HotelSchooling

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!

194

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.

012

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

OKC Day 3

Wednesdays is one of our busiest days in terms of computer use. Juggling this at home is hard enough. In a hotel room, with 2 laptops and 1 Ipad, it was harder still. But alhamdulillah, it went okay, except N did miss a video showed in her mammals class. But at least she can watch the recording for that one. I was worried about my tajweed class, but alhamdulillah it went much better than I expected. H’s Magnetism class was okay too. All problems was on the teacher’s side.

I also managed to get in some Quran Center activities for Z this morning. He finished gluing the missing words for Al Ikhlaass, with a lot of prodding and coaxing. His therapists also face resistance from him, and what they do is just be firm and tell him he can do what he wants after he does what they want him to do. So that’s what I do too. He wanted to do the memory game, so I had leverage. After he finished gluing, we played the memory game. While playing, I read out the words and asked him what he got. It went something like this,

“Oooh! Mama got Ahad! What did you get, Z?”

Seems like he recognized As Samad, lam, qul, and surprisingly, even yoolad. Then we played the board game, and I did the same thing, just to try to get him to recognize the words and ‘read’ them by sight. I also had him do the matching activity for surah An Naas, but when he saw those words, he began to say he couldn’t match them. I prodded him and he managed to do it, but it was clear that those words are new to him. We have been working on Al Ikhlaas only all these days, so he was quite familiar with those, but not An Naas. He loved the games the most, and I can’t help but thank Allah for giving Umm Nu’man the taufeeq to come up with these various activities mashaAllah!

Amidst all the productivity, I realized that I had forgotten to tell the kids to do their math. So this morning, I told N and H to do their math but they weren’t able to watch their DVDs because the mac doesn’t work for those DVDs for some reason. I also didn’t do their Wordly Wise that I had painstakingly scanned and printed during the chaos of planning and packing for this trip! And I’m about to have class in about an hour, so there is no way I can do it with them now. starting tomorrow, I will be busy with the public speaking workshop, so, looks like they’re going to have some kind of ‘vacation’.

All I can do now is rely on hubs to be productive with them. Travel – Dua. My most reliable hope.

We didn’t go out today though I did think of letting them walk to the Downtown library by themselves, but I also keep thinking of child abductions and missing children incidence in this country and so I think I’ll keep them in the room even if they are a bit noisy. They’re playing games on IPad. Sigh. Oh well. They did read up Oklahoma a bit on Monday, but that was it. Whenever we travel, I am always interested in reading up on the place we are traveling too, and I have always tried to share this passion with them, but they don’t seem very interested and it frustrates me. All I can hope on is that these experiences do have an imprint in their memory and will one day make meaningful connections in their brains that are of some benefit.

Allahuman fa’na bi maa ‘allamtanaa wa ‘aalimnaa maa yanfa’una.

Oh Allah benefit us with what You have taught us and teachh us with that which would benefit us.

For there are a lot of things out there that one can cram into one’s memory that are of no benefit whatsoever. May Allah make us of ulul albaaab and fill our minds and heart with only beneficial things. Ameen!

When I was in class this evening, hubs went out with the kids. They walked to the Botanical Garden, and took some photos. Then they went to Bricktown to get some photos for me since Z had deleted the photos I had taken when we went on the water taxi ride on Monday.

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They came back with Briyani for dinner. They had also gone to pray at the masjid we saw by the OK Halal Meat & Grocery, and said that it was huge, had a water fountain and that there are 4 masaajid here in town! Wow. I don’t know much about the Muslim community in OKC, but I am of the impression that it’s not that big. but 4 masaajid! Wow. They even have a school. How come I don’t hear much about the Muslim community in OKC though?

