'O Allah increase me in knowledge,

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

It's snowed!

Assalamu alaykum
for the past few days it has been snowing, mash'Allah. We mainly stayed indoors, drinking hot chocolate and keeping warm.
We have been spending time together, like the 'old days' when I used to homeschool the boys. We played board games and watched documentaries, A.'s favourite past-time is to learn about wild life, mainly wild cats and all that Allah created, Mash'Allah. I am wondering if he will grow into a zoologist, biologist or maybe a vet? Insh'Allah. Whatever he will choose I pray it will be an halal job full of rewards.Amin.
Here are some pictures of our past days. Just as I didn't post any for such a looong time.
wa alaykum assalam

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Happy! :)

Assalamu alaykum,

I am just so happy about what's happening I decided to write it down straight away. Having this blog have made such a difference and it is such a great idea to keep track of my boys' progresses.
Now that A. and S. are in the same school I am more happy and calm. No more rushing around and I have more time to spend with them after school.Hamdulillah!
I have realized something really important today. I look at my kids and see their progress, they have come a loooong way, mash'Allah! Something really amazed me; they really do love reading!
I find that reading is not just picking up a book, for my kids reading is a total different experience, They read and ask questions, they want to know, they are thirsty to learn and discover. They read everyday and if it is not homework or sports activities is all about books! Mash'Allah!!
One more thing that amazed me, since they started school their confidence, speech, language and knowledge have boosted up big time. Specially S. who has never been at school and was just too shy, he is now a little confident young man and he can now talk about his day at school so proudly and happily. Mash'Allah!!!
The skills they are acquiring and the knowledge is something I could not have done it only by homeschooling them. What they are learning about the world around them is so amazing. They now have friends and they can see them everyday. Before it was always them two. Now they have that bit of independence that can benefit them now and insh'Allah in the future. Hamdulillah. I am also so happy about the school; hamdulillah because we live in a predominantly Muslim area and the school is a reflection of that:food is halal, on 'Eid day the kids are at home, school is aware of the fact that as Muslims we do not take part in singing or music lessons and won't make a fuss out of it. Hamdulillah.
Just some of my thoughts that I needed to share

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Just an update

Assalamu alaykum sisters,

I cannot believe how long it took me to write an update. I have less time now that the boys are at school. In fact my energies all goes to keep little man busy. I am so happy that Baby S. can attend toddler groups, baby yoga, baby football and gym and so much more.
So here is the update, just a quickie. Sorry no pics.

Finally A. got a place in hamdulillah, that mean an easier day for me because so far i had to rush around trying to arrive early for S. but ended up every time late for A. The school was too far!

Kids are happy settled in the new school. S. is now learning divisions and carried on with timetables. He can solve small problems involving divisions and additions. Everyday at school S. does lot of spellings and reading. In Science he is learning about the five senses. Also this week S.class had the opportunity to host some very important people in our community and learnt about their role. S. was impressed by the role of the fireman, the doctor and a road cleaner. They then had to write about why he chose a particular role model. He found the process really interesting.Mash'Allah.

A. has carried on the work about journalism. His teacher is really lovely and everyday I had a chance to speak to her about A.progress. She said is a very talkative and inquisitive child mash'Allah. She was impressed to learn that A. knows how to use different applications with the PC and knows how to assemble a movie with Movie Maker. Remember the movie he made?
In Maths they are learning division and multiplications up to x12.
Both kids are busy all week long with free activities after school organized by the school, mash'Allah such as football, multi-skills, karate, computing and so much more.
Qur'an and Arabic is coming along really nicely and while S. is finishing off 30th Juz Amma, A. is well under way finishing 29th Juzz. Hamdulillah wa mash'Allah.

