Al Huda Institute

Week 2 : Quran and Prayer

On Thursday, I managed to cover the lines Z would read of his ABATA, so he read 6 lines, 2 for each day. I also noticed he had about 2+ pages to finish book 4, and so I told him,

“You’ll finish book 4 soon inshaaAllah!”

I even counted the lines and predicted that he would finish it in two weeks inshaaAllah.

“Then you can go to book 5 and then 6 and then read Quran! S, N and H read Quran when they were your age! You remember the video of N reading Quran?”

His eyes lit up and as the memory of that video clicked in his mind, he nodded enthusiastically. He seemed excited. I even asked him,

“Do you want to read the big Quran or the small one?”

“The small one.”

Hmm…I guess he’s used to using my mushaf when doing his surah. I personally prefer him to use th big ones though, and so I opened the big one and showed it to him, saying,

“See, this is bigger and easier to read!”

“No, I want to read the small one.”

Well, I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

As he is turning 7 soon inshaaAllah, I will ask him to choose between Zuhr and Asr, which one he wants to commit to. This was how I introduced salat to the older kids. When S turned 7, I asked her to choose between zuhr and asr, and whatever she chose, she will have comitted to it even if she is sick, which is a good practical lesson in how to make salat when you are sick and best of all, it teaches them commitment. I like this method so far, because it is gradual and they learn to commit to one salat at a time and not all 5, and they learn to hopefully perfect it, learn what to recite in the different positions, know the details of the salat they are committing to, before adding the next one, in about a few months. By the time they turn 10 inshaaAllah, they would then committed to all 5 salawaat. With the older kids, it worked. While we were traveling, they also still had to pray and so they learned how to pray when traveling.

With Z, I’m focusing or have been focusing on him perfecting each position and he has perfected the iftiraash, and tawarru3, and his sujud and ruku and even getting up from ruku and going into sujud. Soon, I plan to introduce him to what to say in ruku and sujud. Short ones and then hopefully, by April, he would have at least know how to pray with the pillars. Tashahud usually comes in a bit later.

We had gone to Dallas, and I had talked with a sister who took Dream and her two teenagers, age 17 and 15 are now TA for the Dream program mashaaAllah! On the drive home, hubs and I talked about the possibility of signing up S for the sisters public speaking workshop with Qalam Institute, and H for the Dream program, whether we move there or not. I really hope we can attend S’ graduation this June …inshaaAllah!

I also have to start calling the local CC asking about what is needed for S to enroll. She will inshaaAllah finish AlHuda this June and then she will plunge full force into finishing her high school. May Allah make it easy ameen! As for N, it seems that I need to work very closely with her all the way and make sure she’s on top of her work. I don’t like doing this, but what can I do? May Allah make it easy ameen!

I also have full hope that inshaaAllah with our regular post fajr session on Ustadh Nouman’s Tafseer and Arabic with Hosna, that we would really benefit from it. There were times when I was about to give up because I felt like despite us doing it every day and regularly, it wasn’t entering our hearts. But as I asked the kids survey questions, I sensed that those tafseer sessions do help. And it made me feel like haa..shaytaan is working to get us off that track maybe, making me feel hopeless. So the thing to do is to just keep doing it and make crazy dua Allah puts barakah in it. For Hosna, I really do hope we get ouf ot it what he Dream students get out of Dream, except I still do want to attend Dream or the part time one, and send H to the full time one. InshaaAllah.

I wish I can do Arabic with Z. I am VERY poor at doing this with the kids when they’re young. Seriously. If I master Arabic myself, maybe, but the reality is, I don’t. Argh. I’m very bad at trying it since even with Malay, we’ve been very bad with speaking it with the kids, even though we have a second chance with Z since he is still young. My God. May Allah make it easy, Ameen.

I have yet to sit down with N and come up with her hifdh revision schedule. May Allah make it easy ameen!

S is back volunteering teaching at Sunday school. Her horse therapy volunteer sessions hasn’t resumed yet so far. And our girls youth halaqa has been going on strong alhamdulillah. I plan to have S fully handle a few sessions on her own with my supervision inshaaAllah.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Al Huda Institute, Arabic, Bayyinah Institute, Community, High School, Homeschooling, Islamic Studies, Learning Challenges, Living Islam, Prayer/salat, Qalam Institute, Quran, Tafseer, Teaching Challenges, Teaching To Read, Thoughts, Volunteer Masjid, Youth Girls halaqa | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

2014 Week 1

I know. It’s been more than a while since I posted on Z’s weekly progress. MIL’s been here for almost a month now and the kids are enjoying her and we’ve been having halaqa for the girls at the masjid twice a week since the break in December, so I’ve been really busy, alhamdulillah. N’s been making sweet treats at every halaqa with her cookies and cupcakes. Z’s been my recording manager at the halaqa, ready with the IPad to start the recording once I start the halaqa. Once, I didn’t bring it and he whispered to me,

“Where’s the Ipad?”

Last night, as we were about to leave, he asked me, “Did you end the recording?”

Well, I tend to be more tech illiterate at these public speaking moments so I said,

“Oh no! I didn’t! Can you end it for me?” And he tech-savvily did!

MIL told me that when she was putting on her telekung to join the jamaah last night, Z went and told her,

“In the masjid, you don’t need to put that on. At home yes.”

LOL. Apparently, the boy has been observing and making his own conclusions!

