Ramadan

Week 3 : Mon-Wed

Monday :-

 

So, I’ve been pushing myself to do the long & short vowels with Z. I tried it last year but he didn’t seem ready so I left it alone. Today, we did U (using the file folder game) and E (spring Peeps) again. I think he’s getting the hang of it inshaaAllah. We also did the Five Senses yesterday using Umm Nu’man’ Five Senses pack. I looked for book on the five senses at the library today. I expected to get better books. The calendar notebook actually provides a good coverage of areas from penmanship to telling time. I can gauge what he needs more work on just from doing the calendar notebook everyday. He needs work on Place Values. He’s good at telling time mashaaAllah and even with coins. Maybe he will be ready to work with dollars and coins soon. I’m thinking that we may continue with the calendar notebook while including harder activities as he progresses into higher grades inshaaAllah. It’s a nice all-in-one ‘documentation’ of his progress in a way. I love the file folder games because we can do it again and again and if he doesn’t know the material, it’s a nice teaching introduction and we can always revisit it. I also started thinking today that we will probably do addition everyday until he gets proficient at mental addition and then move on from there. The file folder games help with this too. I noticed that when he plays addition games online, he is a little slow. So my hope is that if he is proficient at it mentally, it will encourage him to practice it online too and he would then be more willing to play those math games online. Right now, I sense a lot of avoidance on his part on games that he finds hard because his skills are not there yet. He’s unwilling to develop those skills online. So we’ll have to do that offline.

 

Tuesday:-

I had limited time today but I think we did quality stuff inshaaAllah. He did his calendar and everytime he does the place value, he always puts the amount of the number in the ones place, so I continue to ask him to represent that number with the ten rods and ones cubes, and point out that the ones cubes are only (however many they are for that number). We also did the prepositions in Arabic today, managed to squeeze that in before I had to get ready to go to my Dr appointment.

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After I came back, he came to the door with ‘The Little Red Hen’ that we had checked out from the library. When I was leaving the house, he was sitting on the couch poring over the library books we had checked out and I’m guessing that by the time I came home, he was dying to have me read them.

“Read this, this and this!” he said. I hadn’t even gotten my shoes off yet!

So I read The Little Red Hen and remembered to speak out loud my own reactions to the story so that he will learn to do this too (future journaling while reading a piece of literature). He asked me to read Cork and Fuzz (he LOVES these books) and we made a deal that he would read some pages and I would read the rest. He doesn’t like to read aloud, but with that arrangement, he did. I tried to gauge if he understands what he’s reading. Pleasantly surprising, he does! His phonetic skills could use some work in some words (understandably so), but his comprehension seems good. ALhamdulillah! I even asked him some inference question (why was Fuzz sniffling and sad?) and he said,

“Because the chip-mouse was mad.”

Then I asked, “Why did Fuzz kept saying ‘But…but..but’?”

He said, “Because he can’t swim.”

He remembered from the other books of this series the differences between Cork and Fuzz. Alhamdulillah. I’m so happy with this, as I always worried about his comprehension despite him being able to read (decode and decipher). Allahu Akbar! I’ve been making dua that teaching him be made easy and that learning for him is enjoyable and easy and for Allah to put barakah in it, because seriously, my time it quite limited due to the learning and teaching I am doing right now. So, in order that I would be able to serve Allah in these other ways, may Allah put barakah in my time with Z. Ameen! One thing I’ve learned :- nothing is impossible for Allah. Just ask. Even if it sounds impossible and absurd and illogical.

N is supposed to interview an adult for her writing assignment for Home2Teach. I suggested Dy and emailed her and she said yes. This is good in that it will give N experience in interviewing an actual person and give her that much more experience in writing different kinds of writings. I love Home2Teach so far. H is doing great too!

So far, I’m still checking their essays for Literature, and so far they are sticking to the schedule.  Alhamdulillah. One thing they may need tangible daily reminders for is updating their high school documentation forms on Google Docs that I had made for them.

Hubs had told H to create a Linkedin account and today, I suggested he start studying to take AP courses since he’s quite ahead in Math right now on top of skipping a grade. Hubs also suggested he take MOOC classes and add those to his LinkedIn as he foresees MOOC courses being important in college application in the future.

I realized alhamdulillah that Revved for Ramadandid benefit H and N. I was stressed out all Ramadan because I saw them sitting and attending but not paying attention. I know. The class was Mon-Thur, 2+ hours each day, and went through the whole Ramadan. I would have loved it if we have something in the community for the youth, but as it was, there weren’t, so online was our salvation. I’ve heard N and H refer to ‘Wisam said’ more than once now. Apparently, some things did stick and made an imprint in their hearts from what was taught in Revved for Ramadan. Alhamdulillah.

