Creative Arts

Z Books: One Watermelon Seed

We read this book, One WaterMelon Seed by Celia Lottridge and I thought it would be a great lesson in skip counting by 10s. On top of that I thought it would be a great lesson in reinforcing the Arabic numerals too. I had the girls help me draw the fruits and produce and N was the one who helped a lot in making these cards mashaaAllah. She drew most of the fruits on paper and we scanned them and I colored them using gimp and then put them together on Paint. I left N to help me do most of it and pretty soon we had these cards ready for printing. It was pretty quick alhamdulillah.

We had gone to Albuquerque on Friday and came back Saturday, so I packed these cards, the book and also the mountain game cards and the book. He kept asking to play with them and alhamdulilah we had a chance to use these cards before we checked out amidst packing up and cooking his food. The only caveat I didn’t foresee was; how to say those numbers 20,30,40,—100 in Arabic. I had to get ready in the middle of this activity, so I told S to continue playing with him and just focus on skip counting by 10s. While I was playing this with him though, we had fun, alhamdulillah.

in the hotel room, before checking out

First we did the numbers, and since I had the idea for this in my head and this was the first time trying it out, I had to figure out how to do this on the spot. At first I went through the ‘how many seeds of each plant was planted’, but then as we got to ‘how many of these plants were produced’ I figured we should have put the numbers next to each seed packet first. I had him count the fruits on each of the ’10’ cards, and with the skip counting, we took turns and after a while he got the hang of it. It was the first time to skip count by 10 for him.

Then, we got rid of the numbers and we did the Arabic numerals. This was his first time recognizing the Arabic numerals for 20-100. But I think he did pretty well mashaaAllah.

We had to use the book because we had to keep referring to it to see how many of what seed was planted and how many of those grow. At least I told him to refer to the book to reinforce his reading and number recognition and then he had to count the fruits/veg on the card. This was a great activity alhamdulillah.

Initially, I wasn’t too enthused to read this book with him because I personally don’t really like counting books, but as I was looking through kindergarten activities on others’ blogs and websites, I figured this book has great math activity potential. Alhamdulilah it was quick too because N helped me with the pictures. I started working on it and delegating it on one of my busiest days in the week too!

I feel somewhat addicted to this now. Next book up is Badger’s Fancy Meal. But as of now, it’s still not done. I’ll see how addicted I am to actually go through with it.

Categories: Arabic, Books, Creative Arts, Digital Art, Drawing, Juggling Multiple Kids, Kindergarten Math, Learning Aids, Learning Games, Reading, Z's learning | 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

N, Her Cats, and Her Lily

N finished her oil pastel class this week. She finally finished her Lily and I think it looks wonderful though she says it looks horrible. But now that she knows the basic technique, I told her she can pretty much make a lot of other things. She wants to take the Jaguar one but I feel uncomfortable because it’s something animate. I feel bad enough that I’m letting them draw animate beings for the comic, but I take that as for educational purposes.

The previous week they didn’t finish the leaves, so this week was finishing up the leaves and the background

With art classes, I stick to inanimate beings. I just want her to learn the techniques and then apply it halal-ly inshaAllah.

She also did her live presentation online in her Mammals class. I didn’t see it of course, as she locked herself up in her room when she did her presentation but I asked her about it afterwards. She said her teacher said she seems to know a lot about cats, and that the students love her powerpoint presentation and wants to ‘steal’ it. She seems happy enough about her presentation. I’m happy that she did it and prepared for it and did a wonderful job on it mashaAllah.

Her Mammals I eWorkshop – Cats (NF).

For her live presentation, she showed a video of her topic of choice (cats). This video was taken years back at DDR, when the girls volunteered with training animals at the animal shelter to be friendly with people before they are offered up for adoption.

Categories: Creative Arts, Oil Pastel, Powerpoint, Project | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Seerah : Becoming an Orphan

Alhamdulilah we resumed our Seerah project. This is N’s comic strip. She should have outlined it with the sharpie before scanning and coloring and writing on it. Our Seerah Project About Page.

