Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Maths off the cuff...

DD brought me this book to read today which led to an activity where I gave her various shapes (two shown below) and I asked her if she could make them into two equal halves. She then cut the gummed shapes in half along her fold line and stuck them on paper; she then had to find the 'whole' shape and stick it on the bottom. We kept repeating the half/whole words used in the book and by using the shapes we revised her shape names; she also traced over the words 'one half circle'; 'one whole circle' etc until she got tired.

Fun, fun, fun.....

We have spent the last week doing lots of fun things and I have decided that I can't do sit down learning with my kids. I feel that they learn much more and take in much more during conversational learning and doing stuff together - whether it's a trip to the park or museum to watching documentaries - So we are going to be doing a lot more unschooling inshaAllah. I feel quite liberated mashaAllah.

I felt under pressure to have them sit and write pages of stuff and do more structured learning like school at home but I have come to realise that it's just not for us! We were all miserable (I think I have been here before - do you think the phases of home education are cyclical?). I have had them write pages of stuff so I know they can do it and I know that they were able to write legible responses to questions because they did so well in their exams so I am just going to calm down, relax and enjoy my kids whilst we learn inshaAllah. I have actually found that they have been doing more writing when I am not forcing them to do it.... go figure!!

We will still be doing spellings, and I will have a rough idea of what I want them to learn but other than that it will be pretty relaxed inshaAllah with a few 'tests' thrown in here and there to make sure they stay on top of things inshaAllah.

Well, what have we been up to...... we had a day trip to Wicksteed Park in Kettering - what a lovely family day out, yes there are some 'rides' but it's not too focused on thrills just simple enjoyment alhamdulillah and best of all there is no loud music banging out. You can buy a few tickets if you want to go on the rides or there is lots of free stuff to do too, with lovely grounds and parks to play in. We are planning to go back for Eid if the weather is compliant inshaAllah!

We have had swimming, park & more 'Quest Seekers' at the library! I hurt my back yesterday so DS1 has stepped in to take my place mashaAllah and he has been cooking up a storm - he made a wonderful pasta yesterday and today we have oven cooked salmon, salad and rice on the menu, yummy can't wait. DS2 has been drawing loads and labelling all his pictures, he has also been writing lots of ad hoc sentences for some reason but has amazed me at his spelling capabilities even though he is not yet reading fluently mashaAllah. He has decided that he wants to be reading properly by the time he goes back to madressah, so I need to get on top of that inshaAllah. We also had a great morning making these masks, learning to follow instructions is an important skill inshaAllah.

Lots of verbal maths going on, times tables via Timez Attack a freeware programme that the kids love. A friend and the Murderous Maths books have inspired me to do more interesting maths the boys and they are certainly enjoying it mashaAllah.

Well, I am completely unprepared for Ramadhan so this week is going to be really, really busy getting in our last minute preparations. Education wise I am just going to see how it goes day by day, I am hoping that we will all become semi-nocturnal during Ramadhan to make it easy on every one as the kids usually wake up about 5.30am but that will make it a very long fasting day, but we will have to wait and see how it pans out.

Apologies for yet another long post, I guess I will just have to post more regularly to keep them shorter!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

It's been so long.....

I have forgotten what we have been doing......Well the DS1 & DS2 have finished their exams at madressa and have achieved 96% and 94% respectively so I am chuffed - although they did cheat a bit 'cos the teacher let them do some of it orally as they were having difficulty with all the writing mashaAllah. We celebrated with a nice tea and a gift each from Toys R Us - I really struggle with whether to reward them or not but came to the conclusion that Allah ta'Ala rewards us so maybe it's OK Allahu alim; would love to know what others thoughts are on this!

We have been doing lots of stuff with the Nature Detectives who have a daily activity downloads throughout the summer holidays and DD made this flying bird - this is a fantastic site and I encourage all to join inshaAllah.

We had a huge spider in my bedroom which meant a very sleepless night for me as I kept waking up to check it was still there lol, not because I am afraid of them of course! I had to wait for DH to come home at about 2am to rescue me, my hero, but even he whistled at its size. DS2 wanted me to catch it so he could study it but there was no way that was going to happen. Apologies for the poor photo but I think I may have been trembling lol

The kids have all joined Quest Seekers, the national summer reading scheme, and we have been attending their activity sessions and the kids made some dragons and walkie talkies (your impressed arn't you (lol)).

I had DH up most of the night the other day laminating and cutting out resources for our new 'school year', one of the things we made was this fishing game with magnets to help DD with her counting and number recognition - but she didn't get a look in as the older ones wanted to 'fish' too, so we had to extend it by adding numbers to the box too so they had to match it to the fish they caught. All got a bit silly I'm afraid!

The two elder boys also had a day camp with the Muslim Scouts and will be joining the local troop (or whatever the collective noun is) inshaAllah. The activities planned were changed because of the decidedly soggy weather but they still came home covered in mud and had a really great day. Among other things they learned how to pitch a tent and did some caving (I think!) of some sort, there were some girls that went too and I was really impress with how the sexes were separated at all times. Thumbs up for scouts I think!

What else....well lots of reading, swimming, sorting and organising and planning. We have been doing maths online and I have organised a membership for home educators in my area for Mathletics - an online scheme to learn and practise maths inshaAllah, it is the favorite of schools nationwide but I will give my final verdict once we get to use it properly inshaAllah. The boys have been making lots of robot stuff and lego models with levers and cams etc. We have had a very relaxed few weeks and I can see it continuing so until after Ramadhan!

DS1 has also been learning lots of maths through the Murderous Maths books - they are in the stamp of the 'Horrible Histories' etc but not quite so vulgar inshaAllah. He read two in one day mashaAllah, he thought they were great and they even had me giggling - I did test him on what he read as I thought he was just reading it for laughs but I was surprised that he had actually taken in quite a lot of the maths too mashaAllah. We got ours from our local library so check them out and see what you think, each one has a different focus i.e. measures, predictions, arithmatics etc.
Focus on the next 6 weeks includes, lots of ibadah in Ramadhan inshaAllah, DS to read fluently, finish off our current projects, number recognition and counting to various levels for the littlies, and more phonics, I also purchased some ready made stuff from Tailor Made Educational Guides to do with the little ones for literacy etc and to take us through Ramadhan inshAllah whilst taking the pressure off of me - just for a little while at least...

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Mom of the year award

From Oum Anas, some time ago...

The rules of the tag are:

1. Admit one thing you feel awful about (involving being a mom). Once you have written it down, you are no longer allowed to feel bad. Remember you are a good mom!

2. Remind yourself that you ARE a good mom, list 7 things you love about your kids, you love doing with your kids, or that your kids love about you.

3. Send this to 5 other moms of the year that deserve a reminder that they are too the best moms that they can be. Remember to send them a note letting them know you have selected them, and also add a link to your post that directs people back to the person who nominated you.

1. Being inconsistent!

a) I love seeing their faces light up when they 'get it'.
b) I love the wonderful conversations we have about everything!
c) I love seeing their energy and drive for things that they enjoy, they are an inspiration to me at times.
d) I love cooking with them.
e) I love our 'family times' and so do they!
f) I love their kindness (to others, they bicker with each other all the time lol)
g) I love them for what they teach me.

3. I'm tagging

Umm RaiyaanUmmi Home Schools Me!
Umm Rashid of Always Learning
Qalballah of Islamic Home Schooling
Umm Junayd of Homeschooling and Home
Umm Suhayb of Home Education (or not) in Sweden