Poor Z. We were eating Briyani for dinner and he just had his white rice with serunding. As a mother, I was torn between feeling sorry for him, heartbroken, and wanting him to learn to live with his food limitations. The kids keep saying I am spoiling him when I dote over him but how can you not dote over him when he is so patient over this? He usually looks at us eating and he knows he can’t eat, and there is this forlorn look on his face. He doesn’t usually say anything though. He looks at his own food, doesn’t say anything, and eventually, when he realized it’s eat that or nothing, he eats it. When we do get food for him in restaurants, which is a very rare occurrence, I LOVE seeing the joy on his face. He doesn’t complain, he displays no tantrums. The most he does is turn away from the sight of us eating what he can’t eat, and eats his snacks. He would now even say he doesn’t want to eat something that I’ve prepared. Sometimes, he would state that he wants it this way and not that way. I can’t stand fussy eaters. I really can’t, and I don’t want to raise sons who are fussy eaters, who might burden their future wives, so when Z does this, I put my foot down, even when I feel sorry for him. He can’t afford to be fussy. He had low iron during his infancy, and I think he’s short on a lot of other nutrients too because of his allergies. But Allah is Ar Razzaaq, He will nourish and nurture him as long as I put in the effort to do what I can. So I’m worried but not that worried. His rizq has already been decreed. What he will get, he will get and what he is not meant to get, he will never get. Alhamdulillah.

Anyway, hubs bought him a bag of halal marshmallows that is exclusively only for him. That is supposed to make up for not being able to share our dinner. While we were eating and I was looking at him being left out, I asked Allah to make him patient and strong from this, and so, May Allah strengthen him through this and form his character into one of perseverance and utmost patience. Ameen. And yes, of course, may Allah also cure him and make him outgrow all of these allergies completely! Ameen.

Categories: Activity, Family, HotelSchooling, Productivity, Quran, Teaching Challenges, Travel, Z's learning | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

OKC Day 2

We decided to go out in the morning today, just the 4 of us excluding S, who has class all the way till 2:30. I had a little trouble getting to my group this morning and S missed a bit of her class because we switched laptops due to technical difficulties.

For a downtown library, it looks pretty new, which is nice but surprising. Then again, this is not the east coast. I remember when we went to Philadelphia and went to the downtown library. You could tell the building was very old.

Around 11 am, we went out and decided to take the trolley or walk to the Downtown Library. We ended up waking because the trolley comes every 30 minutes. It was surprisingly cool. I was expecting it to be hot. That’s what happens when you live in New Mexico and it’s always hot. So we had quite a nice walk through part of downtown. H led the way.

The library is very nice. I spent quite some time looking for books to read to Z. I was looking for non fiction science books but I ended up spending a long time in the picture books section before I realized that the books I was looking for was in the tween section.

I had a stack of books and called him and we sat in one area, and I asked him to choose which books he wanted me to read to him. He really loved Hey Diddle Diddle A Food Chain Tale.

I had to read it twice.

We also read Stanley Goes Fishing

and A Kite Day

and In the Garden: Who’s Been Here?

We read some other ones too, but these are the ones we remember. We didn’t read all the books in the stack, and I didn’t have the energy to anyway because after reading Hey Diddle Diddle twice, I didn’t have the energy to read anything else anymore. He also said he was done.

N and H were in the youth area, reading books. I think they finished 1 book during the time we were there. We left around 12:30 thinking we might get on the trolley but we ended up walking back to the hotel and as we reached it, we saw the trolley pass by us. We missed it!

On the way back, they left me way behind.

They had their HSI at 3:30 pm and discussed the Boston Massacre. I was too tired I just fell asleep in between. But the day felt somewhat productive alhamdulillah because in the morning, Z did some of Umm Nu’man’s Quran Center activity sheet set. He glued all the words for surah Al Ikhlass. He also asked to play the memory game with the Quran word cards, and he played it with N and H while I listened to the review of Juz 2. Alhamdulillah! At least he’s not completely aversive to it.

I hope Z is getting better because he is having runny nose sometimes and is still having coughing fits. We’re still giving him honey lemon, thanks to N and H making it for him.

