Learning Games

Belated Post Hajj

So it has probably been about a month or more since I abandoned this blog. I went to hajj, and alhamdulillah we came back about 3+ weeks ago. The kids took pretty good care of themselves. The older ones did their chores and cooked and cleaned by themselves, took care of Z and did a really good job mashaaAllah.

I am resuming homeschooling and mostly I’ve been working with Z and N. I’ve been visiting Teacher Pay Teachers and getting free downloads and using them as teaching materials for Z.

Z loves the Monster Making 10 game and in one day, I introduced it to him, and he continued playing it with H and me throughout the day until nighttime, and by then I think he’s gotten pretty quick at doing mental addition that makes 10.

I’ve also started to introduce the concept of verbs and adjective to him today using this, and this, and we started working on recognizing fractions in visual form, numerical form and word form, using this. He has been working on his calendar daily alhamdulillah and has gotten really good at telling time, coin values, but is still struggling with place values especially when it comes to hundreds. His handwriting has gotten much better too. I’ve had to motivate him using his namesake, saying,

“Did you know, Z ibn Thabit wrote the Quran and he’s very smart. You should be too!”

He doesn’t really like to do copywork so far, so this has been testing my patience with him. Getting him to do it is a struggle. Some days are better where he’s cooperative but some are not. He l ikes doing math worksheets though, so that’s easy so far alhamdulillah.

I am working to get him to do more intensive copywork so he can get really comfortable with writing inshaaAllah. We also did some measuring, and compound words, and forming sentences. Just today, we also learned about Producers, Consumers, and Decomposers, which happened quite accidentally really.

But we went on this website and I just started teaching him those concepts on the spot. He did pretty good. Actually, it all started weeks back when he was working on the Learning Page worksheets  had printed ages ago, and it was asking abotu omnivore and herbivores, carnivores. So I took out the old animal printouts I had done for the older kids when they were younger, and we just went over each animal and looked at whether it was classified as herbivore, omnivore, carnivore. He began to understand what each meant.

I also looked for activities/worksheets on this on TeachersPayTeachers. And today, we had done a Verb-Adjective activity that I also got from TPT, and it featurd spiders, so then we started talking about it being a carnivore, and so while he was writing down the words on his sheet, I looked for an online game on this and found this.

We staretd playing and so we even learned about food chain, producers, consumers, and decomposers. Good productive morning alhamdulillah! Mostly I explained to him a little bit, and I could see that his attention span was not that long, so we moved on to the game and I think he learned more as he was doing the games.

We read some books too from the library, but I was sick for two weeks after coming back from hajj, so I didn’t really have the energy to read much to him let alone document the books or make a blog post about them, so…I don’t remember the books.

As for the older kids, H just started a MOOC course on Making your own search Engine, and N is on a new routine that is more supervised by moi. Everytime we make a deal on her being more organized and disciplined, it fails. So, I decided to just check in with her everyday and make sure she is doing what she is supposed to do because the technique of leaving her to her own devises doesn’t work.

We recently watched John Stossel’s clip on Is College Worth It? And I assigned an essay assignment for S based on that discussion. I intend on using Stossel In The Classroom for the older kids. As for Arabic With Husna, we’re still moving on alhamdulillah, almost finishing Unit 3, but going slow is good for this one, because Bayyinah TV uploads of Arabic With Husna can be slow for us if we move at a faster pace. So we’re taking our time with this inshaaAllah.

I recently asked N to make flash cards for the sarf families too, because to be honest, I don’t really memorize them strongly by heart.

N, surprisingly was pretty accountable for her therapy sessions, according to her therapist, while I was gone. However, she abandoned her math, and Biology homeworks, so she has been making up for her math and starting today she is supposed to be making up her Bio homework too. She also pretty much abandoned her hifdh and so we revamped her schedule for that one. Her issue is really discipline and willpower and perseverance.

