Course Planning

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

Lab Sciences

While planning S’ remaining high school years, I was having trouble fitting in her biology and chemistry labs, which she didn’t do even though she finished doing the two courses. I was going for her taking both the classes again with lab, but it might take too long and be too heavy of an academic load then. As I was planning out N & H’s high school plans last night (it was a long winter night last night), I suddenly came across websites that triggered a chain of actions and further triggered an alternative way to solving this problem we have.

I knew about this before, but having Barbara Shelton’s Lab Science gave me a lot of hope and a solution. I browsed through the sites first and browsed through Lab Science afterwards. The solution : S is to do some of the experiments at home and watch the virtual ones to complete her Biology lab component. For Chemistry, we might end up using Joy of Chemistry after all. With this, she won’t be bogged with all 3 lab sciences to do at the same time when she is done with the Taleem course. InshaaAllah.

It even led me to think that maybe we can do N’s Biology course the way she is doing science now but still include a lab component without doing it the traditional classroom way. Now, that’s a very joyful thought.

Of the websites that S can use to do her lab component for biology:

Oklahome Homeschool Online Resources for Biology Lab

Lab Bench

Biology Weblabs

Serendip

Ehow 1

Ehow 2

 

 

Categories: Course Planning, High School, Science, Science labs | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Catching Up On Break

I’m on winter break and even though it’s a break, it’s realistically a time for me to do all those things I don’t get to do during non-break time. My January schedule is going to be really tight, so I’m just trying to get everything done during this break to maintain my sanity and health in January. InshaaAllah.

I printed  out Z’s lessons, and have yet to go through them and cut and organize them into his lapbooks. I decided to look for workbooks at Wal mart for him for times when I can’t sit and work with him throughout the week. Especially in January.

Yesterday, I finished figuring out S’ high school plan considering some changes we are making to it. She is designing her own Crochet I course and I worked on finding resources and planning out the rest of the courses she still has to take. I decided to use the Bedford Reader as the source for her composition section of her English 11 and 12, and use Mrs. Tetsch’s Homeschool Book Study for the literature component. I may check her writing myself or use WriteGuide, esp for January. In fact I emailed the admin to ask if I could add her on to N and H’s current course. I was also looking for a Probability & Statistics high school DVD course for her since she is about to finish her Algebra 2 in a few days inshaaAllah, and only found MathTutorDVD. I emailed them asking if they are also equipped with student workbook and answers and they said they are not, but that they always encourage people to look for cheap workbooks or use the high school Statistics textbooks for problems. So we might just do that for her 4th math course. I figured Statistics would be the next logical math course because she wants to major in Psychology, so it doesn’t make sense for her to take Pre-Calculus. I was googling at what is required to pursue Psychology in college, and it basically emphasizes on good strong writing skills, Statistics, Psychology/Sociology, and Biology. The only problem right now is that she hasn’t done any lab for the sciences that she has done ;Biology and Chemistry. So we’re either going to test out with CLEP or have her take an online course with CurrClick. I hope Kim will still be teaching then, when she is ready to take those courses. So last night and this morning, I sped read through the Bedford Reader and picked essay assignments for her. Once she is done with her Algebra 2 inshaaAllah, she should start on her English 3 composition part. I found Education Portal which I find to be quite a wonderful resource. It offers free courses in video format (which is the wonderful part) and it can be used to prepare for the CLEP tests.

So basically for S:

  • English 3 & English 4 : Composition and Critical thinking from Bedford Reader & Homeschool Book Study
  • Probability & Statistics – MathTutorDVD with separate test/workbook OR test out with prep on Homeschool College USA.
  • Biology, Chemistry, Physics – either with Currclick, or test out, or in community college.
  • World History – we already have the textbooks. I initially wanted it to be non textbook based but to make it simple we reverted to textbook.
  • Social Science elective – I found 2 on Coursera that I figured she’d be interested in and I was right at least on 1 of them. They are:
  • Why We Need Psychology
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior
  • Social Psychology

 

Today, I started planning out N and H’s high school plans, which I have done on paper months ago, but it needed resource searching. I ended up on a lot of websites, and one wonderful one I found was Stossel In The Classroom. I registered and ordered the free DVDs. So far we’ve been watching CNNStudentNews everyday, and so this would be a great addition to our current events and critical thinking discussions inshaaAllah. Can’t wait to use those DVDs!

