Teaching Challenges

Week 2 : Quran and Prayer

On Thursday, I managed to cover the lines Z would read of his ABATA, so he read 6 lines, 2 for each day. I also noticed he had about 2+ pages to finish book 4, and so I told him,

“You’ll finish book 4 soon inshaaAllah!”

I even counted the lines and predicted that he would finish it in two weeks inshaaAllah.

“Then you can go to book 5 and then 6 and then read Quran! S, N and H read Quran when they were your age! You remember the video of N reading Quran?”

His eyes lit up and as the memory of that video clicked in his mind, he nodded enthusiastically. He seemed excited. I even asked him,

“Do you want to read the big Quran or the small one?”

“The small one.”

Hmm…I guess he’s used to using my mushaf when doing his surah. I personally prefer him to use th big ones though, and so I opened the big one and showed it to him, saying,

“See, this is bigger and easier to read!”

“No, I want to read the small one.”

Well, I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

As he is turning 7 soon inshaaAllah, I will ask him to choose between Zuhr and Asr, which one he wants to commit to. This was how I introduced salat to the older kids. When S turned 7, I asked her to choose between zuhr and asr, and whatever she chose, she will have comitted to it even if she is sick, which is a good practical lesson in how to make salat when you are sick and best of all, it teaches them commitment. I like this method so far, because it is gradual and they learn to commit to one salat at a time and not all 5, and they learn to hopefully perfect it, learn what to recite in the different positions, know the details of the salat they are committing to, before adding the next one, in about a few months. By the time they turn 10 inshaaAllah, they would then committed to all 5 salawaat. With the older kids, it worked. While we were traveling, they also still had to pray and so they learned how to pray when traveling.

With Z, I’m focusing or have been focusing on him perfecting each position and he has perfected the iftiraash, and tawarru3, and his sujud and ruku and even getting up from ruku and going into sujud. Soon, I plan to introduce him to what to say in ruku and sujud. Short ones and then hopefully, by April, he would have at least know how to pray with the pillars. Tashahud usually comes in a bit later.

We had gone to Dallas, and I had talked with a sister who took Dream and her two teenagers, age 17 and 15 are now TA for the Dream program mashaaAllah! On the drive home, hubs and I talked about the possibility of signing up S for the sisters public speaking workshop with Qalam Institute, and H for the Dream program, whether we move there or not. I really hope we can attend S’ graduation this June …inshaaAllah!

I also have to start calling the local CC asking about what is needed for S to enroll. She will inshaaAllah finish AlHuda this June and then she will plunge full force into finishing her high school. May Allah make it easy ameen! As for N, it seems that I need to work very closely with her all the way and make sure she’s on top of her work. I don’t like doing this, but what can I do? May Allah make it easy ameen!

I also have full hope that inshaaAllah with our regular post fajr session on Ustadh Nouman’s Tafseer and Arabic with Hosna, that we would really benefit from it. There were times when I was about to give up because I felt like despite us doing it every day and regularly, it wasn’t entering our hearts. But as I asked the kids survey questions, I sensed that those tafseer sessions do help. And it made me feel like haa..shaytaan is working to get us off that track maybe, making me feel hopeless. So the thing to do is to just keep doing it and make crazy dua Allah puts barakah in it. For Hosna, I really do hope we get ouf ot it what he Dream students get out of Dream, except I still do want to attend Dream or the part time one, and send H to the full time one. InshaaAllah.

I wish I can do Arabic with Z. I am VERY poor at doing this with the kids when they’re young. Seriously. If I master Arabic myself, maybe, but the reality is, I don’t. Argh. I’m very bad at trying it since even with Malay, we’ve been very bad with speaking it with the kids, even though we have a second chance with Z since he is still young. My God. May Allah make it easy, Ameen.

I have yet to sit down with N and come up with her hifdh revision schedule. May Allah make it easy ameen!