S took her PSAT just  before we came back from Hajj. A friend helped dropped and picked her up from the high school. The girls were continuously volunteering at the masjid for Sunday school, at the soup kitchen, and for S, at the horse therapy, and last Sunday, S went to volunteer with Jn, for the Boys and Girls Club.

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Categories: Arabic, College, Copywork, Family, Grade 1, High School, Homeschooling, Learning Aids, Learning Games, MOOC Courses, Volunteer, Z's learning | Leave a comment

Bear Says Thanks

I was down the other day, and up yesterday alhamdulillah. I think it may be my diet, that my body may not be able to tolerate certain foods anymore and when I do eat them, I get fatigued and lethargic and all I want to do is sleep. When that happens, that’s it…everything goes down the drain. I feel left behind and work piles up and if it happens again and again it feels like a never ending vicious unproductive cycle.

Anyway, yesterday I had Z do his calendar. He can pretty much do it on his own now alhamdulillah, except I feel he is still confused with the place value, which is fine for now. While he filled in his calendar and scanned my students’ test and assignment for me, I cut and made more file folder games for him that I had printed last week. So, after he was done with his calendar and I was done with the file folder games, S had a break from class and the other two kids had also finished their online classes, so I scanned the rest of the tests because Z had started to use the Ipad to take photos instead. Meanwhile, I told S to do some addition problems with Z using the ladybugs placemats.

Then, we played the file folder game. We did Spring Peeps, to which Z said, “That’s hard!”

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I sensed that listening for the long e and short e is not that easy for him. But he did it. I put a mental note to myself that activities like this helps rather than sitting with him with a Phonics book and trying to teach him long and short vowels. I may need to look for more audio or video resources for him in this.

Then we also did the oo, ue, eu endings file folder game. He did pretty good with this because he can read visually very well. But I realized I had to explain to him what ‘due’ means and this is pretty easy because I just said,

“Like the library books are due.”

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Then we played the Punctuation file folder game even though I know some of the stuff in there are above his level. These file folder games are great teaching tools actually. I love them! Never had them with the older kids though. For this one, he had some trouble reading the words such as “exclamation”, “quotation” (he kept confusing it with the word ‘question’), “parentheses” and even “period”. In the middle of playing this, I went and took the book Bear Says Thanks that we had checked out from the library. It was the perfect book to use to apply what was learned, because the words are not that many and there were a lot of commas, quotation marks, exclamation marks and of course periods! I think he recognized the punctuations pretty well and was pretty engaged in the process. It was a good learning process for him.

Later on we read the book and I asked him to listen for words that rhyme. It took him a while to find them and I had to prmpt him by then saying,

“Ok what rhymes with bear?”

and when he still didn’t get it, I had to say,

“Does bear rhyme with share?”

I also pointed out the homonyms bare and bear since he is very visual and can get this easily. I also pointed out the synonyms cave, den, lair. It’s nice that the author uses these words in the book. I”m thinking I should extend this reading with some activities but it will have to be very simple. If I had more time, I would  have made flash cards for the rhyming words and stuff. Ahh…..for now, we’ll go KISS.

It was a good day though alhamdulillah.

These are the online games that I found pertaining to rhyming activities:-

Cookie Preschool Rhyme Time

Digby’s Garden

PBS Rhyming games

We also did some vowels and watched the Vowels Movie on Starfall. When I pointed out to him the vowels, he replied indignantly but smiling, “I knowww!!”

Vowel Movie on Starfall

I also found this : Gus and Inky’s Underwater ADventures

Categories: Books, File Folder Games, Grade 1, Homeschooling, Language Arts, Learning Aids, Learning Games, Phonics, Z's learning | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

First Day of School Year 2013-2014

I had spent most of the day yesterday prepping Z’s stuff, mostly file folder games and worksheets. Alhamdulillah N and S helped me with the cutting. Even then, I finished everything including cleaning and organizing and then printing Arabic With Husna stuff by 10:30 pm. I was dead tired. But I needed to get all that done. Otherwise, today would have started the wrong way if things are messy and not ready.

