Teaching To Read

Week 2 : Quran and Prayer

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

“You’ll finish book 4 soon inshaaAllah!”

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

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

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

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

“The small one.”

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

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

“No, I want to read the small one.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

Week 2 [Jan 13 & 14] : Monday & Tuesday

Monday:

Z is still sick today. He did oil pulling and then I told H to heat up his tortilla for him, but then H came up and said Z is pretending to be weak and sleepy, and doesn’t want his tortilla. Then H pulled Z into my room and he did look sleepy, which was weird because he was fine when he did oil pulling. I gathered him up and his forehead was sweating. He was hypoglycemic, so I quickly told H to heat up the rice porridge I had made for him the day before and fed him that and his soymilk. He fell asleep and woke up a bit later and we resumed our school work. He did his calendar, a few worksheets, his Arabic copywork, to which he said,

“I want to get 3 stars.”

“Ok, try your best then,” I said.

I ended up giving him 5 stars and he exclaimed in delight,

“Five stars?!!”

“Yeah, because you did such a good job!”

Then he made iqaamah and prayed zuhr with us and he read his 3 lines of abata, recited Al feel, Al Kauthar, An Nasr, Al Quraysh, and Al kaafiroon to me and then we reviewed al Maun which he had forgotten. I focused on correcting his vowelization and explained to him that when pronouncing dhad, the tongue elongates like one of those long skinny balloons.

We had read Yucky Worms last week and I had wanted him to do this activity but we didn’t get to do it, so I had him do it today. I had him fill out the 3-2-1 worksheet about the book and had him choose 3 things I learned, 2 interesting things and 1 Question I have. He looks more engaged in this activity. I dread asking him to write because as of now, he still has trouble forming sentences and keeps saying “I don’t know,” when I ask him to come up with one even with a lot of prompting. But with this 3-2-1 worksheet, he’s writing out the sentences once we agree on what he’s going to write. He even holds out his palm telling me to stop helping him once he realizes he knows how to write a certain word. If I already spelled out the word that he knows, he will hold out his hand to my face and say,

“Aahhh!”

But it looks like his writing has improved a LOT alhamdulillah! I remember how painstakingly I had to sit there and coach him on making them all the same height and on top or between the lines. Alhamdulilah now he’s doing pretty good.

We watched some youtube videos on earthworms:-

Last week on Friday, or Thursday, we did do significant work too. We went over Ella Takes the Cake and looked for all the contractions in that book. When he found them, I’d write them on a small whiteboard and ask him what that is expanded. That was a pretty good exercise for him.

He has also been doing drilling on subtraction and addition and he loves it when we do this on that small whiteboard. It saves paper too! Just uses ink though.

Tuesday:-

Today felt like a very long day. Z woke up very late because they probably slept very late last night. I spent hours with N, doing her comprehensive assist for Sarah Bishop. I admittedly do not like this session at all, but she needs it and it’s my responsibility. Sigh, things that you still have to do even though you don’t like doing it.

I also had her do her work in my presence since she has an issue of not completing her work, though I did notice sincere and eager effort to rectify that after I gave her my all Sunday night when I realized she didn’t hand in her Home2Teach homework on Friday. That was chest-hurting and head-hurting for me. This must not be good for my health, nor her well being.

Z did his calendar, and gave me troubles with refusing to eat his oatmeal and being picky about food. If it’s one thing I truly abhor in my heart, it’s picky eaters. Especially so if they happen to be MY children.

He did his worksheets in the Calendar Notebook and some of them are the First Grade word sheets where he also has to make up a sentence with the word he’s rewriting again and again. I was still working with N on her Sarah Bishop and Z was asking me to help him form a sentence and I told him he cannot say “I don’t know,” anymore and to just try to come up with a sentence and then I ignored him and just went on working with N. A while later, I noticed on those pages of his, he had written the sentences himself! I made sure I pointed that out to him and commended him for it. Allahu Akbar! Alhamdulillah!

Later on he had a doctor’s appointment at 2 pm, which we didn’t even complete because R said he looked fine and she doesn’t want to have to bill me. While waiting though, we did some math drills on the small white board. He loves this so far. However, I noticed that he is no longer using the addition technique I had taught him; to choose the bigger number and count on from there. So he ends up using his toes to do additions, and uses my hands too. Tonight, I insisted he use my technique again. But, that was a very good idea for waiting in lounges; to do math drills on the whiteboard. So far, he loves math drills, alhamdulillah. I was even thinking,

Ya Aleemul Hakeem, please make him like his namesake, make him of the raasikhoona fil ilm, of the mukhliseen!

