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. 

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.

Ramadan Battle

Bismillah,

What have we been up to since the 15th April 2014? Well, a lot, really. But, first of all, let me wish all of you a Happy Belated Ramadan Kareem!!! May Allah enable us all to really change and improve ourselves for the better this Ramadan amin.

Home-educating is going well. We do almost nothing structured with regards to academic subject on a day-to-day basis. Both big and little S attend Maths, English and Science classes once a week at Raising Explorers (where I work) and they go to madrassah there Tues-Fri afternoons 4:30-6:30pm. So, what do we do at home?

Gardening

We have done a lot of gardening this Spring/Summer 2014. We have planted strawberry plants early in Spring and they were all growing so well. They all had 5-6 fruits each but the slugs started eating the leaves. My neighbor suggested I put some salt on all plants which had a disastrous ending, the fruits and leaves dried up. They have all grown out by now but  no homegrown strawberries for us this year. InshaAllah, I am hoping the plants would double by next year and we will have some fruits.

We have also planted an apple tree and a pear tree. They both blossomed well but we have got no pears for this year. Alhamdulillah, we have plenty of apples and we can not wait to bake an apple pie with those.

Pear tree

Apple tree

Strawberry plants

Strawberry plants

Trips and Outings

We have been going on a lot more trips lately since the arrival of my parents. We want to show them around as much as possible. We have been to quite a lot of local parks, including:

Roberts park in Saltaire; Roundhay Park in Leeds, Chellow Dene Reservoir, Ogden Waters, and of course our local Lister park. I have made a list of few other free places to go after Ramadan inshaAllah: St. Ives Park in Bingley, Shibden Park in Halifax, Stockeld Park, Cliffe Castle in Keighley, Bolling Hall, Bolton Abbey and Manor House. I am trying to make use of all free museums, galleries and parks as the costs can easily add up when multiplied x8 in the family lol. We may take them all to Yorkshire Wildlife centre for Eid

My mummy at Chellow Dene

Arabic and Qur’an

We have not been doing much Arabic language at home except what she learns at Raising Explorers. We revise the surahs of the Juzz Amma they have memorized and Sumayya reads half a page of Qur’an daily. Safiyya has just started reading too, mashaAllah but no pressure. She reads when she wants to. Having attened Tajweed classes recently, I have just started explaining the Tajweed rules to big S recently. Up until now, she has learnt how to read by listening only and kind of figured out most rules (without knowing the names such as Idghaam, Izhaar, Iqlaab etc). 1-2 daily they pray with me, again no pressure, hence not very regular. As big S turned 7 this year, I should be encouraging her more inshaAllah.

Russian progress

Alhamdulillah, big S  has been going to Russian 3 times a week. She goes to Russian class organized for the children of local Russian families on Monday afternoons. Then WEd/Fri mornings she goes to her tutor’s house for 2 hours. She can now read, write and speak a little bit of Russian. She can talk about most topics including her family, likes/dislikes, animals, fruit/veg, about her house, about her grandparents and weather etc. They do little bit of grammar but mainly conversational Russian as I want her to be able to speak and understand first. She has learnt so much vocab and can use them well. Alhamdulillah. There is also a farm next to her tutor’s house. So, we have been going 1-2 times a week to feed the horses, see llamas, donkeys and a pony.

Kids trying to feed horses

Islamic Studies and Self-Evaluation

All of us have to work on our manners, especially myself as I have to model the exemplary behavior for them. This thought has been troubling me so much lately. My confession yesterday was “I have always known that children learn by example. They are the best imitators, regardless of weather you do a good thing or a bad thing, they will try and copy the adults around them. Seems like I have known it theoretically up until this point. So, I have recently discovered that before fixing everyone else around me, especially my poor kids, I should first fix myself. As an adult and as a mother of 4 home-educated kids I see some major flaws in my own character. I can lecture my children about what is good and right thing to do but the children mirror and project my own faults which is scary. I am almost always battling with my own self and questioning “am I doing the right thing/wrong thing” and worry a lot about my children’s character too. But, like I said, I came to the conclusion that as long as I work hard to try and fix my own problems, inshaAllah Allah will take care of my children and how they are going to turn out as a person. The battle with the self continues….May Allah give all mothers out there an immense amount of patience and make parenting easy for us and give us a good ending. Amin ya Rabb!!!

