Sunday, 29 March 2009

Curiosity, cakes and colour.....

It's funny what a new day can bring..... firstly DS1 decided he wanted to learn again alhamdulillah. Next we had a strange discussion about what plastic surgery was in the car this morning (lots of education goes on in our car; Quran, times tables, off the cuff debates and discussions - a captive audience lol); what it was, who has it done etc and when we came home they looked up some info on the www and found about about a US socialite who, in an attempt to win back her unfaithful husband, spent $4 billion to make herself look like a big cat - her husband was a big fan apparently - and now a once beautiful woman looks horrific. The kids were so shocked that people would want to change the beauty that Allah Ta'ala has given them that a wondrous piece of literary ginius ensued (lol)..... it goes like this:

Why would someone change the face
that was given to them by Allah's grace
they won't find happiness in their life
at the end of a surgeons knife
happiness comes from within
and true beauty comes with your love for Him, Allah

OK it still needs work but I am a very happy mummy never the less.

I also decided that each day one of the children could help me choose and make a snack on our return from madressah - we get home about 9am and the kids are always hungry. It means that they get a little bit of cooking and math in and a bit of time with mum. This week DS2 made these.....yummy

The kids also wrote about the colour and light experiments that we did at Brocks Hill Park and we mounted them on black paper mashaAllah... It was wonderful to see all their different writing styles and it was great to see how much DS3 remembered when he was messing about most of the time....

We also did lots of math and english from mindsprinting; and I am also still trying to work out a new routine with madressah to fit in now but I am sure it will all come together soon inshaAllah.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

The week that wasn't.....

what I had planned at all. I took an unplanned visit to Birmingham to learn from a well respected sheikh - he is so humble mashaAllah, it was fantastic and it made me realise how little effort I put into learning my deen - may Allah bless the sheikh give us barakah in our time inshaAllah. It also made me realise how much I need to learn and how little adab I have..... subhanAllah, I am grateful for these reminders and pray that Allah facilitiates my learning for me and us all, ameen. This has been one of those weeks where I hoped to achieve so much but in fact, achieved so little. We have been trying to implement new routines into our day on the advice of the Sheikh but it has been difficult, alhamdulillah. Seems to have been a week for not doing stuff but here is what we did do....

Sports: swimming as usual on Monday, although sports for the littlies and biggies were both cancelled.

Maths: continued with Mindsprinting worksheets and online games.

English: hasn't happened at all, although they did some sentence structure as part of their madressah work alhamdulillah. DS2 has also been putting in some hard practice for reading mashaAllah.

Science: This kids did some unoffical testing of liquids which got them told off but that was about it.....

On the plus side; DS3 seems to be conquering Suratal Fatiha alhamdulillah, and the sun is shining so the kids were able to spend some energy in the park, go to the carboot sale with abi and do some planting....... alhamdulillah. Looking forward to a bright new next week inshaAllah.

Monday, 16 March 2009

What a week that was....

We have had a busy week this week alhamdulillah but haven't opened a text book (not that we use text books) all week..... boys are still attending early morning madressah and although they still aren't keen on waking up early I am loving the new routine (especially the early bedtimes; it's good to have time for myself alhamdulillah). MashaAllah, they are doing so well alhamdulillah - good move!