And for now that's all.
May you have all a happy week.
wa alaykum assalam

Monday, 23 November 2009

A new member in the family

Assalamu alaykum all,

this past few days have been really rewarding for me. The kids have been very good in sticking with our new routine: fajr-school-after school clubs-homework-Qur'an and Arabic.
I would have preferred Qur'an and Arabic early in the morning, and we do so on Saturdays and Sundays but because of the school and other commitments of the teacher, we have to wait for it until late afternoon.
Hamdulillah so far the boys are happy with this new routine and kept busy with worksheets at home. Mash'Allah wa hamdulillah.
Qur'an have been the most rewarding of all, mash'Allah. A. is well on the way to finish a new Juz and I am so proud of him mash'Allah, may Allah always keep him and us in the straight Path.Amin. May Allah increase us in knowledge.Amin.
So what have we worked on?
A. finished his lapbook about slavery for the Black Month History. He also has been working on division and multiplication, verbs and contractions. In Science he completed a research about a reptile, Komodo dragon.
S. is learning timetables x2,x5,x10 and at school they do always lots of reading and text comprehension. In Science he is learning about natural things (Allah's creation) and man-made things.
We have also been talking about Hajj and the importance of the first 10 days of Dhul Hijah.
I am looking again for a valid Islamic Curriculum. I might buy the one from Ad-Duha institute insh'Allah. In the past years I resorted to use books from Islamic shops specially from Darussalam.
Swimming and wrestling has been on as usual. We are almost at the end of the last term for this year and I am so looking forward to know if A. will make to the advanced level in swimming. Insh'Allah.
And now for our new little member:
my love for the animals have brought me to choose for my kids, and for me lol, a dwarf Russian hamster.
And here it is!!! I love the idea that the kids will take on a bit of the responsibility of looking after such a tiny pet making sure he gets all he needs during the day. Mash'Allah.
Looking after a pet and prior to that researching about the pet ones wants to look after is really very educational not just for the kids! :)
Also this week...
Kids decorated their bedroom with this wall stickers,
a super road for the rally cars
inside the lapbbok about slavery

playing snap in a 'healthy' way!!
some more on Lego world! I don't think my boys will never grow out
of this one.

S. is doing his school work

Our little Hammy

Monday, 16 November 2009

So much to learn!!

Assalamu alaykum

mash'Allah there is so much I can still do at home with my boys and I am enjoying benefiting fully from the school experience. It is a great support for me now that i cannot educate my kids 100% as I used to. It's a little bit like I 'rely' on school for implement concepts and study activities. Also socialization and free sport activities. But the best part of the day when my kids are at home, after school and learn with me.
We try to sit down everyday if possible, some days is difficult due to other commitments such as swimming, Qur'an classes, wrestling, after school clubs ...mash'Allah wa hamdulillah.
So what have I been teaching my kids?
S. is currently learning timetables and I am starting him off with division. Insh'Allah. In English he is learning contractions, looking again at the phonics, lots of reading and parts of a sentence.Mash'Allah. In Science we are working about 'Autumn' theme and all related to it such as acorns, apples, falling leaves...
We have started little French as he is already doing it in school. Just learning the colours and numbers. Mash'Allah.
A. has been busy with the 'Black history Month' and as part of the curriculum the class visited the Docklands Museum. I am integrating the teaching done at school and at the Museum with various reading about Slavery, Martin Luther King and history in general from the Caribbean.
In Math A. is doing division and revising timetables up to by 12.
In Science we started to learn about reptiles and mainly crocodiles and and alligators.
In English I need to work harder with A. because he doesn't really like grammar and find it hard to understand the verbs and parts of a sentence. I am also thinking to revise phonics. Phonics area vital part of a child speech and writing.
So far we have stick to our routine and trying to get the best out of the school.
Insh'Allah all will work for the best.
for now
wa alaykum assalam

Friday, 13 November 2009

Homeschooling while schooling! :)

Assalamu alaykum,

now that my kids are at school and I feel fully supported, hamdulillah, I can now look into integrate some more work at home and help my boys with their homework insh'Allah.
In the last week, I have made sure that homework was done on time and I also integrate some more at home specially English and Maths.
I have registered with Teacher File Box and I can now look the homeschooling experience in a different light. I don't feel guilty if one day I cannot teach the kids because I am not well. But I still have the possibility to teach when I can and enjoy seeing them learning.
A. teacher is really impressed with him. She said: 'The child is very communicative and loves taking part in every activity. He asks lots of questions and he wants to know more about what we do'. Mash'Allah tabarak'Allah!! Those are the effects of homeschooling and I am so happy for my boys.Hamdulillah.

