Project

Tafseer An Nabaa Project

The due date for this project was last Friday(this was written a long time ago and I don’t remember which Friday it was anymore). H finished it on time. N didn’t. But inshaaAllah, I hope that they benefited from working on this project.

Ayat 1-5 – scene of the disbelievers asking each other (mockingly) about the ‘great news’

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

78:1
Sahih International

About what are they asking one another?

78:2
Sahih International

About the great news –

78:3
Sahih International

That over which they are in disagreement.

78:4
Sahih International

No! They are going to know.

78:5
Sahih International

Then, no! They are going to know.

2nd set of scenes representation

78:6
Sahih International

Have We not made the earth a resting place?

78:7
Sahih International

And the mountains as stakes?

78:8
Sahih International

And We created you in pairs

78:9
Sahih International

And made your sleep [a means for] rest

78:10
Sahih International

And made the night as clothing

78:11
Sahih International

And made the day for livelihood

78:12
Sahih International

And constructed above you seven strong [heavens]

78:13
Sahih International

And made [therein] a burning lamp

78:14
Sahih International

And sent down, from the rain clouds, pouring water

78:15
Sahih International

That We may bring forth thereby grain and vegetation

78:16
Sahih International

And gardens of entwined growth.

inside the ‘cradle’ (which is earth)

siraaja wahhaaja – actually lit up with one of his contraptions.

how he lit it up

he had put the wheat and lush garden behind the mountain and so we can’t see it after the put the ‘seven strong’ over the head side of the cradle.

3rd set of scenes

78:17
Sahih International

Indeed, the Day of Judgement is an appointed time –

78:18
Sahih International

The Day the Horn is blown and you will come forth in multitudes

78:19
Sahih International

And the heaven is opened and will become gateways

78:20
Sahih International

And the mountains are removed and will be [but] a mirage.

78:21
Sahih International

Indeed, Hell has been lying in wait

78:22
Sahih International

For the transgressors, a place of return,

78:23
Sahih International

In which they will remain for ages [unending].

78:24
Sahih International

They will not taste therein [any] coolness or drink

78:25
Sahih International

Except scalding water and [foul] purulence –

78:26
Sahih International

An appropriate recompense.

78:27
Sahih International

Indeed, they were not expecting an account

78:28
Sahih International

And denied Our verses with [emphatic] denial.

78:29
Sahih International

But all things We have enumerated in writing.

78:30
Sahih International

“So taste [the penalty], and never will We increase you except in torment.”

the sky opening up as if they were doors

H’s blueprint of the 4th scene set that he showed me before he started on it

the 4th scene set representation

78:31
Sahih International

Indeed, for the righteous is attainment –

78:32
Sahih International

Gardens and grapevines

78:33
Sahih International

And full-breasted [companions] of equal age

78:34
Sahih International

And a full cup.

78:35
Sahih International

No ill speech will they hear therein or any falsehood –

78:36
Sahih International

[As] reward from your Lord, [a generous] gift [made due by] account,

78:37
Sahih International

[From] the Lord of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them, the Most Merciful. They possess not from Him [authority for] speech.

78:38
Sahih International

The Day that the Spirit and the angels will stand in rows, they will not speak except for one whom the Most Merciful permits, and he will say what is correct.

78:39
Sahih International

That is the True Day; so he who wills may take to his Lord a [way of] return.

78:40
Sahih International

Indeed, We have warned you of a near punishment on the Day when a man will observe what his hands have put forth and the disbeliever will say, “Oh, I wish that I were dust!”

3 of the 3D rep

 

N made a powerpoint presentation, and it was quite a big file because she drew most of the slides herself. Surah An-Nabaa by NBlog

Categories: Activity, Bayyinah Institute, Cardboard, Living Islam, Project, Quran, Tafseer | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

S’ World History Diorama

S has been working on her diorama for a while now, managing it while also attending Taleem Quran full time Mon-Thur, 6 hours per day, and she finally completed it. She was also working on a prehistoric people chart but I have yet to receive it. For a while the kids were talking about Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals. That’s what I’ve been hearing anyway.

