Friday, 12 November 2010

We have been continuing with our maths and English as usual and I was somewhat surprised (and a little proud) when Lego's tutor discussed his progress with me. She said that they were doing very well and were well above average - in fact she thought that they could go for their GCSE next year...wow!

The surprise came because I was really worried about Lego's progress....as a boy he didn't do worksheets and we only 'discussed' grammar rules etc, on top of that he only learned to read when he was about 9...I thought he would never learn to read and was pulling my hair out because I didn't have any physical evidence of his learning and I thought he would be way behind but alas no! For me this was a timely 'prod' that goes to prove that when children are ready to take on the information they will, and in a very short space of time.

The prod was necessary to reminded me that I should be taking it easy with Sprite...who also appears to be a late learner...and relax more about their education inshaAllah.; I am really stressed about their learning at the moment but am not sure if this is just a manifestation of guilt because I have started work again!

The same day, we were playing a game of 'Bananagrams' (which is fab for the kids!) and when Daisy spelt the word 'nut' with the tiles she impulsively ran off to get a paper and pen and immediately wrote the word down. She continued to write down each word that she made.
I was amazed (again) at the difference between boys and girls and the way that they learn subhanAllah. I know I've said this before but it never ceases to fascinate me; having three boys before Daisy I was used to the way they learn but she is a dream to teach (or not teach, as the case is) and it doesn't seem to be just her, girls the world over seem to approach learning in the same way.

Unless they ask, I don't start teaching the children until they reach 7 years but, on her own initiative, she copies paragraphs from books, writes letters all the time, tries to read, counts, sorts and will really try to work things out for herself. She is very observant, extremely communicative and is fab at just explaining her emotions. I often forget she is only 5 mashaAllah. I'm glad I had the boys first otherwise I think I may have found really difficult to teach them after a girl lol!

Daisy has been asking to learn 'how many' the numbers need...she recognises her numbers to 5 so I gave her these really cute animal counters and she had to match to the right number of animals to the numeral. She worked on this theme all week as she can really get going on her Maths Whizz account once she has this under her belt!


Maths Whizz is going a real treat for the boys mashaAllah, I love it and so do they (still) although I am waiting for a lull in their enthusiasm! We have been plodding along with the online lessons and then I check their progress and what they have been doing and then ensure they use what they have learned in 'real life' experiences or print off a related work sheet.

Lego has been on yet another (very muddy) hike alhamdulillah. He just loves hiking and said he feels really close to Allah when he's 'out there', his leader says he is the only one that has never complained on hikes....I really want to do a hike with just him if I can. I think it would do us both good as I have been inspired to spend more time in silent reflection after I watched an episode of a program called 'The Big Silence' on BBC iplayer.

It's about a Benedictine monk who takes 5 people and tries to teach them the benefits of silent meditation as practised by monks. It was really touching; they all seemed to connect to Allah in some way and it made me realise that I spend too much time rushing around and not enough time alone with Allah ta'ala. I have decided that the kids and I need to spend some time in silent reflection each day inshaAllah...my shaykh says that we should be spending at least two hours a day in dhikr; and to be frank, I am really struggling with it. I am really having to squeeze it in and my mind is running with jobs that need to be done when I'm finished astaghfirullah. So I am hoping this will be a time when I can get us all into the routine of silence that will lead to a bigger and better relationship with Allah ta'ala inshaAllah.

We have also spent some time making these really cute finger puppets from felt....


I let the boys make some on their own and they came up with evil bird (the red one), bat and zombie...boys are so sweet aren't they?


The cooking theme has continued with Lego and he made these enchiladas during the week mashaAllah. He and his friends also had a 'practice run' for the three course meal they need to cook us for their Chefs Badge. They did well considering they refused any help from us but they really need to work on their timing and cleaning up skills lol...most of the meal was lovely but we did have hard roast potatoes which weren't so morish lol.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Took Sprite for his hike and had a nice surprise when they said the Beavers were going so Crush was able to go too. He was so excited I thought he was going to burst, fortunately he was dressed appropriately and Sprite had enough food for two in his back pack alhamdulillah....his first hike and what a good 'un; 5 miles and 3 challenges; The Tunnel of Doom, Mount Everest Junior and Log-on! It was quite eventful for him too; he apparently nearly 'killed' a leader when he fell oh him mashaAllah (Crush isn't fat but feels like he's made of solid muscle!) and he had to tell off one of the helpers who offered him a pork sausage! I was very happy to hear that at 7 he felt confident enough to stand up for what he believed in as, although there are mostly Muslims that attend, apart from the Scouts group not everyone involved in the group is Muslim and I do worry that they might eat something inappropriate.