S is back volunteering teaching at Sunday school. Her horse therapy volunteer sessions hasn’t resumed yet so far. And our girls youth halaqa has been going on strong alhamdulillah. I plan to have S fully handle a few sessions on her own with my supervision inshaaAllah.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Al Huda Institute, Arabic, Bayyinah Institute, Community, High School, Homeschooling, Islamic Studies, Learning Challenges, Living Islam, Prayer/salat, Qalam Institute, Quran, Tafseer, Teaching Challenges, Teaching To Read, Thoughts, Volunteer Masjid, Youth Girls halaqa | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Week 6 : Mon- Fri

Today is already Friday. A week has passed by and I haven’t really done anything with Z other than tell him to do his Calendar notebook daily. This week has been crazy in doing an ‘Abu Bakr’ for Hajj. We’re still waiting for the visa, but we’re preparing nonetheless, so that if we get it, then we’re all up and ready to go inshaaAllah. So, this week I’ve just been occupied doing some stuff that need to be done before we go and next week is going to be busy too. I feel bad for Z though. He knows he has to do his Calendar Notebook and he does it, and after that he digs in his toybox and looks for things to do.

Amidst my sewing this week, I did notice him playing with the stethoscope and asking where the heart is. He also played with the scrabble by himself and kept asking me,

“Is toon a word?”

“What is a toon?”

“Google it!”

“Is noon a word?”

“Is din a word?”

“What is it ?”

So, subhanallah despite me being busy and not able to physically sit and do stuff with him, he is learning. He basically learned what toon is and what din is and he asked couple more questions out of the blue,

“What is dawn?”

He also spent time watching the story clips and playing word games on Between the Lions on PBS website. he also played games on AbCya and watched Reading Rainbow. He did say he wanted to paint eggs and I wanted to buy those wooden eggs for him but this week, our schedule was a bit crazy so I told him next week. We did read some books though…

We read,

If You Hopped Like  Frog

Wonder of Nature Waterfalls

 

Amelia Bedelia Bookworm

Cute! The Sound of Long U

He also peeled sweet potatoes, went swimming, went walking with me this morning, and learned the difference between city and country. I remembered this particualrly because this morning, as we were walking, he asked me,

“Is this city or country?”

I didn’t know what to answer so I said,

“Well, it’s kind of like the country because it’s quiet and you can see the animals, but we’re still in the city. Do you like country or city?”

“Country!”

He asked again as we approached home, “Is our house in the country?”

I also told him that we’re in the desert because we passed by stretches of land in the neighborhoods. He was also hoping to see cats. We only saw one as we almost reached home, alhamdulilah! As we walked he also asked,

“Why are there so many neighbors? Why are neighbors so close?”

“Why do people live in the desert?”

I think I should take him for a walk more often. The older kids no longer want to walk with me, so maybe after this I’ll take Z with me as long as he can stand the distance. I need the exercise especially for Hajj.

But alhamdulillah he does his calendar by himself now and pores over his books on his own if I can’t read them with him. He still likes being read to of course, but I do think he is able to read it on his own too quietly. He may not understand all of it, but he can read it. I just need to sit with him and still do the reading and engaging. He is particularly intrigued by the book If You Hopped Like A Frog. Much later on, he said, “If yuo’re strong like an ant, you can lift a car!”

He did have some issues understanding that though and said while I was reading the book to him, “People can’t lift cars!” “Why is his head so small?” “I can’t do this!” (trying to stretch his neck upwards like in the book).

N had her therapy yesterday and we spent an extra hour talking about what the therapist wants her to do. Subhanallah..my gut feeling has been right all along. I figured that if I send her to school thinking it would be easier, it’s still going to be the same, because she has a motivation and maybe attitude issue. Her therapist asked me to be the enforcer to make sure she does what she is supposed to do. Sigh. This has been my challenge with her all these years. I particularly hate it when people tell me to do that with her because I already am doing it. Especially last week and this and next week I won’t be able to do that, but I didn’t communicate that to the therapist. I told myself, “Well, I’ll just have to do it.” Sigh.

The therapist gave her writing strategies and one particular one where she has to write down main idea and details for EACH paragraph of the book she is reading and she is reading Call of the Wild right now. It’s a significant jump of reading level from Anne of Green Gables. She didn’t look motivated yesterday and I had a talk with her, and she still didn’t seem like she was motivated. I fear she may follow in the footsteps of some of our relatives who dropped out of high school and college. Hubs has some of the issues she has in learning (not sure if you can call it learning disability) but hubs is competitive and actually likes learning while N is not competitive and doesn’t like learning. She does say she wants to write for a living though. I have to say I’m almost giving up with this child. I don’t know what else to do with her. It’s so frustrating, aggravating and just saddening for me. Loving to study, I can’t fully empathize with her and this makes me very impatient when dealing with her which probably maybe exarcebate the problem. These are one of those times when I feel like I don’t really know what I’m doing and when I feel like just leaving everything and being by myself. The stress of preparation added to this doesn’t help either. My only consolation is dua. I do feel like I do need to get away from the kids though…take a break and leave them for a while. Maybe that’s what I’ve been needing for years.

