Posts Tagged With: Homeschooling

2014 Week 1

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

“Where’s the Ipad?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

Rough Daily Schedule

My daily schedule now differs from my daily schedule years back. Now, most of homeschooling for me is basically working with Z and N and H in the morning after Fajr. I have online classes that I take and teach  scattered throughout the weekdays, so I organize my homeschooling schedule based on that.

Usually, after fajr, on Mondays and Wednesdays, we listen to Nouman’s Tafseer of Juz Amma for about half an hour. Then we watch CNNStudentnews and then have breakfast. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we watch Arabic with Husna from Bayyinah TV after Fajr and then CnnStudentNews. On Fridays after Fajr, we listen to Quran Cover to Cover on whatever surah we are in (I base this on Surah that H has memorized. It’s more for him).

After breakfast, the older kids do their work, and I work with Z till about lunch time. This will differ based on if I have classes in the morning, which I do on Mondays and Wednesdays and Fridays. So on these days, I would work with Z after I finish my classes. On Friday though, my class in the morning is from 9-11am, so I usually end up not doing anything with him. If I don’t really do anything with him, I at least try to read with him. If not, I let him play games on the computer that would help him with language, math, or watch Reading Rainbow.

Ideally, after Zuhr, I would listen to N recite a page of Quran, and Z read his IQRA and do his hifdh. But I haven’t had the patience to do this with him lately as things have gotten rather chaotic. But usually, I don’t like to do school after lunch. I work better in the morning and I like doing things in the morning. I have always urged the kids to finish their work by noon, so it really drives me nuts when some of them choose to dilly dally and take a lot of breaks in between and end up still doing their school work in the evening close to bedtime. Now that they’re older I find that personal choices of their like these drive me crazy, especially when being late like that affects my schedule (as in having to mark their essays/work in the weekends). Sure, I give them deadlines, I give them consequences but subhanallah….they still do it.

I am getting tired of asking them if they have finished their work yet or not and I’m getting tired of remembering things for them. If I leave them alone, they get left behind. I don’t see a way out subhanallah. I know some have advised to let them suffer the consequences. Thing is, when they do, the work is back on me. I’m the one who has to pick up the pieces anyway. Subhanallah…

But anyway…I did enjoy homeschooling them when they were younger. Now that they’re older, things get more serious and I end up being more strict because of their future, and it can be a bit stressful even though I do get excited when I see their prospects and potential. Ya Allah, please don’t let me fail these years!

Back to scheduling, my Quran teacher gave me an advice which makes a LOT of sense to me. She said that schedules are made as a rough guideline but it’s almost impossible to follow a schedule to the dot, without getting stressed out. So take it easy. A schedule is to guide you so you know what you need to get done in a day, but if life happens, it’s ok. Just pick up where you left off. With homeschooling, sometimes, and many times in fact, life happens. Take it easy. Like in my previous post, I didn’t really do much with Z, but he still learned mashaaAllah. Sometimes, just reading to him helps a LOT.

So our rough schedule looks like this:

  • Fajr
  • Post fajr – Tafseer/Arabic (30-45 min)
  • Breakfast
  • Homeschool work
  • Lunch
  • Zuhr
  • Quran
  • Free time/work time (if they are not done yet by this time)
  • Cook dinner & tomorrow’s lunch
  • Asr
  • Dinner (we like to have dinner early and not wait till after isha. When time changes, we would eat after maghrib at the latest bec by then Maghrib would be around 5 pm)
  • Clean up
  • Maghrib
  • Quran (depends if I listen to N or not)
  • Isha
  • bedtime

 

Since the kids can cook, I don’t necessarily cook much anymore, especially when I have a lot of work to do. The classes that I take and teach do sometimes overwhelm me, so after spending the morning with Z, and sometimes checking on the older kids, I have to get back to my own work and many times cooking is delegated to the kids. My schedule when they were younger is different. There were three phases; when they were all 3 and younger, and when they’re 5 and older, and when they were 5 and older and Z was a baby. Each time, I had to find out what worked for me and deal with it. And each time, I learned not take the schedule too seriously to the point of stressing myself out. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t try my best to follow it. This ‘take it easy’ means that I do try my best to follow it, and that I have allotted a certain time frame to do a certain thing during the day, I strive to do that. If life happens, especially when you have young kids or older kids and sickness and errands, then don’t stress out over it. With me, it’s my own hifdh and Z’s schooling. Lesson => just pick up from where you left off.