I was talking about the Syrian boy whose hair turned grey from stress, and mentioned about the Prophet saw’s hair turning grey when Surah Hud was revealed. S added that she covered that today in class. Then H and N also added that and what they learned from Revved. H said that it’s surah Hud and Yunus and all the sister surahs because they all contained somewhat the same message.

I guess, I have to settle with the benefit of attending course whether online or onsite being small but impactful and long lasting rather than high in quantity but low in quality. That’s probably how the reality is anyway. Alhamdulillah. I kept asking Allah to make it benefit and for the whole Ramadan I didn’t see any sign of them benefiting from it. Subhanallah…hastiness is one of our weaknesses. it certainly is mine. Being a mother, you want the best for your child, and it’s just hard to not see it. I just have to increase in my tawakul and patience inshaaAllah.

S has taken Abnormal Psychology with Coursera last semester. She claimed it was hard, but I think she is being perfectionist. She is overly anxious about being able to cope with the burden of college work. I truly beliece she can because she has the discipline. But I think the perfectionism may be part of the cause of her anxiety.

Just yesterday, N and I were talking about creating some file folder games for Z. I told her, “I think you’d love to be a preschool or kindergarten teacher! Because you love kids.” She said, “Well, I already want to be a writer.” “You can do both.”

for Arabic with Husna, we’re now in Sarf, specifically Sarf Sagheer and Sarf Kabeer. I’m enjoying it. Since H already learned this with hubs for quite some time, it’s just N and me who need the practice. So far so good. I find memorizing Sarf to be harder than memorizing Quran. Sarf is like a tongue twister to me.

 

Wednesday:-

Today is my busiest day what with a doctor appointment for Z. But alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah, we got in some quality work. At least I’d like to think it’s quality work. Z did his calendar notebook as usual. He’s getting  better at place value, but I just noticed that his coin counting is not quite mastered. So far, he’s been doing it on his own based on the previous day’s count, but he can’t count by 10s and then switch to by 5s and then switch to by 1s. So that’s something to work on inshaaAllah.

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We worked on the Arabic prepositions using the file folder game I created from UmmSara’s post. We only started using it yesterday because he wanted to try something new. But today, when I took the file out, he said, “I don’t want to do that.” Again, see how he is avoiding anything that might cause him failure. But we did it anyway. I noticed that he had some trouble picking up the Arabic words and putting them in line with the English meaning. After we did the matching pages, I showed him the prepositions in Arabic and English equivalents. Then, because we ended up on that page that tells me to play a game with it, Ii told Z to look for a toy house and a toy mouse. Because I didn’t want to make and cut and color a mouse. So we found S’ barn and the horses in it. We pretended the barn was a house, because I don’t know what a barn is in Arabic and too lazy to look it up. I never liked teaching Arabic to the kids because of this limitation in my own mastery of it. And no, it hasn’t really motivated me to learn Arabic. The only thing that motivates me to learn Arabic is to understand the Quran and appreciate its beauty and meaning. For conversing, writing, reading…err…not really.

Anyway, we did a few rounds of this, and he loved it. I was thinking I probably need to use these vocab in our daily life and now I remember this is another reason why I stayed away from teaching Arabic to the kids! It’s hard enough remembering to speak Malay (my own native tongue) to the kids, let alone a foreign language that I don’t master! I’m just not a foreign language learner. I consider English like a first language actually, even though my kids would vehemently disagree.

I also told him we will do some addition practice. He didn’t want to do it, so I said,

“If you get really good and fast at this, you can play many games on the computer that has addition!”

He perked up. And cooperated. And so we did 2 ladybug addition placemats, Alhamdulilah!

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I also finished up the Pizza Activity Pack worksheets, and this particular one deals with letter tiles and manipulating the letters. I told him to get Scrabble, and we did the worksheet, but he didn’t use the letter tiles, he just did it mentally and finished the worksheet quickly on his own. I pointed out to him also that the ending sound is what makes words rhyme. Not sure if truly grasped it …yet.

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S’ horse volunteer business is I hope, working out. The lady emailed me saying she wants to meet personally with S to talk and see how mature she is and that volunteering with her for kids under 18 will be on an individual basis. So I hope this works out inshaaAllah.

