Family

Belated Post Hajj

So it has probably been about a month or more since I abandoned this blog. I went to hajj, and alhamdulillah we came back about 3+ weeks ago. The kids took pretty good care of themselves. The older ones did their chores and cooked and cleaned by themselves, took care of Z and did a really good job mashaaAllah.

I am resuming homeschooling and mostly I’ve been working with Z and N. I’ve been visiting Teacher Pay Teachers and getting free downloads and using them as teaching materials for Z.

Z loves the Monster Making 10 game and in one day, I introduced it to him, and he continued playing it with H and me throughout the day until nighttime, and by then I think he’s gotten pretty quick at doing mental addition that makes 10.

I’ve also started to introduce the concept of verbs and adjective to him today using this, and this, and we started working on recognizing fractions in visual form, numerical form and word form, using this. He has been working on his calendar daily alhamdulillah and has gotten really good at telling time, coin values, but is still struggling with place values especially when it comes to hundreds. His handwriting has gotten much better too. I’ve had to motivate him using his namesake, saying,

“Did you know, Z ibn Thabit wrote the Quran and he’s very smart. You should be too!”

He doesn’t really like to do copywork so far, so this has been testing my patience with him. Getting him to do it is a struggle. Some days are better where he’s cooperative but some are not. He l ikes doing math worksheets though, so that’s easy so far alhamdulillah.

I am working to get him to do more intensive copywork so he can get really comfortable with writing inshaaAllah. We also did some measuring, and compound words, and forming sentences. Just today, we also learned about Producers, Consumers, and Decomposers, which happened quite accidentally really.

But we went on this website and I just started teaching him those concepts on the spot. He did pretty good. Actually, it all started weeks back when he was working on the Learning Page worksheets  had printed ages ago, and it was asking abotu omnivore and herbivores, carnivores. So I took out the old animal printouts I had done for the older kids when they were younger, and we just went over each animal and looked at whether it was classified as herbivore, omnivore, carnivore. He began to understand what each meant.

I also looked for activities/worksheets on this on TeachersPayTeachers. And today, we had done a Verb-Adjective activity that I also got from TPT, and it featurd spiders, so then we started talking about it being a carnivore, and so while he was writing down the words on his sheet, I looked for an online game on this and found this.

We staretd playing and so we even learned about food chain, producers, consumers, and decomposers. Good productive morning alhamdulillah! Mostly I explained to him a little bit, and I could see that his attention span was not that long, so we moved on to the game and I think he learned more as he was doing the games.

We read some books too from the library, but I was sick for two weeks after coming back from hajj, so I didn’t really have the energy to read much to him let alone document the books or make a blog post about them, so…I don’t remember the books.

As for the older kids, H just started a MOOC course on Making your own search Engine, and N is on a new routine that is more supervised by moi. Everytime we make a deal on her being more organized and disciplined, it fails. So, I decided to just check in with her everyday and make sure she is doing what she is supposed to do because the technique of leaving her to her own devises doesn’t work.

We recently watched John Stossel’s clip on Is College Worth It? And I assigned an essay assignment for S based on that discussion. I intend on using Stossel In The Classroom for the older kids. As for Arabic With Husna, we’re still moving on alhamdulillah, almost finishing Unit 3, but going slow is good for this one, because Bayyinah TV uploads of Arabic With Husna can be slow for us if we move at a faster pace. So we’re taking our time with this inshaaAllah.

I recently asked N to make flash cards for the sarf families too, because to be honest, I don’t really memorize them strongly by heart.

N, surprisingly was pretty accountable for her therapy sessions, according to her therapist, while I was gone. However, she abandoned her math, and Biology homeworks, so she has been making up for her math and starting today she is supposed to be making up her Bio homework too. She also pretty much abandoned her hifdh and so we revamped her schedule for that one. Her issue is really discipline and willpower and perseverance.

S took her PSAT just  before we came back from Hajj. A friend helped dropped and picked her up from the high school. The girls were continuously volunteering at the masjid for Sunday school, at the soup kitchen, and for S, at the horse therapy, and last Sunday, S went to volunteer with Jn, for the Boys and Girls Club.

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Categories: Arabic, College, Copywork, Family, Grade 1, High School, Homeschooling, Learning Aids, Learning Games, MOOC Courses, Volunteer, Z's learning | Leave a comment

Our Eid 1434

So, the photos are finally uploaded, and though they’re not that many, we did have a full day on Eid this year alhamdulilah.  This year we made egg rolls to take to the masjid in the morning. I made egg rolls and also Z’s version using the Vietnamese rice paper wraps. This time, I fried them, and alhamdulillah they didn’t spit much at me. They turned out pretty good. So, while I took the egg rolls to the masjid for the potluck, I also brought Z’s rice rolls in a separate container. In fact, I had made treats for him before Ramadan and froze them, specially for Eid. So, the day before, S helped me put them in treat bags, and tied them with ribbons to make them look festive. On Eid day, I put these in a paper bag and brought them to the masjid for Z. So far, every year, while people are eating this and that on Eid day, all Z had to eat were just his cookies and muffins that I had made and frozen before Ramadan and put in treat bags. This year, alhamdulillah for his rice rolls. At least he’s not looking at other people enjoying all different kinds of food and waiting to get back home to eat his food.