I have to say though that I have had to use my weekends to do work too, especially when the kids finish their work late, or when I have to prepare some things for their school work the next week or something like that. So my weekends can get pretty crazy too. My weekend has a schedule too basically:-

 

Saturday

  • Fajr
  • Class that I teach (once every 5-6 weeks or 3-4)
  • Farmer’s market produce grocery shopping
  • Lunch
  • Zuhr
  • Free time (usually nap time for me or work if there is work to be done)
  • Asr
  • Dinner
  • Swimming
  • Masjid for maghrib and Isha Youth halaqa

Sunday

  • Fajr
  • Breakfast
  • Tennis
  • Lunch
  • Zuhr
  • Free (Sunday school for N if she teaches, work for rest of us depending, laundry)
  • ASr
  • Dinner
  • Maghrib
  • Isha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Juggling Multiple Kids, Organization, Time Management | Tags: | 1 Comment

Week 6 : Mon- Fri

Today is already Friday. A week has passed by and I haven’t really done anything with Z other than tell him to do his Calendar notebook daily. This week has been crazy in doing an ‘Abu Bakr’ for Hajj. We’re still waiting for the visa, but we’re preparing nonetheless, so that if we get it, then we’re all up and ready to go inshaaAllah. So, this week I’ve just been occupied doing some stuff that need to be done before we go and next week is going to be busy too. I feel bad for Z though. He knows he has to do his Calendar Notebook and he does it, and after that he digs in his toybox and looks for things to do.

Amidst my sewing this week, I did notice him playing with the stethoscope and asking where the heart is. He also played with the scrabble by himself and kept asking me,

“Is toon a word?”

“What is a toon?”

“Google it!”

“Is noon a word?”

“Is din a word?”

“What is it ?”

So, subhanallah despite me being busy and not able to physically sit and do stuff with him, he is learning. He basically learned what toon is and what din is and he asked couple more questions out of the blue,

“What is dawn?”

He also spent time watching the story clips and playing word games on Between the Lions on PBS website. he also played games on AbCya and watched Reading Rainbow. He did say he wanted to paint eggs and I wanted to buy those wooden eggs for him but this week, our schedule was a bit crazy so I told him next week. We did read some books though…

We read,

If You Hopped Like  Frog

Wonder of Nature Waterfalls

 

Amelia Bedelia Bookworm

Cute! The Sound of Long U

He also peeled sweet potatoes, went swimming, went walking with me this morning, and learned the difference between city and country. I remembered this particualrly because this morning, as we were walking, he asked me,

“Is this city or country?”

I didn’t know what to answer so I said,

“Well, it’s kind of like the country because it’s quiet and you can see the animals, but we’re still in the city. Do you like country or city?”

“Country!”

He asked again as we approached home, “Is our house in the country?”

I also told him that we’re in the desert because we passed by stretches of land in the neighborhoods. He was also hoping to see cats. We only saw one as we almost reached home, alhamdulilah! As we walked he also asked,

“Why are there so many neighbors? Why are neighbors so close?”

“Why do people live in the desert?”

I think I should take him for a walk more often. The older kids no longer want to walk with me, so maybe after this I’ll take Z with me as long as he can stand the distance. I need the exercise especially for Hajj.

But alhamdulillah he does his calendar by himself now and pores over his books on his own if I can’t read them with him. He still likes being read to of course, but I do think he is able to read it on his own too quietly. He may not understand all of it, but he can read it. I just need to sit with him and still do the reading and engaging. He is particularly intrigued by the book If You Hopped Like A Frog. Much later on, he said, “If yuo’re strong like an ant, you can lift a car!”

He did have some issues understanding that though and said while I was reading the book to him, “People can’t lift cars!” “Why is his head so small?” “I can’t do this!” (trying to stretch his neck upwards like in the book).

N had her therapy yesterday and we spent an extra hour talking about what the therapist wants her to do. Subhanallah..my gut feeling has been right all along. I figured that if I send her to school thinking it would be easier, it’s still going to be the same, because she has a motivation and maybe attitude issue. Her therapist asked me to be the enforcer to make sure she does what she is supposed to do. Sigh. This has been my challenge with her all these years. I particularly hate it when people tell me to do that with her because I already am doing it. Especially last week and this and next week I won’t be able to do that, but I didn’t communicate that to the therapist. I told myself, “Well, I’ll just have to do it.” Sigh.

The therapist gave her writing strategies and one particular one where she has to write down main idea and details for EACH paragraph of the book she is reading and she is reading Call of the Wild right now. It’s a significant jump of reading level from Anne of Green Gables. She didn’t look motivated yesterday and I had a talk with her, and she still didn’t seem like she was motivated. I fear she may follow in the footsteps of some of our relatives who dropped out of high school and college. Hubs has some of the issues she has in learning (not sure if you can call it learning disability) but hubs is competitive and actually likes learning while N is not competitive and doesn’t like learning. She does say she wants to write for a living though. I have to say I’m almost giving up with this child. I don’t know what else to do with her. It’s so frustrating, aggravating and just saddening for me. Loving to study, I can’t fully empathize with her and this makes me very impatient when dealing with her which probably maybe exarcebate the problem. These are one of those times when I feel like I don’t really know what I’m doing and when I feel like just leaving everything and being by myself. The stress of preparation added to this doesn’t help either. My only consolation is dua. I do feel like I do need to get away from the kids though…take a break and leave them for a while. Maybe that’s what I’ve been needing for years.