Categories: Animals, Animals, Arabic, Books, Copywork, Grade 1, Homeschooling, Log, Math, Quran, Science, Teaching To Read, Youtube, Z's learning | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

2014 Week 1

I know. It’s been more than a while since I posted on Z’s weekly progress. MIL’s been here for almost a month now and the kids are enjoying her and we’ve been having halaqa for the girls at the masjid twice a week since the break in December, so I’ve been really busy, alhamdulillah. N’s been making sweet treats at every halaqa with her cookies and cupcakes. Z’s been my recording manager at the halaqa, ready with the IPad to start the recording once I start the halaqa. Once, I didn’t bring it and he whispered to me,

“Where’s the Ipad?”

Last night, as we were about to leave, he asked me, “Did you end the recording?”

Well, I tend to be more tech illiterate at these public speaking moments so I said,

“Oh no! I didn’t! Can you end it for me?” And he tech-savvily did!

MIL told me that when she was putting on her telekung to join the jamaah last night, Z went and told her,

“In the masjid, you don’t need to put that on. At home yes.”

LOL. Apparently, the boy has been observing and making his own conclusions!

Well, N is doing Algebra 1. H has started with Algebra 2, using Teaching Textbook, grudgingly since I told him to look out for MUS ALgebra 2 on vegsource everyday and he couldn’t find it before Jan2014. Our agreement was that if he couldn’t find it by Jan 2014, he will be using TT, because I cannot be bothered to peruse vegsource everyday and look for it when he can. S should be done with her TQ this June inshaaAllah.

All the older kids finished their Biology lab report during the break  and N has been reciting to me after Zuhr and Z also has been picking up again on his daily IQRA reading and surah, though for his surah, it’s been going slow. It’s ok. Better slow and steady than fast and furious. Literally.

With Z, I’ve been working with him on reading terms like author, problem, resolution, beginning, middle, end and have been using some simple book report forms from TPT. For math, I’m focusing on drilling him now and he’s improved a lot on doing subtraction. I also introduced Place Value to him using the TPT activity which I made into a file folder game. For 2014 calendar notebook, he didn’t want it to be the same as last year’s, so what I did was to put one worksheet per day instead of the typical daily work like in last year’s calendar. I also added a reading list for each month and so far, he’s been filling it up every time we read a book. I plan to up his math drill before we go into regrouping inshaaAllah.

Today, we read Ella Takes the Cake, which he read all by himself, somewhat reluctantly, but he got through it alhamdulillah! We also read Yucky Worms, and now, I stop and ask him to see how much he comprehends. He seems to have pretty good emotional intelligence, like N, but in terms of retainment of information, it’s pretty weak. He’d always say “I don’t know.” Then I’d have to ask again and sometimes show the answer in the passage and then he’d get it.

I plan to extend those readings into finding contractions in Ella Takes the Cake and in filling out a book report form that asks 3 interesting facts and 3 new things learned for Yuck y Worms. I also showed him a youtube video of a drawbridge after he finished reading Ella takes the Cake.

Today is my busiest day but alhamdulillah I feel like we accomplished quality this morning. I had him do his work in my room while I was in class. He’s also doing Arabic vocab copywork everyday now and I’d give him a star on the neatest written word.

I do worry about his information retainment and have a feeling like he might have the same issues as N. I hope not. InshaaAllah I hope those issues are addressed now so he doesn’t face as much difficulties as N is facing right now.

By end of this semester, I hope to significantly increase him in his narrative comprehension and retainment of exposition, have him learn addition and subtracting with regrouping, money with dollars, getting used to doing simple book reports, more fluent in his IQRA and better and more consistent with his surah, and I want him to know the meanings too. With the older kids, I hope to do more of Stossel’s video streaming, especially good for critical thinking and for N’s exposition comprehension. May Allah put barakah in all of this ameen!

And we have been watchng Salahuddin in Arabic, with the hopes that it would expose us to the Arabic more and be forced to learn and pick it up at least, especially for Zeyd. This happened after I came back home gushing with how Ust Nouman uses Salahuddin in his Bayyinah class to show sarf with some words.

Before this we were watching Umar series, and after it was done, we were missing watching something together. Salahuddin, we already watched it too, but Z is the one who keeps insisting on it now. Alhamdulillah. At least for the Arabic.

 

We had gone to Houston to attend Fiqh of Chilling and studied together for the exam. Of all the kids, S got the highest score. They enjoyed the class.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Al Huda Institute, AlMaghrib Institute, Arabic, Bayyinah Institute, Biology, Community, Copywork, Grade 1, Homeschooling, Log, Math U See, Quran, Reading, Teaching Textbook, Teaching To Read, Travel, Youth Girls halaqa, Youtube, Z's learning | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Book 4

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

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

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

“You read Naaziat and I understood!”