I’ve realized that rather than spend time making food for others, my time may be much better spent making his food due to his allergies. What really frustrates me when I make food for others, is that, especially when I make Malay food that are foreign to others, some people would take a lot of them, even if they’re just trying it, and then when they don’t like it, they throw it away. There is so much food wastage happening in our community that it’s really disturbing and disgusting. The masjid has tried to address it and so far what seems to work is serving an equal amount to everyone and if there are leftover, then they can have seconds. Otherwise, it’s really shameful how mothers take a pile of food for their children and their children don’t even eat that much and the food ends up in the trash. That really is against what our religion teaches. With potlucks however, there is no such supervision, so people are taking food as they please. So I have come to a point where I feel it’s better for me to just spend the time and energy to make food for Z, especially seeing that he is always left out anyway when there are potlucks, than make food for other people just to have them waste it, especially since I figure it’s foreign food and they might not like it (which is fine, but at least have the common sense to take just a bit to taste and not take a whole lot and end up throwing them away).

At the masjid, they passed out candies to the kids, and so, what we did was, hubs took Z’s treat bag and gave it to the person giving away the candies to the kids when it came to Z’s turn, so instead of getting the candies, Z got his own treat bag. We did the same when they were giving out gifts to the kids. Hubs took Z’s gift bag and passed it to the person giving out the gifts when it was Z’s turn. Z was elated with his gifts, At the end of that day, he kept saying

“I want to do that again!” (referring to the whole Eid day)

I would say then that our mission is accomplished (in making Eid a special day for the kids even though we are living in an environment where there are so many other festivals and celebrations that we don’t really celebrate). Alhamdulillah!

His Eid treat

His Eid treat

Z's rice rolls

Z’s rice rolls

Egg rolls

Egg rolls

Gift bags and treat and rice roll

Gift bags and treat and rice roll

Categories: Allergies, Community, Eid, Family, Living Islam | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Ramadan 1434

Subhanallah…my last post was in June and now it’s already August. I have been abandoning this blog. Am just struggling with responsibilities and commitments on my plate.  This Ramadan is different. To start with, in the month approaching it, I wasn’t really prepared for it in the sense that I had plunged into a project that took me out of the house 3 days a week, lugging the kids with me some of the times and rushing too. It was hectic.

However alhamdulillah, I did get a repriece about a week or so before Ramadan to do my usual pre-Ramadan planning. But I think maybe that my frame of mind wasn’t prepped up and so when Ramadan did roll around, I was out of sort. Really out of sort.

S continued with her Taleem all the way till the last 10 days. So she basically still had class in the mornings till 1:30 pm Mon-Thur. I pleaded with hubs ti enroll N and H in Wisam’s Revved for Ramadan, because I was really overwhelmed and didn’t think I could do anything with them this Ramadan like I have been doing for the past 13+ years. I’m getting old. Even for Z, it was a last minute set up Ramadan activity prep. I decided to do the names of Allah with him and the Quran Prophet stories mazes. But even then, I didn’t really manage to do it consistently with him. Subhanallah…I think….having kids that far apart, is challenging for me. The 3 older kids have different needs and Z has different needs. I’m finding myself really exhausted having to repeat what I did with the older kids when they’re at Z’s age right now. I know that sounds like a cop out, but to be honest, I’m also ready to move on subhanallah. So I think you can kind of guess what my Ramadan dua is centered around based on that.

The girls helped make the set up for Z’s Ramadan prep. S wrote the names of Allah in Arabic, 30 of them, 1 for each day, and N wrote it in English, then they rolled up the papers tightly into tiny scrolls and inserted them into a balloon and blew them up. Hubs insisted on buying balloons at the Dollar store, so as the girls blew up the balloons and hung them at our staircase, we heard them popping one by one. If they didn’t pop, they would shrink. Hmpph..cheap balloons! What a waste of $1!

So we went and bought balloons at Wal Mart, supposedly better quality. I don’t know, and it’s saddening (for Z’s sake) but they all shrunk. Some popped (not as much as the Dollar store balloons) but all of them shrunk. So they all look like colorful hanging cow udders in our living room. Sigh. Poor Z. Last year, I did the Ramadan chain for him in Ramadan. This year, it’s the balloons, but it turned out this way. I think maybe it’s the New Mexico dry desert heat or something? It’s just weird. We did this in Ohio and none of the balloons shrunk or even popped !

So I have been doing the names of Allah with Z, everyday till recently when he got sick and N also got sick and we forgot to take down the balloons. As for the maze, oh forget it, I keep forgetting to do it with him too.  I think maybe I have trouble managing my personal schedule and the kids’. Subhanallah….maybe I set too high of goals for myself this Ramadan that I actually grew depressed when I couldn’t meet them in the middle. Alhamdulillah Allah granted me the tawfeeq for hope and bounced back towards the end alhamdulillah. All those lectures helped alhamdulillah.