I reminded her to use the Cornell method to take her notes, but I don’t see her doing it as enthusiastically as she learned it in therapy last semester. I also told her we won’t go see the foot doctor anymore because she doesn’t seem like she is taking responsibility for her own feet and it seems like we’re just paying the Doctor for nothing. May Allah help me and guide me with this child. Ameen.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Homeschooling, Learning Challenges, Teaching Challenges | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Week 5: Mon – Fri

Monday :-

We did the Long and Short vowels file folder games, and he actually did pretty good. Actually we did a lot of long and short vowel activities this day.

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I also started going for morning walks with H today. Last week, it was with S. The only reason I’m doing this is for Hajj, which is still not 100% confirmed, but I learned that that’s how it goes for the haji-to-be in the US.

I dropped S at the equine center and then we all went to the library while waiting for her to be done. She has started to volunteer there, and last week on Friday, she had her safety training. At least, I hope she is doing something she loves and craves doing while racking up volunteer hours for her high school documentation.

Later in the day, or was it last week, Z had asked me about a handwriting book  I had bought for him a while back at Walmart but haven’t started using. I told him that that’s for when he can writing his letters all nicely and neatly and that he can write sentences and then draw a picture. Lo and behold, he brought me the book, and started showing me a page that he had furnished. He had written a few ‘sentences’ and drew a picture of it. His handwriting was pretty good that I asked him,

“Who helped you do this?”

“No one! I did it myself!”

MashaaAllah! Alhamdulillah. May this be made easier and easier. Allahu Akbar!

Tuesday:-

Since we had gotten a lot of library books yesterday, we read some of the book. Today we read,

He really enjoyed these books and seem inclined to work on skip counting. We did the Skipping to Oregon file folder game too, and I helped reinforce the concept of skip counting using MUS math manipulatives (wow, these have lots of barakah it seems like). He’s been asking,

“I want to do multiplication!”

So I told him, “We have to learn skip counting first then.”

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Filling in the empty cards

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Using the MUS manipulatives to aid in skip counting

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Showing him the pattern

He was a bit hesitant at first, but eventually seems to enjoy it. He got significantly better at counting by 2s today. I taught him to count 1 number with a whisper and the second one out loud. He seems thrilled by that technique, but I could see him counting mentally when he was skip counting by 2s, 3s, and 4s. With 5s, he’s pretty good already because of the minutes on the clock that he does everyday with the Calendar Notebook.

He seems to have somewhat gotten the hang of Long and short vowels too. I found a couple of books at the library and read these today, and he seems to have gotten a better grasp at Long O and short O.

We also did the McDonald’s Farm file folder game and he told me he didn’t want to do the Long vowels part but only waned to do the syllables part. So we did, and he seems to get it right away. But I did manage to get him to do the long vowels part anyway and he did very very well alhamdulillah.

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We also read Penny and Her Marble

I noticed that he’s getting better at reacting and engaging with anything we read. I was asking him why Penny didn’t feel good, and he kept saying,

“Because someone is coming..” (he meant that someone would come to claim the marble)

I also asked him, “So is it right for her to take that marble? Can we just take something that we find like that?”

He looked grim and shook his head. And he added, “It’s like Finders keepers!” like what we had read when we read the story of Cork and Fuzz (which he loves!). So apparently, he understood this concept alhamdulillah. But alhamdulilah I’m happy that he seems to answer questions better during reading time. I was worried before about his hesitance in answering questions, but alhamdulilah now it seems like he’s ‘gettin’ with the program’.

I feel like we actually did a lot today. We also did the Past, Present, and Future Tenses file folder game though by that time I was tired and we didn’t really do it all the way. He seems to still be new at the concept so that one can use more revisiting inshaaAllah. He did do a lot of worksheets today though that dealt with graph reading, measuring, addition, subtraction, grammar (singular plural verb), handwriting. I took the worksheets that I had printed last year from Learning Pages. I find it a good way to cover areas that I might not think of. At first, before, I was hesitant in giving these to him because he didn’t seem like he wanted to do worksheets, and I didn’t want to struggle with him but he seems more inclined to them now alhamdulillah. So he actually spent a lot of time on that.

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I haven’t been doing hifdh with him that regularly though. I realize that I tend to put off or aside things that require me to cajole and coax him to do, and hifdh is one of them. Subhanallah. On top of that, IQRA reading too. Sigh. Suffice it to say, I feel bad about this. Need to pick up with this.

The 3 older kids started Biology today. Today N and H’s load significantly became heavier, because they have Biology at 8- 9am, then American History at 10:30 – 11:30 am, then Literature at 12-12:45. Starting this week, they will be very busy. I looked over N’s planner too and hope that she abides by it and disciplines herself. This is such a struggle for me and her subhanallah. It wears out my patience and I’m sure it wears out hers too.