Alhamdulillah this morning, N and H had their first day of Home2Teach writing classes and they started their math. H was supposed to start Algebra 2 but because he insisted on using Math U See instead of Teaching Textbook, I had to look for ALgebra 2 since we only have the TT one for that and not MUS. I still haven’t found it, so I told him to start with Geometry instead. A friend had borrowed it so she returned it this morning. I also printed Quran review and tracker schedule last night from TJ Homeschool, mashaaAllah, Alhamdulillah!

I still have to print more of Z’s stuff but for now, I think he has a solid stack of things to work on inshaaAllah. Today, we started with his Calendar Notebook. He can pretty much do this on his own, but does need help on some stuff. What makes me somewhat elated is that he can somewhat tell time. We had bought this wipe-off telling time chart from the Dollar store before Ramadan, and he had been playing with that by himself. On this chart, it lists the minutes and since he can already count by 5s (the tally marks in his Calendar Notebook helped a lot with this), he can tell the time to the minutes now. The only issue now is with the hour hand, especially when it’s in between 2 hours or close to one but not that hour yet. I remember having a HORRIBLE time teaching N to tell time, and I have a feeling that even to this day she still can’t tell time using the analog clock what with all the digital clocks available. H still looks at the time on the computer when we ask him what time it is , despite the clock hanging on the wall in the living room. SIGH.

I managed (for today) to supervise and coach Z on his handwriting. This is one subject I hate to supervise to be honest. It’d be nice if they are born being able to write properly. But today, alhamdulillah I had the patience and so did he. I hope this lasts. InshaaAllah.

We did some of the file folder games I had printed in the weekend. I had a hard time figuring out how to arrange the mailboxes in this particular game called Snail Mail so that the grid would make sense with the post office being in the middle. I had to ask S and N to help me figure it out yesterday. N figured it out, alhamdulillah. Z had a good time with this one and is pretty good actually at figuring out the directions, better than I expected him to. Alhamdulillah.

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We also did the Continent one, though one of the whale sign thingy threw me off. It said Southern (for ocean) and I was like, ‘That’s pretty vague.”

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I intended to use this Arabic days of the week and Weather as we’re doing the Calendar Notebook everyday, but I forgot this morning. But we still did it , just not together with the calendar. I showed him the months of the hijri calendar and he rearranged it after shuffling it. He kept calling Shawaal Eid though. I’ve always disliked teaching the kids Arabic myself because my grasp of it is very poor. All these years, I’ve tried to teach it but it has always turned out poor as well. My make up now is Arabic With Husna, but even then, to be honest, I really feel this is one thing I need a lot of outside help with. H is learning with hubs and probably has a better hold on it than I do. S is learning it with Al Huda, and N, well she ‘s counting on me, so …hmmm. As for Z, he seems to have the interest because we’re watching the IQRA nasheed and we found the translation and lyrics in Arabic and English. I noticed that he would watch it, read it and figure out what means what. So alhamdulillah for that, I hope that teaching him ARabic vocab (whatever I am able to do) will be easy because he’s interested. I did that with the older kids when they were younger too but it didn’t progress much because I was limited in what I could teach.

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We also did some addition problem using the ladybug magnets and placemats I had printed from Umm An-Nu’man’s blog last year.

We also read and looked through  A City Through Time.

 

 

Categories: Copywork, File Folder Games, Grade 1, Homeschooling, Learning Aids, Learning Games, Math, Math U See, Teaching Textbook, Tracker, Z's learning | Leave a comment

Z Books: Way Up In the Arctic

We had done the Arctic unit I got from Royal Baloo a while back and I had gathered books on the Arctic and Antarctic from the library and had recently returned them before I could make a post. Am a bit too busy to update the blog, so I will just type up a brief recap of what we did for documentation.wayuparctic

He loved those word searches, for a while, until I printed more that was a bit too hard for him. Then he moved on to dot-to-dot.

He loved those word searches, for a while, until I printed more that was a bit too hard for him. Then he moved on to dot-to-dot.