Z did finish memorizing surah al Maun though, and we also resumed his Calendar notebook. I just feel lousy with his schedule really. I feel like such a bad homeschooling mom. The older kids will all be doing high school work this fall inshaaAllah. Just yesterday, we were going over their weekly schedule next semester. i really pray they all are trustworthy and responsible enough to stick to their schedule without needing me to hover over their shoulders and nag them. I am really really tired of doing that subhanallah. It’s my highest source of stress on a daily basis. There were days when I feel like just leaving them on their own and letting them suffer the consequences, but then I think,

“Oh great, if they suffer, what’s going to also suffer is our finances since we paid for those classes, and it doesn’t just involve them, but also the teachers they are working with!”

This is why I feel that if I send them to school, it will be even MORE stressful! I can just imagine the teacher calling me for one of them in particular,

“Mrs. H, we need to talk. __ hasn’t been sending in his/her assignments on time. …”

and I’m pretty sure I’ll still need to either do the assignment with that child or make sure the child does it and I’m just going to be even more irritated because it’s under the jurisdiction of another authority figure. So, never mind. You’d think that sending them to school would make it easier for me. No. It won’t. On the contrary.

N and H went for therapy throughout the summer and alhamdulillah both have made good progress with their individual problems. N is to continue in fall inshaaAllah. I’m amending our weekly schedule. Library day will no longer be Tuesdays but will change to either Friday or Thursday. N and H’s Tuesdays will be tight tight tight.

This fall, this is their schedule: All classes are online.

S :

  • Mon- Thur : 6:30 am – 1:30 pm – Live class Taleem Quran
  • Wed : 11 am – Live class Ancient Egypt
  • Will continue English 11 using the Bedford Reader

N & H

Mon : Home2Teach class –

  • Descriptive Writing (H) 10 am,
  • Narrative Writing (N) 9 am

Tue :

  • 8-9:30 am Live class Biology
  • 10:30-11:30 am Live class 20th Century History
  • 12-12:45 pm Live class HomeBookStudy Literature

Wed:

  • 9:15 -10:15 am Live class Interior Design
  • 11 am -12 pm Live class Ancient Egypt

Thur:

  • 3-4 pm: N’s Therapy on campus

Fri:

  • 8:50 – 9:10 am N’s Hifdh on Skype

 

I have yet to schedule in our post fajr tafseer and Arabic with Husna sessions.

For Z, my rough plan is to focus on handwriting Roman letters, Arabic, Math, Reading comprehension, hifdh, IQRA Quranic reading. He’s no longer going for speech therapy because hubs doesn’t want to pay the co pay after we no longer have one of his insurances. I also would like for him to be a part of a soccer team just so he gets that kind of social interaction, but hubs is not willing to spend the week taking him to practice and games. I told him we’re too old for this. Sigh. Subhanallah. If hubs doesn’t want to do that, I’m going to have to enroll Z in the Gym magic Gym program then. He needs something like that. It’s his rights on us parents.

We will continue using the calendar notebook since I feel that doing it daily helps reinforce some concepts in math for him, like telling time (to the minute), skip counting by 5s, number equations, odd, even, place values, greater than, lesser than, money. So it’s pretty good and comprehensive alhamdulillah. In fact, I feel he’s pretty good at math so far. I’m worried about his reading comprehension, even though he can read, I don’t think his comprehension is that high. The therapists keep telling me that he’s advanced for his age, but I don’t really buy it because New Mexico has literacy problems, so I’m not going to base my standard on that. He’s also been taking the older kids’ poster boards that they made in the past years and he’s been asking me,

“I want to do this too!”

I just feel somewhat depressed that I no longer have the energy nor will to do these kind of things with him like I did with the older kids subhanallah. May Allah give me the tawfeeq. Ameen.

I used to do things from scratch with the older kids, but with Z now, I’m looking for pre-made templates that others have prepared. What a change subhanallah. The good thing is though….there are a LOT of resources out there made by wonderful amazing energetic homeschooling moms! I do feel ancient subhanallah! My prime years have gone by.  I keep asking Allah to make it easy for me with all other things I’m doing, that Z becomes quick learner. So far, so good alhamdulillah. I also remember Sr Taimiyyah Zubayr saying that at times, we mothers are haunted by the thought that if we don’t stay with our child all day every day, tending to him dilligently, the child won’t learn. But in truth, it’s Allah who nurtures this child, Allah is the rabb, and He is the One who gives this child the knowledge, and the means for that knowledge etc. We mothers should do what we can do, and if we are also serving the community, we shouldn’t let this thought stop us from contributing to the community. So there are times when I’m stuck in a rut, in a dilemma and turning to Allah for guidance. At the end of it, it really is a matter of better time management on my part and sacrificing some things. For sure, some things that have been sacrificed is food. I haven’t been enthusiastic in cooking and I haven’t baked for ages. The older kids are doing most of cooking and even chicken cleaning and cutting. Alhamdulillah. They do somewhat complain that I haven’t been providing elaborate meals. Some of the things they mention, they don’t even remember that I have made them before when they were younger. They do blame it on Z though. it is part of the reason, due to his allergies, I figure it’s too stressful to cook/bake some things that has stuff he can’t eat because then I’d be cooking/baking 2 separate things. It has really taken a toll on me so I now cook anything that is edible. What can I do? I’m only one person.  The thing that does hurt me a bit is that there is a kind of ingratitude in the older kids in this. They forgot what I have done in the past, and they focus on what I don’t do. Then they take on the task themselves, and deem me as not doing anything. May Allah guide them to gratitude. May Allah guide ME to gratitude! Ameen.