Alhamdulillah.

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

 

 

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

Calendar Notebook & Math

Alhamdulilah, I printed the calendar notebook, courtesy of Our Aussie Homeschooler, during the winter break and got it all bound, and now everyday, (or at least, almost everyday), Z and I work on it. He’s enthusiastic about it too, reminding me to do it everyday. So, we go through it, and it seems to be a good gradual daily exercise to  learning concepts in math, many concepts at that, telling time, coin values, addition, skip counting, etc.

These days, this is the only thing I do with him, and of course, his IQRA. In fact, he’s moved up from reading just 2 lines to a whole page now, though it really tests my patience. With all the fidgeting and questions, reading a whole page really tests my patience, which I don’t really have a lot of. But alhamdulilah, at least, he’s not zipping his mouth shut and driving me crazy.

We use the file folder game Cowboy Cash on coin value and type and now he knows how many cents a nickel, quarter, dime and penny is. Amazing subhanallah. I never really used file folder games before, but subhanallah, I find it to be a very beneficial learning aid. I even made some from Umm Nu’man’s activities that were not supposed to be file folder games, but it’s pretty easy to convert an activity into a folder game. I have even converted worksheets into file folder games. We also use our Math U See math manipulatives and this really has helped a lot too alhamdulillah!

What I have done less with him is read books and especially with flu season, I’m avoiding going to the library for a while. H has set up a ‘home audio stereo system’ in  his room with computer speakers and his ipod. He puts on the Quran to help him revise and memorize and Z stays in there because H’s room is the warmest place in the house. Our house is not really energy efficient, so most of the time we’re ‘freezing’, especially since hubs tells us to lower the thermostat so he doesn’t have to pay crazy heating bills.

021

A worksheet maze converted into a file folder game. I told Z to trace it with his finger instead of writing in it so that he can play it again and again. He is used to doing this with the Quran Story mazes series, so this is nothing new.

025

How we learned odd and even. We were working on the firefighter unit, and I decided to use the counting blocks to demonstrate odd and even. He understood even as the blocks not having any friend, and he seems to have grasped the concept quite well, that when you just say the number, without using the counting blocks, he can say whether it’s odd or even. Allahu Akbar!

040

This is one of the file folder games from the file folder farm. We used the Math U See manipulatives with this and I taught how to add by not counting both counters, but counting from the rod that is more, and continue on counting the second one. He seems to have grasped this technique really well too alhamdulillah!

054

H’s ‘home audio stereo system’

067

Working on his calendar notebook and using the file folder game on Money to aid in filling in the math sheet in the calendar notebook.

052

Initially I was hesitant to have him write the dates, and I had skipped it when we started the calendar notebook, but he asked to do it, so I showed him how to do it, and now, he would tell me, “I know how to do it,” and wouldn’t let me instruct him how to write the dates in 2 different ways. He does ask me “Why are there so many slashes? Why do we write so many Januarys?” I am not sure he understands the concept of month, day and year yet, but since he is doing this on his own, I’m not too worried about explaining the concept to him right now. He’s doing better than I expected. Alhamdulillah

071

working on the math sheets in the calendar notebook. These are what makes the notebook SO thick, but I decided to include it all together for ease and efficiency.

 

 

 

Categories: Homeschooling, Kindergarten Math, Learning Aids, Math, Math U See, Quran, Teaching To Read, Z's learning | 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

Capping it All

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

“You can’t draw, Ummi.”

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

“Ooh, that looks professional.’

“You drew that?!”

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

“Stick to real niche; writing.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quran and Arabic

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

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

Literature and Writing

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

“I wonder if this is helping them.”

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

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

Math

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

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

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

History

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

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

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

Science

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

 

InshaaAllah it’s all good.

 

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

The Quran Journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the Quran, Allah mentions that He sends messengers to

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

upon the people.

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

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

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

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

 

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

Road Trip Coming Up!

Z’ book bag

Z’s been asking, “Are we going on a trip?” ever since I packed these things for him. I told him that we will be going on a trip and that we would do these activities during that trip. Last night, we went out to Kohl’s and he was napping, so hubs just picked him and placed him in his seat, and he asked,

“Is this the trip?”

It was dark because it was past maghrib, so he probably thought it was fajr time because that is when we usually depart for our road trips.

Today, as we walked home from his therapy, somehow we got to talking about the trip. He was probably asking about it again and I told him it was on FRiday. So automatically we stated the order of the days together. Impromptu lesson right there! That’s what I like!

