Wednesday, 14 December 2011

My candles..

Here are some candles I decorated for my mum....they are addictive to make and I can't wait to make some more...

We learned how to do them from this video!
What an exciting week we have had with the children starting with their tutors and mashaAllah, I must say that they had a great time and the tutors have wonderful intentions to help the community. Each of the children were assessed and they all have homework to do, which they did, without being told, as soon as they got home!  The sister also said that if I couldn't afford for them to go more than once a week [I am hoping to send them at least twice a week inshaAllah] that she would give them extra homework.  Alhamdulillah, this has been such a blessing for me; I didn't realise that I was so stressed about it all!

The children also decorated these candles after being inspired by a video we watched on YouTube

They were great fun to make and I think I may be additcted!  Lego also made this papier mache mountain diarama for his Airfix models.

Sprite made himself this Airfix tank!

Daisy made this art journal page.  She used a piece of sponge to dab colour all over the page and then used stick on paper letters and sticky back foam letters to make the words.  She then went on to paint her next to pages all in black....can't wait to see what she's going to do with those lol!

This is Sprites African inspired giraff mask and Daisy's Zebra mask, both of which were inspired by our session at the library's home school group meeting last week.  We also started making some African masks out of paper mache but they made soooo much mess I could hardly bare to look at it let alone immoratlise it in a photograph!

We also made some ghee and learned about it's health benefits and related ahadith.

The kids also made chocolate cake and orange custard, orange in colour not in flavour.  I don't know why they wanted orange custard but it was nice anyway!

Daisy has been doing some more sewing...

I have also spent some time going over the lessons that the children did at the tutoring group to make sure they understand the concepts and am doing more hands on activities to ram the concepts home.  Lego has been doing forces with related formula and long division, the others are brushing up on their times tables and handwriting before they go back to 'school' on Monday inshaAllah.

Well, we are off for a few days off with my family in London. Yay!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Gotta love the library!

This is just some of the things we have been up to since my last post and I apologise in advance for the length of the post. Sorry!

Jam tarts...yummy!

This is Daisy's impression of what Jannah will look like...

More baking, this time green sultana fairy cakes!  I don't know why Daisy wanted green ones but they were good any how.

I know some of you will probably be gasping in horror at this but we made crackers for my families xmas celebrations....I know....but they are not religious and we miss them terribly so in a moment of emotional gooeyness with my sister I said I would make some so that they could remember us at dinner.  So there you have it...a token of love to my family at a time when we miss each other the most.  Nothing more.

We have been practicing letter formations:

We also have lilly's blooming in December....can you believe it!

We made meatballs and's amazing how quickly children tire of rolling meatballs lol.

We also attended our first session at the Libaries home education group.  Wow, what fun.  This week there was a brother from the museum that came to show us some African artifacts as it is (was) Black History month.  We looked a bowls made from the fruit of the Calabash tree...the fruit comes in different shapes and sizes and are hollowed out, left to dry and then used as water containers, bowls, cups etc.  The first picture is the Calabash tree which is followed by two pictures of some items made from the fruit.  All these pictures are not of the items we handled but of items that a very similar...a very efficient library employee managed to pack everything away before I got to photograph it!

We looked at African hand painted fabrics:

And a 'pillow' to help support huge hairstyles whilst sleeping, it was aparently also used by the Egyptians for the same didn't look very comfortable though.:

We also saw a selection of African masks some of which were quite scarey lol!

Last but not least we looked at some weaved baskets made from raffia. We talked alot about how we are loosing these skills as cultures become more 'modern'...personally I think we would all be much better off if we stuck to a more traditional way of life!

I also found out that home educators can have a special library card that will allow the family to take out as many books as they like, for as long as they like and will never incur charges...bonus!

The museum will also be arranging a special tour of the museum for the group which will ncorporate a look behind the scenes and give the kids the opportunity to choose some items to be included in a display.  They will also be working on a project with the children about the local area. They will do some research using the archives etc,  talk to the people, do some digital photography etc and this will all culminate in a presentation for display in the library.  History and photography all wrapped up together...Lego's 2 favourite subjects, he was thrilled!  They have also said that they are aiming to meet individual families needs and will be willing to provide any activities that we want free of charge.