I don’t know why I feel so burdened, so pressured these days with mothering duties and responsibilities…I have terrible mood swings at times and end up feeling so guilty for having shouted at kids…I am always asking for more patience in my duas as I am quick to criticize my kids. How do you deal with your inner critique that sets up the standards so high for your kids? I am finding it so hard to just let it go. Alhamdulillah, slowly but surely I am working more on myself rather than kids and feel moving in the right direction. I am praying to have a better week ahead inshaAllah: less yelling, less shouting, less correcting, less critique; more encouragement, more peaceful, more connecting and more praise.

General Home-Ed Review

Alhamdulillah, I am happy where we are at. Like I said, at this point in life we are focusing much more on character-building rather than in any form of structured academic lessons. Above all, I would want myself and my children have a good personality. I just want to be good inshaAllah…

Once again Ramadan Mubarak my dear sisters and wishing you all to have the best Ramadan yet!!!

Planting trees and book review 2

Bismillah,

We have been quite busy in the garden recently. A couple of weeks ago we all went to one of the biggest garden centres in our area and bought an apple tree, pear tree, some strawberry plants and flowers. We had been waiting for the weather to get a little better and finally last weekend we planted out fruit trees; made a patch for our strawberries and flowers and planted them too! Now, let’s just hope the wind does not blow them away (it is too windy where we live on top of the hill)

Children spend a lot of time outdoors- I mean a lot. They do so much digging and exploring- it makes me crazy sometimes to keep up with all their adventures and bug hunts. We have jars filled with all sorts of garden findings all around the kitchen. Our garden has so many holes thanks to their digging. Things are upside down but I am hoping to spend more time this summer to supervise my kids’ gardening adventures (rather than leaving it up to them)

They also read a lot of books about birds, insects, how to grow plants etc. We have the following books in our asset: British Birds, How to Grow Houseplants and Crafts From Nature. They read and use the books independently.

These days we don’t have a routine as such, since we have changed the course of action towards Unschooling approach. This happened almost naturally with the birth of Ibrahim followed by Saida. Our typical day looks like this: I have got to make them a breakfast in the mornings which takes me 30 mins up to an hour (We dont have cereals and almost daily have big breakfast cooked from scratch). They wake up around 7-7:30am, have a piece of fruit and off they go to play or read books. We all have breakfast between 9-10am. Then after breakfast we all read Qur’an. Thereafter they go off to play either in the garden or indoors. Some days we read 1-2 books after Qur’an and talk about the characters.

I have got to start cooking lunch, tidying the house, feeding and bathing the baby in between and tending to their 101 needs in the middle of all my jobs. So, I thank God for Unschooling and leave everything up to kids until they come and ask me to teach them something lol. By teaching I mean the scheduled hours of teaching how I used to do in the past: I used to make the girls sit down between 10am-12pm and go through Qur’an, Arabic, Maths, English and Science. Of course, not all subjects in one day but still they would be on the table either doing a planned activity or going through the worksheets/workbooks. Now we do Maths, English and Science in a structured way just once a week. As long as we keep up with Qur’an, both reading and hifdh, I am happy with what they are doing currently.

Every family’s circumstances are different and these circumstances are changing all the time. I don’t regret what I did back then, I thought it was the best education I could provide for them. If I tried to keep up with the same approach/routine/schedule now I know it would leave me frustrated all the time. I think it would make everyone unhappy as baby and Ibrahim would be interfering all the time. Other things like taking Ibrahim to the toilet, sitting Saida in the potty, fold and put away washed clothes, peeling an apple for one and cutting some cucumbers for another- are so time consuming and constant. So, I am happy with what I have got at the moment and grateful for the blessing of Unschooling. It almost seems like a natural thing for me as if this should happen with all the children.

