Activities – Ages 10 and up

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

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

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

Ice Cream Cakes

On Eid

My attempts at making ice cream cakes were not very successful in the past, despite it being actually very straightforward and simple. I decided to try again on Eid. My problem with it was that I froze the assembled cake, thus resulting in a frozen cake that is difficult to cut. So, this time, I told the kids to google ice cream cake, to find out the method and science behind it. That’s one advantage of having older kids. You get a second chance at trying things you’ve failed at in the past with a new team of helpers.

The resulting ice cream cake

So I found out that the cake needn’t be frozen, and that only the ice cream needs to be frozen, and made separately from the cake. This way, the ice cream would be frozen and the cake is not, and so you accommodate both the cake part and the ice cream part. H and S made the ice cream part by laying out plastic wrap in the cake pan and packing softened ice cream in it so it takes the shape of the pan. While they were doing that, I repeatedly told them to smooth out the wrinkles in the plastic wrap and to have a lot of overhang because they were going to wrap the whole ice cream disc in it. They groaned and said I was being too ‘fancy’.

Later on, when it was time to assemble the cake, while they were unwrapping their ice cream dics, I had the last line. My mantra : easy now, difficult later proved true. Their wrapping of the ice cream discs was so unkempt that some bits of the plastic wrap was frozen and couldn’t be pried out. They somehow did manage to pry it out though Alhamdulillah.

This is the only time I allowed making cakes from a cake mix which was given to us by a friend recently. Usually, I don’t use cake mixes, as part of an effort to reduce consumption of processed food. Since the cake mix produces two cake layers, we made two ice cream discs. One of them, we assembled on Eid day, while our guests were eating. It was pretty easy, though we forgot to make the chocolate fudge, so the resulting cake was without any drizzle of chocolate fudge. I just sprinkled it with some chocolate shavings.

 

We used the comb to produce this effect on the sides of the cake

 

The second ice cream cake we attempted had a chocolate fudge. This was much later on a weekend. H made the chocolate fudge, and S whipped up the heavy cream. The resulting cake was more adorned, but we all agreed that the whipped cream was a little bit too sickly. Not that it was bad, just that eating a lot of it was a bit too buttery for us. Which is a good thing. I never did like cake frosting. The powdered sugar kind is too sweet, and the buttery one is too buttery. Rolled fondant is too … rubbery, gummy, and candy-ish, and iced fondant is too sweet. I have yet to find a frosting recipe that allows for elaborate decorating and pleasing to my palate. My only reason for wanting to use frosting is for aesthetic purposes.

The chocolate fudge had been sitting for a while and so when it was time to drizzle it over the cake, it wasn’t too cooperative. Oh well…

 

Anyway, we had our fill of ice cream cakes and probably won’t make it for a while.

Categories: Activities - Ages 10 and up, Baking, Family | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Ramadan 1433: Phillipines

Another one of those countries with minority Muslim population, so not much luck in finding Islamic architecture. This was the last one for Ramadan as we were close to the end, and they wanted to stop.

Their PPT presentation for Islam in Philippines.

they watched a video for how to make ensaymadas, though they didn’t really watched it thoroughly before starting to make it, so there were some mistakes

 

Ensaymadas

 

Categories: Activities - Ages 10 and up, Baking, Family, Powerpoint, Project, Ramadan | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Ramadan 1433: Madagascar

No, not the movie.

Madagascar has about 7% Muslim population so it was hard for them to find Islamic architecture. We discovered also that their food is pretty simple, that I was almost scoffing when S said she will cook a Malagasy dish consisting of chicken, garlic and ginger. I thought she was taking the easy way out, but she was serious and when I checked it, it really is a Malagasy dish! It smells and tastes good though. We dressed it up though…I couldn’t help it. It’s called Akoho Misy Sakamalao. We had it for iftar.

Ginger and Garlic Madagascar Chicken before it was dressed up

 

After we dressed it up. The lighting wasn’t too good because it was very close to iftar time and the sun was on the verge of dipping below the horizon.

 

Their PPT presentation on Islam in Madagascar.

Categories: Activities - Ages 10 and up, Cooking, Family, Powerpoint, Project, Ramadan | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Ramadan 1433: Thailand

For Thailand, H made a model of a house on stilts, S made Pad Thai, and I spent quite some time looking at recipes of how to make it, and they made a flag too. We made the Pad Thai again yesterday for the community potluck iftar. I’ve never had reason to use a lot of fish oil before but now I do. Pad Thai’s good!! Except we don’t put peanuts on it.

Islam in Thailand PPT presentation

H making the roof

 

 

the body of the house

 

the house all done…I adore the stairs! so this is the house, from the front.

 

The back of the house

what we know as Kuey Teow. We use it too in Malaysian cuisine, which probably originated from the Chinese or the Thais to the north. It’s been a while since I cooked kuey teow. The kids like it.

 

S making the Pad Thai sauce . She only used minced garlic, palm sugar, tamarind pulp, and fish sauce. Then we practically fried the kuey teow our way instead of following the recipe to the T.

 

It was done right before Iftar, so we didn’t have very good lighting. This was the best shot I could get.

 

But now, S knows how to make the sauce and she already knows how to fry noodles, so we can inshaAllah easily make our own version of Pad Thai now.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Activities - Ages 10 and up, Cardboard, Cooking, Powerpoint, Project, Ramadan, Sewing | Leave a comment

Ramadan 1433: Saudi Arabia

Their second Muslim country to research is Saudi Arabia. This is what they came up with.

Saudi Arabia PPT Presentation

H said the glue gun was not working, so he didn’t come up with any architectural model for this one. The girls made mtabaq though, which fascinates me because I always wondered about the origins of the Malaysian murtabak. Maybe the Saudis took it from us! 🙂

The difference between their Mtabaq and our Murtabak is the dough and the filling. We only use ground beef cooked and seasoned. They also add chopped boiled eggs and cheese cubes. As for the dough, theirs is a simpler one, while ours is one that we use to make Roti Canai with. We also eat it with either a vinegar based sauce or curry. I think the girls did a good job with the Mtabaq mashaAllah. They got the recipe from Arabic Bites, which I had discovered a while ago and love.

The filling : ground beef, chopped boiled eggs, cheese cubes

rolling out the dough

filling it

Wrapping the dough up to form a square

They made it pretty thick compared to the recipe they’re following, but it’s good either way, alhamdulillah

Cooking the mtabaq

The kids did this all by themselves. I was too busy taking notes from Tafseer Maryam

All ready for Iftar, which was at this time, a good few hours away

Categories: Activities - Ages 10 and up, Cooking, Powerpoint, Project, Ramadan | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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