I cut out the template of the dice and just shuffled the crds face down for him to pick instead of using it as a dice. We reused the graph too.

I cut out the template of the dice and just shuffled the crds face down for him to pick instead of using it as a dice. We reused the graph too.

I  had issues withe dice, so I decided to cut it up, use it by shuffling the cards face down, and reuse the graph. He loved this because of the story I made up as he picked a card. It became a race of the arctic and antarctic animals.

The sudoku. I decided to use ziplock as the 'pocket'. Simpler and more efficient. Time saving too.

The sudoku. I decided to use ziplock as the ‘pocket’. Simpler and more efficient. Time saving too.

I do still have this book from the library though and we love it, especially because it has those hidden numbers in the illustration! We also watched the Eyewitness DVD and to this day whenever he looks at a world map, he would point to the North pole and say “Husky” and to the south pole and say “Penguins”.

Even when I was teaching him the continents, he was still hung up over where the huskies live and where the penguins live. He loves that Arctic and Antarctic Eyewitness DVD though.

Categories: Animals, Books, Kindergarten Math, Lapbooking, Learning Games, Math, Z's learning | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Z’s Kindy

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

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

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

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

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

He loved Amelia Bedelia!

He loved Amelia Bedelia!

His camping lapbook.

His camping lapbook.

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

The bacon had to be crossed out, man.

The bacon had to be crossed out, man.

Though I asked him,

“Can you eat eggs?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Allergic.”

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

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

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

Z Book: Bugs Are Insects

I love these Let’s Read and Find Out Science books! I’ve been hunting for them at the library and Z loves them too! They’re great for learning science. I wonder if they have Let’s Read And Find Out History books. They should.

Yesterday, Z chose for me to read to him Bugs Are Insects by Anne Rockwell.

He’s really hooked by the ladybug, and so I googled ladybug on Youtube, since he asked for it.

We watched ladybugs laying eggs,

ladybug being eaten by a Venus Fly Trap,

and eating aphids,

and I love this new find- Painting with Mr. Kindergarten!

We watched it and Z painted his own ladybugs; one red, one black with colorful dots. We also did the butterfly paint folding and some playing with paint with toilet paper rolls that I’ve been saving for him.

I printed Umm Nu’man’s Ladybug Math Mat and counting activity, and we spent quite a while doing the addition activity, much to my surprise! Z doesn’t really like to count, read aloud or pretty much anything where he has to use his voice. But he was excited that I had printed some more thing for him and so I quickly cut out the ladybug counting pieces and he patiently waited. Pretty soon we were doing the addition problems, but with a twist. I made up stories when we did each addition problem, and he loves it! That’s what kept him going actually. some of the times, I forgot to make up a story and he would say,

“Ok, where are the ladybugs going now?”

So we had ladybugs getting ready to go swimming, go to the playground, have a party, getting in a van, etc. And I also had been googling activities on ladybugs and saw a math mat activity where a baking pan is used and so the pieces were magnetized. I decided to glue magnet strips on the ladybug counting pieces and we used them on the baking pan. It was MUCH easier and more organized in a way. I love that he loved this activity because I feel like his math is a bit poor compared to his reading.

 

And subhanallah, I found out that this boy can really read mashaaAllah. I knew he can read but since he doesn’t like to read out loud when I ask him to, I never really knew how well he can read. I was spending time with him with the activities and thenI also printed another copy of Umm Nu’man’s winter color cards (though I printed it on portrait format so now I have one set of cards bigger than the other, which I guess is fine. It makes for easier separating if we only want to use 1 set of cards for a game) so that we could play Snap. We played Snap and then he wanted to know how to play go Fish, but I told him to let’s play memory game first so he would know the names of the colors in Arabic. We did this but of course we need to do more so the Arabic colors are consolidated in his vocabulary.

