Saturday, 30 July 2011

Inspired by Montessori

I found this video on Montessori education today which has inspired me to learn more about this method of teaching...we used to base our studies mostly around hands on learning but seem to have gotten a bit side tracked some how by my Lego's request for more seems that the other children have also had to fall into having more structure too whether they want it or not.

I've obviously heard the Montessori name banded about many times over the years but have never looked into it and I'm now wondering what, if anything, this method may have to offer Lego at the ripe old age of 12 lol...I think more research is in order as it might be just the mixture of structure verses hands on learning that we need. I would be interested in hearing from any of you that follow the Montessori method to get some further advice inshaAllah. The very brief research I have done at the moment seems to point to children going to Montessori schools and the resources seem so expensive so I would be really interested to hear how this method can be adapted into home schooling and whether any of you have any curricula etc you could recommend. Also if any of you have began teaching this method to older children I would like to know how it worked out inshaAllah.

I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did, it really epitomises the way I feel about education....I can't believe it's taken me this long to get round to researching this method. Doh!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

One week to Ramadan!

Indeed we belong to Allah and to Him we return: a close friend of mine left to be with her Lord about 5 weeks ago; she was also making plans for Ramadan just before she died. She was only 37 and never thought that she wouldn't be here to fast this year subhanAllah. I pray that Allah forgives her soul, and the souls of all the believers, and protects them all from the punishment of the grave and builds for them a lofty abode in Paradise. Ameen. It has also made me realise that I am not spiritually ready to meet Him and pray that Allah keeps this ailing soul on the Earth until such a time that He is pleased with me, ameen. I need this Ramadan inshaAllah.

Well as a part of all the spiritual reflection that has been happening of the last few weeks as a result of the death of my dear sister we have been getting excited about Ramadan. Such a blessing to have reached another Ramadan inshaAllah [we're not quite there yet!] and the kids have lots of plans and it's funny to see how their goals change as they get older and they naturally want to get involved with more ibada mashaAllah. We have spent a lot of time this week preparing....deciding what we wanted to achieve etc. with lots still left to do for next week inshaAllah.

Lego has been continuing with his English lessons and I'm not sure if I mentioned it before but they are reading the award winning Holes by Louis Sachar [oooh I felt like a chat show host or something there!]. We chose it as it seemed to appear on most schools Year 8 Reading List and also seemed really popular with the kids and ours are no exception; they are really enjoying reading this book even though it's a bit below their level [we were worried they would get bored but it's quite a good story]. Another bonus was that it was something that they could finish before Ramadan and there was quite a lot of ready made and free teaching materials available for this book not least were some fab downloads from, they have some great resources for teaching English.

Crush and Daisy are progressing well with the Peter & Jane books....they just were not 'getting' Jolly Phonics and Daisy especially was getting confused so we went back to the old point and read method and they are flying along. I think it's a lot less complicated for them, this is a word and it says x seems to be doing the trick though! They both had lessons with Aunty M too this week with their Math, English and Science and were even joined by my friends 4 year old son but I'm not sure if he turned out to be more of a distraction lol!

Sprites English lessons haven't happened for the last two weeks as his 'classmate' was on holiday so instead they have lots of homework to do and will restart again after Ramadan inshaAllah. The kids have also started using Spellodrome that they get as part of their Mathletics subsciption which [despite having for the last year - shame on me!] we haven't used until now! Well, they are loving it mashaAllah and it's taking the edge off of spelling tests which were getting a bit tedious for all of us I think!

We also spent a day at Watermead Country Park on our's a beautiful park with lots to do and you can also have a BBQ there [wish I'd known that before we went we were starving, lol]. We found the park as Lego had a cooking and fire lighting challenge there with the scouts, it's only about 20 min drive away and I can't believe it's taken me 8 years to find it lol! I must find out if they can take their kayaks on the lake! I think we are going to have some fab times there when the schools go back inshaAllah.

Lego and Sprite have gone through a whole shop full of match sticks and glue sticks making some sort of D-Day landing model for their project which I'm not allowed to show you yet [spoil sports!] but it's quite impressive so I am praying that this time he will get it finished, painted and photographed before one of his siblings accidently sits, leans or kicks it over leaving it in a million pieces. Don't you just hate it when that happens? We have a lot of work that ends up getting spoilt.....but there just doesn't seem to be enough space to put the many, many creations produced by four productive young people!

They have had a holiday from madressa this week as they had exams last week and next weeks madressa promises to be lots of fun as they have a bring and share food day and a presentation day among others before they break for Ramadan on Friday.

Well that was our week, I hope we can achieve all we hope to achieve for next week and get our preparations done for Ramadan inshaAllah and I pray that you all have a good week too! x

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Then came the Romans...

Today we enjoyed a fab Roman Army Day at the Jewry Wall Museum. They have one of the highest remains of Roman masonry in the country. The day was organised and run by the volunteers of the Friends of Jewry Wall who did a fantastic job I have to say, it was one of the best organised days I've ever been to and the children thoroughly enjoyed it. Firstly we had a look around the museum and was able to talk to a Roman doctor who explained the equipment on display and was very, very patient in answering all the children's questions. Then was a guided tour of the Hadrianic baths [basically built during the reign of Hadrian who also ruled that mixed bathing would no longer be allowed], some centurion training and lots of crafts to do. We will definitely be going back!