What else.....well, hmmm, well the kids got to relax for the two days I was at work this week as hubby was unwell but I am on holiday for three weeks now so they WILL be making up for it lol! Actually, I think everyone needed a break as we have all had this virus that's going around so alhamdulillah. So we started Weds with Lego's English tutor, then rush back to take my friends daughter to Sports, then back home to pick up Crush & Daisy for their sports. I then get some time for a quick cuppa and then have to drop my friend off at the sports center (she walks back home with the little ones) and I go off to pick up Lego +1 from the tutor. We all get to relax and eat for an hour before we have to get ready and rush off to madressah...back at 3pm sit for a while and then it's off to swimming lessons. This week we had to wait at my friends until the boys were dropped off from Beavers, so by the time we got home everyone went straight up to bed and were asleep in seconds alhamdulillah...Weds is a very busy day for us!

The children's grandmother very kindly paid for the kids to join 'Maths Whizz' and I must say it has really encouraged the kids to do maths and I am able to keep a close eye on what they are doing and keep them chugging along. It has also made it much easier for me as I don't have to plan too much, I just check what they have been doing and print off some worksheets or activities to go along with it...it's brilliant and much, much cheaper than a tutor. Yay!

Still haven't got going with the science yet this term for some reason but I do aim to have our owl project finished in the next three weeks inshaAllah, which will include dissecting owl pellets....not looking forward to that!

Daisy has been doing lots of random writing by herself and, I don't know why, has been copying words, sentences and paragraphs, without instruction, from anything she can get her hands on! Girls are really, really different from boys....she just seems to teach herself whereas the boys need 'gentle' coaxing all day, every day unless it's hands on stuff of course!

Sprite is working on a 'fire safety' brochure using all manner of resources, I can't see how he's going to bring it all together and I am trying desperately not to interfere....it's so hard because they get so disappointed when it doesn't work out but they must be left to make their own mistakes.

We have done little art and craft lately so I think I will also bring out the wellies and we will go for a nature walk with our note books and do some sketching and painting with water colours...it's only a thought at the moment, I may have to start off in the garden if it rains!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Oops!

Ooops, it has been a long time since my last post! To begin with I have decided to give the kids nicknames in my posts rather than initials and they are (drum roll please): DS1=Lego, DS2=Sprite, DS3=Crush and DD=Daisy.

Well things have been mad around here as I have now started working two days a week outside the home. Two days doesn't sound much but it takes quite a lot out of our 'school' week and six weeks in we still haven't managed to sort out a new routine! I must admit that I am enjoying being back at work but do feel guilty about being away from the kids :0( On the plus side I think they are learning to appreciate me (and my cooking) a little more lol!

Anyway, this is what we have managed to work out so far....on each of the days that I work the boys have an hour of football, an hour of madressah, Qur'an practice, need to finish off their homework from their tutoring sessions and do at least half an hour each of maths on Mathletics.

We have also subscribed to Super Charged Science for our science lessons; it's a fab site and the lady's enthusiasm seems to rub off on you and best of all the kids can go ahead and do the lessons by themselves. However, the real reason behind the subscription was to free up more of my time now that I'm working....I'll let you know how the kids get on with it inshaAllah.

I am also looking into subscribing them to Math Whizz, it is an online maths tutor and is good but at £99 per child a year I need to think about it, lol!

Lego is now reading The Otterbury Incident with his tutor. It's a short, old book by C Day Lewis originally published in 1948 but we thought as the last one was so 'heavy' we would give them something easier to read. They are really enjoying it mashAllah and are being inspired by the characters and the things they do to entertain themselves. They have also spent a while working on poetry and we have found that Lego has a flare for poetry.....he has let me include a sample of his haiku poetry below..but is highly embarrassed about it all and won't let me publish any more, lol!

Bodies around me
Standing alone silently
Aftermath of war

It has a real 'boy' slant I think you will agree...

'Stig' has introduced the younger ones to adding suffixes and doubling consonants, character building, proverbs & sayings and fire safety...they had to work together to produce a poster on fire safety and this is the result so far...sorry about the dire photography...you can't really see it properly but it has a flap thing that lifts up to reveal a fire safety quiz.

We also have two new additions to our family; the kids were given some canaries by an uncle and, although I was dreading it, it has proven to be good for all of them and has taught them responsibility.