So I decided to take the Bob Books I had since the 3 older kids were younger and I asked him to read it, encouraging him by saying that this book once belonged to S, N, H and that they used to read it. So he did and mashaaAllah he did very well. Before long we were reading more of these books and then I got Wake Me Up In Spring and he read this book all by himself, out loud to me. Turns out, his reading speed is pretty high. I had to help him a bit with the ‘ed’ past tense but he did very well. All this while he’s been able to read but keeping it to himself. Well, hubs said that when hubs would read a book by mistake on purpose, Z would correct him. So we knew he can read, but just not how well. Alhamdulillah, doing the Glenn Doman reading method really works, even if I just did it with him when he was a baby (actually i did it with him when he was about a few months old, I think even soon after birth when I felt ok enough to do it with him). I remember, he was still in the crib when I did it. But because of his allergies, I stopped because I had to focus on dealing with his extensive eczema. I resumed it when he was older, at about 1 yr old, we did also on powerpoint, with sound effects, and by and by I did it but I didn’t really complete the program. But subhanallah just that little exposure helped! When I did it with S, I didn’t realy finish it either because she was already reading before I finished it. With N and H, I didn’t complete it either, as they were learnng to read also from watching Between The Lions along with the program I was doing on them. Alhamdulillah, Allah made it easy in this regard. And he wasn’t just reading it blindly, he understood what he read too, as evident from his smiles and responses as he was reading the words out loud. Allahu Akbar!

So With Z, I think I have to focus on his handwriting and math and especially his Quran. This actually motivates me to work more with him on Quran. InshaaAllah may Allah make that easy too. Ameen!

Yesterday, we were eating chips and all of a sudden as he was about to pick up the bag and put it bag in the kitchen,  he said,

“North, S, East, West!” while pointing in the right direction. He later asked me what S stands for. He read it on the bag of the chips bag.

Today, I went googling for more ladybug activities and ended up joining Learning Page. I had used it way  back when the 3 older kids were younger too so I was somewhat familiar with it. I printed some worksheets and inshaaAllah, I hope he works on them and improve in handwriting and benefit from the other activities.

Last weekend, during our tennis Sunday, Z had been observing a ladybug too, so the reading of this book is quite relevant to his most recent animal-experience. In fact he was telling me as I read him the book about the ladybug’s wings.

As we were reading this book, I reminded myself to always bring Allah into it. It’s so easy to forget an focus a lot more instead on the science. So when he was reading Wake Me Up In Spring, we also talked about how out of Allah’s mercy, He makes the bears sleepy so that they hibernate in winter. In winter there are not food for the bears, so sleeping is easier for them. I also realized how just talking about Allah providing for His creatures actually trigger alot of thought process in a child, subhanallah. When we talked about this, he asked me questions that I never expected. It’s amazing subhanallah. It also benefited me because it made me reflect about Allah in ways I never would have based on my adult thinking. Subhanallah.

Categories: Animals, Arabic, Books, Kindergarten Math, Learning Aids, Learning Games, Learning in Context, Living Islam, Reading, Science, Z's learning | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Z Books: One Watermelon Seed

We read this book, One WaterMelon Seed by Celia Lottridge and I thought it would be a great lesson in skip counting by 10s. On top of that I thought it would be a great lesson in reinforcing the Arabic numerals too. I had the girls help me draw the fruits and produce and N was the one who helped a lot in making these cards mashaaAllah. She drew most of the fruits on paper and we scanned them and I colored them using gimp and then put them together on Paint. I left N to help me do most of it and pretty soon we had these cards ready for printing. It was pretty quick alhamdulillah.

We had gone to Albuquerque on Friday and came back Saturday, so I packed these cards, the book and also the mountain game cards and the book. He kept asking to play with them and alhamdulilah we had a chance to use these cards before we checked out amidst packing up and cooking his food. The only caveat I didn’t foresee was; how to say those numbers 20,30,40,—100 in Arabic. I had to get ready in the middle of this activity, so I told S to continue playing with him and just focus on skip counting by 10s. While I was playing this with him though, we had fun, alhamdulillah.

in the hotel room, before checking out

First we did the numbers, and since I had the idea for this in my head and this was the first time trying it out, I had to figure out how to do this on the spot. At first I went through the ‘how many seeds of each plant was planted’, but then as we got to ‘how many of these plants were produced’ I figured we should have put the numbers next to each seed packet first. I had him count the fruits on each of the ’10’ cards, and with the skip counting, we took turns and after a while he got the hang of it. It was the first time to skip count by 10 for him.

