Organization

Rough Daily Schedule

My daily schedule now differs from my daily schedule years back. Now, most of homeschooling for me is basically working with Z and N and H in the morning after Fajr. I have online classes that I take and teach  scattered throughout the weekdays, so I organize my homeschooling schedule based on that.

Usually, after fajr, on Mondays and Wednesdays, we listen to Nouman’s Tafseer of Juz Amma for about half an hour. Then we watch CNNStudentnews and then have breakfast. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we watch Arabic with Husna from Bayyinah TV after Fajr and then CnnStudentNews. On Fridays after Fajr, we listen to Quran Cover to Cover on whatever surah we are in (I base this on Surah that H has memorized. It’s more for him).

After breakfast, the older kids do their work, and I work with Z till about lunch time. This will differ based on if I have classes in the morning, which I do on Mondays and Wednesdays and Fridays. So on these days, I would work with Z after I finish my classes. On Friday though, my class in the morning is from 9-11am, so I usually end up not doing anything with him. If I don’t really do anything with him, I at least try to read with him. If not, I let him play games on the computer that would help him with language, math, or watch Reading Rainbow.

Ideally, after Zuhr, I would listen to N recite a page of Quran, and Z read his IQRA and do his hifdh. But I haven’t had the patience to do this with him lately as things have gotten rather chaotic. But usually, I don’t like to do school after lunch. I work better in the morning and I like doing things in the morning. I have always urged the kids to finish their work by noon, so it really drives me nuts when some of them choose to dilly dally and take a lot of breaks in between and end up still doing their school work in the evening close to bedtime. Now that they’re older I find that personal choices of their like these drive me crazy, especially when being late like that affects my schedule (as in having to mark their essays/work in the weekends). Sure, I give them deadlines, I give them consequences but subhanallah….they still do it.

I am getting tired of asking them if they have finished their work yet or not and I’m getting tired of remembering things for them. If I leave them alone, they get left behind. I don’t see a way out subhanallah. I know some have advised to let them suffer the consequences. Thing is, when they do, the work is back on me. I’m the one who has to pick up the pieces anyway. Subhanallah…

But anyway…I did enjoy homeschooling them when they were younger. Now that they’re older, things get more serious and I end up being more strict because of their future, and it can be a bit stressful even though I do get excited when I see their prospects and potential. Ya Allah, please don’t let me fail these years!

Back to scheduling, my Quran teacher gave me an advice which makes a LOT of sense to me. She said that schedules are made as a rough guideline but it’s almost impossible to follow a schedule to the dot, without getting stressed out. So take it easy. A schedule is to guide you so you know what you need to get done in a day, but if life happens, it’s ok. Just pick up where you left off. With homeschooling, sometimes, and many times in fact, life happens. Take it easy. Like in my previous post, I didn’t really do much with Z, but he still learned mashaaAllah. Sometimes, just reading to him helps a LOT.

So our rough schedule looks like this:

  • Fajr
  • Post fajr – Tafseer/Arabic (30-45 min)
  • Breakfast
  • Homeschool work
  • Lunch
  • Zuhr
  • Quran
  • Free time/work time (if they are not done yet by this time)
  • Cook dinner & tomorrow’s lunch
  • Asr
  • Dinner (we like to have dinner early and not wait till after isha. When time changes, we would eat after maghrib at the latest bec by then Maghrib would be around 5 pm)
  • Clean up
  • Maghrib
  • Quran (depends if I listen to N or not)
  • Isha
  • bedtime

 

Since the kids can cook, I don’t necessarily cook much anymore, especially when I have a lot of work to do. The classes that I take and teach do sometimes overwhelm me, so after spending the morning with Z, and sometimes checking on the older kids, I have to get back to my own work and many times cooking is delegated to the kids. My schedule when they were younger is different. There were three phases; when they were all 3 and younger, and when they’re 5 and older, and when they were 5 and older and Z was a baby. Each time, I had to find out what worked for me and deal with it. And each time, I learned not take the schedule too seriously to the point of stressing myself out. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t try my best to follow it. This ‘take it easy’ means that I do try my best to follow it, and that I have allotted a certain time frame to do a certain thing during the day, I strive to do that. If life happens, especially when you have young kids or older kids and sickness and errands, then don’t stress out over it. With me, it’s my own hifdh and Z’s schooling. Lesson => just pick up from where you left off.