Well, N is doing Algebra 1. H has started with Algebra 2, using Teaching Textbook, grudgingly since I told him to look out for MUS ALgebra 2 on vegsource everyday and he couldn’t find it before Jan2014. Our agreement was that if he couldn’t find it by Jan 2014, he will be using TT, because I cannot be bothered to peruse vegsource everyday and look for it when he can. S should be done with her TQ this June inshaaAllah.

All the older kids finished their Biology lab report during the break  and N has been reciting to me after Zuhr and Z also has been picking up again on his daily IQRA reading and surah, though for his surah, it’s been going slow. It’s ok. Better slow and steady than fast and furious. Literally.

With Z, I’ve been working with him on reading terms like author, problem, resolution, beginning, middle, end and have been using some simple book report forms from TPT. For math, I’m focusing on drilling him now and he’s improved a lot on doing subtraction. I also introduced Place Value to him using the TPT activity which I made into a file folder game. For 2014 calendar notebook, he didn’t want it to be the same as last year’s, so what I did was to put one worksheet per day instead of the typical daily work like in last year’s calendar. I also added a reading list for each month and so far, he’s been filling it up every time we read a book. I plan to up his math drill before we go into regrouping inshaaAllah.

Today, we read Ella Takes the Cake, which he read all by himself, somewhat reluctantly, but he got through it alhamdulillah! We also read Yucky Worms, and now, I stop and ask him to see how much he comprehends. He seems to have pretty good emotional intelligence, like N, but in terms of retainment of information, it’s pretty weak. He’d always say “I don’t know.” Then I’d have to ask again and sometimes show the answer in the passage and then he’d get it.

I plan to extend those readings into finding contractions in Ella Takes the Cake and in filling out a book report form that asks 3 interesting facts and 3 new things learned for Yuck y Worms. I also showed him a youtube video of a drawbridge after he finished reading Ella takes the Cake.

Today is my busiest day but alhamdulillah I feel like we accomplished quality this morning. I had him do his work in my room while I was in class. He’s also doing Arabic vocab copywork everyday now and I’d give him a star on the neatest written word.

I do worry about his information retainment and have a feeling like he might have the same issues as N. I hope not. InshaaAllah I hope those issues are addressed now so he doesn’t face as much difficulties as N is facing right now.

By end of this semester, I hope to significantly increase him in his narrative comprehension and retainment of exposition, have him learn addition and subtracting with regrouping, money with dollars, getting used to doing simple book reports, more fluent in his IQRA and better and more consistent with his surah, and I want him to know the meanings too. With the older kids, I hope to do more of Stossel’s video streaming, especially good for critical thinking and for N’s exposition comprehension. May Allah put barakah in all of this ameen!

And we have been watchng Salahuddin in Arabic, with the hopes that it would expose us to the Arabic more and be forced to learn and pick it up at least, especially for Zeyd. This happened after I came back home gushing with how Ust Nouman uses Salahuddin in his Bayyinah class to show sarf with some words.

Before this we were watching Umar series, and after it was done, we were missing watching something together. Salahuddin, we already watched it too, but Z is the one who keeps insisting on it now. Alhamdulillah. At least for the Arabic.

 

We had gone to Houston to attend Fiqh of Chilling and studied together for the exam. Of all the kids, S got the highest score. They enjoyed the class.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Al Huda Institute, AlMaghrib Institute, Arabic, Bayyinah Institute, Biology, Community, Copywork, Grade 1, Homeschooling, Log, Math U See, Quran, Reading, Teaching Textbook, Teaching To Read, Travel, Youth Girls halaqa, Youtube, Z's learning | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Hifdh-ing

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog. H pointed that out to me yesterday. What I can say is that alhamdulillah, we’re all now doing hifdh, including Z. S is starting with Al kahf, and for her, I want her to focus on her Taleem Quran more, so hifdh is somewhat secondary for her right now.

N is taking tajweed class  online with Sis N from Canada, a 20 min class, once a week on Fridays. When I saw sis N offering her class through email, I thought of enrolling N, but I asked N how interested she is in learning tajweed. At first she said not interested. But she also expressed slight interest. I’ve been encouraging her to pursue tajweed because her recitation and articulation is naturally good already, and I want  her to find her own niche in the field of Quran. S is already taking Taleem Quran, and H is doing hifdh and is pretty good in Arabic grammar (better than me, even though I studied it for years in high school and even now), and I want something for N. One of my homeschooling goals is for the kids to develop a solid foundation in their deen and develop a Quranic perspective, which means, they need to be able to recite with tajweed, understand what they’re reciting, implement and internalize what they are reciting, and develop the wisdom that comes from the Quran and sunnah. The world out there is full of propagandas subtle and obnoxious, and I want them armed with iman and understanding of the deen before they go out there.

I’ve been making dua for the kids and subhanallah so I am overjoyed when N expressed that yes actually, she would be interested in learning tajweed. Sis N also advised me that I should encourage N to memorize. So I talked about this with N and she said yes she would  like to memorize. Initially, I was concerned about her intention, but sis N told me that even for us adults, our intentions will fluctuate and so it’s a lifelong process. So, in February N began her Quran journey, with learning  tajweed and doing hifdh. Alhamdulillah. I had already taught all the kids to read with tajweed through the Malaysian IQRA book series, and I have also taught them the tajweed rules, but I want them to actually learn further with someone who is qualified to teach them. So, I’ve done what I can from my end, and this is the time to outsource now. So, she started from Al Mursalat and is now at Muzammil. We also discussed about their Quran time. We agreed that after fajr, instead of starting right away with Nouman’s tafseer and Arabic with Husna, we would spend 30 min on our own doing our new memorization or revision, and then have breakfast and then do tafseer and Arabic. Thanks to a suggestion by a friend :) May Allah reward her immensely for she is the one who has triggered this move towards hifdh for me and the kids. The girls will have their Quran time twice a day, one after fajr and another one either after asr or before bedtime.