The Senator and the Centurion inspecting the troops...

The Centurion training the troops:
The troops beating their shields to taunt their victims just before they charged:
The troops practicing their 'tortoise' formation [not bad for a bunch of newbies eh!]:
Centurion training in progress:
The bath wall..the largest remains of of a public building in the country:
They children practicing their sword skills using the Gladius on the training pole:
A model of the complete site:
Exhibition of Gladiators fighting:
A traditional Roman kitchen:
Food and herbs available at the time of the Romans:
A Roman wall painting:
A floor mosaic [I know you guessed that lol!]
What a great way to kick off our project on Ancient Rome.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.....

at least that's what I'm hoping will happen...the relationship between me and this blog definitely needs a nudge in the right direction.

Any ho, I will try - in this post - to summarise the main events of the last 8 months [it was a bit of a shocker to see that it's been that long since my last post lol, but it's been made; we've been soooo busy] so among other things.....

The boys have had a few camps with Sprite winning the 'Cub of the Camp' award..he was dead chuffed. They have also done several hikes, archery, abseiling, climbing, kayaking, shooting with air rifles, orienteering, map reading and a whole bunch of other stuff far too exciting for this aging bint! Ooo and Lego was also chosen twice to represent the Muslim Scouts at the Scout Associations Jamboree training camps to talk about Islam and being a Muslim in their Diversity and something Group [I'm sure I've got some of those titles wrong but you can get the gist]!

Lego [and the now drawn in Sprite] have been continuing with their WWI & II projects and have been building numerous war planes out of Airfix [or was that just a ploy to get me to buy the models hmmm]... here is just one of their creations there's far to many to keep track of and just in case your reading boys this pic wasn't picked with any sort of preference it was just the first one I came to:

Lego has also read the autobiography of Manfred Von Richthofen [The Red Baron] - among the numerous other books on the two Great Wars - which he thoroughly enjoyed. However, apart from a short essay on the Red Baron and a short precis on life in the trenches [which was excellent I have to admit] I have yet to see a finished 'project'...think I may need to put my foot down on this and get a line drawn underneath this project [or should I say obsession!].

We have been on lots of nature walks, found some exciting badger sets, some strange trees and had fun in the sun with friends.

We had a couple of trips to the National Space Centre; they do a great deal where you can upgrade your admission ticket to an annual pass free of charge, well worth it if you live in or around Leicester.
National Space Centre Rocket Tower
We have been to Abbey Pumping station too many times to mention [it's a very small museum but the kids love it there!].

We had the Scout Parade:

and Twycross Zoo:

We built boats to float on the brook:

We attended a 'build a solar car' workshop at Loughborough University, the first is the car built by the two 10 year olds and the second is the one built by the 8 year olds.

We have been for a couple of stays with my family in Essex and had some lovely walks etc. But unfortunately missed out on a trip to Royal Duxford as the car wouldn't start [with, unfortunately, all the kids (including my nephew) sat inside with packed lunches and cameras at the ready]. So, thanks to the efficiency and general all round wonderfulness of the AA in fixing my car we were able to plan to go the next day instead. But, alas, had to cancel again as there is a lot of outside stuff at Duxford and it was absolutely pouring down. So, to placate the angry mob, we had a trip into Harlow and bought some more Airfix models instead, lol!

Lego has been going history mad and has been looking into lots of different eras in history but needs to be tied down as I feel he is getting overwhelmed. So, we will all be starting a unit on Ancient Rome real soon inshaAllah [God willing] using the Evan Moore book on Ancient Rome as the basis of our studies. A friend, who happens to be at Uni studying to be a History teacher [what luck eh!] is also going to set him some work and will be sending us a good text book for him to work through - she has also agreed to mark his work too mashaAllah.

Maths is progressing well with Maths Whizz [thanks to Grandma who finances their memberships bless her] with the odd detour into taught sessions when needed; by the way if you are a member of Education Otherwise I think they were talking about getting cut price membership to this programme, it's well worth checking out inshaAllah.

Lego is still progressing well with his English tutor and I have just started teaching Sprite and a friends child English once a week based on a chosen book...we have started them off on 'Cherry Tree Farm' as it was recommended by an older friend. Not too exciting so far but a nice easy start to the lessons.

Crush and Daisy are still attending lessons with friend once a week to do Maths and English mashaAllah and are doing well and apart from the list above they also enjoyed a trip to Drayton Manor with the Beavers.

We had a break from Supercharged Science as I was doing lots with the little ones about changes in materials and simple electrical circuits etc but have started it up again following the boys interest in robot building... This was Lego's first effort at robotics:

Last but not least we have a new member of the family...his name is Sky, a beautiful budgie to replace Lego's two canaries who sadly died. Lego was beside himself when they died so we got Sky to cheer him up and he loves him so much mashaAllah.

Well I think that's the highlights all done, forgive me if I've mentioned any of this stuff before but hopefully we can get back to normality now inshaAllah...