I reminded her to use the Cornell method to take her notes, but I don’t see her doing it as enthusiastically as she learned it in therapy last semester. I also told her we won’t go see the foot doctor anymore because she doesn’t seem like she is taking responsibility for her own feet and it seems like we’re just paying the Doctor for nothing. May Allah help me and guide me with this child. Ameen.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Homeschooling, Learning Challenges, Teaching Challenges | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Ramadan 1434

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

S :

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

N & H

Mon : Home2Teach class –

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

Tue :

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

Wed:

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

Thur:

  • 3-4 pm: N’s Therapy on campus

Fri:

  • 8:50 – 9:10 am N’s Hifdh on Skype

 

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

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

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

“I want to do this too!”

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

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

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

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

May Allah forgive us. Ameen.

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

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

S replied, “I was born here.”

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

LOL

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

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

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

Post Asr :-

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Hifdh-ing

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog. H pointed that out to me yesterday. What I can say is that alhamdulillah, we’re all now doing hifdh, including Z. S is starting with Al kahf, and for her, I want her to focus on her Taleem Quran more, so hifdh is somewhat secondary for her right now.

N is taking tajweed class  online with Sis N from Canada, a 20 min class, once a week on Fridays. When I saw sis N offering her class through email, I thought of enrolling N, but I asked N how interested she is in learning tajweed. At first she said not interested. But she also expressed slight interest. I’ve been encouraging her to pursue tajweed because her recitation and articulation is naturally good already, and I want  her to find her own niche in the field of Quran. S is already taking Taleem Quran, and H is doing hifdh and is pretty good in Arabic grammar (better than me, even though I studied it for years in high school and even now), and I want something for N. One of my homeschooling goals is for the kids to develop a solid foundation in their deen and develop a Quranic perspective, which means, they need to be able to recite with tajweed, understand what they’re reciting, implement and internalize what they are reciting, and develop the wisdom that comes from the Quran and sunnah. The world out there is full of propagandas subtle and obnoxious, and I want them armed with iman and understanding of the deen before they go out there.

I’ve been making dua for the kids and subhanallah so I am overjoyed when N expressed that yes actually, she would be interested in learning tajweed. Sis N also advised me that I should encourage N to memorize. So I talked about this with N and she said yes she would  like to memorize. Initially, I was concerned about her intention, but sis N told me that even for us adults, our intentions will fluctuate and so it’s a lifelong process. So, in February N began her Quran journey, with learning  tajweed and doing hifdh. Alhamdulillah. I had already taught all the kids to read with tajweed through the Malaysian IQRA book series, and I have also taught them the tajweed rules, but I want them to actually learn further with someone who is qualified to teach them. So, I’ve done what I can from my end, and this is the time to outsource now. So, she started from Al Mursalat and is now at Muzammil. We also discussed about their Quran time. We agreed that after fajr, instead of starting right away with Nouman’s tafseer and Arabic with Husna, we would spend 30 min on our own doing our new memorization or revision, and then have breakfast and then do tafseer and Arabic. Thanks to a suggestion by a friend 🙂 May Allah reward her immensely for she is the one who has triggered this move towards hifdh for me and the kids. The girls will have their Quran time twice a day, one after fajr and another one either after asr or before bedtime.

 

For H, he has already been doing this for years, so I  leave him pretty much alone for he has gotten into his own routine. I do still worry about his tajweed though and asks that Allah opens up opportunity for him to learn with someone qualified who can enhance his tajweed. Right now, the brother who is helping him is too busy, so H is working just with hubs for now. He is re memorizing surah As Shuura. This surah has a special story. When H was memorizing this surah, we were in Malaysia, and we enrolled him in darul Huffaz. The ustaadh there told him to memorize the surah backwards and this confused H so much that to this day, his grasp on that surah is almost nil. So he’s rememorizing it now. I still can’t fathom why that ustaadh told him to memorize it backwards.

H is currently taking Sh. Omar Suleiman’s tafseer of Surah Al Ahqaf class every Tuesday for 4 weeks. He doesn’t seem too captivated by it except when it involves stories, but at least I hope it provides him with deeper understanding and internalization of this surah that he has memorized.