May Allah help me achieve a good and proper balance in fulfilling others’ rights upon me. Ameen. There are days when I feel so depressed and stressed out, and the only thing that consoles me is the Quran and Allah. Parenthood…is really…something. Different when the kids are young and equally different and unique when the kids are teens. Indeed. I’ve even relegated each set of 2 taraweeh rakaat for each child in an 8 rakaat taraweeh.

H has been leading the tahajud qiyaam during these last 10 nights, and we realize that subhaanallah…he really needs a good stable teacher…and appropriate supportive company. No one else here is doing what he is doing and so he’s been doing this for years on his own. I’m guessing it takes a toll somewhat one way or another. Even though in the home, we also do it, there needs to be outside support from the community too.

May Allah forgive us. Ameen.

Alhamdulillah the girls went to the soup kitchen during Ramadan and S said lady remarked to her,

“Oh you don’t have to come all the way from another country to serve us here!”

S replied, “I was born here.”

The lady then said, “In my religion, we don’t cover our hair unless we’re really good.”

LOL

These last few nights of Ramadan, the girls have been sleeping at the masjid for semi-i’tikaaf, and they have been going to the masjid for the qiyaam at the masjid too. In the beginning of Ramadan, my schedule with the older kids are as such:

Post Fajr :- S recites her memorization of kahf to H while I listen to N’s tajweed as she recites for 10 min to me. Then, once H is done listening and checking S, he recites to me and N goes to recite on her own.

Post Zuhr :- I recite to H my revised portion for that day

Post Asr :-

  • H recites his revised portions to me for that day
  • N recites her revised portions to S for that day

But there were days when we fell short of sticking to this schedule and since the kids go to the masjid for qiyaam in the last 10nights, we have dropped the post fajr routine. It’s hard (in some ways) when the kids are older and more independent (can’t believe I’m saying this) because it’s harder for me to keep them together and stick to a schedule and herd them as one flock. Subhanallah….and that throws me off. it really does. I just need to learn how to manage this reality.  It reminds me of the word zhurriyah which can be translated as progeny. It comes from a root that has the meaning of ‘to scatter’ and true indeed, our children scatter. They scatter when they’re young and when they’re grown. In different ways. But yes, they scatter. This is just another stage of parenthood I’m entering and I guess it feels like being hit by a high-speed train sometimes. I’m left reeling and dazed, and I lose my bearings, and walk trying to find my way back like a blind person. When I finally find my way, I get hit again. At the same time, I’m barely holding on to this tiny lone hand by my side who still needs me to lead him step by step, but as the train hits me again and again in intervals, I lose his grip. That’s what it feels like. May Allah make it easy. Ameen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Activities - Ages 10 and up, Activities - Ages 5-8, Community, Cooking, Course Planning, Family, High School, Homeschooling, Juggling Multiple Kids, Memorizing, Outsourcing, Quran, Ramadan, Soup Kitchen, Teaching Challenges, Thoughts, Time Management, Z's learning | 4 Comments

Upcoming Road Trip

I have been really bad at updating this blog and don’t even know what to title it anymore other than ‘updates’. Anyway, we’re getting ready for an upcoming road trip to Oregon through California. We plan to drive on the Pacific Coast Highway, and Z is excited about the possibility of seeing orcas ever since he found a snapshot of a whale’s flukes on google map when he placed the man on the coast  of the Pacific Ocean by California. I’ve also been busy making his food for the trip and researching where we should stop on the PCH. We are somewhat limited in our time on the PCH, so I chose to stop at McWay Falls because it’s the shortest hike I can find and even though it’s a bummer than you can’t access the beach, the sight is supposedly breath taking, that it should be worth it. And if we’re lucky, we might see some migrating whales too! I hope! From a safe distance though. H is taunting me with “sharks”. The reason those whales will be swimming close to the shore (from what I googled) is to protect their babies from predators such as sharks in the deeper waters.

I also told the kids to research The Golden gate Bridge, the PCH, Seattle, but they’re not really taking me that seriously. I was too busy preparing Z’s food that I forgot all about making them research the stuff well before hand. I wanted to have Z have something like a map or a binder where he can mark our locations during the trip too but that would take time for me to make or search, so I don’t know. I don’t want to make things complicated and stress myself out, so maybe we can just do it the simpler way – Vlog, Photos, Atlas, and talking it through.

I did recheck out the book Humphrey The Lost Whale by Wendy Tokuda and Richard Hall for the purpose of this trip. We had read the book before (Z and I) and he liked the story. He now would ask me whenever he or I read a story,

“Is this a true story?”

Humphrey The Lost Whale is a true story about a whale who ventured into the Sacramento River and got stuck in shallow waters. The people had to take him back out to sea, so this story in itself is a fascinating one to read. I am thinking that this story is a great jumping board for our trip since we are also planning to go on the Golden Gate Bridge inshaaAllah. It should also spark a discussion on whales migrating.

