Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Printers & Salatul Istikhara

This is a bit off topic but I had to write as the power of salatul istikhara (the prayer for guidance) never ceases to amaze me. When you ask Allah ta'Ala for guidance and trust Him to give it, the answer to your problem just pops up from nowhere.

A couple of weeks ago my printer started to play up, I wasn't happy as I use it daily for our home education. Anyway, I limped on with it until it packed up completely. We didn't have the money for a new one so my hubby (bless him) got me one from the car boot sale...it worked in a fashion and also packed up. So, armed with a desperate need, I managed to scrape together enough money to buy a new one, I went to the shops and had a look at what was available.....I really wanted another one of the same make but it appears they don't make them anymore **sob**. I was really confused, so before I made any decision I said the words of Istikhara, and ended up leaving the shops for home.

A week later, I found myself back in the shops again. I really, really needed a printer and I had done my research and found the printer I thought I wanted...it was more expensive in the shop so I decided to purchase it online.....and I did. Seconds later, I had the urge to cancel the order....and I did. Then somehow (I don't how) I ended up on a website called www.fixyourownprinter.com and in the forums found the answer to my problems alhamdulillah. I was able to, with the advice I found, very easily fix my own printer which is now working better than it has done for many months not to mention the money I saved. Alhamdulillah, you can't go wrong when you place your trust in Allah, can we ever be grateful enough to Him?

I try and pray two rakahs of Istikhara every morning for the events of the day, and then specifically for any other matter that pops up...even if I just say the words... and it never fails. Just in case any one out there hasn't read them before you can find the etiquettes and recommendations of praying Istikhara here, the words here, and a video in Arabic here.

I have been thinking a lot lately, it must be my age (I have verifocals now you know), and I have finished up in a confused state about our home education and where we are going.....the kids seem less keen than ever to do anything and I can decide whether to do structure or not....now I have to say this isn't the first time I have had niggling doubts about structure v's unschooling but at the moment nothing seems to be working and the kids are really unenthusiastic about everything except playing in the garden oh and scouts! It's so very frustrating....perhaps it's the nice weather that is distracting them!

Anyway, regardless of their lack of enthusiasm we have done some work in the last two weeks....DS1 has finished the book they were working on with their English tutor and they enjoyed it immensely. We are trying to choose they next book for them to work on but have hit a brick wall....the stuff that Year 6's are doing in schools are really lame at the moment....they have been reading above that level for the last few months and doing really well with it but the books for older kids can have more mature themes running through them that we don't really want them to be reading at the moment.....very difficult, if you have any ideas please let me know!We are still working through the Scholastic Maths Lessons books and the others are either doing phonics or Nelson Thornes for English depending on their age. DS2 is still not reading fluently and seems to keep forgetting all the rules...grrrrr

A friend that tutors occasionally is going to find some time to teach the two little ones maths & English inshaAllah, which will take a huge weight of my shoulders alhamdulillah. I am also going to be teaching DS2 & a friends daughter English using the book Stig of the Dump.... I didn't read it in school but it has rave reviews so I am looking forward to reading it with them inshaAllah. Whilst I am doing that, the other sister will do some math with the little ones mashaAllah.
I am hoping that the change of routine and a few planned field trips will light a fire under them again inshaAllah and we can get back into a good HE routine inshaAllah.
The boys have also just come back from camping with the scouts alhamdulillah. The older boys had to put up their own tent and do their own cooking and cleaning mashaAllah, am just trying to get them to transfer their newly learned skills into the house work here lol. They had a great time and met lots of new people....DS1 has decided he wants to stay in the scouts (Network Scouts apparently) until he is 25 and then become a volunteer and help other kids....inshaAllah Allah ta'Ala will grant him his desires if they are good for him inshaAllah. They also learned how to build and light fires....a skill I don't want them to bring into the house inshaAllah, lol.