I’m also getting increasingly worried about his food. I had made chicken nuggets for him but he doesn’t seem to like it. I had brought his serunding too, but I want him to eat his chicken. We bought Briyani tonight but of course, he can’t eat it. So he ate white rice with his chicken nuggets. Poor boy. This is the challenge of traveling with a multiple allergic kid. May eh outgrow these allergies completely soon. Ameen!

Categories: Activity, Allergies, Books, Family, HotelSchooling, Quran, Reading, Travel | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

First weekend in Dallas

Hubs couldn’t get a late check out on Sunday, so we checked out around 11 am and went to Hyatt to just hang out till the class ended. I coaxed Z to do more of Umm Nu’man’s activity sheets. At first when he saw it involved reading Arabic he said he didn’t want to. Wow, his experience with reading Quranic Arabic must be so bad. The older kids weren’t like this even though I was pretty consistent with them. With Z, because I wasn’t able to do it consistently with him every day due to my crazy commitments and hectic schedule (makes me feel so bad) his siblings had to take over, and I guess at times everyone is stressed out at having to do it with him, so it became a bad experience for him.

Whenever I tried to read it to him, he caught the hint and said

“I don’t want to do it.”

So I had to reassure him that ok, we won’t read it, just match it.

When we got to Hyatt, it was about 1 hour or so till lunch break, so I decided to glue the card templates to the index cards and alhamdulillah, by the time lunch break and zuhr came around, I was done with them. After Lunch, I laid them out on the ground unfortunately, to let the glue dry.

drying the glue

After they were dry, S, Z and I played memory game and go fish with them. Z enjoyed it. Then we also played the Surah Al Ikhlass game with the game boards. He loved this one too! Alhamdulillah!

Z got to decide who would go first. We picked a secluded spot in the conference center and hung out there while waiting for Behind the Scenes to be done.

I may have to glue those cards on index cards since I didn’t print them on cardstock. It was hard to put them under the stack when they didn’t match.

 

By the time we were playing a few rounds, he had recognized Allah, wa, lam, huwa. He didn’t give any indications that he could read the other words, but I didn’t press him.

At first he colors the dots and wouldn’t listen to me when I told him to trace it. Then as he was doing Ahadun, I pointed out the hamzah to him and he started to take interest. i showed him the actual version of the word and he was able to see what it was, and then he traced the word properly. It’s not that he can’t do it, because I noticed that he could trace it pretty well, but it’s just a matter of whether he wants to or not.

We did the gluing activity too, and he glued two words, and then he wanted to ‘do it later’. We took a walk outside, stopped by this sign at the parking lot.

I asked him to read it and then explained to him how someone could peek in your car window and steal your valuables f you leave it visible in your car. He had this ‘soaking in information’ look on his face, and then asked me,

“Why do people steal?”

He also played with my camera and took some pictures.

He made a comment,

“The clouds look like snow.”

This boy is obsessed with snow. We had read some books on snow and he’s been asking for winter and snow since then.

S and I watched King Arthur’s Britain, part 3 and we were both dozing off! We didn’t finish watching it though. I was actually dozing off  in a sitting position. But we got the gist of the DVD : there was no invasion of the Anglo-Saxon on Ancient Britain. Archeological finds found that Anglo-Saxon villages followed suit right after Roman villages and that there was no Dark Ages after the Romans left until the Anglo-Saxon came. There in fact was a thriving period during the ‘Dark Ages’. There was no invasion.

It’s actually interesting, but it might have been a tad too long.

We drove to Oklahoma City right away after hubs and N and H finished Behind the Scenes. In the midst of waiting for the class to end, Z was running around in the hallway with his sandals off. At one point, he was gone. S and I looked for him. In class, they were showing a video so the ballroom was dark. When the clip was over, Z walked out calmly holding a half eaten banana.

“Did someone give you the banana or did you take it?”

“I took it.”

“Z, you don’t even take anything if someone doesn’t give it to you, okay?”