Reading and memorizing Qur’an. Both the girls can read Qur’an now, mashaAllah. Sumayya is mainly maintaining hifdh of Juzz Amma. Her memorization is so slow and I dont have time to sit down with her more than 40mins a day- during which time we do 20 mins revision and 20 mins reading. She reads 5-6 ayahs from surah Baqarah daily and I just give feedback on her pronunciation by verbally correcting her and explaining the tajweed rules where possible. Safiyya can read the surahs she has memorized. We do wordsearch on surahs An-Nas-to-Ad-Duha. She can find the word I ask her within any surah she has memorized. She is currently memorizing surah Layl and Shams. She reads from Qaida as well. Ibrahim has memorized 5 surahs and knows a lot of odd verses from other surahs his sisters memorized.

English. They mainly read books and write their own things: sometimes an apology letter to me when they upset me, sometimes a letter to a friend, sometimes an entry in their diary, sometimes a to do list for the next day. We try to keep it as practical as possible. I don’t ask them to write any particular thing. Safiyya and Ibrahim do activities on Starfalls and Oxford Owl in both English and Math. Recently, we have been watching the stories here.

Maths/Science- I am researching buying a certain structured, fairly balanced and practical curriculum for next year. We might continue with MEPS for Maths, though quite a few sisters suggested Singapore Maths is better. We will see inshaAllah. If we decide to switch to Singapore Maths, I might as well combine it with Singapore Science. (If you want to buy the Singapore Maths in the UK, Ichthus Resources provide them at slightly cheaper price than the other supply companies)

Book Review.

I have recently ordered a number of new Islamic books for the kids. Here is the short review.

  1. The meaning of the Holy Qur’an for School Children– an absolute must have book by Yahiya Emerick for every household. This is the best children’s tafseer book I have come across. Previously, I thought Ad-Duha mini tafseer books were really good mashaAllah. But, this book offers a number of advantages: It is simple, easy to understand and yet provides all the background information, history and story behind every ayah revealed. It uses powerful, elegant and effective vocabulary throughout with simple lessons to take away from each verse. It has got little illustrations to make it more attractive and suitable for all children between the ages of 7-16 year old to read independently. You can read it out to the younger ones and discuss the meanings together. I often read it for my own self and found it so so beneficial mashaAllah.
  2. Teaching Kids The Holy Qur’an: Surah 18, The Cave– another excellent book to add to your library. It contains all 4 major stories from surah Kahf. Mezba Uddin Mahtab used lego bricks and other toys to recreate the stories in a very engaging detail. When I read about the author and read his book here, I absolutely fell in love. When we got the delivery, this was Sumayya’s first pick and she read through all 144 pages in a couple of hours.
  3. 1001 Inventions and Awesome Facts From Muslim Civilization– just an interesting fact book to inspire and empower your Muslim children if they like to explore or find out more about world famous inventions and facts.
  4. Travelling Man- The Journey of Ibn Battuta by James Rumford. I always loved history and my kids do too. This is beautifully illustrated and written about the greatest traveler in Muslim history. This is a short autobiography of Ibn Battuta and his adventures in Mecca, India and China, about the people he met and befriended, the sultans he worked under, the rebels he was caught by and his ultimate survival throughout his travels 1325-1354. We all found this very interesting and loved the illustrations.
  5. Arabic Through The Qur’an– by Alan Jones. I want to study this book myself and later teach to kids. Aside from being the very latest Arabic grammar written by an academic, one of the special features of the book is its exclusive use in its vocabulary of Qur’an rather than modern Arabic. The main purpose of our study of the Arabic language is so that we can read and understand the Qur’an in its original language. I have decided awhile ago that I will be learning at least 2 vocabulary from Qur’an a day and this book is perfect because it teaches both basic grammar as well as the Qur’anic vocabulary.

Self-development

Bismillah,

 

The girls have been going to swimming for the past two weeks. Alhamdulillah, Big S is swimming so well without armbands. I actually doubted her swimming skills since we have not been at all for the past 6 months (since the birth of baby S, that is nearly half a year subhanAllah). And even before that we were not going regularly due to pregnancy and other issue. Hence I was actually very surprised when I saw her swimming. Especially the second week, she was swimming on her back, on her front, with her head under the water and she tried sideways. So, she was basically confident enough to try out different styles of swimming.