As for H, he’s been dilligently weeding the backyard mashaaAllah despite allergic reactions. He’s cleared a lot of it. It looks like REALLY hard work. It keeps raining too (ALHAMDULILAH) and he said, “Oh no, the weeds are going to grow again.” Allahumma Sayyibann Naafi3a. Ameen.

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I updated the older kids’ homeschooling individual course documentation forms on Google Doc on Tuesday. I told them to add a reminder to update it every day. I can actually check that they did because I have to initial ‘Work Done’. This time, for N and H, I feel much better about the high school documentation because I learned a lot from mistakes for S.

Categories: Activities - Ages 10 and up, AP Courses, College, Grade 1, High School, MOOC Courses, Ramadan, Thoughts, Z's learning | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Ramadan 1434

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

S :

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

N & H

Mon : Home2Teach class –

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

Tue :

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

Wed:

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

Thur:

  • 3-4 pm: N’s Therapy on campus

Fri:

  • 8:50 – 9:10 am N’s Hifdh on Skype

 

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

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

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

“I want to do this too!”

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

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

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

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

May Allah forgive us. Ameen.

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

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

S replied, “I was born here.”

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

LOL

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

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

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

Post Asr :-

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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 and Hajj and Eid Al Adha

Pre-Activity:

I’m rushing, trying to find something for Zulhijjah, and Hajj in terms of discussion, activities for the kids, all of them. I started with Z because I know Umm Nu’man has stuff on Hajj mashaAllah. I printed the Hajj theme pack, Hajj Story Board/Game, Hajj Game, and Hajj Addition and Subtraction Activity. While I was printing it, Z saw me and immediately had this excited look on his face and said,

“I want to do that!”

He helped me take the printed sheets out, and wanted to start right away but as I’m typing, I am still organizing and printing and cutting. He’ll just have to wait till next week inshaAllah.

I still have to figure out what to do with the older kids.

As of now what is coming to mind is:

  • look up ayaat in Quran pertaining to hajj
  • read translation, word analysis, listen to tafseer on them
  • find out the virtue of 10 days of zulhijjah
  • listen to lectures related to hajj/zulhijjah together and then discuss

Right now I can’t really brainstorm much activities so these will have to do for this year.

Post Activity:

I started the session by going over the book that we have Tell Me About Hajj. Impromtu, as usual (and no, I’m not proud of this, just stating it because that’s how things always end up because of tight schedules and stress), I just started explaining to him about the Kaaba and related rituals of Hajj based on the photos in the book. I didn’t expect him to be that captivated, but subhanallah, he was. There is just something about the kaaba that pulls you. I pointed out that the Masjidil Haram is the name of the masjid where the kaabah is in, and that its middle part doesn’t have a roof, but the sides does, and people go up on the roof to pray and it also overflows onto the streets. I know he is fascinated by this because he used to watch this

and would repeatedly ask me,

“Why are they praying on the road?”

once I pointed that out to him. I guess it baffles him that people would spill over onto the road and not fit inside a masjid.

As we went through the book, I told him that there is a story about the zamzam but that I’ll tell him that later, and that there are stories around the Kaaba but that I would tell him later. We went through the Hajj theme pack, and I had trouble organizing myself even though I organized it last night. We started with the Hajj Step by Step, and I focused on having him recognize the main locations of the Hajj manaasik. We also did the Last Minute Hajj game with the 10 hujjaj, though I was a bit thrown off by the rhyme Umm Nu’man provided in the activity. I fumbled through it and then decided to modify the game.

What I did(based on the 5 little monkeys):

10 little hujjaj down by the haram

Making tawaaf around the kaabah

The guide soon called them all to come back

But only one hujjaj came walking back

And we worked down till there only 1 hujjaj left. He loved this and we did it again and again,  didn’t object much when I asked him to do these activities:

1. I would tell him to get me hujjaj #___, and then get hujjaj #___ and put it above/below/next to hujjaj #___ (it helped with letter recognition)

2. we ordered the Arabic numerals in the correct order

3. I counted the numbers in Arabic, but we didn’t do this much because he didn’t seem to be cooperating much (but when we took the number 10, he did say “Ashara!”)

4. We’d have the hujjaj scattered around the Kaabah and I would tell him, “Get me hujjaj #__”

We also did the memory game, and we did the steps of Hajj game,

The Hajj Steps game after I put it in the lapbook. Made it more stable and easier to manipulate.

and then while I started to make his lapbook,

It’s still halfway done. Reminds me of our lapbooking days when the older kids were younger. We still have the stack of the lapbooks they made. N still loves looking through them. I do too. I can’t bring myself to throw them away even though I had taken pictures of them with the intention of keeping them as digital copies and throwing away the hardcopy.

he played the memory game with N and then S joined. We also did the hajj graphing activity and he had fun spinning it and marking the boxes. I made sure to ask him which one he got the most of and how much did he get for __.