I also just realized that PSAT is coming up in October and was suddenly in a frenzy about this. S is not too happy about having to take it again. I asked hubs and he said yes, she should. So, he will register her tomorrow and so she will have to study for it again and take it while we’re at hajj (if we go inshaaAllah). I also told her to look over her high school plan for the rest of the years that she still has remaining. I worry a bit about that, but keep telling myself that Allah will take care of it because she is doing something now that is to seek His pleasure. I also realized that with S’ high school planning, I wasn’t that experienced, so a lot of her courses are poorly planned. It’s much better for N and H though. I just ask that Allah makes it easy for S’ entrance to college. I have to look into enrolling her at the local community college.

I also realized that N is pretty good at vocabulary and I realized that one of the reasons why is because she really wants to learn it and as she says, “So that I’m not dumb.” I hope the therapy this semester helps her a lot biizhnillah. H is not too keen on his Worldly Wise assignments though. N is promoted by the Home2Teach instructor, so right now, I’m just waiting for H’s instructor to email me his promotion (or not), and then will register both for the next writing classes. N will be taking Writing the Hero’s Journey inshaaAllah. I’m looking forward to checking much improved essays from all of them.

In preparation for Hajj, I’ve also asked around and arranged for friends to check the kids’ essay while I’m gone.  I also just realized that for their American history, Biology, and Ancient Egypt assignments, I am the one in charge. Great.

Subhanallah, after all these years, I also feel like I’ve never really learned to be patient in juggling multiple children while homeschooling. I can multitask but I’m not patient while doing it. Snapping is a very common occurrence when I’m juggling teaching and tending to more than 1 child at one time. If anyone wants to ask me how I homeschool multiple children, I have to say,

“I’m not the best person to ask.”

Somehow, Allah nurtures them and they learn anyway. All credits to Him. Alhamdulillah.

Wednesday:-

It was rainy almost all day today. Z did his calendar by himself and he did a lot of worksheets after that. I grew impatient because I had so much to do today, another Dr.’s appointment and classes, and cooking. Yes, after all these years, I still get agitated having to cook while teaching the kids. We didn’t read any books today because he was dawdling with his worksheets, so ‘school’ with me ended just like that, with me leaving him because he was dawdling too much.

He did good on his worksheets though. There are questions on how many more is 10 than 5. That is a new concept for him, but he kind of got it, but didn’t really like to do it. He dealt a lot with subtraction and I noticed that it’s harder for him to do subtraction and for a while he got confused while using the ones and ten rods. I really had to sit there and supervise him on it. We did Skipping to Oregon too today, and I showed him the pattern with the skip counting by 4s, but I don’t think he really got it. He quickly wanted to be done with it, so I didn’t really push it either.

He did show comprehension of using exclamation mark though when he answered No on a question on the worksheet. He said, “Exclamation mark point.”

Lately he has been ‘scared’ of the bathroom, especially of bathing and using the toilet. I don’t know why.

Anyway…

The older kids started their Ancient Egypt Currclick class today. S is taking it also for 1/2 credit and it is during her AlHuda break. I reminded N to use the Cornell method of note-taking in these classes. She hasn’t been using it. in the therapy, they worked on reading strategies for novels. I figured that in summer, they helped her with understanding non fiction, so this is good that they’re not working on helping her with understanding pieces of literature. May Allah put barakah in this. Ameen. She is supposed to use the neon pink notebook her therapist lovingly cycled her bike to get, and fill it with reading strategies homework that she had given N.

Thursday:-

I want to maintain a walking routine in the early morning everyday. We started Last Friday and so far we have been doing it everyday. The only thing is, I don’t like walking too late when all the kids and parents are out for school, so it’s a bit tricky now that fajr is later. By the time we’re done with our post-fajr Quran/Arabic, it can get too late to walk outside. It has been balmy lately so it’s really nice weather for walking. Like today, we took an hour to just do the exercises for the Allama family for Arabic. I already hear a lot of cars out, and I have to take H for his shot and bloodwork, whcih has been put off so much so that today is the last day to take him for it. I’m feeling grumpy and agitated with all these doctor office visits which has been going on for 2 weeks now and will still be going on next week too. I hate having to leave the house for stuff like that. So that’s been contributing to me being snappy and yelly too nowadays. Sigh…I just hope things taper down a bit before we have to go.

We read All About Eggs and What am I?

He had already read these books on his own though, so the guessing was not so much guessing on his part. I did try to have him pick out rhyming words in the What Am I ? book, but he soon grew tired of it when I also asked him what vowel sounds he hears from the words. He really doesn’t like the Phonics stuff. I am contemplating whether I should continue, but I have a very strong feeling that I should because it will be needed later on, even if he already knows how to read. I did it with the older kids too and my own personal philosophy of this matter is that we should teach both. It’s just a matter of which one first to teach. Since he already knows how to read, obviously, Phonics come second, but it gets a bit strange at times because it’s like going backwards. However, it doesn’t mean it’s any easier though..not for him at least.

He did a lot of addition on his own, and seems to really enjoy it too. I had him do the First Grade Sight words too, which initially he didn’t want to do. I coaxed him to do 2 pages and he seems to better grasp creating a sentence now. Alhamdulillah.