Even Z has taken an interest in doing hifdh. Maybe it’s because all of us are doing it now. So, he would come to me and take the Quran, put it on the rihl and open it up to the last page and point to the surah he is working on and signal for me to recite it to him. So far, he just finished An nasr. I started doing this with him before he showed any interest. We listened to Minshaawi for An Naas and I had him recite again and again. I had to resort to recording his voice and letting him listen to it, because he couldn’t sit still for the lesson. Eventually he didn’t want to do it, so I left him alone. Made dua.

Then, all of a sudden, he knew those 3 quls. Apparently H had been practicing it with him at bedtime. So I expressed pleasant surprise that he knew those 3 surah by heart and told him,

‘Z, you memorize 1 whole page!!!!”

You could see he was overjoyed as well, and that motivated him. So we worked on Al Masad. He kept asking for the ‘stowee’ of Al masad. So hubs put on Nouman’s tafseer of the surah and we told him the story of Abu lahab and the surah. One thing about Z is that he is impatient. He kept asking to move forward before memorizing the current ayah properly. So I would tell him,

“Let’s say it 7 times, you can count it on your fingers.”

So he obediently puts out his index finger and starts to keep track of how many times we have to repeat the current ayah together; I would say it first and he would say it after me. I would break up the ayah so he could repeat it in manageable portions. Then, we’d be done for the session. I tell him to listen to his MP3 too and he does mashaaAllah. It is a little hard working with him because he is still young and has his own issues sometimes, but alhamdulillah I also feel like Allah has made it somewhat easy. The fact that he comes on his own and takes the Quran and sits waiting for me to start working with him, and listens to his MP3 on his own, and is willing to recite his surah properly, makes it a lot easier on me. I worried that he wouldn’t enunciate the words properly, and I would disapprove it when he rushes through it, I would emphasize that he needs to really enunciate it and not just say the surah. Alhamdulillah he does and he does try hard mashaaAllah. He is also doing great with his IQRA.

At one point, he was watching Arabic with Husna with us and we were covering the sarf table. At this time, Z was a bit obsessed with ana anta and started to write it in Arabic and in English, and kept asking us,

“Are you anta?” “Are you anti?”

And now he keeps asking, “What is …. in Arabic?”

I wish my grasp of Arabic is stronger to be able to feed his thirst for it. It’s a bit difficult having to juggle the older kids and Z and my own learning.

Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah.

Categories: Al Huda Institute, Living Islam, Memorizing, Outsourcing, Quran, Tafseer, Teaching Challenges, Time Management, Z's learning | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book 4

I gave Z a preview of IQRA book 4 the other day as he is finishing up Book s, and since then, he has been super excited to finish book 3 (skip what is remaining even!) and jump to Book 4. Today, as we were about to start reading it, he flipped the page to Book4, and I had to firmly tell him we have to finish book 3 first, We only have 1 more page of book 3 and so hopefully inshaaAllah, on Thursday, he can start Book 4.

I tried doing hifdh with him, but he has this voice issue. His pronunciation of the Arabic letters is becoming much better, I think because we now read it everyday, whereas before, he has no practice with it. He used to be able to pronounce them well but due to lack of practice and usage, he lost the ability but now Alhamdulillah hopefully we’re back on track. His voice though; he can’t yell. Same issue with N. Both of them will not yell to ask for help. They can scream when startled but they can’t shout at will. So, with Z, I have trouble getting him to utter the surah with a strong and clear voice. I honestly don’t know how to help him get his voice out. So help me Allah.

With N and H, we just finished tafseer of Surah Abasa this morning, and I have been rather slacking in the area of making up a test for them for Naaziat and Abasa, and I was just thinking about it today, and I just have to get to it soon inshaaAllah. But we were praying one time and I read Naaziat, and after salah, H said,

“You read Naaziat and I understood!”

Alhamdulillah.

We’ve been contemplating and looking into something for H recently, something major, but just today, I have been feeling somewhat uneasy with the idea. So, we just  have to really buckle down and really work hard on our daily routine of Tafseer and Arabic with Husna in our journey of Quran and Arabic. I’ve never actually felt better about our daily routine. May Allah preserve this good and increase us in it and keep us istiqaamah on it, Ameen!