H gave up on his QSL project and I emailed Mr. Phillips and he generously allowed H to join the next class. H wasn’t too keen on it however, and this made me mad, so I took away his Ipod and told him to work on it and not waste that money we had paid for the material and the course. I am still holding his Ipod until he catches up with where he is supposed to be in hie Algebra 2. He keeps making excuses in his Algebra 2, though the solution CD is already there. He keeps saying it’s hard. He keeps on wanting to go back to Math U see too even if there is no solution CD. We agreed that for Geometry, he can ask Vc if he has any questions about it since I am already saying I might not be able to help him with it. That was the reason I wanted him on Teaching Textbook in the first place.

S has started her Coursera course the beginning of last week. She is taking Irrational Behavior and seems to be enjoying it. Her writing is getting so much better too mashaaAllah. I was just checking her essay response to Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery and it was really good in terms of vocabulary and fleshed out analysis. I may start her on Statistics soon and then she can start focusing on doing those Bio and Chem labs.

I’ve already started to plan out N and H’s high school study plan. InshaaAllah in fall, they will both take Biology with Kim on Currclick. That way, S can maybe join in the lab too and have the labs done this way rather than on her own. N and H will also then take Mrs. Tetsch’s Homeschool Book Study for their high school Literature. I want to enroll them all in summer with a writing course on Home2teach, but I have yet to decide which course to enroll them all in. N is to finish her Pre-Algebra hopefully by May, and start on Algebra 1 soon after. She is doing pretty well on her hifdh alhamdulillah, and I told her we might have a party after she finished Juz 29. That will give me a reason to bake a cake! Not that I need a reason…but it’s also something to celebrate and encourage inshaaAllah (the hifdh, not the baking)

Z is done with the last two pages and is now on Al feel. It’s challenging working with him when we start a new surah as he resists and starts to jump about wanting to do this surah instead or that one instead. He seems ok once we start on a surah, but doesn’t seem to like starting a new one. However, he has accidentally memorized surah Al fatihah, so I wonder if I should try a different approach for his hifdh.

Z has also been working on his workbooks on his own, to my surprise and pleasure. Makes it that much easier on me and it surprised me that he actually understands what I thought he didn’t. It’s been a while since I’ve actually done anything with him in terms of activities. Subhanallah…when my schedule gets disrupted, it’s so hard to get back on track. May Allah help me. Ameen.

 

 

 

Categories: Books, Course Planning, Family, High School, Math U See, Memorizing, Quick Study Labs, Quran, Science, Science labs, Teaching Textbook, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tubing in Ruidoso

We had guests recently, our long time college friends and their 6 kids and we had a good time alhamdulillah.

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Hubs pulling Z in the double tube after coming down the slope

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Hubs and Z going back up the slopes on the elevator. Z LOVES tubing. He kept on going and by the time he was done, his eyes looked so tired.

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Altitude puffed up the bag o’ chips.

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Lanes 5,6,7 – 3 of the highest and fastest lanes to tube down in. Whee!!

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Then we went Go-Kart-ing with our friends. I sat out on this one and worked on my hifdh page (much needed).

Z kept asking on the way back home that evening,

“Is this a trip? Why are we not staying in a hotel?”

On the way to Ruidoso, he kept asking,

“Is this a trip?”

Well, so far it looks like he is the only one who enjoys road trips! No wonder! He gets his own home made allergy free baked products, and he particularly loves staying at hotels! The older kids complain about the long hours of the road trip, and the hassle of packing, feeding Z in the van, getting stuff from the trunk, etc.

Categories: Family, Outdoor, Travel | 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

Soup Kitchen on Yaum at-Tashreek

We had people over for Eid on Eid day, went to Chuck E. Cheeses on Saturday, because Z has been promised it, and on Sunday, I figured we could do some sadaqah by volunteering at the soup kitchen. We would just be home otherwise anyway. We played tennis for maybe like half an hour and then hubs dropped us off at the soup kitchen and picked us up after about 1.5 hours.

Of course, I always get looks because of my niqab. People don’t necessarily ask me about it, though I did get some. But most of the time people are just curious, a little taken aback maybe, but overall, quite respectful, polite, and nice. The kids haven’t screamed yet when they see me. In fact, I’ve helped a few of their moms with their trays and the kids have been fine with me even actually spoon-feeding them (like today).

But something amusing happened today. N and S were serving, and there was a man who was holding a red carnation, an old man. He suddenly gave it to N, saying N’s face is as pretty as the flower. We had a good laugh about it later on, and after we left, I asked her where the flower was. S said she had hid it somewhere at the soup kitchen and left it there, out of embarrassment. *Chuckle*

We still have the ram’s head in our front yard right now. Hubs had brought it home after the slaughtering. I think it can scare potential burglars. But we need to get rid of it soon.

Z suddenly told me yesterday,

“I want hajj.”

I do too. InshaaAllah, we will go to hajj when He decrees it is best.

Tomorrow is still the day of tashreek, but we inshaaAllah start school tomorrow. I have to get started planning out activities for Z. Next week, my  break is over, and my schedule is probably going to resume its hecticness.

Categories: Amusing, Community, Eid, Family, Soup Kitchen | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Impromptu Mock Hajj

I don’t have class today and tomorrow, so it’s a little light alhamdulillah, though I’m still weighed by the grammar lessons I have to make up, and the LI review recordings I have to listen to. But, in light of a relatively light day compared to my usual weeks, I decided to spend time with the kids, especially Z.