So basically it seems like our ‘school’ schedule goes like this: He starts with the Calendar Notebook, and then we do various things of random choice on my part and his. There will be some days where we will read books, and there will be some days where we won’t. It all kind of depends on how I’m feeling and my work schedule. Most of our activities utilize the file folder games, and worksheets, and when I feel like it, online games. At times I will also let him watch Reading Rainbow. I have to admit that with all of this supervising, I have little energy and patience left for his IQRA and hifdh, though I tried doing it at night. With Hifdh, I need a lot of patience, as does he, but I also don’t want it to become something where I’m always angry at him for, so when I don’t feel like it, I leave it. Which in turn also makes me feel bad. As for the IQRA same thing. It makes me wistful when I think to the times when he would just come and understand that it’s part of his daily routine and bring the book to me and read it, even if he negotiates 1 line per day. Same thing with hifdh, though he’s a bit more reluctant with this one. He’s having a hard time now with Humazah ayat 4. So maybe, I should just muster up the energy and discipline to resume the IQRA with him on a daily basis. But realistically, with this hajj business coming up, I am already stressed out. So I don’t know. It makes me feel very bad that this is not a regular routine right now especially seeing that we may go for hajj inshaaAllah. Astaghfirullah…These are one of those days.

Friday:-

I didn’t really do much with Z today though he did work on his Calendar on his own alhamdulillah. Took H for his bloodwork in the morning. I had classes back to back and by close to noon time, I don’t feel like doing much anymore. I still need to check the older kids’ work though.

S and N baked stuff and brought them to the girls halaqa last weekend:-

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Rolling up the Pandan Roll

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All wrapped up. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to take photos of when it was done. We were rushing to the halaqa.

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N made cupcakes

N is at surah hashr now and mashaaAllah doing good on her own accountability alhamdulillah.

 

Categories: Biology, Books, Community, Copywork, File Folder Games, Grade 1, High School, Horse Therapy, Learning Aids, Learning Challenges, Log, Math U See, Phonics, PSAT, Science, Volunteer, Z's learning | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What We Have Been Doing

We almost finished the Pizza activity pack I had gotten from Umm Nu’maan’s blog.

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We also did several of the file folder games

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I did the word families file folder game with Z, and it has some extra empty cards, so I had him write words that fit in some word families.

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Person, Place …

 

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Where I keep his daily ‘Do’s’ (calendar Notebook, certain file folder games (rotated depending on what I feel he needs to work on), worksheets. So everyday we just take this and start his ‘school;.

His math manipulatives. We alternate (depending on his preferences) between this (easier to take down and put back) and the MATH U SEE math manipulatives (harder to take down, and put back). There is also another magazine folder thingy containing other file folder games and past lapbooks that he can take on his own.

His math manipulatives. We alternate (depending on his preferences) between this (easier to take down and put back) and the MATH U SEE math manipulatives (harder to take down, and put back). There is also another magazine folder thingy containing other file folder games and past lapbooks that he can take on his own.

 

N’s study desk. I’ve been nagging her about the tidiness of her study desk and alhamdulillah it’s finally looking productive! She is also using her mini whiteboard for her daily to do lists and I see that it has helped her complete her work on time.

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And her stack of library books. She has started to read these books which when I asked S, she said, “I guess it’s slightly of a higher level than what she usually reads,” which is good news alhamdulillah!

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However, I have been noticing that she has been obsessed with these books and some of her school work is not done. I just asked her if she’s finished her work for today. I heard something that I don’t like to hear. Sigh…

We have been having abundant rain alhamdulilah. With that came weed. A lot of them in our backyard especially. I told H we’ll pay him if he gets rid of them. So he’s been working on them, but I think we may have underestimated the amount of work it requires.

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H and N seem to be doing very well with Home2Teach alhamdulillah, so I may just continue signing them up for Home2Teach classes. Compared to Write Guide, Home2Teach seems to give them more structure and direction. S is supposed to and still doing her English 11 using the Bedford Reader. We recently visited the horse lady which I had contacted last year but never followed up with. She gave us some resources for S to volunteer with horses. One of them was on campus, and today, I just got her email saying that even though S is underage for their volunteer program, if it’s to do with volunteer hours for school/homeschool, maybe something can be worked out. So I replied to her and am waiting to see what she will say.

I’ve been discussing with S the possibility of her majoring in Psychology (since she still wants to) and also Animal Science but maybe specified to horse therapy since she loves horses. The emergence of horse therapy in the past 10 years (according to the horse lady) also brings more possibility to combine Psychology and Horse Therapy. She seems to like this idea. I told her to research and look into it on her own. I don’t feel like she is though. Subhanallah…it’s so hard being a parent of teens. You don’t want them to waste their youth, and even though I lived it, I really don’t like this culture of teens wasting their time entertaining themselves when teens before there was even a term ‘teen’ used to be considered as adults and worked to earn a living and actually made good use of their times. I don’t like that the kids have these electronics even though I agreed to getting them when hubs asked me (S has an Iphone and H has an Ipod). It’s hard balancing things for me. Subhanallah. I hate to see the older kids wasting their time because they have so much potential. Alhamdulillah they like to go volunteer at the soup kitchen and are not really wasting their time in ways that would turn parents hair grey. Alhamdulillah. But I (like any other parents I’m sure) have high aspirations for my children and I’m trying very hard not be a Tiger Mom. On one hand I understand the drive to be a Tiger Mom, but I also understand the wisdom in not being one. Sigh. If I’m having middle age crisis, this might be why.

