'O Allah increase me in knowledge,

Thursday, 31 January 2008

S is for Siwak

Assalamu alaykum,

S came back home from madrassa asking about the miswak or siwak. He said from now on he wants to brush his teeth only with the toothbrush tree! So here I read some onfo about the toothbrush tree to him.

Siwak Dentibrush
The root from the Salavadora Persica tree has long been used and recognized as the best natural tooth brush as early as 7000 years ago by the the Babylonians and ancient Egyptians. It reinforces the teeth and gums, whitens the teeth and freshens the breath and it's all natural! The Salavadora root is known to prevent tooth decay, assist in eliminating toothaches and prevent further increase of decay which has already set in, boost the immune system, eliminate bad odors and improve the sense of taste, sharpen the memory, help cure or relieve headaches, and assist in digestion. This root naturally contains many ingredients that create an antimicrobacterial effect and are active against cariogenic bacteria frequently found in the human oral cavity. The chemical analysis of Salvadora persica has shown it contains trimethylamine, salvadorine, chlorides, fluoride in large amounts, silica, sulphur, vitamin C, and small quantities of tannins, saponins, flavenoids, and sterols.

Islamic etiquette: hypocrisy

“Most hateful it is with Allâh that you say that which you do not do” [al-Saff 61:3]

“Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and each and every act of obedience to Allaah) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture! Have you then no sense?” [al-Baqarah 2:44]

Assalamu alaykum,
I really hate hypocrisy and I do try all best to teach my kids to stay well away from it. Insh'Allah they will.
Just a good reminder for us all. It's not good to go around saying things that we don't do ourselves.
Sometimes kids can get into the habit of telling off their peers and then ending up doing it themselves.
I always say to my kids to look at themselves and make sure that words and actions are the same.
May Allah protect us from hypocrisy.Amin

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

The day we went to the farm

Assalamu alaykum,

today we went to the farm. It was a nice breezy day, warmer than the other days. Hamdulillah.

So we put out our wellies and off we went.

Kids brought a book about the farm animals.

Here are some pics.

Conflict resolution: Few tips

Assalamu alaykum,
just few tips I have got from reading articles on the net.
Resolution #1 Talk to your child, and again and again and again and the idea?
Resolution #2 Explain to your child what's right and what's wrong
Resolution #3 Try to point out why it is wrong and how it should be done
Resolution #4 Use the cooling down solution. Sit your child in a safe place and allowed him/her to think over their mistakes/Let him/her sit for a while. The ask them what they thought about their wrongdoing
Resolution #5 Have bags full of sabr (patience)!!!
Resolution #6 The most important one: make dua'as!

I am already trying to do all those things and really I have been doing those since my kids where born. So where am I going wrong? Is it because they are growing and changing in a dratsic way??
Well, I will have to work on this very issue as it is so fundametal for the family wellbeing.
Insh'Allah dua'as

Wa alaykum assalam

Monday, 28 January 2008

Conflict resolution

Assalamu alaykum, I need help here! I am having some problem with A.
In the last few weeks he has been in his little world and came out only to fight with his little brother.
A is a 7 years old boy, very active, full bags of energy, loves cars, engines, and anything to do with fighting, boxing, karate, boxing gloves and the list goes on and on...boys stuff!
S is a 4 and 1/2 years old, full of energy, very bossy but sweet and full of love for learning. He hates fighting and prefer a quite day pushing his toy car around the house or cuddling his favourite teddy, Adam the Muslim teddy bear.
The two cannot stay in the same room, specially in the last few weeks.
Any idea how to sort conflicts between kids? How do you get them to understand and listen to you?
And what's the Islamic rulings here?
I am going to search this topics insh'Allah.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Mix homeschooling methods

