'O Allah increase me in knowledge,

Monday, 27 April 2009

My new project, the Romans and pondering over...

Assalamu alaykum,
finally the Romans lapbook has been completed! A real adventure in the past. A. and S. have both joined in and travelled back into the past to read about the Romans!

A new project was already on its way: Prophet Muhammad (sallahu alayhe wa sallam) and we are still working on it. Just found some great links here.

The past week has been quite for what concern our usual routine, mainly due to the fact that sport activities and more are back on. Things like swimming, the art and craft club and the Thursday get together with the other homeschooling sisters was off during the half term. But now we are back to the usual 3 days in and 3 days out! We homeschooled 3 days using Calvert and I have also downloaded booklets from for S. about shapes, short sounds vowels and sorting objects into colours, shapes or categories.

A. went back to the Saturday school with much pleasure and he was happy to come back home after a science lesson where they talked about the force of gravity and things that float or fly and made some paper planes, does it remind you of anything?

S. was busy with his shopping list all week and he has been writing a lot in his little pad. Mash'Allah. Reading is getting along very well and I had to buy a new set of books geared for his age. He also enjoyed his second lesson in the art and craft club where he learnt how to use the charcoal pencils. They are learning about lines and used paint as well as different shapes to show the different lines.

Qur'an and Arabic as been going on as usual, 6 days a week. A. and S. are revising the Juzz Amma and carried on with Surah Al Baqara. Mash'Allah. Lots of reading in Arabic and a bit writing for S.

No much to share this week, but I had lot of time to ponder over my boys education, specially after an email from a dear ukhti who will be starting, insh'Allah, home education soon.

I have been thinking about my worries and concerns over my boys' education. I was asked if with experience in homeschooling, worries and concerns goes away. I didn't have to think hard over this very question and the answer in my opinion and experience is no. We never stop worrying about our kids' education and worries and concerns are a good thing because they renew our approach to homeschooling and make us to better! We need to have those very feelings at the back of our mind to perform better because if we were to approach life with light heart we would certainly forget about our responsibilities as mothers but even more as servants of Allah!

For now it's all but enjoy the pics of the week. I am off to write some more in my new blog, a small project set up with some lovely Italian sisters for dawah purpose. May Allah put his barakah in this new adventure and reward the sisters who are contributing for its success.Amin.

Mamma mia!!! The Romans!!!

Painting the shields

Painting the sword
the instruction booklet

Fun at the park!
Pic nic day with a dear friend. Beautiful flowers!
The water clock used by the Romans. Well not quite like it!
But it works. A 4 minutes water clock.
Well after 4 minutes let's just say you can use the modern technology!
The kids uses to wash their teeth for the 2 minutes rule!
finally the lapbook! I am really happy with the result!
Some more on the lapbook! The mosaic were a big hit
and the kids learnt more about patterns.
A Roman fortress
Painting the walls
Roman numbers stencils
One more activity book to complement our studies

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

It's just the beginning, insh'Allah

Assalamu alaykum,

one more week of home education has gone. It has been a quick and easy week, very enjoyable and with the sun out there is a renew wish of being out there!

But...we have been mainly indoors due to the half term. I don't like half term, too many kids out and about, traffic and shops are always full.

From Monday kids are back to school and the sun is out again. Time to be out? Not yet!! We had so many other things keeping us indoors!

A. had a full 5 days Calvert. We are catching up for all the days of Ramadan we didn't do 'schooling' and for some other weeks when the sun was too nice to resist...cheeky!! :))

Let's see what A. produced in the last 5 days.In English he had lot to write; two compositions and a dictation. His spelling is getting better and better. Calvert has a really strong curriculum when it comes down to writing and reading. Just what I need for A.

The use of the dictionary has continue and many of the words found where not in my 'small' English vocabulary too...I still have lots to learn and a reminder that English is not my mother-tongue.

In Maths he finished the section about measuring. He learnt how to measure using a yard stick, a measuring tape using both imperial and metric scale. He also learnt how to measure liquids in pints and litres. And finally to measures weights in kg and pounds.

In Science, he completed the worksheets related to the last section about ramps and lever. Started a new topic: magnets! We made couple of nice experiments with the magnets kit we bought last year at the Science Museum. A. was so interested to know how the Maglev train works. I remember we had a book about trains when we did the 'All About Trains' lapbook. So we took that out and read it all about.

In History, this time he looked at conflicts resolution the birth of the Olympic games and the role of the UN (United Nations).

We have been using the CT booklet (Critical Thinking) again. The new chapter is about 'facts and opinions'. He had it to read a story and then divided into two columns marked 'facts' and 'opinions'. A good exercise to understand what's a fact and what's an opinion.

With A. we started a new project, another big one. This time is about Prophet Muhammad (sallahu alayhe wa sallam). We are still working on the 'Ancient Romans' but A. insisted we start on Prophet Muhammad (sallahu alayhe wa sallam). He was watching Sultan Fatih on DVD and wanted to learn about fort and fortresses and asked thousands of questions...we ended up talking about the battles at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (sallahu alayhe wa sallam) and watched the DVD related to it.