 

 

Categories: Living Islam, Quran, Tafseer, Teaching Challenges, Teaching To Read, Z's learning | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Reading to Z

Today, I squeezed in reading time for Z. We read Fall of the Giant by Noura Durkee and One Watermelon Seed by Celia Barker Lottridge. I improvised some info in Fall of the Giant because some of the info didn’t sound sound to me, so I stuck with only what I know to be sound.

To be continued…

Nov 8, 2012 continuation:-

I had an idea for the One Watermelon Seed book, and exhorted the kids to help me with it yesterday. Am still in the process of doing it today, so we’ll see if we manage to get this printed out and tried out today(yesterday’s tomorrow) inshaaAllah.

Today, Z picked Badger’s Fancy Meal by Keiko Kasza for me to read, after waiting overnight. He had wanted me to read it to him last night, but I had just finished class and I had work to do so I told him we’d read it in the morning. This morning, of the first things he said to me when he woke up was “book.’

I had actually taken out the checked out library books from the bag and put them on the table. As I did so, I showed it to Z. After a while, I noticed him going through the books with interest. He leafed through them and after a while, he pored over the pages. It was after that that he asked me to read them to him.

As I read the book to him this morning however, I got a little worried. I tried to ask him some comprehension questions and even back tracked a bit for sequencing. He couldn’t answer. I wonder what his brain was focusing on while I was reading the book. I had to go over it again, ask him some more questions, and he just wanted to move on to the next book. This worries me. Does he have trouble with comprehension? When he picked the next book, he picked Let’s Go Rock Collecting. He seems to be more intrigued with science. He kept asking me where the rocks are.

So I don’t know. Does he have trouble grasping stories? And does he have an easier time grasping information such as that presented in science? Or it’s just that his mind right now is intrigued by science that stories for him are just entertainment.

As I was reading Badger’s Fancy Meal though, an idea hatched in my mind; that of making it a game or even focusing on the sequencing of the story, to make comprehending the story into a game. Time, time, time. I wish I could delve into this, but we’ll see.

 

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Capping it All

So, we’ve been sick, somewhat minimally following the election (mostly through CNN Student News), and waiting for the color cartridges to arrive. I went through a determined phase of martyrdom of trying to make my own activities for Z, because this is my natural inclination that has been strictly curbed by other commitments as of now. But, through eye pain, headaches, I did it and made some activities for Z which we’re finally able to try out this morning after installing the new color cartridges last night and printing them and cutting them last night. I still have some activities on prophet stories to complete (yes, apparently,  I’m too stubborn to leave it at that and decided to make more). I remember when I started homeschooling S after I pulled her out of preschool, I went to bed at 1 am preparing a handmade food pyramid lesson plan. That is how obsessed I can get. Back then, I probably had more flexibility and time to indulge in that, but now, I have other commitments that seriously strictly curbs that kind of indulgence. However, there are times when my creative side just fights its way through. I have left creative activities for so long that my kids balk at the thought of them inheriting their artistic skills from me.

“You can’t draw, Ummi.”

So when I drew the images for Z’s activities, they came and said,

“Ooh, that looks professional.’

“You drew that?!”

When I admired my masterpieces a bit too much, Hubs said,

“Stick to real niche; writing.”

But that’s a whole other story. Drawing right now is more immediate and gratifying than writing. I’m on hiatus with writing right now.

It’s interesting how creativity has its own branches. N can draw from imagination, well H can too, but I can’t. I can copy drawings, but I have trouble drawing from imagination. S I think is good at copying drawings too. When she makes hands-on projects, I always look forward to seeing the end result. Right now, she is working on a diorama for World History. Years back, she had made a project on cave formation and it was awesome.

For H, when he works on a project, he focuses more on the engineering aspects of it. Aesthetics is one of the least of his worries. He would do his designs and work on them, and his projects are not less awesome. Rather, I would say that his projects reveal his strength.

N is the interior designer type. While S is good at coming up with ideas for her projects and actually carrying them out, N is good at the finishing touches. somehow though, I feel like she feels she is bound by some limitations, that seems to curb her potential. I know she has a lot of potential, but somehow, she probably feels she can’t do as well as H and S, and this limits her. She does her own thing, but I notice that she always limits herself and this is a shame, because there is a reservoir of talent in her that can be polished to produce greatness. I hope she realizes this for herself, because I’ve been telling her this, but she needs to realize this on her own for it to take effect.