I have also realized that schools can't never and I mean never replace in any way the hard work that parents should do at home!! Homeschooling still the very best option no doubt about that.
So dear homeschoolers out there, all I am going to say is KEEP IT UP!!! You are doing a great work and your kids will indeed benefit immensely from homeschooling.

Just a brief update and thoughts I needed to share.
Wa alaykum assalam

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

School days

Assalamu alaykum all my dearest readers!

another update about the school experience so far.
Kids have started. S. has been at school now for about 2 weeks while A. just started last Monday.
So far we have no encounter major issues a part from A. being fussy over the school dinner!
They are enjoying so far the school experience and learning a lot on the way. In fact learning is coming tick and fast! S. is progressing in Maths really fast and only in the past 3 days has been coming home telling me all about capacity, measure, and weight! Mash'Allah!
I had my first parent evening in S.'school. The teacher, a caring Muslim sister, said she is really impressed with S. reading skills and phonics! Mash'Allah. She said he is enjoying the socialization aspects and he likes to take part in all the activities except music!! Ya Allah! She said it is not a major problem if he doesn't want to take part in music. Hamdulillah.
A. is enjoying the socialization side too and finding working with his friends really fun and rewarding. He said he can now have friends of his age, mash'Allah. He used to work with his little brother at home.
On the downside now :( Boys are attending two different schools and it makes it so hard for me to drop them and pick them up as I have to be in both places at the same time. A. couldn't get a place in S. school because it is overcrowded! A. didn't enjoy the school dinners and I will have to make pack lunches. S. had a problem in the playground with a child and was accused by one of the dinner's lady to be naughty! Astafirullah!! I spoke to them straight away and put the record right. My child is not naughty and I feel that jumping to conclusion without asking to the child what happened is really not on!! But then again this is real life experience and my kids will have to get on with it and be strong. Life's full of tests!
Missing my kids terribly...

Kids are so busy now with school, after school clubs, swimming, Qur'an and Arabic everyday, wrestling on weekend that I don't get a chance to sit with them and do work. Just couple of hours a week and I was hoping to carry on some work at home...what was i thinking???
Still some days we sit and do worksheets and lots of reading every evening. We talk a lot about things related to school and non. My boys are growing into young man and I am so worry now, really I am.
While I am writing, I am looking out the window, From here I can see S. playing in the school playground. Mash'Allah kids looks so happy and a bit wild!!! :)

for now
wa alaykum assalam

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

My first day of school

by S. typed by my mum :)

My first day of school started early. At 7am the clock rang. I didn't want to open my eyes. It's too early!
My mum came in my room and I had to stand up. I washed my face and put on my uniform. It's blue and grey. I like my uniform so much. I have a blue bag and lots of colourful pencils.
My mum made breakfast and I like it. :)
My big brother said he is happy for me and he combed my hair with gel. I love my big brother.
Mum called us at the door. We are ready to go. I put on my black school shoes. I am happy and excited, maybe over-excited. My mum said it is not good to be over-excited, but excited is ok.
The class is bright and clean. My teacher is a Muslim lady and she is nice. I put my bag away and I have lots of friends. The classroom is colourful and I see lots of books. I love books.
I play with my friends, they are Muslims.
My mum come to pick me up. I missed her. My brother hug me and kiss me so much. I miss my brothers.
I had a nice day but I miss my mum and my brothers.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Feeling blessed, hamdulillah!

Assalamu alaykum my dear readers and sisters fi deen,

Hamdulillah I feel a sense of relief and contentment. soon to start school. This week I will buying his uniform, the first uniform he has ever bought or worn for school a part from the abaya he used to wear at madrassa.
A. will follow soon, insh'Allah.Maybe as soon as next two weeks. InshAllah. The waiting list for this particular school is very long as the school has high demand. My boys have been on the list since the 1 of September.
I looked into their new routine and I tell you, it will be a busy one.
After school they will attend the 'after school clubs' and they will be joining in activities such as cooking, reading club, literacy, science lab, football, netball and so much more! MashAllah. Three times a week they will come at home with homework inshAllah. I do intend to carry on homeschooling for a hour or so a day, making sure they get the best out of the school's environment.
Everyday they will have Qur'an and Arabic as usual. Also swimming and wrestling is still on once a week and madrassa on Saturday. Insh'Allah.
I feel for now, it's the best choice, I mean keeping them busy and active.
We went to visit the school and it is a great place. 90% of the pupils are Muslims and there is a great majority of sisters teaching there. Food is totally halal for all, Muslims and non.
I visited their website and it's great, updated daily with the progress of the kids as well as activities and after school clubs. Also they are always on the look out for school governors and guess what? I will apply to be a school governors or at least in the parents board. Making sure things run swiftly :)
I am happy that out of 3 schools we applied to, the first choice was the one!
Kids are over excited! They cannot wait and feel so happy to start. InshAllah.