Then, we got rid of the numbers and we did the Arabic numerals. This was his first time recognizing the Arabic numerals for 20-100. But I think he did pretty well mashaaAllah.

We had to use the book because we had to keep referring to it to see how many of what seed was planted and how many of those grow. At least I told him to refer to the book to reinforce his reading and number recognition and then he had to count the fruits/veg on the card. This was a great activity alhamdulillah.

Initially, I wasn’t too enthused to read this book with him because I personally don’t really like counting books, but as I was looking through kindergarten activities on others’ blogs and websites, I figured this book has great math activity potential. Alhamdulilah it was quick too because N helped me with the pictures. I started working on it and delegating it on one of my busiest days in the week too!

I feel somewhat addicted to this now. Next book up is Badger’s Fancy Meal. But as of now, it’s still not done. I’ll see how addicted I am to actually go through with it.

Categories: Arabic, Books, Creative Arts, Digital Art, Drawing, Juggling Multiple Kids, Kindergarten Math, Learning Aids, Learning Games, Reading, Z's learning | Leave a comment

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

Impromptu Mock Hajj

I don’t have class today and tomorrow, so it’s a little light alhamdulillah, though I’m still weighed by the grammar lessons I have to make up, and the LI review recordings I have to listen to. But, in light of a relatively light day compared to my usual weeks, I decided to spend time with the kids, especially Z.

I didn’t have anything planned for him, so we simply did the addition chart on his Hajj theme pack, using counting chips and his ‘acorns’,

After setting up Z’s Cool Corner/Space, we finally had a stable resource center to dig from. Alhamdulillah.

 

I bought this dry erase writing kit from Wal mart and as I suspected, Z was obsessed with it. After he was done obsessing with it though, we still use it as reference on how to write the numbers and letters. He also now understand the idea of writing his letters within the lines. Alhamdulillah!!!

 

and completed one chart. I put it away and asked him what else he wanted to do. He took out his lapbook. The idea of doing this was apparently still lingering in my head, and before long, I found myself all hyped up. This state is familiar to the older kids. Whenever I get an idea for something, I get over excited and I start talking and asking their opinions and well, this is when I start to come up with something completely impromptu. That seems to be the theme in my life (not always a good thing).

We were taking out the hujjaaj, and I was thinking to just maybe have the paper hujjaaj make hajj around a cube. When my idea hit, I took a roll of butcher paper, unrolled part of it, laid it out, looked for stuff to use to make this, and before long, we had this going on:

I gave him the snap-on cubes (from the kindergarten days of the 3 older kids) and told him to make a cube for the Kaabah. He was able to figure it out by himself. Then he made the pillars for the Jamaraat. He even said,

“It’s tall, taller, tallest.”

He made them different heights on purpose.

We made the tents by fold index cards in half.  I wrote the names of the places on the paper with pencil and had him trace them with marker.

We followed the steps of Hajj from this Hajj Theme pack and had our two hand0picked hujjaaj do the hajj.

 

When picking which hujjaaj for each of us, I asked him,

“I’m picking ti’sa. Which Hujjaaj are you going to pick?”

“Khamsa.”

He can count from 1 -10 in Arabic now but he still is confused between 7 and 8. To this day, I’m still confused between 2 and 6. So…

I played the mock hajj with him once or twice and then he wanted to play with N. N wasn’t available and so H played with him. I left them on their own to figure out the steps of Hajj. So I suggested they refer to the lapbook step by step for hajj rites.

 

They started making tawaaf at the Kaabah.

 

Going 7 times between Safa and Marwa

 

At Arafah, making dua.

 

Staying at Muzdalifah, and picking pebbles to throw at the Jamaraat.