Assalamu alaykum,
You know you are going to homeschool. Now, which homeschooling method will you use: unschooling, traditional, or eclectic? Confused about methods?
I was asked what curriculum do I use with my kids. We don't really use a curriculum or maybe yes. Are we unschooling? Yes most of the time, or maybe not. Are we using Montessori, eclectic, Unit Studies, lap booking etc? Yes we are. In fact we are using all these methods all at once. Whatever my kids like to do, we then go ahead and do.
One thing for sure, we love books. We love to buy new resources and art&craft materials.
We love outings; it can be the library, the park, the farm, the zoo, the aquarium, the museum etc
But we like to mix homeschooling methods and that works for us, so far, hamdulillah.
When deciding which way to go, do not panic. There is no one right answer. Each method has strengths and weaknesses. In the end, what matters most are our children and our family. After all, that is why we chose to homeschool.

Make puzzles part of your game plan!

Assalamu alaykum,

we had a lazy day today! We have been making puzzles all day.

Boys like puzzles as it is a very manual thing to do.
Loads of Internet sites offer puzzles, riddles, word games, and other games to stimulate fun and learning.Puzzles and riddles have an inherent appeal to children, and through play, children can develop new concepts and reinforce skills in curriculum areas such as language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.
Here are some websites to get you started. Even thou I believe the real thing is far better!

Friday, 25 January 2008

Jolly Phonics

Assalamu alaykum,

S. is learning the phonics. There are many fun ways to teach phonics but S. loves the Jolly Phonics book I bought for A. when he was 5.

Hamdulillah the book has been a great tool with A. We printed out the pages we needed so the book still new.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Salty Dough

Assalamu alaykum,
an ancient way of making sculptures. We used the salt dough to make our own Arabic alphabet. Kids also enjoying making flowers, stars, food items and animals.

Here is the basic recipe:
one cup of fine salt
one cup of flour
about half a cup of water

Mix the flour and the salt together in a large bowl. Depending on the flour brand, you may need a different amount of water so it is best to make a well in the center and pour in the water. You have to knead until smooth and elastic and non-sticky dough.
Shape the dough into a ball and wrap it into a plastic film in order to prevent it from drying. The dough is now ready to be used.
Variations :
The basic recipe can be adapted for different purposes :
Add more flour and you'll get a softer dough
Add more salt and the aspect of the sculptures will be granulous
Add wallpaper glue and the dough will be more cohesive
A few way to add color to your sculptures :
by using different brands of flour (rye, ...)
by adding spices, chocolate powder, coffee...
by adding gouache, oil paint (use gloves and knead long enough to get a uniform color)
by adding food colorants
by leaving the sculptures in the oven until golden
you can also paint your sculptures once they have dried.

Instead of allowing the dough shapes to air dry, you can bake them in the oven at 200 degrees F until hard. Baking times varies depending on oven and dough thickness. Make sure the dough is completely baked. You can cover the dough with aluminum foil if it starts to darken before completely baked through.

Salt Dough Suggestions and Tips:
You can store salt dough in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a day or two before using.
Add color to the dough by mixing food coloring or paint into the water before adding it to the flour/salt mix. Alternatively, you can paint the finished baked dough with acrylic paint.
Painted objects should be sealed on all sides with polyurethane spray or clear varnish to make them lasting gifts or keepsakes.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

5 steps to UNSCHOOLING!