 

For H, he has already been doing this for years, so I  leave him pretty much alone for he has gotten into his own routine. I do still worry about his tajweed though and asks that Allah opens up opportunity for him to learn with someone qualified who can enhance his tajweed. Right now, the brother who is helping him is too busy, so H is working just with hubs for now. He is re memorizing surah As Shuura. This surah has a special story. When H was memorizing this surah, we were in Malaysia, and we enrolled him in darul Huffaz. The ustaadh there told him to memorize the surah backwards and this confused H so much that to this day, his grasp on that surah is almost nil. So he’s rememorizing it now. I still can’t fathom why that ustaadh told him to memorize it backwards.

H is currently taking Sh. Omar Suleiman’s tafseer of Surah Al Ahqaf class every Tuesday for 4 weeks. He doesn’t seem too captivated by it except when it involves stories, but at least I hope it provides him with deeper understanding and internalization of this surah that he has memorized.

Even Z has taken an interest in doing hifdh. Maybe it’s because all of us are doing it now. So, he would come to me and take the Quran, put it on the rihl and open it up to the last page and point to the surah he is working on and signal for me to recite it to him. So far, he just finished An nasr. I started doing this with him before he showed any interest. We listened to Minshaawi for An Naas and I had him recite again and again. I had to resort to recording his voice and letting him listen to it, because he couldn’t sit still for the lesson. Eventually he didn’t want to do it, so I left him alone. Made dua.

Then, all of a sudden, he knew those 3 quls. Apparently H had been practicing it with him at bedtime. So I expressed pleasant surprise that he knew those 3 surah by heart and told him,

‘Z, you memorize 1 whole page!!!!”

You could see he was overjoyed as well, and that motivated him. So we worked on Al Masad. He kept asking for the ‘stowee’ of Al masad. So hubs put on Nouman’s tafseer of the surah and we told him the story of Abu lahab and the surah. One thing about Z is that he is impatient. He kept asking to move forward before memorizing the current ayah properly. So I would tell him,

“Let’s say it 7 times, you can count it on your fingers.”

So he obediently puts out his index finger and starts to keep track of how many times we have to repeat the current ayah together; I would say it first and he would say it after me. I would break up the ayah so he could repeat it in manageable portions. Then, we’d be done for the session. I tell him to listen to his MP3 too and he does mashaaAllah. It is a little hard working with him because he is still young and has his own issues sometimes, but alhamdulillah I also feel like Allah has made it somewhat easy. The fact that he comes on his own and takes the Quran and sits waiting for me to start working with him, and listens to his MP3 on his own, and is willing to recite his surah properly, makes it a lot easier on me. I worried that he wouldn’t enunciate the words properly, and I would disapprove it when he rushes through it, I would emphasize that he needs to really enunciate it and not just say the surah. Alhamdulillah he does and he does try hard mashaaAllah. He is also doing great with his IQRA.

At one point, he was watching Arabic with Husna with us and we were covering the sarf table. At this time, Z was a bit obsessed with ana anta and started to write it in Arabic and in English, and kept asking us,

“Are you anta?” “Are you anti?”

And now he keeps asking, “What is …. in Arabic?”

I wish my grasp of Arabic is stronger to be able to feed his thirst for it. It’s a bit difficult having to juggle the older kids and Z and my own learning.

Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah.

Categories: Al Huda Institute, Living Islam, Memorizing, Outsourcing, Quran, Tafseer, Teaching Challenges, Time Management, Z's learning | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tucson, AZ & Productivity

008 We went to Tucson last week, tagging along with hubs for his conference. This time, for Z’s food, I asked hubs to just ask for a fridge in the room and so I just cooked food as I would if we were eating at home, froze them in small ziplocs and we brought our cooler and I put them in insulated lunch bags. By the time we reached the hotel room, they were still frozen so I just transferred them to the fridge. The ones in the insulated lunch bag stayed frozen the longest (since the fridge doesn’t have a freezer section). Hubs even asked for a microwave, which we used to heat up leftovers of Chef Alisah’s delicious food!172

We drove there Monday after S is done with her TQ class, and dropped by Whole Food for greens before going to the hotel. On Tuesday, all of us except the girls went to the pool, and they slid on the 180 feet water slide. S had her TQ and N didn’t want to come. That evening, we all went to this Bosnian restaurant, and it was our first time (not hubs) eating Bosnian food. It was a LOT of meat for us. It was supposed to be for 4, but for us carb-eating Malays, that was too much meat, so we took them home and put them in the fridge and they lasted us for the rest of our meals till we left on Thursday! Alhamdulillah. It was delicious though, the chicken was moist and flavorful and the meat, delish! For Z, we heated up his pasta and brought it with us and he ate it before our food reached the table.

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S in her TQ class. It was nice to hear her class even while we’re traveling. And mine too! And this time, Nouman too!