Categories: College, Homeschooling, Organization, Productivity, Soup Kitchen, Time Management | Tags: | Leave a comment

Bear Says Thanks

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

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

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

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

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

“Like the library books are due.”

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

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

“Ok what rhymes with bear?”

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

“Does bear rhyme with share?”

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

It was a good day though alhamdulillah.

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

Cookie Preschool Rhyme Time

Digby’s Garden

PBS Rhyming games

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

Vowel Movie on Starfall

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

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

Rainy and Cloudy Day

I woke up to gentle rain and cool breeze this morning, alhamdulillah. I should have eaten oatmeal for breakfast this morning instead of the one slab of pancake S had made. I think there is definitely an issue with my blood sugar, because when I eat the wrong thing, I feel depleted of energy and don’t feel like doing anything, and I have a feeling this is what leads to me not really doing anything with Z, or any of the older kids, but mostly Z. I am literally out of energy when this happens. To make it worse today, we went to the library and all I had eaten this morning was this piece of pancake. i was on ‘work’ mode and I managed to do the Calendar Notebook with Z, with a lot of impatience, because we were trying to leave the house around 8:45 for the library.

We went to Kinko’s and they took an hour, so in the meantime we went to Big Lots and I bought some stuf and then wen to Best Buy. I already felt weak and fatigued when we were out and about, and ate 3 granola bars, but when we got home, I read about 3 books from the library to Z, and then didn’t really feel like doing anything else and just fell asleep on the couch. N and H were attending the Meet & Greet for their Literature class. I only woke up because H screamed crazy when the class just crashed.

I really think I should have eaten oatmeal this morning, like I did yesterday morning. Yesterday, I didn’t feel tired at all, not like today. Subhanallah. If this is part of growing old…wow…

Even then, yesterday I made sure I did my hifdh revision for that day and N’s too, and Z’s too. Today, I recited some to H in the van on the way to the library and I hope that gives me a head start for the rest of the day.

Today, when we did the Calendar Notebook, I remembered to take out the file folder that had the Arabic names of days in the week and weather in Arabic. It occured to me that a bulletin board is a great idea for it, but I didn’t want to make one, so I remembered this piece of metal decorative hanging thing I had bought from Hobby Lobby years ago because they were on sale. I had worked on one for a while, intending to use it as a multicalendar that would accommodate both the Gregorian and Hijri calendars, but it never came to fruition because the magnets didn’t stick well to the glass beads, so I abandoned that project. I took it out and improvised, basicaly just using it as a metal backing where I can use magnets, and what is great is that the whole thing is portable too. So I think I will use that to display the Arabic name of the day, weather in Arabic and put the Hijri Month on. Now my only slight worry is “Will I have the energy, will, remember to change and update it everyday?”

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Categories: Arabic, Hijri Calendar, Learning Aids, Z's learning | Tags: | Leave a comment

Kid Updates

I know….long time no post. Have been overwhelmed and swamped with a multitude of things. I wanted to make posts of our trip, but that has been going slow too.

I thought I should post this before I forget though, because I remember what is precious about this blog; it captures in words the kids’ antics and cute sayings that I will most probably forget years later. So, before I forget, I thought I’d do this really quick.

I told Z recently,

“Z, when you turn 7 inshaaAllah, you get to pick one prayer to do. When S, N, and H were 7, they got to pick 1 prayer too.”

Then I asked N and S who were there which prayer they picked at that age.

This was how I trained the kids to pray. At age 7, I gave them the options of zuhr and asr to pick from. However, once they pick a prayer, they have to completely commit to it, no matter what. Then, I usually observe them for a few months and if I feel they are ready (in terms of commitment and mastering the details), I let them choose another prayer, and so on. By age 10, they would have committed to all 5 prayers. So far, alhamdulilah, I found that this technique works with the older kids. Once they commit, they had to the prayers even while we were traveling or when they were sick, as Allah has made the prayer such an important thing that even when you can’t move your limbs, you can still move your eyes.

I find that it teaches them the responsibility of commitment. Rather than have them do all 5 prayers at once (which can be overwhelming), I thought, why not introduce this gradually, and train them the art of commitment? Ease them into it and let them learn to love it (by making it a choice that they get to make and withholding the rest of the prayers from them and giving a period of time before they get to choose another one). I remember when I was figuring out this method, I was mulling over how to make it their choice, and not something forced upon them. I love that it becomes something where they are making the choice.

And alhamdulillah, Z recently told me,

“I want to be 7.”

“Why?”

“Because of Zuhr.”