Five Steps to Unschooling
By Joyce Kurtak Fetteroll

Some people understand unschooling as soon as they hear about it. Others wander about in a fog of confusion, wondering how unschoolers can be so certain about something that seems so counter intuitive to everything we’ve picked up about how kids need to learn. Maybe a few, well-defined steps in the unschooling direction could lead out of at least the very pea-soupiest part of the fog.
Step One
To unschool, you begin with your child’s interests. If she’s interested in birds, you read - or browse, toss aside, just look at the pictures in - books on birds, watch videos on birds, talk about birds, research and build (or buy) bird feeders and birdhouses, keep a journal on birds, record and ponder their behavior, search the web for items about birds, go to bird sanctuaries, draw birds, color a few pictures in the Dover Birds of Prey coloring book, play around with feathers, study Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawings of flying machines that he based on birds, watch Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”
But DON’T go whole hog on this. Gauge how much to do and when by your child’s reactions. Let her say no thanks. Let her choose. Let her interest set the pace. If it takes years, let it take years. If it lasts an hour, let it last an hour.
Step Two
Second, you need to make sure your child has opportunities to expand her interests. Have books, videos, kits, games, puzzles, music tapes, puppets, nature collections, and other cool things available for her to pick up when she chooses. (Think library, yard sales, and attic treasures.) Take her places as a way to spark an interest. Wander about museums and just look at the cool stuff that interests either of you. (And resist the urge to force an interest in the things you think would be good for her.) Read a book or do a kit even if you’re certain it won’t lead anywhere. Let her say no thanks if she’s not interested in pursuing something right now, or in pursuing something to the degree you think she “should.”
Step Three
Get interested in things yourself. Not interested in your child getting educated, but in learning for yourself. Pursue an interest you’ve always wanted to but never had time for. Be curious about life around you. Look things up to satisfy your own curiosity. Or just ponder the wonder of it all. Ask questions you don’t know the answers to. “Why are there beautiful colors beneath the green in leaves?” “Why did they build the bridge here rather than over there?” “Why is there suddenly more traffic on my road than there used to be?”
Let your child know that all the questions haven’t been answered yet and it’s not her job to just keep absorbing answers until she’s got them all.
Step Four
Start noticing the learning available all around you. There are fractions in time and cooking and in the relationships between objects. (There are one third as many blue M&M’s as there are brown.) Tax is a percentage of the total, some items offer 20% more free, and stores having a sale will knock a percentage off the regular price.
There’s oodles of science in cooking. Why does heat make the white of an egg turn from clear liquid to solid white? What process turns liquid cake into poofy air-filled solid cake? Don’t worry if you don’t know the answers. Anyone can look up the answers. Few can ask the questions.
As a real-life example, by watching Xena and reading Little Town on the Prairie, my daughter was exposed to three references to Julius Caesar, Brutus, and Marc Antony. She doesn’t “know” Roman history now, but she’s got a hook or point of reference to build from tomorrow, next week, three years from now: “You remember Julius Caesar. The guy Xena hates.”
Unfortunately we learned in school that learning is locked up in books and reading is the only way to get to it. It’s not. It’s free. We’re surrounded by it. We just need to relearn how to recognize it in its wild state.
Step Five
And, finally, forget the linear approach to learning we grew up with. For instance, we learned that the way to learn is to read “all the important” stuff about a subject gathered and packaged for our convenience in a textbook and then move on in line to the next package of information.
Sure, sometimes an interest will cause kids to gather up a huge chunk of learning all at once. This is easy to see. And easy to overvalue as the “best” way to learn.
More often kids will slowly gather interesting tidbits, making connections as things occur to them to create a foundation. They’ll add pieces here and there over the years to build on that foundation. This is not so easy to see going on. And very easy to undervalue.
So, if we can train ourselves to see that process we can help it along by valuing the times when they see Thomas Jefferson on the Animaniacs and then later on the nickel and then still later on Mount Rushmore. Those moments will establish a feeling of recognition and familiarity. Then the more tidbits they gather about Jefferson, the more interesting he becomes. And the more interesting he becomes, the more they want to know about him.
It took at least two years and a lot of posts by very patient unschoolers (and a lot of questions by other newbies who were equally confused) for me to finally “get” unschooling. Hopefully, these five steps will make your transition to unschooling easier than mine was!
© 2000, Joyce Kurtak Fetteroll


Assalamu alaykum,

it is not as simple as you think! Not at all. Unschooling is, in my view, the hardest part of teaching.

When unschooling, you go the opposite direction than secular schooling. When unschooling you choose to let kids learn in their own time, with their own wish and will. Of course creating opportunities for kids to learn is fundamental.

Creating the place where kids can learn, filled with resources such as books, art&craft ready to be use, maybe a blackboard and some chairs and a table.