Anyway, I’m excited too. I finally decided which activities I want to start doing with Z from Umm Nu’man’s wonderful amazing resources, and I look forward to doing them with Z.  I realize that with 3 older kids and 1 kid in kindy, it’s hard for me to juggle everything on top of also being in a course myself. No wonder homeschooling moms of multiple kids take homeschooling as a full time job.

I am going to have to do that too if I don’t want to retire prematurely. I mean, I can still do other stuff but they have to be manageable. Right now, alhamdulillah, Allah has enabled me to keep up, though there are times when I feel like just dropping everything and crying. Especially when the kids misbehave, show bad manners, don’t listen to me, don’t do their work…which is…hmm…I guess, almost every day sometimes. Subhanallah…these are times when I feel like I have failed in my responsibilities. But I also realize that my responsibilities are not over. My mother says,

“Better late than never!”

My mother still reprimands me to this day, like any mother would. So I guess, my work is for a lifetime, though it’s hard not to feel like a failure when your kids show less than desirable behavior. This is when I feel very humbled. Parenting is humbling, not only because you learn that you are the role model, but mostly because you come to realize that it’s all in His hands. Guidance and success is in His hands.

In homeschooling, there are times when you feel exhilirated (like when H’s fan worked) and you feel,

“Yay! This is why we homeschool!”

But subhanallah, Allah reminds us, and we had just covered this ayah recently in my class (I LOVE juz 27 28!)

57:22
Sahih International

No disaster strikes upon the earth or among yourselves except that it is in a register before We bring it into being – indeed that, for Allah , is easy – Al Hadeed 57:22

57:23
Sahih International

In order that you not despair over what has eluded you and not exult [in pride] over what He has given you. And Allah does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful – Al Hadeed 57:23

Subhanallah when something bad happens, you remember that Allah has already decreed it, so don’t dwell too much over its loss, but even when something great happens, here we are reminded not to exult over it and attribute it all to ourselves! Balance!

I printed out all the materials I wanted and put them all in this folder. And this folder goes in his book bag.

some cut out pieces

I had cut out some activity sheets ahead of time, though I later realized that he should be the one doing the cutting. But I later left some parts for him to cut on his own.

My Body activity sheet set

He’s been asking a lot about where his stomach is and where his food is right now, so I thought it’s high time we do human body. We’ve been doing animals and plants, and I had wanted to do human body but I couldn’t find the proper materials for his age so this was a blessing that Allah directed me to the blog of Umm Nu’man, whom I also realized is the author of books I had bought for Z! MashaAllah! She has come up with a Human body activity sheet set separate for boys and girls.

Surah An Naas Activity Sheet set

I love these Quran activity sets! I am excited to try this because from looking at how it’s supposed to be carried out, I”m thinking that this is the reading by sight version in Arabic. We did both reading by sight and phonics for English but I haven’t found any technique, at least any organized technique for reading Arabic so this is really a wonderful find! Alhamdulillah!

Surah Al Ikhlas Activity Sheet set

For some of the activities, I’ll have to coax the older kids to join us.

Quran Mazes activity sheet booklets

I had painfully scanned these, gathered them all in a Word document and printed them so he can do it again and again, now and even later when his comprehension takes on a different level.

I told him to gather some crayons and put them in this pouch we had gotten when we boarded Korean Airlines on our visit back to Malaysia in 2010. Reuse, recycle.

His crayons

His glue and scissors

His Abata. He was the one who reminded me to include this, so alhamdulillah!

I didn’t forget about the older kids. I used to do this when we travelled before too. I went to elaborate length to prepare for our road trips. I remember one when we went to Houston from Columbus, OH. Don’t know how much the kids benefited though, but I do remember doing a lot of brainstorming, designing, cutting, pasting, when the kids were younger. I realize that now, with Z, that’s what I have to do a lot of too it seems like. While at the same time I also have to do a lot of mental work in checking and critiquing the older kids’ essays, researching topics, teaching it learning it together with them, keeping ahead of them, keeping up to date with college applications, SAT, ACT, etc, high school requirements, high school course planning…you get the drift.

I had put my writing on hiatus several times now because I can’t cope with everything, but I do look forward to being able to fully pay attention to homeschooling these kids almost full time inshaAllah.

Hubby told me to rest and not take the AlMaghrib class we’re going to. So, after deliberating and feeling wistful about it, I agreed. So, right now, only hubs and N and H are taking the class inshaAllah. S, Z and I will be hanging out. S has to study, and we have to watch her British history DVDs I had checked out from the library for her World History course, and I have to study and review, and I have to do these activities with Z too. So much for rest ! But I look forward to it.