All this creativity is a blessing from Allah. I try to remind them to use these blessings for His sake. It’s so easy to get carried away with using these blessings in ways that can earn His anger, and then what do you end up with for yourself? It has been a struggle in this area, so may Allah guide us. Ameen.

After we finished Tafseer An Nabaa, I gave them the test, and they’re supposed to come up with a project. Right now, N and H are working on their project which is due this Friday. H already produced two 3-D representation of two scene-sections in the surah, and N is working on a PPT presentation for hers. I’m excited to see their end results.

One thing that has been lacking a lot in my working with Z, is arts and crafts. Subhanallah, I really can’t wait to finish this course inshaaAllah and hopefully have more time to spend with him. I have an inkling of worry that my schedule might be tighter, but may Allah give me barakah in my time so I can do all that I need to do. Ameen.

Quran and Arabic

Bayyinah Podcast has been down since hurricane Sandy, and so our daily tafseer sessinos have been kind of hanging. We started listening to Quran Cover to Cover on Bayyinah TV on surah Al fatihah, and last night, I printed out the handouts for the Arabic With Hosna also from Bayyinah TV and sent them with Hubs for Kinko-ing today.  I plan to inshaaAllah alternate tafseer/Quran with Arabic grammar throughout the week, with Friday of course being special for kahf Quran Cover to Cover. I feel somewhat lost without Bayyinah tafseer Podcast. Subhanallah, I realize how much we do rely on it for tafseer. May Allah reward all those involved in that project and others that enable easy access to understanding and learning Quran for the masses. Ameen.

With my own hifdh, checking H’s review, checking N’s tajweed and fluency, I haven’t really been consistent with Z’s Quran reading sessions. I feel scattered with regards to his ‘schooling’ but I’m holding out till Feb inshaaAllah when I will be done with this course. Though I have a feeling like I’m so addicted to taking classes that I might still have the same problem. Right now, I’m all hyped up about the Bukhari class, and am already thinking I really need to study grammar well because that may aid my hifdh. It’s a process. Baby Steps, and consistent dua. InshaaAllah. InshaaAllah.

Literature and Writing

H and N’s literature teacher, whom they love because she is so nice, got sick and went to the hospital, so they’ve been missing 2 lit classes. I enrolled them in the Write Guide class, and so far, it’s been good alhamdulillah. Their writing instructor is helpful and she helped them with their essay prompts, but then, because they didn’t have lit classes for 2 weeks, they got to work on personal essays with her. It’s perfect timing subhanallah. Allah’s planning and decree. I am able to see their exchanges and last night, I was looking at their drafts and revised drafts, and I thought to myself,

“I wonder if this is helping them.”

I noticed that what the instructor points out to them, are some of the same things I’ve been pointing out to them too all these years. I wonder if they should also attend writing classes that are more instructional than a personalized one. So far, with this one, everytime they send her their essays, she would respond with suggestions and corrections. I haven’t yet seen any instructions or tips in writing that I kind of expect to see. But maybe there is no need for it because the kids are used to beginning with outlines and that she is maybe focusing on their writing skills more. Then I think to the course I took in 2004. It does actually help your writing when you have someone giving you feedback. it is personalized and even though it is not the classroom type of teaching, it does help. So I hope it helps them and affects their other writing inshaaAllah, and not just these essays.

I may also enroll them in Home2teacher classes starting in January, just to I cover all bases (that I can think of anyway).

Math

I can’t check H’s math. I just can’t, so hubs does it but sometimes he is tired and can’t do it. I can check N’s math though, it’s more straightforward.  We sat down and made a schedule for her to finish this Zeta by end of November so she can start on Pre Algebra. Seriously, I can’t take Math U See with higher math. I’m going to have to figure something out with H if he still insists on doing MUS instead of Teaching Textbook when he gets to Algebra II.

With Z, I’m trying to work on things like skip counting, recognizing Arabic numerals and addition and subtraction, ordinal, telling time, etc. We just read the book, One Watermelon Seed, and I had him count the fruits and vegetables with me. He resisted at first, but I made it a condition for me to continue reading the book to him. I was actually surprised that he can count to 20. Though, when we tried counting to 30, after 29, he said, twenty-ten. Since he laughed, I don’t know if he was joking or he really didn’t know. But at least we did the skip counting by 10. I don’t like teaching skip counting, because I feel like if it is confusing to the child, I don’t have the skill to explain properly. I just hate explaining math, period. I feel like I don’t do it well.