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I had brought along Z’s calendar notebook but only did it with him on one of the days, because by sticking to our regular schedule and taking them swimming and I had to make up my missed class on Thursday, it left little time for me to work with him. But at least we got something done, alhamdulillah. I foresaw January as being very tight for me, so whatever I am able to get done, I am grateful for, alhamdulillah.

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Z loved getting on this golf cart. We were transported by it the night we arrived and the day we were checking out(since it was raining then).

On Wednesday, because I had class, hubs took the kids hiking in the late afternoon. I was left alone in the room attending my class. That morning, all the kids had classes, for N, throughout the morning, from 7 – 11 am. We still stuck with our Tafseer and Arabic With Husna routine throughout the stay in Tucson alhamdulillah. Though on Wednesday we weren’t able to finish watching CNNStudentNews.

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We don’t have any saguaros in New Mexico, so you will only see these in Arizona.

On Wednesday and Thursdays, I took H and Z swimming and alhamdulillah, using the noodles, 3 of them wrapped around him front and back, Z used his feet and arms and swam a lot with H. H is able to swim pretty well from what I am able to assess, alhamdulillah. Z is still a little scared, though he could stand in the pool with his head above water, he refused and relied completely on the noodles keeping him afloat. But at least he swam a lot, and I hope it helps in making his upper body stronger as that is the focus in his occupational therapy.

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On Thursday, before we left, we dropped by the Asian grocery store to shop and of course, where there are Asian grocery stores, there are Bubble Tea! I’ve been looking for tapioca balls and we finally found them at the Asian grocery store. So hopefully we can make our own bubble tea soon. When we arrived home Thursday night, Z kept saying he wanted to go back to Tucson and he kept asking for it the next day too and the next day. He loved watching the video clips I took of them swimming. We all enjoyed our time there alhamdulillah.

Now it’s back to work. Last night, the girls were asked to fill in for a sick teacher for Sunday school and today, both S and N went to the masjid to fill in as Islamic studies teachers. While S was preparing for it last night, she showed be the book they are using, and in it, it says that the fruits that Zakariya a.s. found with Maryam a.s. were brought in by the people and that when she said, “This is from Allah,” she meant that it was a blessing of Allah that those people brought her those fruits. This is the first time we heard of this interpretation, so it became a bit of an issue, and eventually we decided that it is best that when she does this passage with the students, that she inform them that based on what she is aware of, this is not the case. So on Saturday, all 3 kids went to volunteer at the soup kitchen, and today, the girls went to teach at Sunday school. They said the students were pretty well behaved alhamdulillah and listened to them! One of our concerns of having S teach was that they might not listen to her because some of the older ones would be close to her in age, but alhamdulillah they listened. And in Tajweed class, where an older Saudi sister is teaching, S was suddenly asked to translate ayatul kursi in English to the students, and alhamdulillah, as S had already done it in TQ, she was able to do that. Subhanallah, a blessing from Allah. To be able to read from the mushaf and translate it. Alhamdulilah, Allahu Akbar! It’s an indescribable feeling! Alhamdulillah Alhamdulillah!

So alhamdulillah, it’s a productive weekend for the kids. H spent time playing basketball tonight with a boy, which is part of an effort to have my friend’s kids to like coming to the masjid inshaaAllah. May Allah bless the effort and give the taufeeq for our youth to be attached to the masjid. Ameen.

 

 

 

Categories: Al Huda Institute, Allergies, Community, Family, Homeschooling, HotelSchooling, Living Islam, Outdoor, Productivity, Soup Kitchen, Travel, Volunteer Masjid | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Capping it All

So, we’ve been sick, somewhat minimally following the election (mostly through CNN Student News), and waiting for the color cartridges to arrive. I went through a determined phase of martyrdom of trying to make my own activities for Z, because this is my natural inclination that has been strictly curbed by other commitments as of now. But, through eye pain, headaches, I did it and made some activities for Z which we’re finally able to try out this morning after installing the new color cartridges last night and printing them and cutting them last night. I still have some activities on prophet stories to complete (yes, apparently,  I’m too stubborn to leave it at that and decided to make more). I remember when I started homeschooling S after I pulled her out of preschool, I went to bed at 1 am preparing a handmade food pyramid lesson plan. That is how obsessed I can get. Back then, I probably had more flexibility and time to indulge in that, but now, I have other commitments that seriously strictly curbs that kind of indulgence. However, there are times when my creative side just fights its way through. I have left creative activities for so long that my kids balk at the thought of them inheriting their artistic skills from me.

“You can’t draw, Ummi.”

So when I drew the images for Z’s activities, they came and said,

“Ooh, that looks professional.’

“You drew that?!”

When I admired my masterpieces a bit too much, Hubs said,

“Stick to real niche; writing.”

But that’s a whole other story. Drawing right now is more immediate and gratifying than writing. I’m on hiatus with writing right now.

It’s interesting how creativity has its own branches. N can draw from imagination, well H can too, but I can’t. I can copy drawings, but I have trouble drawing from imagination. S I think is good at copying drawings too. When she makes hands-on projects, I always look forward to seeing the end result. Right now, she is working on a diorama for World History. Years back, she had made a project on cave formation and it was awesome.

For H, when he works on a project, he focuses more on the engineering aspects of it. Aesthetics is one of the least of his worries. He would do his designs and work on them, and his projects are not less awesome. Rather, I would say that his projects reveal his strength.