One thing that I still find challenging to put together is English for all 4 years. For N and H, I figured I would use Homeschool Book Study, both semesters, and use Home2Teach as the composition component, and I found English Grammar 101 which I think I will definitely use for them for their 9th grade English. For 11 and 12th grade English, I might use the free online courses from Homeschool College USA. In fact I even found a possible Statistics course for S. I  may even utilize the recommended course of study for their English. For Science, this is where it troubles me. N loves taking NatureGlo’s science classes on Currclick, and I had emailed Gloria asking if her classes would count as a high school biology class and she said for me to check with my state requirement. I have yet to do so, but what troubles me is the lab component. I don’t know how to go about that. And I’m not really keen on doing their science with them. On the other hand, I think, learning Science hands on, nature notebooking etc is wonderful as opposed to doing it the traditional way. So I guess we’ll see on what my schedule allows then, when the time comes inshaaAllah. I’m trying to balance between doing too much unnecessarily or doing it the smart way. Because I  have to spend time with Z too, so it’s probably highly unlikely I would have time to devote to overseeing their science done in an innovative way.

For N & H:

  • English 1  & 2- Homeschool Book Study, English Grammar 101, Home2Teach or I may just use the resources under Homeschool College USA. I will also resort to using WriteGuide for their writing component. I don’t really look forward to doing the discussion for the literature section but I guess if I have to, I will. Maybe along the way I  might find an online Lit course with interactive discussion. Mrs. Tetsch’s classes are wonderful.
  • Math – we’re using Math U See and Teaching Textbook, though I like TT better because it’s hands off for me.
  • Sciences – I may  use the classes on Currclick or whatever I may find along the way. There is also Friendly Chemistry for consideration. And QSL Study Labs for H.
  • US Government – PASS is a great resource that S also used in 9th grade
  • US History – PASS also has US History and a lot of resources also on Homeschool College USA

For Z right now, I’m using an amalgamation of various resources, including Umm Nu’man’s A Muslim Child Is Born, Homeschool Creations, Confessions of A Homeschooler, File Folder Farm, Royal Baloo, Learning Page, Education.com, though this one has a limit of how many worksheets you can download per month. I printed a wonderful Calendar Notebook from Our Aussie Homeschool too.

Today, I found Head of the Class, which actually fulfills my inner inclination and preference for working with Z (as opposed to worksheet-based). I also came across Lesson Pathways again. I tried to register and realized I had already registered but forgot my password, so I hope to maybe look this over and hopefully cut out a lot of time looking for things for Z, and just use what has already been compiled.

As I was hunting on cyberspace, I also came across this interesting resource called Math Apprentice.

I realize I am far from done in this, but at least  Alhamdulillah, I got this much done. I’ll have to revisit N and H’s high school plan this summer inshaaAllah because we still have other plans that are still up in the air which may affect the normal course of their high school, especially H’s.

So far, Alhamdulillah Z has made significant improvement in his math. We did odd and even numbers, skip counting by 2, 10, counting to 100, adding by 1 pattern, and the concept of zero. I was anxious about teaching him these because I thought he might not grasp the concept immediately and I’m not that good of a math teacher, but alhamdulillah Allah made it easy and he got it from the start.

I also told him the story of Adam a.s. upon his insistence, and this occurred by accident, but I’m glad it happened. Recently as I was reading through Bedford Reader, I came across an essay that talks about Lilith who supposedly came before Eve, but whom the Christians hid. Quite interesting how the Biblical version of the story of Adam tends to want to put the blame on women whereas the Quranic version puts the blame on both Adam a.s. and Eve equally. Ironically, they are the ones now who accuse Muslims of oppressing women. It just goes to show that when you have a perception of something in a certain way, you may tend to find that fault in others even though it’s not the reality for that ‘others’. There is so  much emphasis on the idea that Muslim women are oppressed, which reminds me also of an essay in Bedford Reader written by a Muslim that depicts how the modern Western Society also oppresses their women in another more subtle yet torturous form. In reality, yes, it may be true that some Muslim women are oppressed due to lack of knowledge in Islam by the Muslim men and women and thus abusing what is not really in the religion, but the hijab and modesty itself, is not oppression. It’s starting to irk me how the history of oppression of women in other religions has set forth the movement of them going to the other end of liberating their women and then pinpointing these ‘oppressions’ in Islam. And even when we say we are not oppressed and we choose to dress this way ourselves, we are accused of being  brainwashed by the mullah. Oh come on! I guess that is not our problem, if people still persist to think about it that way. But it is a problem when they meddle and try to ‘liberate’ Muslim women who don’t know any better about the true teachings of religion. In their liberation, they’re only subjecting another kind of oppression on our Muslim women – the modern western society’s oppression mentioned in Fatema Mernissi in The Western Women’s Harem. I cringe at her usage of mullah and harem though, but I agree with her assessment of the suppression of women in the western society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Course Planning, High School, Homeschooling, Literature, Organization, Outsourcing, Z's learning | Tags: , | 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

