Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Cells 'n' stuff

We had a week off last week and spent some time with friends playing and helping them set up their Triops tank. My kids were really taken with the Triops and begged so much for a tank of their own that I gave in and ordered them one from Amazon - I will post pictures of this project as it evolves inshaAllah. The same friend also found a website with complete lesson plans on Triops, and not being one to miss an opportunity I will of course be incorporating these into our Triops project. In our joint teaching session this week we continued with our plant topic and looked at plant and animal cells and the organelles (lit. mini organs) - that is such a cool word isn't it! The kids seem to be enjoying it mashaAllah. We compared plant and animal cells and made a venn diagram of their different/shared characteristics, the little ones did a cute little double flap book with cell pictures that they had to colour and underneath the flap they drew the basic shapes of each cell - that's a rectangle and circle for those of you that were asleep in biology class!

We also used the microscope to look at cheek cells (harvested from my very own cheek), onion cells (from my very own onion) and blood cells (yes, you've guessed it, from my very own finger). The kids thought I was incredibly brave scraping my cheek and pricking my finger and one of them said "aunty, now that you are soooo brave, why don't you go and take out the schools?" Although I was loathed to disappoint them about my apparent bravery I had to tell them that it would take more than me to change the Governments view of the Education System. Oh hum, some lessons need to be taught early.

The best bit of all was making edible cells in little sandwich bags. Different sweeties represented different parts of the cells; gobstopper = nucleus, jelly = cytoplasm, jelly tot type sweets = lysosomes, marshmellows = vacuole and sugar strands = mitochondria. The kids just loved it and the resulting mess was disgustingly sweet, so much so that even the kids couldn't eat it all in one go! Don't know how I'm gonna top that for next week!

I get such a buzz when the kids are learning and enjoying it and for a moment I can understand why people would want to teach. Then I think of the school system and how it squashes their enthusiasm and that longing to teach disappears, perhaps I should think about tutoring 'free sytle' when the kids are bigger. I love that they can see the beauty of Allah in everything and pray that it will strengthen them in their deen (religion). I love how they mention Allah's name when they see something that amazes them and pray that they can keep and deepen their love of Him via the amazement they feel. I pray that they never cease to be amazed at the splendor and complexity of Allah's creations, Ameen.

We are plodding ahead with the Nelson English for 'A', 100 Easy Steps to Reading for 'B' and Jolly Phonics for the little ones. Steaming ahead with maths for both boys and I also puchased the Maths Resource Studio from Schoolhouse Technologies and am completely in love with it. It enables you to generate math worksheet activities to cover a diverse range of math areas, you can include number banks, number lines, hints etc. What a great time saver! Let's face it, when your home educating anything that saves time is a bonus.

Behaviour is improving all round alhamdulillah. 'A' has now turned 10 and is attempting to pray his 5 daily prayers mashaAllah. Although I am experiencing difficulties in waking him for fajr, any ideas?

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