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Categories: High School, Project, World History | 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

Soldering with Quick Study Labs

On my hunt for more resources, I came across Quick Study Labs, which I had come across before, but didn’t really pay attention to it. I asked H if he would be interested and he is very interested, so we went ahead and registered him for the Soldering project. He’s been at it ever since the kit came, and he even fixed some stuff that needed fixing.

The solder

the project kits

how much solder is left. H is saying he needs more.

the first project : Blinking robot. Done!

Categories: Electronics, Project, Quick Study Labs, Science | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

N, Her Cats, and Her Lily

N finished her oil pastel class this week. She finally finished her Lily and I think it looks wonderful though she says it looks horrible. But now that she knows the basic technique, I told her she can pretty much make a lot of other things. She wants to take the Jaguar one but I feel uncomfortable because it’s something animate. I feel bad enough that I’m letting them draw animate beings for the comic, but I take that as for educational purposes.

The previous week they didn’t finish the leaves, so this week was finishing up the leaves and the background

With art classes, I stick to inanimate beings. I just want her to learn the techniques and then apply it halal-ly inshaAllah.

She also did her live presentation online in her Mammals class. I didn’t see it of course, as she locked herself up in her room when she did her presentation but I asked her about it afterwards. She said her teacher said she seems to know a lot about cats, and that the students love her powerpoint presentation and wants to ‘steal’ it. She seems happy enough about her presentation. I’m happy that she did it and prepared for it and did a wonderful job on it mashaAllah.

Her Mammals I eWorkshop – Cats (NF).

For her live presentation, she showed a video of her topic of choice (cats). This video was taken years back at DDR, when the girls volunteered with training animals at the animal shelter to be friendly with people before they are offered up for adoption.

Categories: Creative Arts, Oil Pastel, Powerpoint, Project | Tags: , | Leave a comment

A Cardboard Ceiling Fan

In a conversation I had last weekend with a sister, I brought up H’s cardboard endeavor jokingly, offering her a homemade cardboard furniture. Of course, she took it as a joke too. I started talking about cardboard engineering but she still had this incredulous look on her face, and I couldn’t help but realize that H was right. People won’t take this seriously, at least not those who are more used to a more refined way of life. I don’t mind having cardboard furniture.

It made me think more about cardboard engineering though. I think it’s a great way to recycle, it’s more eco-friendly. When I googled this area, it seems that it’s not that popular in the US, but might be more popular in the Europe. Of course, right. The US is a bit behind in being green. Europe has always been way ahead in this, so it’s no surprise.

I’ve been trying to look for science fair opportunities for H and his cardboard engineering but logistically it’s not that easy. But  I did find a lot of resources online on ideas for cardboard engineering projects, so I told him to use them for his science this year.

Right now, H is making his ceiling fan. He’s using the motor from our broken fan, and just this morning he managed to get the cord out of the fan by sawing off the enclosure.

He had N helping him and for almost the whole day they were immersed in this project.

It wasn’t that easy taking the cord out of the old fan frame.

But he finally got it out, and I was just relieved he was done using the saw.

The motor and cord ready to be reused.

testing the motor

He decided to use the motor of a bigger fan because this one was too small. Today, he finished it, and demonstrated his working cardboard ceiling fan. The motor overheated pretty quickly though, so he’s thinking of making a vent or hoping that when it’s hung from the ceiling, the wind from the fan would cool it down. But the fact that the fan actually works is exhilarating enough, even for me!

I am noticing that in this project, he’s learning a lot of things, such as the problems he encounters. He made circles from the cardboard without using a compass, and later he had to make sure the radius is all the same throughout his circle. He was trying to find the center. So when he came to ask me how to use the compass and make sure it’s centered, I told him,

“You have to make the circle using the compass to begin with.”

“I know,” was his somber reply.

Later on, he said, while pointing to the compass,

“I need one of these, a big one though.”

He even asked me how to make sure it’s 5 in radius and I showed him.