N is the interior designer type. While S is good at coming up with ideas for her projects and actually carrying them out, N is good at the finishing touches. somehow though, I feel like she feels she is bound by some limitations, that seems to curb her potential. I know she has a lot of potential, but somehow, she probably feels she can’t do as well as H and S, and this limits her. She does her own thing, but I notice that she always limits herself and this is a shame, because there is a reservoir of talent in her that can be polished to produce greatness. I hope she realizes this for herself, because I’ve been telling her this, but she needs to realize this on her own for it to take effect.

All this creativity is a blessing from Allah. I try to remind them to use these blessings for His sake. It’s so easy to get carried away with using these blessings in ways that can earn His anger, and then what do you end up with for yourself? It has been a struggle in this area, so may Allah guide us. Ameen.

After we finished Tafseer An Nabaa, I gave them the test, and they’re supposed to come up with a project. Right now, N and H are working on their project which is due this Friday. H already produced two 3-D representation of two scene-sections in the surah, and N is working on a PPT presentation for hers. I’m excited to see their end results.

One thing that has been lacking a lot in my working with Z, is arts and crafts. Subhanallah, I really can’t wait to finish this course inshaaAllah and hopefully have more time to spend with him. I have an inkling of worry that my schedule might be tighter, but may Allah give me barakah in my time so I can do all that I need to do. Ameen.

Quran and Arabic

Bayyinah Podcast has been down since hurricane Sandy, and so our daily tafseer sessinos have been kind of hanging. We started listening to Quran Cover to Cover on Bayyinah TV on surah Al fatihah, and last night, I printed out the handouts for the Arabic With Hosna also from Bayyinah TV and sent them with Hubs for Kinko-ing today.  I plan to inshaaAllah alternate tafseer/Quran with Arabic grammar throughout the week, with Friday of course being special for kahf Quran Cover to Cover. I feel somewhat lost without Bayyinah tafseer Podcast. Subhanallah, I realize how much we do rely on it for tafseer. May Allah reward all those involved in that project and others that enable easy access to understanding and learning Quran for the masses. Ameen.

With my own hifdh, checking H’s review, checking N’s tajweed and fluency, I haven’t really been consistent with Z’s Quran reading sessions. I feel scattered with regards to his ‘schooling’ but I’m holding out till Feb inshaaAllah when I will be done with this course. Though I have a feeling like I’m so addicted to taking classes that I might still have the same problem. Right now, I’m all hyped up about the Bukhari class, and am already thinking I really need to study grammar well because that may aid my hifdh. It’s a process. Baby Steps, and consistent dua. InshaaAllah. InshaaAllah.

Literature and Writing

H and N’s literature teacher, whom they love because she is so nice, got sick and went to the hospital, so they’ve been missing 2 lit classes. I enrolled them in the Write Guide class, and so far, it’s been good alhamdulillah. Their writing instructor is helpful and she helped them with their essay prompts, but then, because they didn’t have lit classes for 2 weeks, they got to work on personal essays with her. It’s perfect timing subhanallah. Allah’s planning and decree. I am able to see their exchanges and last night, I was looking at their drafts and revised drafts, and I thought to myself,

“I wonder if this is helping them.”

I noticed that what the instructor points out to them, are some of the same things I’ve been pointing out to them too all these years. I wonder if they should also attend writing classes that are more instructional than a personalized one. So far, with this one, everytime they send her their essays, she would respond with suggestions and corrections. I haven’t yet seen any instructions or tips in writing that I kind of expect to see. But maybe there is no need for it because the kids are used to beginning with outlines and that she is maybe focusing on their writing skills more. Then I think to the course I took in 2004. It does actually help your writing when you have someone giving you feedback. it is personalized and even though it is not the classroom type of teaching, it does help. So I hope it helps them and affects their other writing inshaaAllah, and not just these essays.

I may also enroll them in Home2teacher classes starting in January, just to I cover all bases (that I can think of anyway).

Math

I can’t check H’s math. I just can’t, so hubs does it but sometimes he is tired and can’t do it. I can check N’s math though, it’s more straightforward.  We sat down and made a schedule for her to finish this Zeta by end of November so she can start on Pre Algebra. Seriously, I can’t take Math U See with higher math. I’m going to have to figure something out with H if he still insists on doing MUS instead of Teaching Textbook when he gets to Algebra II.

With Z, I’m trying to work on things like skip counting, recognizing Arabic numerals and addition and subtraction, ordinal, telling time, etc. We just read the book, One Watermelon Seed, and I had him count the fruits and vegetables with me. He resisted at first, but I made it a condition for me to continue reading the book to him. I was actually surprised that he can count to 20. Though, when we tried counting to 30, after 29, he said, twenty-ten. Since he laughed, I don’t know if he was joking or he really didn’t know. But at least we did the skip counting by 10. I don’t like teaching skip counting, because I feel like if it is confusing to the child, I don’t have the skill to explain properly. I just hate explaining math, period. I feel like I don’t do it well.

We played the number domino this morning, with the cards I had made, and Z is able to recognize those numbers, even the Arabic. But he did have trouble recognizing how much items there were on the domino cards. He doesn’t seem to like counting because apparently it ‘takes time’.  I had made a spinner-addition and graph activity for him too, but haven’t tried it yet today. I never got to actually do a full blown Glenn Doman Math on him and now he is already 5 and I still have those cards that I made from when the older kids were younger. What a waste, subhanallah.