I didn’t have anything planned for him, so we simply did the addition chart on his Hajj theme pack, using counting chips and his ‘acorns’,

After setting up Z’s Cool Corner/Space, we finally had a stable resource center to dig from. Alhamdulillah.

 

I bought this dry erase writing kit from Wal mart and as I suspected, Z was obsessed with it. After he was done obsessing with it though, we still use it as reference on how to write the numbers and letters. He also now understand the idea of writing his letters within the lines. Alhamdulillah!!!

 

and completed one chart. I put it away and asked him what else he wanted to do. He took out his lapbook. The idea of doing this was apparently still lingering in my head, and before long, I found myself all hyped up. This state is familiar to the older kids. Whenever I get an idea for something, I get over excited and I start talking and asking their opinions and well, this is when I start to come up with something completely impromptu. That seems to be the theme in my life (not always a good thing).

We were taking out the hujjaaj, and I was thinking to just maybe have the paper hujjaaj make hajj around a cube. When my idea hit, I took a roll of butcher paper, unrolled part of it, laid it out, looked for stuff to use to make this, and before long, we had this going on:

I gave him the snap-on cubes (from the kindergarten days of the 3 older kids) and told him to make a cube for the Kaabah. He was able to figure it out by himself. Then he made the pillars for the Jamaraat. He even said,

“It’s tall, taller, tallest.”

He made them different heights on purpose.

We made the tents by fold index cards in half.  I wrote the names of the places on the paper with pencil and had him trace them with marker.

We followed the steps of Hajj from this Hajj Theme pack and had our two hand0picked hujjaaj do the hajj.

 

When picking which hujjaaj for each of us, I asked him,

“I’m picking ti’sa. Which Hujjaaj are you going to pick?”

“Khamsa.”

He can count from 1 -10 in Arabic now but he still is confused between 7 and 8. To this day, I’m still confused between 2 and 6. So…

I played the mock hajj with him once or twice and then he wanted to play with N. N wasn’t available and so H played with him. I left them on their own to figure out the steps of Hajj. So I suggested they refer to the lapbook step by step for hajj rites.

 

They started making tawaaf at the Kaabah.

 

Going 7 times between Safa and Marwa

 

At Arafah, making dua.

 

Staying at Muzdalifah, and picking pebbles to throw at the Jamaraat.

 

Throwing the pebbles at the Jamaraat. We always managed to knock over those pillars, much to Z’s amusement.

 

Slaughtering. I couldn’t find anything else to represent a goat/ram. 😛

 

This was fun and the best thing was, is that it was impromptu and it worked out with Allah’s help! Allahu Akbar! This was waaaaaay easier than sitting down and breaking my brain to come up with a nice activity idea. Over the years, I’ve had to reprimand my perfectionist tendencies. Having kids taught me to curb it, and subhanallah, I think I’m down to being almost perfectly normal inshaAllah. A lot of stress forced me to come to this level. Wisdom behind tests 😀

 

I also retold the stories of Ibrahim and Ismail and Ismail and Hajr and Ibrahim and Ismail building the Kaaba. For the story of Ibrahim and Ismail, I actually took his hand and we somewhat ‘acted’ it out. With the story of Hajr and Ismail, I used props to show how she scooped the sand to form a wall around the gushing spring of zam zam and replaced slaughtering Ismail with the polar bear (supposedly the ram). Since it was impromptu, it turned out to be an amusing story that I can only tell to my kids and no one else, lest I die of embarrassment.

 

The zamzam spring contained, and the ‘ram’ to be slaughtered. We actually also had the hujjaaj drive from Makkah to Madinah after they finished hajj, to visit Masjid an-Nabawi.

 

Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah. May Allah continue to inspire me and make it easy. Ameen! And may I never be ungrateful! Ameen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Activities - Ages 5-8, Family, hajj, Islamic Studies, Kindergarten Math, Learning Games, Living Islam, Z's learning | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Z’s Cool Space/Corner & Homeschooling Challenges

Most of the time, I’m overwhelmed with my list of commitments. The condition of the house is bad. I’ve been stressed out over this for a long time, but it’s like racing against clutter. I’m losing. The kids seem to be leaving a trail of mess, some of them more than others, and with my load of commitments, at times or most of the time, I’m too tired to do anything about it. This is bothering me a lot.

It’s always the same story. I round them up and we clean up, and I tell them to always put things back when they’re done and I’ve even taught the 3 older kids this since they were young but for some reason, I’m tested in this area. I’m afraid I’m raising messy kids though I do see some growth of tidyness in some of them. But this problem with plague me so much so that there were nights when I would walk through the house, look at the mess they didn’t clean up because I wasn’t there to nag at them because I was either in class or too busy doing stuff, and feel really exhausted. I would feel like a complete failure as a mother. I do not want to raise messy kids.