 

Throwing the pebbles at the Jamaraat. We always managed to knock over those pillars, much to Z’s amusement.

 

Slaughtering. I couldn’t find anything else to represent a goat/ram. 😛

 

This was fun and the best thing was, is that it was impromptu and it worked out with Allah’s help! Allahu Akbar! This was waaaaaay easier than sitting down and breaking my brain to come up with a nice activity idea. Over the years, I’ve had to reprimand my perfectionist tendencies. Having kids taught me to curb it, and subhanallah, I think I’m down to being almost perfectly normal inshaAllah. A lot of stress forced me to come to this level. Wisdom behind tests 😀

 

I also retold the stories of Ibrahim and Ismail and Ismail and Hajr and Ibrahim and Ismail building the Kaaba. For the story of Ibrahim and Ismail, I actually took his hand and we somewhat ‘acted’ it out. With the story of Hajr and Ismail, I used props to show how she scooped the sand to form a wall around the gushing spring of zam zam and replaced slaughtering Ismail with the polar bear (supposedly the ram). Since it was impromptu, it turned out to be an amusing story that I can only tell to my kids and no one else, lest I die of embarrassment.

 

The zamzam spring contained, and the ‘ram’ to be slaughtered. We actually also had the hujjaaj drive from Makkah to Madinah after they finished hajj, to visit Masjid an-Nabawi.

 

Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah. May Allah continue to inspire me and make it easy. Ameen! And may I never be ungrateful! Ameen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Activities - Ages 5-8, Family, hajj, Islamic Studies, Kindergarten Math, Learning Games, Living Islam, Z's learning | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zulhijjah Activity Continued

We continued where we left off, and I still haven’t gotten my bearings, but at least Z cooperated more and didn’t really make those breathing objections. I did the hujjaaj addition  activity with him but only up to 3 equations because he soon tired of it.

He would spin the spinner (which H had mounted on cardboard), put the number of hujjaaj on the Kaabah, spin again, add that number of hujaaj and count the total hujaaj and then write it in the worksheet.

He couldn’t write 4, so I showed him how to write it. Slide, run, jump. He was able to do it with that visualization. For number 5, it’s drive, jump, circle and for 8, it’s S and then join. He actually loved writing the numbers with that kind of instruction/tip.

the spinners that H worked on the night before. He glued the pushpin in, glued the spinner on cardboard and then made a mount for it. It was fancier than I imagined but it was pretty easy to use. The only drawback is storing it with the lapbook since it has the protruding pushpin in the way.

We quickly then moved on to the memory game. He is pretty good at memory games mashaAllah. We did a couple rounds of memory game and I worked on his lapbook while he shuffled and rearranged them for a new round. It took me quite some mapping, visualizing and planning while working on his lapbook and juggling that with answering his questions and playing the memory game with him was not easy.

I folded a posterboard in half and again in half. I used all 4 quarters of the inside part, added some appendages to the inside page so it would fit some of the pieces and then used 2 quarters on the other side for this shown in the photo.

the appendage that I added to fit in the pages of the Hajj Step by Step activity set. I didn’t want to use the other available pages because it would take up too much space, so I just added this cardstock.

appendage closed

I had some mishaps with making the pockets for the pieces too, had to use the glue gun but in the end Alhamdulilah, it worked out. I also told him the story of Ismail and Hajr, using the prop I had made for the older kids years back in 2003. I had to look for it for I had forgotten where I had stored it. It was all dusty, but still pretty vibrant in its colors and still useable alhamdulillah. He was excited when I opened it, and I had to restrain him when he started to put up the pop ups.

Z telling me he wants to go see the footprint.

Basically a huge pop up card I made with posterboard. I had the older kids color it and I colored some too. This is pretty durable considering we made it in 2004. Alhamdulillah. I hope there is barakah in this.

a pop up card inside a pop card. Zam zam water gushing out.

I made the safa and marwa stand out too against the background.

The kaabah. I lifted this up when I told the story of Ibrahim and Ismail building the Kaabah.