History

H and N are taking the History Crime Scene Investigation class and I haven’t been keeping up with it. But I have been telling them to send me their weekly homework nonetheless.

I hope they benefit somewhat from that class, though I feel it may be a little difficult for N to understand. I decided to continue with History Through Literature with them on the side. I told them to read Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf, but seriously, my schedule and their schedule..we haven’t been able to pursue that seriously so far.

S is doing it off her textbook, as much as I hate using textbooks. Oh well. If it means less stress right now, I’ll take it. Oh, but she does look for other resources too, so I guess it’s ok. Not just textbook-based at least.

Science

H is busy with his soldering kit. I even have to nag him off of it to do his other school work. I’m contemplating having him take Science Jim’s Winter Newton’s Laws class. I’m not worried about his science. N is busy with her Mammals class. I did ask her to have an assignment for me every week though, because I don’t see her exploring more after the class. I worry that she might not be utilizing what she learned. Considering her interest in writing fiction (and oh, the kids are all doing NanoWrimo this year), I suggested her assignment be to make a character sketch of one animal of her choice each week. She now owes me 3 character sketches. In the beginning, she misunderstood me and actually gave me a sketch of a wombat. I explained to her that I want her to develop a character of one animal and how when you write fiction, usually, the first thing you start with is developing your character. She loves biology, particularly animals, and I’m thinking that a way that she might enjoy learning about them would be to incorporate them into another area of her interest – writing. S is busy with her Algebra 2 and World History, so she’s not doing anything else because I want her to focus on her Taleem Quran and not rob her of that experience.

 

InshaaAllah it’s all good.

 

Categories: Activity, Al Huda Institute, Bayyinah Institute, Creative Arts, Electronics, Juggling Multiple Kids, Learning Games, Living Islam, Memorizing, Project, Quick Study Labs, Quran, Science, Tafseer, Teaching Challenges, Teaching To Read, Thoughts, Writing, Z's learning | Leave a comment

More Need to Outsource

I began to stress out over S’ high school plan because of the recent setback concerning her going to attend TQE. At the therapy lounge yesterday, while Z was in therapy, I sat with my planner and started to map out the 3 older kids’ high school plan. For S, especially.

We agreed that she will start on Algebra II right away, but I was contemplating her doing World History along with Algebra II due to the the load of the TQE course. I don’t want her to do too many subjects such that it would detract her from truly focusing on TQE. So, we agreed that she would do World History along with Algebra II but that she would take it easy. We would have to sit down and plan out this course with its resources and assignments.

I guess I won’t worry about the other subjects yet for now. Nevertheless, I did start looking for online classes. I found these:

Write Guide

Home2Teach

Red Wagon Tutorials

Virtual Homeschool Group – free

The other ones that I found are ridiculously expensive! I don’t know how the homeschooling families afford to pay up to $700 per course per student! We can’t afford it. We love Currclick so far, but I’m also looking for other options just to broaden our choices.

Right now, I’m contemplating using Write Guide for S, and Home2Teach for N and H. I’ll have to explore VHSG more. As for Red Wagon Tutorials, I can’t seem to find the tuition information.

 

Categories: Al Huda Institute, Course Planning, High School, Outsourcing, Writing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

S, N, H classes

H seems to be enjoying his Magnestism class and last week, he made an electro magnet which works and a motor that didn’t. N also concluded her 1st quarter of Mammals class and asked to be enrolled in the 2nd quarter. She also expressed interest in the invertebrate class. It’s good that she enjoys these classes, alhamdulillah.

Hopefully inshaAllah, we’ll enroll him in the Static Electricity class. S finished her Algebra I and she said Teaching Textbook style of teaching makes more sense to her than Math U See, so I told her to start on Algebra II right away, as her high school schedule is a little ‘messed up’ right now due to circumstances not under our control. We need to figure out a plan B for her and her TQ course. In the meantime though, once she is done with PSAT, I want her to start her other high school subjects on top of doing her TQ course. Might as well. Which means, more work for me.

Right now, I have a kindergartener to homeschool, which requires a different kind of work than the older kids, 2 in middle school and 1 in high school. With Z, I do a lot of cutting and pasting and reading aloud and real life learning in context. With the older 3, it’s a lot of juggling online and discussions and scheduling and keeping track and yes, unfortunately, nagging. I tried leaving them on their own, but it didn’t work. I wish it did.

 

Categories: Al Huda Institute, High School, Homeschooling, Juggling Multiple Kids, Math U See, Teaching Textbook | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Road Trip Coming Up!

Z’ book bag

Z’s been asking, “Are we going on a trip?” ever since I packed these things for him. I told him that we will be going on a trip and that we would do these activities during that trip. Last night, we went out to Kohl’s and he was napping, so hubs just picked him and placed him in his seat, and he asked,

“Is this the trip?”

It was dark because it was past maghrib, so he probably thought it was fajr time because that is when we usually depart for our road trips.

Today, as we walked home from his therapy, somehow we got to talking about the trip. He was probably asking about it again and I told him it was on FRiday. So automatically we stated the order of the days together. Impromptu lesson right there! That’s what I like!

Anyway, I’m excited too. I finally decided which activities I want to start doing with Z from Umm Nu’man’s wonderful amazing resources, and I look forward to doing them with Z.  I realize that with 3 older kids and 1 kid in kindy, it’s hard for me to juggle everything on top of also being in a course myself. No wonder homeschooling moms of multiple kids take homeschooling as a full time job.