...About me, I am building my own schedule. I want to go back on learning the deen and tajweed. Also tafseer and Arabic. Insh'Allah. I don't have any longer a car and made a conscious decision to use my legs :) and public transport when needed. But I am also thinking of buying a bike to enjoy some riding time with my kids at the park inshAllah.
Keeping myself busy with activities, I couldn't do when homeschooling, is my main goal. No more studying at night or early morning. Hamdulillah.
I feel blessed. My illness and other various problems have been a bless as well as hardship.
Allah is the best of Planners indeed.
I have always said that the day my kids will have to attend school is because of my health. Allahu Alim.
The day has come and I need to see the positive side and accept Allah's decree upon me. I need to bear patiently and increase myself in activities that will bring me closer to my Lord. I have always been so passion about homeschooling and I would have never dreamt of putting my kids to school, never! In fact I am still in shock thinking that my kids who have never attended school, public school, will go. Please do remember us in your duas.

For now
wa alaykum assalam

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Homeschooling quote

How much people can learn at any moment depends on how they feel at that moment about the task and their ability to do the task. When we feel powerful and competent, we leap at difficult tasks. The difficulty does not discourage us; we think:Sooner or later, I'm going to get this. At other times we can only think: I'll never get this, it's too hard for me, I never was any good at this kind of thing, why do I have to do it, etc. Part of the art of teaching is being able to sense which of these moods learners are in. People can go from one mood to the other very quickly. - Holt

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Home Education CAN carry on...

Assalamu alaykum
hamdulillah Rabbi 'Alamin! Certainly we are just strangers in this dunya and we should remain as such, all praises are due to Allah, Lord of the Alamin. We seek His help and aid. May He always guide us to the straight Path.Amin.

Last few months have been hard and testing for me and my family. I found relief and comfort by looking carefully at my very situation...bad things turned out to be the best, my very own health problems are now a real blessings and all the world around me is just dunya...I feel relieved and glad and althought my test is not over yet and Allah knows best, I feel blessed Allah is my Comforter, my Reliever, My Creator and the One who I seek help from! Allah Akbar!!

Everything happens for a reason...
Home Education can carry on. In fact we have never truly stopped, maybe in my mind, maybe in the perception of how I personally see home education. But our life carried on everyday, hamdulillah. kids have learnt even in those very days filled with hardships. Those days have taught me a lot and I feel purely blessed and thank Allah for the chance He gave me.Hamdulillah.

Kids are still not in school, but I have started a more formal approach to home education. Just small things and mainly Islamic studies, Arabic and Qur'an. Those very 'subjects' are on everyday, in fact have never stopped for a day! Mash'Allah.
Also I will be using again the mindsprinting website for both boys even when the kids are at school, as I believe knowledge are never enough!
I am happy about the realization, or maybe just I have suddenly 'remembered' that home education can carry on and it doesn't have to stop only because the kids will attend school.
I have to say jazakallahu kheiran to all those beautiful sisters out there that without even realizing have contributed to my 'relief' and realization of this simple fact.
Kids seems more relaxed and happy now that we are back to a more normal routine. They have gone back to their usual sports activities namely swimming, football and wrestling and they will, insh'Allah, be starting soon a new saturday madrassa. Hamdulillah. Things are looking up and I thank Allah for all the blessings He has bestow upon me and my family.

I leave you with some pictures and pray you are all enjoying the benefits of homeschooling.
Wa alaykum assalam


a building with a lift

S. built his own scoop

Baby S. in the local park. This is the aromatic garden.

Sitting in this area wakes up your senses...