Alhamdulillah he’s already anticipating this ‘stage’! I had asked him what prayer he would choose when he turns 7. He said maghrib. Usually, I am the one who lays out the options, because obviously, I don’t want them to start with fajr (summer – long daylights, early fajr etc) or isha (late isha in summer). The two first options have always been zuhr and asr. When he said maghrib, I thought to myself,

Hmm..how about that? That is usually hectic time, and if we’re travelling, that can be a bit tricky.

But I guess I’ll wait till he’s 7 and then decide  or let him make a pick again, inshaaAllah.

Another incident that happened, he came to me and suddenly said,

“Al Mala2; the chiefs the elite, wa laa, do not..”

He was parroting the word to word translation from S’s Taleem course. I was SO surprised!

Yesterday, he said,

“I want to take class.”

“What class? Sunday school?’

Because last week, both N and H had SEMAA for the whole week, so I was dropping and picking them up throughout the week. Z asked me where they were and when he found out they had ‘class’, he wanted to go to ‘class’ too. So I offered him to go to Sunday school. He did. Due to his allergies, S followed along just to watch and make sure he doesn’t get cross contamination from the other kids eating Doritos etc. They told me that during the class where the teacher asked each child to recite surah Al falaq, Z looked down, canopied his face with his hands and wept silently, tears rolling down his cheeks, probably out of fear and shyness to recite while the other kids were listening. LOL. When he came home though, he showed me his worksheets, and I asked him if he liked Sunday school. He smiled and nodded. LOL.

That was the last Sunday school for this school year though. So, I guess I’ll have to figure out in fall if I will send him to Sunday school again. It’s up to him, but it will also depend on how I feel about it, based on the other kids, and time, and influence.

So when I asked him the question above, he replied,

“Like S’ class.”

“Well, how about when S has class, you just sit with her and listen?”

“No, I want my own class.”

LOL.

He’s been doing great with his IQRA and hifdh alhamdulillah, though it has been less consistent since I started going to the masjid 3 times a week for the Quran summer intensive. My schedule has been hectic, but may Allah accept it ameen!

H slept over at Fr and Fh’ house last weekend. I felt uneasy about it, but at the time that their mother asked me, I didn’t know how to refuse the invitation. Plus, Fh looked so excited that I felt bad saying no. I didn’t have truthful legit excuses either. That night, I felt really bad. Made dua. Alhamdulillah, I think it was okay. InshaaAllah. May H be a stronger influence on others and not be influenced by less than good company. May he also be surrounded with good company. Ameen.

H and N are now attending therapy (speech for stuttering) and learning techniques) at the university, twice a week. I was introduced to the Cornell Note taking method for N. I find it interesting and it looks efficient. Nice. I hope it helps N gain more comprehension and help her stay on top of her school work.

Recently, Al Huda had the Graduation convocation for all the courses graduating in 2012 and also including TQEE. S made a surprise chocolate cake for me. No wonder…days before, she had asked me randomly,

“What’s your favorite dessert?”

Absent-mindedly, I answered, “Chocolate cake, with chocolate fudge, yum!”

When we went grocery shopping, on the list was brown sugar, butter, etc and I was remarking,

“What do you need these for? What are you guys making?”

She didn’t answer.

That Saturday morning, as I sat listening to the convo in my room, she made the cake downstairs. So, in spite of my high cholesterol, I am eating meat and cake…oh boy.

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It was really good mashaaAllah! This time, the cake rose higher than the first time she made it before. S has always been hesitant about baking cakes before, so alhamdulillah now I think she gets the hang of it. Part of the homeschooling for me is also developing life skills. I do want them to know how to navigate the kitchen and make food and desserts. Chores is also part of it too, though we’re faring a bit worse there in terms of upkeep of their bathroom cleanliness. It has robbed me of some sleep just thinking about it.

I’m already planning next year’s school plan. N and H are starting 9th grade together inshaaAllah. I’m enrolling them in online classes on Currclick. This summer so far, they have been attending a class on Home2Teach and they like it. I like it too, so I might continue that for fall too. Homeschool Book Study is GREAT too for English. I think I may just stick with that for all 4 years! Both N and H are taking Biology this coming school year with Currclick. I hope the experience is a good one, because that would solve the problem I have in figuring out how to do high school science for them. We’ve tried other ways, but I’m not satisfied.

So InshaaAllah, Ramadan is coming soon. I’m in the midts of hecticness…and I have written out what my plans are for the kids this Ramadan. The older kids will do Quran journaling where they will pore over 1 juz per day, read the translations and journal what struck them, their reflections on certain passages etc. I figured these kids are too old now for me to be doing those fancy activities I used to do with them all these past years. I have been asking them to help me plan for Z though. So far it looks like the work is falling upon me. Sigh.

However, I have a rough plan for Z. We will hang 30 balloons, one for each day, filled with scrolls of paper containing the name of Allah for the day, and other stuff (haven’t figured that out yet). I’m suposed to prepare worksheets for him too for this. I think I may delegate this to the kids since I’m so short of time nowadays. Subhanallah.We’re not even going to the library regularly anymore because going out 3 times a week seems to sap my energy in this desert heat.