Kids are aware of the environment they are in and if not push to learn, they will start their own activities and learn at their own pace. Mash'Allah.

Some time ago I bought a book called 'The Unschooling handbook' by Mary Griffith.

A well written book, full of real unschooling stories.

I enjoyed the reading and learnt so much more about unschooling.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

How do bees make honey?

Kids love honey as much as they love to ask adults this question -- How do bees make honey?

'Mum, how do bees make honey?'- A. asked tonight.
So we read this lovely book for primary school years about Bees and how do they make the honey. Here it's the link to purchase this book and a set of other lovely books geared for school children
We also talked about the benefit of honey and since we are a bit under the weather I gave the boys a good spoon of honey before going to sleep!
Found this resource, very nice.

Muslimah trying to home edu

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Our setting!

Assalamu alaykum,
we called it Al-Fatiha. The beginning. It's our homeschooling setting. As we don't have a spare room, we use the kids bedroom. Everything we need is in there. This is just part of the setting.
I set up everything as in real life school so that kids can fully enjoy their homeschooling experience.
Here are the pics of some of the resources available to them, mash'Allah!
From the top:
Pic1 all around useful school board!Bus with Phonics. Alphabet,numbers, shapes etc. Bucket o' play dough, about 4 kg of it!!!!
Pic2 Poster of Prophets Names and Places where they live and what they did! Mash'Allah!
Pic3 Till, kids learn so much about money and how to count the change. We also have a trolley, basket and a lots of useful goodies to go with it.
Pic4 Table and chairs for kids size. Montessori recommended!
Pic5 board for kids' works;
Pic6 kids library, not just books, but board games, educational toys etc
Pic7 Arabic Alphabet. it must be one of the best mat we ever had! Kids love it.

More pics soon to come....

More Art&Craft!

Our Seasons...well half of them anyway!

Autumn and Spring Time.

Wooden Spoons Craft

Assalamu alaykum,
I have not updated for a while because we have been not so well, hamdulillah.
While at home, not feeling too good, we have been crafting...again! :)
This time I felt very arty or crafty!
We bought 10 wooden spoons for £1 (GBP) and decorated them with bits and bobs we found inside our art&craft box.
We decorated the back of the spoons (it's easier than the front) with colored pens, stickers, colourful paper etc.
Just look at our finished products! Don't they look nice?
Next time we will work on dressing one wooden spoon with typical clothes form historical period as we are learning about History. E.g. cowboy, a Hawaiian, an ancient Egyptian, geisha etc.

Monday, 7 January 2008


Assalamu alaykum,
so we were eating chocalate! A. looked at all the lovely wrappers and said he wanted to collect them. 'Maybe we could make something out of it!'- I said.
So we did!
The plastic colorful wrappers were perfect for making some Fanoos (Egyptian Lanterns).
Here some lovely ones! Will post the pics of our own laterns later as I need to upload them from
my digital camera. insh'Allah

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Qur'an Studies

Assalamu alaykum,
kids are back to evening madrassa, hamdulillah. They like going as it is the only 'formal' school they attend. just starting with the Juz Amma (30th part of the Qur'an). He loves repeating Qur'an and he will repeat the short surahs even when he is playing with his toy cars.
A. is finishing the Juz Amma. Few more surahs and he will start the 29th part of the Holy Qur'an. I cannot wait for it! Mash'Allah tabarak'Allah.
I regularly revise their madrassa work with them. So we do repeat Qur'an everyday and writing Arabic.
I find that it is more beneficial if we do it everyday as it brings them closer to their deen.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Illustrated History of Islam

Assalamu alaykum,
we bought this book from today. It looks really good for our studying. Insh'Allah the kids will benefit from it.
We studied the Prophet Idris today but as we don't have enough resources to study further the period when each Prophet lived we have to wait for this book to arrive.
Insh'Allah will write down a review about it.
Wa alaykum assalam
Muslimah Trying to Home Edu