The thing that would always induce my anger with them is untidyness and a lack of ability on their part to stick to the schedules and charts I’ve painstakingly made so I wouldn’t have to nag at them. This morning, I wanted to do my work, but I had to make sure they were doing their work while I was doing my work, so I ended up spending quite some time helping them make their weekly schedule, explaining to them how to follow it, and what to write. Then I went back to my room to do my work. As always, I felt like they were taking advantage of me not hoverig over them, so I would ask them if they’re doing their work. Then Z came upstairs and asked me something. I felt bad, and ended up going downstairs to do some activities with him. But the sunroom was not only messy, but dangerous to walk in barefeet. That was how bad it got. It’s H’s project room and there were sharp stuff all over (well almost) the rugged floor. I felt my anger rising. I am on break this week, so I thought it was about time I clean this room up.

I’ve been wanting to clean it up and organize Z’s school space for the longest time, but my schedule always gets crazy by mid week. But this morning, I just went ahead and did it. Alhamdulillah, with the help of H and N, and S when she was in her class break, we got it done. Oh and also Z’s help. I showed him how the organization would work and emphasized that he is supposed to put things back where they belong after he is done with them. I wasn’t able to do anything else with him after the cleaning and organizing though, because I felt faintish. I fell asleep on the couch for about 2 hours. After that I felt better.

But, throughout the day, while I was doing my work, I noticed Z sitting in his Cool Corner/Space (which is what we called it and both Corner and Space sounded nice so we couldn’t pick just one) and doing something with the things I organized for him. he was using the scissors, playing with the seashell collections, counting chips and whatever else that I didn’t see. Poor boy. I didn’t get to really do anything with him today.

I went idea hunting again tonight, hoping to print more activities from Umm Nu’man’s blog but she had reached her bandwith limit, so I ended up hunting in other places. I found this and Z watched a few of it with me and by himself.

I also explored Umm Sara’s blog and settled on wanting to try making a Stepbook. Hopefully, tomorrow, I’ll remember to get that book and do this activity with Z either this week or next week. On second thought, I may delay this until we are completely done with the Hajj activity.

I looked at this (I love it, mashaaAllah) and figured I’d try to do it, but now that I think of it, it takes too much time that I don’t really have right now, so maybe I’ll just finish the Hajj activity I printed from Umm Nu’man’s blog and be content with it. Maybe we can do that next year inshaaAllah.

I also ADORE this and hope I can do it in the future inshaAllah. There are a lot of other wonderful ideas and resources on this site too mashaaAllah.

I also decided I would give N and H quizzes and tests on the Tafseer we have been listening to inshaaAllah. I really want to make sure they really gain a deeper understanding on the surah they recite. Right now, they seem to be sliding on our routine. I need to perk them up a bit.

I signed N and H up on Write Guide and they should be starting tomorrow inshaaAllah. S has started on ALgebra II and World History and has a goal and schedule done alhamdulillah. Now, all I have to do is beg Allah to give them taufeeq to have strong self discipline and make it easier on me to handle them and my other commitments without going crazy and feeling overwhelmed.

 

Categories: Family, Homeschooling, Juggling Multiple Kids, Lapbooking, Outsourcing, Quran, Tafseer, Time Management | Tags: , | Leave a comment

About Hajj & Life…

I gave the older kids assignments on Zulhijjah and Hajj.

  • N – virtues of 10 days of Zulhijjah
  • S- find ayaat in Quran related to hajj
  • H- research the rites of Hajj

After Fajr, we did our Friday routine, we listened to Nouman Khan’s Quran Cover to Cover of Surah Kahf. Then S had make up group bec she missed it on the PSAT day.

H’s Hajj rites infographic

 

Ayaat from Quran related to Hajj:

I did some explanation on these ayaat though I added some that S didn’t find here.

Al Baqarah 125

2:125
Sahih International

And [mention] when We made the House a place of return for the people and [a place of] security. And take, [O believers], from the standing place of Abraham a place of prayer. And We charged Abraham and Ishmael, [saying], “Purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who are staying [there] for worship and those who bow and prostrate [in prayer].”

Al Baqarah 127
2:127
And [mention] when Abraham was raising the foundations of the House and [with him] Ishmael, [saying], “Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing.

Al Baqarah 128

2:128
Our Lord, and make us Muslims [in submission] to You and from our descendants a Muslim nation [in submission] to You. And show us our rites and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.

Al Baqarah  158

2:158
Sahih International

Indeed, as-Safa and al-Marwah are among the symbols of Allah . So whoever makes Hajj to the House or performs ‘umrah – there is no blame upon him for walking between them. And whoever volunteers good – then indeed, Allah is appreciative and Knowing.

Al Baqarah 189

2:189
They ask you, [O Muhammad], about the new moons. Say, “They are measurements of time for the people and for Hajj.” And it is not righteousness to enter houses from the back, but righteousness is [in] one who fears Allah. And enter houses from their doors. And fear Allah that you may succeed.
Al Baqarah 196-203
2:196
Sahih International

And complete the Hajj and ‘umrah for Allah . But if you are prevented, then [offer] what can be obtained with ease of sacrificial animals. And do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal has reached its place of slaughter. And whoever among you is ill or has an ailment of the head [making shaving necessary must offer] a ransom of fasting [three days] or charity or sacrifice. And when you are secure, then whoever performs ‘umrah [during the Hajj months] followed by Hajj [offers] what can be obtained with ease of sacrificial animals. And whoever cannot find [or afford such an animal] – then a fast of three days during Hajj and of seven when you have returned [home]. Those are ten complete [days]. This is for those whose family is not in the area of al-Masjid al-Haram. And fear Allah and know that Allah is severe in penalty.