Lots has been happening in scouts; they boys have been canoeing, rode their bike in the 'Sky Ride' and took part in the District's 'Dave Smart Challenge'; Here's what their leader posted about the event "the scouts had to complete a whole range of challenges ranging from abseiling, fire-lighting, lifesaving and more along the 12km route. It also became a cultural lesson for the other groups when our boys made their isha salat on open ground whilst they waited to begin the camp fire activities." At the moment Lego is working on his chefs badge; they have to work in teams to plan, prepare and present a 3 course meal and the mums get to eat and mark their efforts; looking forward to that lol! Sprite is working on his Fitness Challenge badge and treats us to a show of push-ups & star jumps etc at every opportunity.

We also had an eventful Eid at the Islamic Foundation where the kids got to have pony rides and handle 'orrible animals but it didn't compare to my sister's wedding the following Saturday...you looked beautiful sis! The kids also really enjoyed meeting her two chickens Dolly and Gert; thanks for the lovely eggs ladies!


Thursday, 26 August 2010

Photography

DS1 has started to take an interest in photography and took these photos a while ago...these were all taken in the back garden and were his first attempts at photography. They have not been edited and I thought they were quite good and showed he had an 'eye' for a good pic....but I am a little biased as his mum, what do you think? Sorry it took me sooooo long to post them son x






These cherries grow wild near our home...yummy!


The wall of our Turkish wood oven that hubby built in the back garden...
The following three are the Nigella Flower from which blackseed is produced...in my mind it is only fitting that something as beneficial as blackseed should be borne from such a beautiful flower.




Photographs (c) A Dogan, 2010

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Playscheme Day 3-10

OK so not the photolog I was hoping for but just for the sake of completeness here are a few details about the rest of their trips:

Day 3 - Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Center : This was another favorite day for the boys, they did kayaking, abseiling, air rifle shooting, orienteering and climbing....I think that was all, anyway they had a fab time and was very proud of beating the girls team...boys *rolls eyes*

Day4 - Bradgate Park Hike : hikes are always a winner with the kids but this is a beautiful park (also lovingly known by the kids as the deer park because of all the, yes you've guessed it...deers). The house was the birthplace of Lady Jane Grey, later Queen, ruling for a mere 9 days before being overthrown by Mary I. A much later park landmark is the folly known as 'Old John' on the top of the highest hill in the park, built in 1784. The folly, built by the Greys, is a memorial to John, an estate worker killed in a bonfire accident during celebrations of the 21st birthday of the son of the Earl of Stamford, a member of the Grey family.


Day 5 - Sports Day : I kept him home for this because I was too tired to get them all up and out.....well I'm getting on a bit now you know lol.

Day 6 - Twycross Zoo : we have been here before, but the boys felt the day was rushed and they didn't get to see a lot of the animals....awww!

Day 7 - Sports Day : DS1 is no great sportsman but he has a go and enjoys it mashaAllah and again they were pleased to have beaten the girls....

Day 8 - National Space Center : DS1 was really taken with this trip but his friend wasn't too impressed...I guess it depends on what rings your bell.....DS1 is a visual learner and he came back with lots of facts and information about the equipment etc.

Day 9 - Islamic Calligraphy : Still being tired I was planning on keeping DS1 at home for the last two days so he missed this day but his friend said it was fab and was really impressed with the calligraphers skills.

Day 10 - Party Day : OK so DS1 nagged me to let him go to this day and I relented...being as Ramadhan had started they didn't get a party but did get certificates and medals for the sports days etc and iftar on the Saturday (which I managed to completely forget about *wink* much to DS1's annoyance). Well there is only so much running about a woman can do in a fortnight...

Playscheme Day 2 - Warwick Castle

First of all I have to apologise for getting these up so late but I was unable to upload pics at blogger for quite a while....at least it wasn't my fault THIS time, yay! It seems that adults and kids alike were very impressed with the visit to Warwick Castle. Apart from the beautiful castle they got to see some jousting and birds of prey, archery the old fashioned way....there were people around that explained how things were done back then and they got a chance to walk around a kind of museum/wax work thing.....it was unanimously voted the best trip of the whole scheme and we are planning to go back as a family inshaAllah. I'll kick of this trips round of photos with a little video tour that DS1 kindly took for us....










Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Darul Arqam Play Scheme - Day 1

The Sea Life Center - 2 August 2010
Birmingham

A few photo's that DS1 took of his trip to the Sea Life Center.