This is how you learn through doing. It’s the other way around. You do, thus you learn, rather than you learn, then you do. It’s through mistakes and problems that one learns and this reminds me of Roger Schank’s book Teaching Minds. It’s a great read! I would highly recommend it. He basically suggests a high school curiculum where you have the students actually ‘training’ in various areas. For example, first year of high school, they may be doing Health Science, and throughout that year, they will work/train under a mentor as a ‘doctor’ for example, or a ‘health inspector’, or a ‘nurse’, and through this, they learn what needs to be learned, in context.

I had thought of doing something like this for the kids too, but the difficult part about this is finding a real mentor who would be willing to take a teenager under his/her wings for a certain amount of time. It’s akin to shadowing really, or apprenticeship.

For H, because he’s naturally interested in electronics, building, etc, he takes to this willingly by himself. I don’t have to tell him to do it. For N, I’m thinking of something like this too but because she’s interested in creative writing, it may be easier to do this. We’ll see. At the back of my mind I’m also looking out for shadowing opportunities for S, but I think she can also get these through her volunteer activities. The soup kitchen is a good start for her, and then there is the animal shelter. For N, I may need to find writing/publishing opportunities to make it more real and make it a real learning experience. I’m excited about this, and so I look forward to hopefully being able to spend more time on their homeschooling after my Al Huda is done inshaAllah. Though I’m thinking Allah may have other plans for me. Alhamdulillah. Whatever He decrees is best.

This morning (this post is written over a course of a few days) he hung the fan from the ceiling with the help of his sisters. It worked!

And then H edited this video on my Youtube account, but right after that, the fan fell from the ceiling. Another problem he needs to figure out how to overcome. Either way this is a good learning experience, Alhamdulillah!

Categories: Activities - Ages 10 and up, Cardboard, Course Planning, High School, Learning in Context, Project, Science, Thoughts | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Our Caterpillar Farm :- They have gone to their burrows

All the tomato hornworms have now gone to their burrows. H finally made his terrarium for his caterpillar. He didn’t bother giving it a name unlike the girls.

H’s terrarium

One called Squirt. Z’s caterpillar. He wrote this himself.

Once called Nectaris

trying to climb up the wall

You can see the burrow opening to the top right

another burrow opening

the double terrarium

The Teraarium S made, for one caterpillar named Neptune

So now we’re just waiting for them to turn into hawkmoths, and this time, we will inshaAllah release them at the right time. In the meantime, the eggs we supposed are hawkmoth eggs are still attached to the leaf of my chilli plant and not yet hatched.

Categories: Animals, Family, Project, Science | Leave a comment

Caterpillar Farm …

I guess that’s what we have now; a caterpillar farm. H and S finished making 2 terrariums for the caterpillar and a few days ago they transferred 3 caterpillars to the terrariums. It’s pretty cool actually. They even ‘decorated’ it with some smooth rocks. I had asked,

“What are those rocks for?”

“Decoration.”

Hmm. Interesting. They treat it like an aquarium. N’s beta fish had died. H’s too, recently. H’s fish has been with us for almost 2 years now. Now, the only fish that is living is S’.

They even named their caterpillars. Well, N and S did. H didn’t even bother to. He didn’t even transfer his caterpillar to a terrarium yet. He plans to make one more. Right now, it’s still in the jar. I was looking at their caterpillar one night as I was locking the doors up, and one was trying to climb up the wall to try and get out probably. The next morning, N’s caterpillar was missing.

She looked for it and tried to gently dig into the soil and eventually found hers already burrowed, ready to pupate. We were surprised though because the last caterpillar they took, was VERY huge when it was about to pupate and these were not that big. Yesterday, Z and S’ caterpillars also burrowed, ready to pupate. Now, only H’s is still on the soil surface. Probably ready to pupate, but H really needs to transfer it to a terrarium soon.

The girls seem to be really interested in this project and are even googling and reading up on caterpillars. I asked N yesterday,

“How would you know if it’s a girl or a boy?”

“If the cocoon is lumpy it’s a boy, if smooth it’s a girl.”

I then told her to really document all this because I feel it would be a good start towards a Zoology course possibly for her high school. She already keeps kind of a chart. S too, but I’m not sure how dilligent they are at updating it. Yesterday they were playing with the caterpillar (before it burrowed of course). They were all in the sunroom, on the floor, and the caterpillar was out and they were playing with it.