S. enjoys his scooter

Baby S. pushing his pram

Autumn flowers, beautiful

Maghrib time at mine, the view is breathtaking!!!

Pizzeria, this one was excellent, mash'Allah

Can you spot the chef taking a pizza out the oven? So sweet!!

The pizzzeria, view from the street, people are crossing,

some waiting for the bus etc! So cute! Mash'Allah!

A bunch of roses...some very caring person bought for me

Autumn leaves

Collecting conkers. My boys and their friends made a big

pile and expected me to count them all!! What?!Lol

Little arms and hands, piling up the conkers

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

There is the time for this and the time for...

Assalamu alaykum to all my readers,
we had the most beautiful past 3 days for a loooooong time!!!!
These past three days have brought so much joy, peace and I feel recharge and full of energy! Hamdulillah!
We have had a very busy year and I have been pondering over our progresses. What have we learnt? It all looked grey and gloomy until few days ago. It is now crystal clear and I am happy I had time to go out, see other sisters, reflecting over important decisions and gathering all my thoughts together!
I feel that the decision to put the kids to school for now it is indeed the right one. I see myself with too much on my plate and wanted to do too much it has always been a very bad habit of mine!
I am extremely organized mash'Allah but that in itself could be a good or a bad thing! Good when you have 3 very active boys and husband to look after! Bad when you have to stick to the schedule and leave no time to rest because you have it all timed! Hamdulillah!
My kitchen cupboards are organized, my wardrobes are organised and the kids' bookcase and files are but...I now feel the need to break the rules and get a back seat and just relax. I have a whole year to do that! I feel I need to 'schedule' my pleasure and free time, 'organize' my breaks and rest.
-I have my University to finish, not that a degree is something I desperately seek, just the pleasure of life! :) ;
-I desperately and I repeat DESPERATELY want to go back to study my deen inside out!!!;
-I want to learn some Tafseer and go back to tajweed;
-I want to go back to knitting and felting!!!
And so much more...
I see my kids had 6 years of great fun at home, tears and joy! They learnt a whole lot more that I could ever imagined them to! My eldest just turned 9 years on August and I see the changes in my little growing man!
He wants a bit of Independence, of course he is still too small for that...but where I was born and brought up we enjoyed the fresh air 365 days a year no matter what age! I was brought in a small village, we played with raw materials: stones and mud, leaves and flowers! I know ho to milk a sheep and a cow, I can ride a horse and collect the eggs from the chicken. Hamdulillah for those small pleasure in life! I see my kids stuck in 4 walls everyday. Homeschooling brought so much happiness in our home but at the same time I feel my kids need to see and relate with a different environment. So for this year, school will be! Insh'Allah! A big change that will open different doors...insh'Allah.

Back on our great past 3 days! We had a wonderful 'eid. Prayed at one of the biggest Mosque in London and enjoyed the company of a dear sister and her family mash'Allah. We had a meal out and the kids for the first time in years received no just sweets and books as usual, but toys! Mash'Allah! Uncles and aunties have been pretty generous, hamdulillah!
The day after we were invited over to a really nice party. Kids played all afternoon, jumping on and off the bouncy castle while mums were having the most delicious BBQ and cakes! Yummy! Of course kids ate too :)
Today, we were at another party and guess what? More bouncy castle, cakes, BBQ, and great company!Hamdulillah! Chatted with a really nice sister. I relate so much to what she was telling me about homeschooling and having no support, help or appreciation. She felt lonely and needed not just encouragement and support but financial help. Her husband was of the idea that school was the best and never thought of given her money to buy books and materials for her kids. After all homeschooling is expensive! She left homeschooling as she had too much stress and pressure. Now her kids are at state school and she feel happier as she knows her husband is the responsible in front of Allah for the education of the family.
I myself took a great responsibility for my kids; i tried to do my best for the past 6 years and hamdulillah I see the results in my kids but I am also too aware that if my health is no good for a while my kids are all alone! And Allah knows best.

This year 'eid have been a real time for me and family to spend some good quality time together, for the kids to celebrate with their friends, and for me specially to lighten up the heavy weight I had on top of myself for too long! And hamdulillah!
There is a time for everything, for me and for my family, for homeschooling and for school...a time for this and a time for that.

wa alaykum assalam