H refined the spinners for the Addition and Subtraction activity which we have yet to do. I asked H to help me last night and he went all out and set up the spinners on a cardboard mount and everything.

We also did the picture-word matching activity,

Picture-word matching activity. I had written the answer on the backs of the picture cards and this was how he matched them.

and the Hajj sequencing cards.

By now, he is quite familiar with the terms, and even steps of the hajj manaasik mashaAllah. We also did the map activity though he hesitated and objected at having to write the words. I had to spell it out for him, and in one instance I put the word before him so he could copy it. He insisted that I spell it out for him but I insisted he copy it and he did it pretty quickly. Again, not that he can’t do it, but it’s a matter of not wanting to do it.

Hajj Map Skills

He also did some coloring while I attempted to help H with his Algebra. This reminds me so much of when I juggled the 3 older kids when they were younger. It was nerve-wrecking. I still haven’t mastered it.

We did quite a number of the activities alhamdulillah and his interest level was still high, but I had to cut it short because I had to go visit on of the girls from the girls’ club. But I’m so thankful that Z loves the activities. He kept asking me to read the book again. I have to tell him the stories of Ismail and hajr (and I will use the pop up that I had made for the 3 older kids years ago inshaAllah) and Ibrahim a.s. and the slaughtering of Ismail a.s.. I wish I had a felt board ready. Oh well, we’ll just have to improvise impromptu since my days will start getting crazy tomorrow. Monday is really my only free day to work exclusively with Z. Subhanallah.

May Allah make it easy. Ameen.

While Z was writing, I noticed that he needs handwriting practice soon. I was at Staples yesterday and saw the first grade writing book but didn’t buy it. I guess I’ll have to buy that soon but I can already imagine Z making faces at me if I tell him to do it. He doesn’t like worksheets. Oh boy, I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Categories: Activities - Ages 5-8, Islamic Studies, Juggling Multiple Kids, Kindergarten Math, Lapbooking, Learning Games, Z's learning, Zulhijjah | 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

“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

Z Books: If You Were A Parrot

Wednesdays is one of the busiest most hectic days in the week for us. Especially this week because N’s Oil Pastel Class starts, and H’s Magnetism Class starts. This morning we had bit of a to do with logistics. N had signed up to do her live presentation for her project for her Mammals class, but S said she had group at 8:45 and so would need the Mac, and by the time I came downstairs, N was not doing her presentation and H was using the Mac. So N rescheduled her live presentation next week.

Then, H’s Magnetism class starts at 9, so basically today, we had class starting at 6:30 am, then another at 7 am, then another at 9 am, then my class at 10 (had to anxiously wait for H’s class to finish on time so I wouldn’t be late for my class), and N’s Oil Pastel at 11. And now only N is in class, the rest of us had lunch. H made fried rice.

I read If You Were  A Parrot By Katherine Rawson with Z this morning. I also showed him the photos of the author and illustrator at the back, and told him that this lady wrote the story and this other lady drew the pictures. I also told N about the illustrator, and I love that she included some info about how she does her illustrations.

We had actually read it yesterday and today he picked that book again. Yesterday I didn’t have the chance to expound on it while I was reading since we were rushing to go to the library, but today I had time, so each time we read the pages about what features the parrot has, I reminded him of Jce’ parrot that we used to babysit once in a while.

“Do you remember, Jce’ bird would climb up on you, and chew on your ears?”

“Did Jce’s bird play in his water?”

It looks as if a sliver of memory of the bird is passing in his mind and then came his answer, “Yeah.”

“Did he use to look in the mirror too?”

“Yeah.”

“You remember, he eats nuts and seeds?”

“Yeah.”

He wanted to make the fake beak, so I told him to get some construction paper and we made him a beak, a black one. He went around with it, pretending to chew on a pencil. Then he started saying to me,

“I want four toes!”

 

Oh boy.

“But Allah already gave you a nice foot. Four toes is for a parrot.”

What do you expect when you read a book called, If You Were A Parrot.

After my class started, he would come in every now and again in the room and tell me, “I want four toes.”

All this while I was in class. It was getting annoying.

We need to read another book so he would forget about this one.

Four toes….eeshh…

Well, by this time I did read more books to him. We read,

Excuse Me by Lisa Kopelke

I wanted to read this one first because I had checked it out some time ago, but he didn’t want me to. Somehow then I read the one below first and then he took Excuse Me! and wanted me to read it because he liked the Tissue Please story.