Anyway, as a result of this session we came home and they kids wanted to make their own African masks and we are also in the process of learning a little about Africa....any work they do as a follow up to the sessions they can take back to show the librarian, she takes a real interest in their work and will display anything she can.  She is such a lovely lady I pray that Allah ta'ala gives her guidance inshaAllah.

Lego has also been supporting his friend who was in hospital for a relatively routine operation and it has surprised me how thoughtful he can be...makes me want to pinch his cheeks mashaAllah.  The visits to the hospital led to lots of discussions about the other children there that had more serious and long term health issues.  Lego and Sprite both noticed that a lot of the patients spent a lot of the time without visitors and said they wanted to volunteer to visit the childrens wards at the hospital as soon as they were old enough to keep them entertained inshaAllah.  Aww how sweet mashaAllah.

For English Lego has been writing a play of a court hearing based on the book 'Holes'.  He has been doing lots of research and it has really grabbed his attention, he has even interviewed a friend that has studied law and really put a lot of thought into it.  It has taken up a lot of time and effort which was nice to see.  He seems to like writing plays and enjoying learning about the law.  I have also sat with him on this one and 'taught' him as we were going along as he was complaining that I wasn't teaching him any more and just letting him get on with stuff by himself. Complaint noted, guilt filed away, and more effort from me to ensue!
Everything else is as usual alhamdulillah...see you soon!

Leaving it to the professionals...

Well I have finally admitted defeat and decided to give up some of my home ed responsibilities to the professionals.  We have been in a rut, educationally, for about a year and it was beginning to have an affect on family relationships and my sanity lol; I knew something had to be done but all my efforts and discussions with the kids came to nothing.  I was making so much dua about it all as I didn't know what to do next; I felt that state school wasn't an option for us and I couldn't affort private schooling [not that that's much better!]; then, by the grace of Allah ta'ala a couple of opportunities sprung up from nowhere alhamdulillah.

The first was a home school group run by the library that is open to suggestions for session activities and wants to 'cater for individual needs' - more about that in the next post God willing.  The other was a private tutoring service providing Maths, English and Science tuition; the upshot is that I have registered the 3 younger ones for the morning session on Mondays [they will do 1 hour of each subject] and Lego will go on Saturday and Sunday for 2 hours per day to do Maths and Science.  This will all kick off this Saturday when Lego begins his classes inshaAllah.  The service is run by a husband and wife team mashaAllah.  They are both teachers and have lots of teaching experience and the sister was very understanding of my situation and is willing to fit in with our needs, they have a max class size of 12 and they don't believe that sitting down with a text book is the best way to learn alhamdulillah [those of you that know me will know that this will be a great relief to me, lol].  On top of this the lessons are extremely reasonable at only £2.50-3 per hour, based on age!  How fab is that mashaAllah?

On the down side I do feel a bit of a hypocrite doing this as I have been, and still am, a strong advocate of home education and would always encourage people to give Home Ed a go but I am just tired and need to recharge my batteries a little!  I know some of you will be shocked at all this revelation so in order to defend myself I would like to point out that I have no family around me to help, other than my husband, who is unable to help with the HEd, and I work part time in addition to the normal woman of the house stuff we all have to do. I also suffer from a long term illness that effects my energy levels etc.  SubhanAllah, did that sound like whinging....sorry, I don't mean to whine just state my case - a couple of people almost fell off their chairs when they found out LOL!

We had got to a stage where the children and I were on different wave lengths and we couldn't get back our learning mojo that was lost during and after my diagnosis.  I did continue to educate through the illness and beyond but it was a continual battle with no time to take a breather.  I think the kids and I need a bit of time away from each other to get our mojo back and these two ventures will just about do it I think God Willing.  It will allow me not to have to think about what to teach as we can base it on what they are doing with their tutors and the homework they set.  We also have the activities at the library which we can work from too and I am also hoping to incorporate a project that we all work on together God willing - but we won't begin this for a week or two to allow us to get into a routine!

We are all looking forward to our new programme of education [although the kids have been talking about the impact it will have on their 'free' time LOL] and it has already lifted some stress from the house; we are having more fun together already and I have more energy and enthusiasm for the little things that I want to teach them like reading, spelling, crafts etc.

Please remember me and my family in your duas as well as all the home educators out there, who give so much, may Allah ta'ala give us ease and guidance in the task raising our children for His pleasure. Ameen.