah swt. We did the following workbooks and we also did Outside My World workbook from um an Numan.

We did this workbook about planets last year with Sumayya but I dont think she appreciated it much or understood it better. So we did it again mashaAllah. Though this time Safiyya didnt show much interest.

Arabic.Alhamdulillah, we get to do little bit of Arabic language daily. We read short stories, revise the vocab, practise the handwriting and watch the stories of prophets’ in Arabic language.

Safiyya’s writing worksheets includes tracing and copywork. Sumayya’s writing- She gets to do some matching and joining the letters type of activity worksheets. These were her homeworks from Arabic School. Alhamdulillah she can read words without fatha, damma, kasra and she can make out a word from individual letters.

Literacy. Alhamdulillah we managed to go to the library last Thursday after a long break. They got to choose lots of books from new arrivals. Our local library won some kind of big funding and keeps receiving lots of new books. They are all so lovely- I found many great examples of Aesop’s Fables. Each story was made an individual short story book with reading comprehension worksheets inside. We loved it. Sumayya has been reading her new books. We have also got 2 chapter books- one is Dora- which I didn’t really like but she insisted. It was actually nice set of 6 stories inside. The other one is about a girl who thought her parents were always nagging her. She went to a parent swap shop and tried all sorts of other parents but in the end thought her parents were the best, even if they nagged them all the time. Sumayya didn’t finish this one yet but I read it whilst still in the library and really liked the content, storyline and everything and suggested that she should choose it. She looked through and happily agreed. So we are doing lots of reading with both Sumayya and Safiyya. Sometimes Sumayya gets to do some reading comprehension worksheets but mainly oral narration of the story followed by discussion is very fruitful, mashaAllah. And Safiyya is trying to read and decided to do this spare workbook I got in sale sometime ago. MashAllah she can read the standalone words inside and fill in the missing phonics.

Creativity. We have been doing a lot more painting than before. Following our bug-hunting fun, we decided to make ladybirds one day. I think it is ladybirds breeding season as we found so many of them each time we went to the park.

We get to do baking at least a couple of times a week. Girls both love playdough and always make their own bread if I am making bread or whatever I am making. And they get to eat their own as well.

They play different kinds of pretend games and role-plays in the garden. Sometimes Safiyya plays the mommy, sometimes Sumayya plays the mommy. Or they both become aunty X and become friends and invite each other over for a meal etc. They have each got a designated area for a house lol.

Qur’an-hifdh. Sumayya mainly revising Juzu Amma. Safiyya is still memorizing Qoria. And we have been planning the Qur’an party for sometime in the end of May inshaAllah.

Qur’an reading. We practise from Ahsanul Qawaid daily. We also did Surah Maun wordbook from um an Numan. MashaAllah Sumayya reading well now. And Safiyya still hard to cooperate when it comes reading in Arabic.

When they dont know what to do they always come and ask me for a coloring page. I have big pile of Islamic coloring pages printed for use on days when we feel bored etc. Kids love coloring any time though, alhamdulillah. I will give link to some really nice Islamic coloring workbooks inshaAllah.

Art based literacy

Bismillah,

So my daughter can read now. What to do next to improve her other language skills such as spelling, grammar and reading comprehension? Ideally I dont want to break up the language into spelling, grammar etc until she is older. I want to instil the love of reading into her heart, inshaAllah. I love reading classic literature myself, religious or otherwise. And I would love for my children to develop reading for pleasure as a hobby.

Books can take us to places we have not been and probably will never have a chance to visit. And books introduce us to people we would never have a chance to meet in real life. So, ultimately, books-emphasis should be on good living books– help us to broaden our horizon. So, I just want my daughters to develop the love of reading. And I believe if children keep reading, their spelling and grammar just comes along naturally because they would have enough exposure to good literature, where writing and expression of ideas are stylistic and the grammar is perfect.

So, in order to have more engaging literacy sessions, I have come up with the following plan to progress with Sumayya and Safiyya’s language skills.

Sumayya is now very fluent reader. She can even read my books and my SISTERS magazines as well, Alhamdulillah. Safiyya has learned all the phonics but she can not blend them to make a word. She seems to be better at sight-reading. She remembers words by sight but when I ask to join and blend certain sounds she looks at me blankly lol. Anyway, here is the plan inshaAllah.

For spelling and grammar– short lessons, art based activity, use as less worksheets as possible. More attention on developing their imagination and organize arts/crafts session 2-3 times a week on the subject that they are most interested at a time. Make the craft and try to write some sentences (Sumayya) and some words (Safiyya) based on their own experience. It is almost like a writing a diary. When Sumayya is a little older I will start using prepared dictation for spelling inshaAllah. And with Safiyya we will continue with MTS 3 set cards and Jolly Phonics flashcards in addition to our art based literacy sessions.

For comprehension skills– Narration. I always ask Sumayya to narrate me the stories she has been reading, in English and in Uzbek. She knows stories have beginning, middle and end. She usually retells the events of a story in the right order of sequence. She should extract the conclusion or morale from the story and we have a little discussion. Again, this can be done just on the go, whether I am cooking or we are travelling etc. And it is very effective, Alhamdulillah. Safiyya is not that good at narrating but if I provide some visuals to go with the story (i.e sequencing cards) then she makes the effort to narrate.

So, last week they made a nest and a flamingo. Sumayya loves birds and always trying to make a conversation with them. So they both made these.

Then I wrote some sentences for Sumayya leaving some blank spaces to fill in. She read and completed the sentences. For Safiyya we did N is for Nest, F is for Flamingo and she did tracing letters N and F.