We played the number domino this morning, with the cards I had made, and Z is able to recognize those numbers, even the Arabic. But he did have trouble recognizing how much items there were on the domino cards. He doesn’t seem to like counting because apparently it ‘takes time’.  I had made a spinner-addition and graph activity for him too, but haven’t tried it yet today. I never got to actually do a full blown Glenn Doman Math on him and now he is already 5 and I still have those cards that I made from when the older kids were younger. What a waste, subhanallah.

History

H and N are taking the History Crime Scene Investigation class and I haven’t been keeping up with it. But I have been telling them to send me their weekly homework nonetheless.

I hope they benefit somewhat from that class, though I feel it may be a little difficult for N to understand. I decided to continue with History Through Literature with them on the side. I told them to read Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf, but seriously, my schedule and their schedule..we haven’t been able to pursue that seriously so far.

S is doing it off her textbook, as much as I hate using textbooks. Oh well. If it means less stress right now, I’ll take it. Oh, but she does look for other resources too, so I guess it’s ok. Not just textbook-based at least.

Science

H is busy with his soldering kit. I even have to nag him off of it to do his other school work. I’m contemplating having him take Science Jim’s Winter Newton’s Laws class. I’m not worried about his science. N is busy with her Mammals class. I did ask her to have an assignment for me every week though, because I don’t see her exploring more after the class. I worry that she might not be utilizing what she learned. Considering her interest in writing fiction (and oh, the kids are all doing NanoWrimo this year), I suggested her assignment be to make a character sketch of one animal of her choice each week. She now owes me 3 character sketches. In the beginning, she misunderstood me and actually gave me a sketch of a wombat. I explained to her that I want her to develop a character of one animal and how when you write fiction, usually, the first thing you start with is developing your character. She loves biology, particularly animals, and I’m thinking that a way that she might enjoy learning about them would be to incorporate them into another area of her interest – writing. S is busy with her Algebra 2 and World History, so she’s not doing anything else because I want her to focus on her Taleem Quran and not rob her of that experience.

 

InshaaAllah it’s all good.

 

Categories: Activity, Al Huda Institute, Bayyinah Institute, Creative Arts, Electronics, Juggling Multiple Kids, Learning Games, Living Islam, Memorizing, Project, Quick Study Labs, Quran, Science, Tafseer, Teaching Challenges, Teaching To Read, Thoughts, Writing, Z's learning | Leave a comment

The Quran Journey

As non-Arabs, our Quran journey begins with learning to read the Arabic. This is the very first thing I taught my kids to do with regards to Quran. With reading Quran, comes Tajweed, the rules of recitation. ‘Reading’ Quranic Arabic is not like what we think of as reading, but it’s more like reciting. Since Arabic is not our native tongue (though I also have come to know that even for Arabs, classical Arabic is not necessarily completely comprehensible since their version of Arabic has evolved since then), we may be able to recite with perfect tajweed, but we may not necessarily understand it.

But, because the Quran, when recited with proper tajweed, has an effect on people, one who can recite it will good tajweed is marveled at by the average Muslim. He doesn’t necessarily have to understand it, but if he can recite well, wow.

We are striving to move beyond that. Because the Quran is not a piece of entertainment, but it is the last scripture sent in a series of scriptures sent through human messengers throughout history. All those scriptures came from the same god, and these are what actually unifies Muslims, Christians, and Jews, whether we realize it or not.

As non Arabs, we have to embark on a journey to truly understand it. Before that though, there is another aspect in the journey of Quran; memorization. Many Muslims, Arabic speaking or not, memorize the Quran. One of the most obvious ways the Quran is preserved is through oral memorization. If anyone tries to change anything in the Quran, these memorizers (huffaadh) would catch it right away. No doubt about it. The Quran is memorized in its original actual form, in Arabic, whether the memorizer understands it or not. The vowelization, lengthening, meanings are generally consistent, albeit with differences in different schools of recitation.

So, as non Arabic-speaking Muslims, we have also embarked on that journey of memorizing. H, at age 7, after listening to a lecture by Safi Khan on Imam Ahmad Hambal, and how Imam Ahmad finished memorizing Quran at age 10, declared that he wants to memorize Quran by age 10 too. That was how it started with H. To this day, he is still doing his hifdh.