I have to say though that I have had to use my weekends to do work too, especially when the kids finish their work late, or when I have to prepare some things for their school work the next week or something like that. So my weekends can get pretty crazy too. My weekend has a schedule too basically:-

 

Saturday

  • Fajr
  • Class that I teach (once every 5-6 weeks or 3-4)
  • Farmer’s market produce grocery shopping
  • Lunch
  • Zuhr
  • Free time (usually nap time for me or work if there is work to be done)
  • Asr
  • Dinner
  • Swimming
  • Masjid for maghrib and Isha Youth halaqa

Sunday

  • Fajr
  • Breakfast
  • Tennis
  • Lunch
  • Zuhr
  • Free (Sunday school for N if she teaches, work for rest of us depending, laundry)
  • ASr
  • Dinner
  • Maghrib
  • Isha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Categories: Juggling Multiple Kids, Organization, Time Management | Tags: | 1 Comment

What We Have Been Doing

We almost finished the Pizza activity pack I had gotten from Umm Nu’maan’s blog.

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We also did several of the file folder games

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I did the word families file folder game with Z, and it has some extra empty cards, so I had him write words that fit in some word families.

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Person, Place …

 

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Where I keep his daily ‘Do’s’ (calendar Notebook, certain file folder games (rotated depending on what I feel he needs to work on), worksheets. So everyday we just take this and start his ‘school;.

His math manipulatives. We alternate (depending on his preferences) between this (easier to take down and put back) and the MATH U SEE math manipulatives (harder to take down, and put back). There is also another magazine folder thingy containing other file folder games and past lapbooks that he can take on his own.

His math manipulatives. We alternate (depending on his preferences) between this (easier to take down and put back) and the MATH U SEE math manipulatives (harder to take down, and put back). There is also another magazine folder thingy containing other file folder games and past lapbooks that he can take on his own.

 

N’s study desk. I’ve been nagging her about the tidiness of her study desk and alhamdulillah it’s finally looking productive! She is also using her mini whiteboard for her daily to do lists and I see that it has helped her complete her work on time.

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And her stack of library books. She has started to read these books which when I asked S, she said, “I guess it’s slightly of a higher level than what she usually reads,” which is good news alhamdulillah!

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However, I have been noticing that she has been obsessed with these books and some of her school work is not done. I just asked her if she’s finished her work for today. I heard something that I don’t like to hear. Sigh…

We have been having abundant rain alhamdulilah. With that came weed. A lot of them in our backyard especially. I told H we’ll pay him if he gets rid of them. So he’s been working on them, but I think we may have underestimated the amount of work it requires.

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H and N seem to be doing very well with Home2Teach alhamdulillah, so I may just continue signing them up for Home2Teach classes. Compared to Write Guide, Home2Teach seems to give them more structure and direction. S is supposed to and still doing her English 11 using the Bedford Reader. We recently visited the horse lady which I had contacted last year but never followed up with. She gave us some resources for S to volunteer with horses. One of them was on campus, and today, I just got her email saying that even though S is underage for their volunteer program, if it’s to do with volunteer hours for school/homeschool, maybe something can be worked out. So I replied to her and am waiting to see what she will say.

I’ve been discussing with S the possibility of her majoring in Psychology (since she still wants to) and also Animal Science but maybe specified to horse therapy since she loves horses. The emergence of horse therapy in the past 10 years (according to the horse lady) also brings more possibility to combine Psychology and Horse Therapy. She seems to like this idea. I told her to research and look into it on her own. I don’t feel like she is though. Subhanallah…it’s so hard being a parent of teens. You don’t want them to waste their youth, and even though I lived it, I really don’t like this culture of teens wasting their time entertaining themselves when teens before there was even a term ‘teen’ used to be considered as adults and worked to earn a living and actually made good use of their times. I don’t like that the kids have these electronics even though I agreed to getting them when hubs asked me (S has an Iphone and H has an Ipod). It’s hard balancing things for me. Subhanallah. I hate to see the older kids wasting their time because they have so much potential. Alhamdulillah they like to go volunteer at the soup kitchen and are not really wasting their time in ways that would turn parents hair grey. Alhamdulillah. But I (like any other parents I’m sure) have high aspirations for my children and I’m trying very hard not be a Tiger Mom. On one hand I understand the drive to be a Tiger Mom, but I also understand the wisdom in not being one. Sigh. If I’m having middle age crisis, this might be why.

Categories: College, Homeschooling, Organization, Productivity, Soup Kitchen, Time Management | 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

Z’s Kindy

I decided to get all the materials for Z’s kindy, print them all, at least for now till Feb/Mar after which I will hopefully be free-er, so I’ve been on overdrive this past week and still on going.

I decided to use Learning Page, and I printed things from various websites including Umm Nu’man’s A Muslim Child Is Born, Mama Jen, and File Folder Farm. The only other thing that takes time for me now is cutting and pasting them and organizing them into lapbooks. My lapbooks this time around are much simpler than they were with the older kids when I had more time.