Categories: Comic, Creative Arts, Seerah, Seerah Project | Tags: , | 1 Comment

H’s Tafseer Note – Comic

I was looking through H’s tafseer note book and saw this page, which I find quite interesting and I thought it’d put it up. This was part of his notes for when we were still on Surah al Kawthar. Nouman Khan’s Tafseer Podcast.

Categories: Comic, Creative Arts, Note-taking, Quran, Tafseer | Leave a comment

Online Classes: Oil Pastel, Magnetism, TQ, and Kitchen Chemistry

N is taking Oil Pastel class on Currclick and it started this morning. We had gone to Hobby Lobby yesterday on the way back from the library to get her materials. She didn’t really prepare as she should ahead of class and by the time I was done with my class, she had started her class and then told me she needs a printout. Well, she was a bit left behind but we figure it out and by the end of class she was pretty caught up, alhamdulillah.

They did a Lily.

She likes the class, so I asked her if she wants to take another of those classes. I was looking through Currclick for more classes and figured I’ll wait till they put up new classes.

So far so good.

H also started his Magnetism class today. He committed a major boo boo for which I was really angry about. I hope he doesn’t do that anymore. But he also likes Science Jim, the instructor. He actually said,

“Actually he’s a pretty good teacher.”

So I am thinking of having him take all of Science Jim’s classes in Physics and that they would hopefully give him a good grounding for high school Physics. At least he’d be interested.

I’ve also been looking at Kitchen Chemistry for N’s high school. When I googled it I landed on The Well-Trained Mind forums, which has really been a big help to me in figuring out how to homeschool high school.

I found this Kitchen Chemistry resource which is really interesting. And of course there is MIT’s OpenCourseWare Kitchen Chemistry. So we’ll see. This time, since my course will inshaAllah end Feb of next year, I look forward to have more time to spend planning out their courses and focusing on homeschooling more, without being pulled at from many different sources. As I say this, I am thinking to myself,

I’m sure I will still be as busy if not more, if I am still alive that is.

One of the desktops at home. N in her Oil Pastel class

On the other desktop in the house, S in her TQ class, having a break so I took over this computer during her 1 hour break

Categories: Cooking, Course Planning, High School, Homeschooling, Oil Pastel | Leave a comment

Taleem Quran Cake

Yesterday, we made red velvet cakes, two of them, one for Z (allergen-free) and one for us (the regular one). When I asked S what kind of cake she wants for her TQ party, she picked red velvet, so red velvet it is. We didn’t really have enough red food coloring, so we didn’t use as much as directed in the recipe. I didn’t feel too good about using the coloring, and we had gone to the co-op to look for natural red food coloring after tennis. They didn’t have any. We went to Toucan. They didn’t have any either. So we made our red velvet red with whatever red food coloring we had, and for Z, I kept his cake chocolate. I’m guessing that if I want the natural red food coloring, I’d have to buy it online.

For Z’s cake, the recipe calls for rice milk and cider vinegar

 

Z’s cake and frosting

The recipe I used for Z’s red velvet cake is from Cybele Pascal’s Allergen Free Baker’s Handbook.

I love her recipes, and this one was pretty easy to make too. And unlike many other allergen free recipes, her baked goods actually taste good! She even has the frosting recipe, which I have been finding hard to find for allergen free ones. I’m thinking of buying her book instead of checking it out of the library again and again. This is one book I can really use and refer to long term.

For our red velvet cake, I used the recipe from Joy of Baking though we didn’t use her frosting recipe because we didn’t have the heavy cream she specified. So S just made the cream cheese frosting from some other random recipe. We had discussed the design for this cake a while back. Inadvertently, I realized that I suddenly have the ability to do Arabic calligraphy, and so I tried it out on paper. It is pretty good if I do say so myself. I have tried before in the past to do Arabic calligraphy, but they never turned out. This time, I guess I have been looking at some for quite some time and the connections just sparked in my brain and subhanallah, I was able to come up with a decent calligraphic representation of Taleem Al Quran at least. It wasn’t done with calligraphy pen, but it was a start.

