Monday, 20 April 2009

A one time only, ever

three posts in one day.....

I just found the photo of an off the cuff activity that we did a while back but I thought it was a good example of what can be done on the back of a good book inshaAllah.

This activity came about because of an unplanned story time which was supposed to quieten the kids down - a great example of how unschooling can work. I asked my youngest to fetch a book from the bookshelf and he brought back a book called 'Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plan' it is such a wonderful book so much so that it inspired the kids to make the props that you can see on the display (i.e. bow and arrow, clouds etc), do a play that we video taped (I will spare you the rendition here) and make this display where the kids wrote what all the items were and, at the bottom, a general idea of what the story was about.

Apart from all this creative stuff there was lots of discussion about climates and their effect on food supplies and live stock, and also about how our lives differed from those of the African tribesmen. Great homeschooling day.

Here are a few online study units either using or based around this wonderful book:

Teachers Link - Part of a bigger topic on Africa but can be used on it's own
Literature Units - scroll down to 'Africa' where there are quite a few lesson plans using this book
Scholastic - Extending geography - climates
Journeys and Destinations - Teaching unit
Unit Study - Teacher recommended lessons

These are just a few plans that I found in 5 minutes I am sure you could find much more but I do recommend you read it with your kids if you haven't already - maybe plan first as I am sure we missed out on lots of learning opportunities by not planning.

Have fun!

A miracle....

Two posts in one day, well I never did (and probably never will again) he he! But I have lost my voice on account of this cold so have turned to the keyboard instead. We have had a good weekend (all though I am still ill alhamdulillah) and we haven't even left the house mashaAllah. I try to stick to everything organic if I can and I found some organic seeds in Asda which meant the we could finally get on with planting our seeds alhamdulillah - well me and DD planted the seeds the boys seem to have grown weary of planting seeds in favour of the harvest this year - anyway this is our little nursery (so far)....

We have organic beetroot, onions, lettace, tomatoes, green beans and also some marigolds and forget-me-nots. We have also planted a dual pear tree (grows two varieties of pear on one tree), a 2nd apple tree and four cherry trees to complement the apple and plum trees that we planted last year. I am also hoping to get in a goji berry (said to be the answer to all ills) plant and a fig tree inshaAllah - I am hoping to use them to 'grow my own drugs' using the new book (with a similar title) by James Wong (£5.99 from the Book People). We are currently in the process of redesigning our back garden so everyone is all excited at the moment mashaAllah. Watch this space for more news of our gardening antics...... this is our apple tree we planted last year that has sooooo many blossoms mashaallah

Next on the list was a 'free time' with the art and craft stuff...... they just love this but I have to leave the room or I get too stressed and bossy with how they are using my precious resources.

Not sure what these are but they enjoyed making them anyways ;o))

DS1 has been forging forwards with his Animals of Africa projects with these little booklets which sparked off a whole conversation between Aunty Y and DS1 about the wonder of Allah's creation. They discussed how wonderful it is that such a ferocious creature like a crocodile would let a tiny bird live on him and pick the meat from his teeth (one of the animal relationships he studied) so the bird got food and the crocodile got his teeth cleaned.... subhanAllah!

These little booklets are amazing and allow you to compare or describe two 'things' and are made up of three circles. The first circle has the subject matter/title page, the second circle has details about one of the items (in this case the Croc), the third page has the details of the 2nd subject (the Plover). The 2nd and 3rd circles are folded in half and the bottom half of the second circle is glued to the top half of the title page so that when you pull the top flap down you have the plover info. The top half of the 3rd circle to the bottom half of the title page so that when you lift the croc part of the title page you have a whole circle of info on the croc. You now have a blank circle shape at the back (made up of the unglued parts of the info circles) so you can glue it to your lap book or project folder etc. I haven't tried it but I'm sure you could add more pages too inshaAllah. Let me know if this doesn't make sense inshaAllah.

Aunty Y aslo got DS1 reading Oliver Twist with her mashaAllah; he read a bit to her and then she stopped and asked questions to make sure he understood it and then moved on to the next chapter mashaAllah. I must say that she seemed to ignite something in him and he even asked if she could stay the night and spend more time with them mashaAllah. She also took an interest in his role play using his Lego men and inspired him to write a play along the same principles. MashaAllah what a lesson I learned from this lovely sister mashaAllah, and I hope that I can keep up these new found skills he and I have learned inshaAllah. It made me realise how sometimes we can be home with them, teach them but not really spend much time sitting and 'doing' with them or listening to them, really listening to them! SubhanAllah!

Note to self: spend some time 'listening' and 'doing' with each of the kids this week.

Saturday, 18 April 2009


We, well I, have a horrid cold alhamdulillah and I think the kids are next inshaAllah. I was feeling fantastic until the cold hit and then it all went a bit pear shaped, it does strengthen our immune systems though alhamdulillah. The kids have been to madressa as normal and we all stayed over at a friends house on Thursday evening, what a treat. Not only did the kids thoroughly enjoy themselves but the mums had a great time too alhamdulillah. Mindsprinting for the maths and English as normal and I am considering working through this grammar and punctuation book with the kids,

it looks quite good mashaAllah. I have never really bothered much with grammar before as a lot of it comes with reading I feel but I thought I'd better start now that DS1 is 10...