He knows that if someone offers him any food, he should ask me first, especially if it’s something he knows he can’t eat becuase of his allergies. But I guess the banana on the table looked too tempting. Oh my…

We arrived in Oklahoma City around 11 pm alhamdulillah. I don’t feel like going out , especially not driving, so we might just stay in the hotel during our stay here inshaAllah. I have a lot of work to catch up to anyway. As for Z, I read the Eeman Reading Series books to him this morning, but when I asked him if he wants to glue, he said no.

I don’t think he likes doing worksheets, cutting and pasting at all. Right now, he’s reading A Drop of Blood. I had also read it to him this morning. He seems fascinated with the human body. I had explained to him recently that you are not to pick your scabs because Allah is making new skin grow under the scab and that eventually the scab will be pushed off. He came to me asking why we should leave the scab alone.

I realize that this is his way of wanting to hear the explanation again, because I notice he keeps asking the same question so I could give him the same answer again and again. And this may be his dwelling points in his mind mashaAllah.

This morning, we looked out the window, and saw window cleaners hanging by ropes, washing the windows of another skyscraper. We’re on the 3rd floor. I showed Z this, and in my mind I’m thinking he needs a session on learning about community inshaAllah. I already spied one of Umm Nu’man’s activity sheet set on this, though I will need to supplement it with books about community from the library.

H has gone to the gym. H picked up the A Drop of Blood and is reading it by himself, or at least looking at the pictures. The only bad thing is hubs left the IPad here and N is using it to play games, and so Z is there too. I’m supposed to catch up with the class I missed and get ready for this week’s class, so I’ll be busy too. Sometimes, having older kids is a boon and sometimes, it’s hard because you have bad influences on the younger kids from them. They’re not perfect anyway, even if you tried your best. Oh boy.

Categories: AlMaghrib Institute, Books, Family, History DVD, HotelSchooling, Travel, Z's learning | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Behind The Scenes in Dallas

Our 10 hour drive to Dallas was a very rainy one. It rained the whole way that I was left wondering if it was raining all over Texas. And the next day, it’s still raining. There were a lot of accidents on the way, that traffic was held up a couple of times. They were reminders subhanallah of Allah’s decree and Allah’s power and blessings.

For us, it was raining, and we were traveling, so our dua were high priority, alhamdulillah. Everytime we travel I would recite out loud the dua of traveling and then the meaning. It’s really deep and profound when you reflect over the dua of a traveler subhanallah. For me, it’s also profound that there is a part that asks for the distance to be covered quickly, especially as it pertained to us. We were trying to get there in time for class. Despite the rain, we covered the distance in good time, alhamdulillah, but the few traffic that we had held us up, and everytime, I’d make dua, and when I thought we would definitely make it, we encountered traffic again. Subhanallah. We had entered Dallas but there were more traffic at the flyover which Z was very fascinated with. He kept pointing out the train tracks,

“Why are there many tracks?”

“Are we up?”

“Why are we up?”

“Are we going down?”

“I don’t want to go down.”

“Are we up Ummi?”

“Are we up a little bit, Ummi?”

“I want to go on a train.”

“Are we almost there?”

The first time he asked about the flyover, I realized that he had just realized about the differences between a smaller city and a bigger city. We have been traveling a lot before, but he had never noticed these things or at least had never asked about them. So I explained that this is a big city and there are so many more cars and people and they had to have trains, and they had to build the roads in such a way that we have flyovers. He seemed entranced by the whole experience.

He kept asking where we were too.

Oh and he did ask,

“Why is that moving?” (the windshield wiper)

“To wipe the water away.”

“Why do you need that to wipe the water?”

“So we can see.”

“Why is it raining?”

“Because Allah told the ngels to let the rain cloud let down water so the animals can drink, the grass can drink, the trees can drink. They need water too. Otherwise, who will give them water?”

“The people.”

“No, the people don’t give them water. They need water too.”