Now middle S is a complete different story. First week we didn’t take armbands so she was constantly either clinging to me or to metal bar on the side of the pool. Second week, with armbands on, she did let the metal bar go a little and she was praising herself so much for that. This girl of mine does not like to challenge herself. SubhanAllah.

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about myself and how I am connecting to the children. Since I have come back from Saudi, I keep thinking and rethinking about our set ways of doing things and my teaching and I feel there is something missing. I am often disappointed with myself. Generally speaking, I think one feels quite disappointed to return to this “dunya” where everything revolves around worldly things and you have just been to a holy a place at a time everything revolves around Godly things. Very strange feeling.

So, I keep evaluating things at home and keep asking “What do I want to achieve out of this homeschool thing? What is it really I am striving for?” Yes I want them to be able to read and understand Qur’an. Yes I want them to learn the Arabic language proficiently. Yes I want them to excel in Math, English, Science and in all their academic subjects. Yes I want them to go to top universities and become a dentist, a doctor, an archaeologist and ocean explorer, a story writer and an illustrator. However, the bottom line is, I want them to be good MUSLIMS.  So, before anything else, I want them to have good spiritual connection with Allah the Almighty and submit completely to the will of God. I want them to have that complete tavakkul (faith) and certainty with Allah swt and live their lives according to Islam.

I think we all agree that there is really only one effective way of moulding their character in this way from young age. There is only one thing we can do and that is SELF-DEVELOPMENT. If I really want to instil Islamic values in my children so they build up an Islamic character, the way forward is to start focusing more on myself. Because children will naturally observe, imitate, copy the adults of the household. And I strongly feel that my children are educating me in so many ways. They make me so conscious of what I say, how I speak, what’s my attitude and how I react. I know they are banking all these somewhere in their brain and will have exact same attitude to most things in life later on. That is so scary for me because I know I have a lot of character traits to improve. I am constantly praying that my children will turn up as someone much better than myself. Inshalla they won’t pick up those bad characteristics. Then at night time I lay in bed thinking “You are kidding yourself. The only way forward is to change those bad bits into good bits”. That is such a struggle, to constantly battle with your own self. May Allah guide and help us all.

So I am disappointed every time I shout to discipline them. I want them to have the love of Allah, the love of the prophet saw and the love of deen. But, I am so quick to point out their mistakes and shortcomings. I am so quick to judge and preach them. I lecture them daily about how Muslims should do things in Islam. And I fear that I am doing “more correcting and less connecting”. I am not really connecting to them in a manner that brings the love of learning Islam, the love of seeking knowledge into their lives. Sometimes I hear a friend or a colleague saying “Oh I hated Maths at school” or “I remember hating this or that subject so much” and the worst thing to happen would be one of our children saying “Oh I hated doing Arabic” or “I hated reading Qur’an” or have very negative attitude towards seeking Shari’ah knowledge.

So, I have decided to focus on 3 things for myself and for my family: Love everyone for the sake of Allah (because this stops that judgemental attitude you have towards others, including one’s children), Live in the moment (focus at present, plan as if you have forever but live as if you only have today) and Share the khayr.  When it comes to children, here is my target to do lise

  • Shout less
  • Discipline less- what it really means is criticise less. praise vs criticism ratio should be 5:1
  • Fill them up with love and make them feel loved unconditionally, regardless of what they do, what they say
  • Create such an atmosphere at home where everyone feels appreciated, wanted, valued
  • Listen to them when they speak, get to their level, make eye-contact
  • Say “yes” more often then “no”
  • More connecting through fun family activities

 

Hajj Break

English: A picture of people performing (circu...

English: A picture of people performing (circumambulating) the . This picture taken from the gate of Abdul Aziz seems to divide the Kaaba and the minarets into mirror images of one another.

Bismillah,

We have resumed the classes last Tuesday the 29th October 2013 after our 3 week long break due being away to perform Hajj (seperate post is due on this later inshaAllah).

Alhamdulillah, the girls are doing surprisingly well. I had expected them to forget few things, to have meltdowns and emotional moments when we start the more structured classes at home. However, they are pretty much on the ball with every subject.