It would be an interesting experience especially for Z to witness this transformation and learn about the life cycle of a moth. I checked out some books on it but haven’t had the time to read them to him yet. My busiest days are Wednesdays and Thursdays and today I have a class too and I have to prepare for my students’  session on Sunday, and catch up on my notes from yesterday. I’m feeling a bit stressed out too. I”m asking for a cancellation of my article but the editor hasn’t replied to me yet. This is the first week of class resuming so I can only imagine how tight things would be after this. Hopefully S gets to go to Canada soon inshaAllah. We are submitting her application today. May Allah make it easy Ameen.

So it seems like I won’t be reading to Z on Wednesdays and Thursdays. At least he’s getting some stuff from his therapy sessions too on Thursdays. The only thing about that is I feel that whenever I leave the older kids for 2 hours like that, they waste their time and it really stresses me out because when I come back, I find things that are supposed to be done, not done etc.

Just now, I had to spend time talking to them, more like lecturing because I’m at the point where I”m ready to burst. We’re resuming Seerah and I was explaining to them how this is the time when they should be using their skills and time to be really productive, and my point is not that they are productive, but productive in Allah’s way, in pleasing Him. I feel like my chest is so tight with yearning for them to really understand this. I am vaguely aware that sometimes you have to show them, model it, and in terms of projects I’m not doing that because I’m doing other things. Subhanallah, the wisdom can’t just be imparted like that. What I know now, I wish for them to know it as well or better than I do, for their own good. When you’re an adult, you have to worry about many other things. At their ages now, they don’t have much to worry about except studying. I’m not trying to undermine that, but I also told them that the reason why I give them work is because I see them wasting their time. I have given them chances before in the past to be productive on their own, and I’ve left them with no structure for months but they didn’t really use it and I can’t bring myself to see my kids wasting their time like this. So we went back to structured schooling.

Sometimes I feel like it’s a vicious cycle and right now I feel bad because I should have read that dua before lecturing them. It might have penetrated their hearts better. Sigh.

I told them that this is the time when they should be really using their skills and talent to be productive in pleasing Allah. We were talking about the Seerah project and my long term vision for it. They’re really good at drawing and I feel like we can really produce something that would benefit others and would be a means of sadaqah jariah and beneficial knowledge for long after we’re gone with this. If they spend their time just like other kids, they will just be average. Why would you want to just be average? Subhanallah….oh Allah, please make them understand and internalize this. I didn’t do a good job of relaying the information because I want it so bad for them that I just tend to get angry at them for wasting their time. It’s hard being a parent when you know things your kids don’t know and you know the mistakes that are made and you try to warn them of it but sometimes they have to experience those mistakes first before understanding what it is you’re trying to tell them. It’s like warning a person to take this route and that route so they won’t fall in a ditch or run into a thorny bush, but they don’t take you seriously, and then they do fall into that ditch and they have to backtrack and detour and you feel,

“If only they’d listen to me!!”

but that they had to fall into that ditch in order for them to understand what you’re telling them. Argh!

And since Z deleted all the files in the camera, I am not able to upload them since they’re not there. Argh!

Categories: Animals, Homeschooling, Productivity, Project, Thoughts | 2 Comments

H and his cardboards

H’s science this year is project-based, in which he will design and build several different things using mainly cardboard and some used small motors. He’s been asking for a saw to cut his cardboard and finally it arrived today. Before that, hubs bought him a exacto knife. In order to buy this saw, H had to research the different types of saw, corded, battery-powered, different brands, usage, which makes clean cuts, serrated or not, and hubs had his consult Ato.

I’m thinking of making his science a possibly high school Physics course. Especially after attending that Homeschool transcript seminar. At least with this, H is self-motivated to do science, as opposed to last year when I had N and H both do the Jason Project curiculum.

He really goes step by step in making his creations. He has his own blueprint notebook, with calculations and designs, and he pays attention to the tiny details. I wish he would pay that much attention to detail in his math (he always skips showing his problem solving method and tends to do mental math which doesn’t really work in higher math) and essays (carelessness in using contractions, better word choice).