“Does the water fall on the trees?”

“Yes, but they suck it in through their roots.”

Subhanallah, we did make it to class on time though, miraculously, with Allah’s power of course. It was amazing. I brought Z in with me, and I gve him his Quran Maze sheet, and his crayon pouch, and told him to whisper and color. It was hard for me to fully take notes because of this, but I wanted so much for him to be in that environment, like the 3 older kids were when they were that age. At the registration table, the sister did mention that there was Mommy and Me room for mothers with young children. I didn’t want to take Z there. I want him to be trained to sit quietly in such an environment, even if he does his own things. That’s how it ws with the 3 older kids. I had taken them to Al Maghrib classes at that age and trained them to sit quietly and ‘take notes’. I would accommodate some fidgetyness, but no ruckus.

With Z, it ws okay Alhamdulillah. He did run to the front for  bit but didn’t make any noise. He did move between me, S and N, but was quiet most of the time. He was doing his Quran mazes and came to a part where he had to write down words. He encountered the word worship and when I told him to copy it out, he made a face and said,

“I don’t want to.”

I told him then that ok, he can just put it away and I turned back to my notes. When I looked back at his paper, he had written the word out. That was quick! I realized that he has the ability to write quickly but it’s just a matter of whether he wants to or not, which makes it both easier and harder for me.

We survived 3 hours of free Friday alhamdulillah! I didn’t have much notes but at least I had Z in the room for 3 hours without much trouble.

Today, I spent the morning doing the Human Body activity sheet with him. I truly enjoyed it!

I had to spell the words for him. I just realized that we probably need to start work on uppercase and lowercase soon.

It didn’t take that long for him to write, so he can write pretty fast but it’s just training him to write on the lines, lowercase, uppercase, basically penmanship. I hate training kids with penmanship. I hated doing it in school too.

 

S doing her Algebra and Z working on his maze when I was done working with him.

He seemed to enjoy it too and actually cooperated though with reading and writing, he did make faces and refused but I insisted. I realized that this is what his therapists had to do too. We actually finished working on the whole activity set by lunch time. S did her Al Huda studying while I was working with him.

I also let him do another Quran Maze set.

We also read Hey, Little Ant. As we read this book, I asked him,

“Is the boy nice or mean?”

“Mean.”

Is he being nice or mean now?”

“Mean.”

“Do you think he should squish the ant?”

“No.”

“Do you remember when H squished your ant?”

“Yeah.”

“Were you sad ?”

“Yeah.”

“Your ant was bringing back  leaf, so maybe it was trying to build a nest or eat.”

When we reached the end of the book, he seemed pretty distraught because there was no given definite ending. For quite some time he looked very disappointed.

I then asked him which was his favorite page. I chose the giant ant. He did too. I love that page.

As for the older kids, we are kind of worried about N and how good she can retain or grasp the material taught in class. I looked through her notes last night. Pretty quirky and funny. I also noticed that she missed the important points and wrote down the jokes and elaborative points. I asked her if she likes the class. She said,

“Yeah, he makes lots of jokes.”

H said today at lunch break,

“It’s kind of hard.”

I hope to learn what they learned when they study for the exam inshaa Allah.

As for S, she studied her Al Huda, did her Math, we watched King Arthur’s Britain, and she did some PSAT questions. I finished memorizing my dua ready to be tested soon inshaAllah, listened to part of Juz 2 lesson for LI review purposes, and kicked myself for not bringing my Sahih Bukhari notes. I had the forward vision to ask my classmates to record the class for me because I will be missing two consecutive weeks of it, but I didn’t pack my notes with me! I didn’t think of listening to the recorded class and catching up during the week! Oh well, just more work for me when we get back home inshaAllah.

In all, alhamdulillah I feel it’s a pretty productive day.

Categories: AlMaghrib Institute, Books, Family, Homeschooling, HotelSchooling, Learning in Context, Note-taking, Reading, Teaching Challenges, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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