 

I had discussed with S the design for her cake, and so I started decorating the cake yesterday. The thing that made me the most nervous was the calligraphy part, because I have never done this before in cake icing. I practiced on the practice board, and subhanallah, it wasn’t too bad for starters. I thought I was going to do worse than that! Though I do think I did better on the practice board than on the cake. If it was a sheet cake it would have been somewhat easier.

 

 

The only thing that I wasn’t too happy about is the smoothness of the frosted cake. I could have done better, but we were short on frosting, so I had to make do. It was close to dinner time too, so there was rushing, and cleaning up to do. This is one thing I don’t like about cake decorating. I have to schedule it way in advance so it doesn’t run into lunch and dinner time. Anyway, we ended up with two frosted red velvet cakes yesterday. I have to make more frosting for Z’s cake in order to pipe some decorations on it, though I most probably will not color any of it. So it’ll be white, or at the most chocolate, from cocoa. For S’ cake, we need to add the royal icing flowers on it.

Z didn’t know we were making a cake for him. When I told him, he looked at me with the most joyous expression there is. His expressions have always been intense since he was a baby, especially since he has a speech delay. He conveys a lot through his expressions. A slow but sure smile literally grew on his face, and his eyes lit up, and you could just see the delight radiating from his expression. He kept on asking for the cake though after that and I had to tell him that it’s for tomorrow.

But since we’re celebrating S starting Taleem Quran, and since I am also making a cake for Z, I thought I’d make it an occasion for him too. I had wanted to make a cake for him when he graduated potty training, but now, I think, I’ll celebrate his Quran Arabic reading, so as to further motivate him, and to make it also in alignment with celebrating S’ Taleem Quran. I’m thinking of writing some Arabic words on his cake and maybe have him read them. That is today’s project, yet to be done.

 

Categories: Al Huda Institute, Allergies, Baking, Cake Decorating, Creative Arts, Family | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Royal Icing Flowers

S made the red one, and I made the rose bud

I have left the arena of cake decorating for quite a while now. I used to endeavor in this. It was what I delved into as soon as I graduated. Well, after indulging in reading whatever I wanted that is. I took the Wilton cake decorating classes up to level 3. But, soon, my lifestyle changed and I had no time for it anymore, nor the patience. But, now that my kids are a bit older and more capable, I started revisiting this old hobby of mine.

S asked for a party for her starting Taleem Quran, and I am on a break right now, so I felt free-er to acquiesce to her request, quite happily too. It has been a while since I indulged in one of my creative arts hobbies. So we made the flowers with royal icing last week, on Saturday. I had thought that I still have the knack to make the roses, but I found out that I had lost it. I couldn’t make the rose anymore. So I had S youtube it, and she tried it. Between the two of us, she adjusted the consistency of the icing, and I tried making the rose, she tried making the rose, and we ended up with these roses to show for it, and very tired right hands.

a white rose and a yellow huge apple blossom

I had also forgotten how to make the rose buds, but after making a few, I kind of recalled it and we ended up with a bunch of pretty decent rose buds I think. Our plan was to make roses and rose buds. We didn’t really intend on making the other flowers. But when we found out that I wasn’t able to make the roses let alone show S how to make it, I told her to try making the apple blossoms because they are easier. So in the end we just experimented. N made her own art too, which she insisted I take a picture of and so I did. It looks like internal organs all put together in a work of ‘art’. Eww….

By the end of it, we were somewhat satisfied with our work. It wasn’t too bad. The colors are nice and some of the rose buds are nice and even the roses look fine with the leaves off setting their colors. I love the green that N mixed. Both shades are what my cake decorating mother would approve of for leaf colors. Olive green and moss green. The girls didn’t think it was that nice. N was trying to get a more light, whimsical green but ended up with these. I think she had fun mixing in the colors. I would too. Well, I don’t know when I can do this again with my busy class schedule, but this is fun while it lasted.

 

 

 

Categories: Cake Decorating, Creative Arts | Tags: | Leave a comment

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