2:197
Sahih International

Hajj is [during] well-known months, so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of ihram], there is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj. And whatever good you do – Allah knows it. And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah . And fear Me, O you of understanding.

2:198
Sahih International

There is no blame upon you for seeking bounty from your Lord [during Hajj]. But when you depart from ‘Arafat, remember Allah at al- Mash’ar al-Haram. And remember Him, as He has guided you, for indeed, you were before that among those astray.

2:199
Sahih International

Then depart from the place from where [all] the people depart and ask forgiveness of Allah . Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

2:200
Sahih International

And when you have completed your rites, remember Allah like your [previous] remembrance of your fathers or with [much] greater remembrance. And among the people is he who says, “Our Lord, give us in this world,” and he will have in the Hereafter no share.

2:201
Sahih International

But among them is he who says, “Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire.”

2:202
Sahih International

Those will have a share of what they have earned, and Allah is swift in account.

2:203
Sahih International

And remember Allah during [specific] numbered days. Then whoever hastens [his departure] in two days – there is no sin upon him; and whoever delays [until the third] – there is no sin upon him – for him who fears Allah . And fear Allah and know that unto Him you will be gathered.

On the virtues of the first 10 days of Zulhijjah, we had a discussion on reflections:
Q: What did you notice about our two Eids?
A: it is after hardship. Like in Ramadan, we fast.
Q:  Okay, but what about Eid Al Adha then?

A: Hajj!, Hajj is difficult.

Q: But what about the rest of us who are not doing Hajj?

A: Day of Arafah, fasting on that day, and the 10 days.

Q: Ok, I want you to look for a pattern in this. What do you notice about the last part of the days just before Eid?

A: Last 10 nights in Ramadan and first 10 days of Zulhijjah

Q: What about them? What do we do in the last 10 nights of Ramadan?

A: Lailatul Qadr.

Q: How about first 10 days of Zulhijjah?

A: fasting and zhikr

Q: So we increase more in worship in these last/first 10 days and then we have eid. [they didn’t get to the point I was trying to get them to]. Give me an analogy of this in real life.

A: [H] It’s like when Nadal plays tennis, and he messes up his leg in the process and then he wins

A: [S] It’s like studying for a test. You study and then close to the day of the test you study really hard

Q: Yeah, so it’s like a race, right? Long distance running. You can ask Abi, he did this. I did it too, once and the only one time.

A: You lost right?

Q: Yeah, but Abi won. He was first. So, a lap is I think about 400 meters, so an 800 meters race is two laps. When they shoot the gun, how do the runners run?

A: They jog, like this [H demonstrates]

Q: Yeah, and then once they finish going around the lap, they start to speed up to take their place, and when they are close to the finish line, they sprint.

A: That’s like horse races too [S]

A: [S] When I race, I run just behind the first place and then I sprint to the finish line.

Q: So there is that intense increase towards the end, right? That’s what we do before both Eids.

As I am typing this, I just remembered why I began this discussion. Because there were too many little distractions from Z and I was rushing to finish up because I had class (which I was late for because I thought it started at 9:30!), I forgot the point of asking them this. My point is that, Allah has made our two annual celebrations, our major celebration as a celebration that has a purpose. They celebrate struggle, struggle in obeying Him. Just like He has not created anything in this world without a purpose, He has also prescribed our yearly celebrations with solid purposes.

And it is based on this also that I have established celebrations in our family. We don’t do birthdays. But I would make and decorate cakes for events of accomplishments and motivation, or just a surprise. It feels more…purposeful that way. And it doesn’t happen too often, so one doesn’t begin to expect it. When one begins to expect a celebration in which gifts will be given to him, it has the potential of creating an attitude of ingratitude, self pity, ill feelings when he doesn’t get it for whatever reason. When treats or gifts are not expected, it makes it more precious.

We don’t do fast food and we don’t eat out much. So when hubs actually offers to have us eat out, like in Dallas, when he offered ice cream or something for me after I was done with my workshop, it felt like a real special treat. Every day, after picking me up, we would go to the McDonalds and get some dessert, either the Frappe or the hot chocolate. Only the two of us went, but we would go back to the hotel and share with the kids. It’s not a regular thing that we do, for if it becomes regular, I guess it might lose its once-in-a-blue-moon value. In moderation is always the best way to go. In our case, it’s more like a 9:1 ratio. It’s all good alhamdulillah. This life is temporary, it’s not our permanent home. We have permanent homes waiting for us, and we get to work for which one we want to go to. So, while it’s permissible and even to some point encouraged to enjoy this life, there should be a limit and there should be moderation. It’s easy to get carried away with ‘fun’, so keeping a tab on it can be pretty important. Though of course, moderation means that we don’t limit ourselves too much that we are too heavily leaning to the All work and no play side of the see saw. Balance.

Hajj – May Allah enable us to go soon. Ameen.

 

 

Categories: Family, hajj, Islamic Studies, Quran, Tafseer, Zulhijjah | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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