I am going to have to do that too if I don’t want to retire prematurely. I mean, I can still do other stuff but they have to be manageable. Right now, alhamdulillah, Allah has enabled me to keep up, though there are times when I feel like just dropping everything and crying. Especially when the kids misbehave, show bad manners, don’t listen to me, don’t do their work…which is…hmm…I guess, almost every day sometimes. Subhanallah…these are times when I feel like I have failed in my responsibilities. But I also realize that my responsibilities are not over. My mother says,

“Better late than never!”

My mother still reprimands me to this day, like any mother would. So I guess, my work is for a lifetime, though it’s hard not to feel like a failure when your kids show less than desirable behavior. This is when I feel very humbled. Parenting is humbling, not only because you learn that you are the role model, but mostly because you come to realize that it’s all in His hands. Guidance and success is in His hands.

In homeschooling, there are times when you feel exhilirated (like when H’s fan worked) and you feel,

“Yay! This is why we homeschool!”

But subhanallah, Allah reminds us, and we had just covered this ayah recently in my class (I LOVE juz 27 28!)

57:22
Sahih International

No disaster strikes upon the earth or among yourselves except that it is in a register before We bring it into being – indeed that, for Allah , is easy – Al Hadeed 57:22

57:23
Sahih International

In order that you not despair over what has eluded you and not exult [in pride] over what He has given you. And Allah does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful – Al Hadeed 57:23

Subhanallah when something bad happens, you remember that Allah has already decreed it, so don’t dwell too much over its loss, but even when something great happens, here we are reminded not to exult over it and attribute it all to ourselves! Balance!

I printed out all the materials I wanted and put them all in this folder. And this folder goes in his book bag.

some cut out pieces

I had cut out some activity sheets ahead of time, though I later realized that he should be the one doing the cutting. But I later left some parts for him to cut on his own.

My Body activity sheet set

He’s been asking a lot about where his stomach is and where his food is right now, so I thought it’s high time we do human body. We’ve been doing animals and plants, and I had wanted to do human body but I couldn’t find the proper materials for his age so this was a blessing that Allah directed me to the blog of Umm Nu’man, whom I also realized is the author of books I had bought for Z! MashaAllah! She has come up with a Human body activity sheet set separate for boys and girls.

Surah An Naas Activity Sheet set

I love these Quran activity sets! I am excited to try this because from looking at how it’s supposed to be carried out, I”m thinking that this is the reading by sight version in Arabic. We did both reading by sight and phonics for English but I haven’t found any technique, at least any organized technique for reading Arabic so this is really a wonderful find! Alhamdulillah!

Surah Al Ikhlas Activity Sheet set

For some of the activities, I’ll have to coax the older kids to join us.

Quran Mazes activity sheet booklets

I had painfully scanned these, gathered them all in a Word document and printed them so he can do it again and again, now and even later when his comprehension takes on a different level.

I told him to gather some crayons and put them in this pouch we had gotten when we boarded Korean Airlines on our visit back to Malaysia in 2010. Reuse, recycle.

His crayons

His glue and scissors

His Abata. He was the one who reminded me to include this, so alhamdulillah!

I didn’t forget about the older kids. I used to do this when we travelled before too. I went to elaborate length to prepare for our road trips. I remember one when we went to Houston from Columbus, OH. Don’t know how much the kids benefited though, but I do remember doing a lot of brainstorming, designing, cutting, pasting, when the kids were younger. I realize that now, with Z, that’s what I have to do a lot of too it seems like. While at the same time I also have to do a lot of mental work in checking and critiquing the older kids’ essays, researching topics, teaching it learning it together with them, keeping ahead of them, keeping up to date with college applications, SAT, ACT, etc, high school requirements, high school course planning…you get the drift.

I had put my writing on hiatus several times now because I can’t cope with everything, but I do look forward to being able to fully pay attention to homeschooling these kids almost full time inshaAllah.

Hubby told me to rest and not take the AlMaghrib class we’re going to. So, after deliberating and feeling wistful about it, I agreed. So, right now, only hubs and N and H are taking the class inshaAllah. S, Z and I will be hanging out. S has to study, and we have to watch her British history DVDs I had checked out from the library for her World History course, and I have to study and review, and I have to do these activities with Z too. So much for rest ! But I look forward to it.

Then, S will be attending her TQ as usual during the week, and on Wed I will be attending my class, and miss Thursday because my public speaking workshop begins that day. So I will have to do some catching up in my class work and notes because the week after, the translation test is due. Again, so much for rest. :) Never mind, our rest is inshaAllah in Jannah!

Older kids’ book bag

May Allah bless this trip. Ameen.

As usual, with road trips or any traveling, I go into obsessive packing and organizing mode. I’d make a list of all that we need to pack, and I’d start packing days before, and check off my list as I go and it takes a lot of planning and work, but it makes for an easier execution so far alhamdulillah. I find that I always need to write things down so my mind is not cluttered with to do lists. It helps me a lot. Ustaadh  Muhammad AlShareef calls it a brain dump. That’s exactly what I feel it is too.

My obsessive packing organization

Categories: Al Huda Institute, AlMaghrib Institute, Books, Family, History DVD, Homeschooling, Juggling Multiple Kids, Teaching To Read, Thoughts, Travel, Z's learning | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Understanding the Quran

I asked S how she likes Taleem Quran course so far and she said,

“It’s fine.”

