Time Management

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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Her hifdh review.DSCN6086

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

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

Classes for the Older Kids

I have signed the older kids up for their classes on Currclick. N is taking Marine Zoology, Invertebrates, and Mammals 3rd quarter. H is signed up for Science Jim’s Newton Laws, and both are signed up for HSI second semester. Instead of signing them for writing classes on Home2Teach, I decided to extend Write Guide till February. Once I’m inshaaAllah done with TQEE, I will sign them up with Home2Teach so I can sit in with them while they attend class. Right now, especially Jan and Feb, my schedule will be packed.

S is almost done and should be done soon with her Algebra 2, and her TQ is also getting more intense, so I’m debating whether to add more high school courses for her right now. Z has started Teaching Textbook Pre-Algebra today. She met her goal of finishing up Math U See Zeta, well missed it by a bit, but I thought she wouldn’t meet the deadline horribly, so this is quite an accomplishment for her.

H is also signed up for QSL’s Introduction to Sensors 1. I signed both H and N up for Mrs Tetsch’s second semester of Book Study too so that takes care of Literature inshaaAllah. I’m mostly busy with Z these days in terms of homeschooling. Right now, we’re busy watching the Omar Series, which is quite captivating though they do show the ‘sahabah’.

I’m planning to plan their high school courses after February inshaaAllah, and have been talking to N to figure out how she is going to learn and understand Quran. That, I will have to get back to pretty soon inshaaAllah. Z so far is doing pretty good with his IQRA though when I’m on vacation, he’s on vacation too. I need to reassess my vacation time and see what I’m doing wrong because right now, my time feels so tight subhanallah.

I recently made a daily schedule for myself and realized that I have very little time slots for myself subhanallah. So now I’m trying to stick to it as religiously as I can. Not easy. But all I can do is try and make dua. So, bismillah.

H will definiltely have to do TT for Algebra 2 after he is done with Algebra 1 MUS because I can’t take it anymore. I need a hands-off high school math!

For IQRA, Z has been coming by himself and taking the book to me to read it to me after we finish salah. So I haven’t had to call him to read it to me, But after this vacation, we’ll see what happens. Sigh.

Categories: Homeschooling, Juggling Multiple Kids, Living Islam, Math U See, Outsourcing, Quick Study Labs, Quran, Science, Teaching Textbook, Teaching To Read, Time Management | 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

Z’s Cool Space/Corner & Homeschooling Challenges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Arabic Numerals

When the 3 older kids were younger, I had made these Arabic numerals with construction paper, and then placed the corresponding number of stickers and sandwiched these between contact paper. I think we’ve lost them. I had also made a sequence of scabbing using the same technique and we still have these, or at least some of them. I haven’t really focused on Arabic numerals with Z as I did with the older kids, so today, we continued doing the Hujjaaj Addition activity with the spinner. He is able to help himself write the numbers with my directional instructions (for numeral 4 ; Slide, run, jump). He is even making up his own directional instructions when writing the numbers.

We finished the addition sheet and I put it away, and moved on to the hujjaj game. We did the five little hujjaj game and I took the opportunity to focus on Arabic numerals with him. What I did:

  • Instead of singing five little hujaaj down by the haram, I said khamsah little hujjaj down by the haram
  • I asked him to count how many hujjaj are left first in English
  • then as we lined up all the hujjaj, we counted together in Arabic, him saying it after me
  • then we started all over again with the song, and everytime we took one hujjaj out (I took the highest numbered hujjaj out) I asked him to count the remaining hujjaj with me in Arabic
  • as we did this again and again (since he likes the song), by the end of the hour, he was saying the order of the numerals in Arabic by himself though he still hasn’t mastered all of them

I dropped N for her appointment and then drove S to the local high school for her PSAT. She is more anxious about being around the other high schoolers than taking the test. I have to admit, I was too. So I waited with her till they went in the classroom. I drove home, attended my class, and even though I’ve done this for years now, it never is easy when you are home, attending an online class, and you have your kids come to you asking for this, that, and don’t seem to understand that you can’t be bothered because you are in class.