I had fun making this sun.

After all 3 stories are told and the Kaabah is built and Ibrahim a.s. proclamation for Hajj is responded to every year with huge masses of hujaaj heading for Hajj.

Good thing I did this. Otherwise I wouldn’t have even remembered when we made this. When I made this it was for Eid Al Adha. I had the 3 kids do a show and tell on the story of Hajr and Ismail a.s. to the Malaysian uncles and aunties. H was 4 then, and the girls were 5 and 6.

Then I told him the story of Ibrahim a.s. and the slaughtering of Ismail a.s. and used Z himself as a prop when talking about the slaughter. I could tell he had this grim expression as he was listening to that story, which shows understanding, and I wonder if he understood the concept of Allah testing Ibrahim’s obedience. Then I told him the story of Ibrahim and Ismail a.s. building the kaabah. After I was done I asked him which story he liked best. He said the building the Kaabah one. He keeps asking to go to Makkah and see Ibrahim a.s.’ footprint at maqam Ibrahim. He also said he doesn’t like the dream story (the slaughtering story).

After the stories, I told him I couldn’t do anything much with him anymore because we had to get ready to go to the library, and so he wanted to help me work on his lapbook. He helped for a bit and then got distracted and went to N. He also complied when I told him to do some coloring and worksheet activities, which is surprising, so Alhamdulilah!

I was hoping it would take him some time to work on this so I could work on the lapbook without being interrupted but…

I am not done with his lapbook yet, but hopefully will have it done when he has finished all the worksheets in the pack. It’s coming along pretty well so far alhamdulillah.

With the older kids, what I did was assign them Zulhijjah assignments. N is to research the virtue of the first 10 days of Zulhijjah. H is to research the Hajj rituals. S is to look for ayaat in the Quran that pertain to Hajj. Our Zulhijah starts tonight alhamdulillah, so I decided to have them all watch this clip so they can implement it as soon as Zulhijjah kicks in.

Before we watched it, I asked them what they already know about the first 10 days of Zulhijjah. After we watched it, I asked them what they now know of the 1st ten days of Zulhijjah. Then I asked them which new information surprised or struck them the most.

N : If you’re doing hajj, you don’t fast during Day of Arafah

S and H : that it’s obligatory for everyone to pray the Eid prayer

Then we talked about action items that we can incorporate during these 10 days. And I asked them to choose action items for themselves and to really narrow it down so there is more possibility of them doing it.

We talked about increasing in seeking forgiveness and how our sins can really be a huge barrier between us and Allah’s obedience, and even our du’a. So, we talked about ways to make istighfaar.

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “Whoever says, ‘Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi,’ one hundred times a day, will be forgiven all his sins even if they were as much as the foam of the sea. (Book #75, Hadith #414)

And we talked about starting a new naafil prayer to add to the existing regular ones. Fasting (the kids love fasting and have always loved to fast from a young age. They would eat suhoor and refuse to go back to sleep, and played in their ‘tree house’)

May Allah increase us all in taufeeq to utilize these 10 days and make any good changes we incorporate, permanent. Ameen.

Tomorrow is S’ PSAT at the local high school. I just called them today and am to drop her off at around 8:45 am. So, tomorrow will be a little hectic. Wednesday is already hectic enough with our online classes. S is to shower right after fajr and attend her class already dressed and ready to go, because her appointment is at 8:15 am. So as soon as her class finishes at 8, we’ll go and I will drop her off. S also will be getting ready during tajweed time in her class, and we will all three leave at 8. After I drop N, hubs will stay with her and I will drop S off at the high school. Then I will go home, attend class, and after class ends, will pick up N, and then S. Then I have class in the afternoon. I’d better not have to take Zyrtec tomorrow. I can’t afford to be drowsy throughout the day.

Categories: Discussion, Family, High School, Islamic Studies, Juggling Multiple Kids, Kindergarten Math, Lapbooking, Learning Games, Living Islam, PSAT, Z's learning, Zulhijjah | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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