Tissue Please by Lisa Kopelke

Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert

He wasn’t too fascinated by this one. I think he was rushing for something else then.

 

Categories: Activities - Ages 5-8, Animals, Books, Language Arts, Reading, Z's learning | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leaves

When we went to play tennis last Sunday, I collected some leaves for Z. When I showed it to him he was fascinated, at first, but he wasn’t as fascinated with it as I’d hoped. Still, I picked some at different stages of its losing its chlorophyll.

I was planning on sitting with Z and showing him how when the chlorophyll leaves the leaves, the green goes away and it turns brown.

Come to think of it though, he has been asking me,

“Is it going to be winter now?”

So at least I know he is at least aware of the seasons. With Z, I can’t really tell what he knows or what he understands as I did with the older kids. With his speech delay and some developmental delay, I don’t expect too much from him, so when he does show some understanding, it is a pleasant surprise.

Well, at least, if I put these photos on the blog, when he decides he is more interested in botany, maybe I can sit with him and talk about it. Right now, he’s exploring other things. I’ll leave him be. He looked excited when he was checking out the books I got for him at the library. You could clearly see the joy in his smile with each book that he scanned. I guess I never had the time to really observe the older kids like that when they were that age. Or even if I did, I have forgotten. With Z, it’s like I’ve been given a second chance, but in a different form. It’s different.

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Categories: Activities - Ages 5-8, Outdoor, Science, Z's learning | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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

Our Harvest!

Yesterday, on our Quran party day, we also harvested some carrots and cherry tomatoes from our tiny container garden! It reminds me of why I loved hanging out in my father’s orchard in the early mornings when I was growing up. It was a time when the morning dews are still glistening on the banana tree leaves, ready to roll off the smooth surface and fall with a fat plop onto the ground. The green grass was still deliciously wet with dew, making my flip flopped feet(back home, flip flops are wet market attire, but here it’s the ‘in’ thing, which makes me laugh. Amazing how something that is considered the most low standard footwear in one place is considered fashionable in another part of the world!) wet and cool. I loved it when we were living in Kajang, where I spent a lot of time imagining myself a ninja while running around and weaving through the tapioca trees by the man-made fish pond my father liked to fish from. We had fresh fried fish every now and then. There was also a man-dug well, half of which my father enclosed and turned into an ‘outhouse’. The other half, he left open so we could use the water for our kitchen needs. He also slaughtered our own chickens and I remember the headless chickens running around for a bit before completely dying. My grandmother would then dip them in boiling water and pluck the feathers. All tasks such as cleaning fish guts, cleaning slaughtered chickens, cleaning squids and prawns are done in our outdoor kitchen. The indoor kitchen is for cleaner stuff. There was a time where I also kept a baby cobra in a jar for a while before my father turned it loose. That was also when I was introduced to keeping a butterfly jar where I would pick the monarch caterpillars from our lime trees and put them in empty jam jars and feed them till they pupa-ed and turned into beautiful black and orange monarchs!

I think that is the most meaningful part of my childhood. The rest of them I spent in the concrete city of Kuala Lumpur where I would spend my time reading Enid Blyton books and imagining our closets to have secret trapdoors that lead to secret tunnels and such. Imagination and books have always been my closest friend back then.

Suffice it to say, I do love being out in nature, not necessarily to be physically active (like my husband and children (some of them) do) but just to sit, smell the flowers, scrutinize the details, and revel in the beauty of it all. I am happy that the older kids had that in their childhood when we were in Columbus, but I feel somewhat bad for Z because here in the desert, he can’t really just go out and play. We have a xeriscape yard too, so that doesn’t help. But with this little garden, at least he has a smidgeon of an experience hopefully. I love watching his delight at pulling out the carrots!

 

Z pulling out the carrots. We had gone out to check on it while he was in the shower. So we waited for him to be done so he could do the honor of pulling out those carrots, since we planted them because he was reading The Carrot Seed and this guy has been waiting forever to pull those carrots out!

N found this insect at the okra plant

 

another insect

 

Inside, I showed Z this book, which is a very good book to learn about roots! He took it and showed it to his sisters.

 

Z took this photo. I had returned this book to the library today before having a chance to take more photos of it, but apparently, Z had done some clicking!

 

The book : What Do Roots Do? by Kathleen V. Kudlinski

 

 

 

Categories: Activities - Ages 5-8, Books, Gardening, Outdoor | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

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