There was a time, when he was younger, he fell asleep on the couch after working on his memorization. He talked in his sleep, and his ‘talk’ was a recitation of a portion of the surah he was working on. Amazing. It has been about 5 years since he started this journey, and he is progressing alhamdulillah. He has changed teachers, and I fear that this may pose as a drawback. In our locality, he is the only one of two who is working on hifdh. For a child, competition in this arena may be a good thing. So, him doing it alone all these years, most of the years, may have been a damper. We are restricted by our situation thus far. I ask that Allah make this easier, but so far, we’re still in the same situation. His decision is based on His wisdom, so I’m sure there is good in this. I know it’s a test, and I fear that we may not pass this test.

I am worried about his review process. He is memorizing new portions with the brother who is working with him right now. Since this brother is also a students, there are limitations. We the parents, are the ones revising with him. This is getting harder. H doesn’t work well with me. Ever since he was young, he hasn’t listened to me well enough. Not enough to take me that seriously. I remember teaching him tajweed. Because I’m his mother, he didn’t take me seriously. Once he started going to AM at the masjid, his tajweed improved a lot. I taught him the same things, but he obviously learns better with a stranger. My girls aren’t like that. They take me seriously. This is a huge challenge for me. Especially since I am the only one who is inclined to working regularly with him. Hubs is too busy to be able to do this with him regularly. He said he can only do it on the weekends. Actually he can do it, between maghrib Isha, because they’re usually at the masjid anyway at that time, but sometimes it doesn’t happen. I can’t control that, so I strive to work on things that I can control, which basically translates to “I’m doing this even if it’s very very hard to do because the boy doesn’t listen to me and my time is limited too”. Subhaanallah. May Allah make it easy. Ameen.

What I find challenging is not only his attitude towards me, but also my own temper and level of patience. Only Allah knows how much I do slips up everyday.

At the same time, I’m also working on the understanding Quran journey with them. We listen to Nouman’s Tafseer podcast everyday after fajr for about 20 minutes and then we discuss it. We just decided to start at An Nabaa instead of from the back and after a while, I noticed them sliding down, not paying attention. I decided to test them on the material. After our session this morning, I came up with the test. I am excited over it, but I worry. Only Allah can guide the hearts. Only with Allah’s blessings will anything be effective. No matter how great my questions are for them, it won’t lay any imprint in their hearts without Allah’s blessings. This makes me scared. It makes me hopeful, and it makes me even more dependent on Allah.

Oh, I’ve realized how dependent I’ve become on Allah all these years, especially as my kids grew older and I realize there is only so much I can do. But, seriously, being a parent is a huge lesson in developing tawakkul (utter and complete reliance on Allah while putting in one’s effort to the max). My goal in us listening to this tafseer is for us to really understand the Quran, internalize it and embrace it, truly embrace it as we should. When we listen to it, when we recite it, it should touch our hearts because we understand it, because Allah has made our hearts open to receive it. That’s how we should interact with the Quran.

In the Quran, Allah mentions that He sends messengers to

  1. recite
  2. purify
  3. teach them the book
  4. teach them the wisdom/sunnah

upon the people.

The first step is reciting. The heart has to be pure in order to receive teachings of the book. This is why we start young. This doesn’t mean an older person doesn’t have a chance, for guidance after all, is in the hands of Allah regardless of age. This purification is very important. Very important. Can’t be emphasized enough. Teaching them the book and the wisdom (application/sunnah) will round them up into hopefully good and contributing Muslims.

S is on her own Quran journey right now. Alhamdulillah, she is on her own, with Al Huda. N and H, I’m handling. Z, is at the recitation stage, and this is hard too. Subhanallah, everytime I have to work with Z, I’m reminded of how old I really am.

I’m on my own Quran journey too. Better late than never, right?

Subhanallah…there are just days where you feel really depleted, really wrung out with no ounce of energy left. It’s only the belief and certainty in Allah that pulls you back up. He’s there, watching you. He knows what you’re going through. He knows whether you’re trying your best or not. He knows what you’re thinking even before you think it. He knows what you really want. And He’s there to help you out, on His own time, in His own way. You just have to believe, ask, wait. Continue loop (hey, I was a computer science major after all, even though I loathe the subject). So…continue loop, till death do us part.

 

Categories: Juggling Multiple Kids, Living Islam, Memorizing, Quran, Tafseer, Teaching Challenges, Teaching To Read, Thoughts | 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

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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