 

 

 

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Upcoming Road Trip

I have been really bad at updating this blog and don’t even know what to title it anymore other than ‘updates’. Anyway, we’re getting ready for an upcoming road trip to Oregon through California. We plan to drive on the Pacific Coast Highway, and Z is excited about the possibility of seeing orcas ever since he found a snapshot of a whale’s flukes on google map when he placed the man on the coast  of the Pacific Ocean by California. I’ve also been busy making his food for the trip and researching where we should stop on the PCH. We are somewhat limited in our time on the PCH, so I chose to stop at McWay Falls because it’s the shortest hike I can find and even though it’s a bummer than you can’t access the beach, the sight is supposedly breath taking, that it should be worth it. And if we’re lucky, we might see some migrating whales too! I hope! From a safe distance though. H is taunting me with “sharks”. The reason those whales will be swimming close to the shore (from what I googled) is to protect their babies from predators such as sharks in the deeper waters.

I also told the kids to research The Golden gate Bridge, the PCH, Seattle, but they’re not really taking me that seriously. I was too busy preparing Z’s food that I forgot all about making them research the stuff well before hand. I wanted to have Z have something like a map or a binder where he can mark our locations during the trip too but that would take time for me to make or search, so I don’t know. I don’t want to make things complicated and stress myself out, so maybe we can just do it the simpler way – Vlog, Photos, Atlas, and talking it through.

I did recheck out the book Humphrey The Lost Whale by Wendy Tokuda and Richard Hall for the purpose of this trip. We had read the book before (Z and I) and he liked the story. He now would ask me whenever he or I read a story,

“Is this a true story?”

Humphrey The Lost Whale is a true story about a whale who ventured into the Sacramento River and got stuck in shallow waters. The people had to take him back out to sea, so this story in itself is a fascinating one to read. I am thinking that this story is a great jumping board for our trip since we are also planning to go on the Golden Gate Bridge inshaaAllah. It should also spark a discussion on whales migrating.

H gave up on his QSL project and I emailed Mr. Phillips and he generously allowed H to join the next class. H wasn’t too keen on it however, and this made me mad, so I took away his Ipod and told him to work on it and not waste that money we had paid for the material and the course. I am still holding his Ipod until he catches up with where he is supposed to be in hie Algebra 2. He keeps making excuses in his Algebra 2, though the solution CD is already there. He keeps saying it’s hard. He keeps on wanting to go back to Math U see too even if there is no solution CD. We agreed that for Geometry, he can ask Vc if he has any questions about it since I am already saying I might not be able to help him with it. That was the reason I wanted him on Teaching Textbook in the first place.

S has started her Coursera course the beginning of last week. She is taking Irrational Behavior and seems to be enjoying it. Her writing is getting so much better too mashaaAllah. I was just checking her essay response to Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery and it was really good in terms of vocabulary and fleshed out analysis. I may start her on Statistics soon and then she can start focusing on doing those Bio and Chem labs.

I’ve already started to plan out N and H’s high school study plan. InshaaAllah in fall, they will both take Biology with Kim on Currclick. That way, S can maybe join in the lab too and have the labs done this way rather than on her own. N and H will also then take Mrs. Tetsch’s Homeschool Book Study for their high school Literature. I want to enroll them all in summer with a writing course on Home2teach, but I have yet to decide which course to enroll them all in. N is to finish her Pre-Algebra hopefully by May, and start on Algebra 1 soon after. She is doing pretty well on her hifdh alhamdulillah, and I told her we might have a party after she finished Juz 29. That will give me a reason to bake a cake! Not that I need a reason…but it’s also something to celebrate and encourage inshaaAllah (the hifdh, not the baking)

Z is done with the last two pages and is now on Al feel. It’s challenging working with him when we start a new surah as he resists and starts to jump about wanting to do this surah instead or that one instead. He seems ok once we start on a surah, but doesn’t seem to like starting a new one. However, he has accidentally memorized surah Al fatihah, so I wonder if I should try a different approach for his hifdh.

Z has also been working on his workbooks on his own, to my surprise and pleasure. Makes it that much easier on me and it surprised me that he actually understands what I thought he didn’t. It’s been a while since I’ve actually done anything with him in terms of activities. Subhanallah…when my schedule gets disrupted, it’s so hard to get back on track. May Allah help me. Ameen.

 

 

 

Categories: Books, Course Planning, Family, High School, Math U See, Memorizing, Quick Study Labs, Quran, Science, Science labs, Teaching Textbook, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Obsessed with Physics

H loves his Science Jim class. Alhamdulillah. These videos are from the Newton class he is currently taking this semester. InshaaAllah this boy should be ready to take high school Physics.

He made this F=Ma experiment and filmed it. Pretty impressive I should say.

He also did an Inertia experiment and filmed it.

He also did an acceleration experiment.

This is when he was taking Science Jim’s Static class.

Categories: High School, Physics, Physics, Science, Youtube | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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