Z seems to like doing worksheets so I found myself spending time looking for them and then printing them. So while I thought I had everything ‘done’, I’m in reality not done. This week and maybe the past few weeks, he’s been entertaining himself, poring over books on his own after I have read them to him, and he even took out his hajj lapbook and the map of hajj and set it up himself. He’s been really preoccupied with worksheets though, particularly dot to dot, and word searches. It was hard looking for word searches that is for him. He likes using the highlighter for the word searches.031

Instead of using it as a worksheet, I decided to make it such that it can be reused again and again like a file folder game.

Instead of using it as a worksheet, I decided to make it such that it can be reused again and again like a file folder game.

He loved Amelia Bedelia!

He loved Amelia Bedelia!

His camping lapbook.

His camping lapbook.

We recently did the camping unit pack I had printed from homeschoolcreations, and we read Amelie Bedelia Goes Camping to go along with that. One part of the pack was on things you eat and don’t eat. There was a picture of egg and bacon strips on it and I took the opportunity to explain to him that we don’t eat anything to do with pigs. So we crossed out the bacon strips and then he was able to put that picture in things we eat column, because we can eat the egg.

The bacon had to be crossed out, man.

The bacon had to be crossed out, man.

Though I asked him,

“Can you eat eggs?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Allergic.”

I found so many wonderful units and lesson plans but I don’t quite have the time to work with him. So, for the older kids, I’m outsourcing all their secular studies, mostly with Currclick. With them, I’m doing Arabic and Tafseer, and Quran recitation, and CNN Student News. This is to give me more time with Z. My schedule in Jan and Feb seem to be packed and tight, so I’m planning the kids’ classes from now on. I’m debating whether to enroll N and H in the HSI second semester because she did say it’s going to be taught from a Christian worldview. My concern about that is what content of the Bible are they using in class. If it’s on aqeedah (God having a son and God being partly human or however they choose to explain it) then that is a problem. If it’s values, I’m perfectly okay with it because we have the same values because the message is from the same God. If it’s on stories, then there is also a concern of confusion, so I told them that I will enroll them but that I will sit in class too and address any confusion or contradicting content and I will discuss it with them. I thought about doing history myself but in Jan and Feb, I really can’t. So bismillah. Right now, I seem to have no other choice.

I had written out my daily schedule and subhanallah, it’s tight. I barely have enough time to do my work in the weekdays. I have to do them in the weekends. May Alllah put barakah in my time. Ameen.

Categories: Homeschooling, Juggling Multiple Kids, Lapbooking, Learning Games, Living Islam, Organization, Outsourcing, Quran, Tafseer, Time Management, Z's learning | 2 Comments

Our Sunroom (Project/Learning Room)

When we rented this house, the thing that made me pick it was the sunroom. Previously, we had space issues, especially with homeschooling and the kids being inclined in arts and crafts projects. With this sunroom, they could work on their projects and leave it to continue it the next day. Of course, after a while, their on-going projects remained sitting and it drove me crazy. It wasn’t even on-going anymore.

So after the clean up and reorganizing we did a few days ago, we have Z’s Cool Corner/Space and H’s project station. The girls don’t use the room anymore, especially S, though they would still hang out there when reading or when they feel like indulging in arts and crafts.

Z’s Cool Corner/Space.

 

Now, it’s easy for me to do activities with Z, because I know where things are, and I taught him to always put them back when he’s done with them. So far so good. The hard part is keeping this up.

 

I moved this shelf from the other side of the room to this corner. I sectioned the whole room into H’s side and Z’s side. I will be working with Z on Z’s side. Makes it a lot easier for me and more motivating for me to do things with him amidst my crazy schedule.

 

My stuff for him that I hope Z can’t mess with because it’s higher than the other accessible things on this shelf.

 

Right after we finished setting up his space, he played with the seashells N had collected at the beach of an island we went to when we were in Sumatra visiting my grandmother and relatives in 2010.

He keeps saying hermit crab when holding one of those empty shells. We even have one that looks exactly like a marshmallow and this one in the pic looks like one of those yogurt-covered pretzels. Pretty cool.

 

H’s Project Station:

 

H’s electronic and cardboard engineering project station. He argued with me when I told him to just open up this table and use it. He claims it takes too much space, and yes it does,but with no table, his projects are on the floor. This table was the 3 older kids’ school and project table for about 6 years when we were in Ohio.

 

A crate for his cardboard materials and a trash bag. I told him to have a trash can nearby so he doesn’t end up just leaving a mess while he’s working on a project.

 

More cardboard material we had collected from the recycling bins at the mall.

 

More of his cardboard material

 

I hope this remains neat and tidy till we have to move out.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Cardboard, Organization | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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