Then, S will be attending her TQ as usual during the week, and on Wed I will be attending my class, and miss Thursday because my public speaking workshop begins that day. So I will have to do some catching up in my class work and notes because the week after, the translation test is due. Again, so much for rest. 🙂 Never mind, our rest is inshaAllah in Jannah!

Older kids’ book bag

May Allah bless this trip. Ameen.

As usual, with road trips or any traveling, I go into obsessive packing and organizing mode. I’d make a list of all that we need to pack, and I’d start packing days before, and check off my list as I go and it takes a lot of planning and work, but it makes for an easier execution so far alhamdulillah. I find that I always need to write things down so my mind is not cluttered with to do lists. It helps me a lot. Ustaadh  Muhammad AlShareef calls it a brain dump. That’s exactly what I feel it is too.

My obsessive packing organization

Categories: Al Huda Institute, AlMaghrib Institute, Books, Family, History DVD, Homeschooling, Juggling Multiple Kids, Teaching To Read, Thoughts, Travel, Z's learning | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“I Want to Read Only One.”

I’ve been bloghopping recently, in an effort to look for ready-to-go Islamic Studies/Quran lesson plans/activities for Z. I’m at a point where I no longer have the time nor energy to brainstorm creative ideas for activities with him like I did with the older kids when they were this age. So I succumbed and have to admit defeat. Usually, I prefer to brainstorm my own activities, but I can’t afford to do that anymore, so I seek to be inspired and benefit from other Muslim homeschooling moms with young children.

When I first bloghopped, it made me feel bad. I mean really bad. Here are these wonderful mothers, doing wonderful things with their children and it makes me feel guilty for not doing much with Z. Subhanallah. I remember that way back, this was the very reason I avoided reading other homeschooling blogs. It stressed me out as I would compare myself to these amazing mothers.

But as I grew up and older, I realize that every family is different and that every family has different strengths just like individuals have different unique strengths. I also remind myself that I am not a big fan of worksheets and following curiculums, because I have done that with the older kids and I feel that is not the best way to learn and apply what is learned. It gives ‘ilm, but not necessarily the spiritual wisdom. That was why I looked into unschooling and am now an eclectic homeschooler.

So, after spending quite some time drooling over other moms’ beautiful activities with their kids, I began to get inspired to take a little bit of this and that and come up with my own, individualized activity plan for Z. I have unique struggles with teaching Z, so I looked at all the different things out there and these moms really have amazing activities! May Allah reward and accept it from them. Ameen!

Sumayyah’s post [Make Your Own Arabic Alphabet Letter Form Blocks] in particular inspired me to come up with a (hopefully) solution in teaching Z his Quranic Arabic reading. With S, I remember writing down the letter she had trouble with on the whiteboard in our living room. And everyday I would point it out to her until she finally gets that letter. With Z, our whiteboard is now full with stuff for the older kids. Subhanallah, I feel so bad for Z. I might start doing that for him, but after reading Sumayyah’s post I decided to do a similar thing, but with index cards. I went ahead and took a bunch of index cards I had sitting around for a while and cut them in half.

While I was doing this, I put on Shaikh Abdulbary Yahya’s lecture Love for the Sake of Allah.

AFter I was done cutting, I wrote the beginning, middle, and ending form of each letter, making sure to align the cut cards so they would join perfectly when put together. Then, I cut the top part of the cards and made these into the tashkeel cards, fatha, kasrah, dhammah, sukoon, dagger alif. Then I tied it altogether with a rubber band.

I tried it Z, but when he saw what it was, he immediately said,

“I don’t want to read it.”

Aargh!

I coaxed him, and he said,

“I want to read only one.”

Good enough. That’s what we did.

Today, he came to me with the card bundle and said,

“I want to do this.”

(!) Allahu Akbar!

So we did, but he put a condition on it,

“I want to read only one.”

As I was finishing up praying Isha just now, he came to me and said,

“I want to do this.”

So, we did.

Of course, he said, “I want to read only one.”

Well, as long as he keeps coming to me asking to read it, I guess I”m fine with him saying,

“I want to read only one.”

Last night, he did the activity with S, and surprisingly, they went beyond reading Only One. She even had him make up words.

And this morning, I picked out some of the old Arabic writing workbooks we had bought from Malaysia years ago for the older kids and I gave some to him for writing in. It took some reverse psychology to get him to write as per instructions but he did do some. With Z, it’s more of a battle of wills. It’s not that he can’t do it, but he won’t, and he will do reverse psychology back on us.

Categories: Activities - Ages 5-8, Quran, Teaching Challenges, Teaching To Read, Z's learning | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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