We spent two days this week at our local Country Park where they have been running lots of half day courses for Science & Engineering Week. We had a Dr of Physics, who was also Head of Space School UK, from the local uni that did a two hour session on 'light & colour'; we were imagining a much grander topic considering the status of the teacher, but apart from a few flash lights and a pair of refraction specs there wasn't nothing else the kids did that they couldn't do at home which included 'catching' a rainbow in milk, mixing primary colours on filter paper and sorting pictures of different light sources into groups. The second session was an acid and alkali session - seemed to be totally unprepared and the kids spent some time testing different liquids (and later sauces i.e. tartar sauce) and seeing where they came on the pH spectrum. The kids were then given a large piece of filter paper each that had been soaked in boiled red cabbage juice and dried (a giant home made piece of litmus paper basically); they then drew a big fish on the paper and 'painted' it with one acid and one alkali liquid which gave them two different colours (all of a sudden it occured to me that, that must be what they make those 'magic painting books' from). We also went outside and did the minto in a bottle of diet cola experiment (which failed miserably I have to say)! The kids also got to play with goo (as it was called by the education officer a.k.a. cornflour, water & green food colouring) but as we had done it before the kids were able to tell her that it was a 'non-newtonian fluid' and explain how it works. I know we should not revel in these moments...... but I will, her face was a picture. These two sessions cost us a total of £72 and were no way worth the money, all of the experiments could have been done at home but I suppose they did get to learn from someone else in new surroundings - but I don't think we will be going again.

Swimming and sports as usual and not much else I'm afraid. Oh hum, onwards and upwards inshaAllah.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Has it been that long?

SubhanAllah, it's been quite a while since I last blogged so I won't bore you with everything that's been going on, just some of it.

Well as is the nature of home schooling we have changed our routines and timetable quite a bit since I last wrote and in fact we didn't have a time table at all for quite some time but lots of learning still goes on mashaAllah. The three boys have just started a madressa that starts at 7am, it is a bit of a way from us so we do get up really early and I am in the process of restructuring our week and education timetable to fit in around that. The great thing is that we can be home by 8.30-9am and be ready to get on with our work inshaAllah. The boys are still not totally appreciating the wonderful, but rare opportunity to get up at 5.45 to go and learn Quran etc in the early morning when their little minds are at their optimum learning capability, but I am sure they will get used to it inshaAllah.

For Islamic studies we are now using the Tas_Heelul books for fiqh, history, adaab & akhlaaq and Aqaa-id, you can view them here inshaAllah (this shop has free postage & packaging too) as they use this in madressa. I should also mention that the books have recently been revised and fully updated and are much more colourful and child friendly that the pics of these books would have you believe.

For maths we follow the lessons on Mind Sprinting; a free online tutoring service for math and English (to some point). The child takes an online assessment test and a free personalise programme it put together for him/her. I have found that it doesn't work for me as an everyday tool but it does give us a springboard to base our weeks math lessons around. I sometimes use the worksheets and sometimes I don't, but if you use the manual method you can just tick off the units you are sure they can do and then move on to the next subject. I love it! We just do some general work in exercise books for English and are still using the Nelson Thorne books but not for everyday use.

The two little ones are working on a 1-100 lapbook and a A-Z scrapbook, modified slightly from a unit that can be downloaded from - the mini-books etc easily fits on two pages of a scrap book and is really well done however, it does have some quotes from the Bible etc that I have had to rewrite. We also added other appropriate islamic words or items to the pages such as the name Allah to 'a', Bismillah to 'b', prayer mat to 'p' etc., we also added some stuff from the Jolly Phonics books that they are working on i.e. the sign for the letter and the writing practice sheet and a list of words starting with that letter.

With the group teaching sessions we finished the plant lapbooks (pics to follow) and have almost finished our second topic on the Weather. SubhanAllah, there is so much in the weather to bring the kids closer to Allah, I was fascinated and learned so much (I hope the kids did too!)..... but alas, this is our last project with our little group, ahhhhh! We will miss them lots.... but I am studying on a new course which, when coupled with the early mornings means that we have had to trim down our outside activities; planning for a day of teaching takes me a long, long time (but that could just be me!!).

I am also aiming to introduce a dhikr session into our day both in the morning and evenings inshaAllah which will include some reading from a wonderful book on the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) which was given to us by a very kind, loving sister. Jazakillahu Khair.

Haven't thought much beyond this but will add some more subjects as the new routine unfolds and grows inshaAllah. I love the beauty of home schooling and the way that we can adapt our teaching to suit our ever changing prayer times, home situations or weather....... alhamdulillah.