We are doing Qur’an hifdh, Qur’an reading and Qur’an tafseer daily. I don’t plan anything for these. I ask them to recite 5 random surahs from Juzz Amma. Then Sumayya reads 1 surah daily from 29th Juzz. I ask Safiyya to read 1-2 short surahs from the back. Sumayya did have 1-2 meltdowns initially. But after I have told them my Hajj stories and how everyone makes so much effort to do more ibadah over there in Mecca, she was a bit more motivated. So, after hifdh and tajweed, I read them the meanings/translation of 1 surah from Juzz Amma daily using the Uzbek translation of meanings of the Qur’an. Sumayya really wants to read that Qur’an book which is in Cyrillic alphabet so she keeps asking me to teach her how to read Russian sooner so she can read the Uzbek translation of Qur’an we have at home. I intend to start teaching Russian again starting from next week. Ibrahim started memorizing the last 3 surahs, like officially lol. He has his own turn after I finish with the girls and we do some listen+repeat session with him.

Then we do Math daily using MEP Year1 for Safiyya and MEP Year2 for Sumayya. Again,I am surprised how they have been able to pick up from where we left without any difficulty. Alhamdulillah, either Allah has made things really easy for them (and me) or sometimes having a long/relaxing break would help to reinstate their knowledge. Anyhow, this hajj break did all of us so much good, Alhamdulillah.

Then we do English daily. I am trying to get Safiyya read more. We went to the library last week where I encouraged Safiyya to choose her own books so we can read it together at bedtime. She usually chooses her own books but this time I did point out that she would read them to me and I would help with the words she gets stuck. I don’t know how/why she doesn’t like reading even though she can read. I guess it is in her nature. She does tons of DIY jobs daily at home. She is more hands-on/practical person. Anyway, I am going to encourage her to read more. We have even started Evan-Moor Grade 1 Science book with her so she can practise her reading by reading the instructions inside, doing the experiments and writing reports (not necessarily story books). We have covered the first 4 lessons and she does not seem to appreciate it much. We will see how it goes inshaAllah.

Sumayya is mashaAllah doing well in English. We do word definitions (I give her a list of words to write down the meanings), spelling, book-writing and use a dictionary. Last week I gave her the resources and asked her to write a book on how Allah created this world and everything in it. So, she what she made looked like an information booklet with 4 pages. There are some pictures on each page and she wrote her own sentences like “Allah created angels from light. Allah created jin from smoke of fire. Then Allah created Adam a.s. etc etc”. She makes grammatically correct sentences. I am planning to use sister Imaan’s topic-based lapbooking projects with Sumayya inshaAllah.

We have managed to do 2 Arabic sessions. We have revised all the vocabulary with Safiyya on Body Parts, Colours, Shapes, Animals, Fruits+Vegetables. She can even read those words, alhamdulillah.

We are on lesson 5 in Madina Arabic Reader Book 1 with Sumayya. Again, we have revised the vocabulary of lessons 1-4, practised reading with exercises inside and I do little tests on vocab and reading. We are not putting any emphasis on Arabic handwriting at the moment.

Generally speaking, I am pleased with their progress the past 2 weeks. We still do all our learning between 10am-12pm in the mornings. They have got the whole afternoon to play and until 10am in the mornings. We leave for work at 4 pm where they have Tajweed, Arabic and Islamic Studies 4:30-6:30pm and Free/Fun Playtime with peers 6:30-7:30pm. They are tired by the time we come home usually around 7:45pm. So, we come home and have something to eat (something light as they have full meal just before we leave the house at 4pm). All three are usually in bed by 8:30pm. Sometimes I read them a bedtime story, sometimes I tell them one of my interesting Hajj stories off the top of my head, sometimes I leave the lights on for 10 minutes so they can read 1-2 of their own books borrowed from the library.

They did get to play in the garden a lot the past 10 days even though the weather has been cold. And their dad took them to local playground twice. They love it outdoors, just like any other child I think. Sumayya wants to ride her bike but I am not sure when she will get the chance. We got them some warm winter boots today. I have got to think some other ways of keeping them occupied outside teaching hours. InshaAllah we are going to start to go to swimming on Saturday. And I will try to find one other extra curricular thing to do during the week, biithnillah.

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.