So a new lapbook it's on its way! But I have already 'warned' A, it will take weeks before we finish both works, so no more wondering about 'what's next project?'

Quran and Arabic as usual. Still in Surah Al Baqara making little progress each day, mash'Allah.

S. is getting along very well with mindsprinting. I am also using a bit of worksheets and finally I got around getting my membership renew with! I am so happy I did as their resources are great and best of all, most of them, are in black and white, just what you need when you print so much like we do.

In English S. has been reading and writing a lot. He can now write almost all my shopping list and he goes around with a little pad in his hands pretending to write all that we say and do: a little bit too ambitious!! But well done anyway!
In Maths he carried on with tens, ones, hundrends, thousands...a bit boring really. I think mindsprinting sometime get stuck on a topic for weeks and unless you don't want to fall asleep, it's better to jump over those lessons and get on with the rest of the curriculum! So I swapped mindsprinting for Schofield&Simms books for additions and subtractions, just to get things moving a bit, a change of scenery after weeks of hundreds, tens, ones...

S. started his weekly art&craft club. He came out his first lesson running happily. He quickly told me all about his new passion lines! He has been learning about lines, curved, straight, zigzag etc and he was so excited to show his big folder and his arty works. Jazakillah to sister U. for making this possible!

Qur'an and Arabic as usual for S. too and guess what? He has reached his older brother! He just started Surah Al Baqara! Mash'Allah we are all so proud of him. The teacher is always full of praise. Mash'Allah.

I would need to write down so much more about our week. It has been full week and now that kids are back to sports activities and their clubs it will be difficult to keep this blog update so bear with me if you don't see me around.

More on this week:

S. asked to start a lapbook about Arabic letters and words based on a book for kids in Arabic called 'Fi Al Souk'. He was happy to write few words and colour some pics, but after a while he got bored and left it all uncompleted. :( Maybe it was just too much?) I will leave it for now and see if he asks back for it, insh'Allah.

Also S. made a small booklet about the bean plant just as our french beans are growing so well.

Design and technology? Have a look at our metal models. A. built them both from scratch, no instructions included in the box just a small picture on a cardboard. They are so nice: one is a sporty car with a spoiler and the other it's a small airplane.

And more...

We bought a new board game. The caterpillar story, a colourful game where kids can learn about counting, colours,healthy diet and of course the story of the butterfly. All based on the book of 'The hungry caterpillar' by Eric Carle.

Kids finished their first week of the 'change for life' challenge. They did really well and I was happy to see for once that charts really do work! A. has never had problem with eating, hamdulillah but S. doesn't really like meal times. The chart was a great incentive for S. He was asking for fruits and veggies for lunch and dinner, hamdulillah!

Finally, we got around creating our first little project with felting wool. It's not much but it's a big step for us. We got to touch, use and finally make a small piece of 'art' with this great versatile material.

Just have a look! It's just the beginning, insh'Allah.
wa alaykum assalam

Felting wool beginners kit
Starting with the first layer.
I think we should have brushed the wool, what do you think?
The second layer is up and trying out a design
A. opted for a more linear look
Rolling it up after wetting and soaping it
No yet finish! Almost, just need to dry.
Once dried it will be used in any crafty project including
cards making, felt board, coaster, sewing, stitching etc
Romans in their fortress fighting against Sultan Fatih army
The Roman fortress

The 'Vellum' just a booklet where the Romans used to record their days,
like a journal. A. used it to write the story of Rome.
Roman mosaic: a shield, a spear and a sword
Roman mosaic, a shield
The Hungry caterpillar board game

Our dwarf french beans
S. little bean booklet
Arabic lapbook by S.
metal model
sporty car

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Taking up a new hobby, a new project and gardening!

Assalamu alaykum,

I was brought up in a house where I was surrounded by crafty people. My dad was exceptionally good in making anything out of woods, metal and any other good material. He could transform a woody board into a crib and he did!! My little brother slept in one of my dad's creation when he was born!

He was really good in gardening too and made lots of different items for the garden: chairs and a table, a small shed for the tools and even a bird feeder!

My mum on the other loved sewing and made great dresses for me and my sister. She enjoyed knitting and crocheting too. They all did something they enjoyed and produced really nice pieces.I remembered sitting with my granny, long hours in the afternoon;she showed how to crochet little granny squares. I was not too inspired by it but I did as i loved my granny and wanted to make her happy. My mum still knitting my baby's blankets ( a collection of blankets I shoul say!) and crocheting little hats.

My sister started knitting years ago and she said she gain pleasure by doing so. She produces lovely scarves for winter and hats and made a quilt using granny squares! Sorry I don't know all the proper technical words to use here.

I was never interested in any of those hobbies. Even when years ago a sister proposed to teach me sewing, I was not too happy to start. And in fact I never did!

I feel now it is the right time. Don't worry I am not going to get into crocheting or knitting, maybe later in life insh'Allah. Allah knows best. For now I found something that looks to me more adventurous and exciting: felting wool!!