After my class ended, I worked with Z because as I was doing my class, he had taken out his lapbook and started to try doing the hajj sequencing activity by himself. I was actually surprised by how much he remembers because we actually only did it once. He also played the memory game with H. He also played with the numbered hujjaj by himself. So alhamdulillah, he really seems attached to the Hajj lapbook and is able to play with it by himself. So far so good alhamdulillah.

But then came time for me to wrap it up because I had to go pick up the girls. So it has been a busy day so far and it’s only noon now. I have to nap before my class today, and hope the kids spend their time productively because I don’t think I have the energy to nag at them.

Categories: Islamic Studies, Kindergarten Math, PSAT, Time Management, Z's learning, Zulhijjah | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Z Books: Babies on The Go, Flip, Float, Fly

Our morning schedule is beginning to somewhat take a pattern now. After Fajr, H and N will do Arabic With Husna, and then we do Tafseer from Bayyinah Podcast. Meanwhile, S does her Taleem Quran online, from 6:30 am till 1:30 pm. Then, N and H starts schoolwork, and while they do their work, I read to Z. I’m happy it’s turning out like this because before, I couldn’t for the life of me have this schedule. Now that the older kids are working on their own, and having them attend online classes really really really help! Alhamdulillah. Before, I would be the one doing the lessons with them and it really takes up a lot of energy and time on my part. Now, this way, I have the time and energy to read with Z and do things with him, so Alhamdulillah! I hope this keep up and becomes easier inshaAllah.

So today, I read these books to Z. Even Z has begun to notice this pattern in our schedule, I think. Before, when I would tell him to pick a book for me to read to him, he would resist, because I would do it so randomly. But now, when I do that, he would happily pick a book from the library stack we have. Tuesday is our library day and so we usually get new books on that day.

Babies on the Go by Linda Ashman

I made sure to emphasize that it is Allah who makes these animals love their babies so much so that they would care for and carry their babies in their own respective ways.

At the end of this I asked him which animal was his favorite, and he picked the polar bear and Kangaroo.

Alhamdulillah, the older kids, I feel, and hope, have this connection with Allah somewhat at least. I always tell them to ask Allah if they want anything, and I even tell them that when they feel like they don’t want to do something, do it for His sake and that even if they feel under appreciated by us, remember that Allah appreciates them and will reward them. This is so that they hopefully won’t just do the ritual worship externally but not feel it internally. This is really a challenge for a parent (at least for me) to train their children in, but from experience and observation, I feel the key to this is to instill that connection with Allah early on. Their fitrah is strongest when they’re young, and when I started homeschooling the kids, this is one of the reasons why I decided to do it.

I thought I would send them to school when they’re older, but as I began to see what seems to happen in schools, I decided to keep them with me all the way till college. Hopefully, by then, they will be strong and wise enough to deal with the real wold completely on their own, and for that to happen, I have to make strong their foundation. May Allah help me, because there are times when I don’t think I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s not like I have had experience before in doing this, so…

We also read Flip, Float, Fly! but he didn’t seem to be too beholden to this one and while I was reading this, he took the book that we read last week; Guess What Is Growing Inside This Egg. I flipped through some pages in the Flip, Float, Fly book and pointed out some pages to get his attention back. But he quickly want to move on to the egg book, so we read it again.

This time, I asked him to guess what animal it was and he responded. We also focused on what baby ducks are called and what baby spiders are called. He loved the page with the actual eggs sizes and kept laughing at the minuteness of the spider eggs. I made sure to emphasize that he octopus egg is as big as a grain of rice. It’s nice that the book has this page with the actual size of the egg.

Categories: Books, Homeschooling, Juggling Multiple Kids, Living Islam, Reading, Science, Time Management, Z's learning | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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