A Cardboard Ceiling Fan

In a conversation I had last weekend with a sister, I brought up H’s cardboard endeavor jokingly, offering her a homemade cardboard furniture. Of course, she took it as a joke too. I started talking about cardboard engineering but she still had this incredulous look on her face, and I couldn’t help but realize that H was right. People won’t take this seriously, at least not those who are more used to a more refined way of life. I don’t mind having cardboard furniture.

It made me think more about cardboard engineering though. I think it’s a great way to recycle, it’s more eco-friendly. When I googled this area, it seems that it’s not that popular in the US, but might be more popular in the Europe. Of course, right. The US is a bit behind in being green. Europe has always been way ahead in this, so it’s no surprise.

I’ve been trying to look for science fair opportunities for H and his cardboard engineering but logistically it’s not that easy. But  I did find a lot of resources online on ideas for cardboard engineering projects, so I told him to use them for his science this year.

Right now, H is making his ceiling fan. He’s using the motor from our broken fan, and just this morning he managed to get the cord out of the fan by sawing off the enclosure.

He had N helping him and for almost the whole day they were immersed in this project.

It wasn’t that easy taking the cord out of the old fan frame.

But he finally got it out, and I was just relieved he was done using the saw.

The motor and cord ready to be reused.

testing the motor

He decided to use the motor of a bigger fan because this one was too small. Today, he finished it, and demonstrated his working cardboard ceiling fan. The motor overheated pretty quickly though, so he’s thinking of making a vent or hoping that when it’s hung from the ceiling, the wind from the fan would cool it down. But the fact that the fan actually works is exhilarating enough, even for me!

I am noticing that in this project, he’s learning a lot of things, such as the problems he encounters. He made circles from the cardboard without using a compass, and later he had to make sure the radius is all the same throughout his circle. He was trying to find the center. So when he came to ask me how to use the compass and make sure it’s centered, I told him,

“You have to make the circle using the compass to begin with.”

“I know,” was his somber reply.

Later on, he said, while pointing to the compass,

“I need one of these, a big one though.”

He even asked me how to make sure it’s 5 in radius and I showed him.

This is how you learn through doing. It’s the other way around. You do, thus you learn, rather than you learn, then you do. It’s through mistakes and problems that one learns and this reminds me of Roger Schank’s book Teaching Minds. It’s a great read! I would highly recommend it. He basically suggests a high school curiculum where you have the students actually ‘training’ in various areas. For example, first year of high school, they may be doing Health Science, and throughout that year, they will work/train under a mentor as a ‘doctor’ for example, or a ‘health inspector’, or a ‘nurse’, and through this, they learn what needs to be learned, in context.

I had thought of doing something like this for the kids too, but the difficult part about this is finding a real mentor who would be willing to take a teenager under his/her wings for a certain amount of time. It’s akin to shadowing really, or apprenticeship.

For H, because he’s naturally interested in electronics, building, etc, he takes to this willingly by himself. I don’t have to tell him to do it. For N, I’m thinking of something like this too but because she’s interested in creative writing, it may be easier to do this. We’ll see. At the back of my mind I’m also looking out for shadowing opportunities for S, but I think she can also get these through her volunteer activities. The soup kitchen is a good start for her, and then there is the animal shelter. For N, I may need to find writing/publishing opportunities to make it more real and make it a real learning experience. I’m excited about this, and so I look forward to hopefully being able to spend more time on their homeschooling after my Al Huda is done inshaAllah. Though I’m thinking Allah may have other plans for me. Alhamdulillah. Whatever He decrees is best.

This morning (this post is written over a course of a few days) he hung the fan from the ceiling with the help of his sisters. It worked!

And then H edited this video on my Youtube account, but right after that, the fan fell from the ceiling. Another problem he needs to figure out how to overcome. Either way this is a good learning experience, Alhamdulillah!

Categories: Activities - Ages 10 and up, Cardboard, Course Planning, High School, Learning in Context, Project, Science, Thoughts | Tags: , , , | 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

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