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Categories: Activities - Ages 10 and up, Cardboard, Project | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Garden Discovery

We were on our way to go to the park for our tennis Sunday. I decided to check on my garden because it had rained very heavily the night before. As I looking at Thai Chilli plant and exclaiming over how so many leaves were literally gone, I realized something else. I had exclaimed,

“The winds must have blown all the leaves away!”

But as my vision zoomed in and out, I realized I was looking at something else and I screamed,

“Oh My GOD!”

We ended up being late for out tennis, because detaching those caterpillars from the leaves and stems wasn’t as easy as we theorized. They practically clung on for dear life, especially when we tried to nudge them off. Hubs put on his gloves and pried them off. N pried them off with sticks. But eventually they had all 4 caterpillars in glass jars; one for each child.

Today, we observed those caterpillars. N is the one who is the most smitten and obsessed with them caterpillars. In her Zoology Mammals class on Currclick, she has to make a project for a live presentation. While we were observing the caterpillar moving in the jar, I told her,

“Wow, if you’re taking a class on bugs, you could have captured this on video and use it for your presentation.”

She went out to check on them and found another tiny caterpillar crawling on our gravel front yard. Actually, yesterday, we tried to look for larvae on the plants but didn’t see any. We began to wonder if it’s the wind and rain that brought these bugs all of a sudden or what. Because the first one that they found had gone through its life cycle and suddenly we have these new generation of tomato hornworms again. So now we have 5 jars of caterpillars in a jar.

H is making a homemade terrarium for S’ tomato hornworm and it is becoming part of his Science project. S also started making her own terrarium and mashaAllah, they both came up with pretty neat cardboard caterpillar terrariums! They’re planning to transfer the hornworms to these larger shelters for when they’re ready to burrow and pupae.

H is still not done with his. He’s really taking his time in making this with precision.

how it looks from the other side

 

his blueprints

 

S’ version. She just wanted it done. I thought the elastic latch idea was neat! H claimed it was his idea when S showed me how this works. This is the top and the lid is kept closed by the rubber band.

 

When the rubber band is taken off, the lid can be opened.

 

How it looks like from the side. I love the base for some reason.

 

 

 

N was still exploring outside in the garden area and stumbled upon a white cockroach. I said,

“Baby.”

She said,

“No, it’s the same size as the brown big one.”

“Hmm, albino then maybe,” I replied.

She googled and found out that that is what a cockcroach looks like when it just molted.

Interesting!

The small green inchworm has apparently spun its cocoon, and so this morning we saw this:

No, the photo is not blurry. See the whitish oval around the inchworm? We figure that’s its cocoon.

 

I figured that the garden is probably teeming with these critters now. So we went to investigate and found these:

N’s guess is that this is the hornworm egg. We checked out some books on caterpillars, butterflies, moths and it seems like this might indeed be the tomato hornworm egg!

 

We also found this. Have no idea what this is!

 

The girls are obsessed with these caterpillars. N would check on them to such a point that her math, essays, work are not done on time. S would check on these too. Last night, these caterpillars pooped and their droppings look like tiny blackberries. It’s pretty gross actually. The girls scooped them out so the caterpillar won’t be wallowing in its own filth. They started feeding them our rotting tomatoes too.

See the ‘blackberry’ poop by the lower curve of the caterpillar’s body?

When N first got this tomato hornworm off my Thai Chilli plant. It was still clinging on to the stem!

I told N to make a chart and note down when she feeds them, when they poop, and basically keep a log of observation of these tomato hornworms and the inchworm. I doubt she would be diligent in keeping track of her chart though. Unfortunately, they’re not that big on data collecting. I suppose it becomes a chore when they do that. If I were to insist they do this, I’d have to keep a tab on them. Argh. One more thing for me to remind them about…again and again and again and again. Seriously, I am losing my voice today and today is the day when I had to repeat myself SO many times! I felt like screaming, which I can’t do anyway because my voice box won’t accommodate any high pitch sound production. I had to recite my surah in a manly tone.

 

 

Categories: Animals, Gardening, Homeschooling, Outdoor, Project, Science | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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