We also spent an exceptionally fun morning in the park when the kids were working out how forces were at work in helping them play - there was the round-about that you had to walk round to make it move. They were discussing why it was moving and how they could change it and how they could make it move faster by walking in time (of course there was also a lot of falling down which only increased the enjoyment), this led to me remembering a discussion about resonant vibrations and amplification and a story about a bridge that collapsed in the 1830's because the soldiers were marching in time which amplified the force being exerted on the bridge (similar to the Millennium Bridge, London when it started to sway excessively when the pedestrians were inadvertently stepping in time) click here for more info. There was also these spinning pole things that show the effect of centrifugal forces, speeding up and slowing down by moving in and out from the central pole. Also how they can use a small force of their legs back and forth to make a big movement on a swing etc.

Who said a trip to the park couldn't be educational eh ;o)!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Another day....

of grumpy children... they just don't seem to like waking up before 6am mashaAllah. But we got to madressa in the end with all three children and only 5 minutes late.

Well we had a really quiet weekend alhamdulillah relaxing after a hectic week where the boys stayed over at a friend and the friend then came and stayed over here, swimming, sports, madressa, quran teacher for me etc mashaAllah. DS1 went with his dad to collect some friends from a week long stay at smallwood manor in Saffordshire. They are from a Turkish Muslim organisation that hire out the manor for a week and take loads of kids away, they get to do lots of sports, walks, nature studies etc. They have different wings so the separation of girls and boys is easy and they also use the pool at different times. Seems perfect. Infact, it is such a lovely place that it has inspired me to see if I can organise some sort of retreat, Muslim HE holiday or something..... make dua inshaAllah!

DH is also putting in a toilet and shower/wet room kind of thing downstairs so the kids have been watching him with great interest - handing over tools etc. They have watched and learned about plumbing, mixing cement and getting told off (they just don't realise that when a man comes in with a heavy bag or piece of porceline in his hand they need to move out of the way).

Well we did some maths and english at the weekend but that was about it on the home school front as I had lots of work to catch up on especially as it's that time of year for businesses to get their accounts in order...... a daunting task for me as I did no accounts at all last year oooops!

Kids feel a bit deflated as they was not moved on in their Quran today (I did't push them into praticing this week so I hope they see the effect of their laziness inshaAllah). The snack today was chocolate rice crispy cakes skillfully made by DS1. Here they are in their full glory mashaAllah......

In fact they were so yummy that this is what was left on the plate after only a few minutes.....
DS1 also had to fight of dad to save some to hand out at madressah tomorrow inshaAllah. I need to go shopping so not sure what the rest of the day will bring.......

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Tests all round.....

We started this week joining in some of the new free swimming sessions and although I love the idea behind this initiative I do (just a little) begrudge the kids having to share the normally quiet pool with loads of other children. They have been used to sharing it with just a few select friends but commented this week about how manic it was and that they couldn't swim properly. Oh well!

Other than that DS1 started a project on the Animals of Africa that we purchased from for £1.38. It's a complete study unit that he can read and work through himself, some of it is way too easy for him but he is really enjoying it mashaAllah. A friend of his is doing the same project and they have spent some time studying together awwwww ;0) This is what he has done so far....
By the way, if you like lapbooking and you have not already done so it is well worth registering at currclick as they have a weekly free product for you to download which are usually good mashaAllah.

Other than that we, among others mashaAllah, sacrificed some time and learning this week to help out a dear sister and her family that are going through a difficult test at this time. This has been the focus of our week really and the kids have learned such a lot through this experience mashaAllah. They have learned that any of us could be faced by a difficulty at any time and as an ummah we have to work together to help each other out inshaAllah, they have learned about putting what they want on a back burner in support of the greater good mashaAllah. Some sisters looked after kids so others could go and help, brothers also helped when needed and supported their wives in whatever they could do to help. SubhanAllah, it has been a week of reflection and I hope we have all learned something from this family whose faith has only been strengthened by this test, I pray that Allah (swt) grants them the best of this life and allows them entry into Jannah without reckoning inshaAllah.

As the weather has been sooooo nice we have also spent lots of time in the garden and are going to be spending some time planting seeds and stuff (better late than never my old dad always said) in the next week inshaAllah. The kids made a habitat for wood lice and have been observing their behaviour and learning about what they eat etc., They also spent two (or was it three) whole days playing at a friends house and still they want more - this morning they all spent a lot of time and energy trying to convince me to let them stay for another day..... will they ever choose school work over play, lol???

Swimming and sports as usual with madressah in the mornings. The kids have been doing citizenship this week at madressah with a brother, and they have really been enjoying the male input mashaAllah. They are developing a love for Quran and Islam mashaAllah and I pray that this continues and grows inshaAllah; DS2 announced he wants to be a shaykh and hafiz when he grows up mashaAllah be idhnillah. Although my 6 year old seems to be having real problems with memorisation of Quran - any ideas greatly appreciated.