We also found this cute little fledgling sitting on our doorstep mashaAllah. The nest is under the tiles on our bay window so we couldn't put it back and had to leave it on the floor at the bottom of the bay. We watched from the window after hearing the mum/dad chirping loudly at the bird and saw the mum coming to feed it and usher it into the bushes for safety, mashaAllah it's amazing how Allah ta'Ala puts love and compassion in animals hearts.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010


with the Muslim Scouts.....

DS1 spent a day caving with the scouts in Matlock, Derbyshire; a part of the Peak District. I always encourage my kids to embrace every opportunity that comes their way and to experience new things...after all if they don't like something they don't have to do it again. However, when DS1 announced he wanted to go caving I was a little apprehensive and had to hide my fears as he is claustrophobic and I know that caves can have narrow passages etc; I did show him a few videos of people caving on You Tube to prepare him and he wasn't dissuaded so off we went on our day out to Matlock....

Kit and apparatus being explained....
All kitted out and looking at a map of the cave to be explored...Medical/emergency kit being checked... The entrance to the cave...
Two and a half hours later they returned and this i what they looked like.. but very happy, he later said that it was probably the best experience of his life so far and he couldn't wait to have another go. Alhamdulillah.

Here are some photos that we took of Matlock as we walked around while DS was underground...it's a big meeting place for bikers so there were a few pubs etc in the town but it was a very beautiful place and well worth a visit if you are visiting the Peak District. Apart from being a good hiking space there is a museum, Gullivers Theme Park and the Heights of Abraham to visit, if you fancy a visit click here for information on things to do it the Peak District.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Getting better...

at updating this blog, but there is still lots of room for improvement ;0)...

This week hubby has been laying a new floor in our front room, so the boys have been learning lots about angles and building design...they were very surprised to see how the floor was suspended and very disappointed not to find a stash of treasure or a skeleton of some sort.

Anyway, apart from the learning that goes on as a part of life DS1 gave a lesson to the little ones on how hot air balloons work...Not very well received and he was a little disappointed but it hasn't put him off, he has a more interesting topic planned for next week (if he doesn't get distracted).
DD wrote her first story (I know it doesn't look like much but it took her a full 27 minutes to read it to me, loools).
We also did lots of painting this week, either piccies (as DD is doing here) or whole knights costumes or masks made out of old cereal packets....Peter Duncan would be proud...
Boys are also preparing for scout camp this coming weekend and DS1 has been avidly reading his 'Scouting Skills' hand book to prepare himself....DS2 (who has been before) is extremely nonchalant throwing the odd tip in now and again to make sure DS1 doesn't mess it up! We have also been rounding up numbers from 10's to 100,000's (for the biggies), and more simple additions for DS3 and number recognition for DD.

This week DS1's English tutor also gave them a SATS test, which they took under examination conditions. Now, I have never been a fan of SATs tests (or tests of any sort really) but I must say I surprised myself by the feelings it brought out. He did actually do quite well score wise although he was a little disappointed and vowed to try harder next time....it was a good exercise for him to see his own weaknesses for himself (as opposed to me nagging him) and it also highlighted that they were not applying the skills they had been learning into new situations. So a clear way forward has been identified by himself and by his tutor.....I am now in the process of avidly printing off other SATS test here so I can assess where he is in other subjects too lol, poor boy, I actually feel sorry for him lol. DS2 is continuing with his Nelson Thornes units....can't wait to start the next two units they present the opportunity to expand the learning with art/craft/maths/D&T etc so it should make it more interesting for him. DS3 is still trying to absorb his phonics but is reading and spelling CVC words with ease alhamdulillah, I am trying to teach DD her phonics too as she is asking for work but it just doesn't seem to be sinking in...

We had gymnastics and swimming canceled because of poorly instructors but hubby has had them over the park three days this week. He also had them playing a game this week where they had to act out a role play...it was hilarious, they kept advising/complaining about the acting i.e. "a hungry woman wouldn't say that, she would be quite and more patient" etc.