It's easy and requires not tools or very little, only patience, soap and scrubbing!! I decided to take up an hobby as I'd like to pass on one to my boys. Now felting doesn't really look like a boy's hobby but in time I am sure they could develop their own styles. What I like about this hobby is that it requires patience and it is what I am aiming for my boys. I find that boys don't have much patience and loose quickly their concentration. I would like to work on that as patience is so important in life and a real skill in Islam to be rewarded! Insh'Allah. So felting wool here we come!!!

I purchased a book to get us started and it's full of easy projects to make, step-by-step guide and gorgeous pictures, I just feel that I want to start all the projects all at once. Insh'Allah, sabr!

On the other side of our life, home education has carried on as usual. We are now studying everyday except of Friday only day we go out and visit sisters, and my kids can see their little friends. Also we left Friday for our outings with the homeschooling group.

A. has carried on learning with Calvert. The past week it was the time to learn measuring using feet, inches, yards and metric measures. For obvious reason metric is the easiest way for me and my family but funny enough A. prefers the imperial one. In English he has been revising phonics, verbs and specially he has been using the dictionary a lot. I see that more the kids grow, more there is the need to use the dictionary, easpecially as English is not my mother-tongue. Mash'Allah.He has been busy writing two compositions one about his favourite food:pizza and the other about his favourite toy: a LEGO truck I bought him for 'eid.

In Science, we finished the chapter about forces, pull and push and also the lever experiment. (made a small version of a lever to lift up a pile of heavy books. we used two pencils to do that and it worked!) We are now doing ramps. We talked about what a ramp is and why it is used for. This topic fits very well with the Ancient Egypt because we talked about the way the egyptians used to build the pyramids using ramps to put massive stones in place. Pretty amazing how every subject can link to one another, it's like a jigsaw!

We started a new booklet from Calvert called Critical Thinking (CT).Now this book is so nicely made and it really stimulate the child's brain to think harder about how to solve a problem or a game. It makes use of games, mazes, wordsearches, lots of grammar and writing. Just what I need with my A.! In History, it was the time of learning about Martin Luther King Jr. and laws and rules. A. made a list of his own rules and how they apply to everyday life. Also he had to think about rules that could keep us safe e.g. no carry weapons. He carried on talking about the fact that we all have different thoughts and we don't all want the same things. So conflicts arise when arguments starts over differents of opinions. It's the beginning of a new section that would lead him into the major conflicts in History.

A. has been active in Art&Craft too.He painted a picture following a painting from a great Japanese painter named Hokusai. Another nice lesson from Calvert. This time the lesson was meant to teach the child about fine lines and wavy lines using paintbrushes small and big.

We also started a new Unit Study about Ancient Rome. We just started to collect all we need from the internet. We are also using couple of books we have at home for History, one of them is from the same collection of Ancient Egypt (thebookpeople).

Qur'an and Arabic as usual. now doing Qur'an everyday for 30 minutes a day. Carried on with Surah Al-Baqarah, mash'Allah,long way to go! Insh'Allah. He is also making good use of the website

With S. I had such a great week. I am so proud of him and all that he is learning. He is really coming along very well, mash'Allah tabarak'Allah and even his Qur'an Teacher praised him so much for his efforts in reading the Qur'an beautifully. Mash'Allah.

In English, S. has been revising all the phonics he learnt so far. Lots of reading and comprehension of the text using quizzes and worksheets from Also he is learning consonant clusters e.g. pl,cl,gl,fl,tr,cr. etc and making sentences using words with those consonants blend.

In Maths he has been doing ones, tens, hundrends and just started thousands and ten thousands. I have also integrated his lessons with some additions and subtractions with a book I had left from the Schofields and Simms collection from last year.

In Science I carried on using and S. has been learning about plants life cycle and the food chain.

The past week, we have been mainly indoors and busying ourselves with cooking and gardening. Potatoes are really shooting up as well as the chillies and peppers! So pleased with my kids gardening skills! I am so looking forward to pick up our efforts in the garden, insh'Allah. And indeed Allah is Al-Khaliq!!

For now that's all. Watch this space if you like to see our new hobby in practice and the new Unit of Study:Ancient Rome.

Wa alaykum assalam

New projects, soon to come insh'Allah

A paper plane, one of the many science activities we made
A. showing his paper plane. It flew for 18 feet
An easy bubble machine, we called it the 'bubble-o-matic!'
making the 'bubble-o-matic'
All we need for the 'Bubble-o-matic'
And there it is, it really worked!A shower of bubble came out of it!
A new exciting, easy to use book with lots of
experiments that use stuff around the house
My new share with the kids!
Ancient Rome is coming...
Hokusai painting 'The Wave'
A. painting following Hokusai
Working on it
A's painting, 'The Wave 2'
A. made a pizza with a baquette just added tomatoe sauce and grated cheese
A fresh bowl of salad
(all for the 'change 4 life ' chart)
Hot from the oven
Our cherry tomatoes
The peppers are sprouting up
The potatoes!!