These older kids always give me these dull toned-down, unenthusiastic answers, so I asked her,

“Are you liking it more and more or how, how do you feel about it, or the Quran?”

“When I listen to the Quran now, I understand it.”

“Yeah, there is something about the way they teach,” I agreed.

“Yeah, and you’ve taught me all that before, but…”

“How offensive,”I replied jokingly.

But it’s true. These kids need to hear what I’ve been telling them from someone else. They’re just reached that age where what their parents know don’t faze them anymore. We’re not considered the only authority in matters now. They realize that we’re infallible and that we don’t really know everything. Not that we give them that impression, for I’ve always told the kids to ask us the source of something if we say anything.

But, even so, it makes me feel quite …ancient. Not necessarily a bad thing however. I’m very ready to hand them over to some other authorities, especially in furthering their Quranic and Islamic studies because I’ve reached my capacity. I myself am still learning and will always be learning hopefully inshaAllah till the day I die. We are now peer-learners. I’m finishing up my TQEE inshaAllah next Feb, and S just started her journey.

Since H is having trouble with his Juz 28 review and also Hadeed, I told him to listen in to my class this week because we will be covering Surah Al Hadeed. I notice that his mistakes in revision is because he hadn’t memorized the pages and is just relying on the sound. It’s about time he listens to tafseer. But at the same time, he would still be working on his hifdh, but he just needs to increase his understanding of what is being recited. The latter is more complex than the former. Memorizing the Quran is (I can’t believe I’m saying this) easy. Allah has said that it has been made easy and now, after trying it myself, I can see why it’s easy, subhanallah. It’s retaining it and understanding it that is quite challenging. But alhamdulillah, at least H is interested in learning and understanding it and he seems to have quite a fair grasp of Arabic too. I review with him everyday after Zuhr, and because of that I think I’ve been abandoning N. At least with Z, I’ve switched from having him read a page of his IQRA to half a page and then to one line before letting him watch a video of his own choosing. When I cut down the amount to one line, he actually comes to me with his IQRA and reads the line willingly. I just have to keep it consistent. That’s the real challenge.

They’ve stopped listening to Arabic with Husna because they’ve finished listening to all the videos. So now it’s hubs’ task to continue working with them in Arabic as that is right now, still my weak area. Hubs is the one who masters it more. Right now, N is not that interested in Arabic. S, I think , as she progresses more in her Taleem Quran, may find Arabic as rich and interesting as I do. H, I think can at least appreciate how rich the language is and through Arabic sessions with several brothers at the masjid, knows it somewhat. N is still in her own world. I hope she ventures out soon, because even though I feel it’s a wonderful safe world for her, I have trouble dealing with it. I ask that Allah gives her maturity, comprehension and wisdom, and me, patience. Ameen.

Alhamdulillah for the many and increasing resources towards understanding the Quran for non Arabic speakers. Alhamdulillah. It seriously, I feel, makes the world a better place for all, for when you truly understand what the Quran teaches, it beautifies your character with knowledge and wisdom.

 

 

Categories: Al Huda Institute, Juggling Multiple Kids, Living Islam, Memorizing, Quran, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quran Party

Well, I don’t know what else to call it. And come to think of it, it is centered around the Quran in terms of what we’re celebrating. S is starting Taleem Quran, and because I didn’t want Z feeling left out, I made him a cake and so I had to come up with an occasion for his cake and I thought I’d make it Quran-ish too. So, I made it a celebration of his Quranic Arabic reading. I piped a few words from his IQRA book too.

We made the Laksa Penang, quite easily, except S overcooked the Laksa so we had a pretty mushy laksa. Z had Nasi Goreng for lunch while we ate the Laksa but we gave him a little bit just to see if he could take sardine. So far, no reactions, so I’m hoping he’s ok with fish! inshaAllah! He didn’t really like it though.

Lai fen – the noodles for Laksa Penang

The sardine from the Asian grocery store. The ones in the western supermarket are horribly bland.

 

Not too great a shot, but we were hungry and I was tired from finishing up decorating Z’s cake, and the Laksa noodles were overcooked so it wouldn’t have made a great food photo anyway. Laksa Penang is I think my best noodle dish, since I always manage to make the other soupy noodle dish too bland. But with Laksa Penang, it’s hard for me to make it bland unless I put too much water when making the soup/broth.

 

 

It was quite a moment when we cut him his cake. He was so shy that it was difficult to take his picture. But we got it eventually. He initially went for the frosting but after a while claimed,

“I don’t like the white stuff.”

He ate his cake but didn’t finish it, and finished it much much later. I did cut him quite a big piece, so…

 

Today, he had cake too and I cut him a thin piece ane he ate it all minus the ‘white stuff’. I don’t blame him for not liking the frosting.

As for the rest of us, we ended up sitting back in our chair and laughing at how fatty the frosting truly is. I don’t need to reiterate what I said about frosting in the previous post. We can’t take too much frosting. Period.

We had Z read the words I had piped on his cake, though with a lot of help. He initially didn’t want to read them. But I said I won’t cut the cake until he did, so we helped him read them.

So, S started her Taleem Quran course today. The party yesterday was just perfect because now it’s back to work and fasting our make ups and Shawwal 6. May Allah bless this journey for all involved for our dunya and akhirah. Ameen!

Categories: Al Huda Institute, Allergies, Baking, Family, Quran | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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