"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
-Charlotte Mason

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

The week so far...

So what have we been up to so far this week? well, mainly the usual subjects, alhamdulillaah the girls are coming along well,Allaahumma baarak feehim.

I'm not going to ramble on tonight, feeling rather tired, so instead have just put up various pictures of the last few days.

Dd(5)decided to do something creative today with the money, I was rather impressed masha'Allaah, she said it was a whale.

we played a couple of card games to help aid memorisation of number bonds.

Dd(7) has been working on the unit, doubling plus 1.
Reading time!

I think last time I updated properly I mentioned about no longer having a lift to school for my son, I wasn't sure what was going to happen, if I was going to homeschool him or find a way to get him there, well anyway, there is a sister living not too far away from me, who was willing to take him to school and bring him back. Morning times we do have to take a little walk to her house, which takes about 10 mins, we have to get there before 8, alhamdulillaah, so far things have run quite smoothly, I feel like crawling into bed when I get back though, it just shows how unfit I am! today we decided to take the shortcut through the park, which insha Allaah we'll probably do from now on, much nicer than walking down the main road..

A squirrel in the tree (not very clear though )

Oh, and just had to squeeze in one of my little cutie! Allaahumma baaraak feehee.

Friday, 13 February 2009

This mess is a place!

We don't always do school on a Friday, and so today was one of those 'no school' days, I was feeling in the mood for giving the house a good clean, I had hopes to get the whole of the house done, and the windows outside, lol, but soon realised that just wasn't gonna happen. I had a good sort out of our classroom, put a few more things up on the wall, so it gives it more of that classroom feel, threw out 'loads' of paper, I have this habit of piling them up wherever I see an empty space, it's as if I feel the need for every side to have something on it, lol. I was happy with the end result, I couldn't bring myself to do a before and after shot, I mean it wasn't 'that' bad, or maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel better about the amount of clutter that was piling up, hehe!

So here you go, a little peak at our classroom, it's slowly coming along, alhamdulillaah.

The big brown cabinet you can see, was so cluttered on top, it was a proper eyesore, things balancing on top of each other, but now I just have our laminator, cd player, and printer stored on there, and one or two other things, but it looks a whole lot better to how it was masha'Allaah. Also the silver drawers had loads of paper on top, no organisation whatsoever, it's so nice to have it all clear. Let's just hope we can keep it like it insha Allaah.

I cleaned up a bit also in the front room, and then helped Dd(5) with her bedroom later on, it looked like a bomb had dropped in there, no kidding! it's been like it for weeks, because she keeps piling things up on the floor, like clothes etc.. and it's basically become too overwhelming for her to clean up now, I'd kind of given up asking her to go clean it up, cos I know she wouldn't do it all. So I decided to help her with it, and insha Allaah starting from tomorrow, they will all have to go to their rooms twice a day, 1pm and 6pm and make sure everything is back in it's place, we did start this before, but I'm not sure how it stopped. Insha Allaah, this way they will keep on top of their rooms.

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I had lost my usb cable, well as you can tell by seeing the last picture, I've found it now, alhamdulillaah, it was in the cabinet amongst all the papers, lol, well, at least they're out of sight there! So I've had a few different pics I'd wanted to post of when it was snowing etc... so will add them below.

I also came across these quotes on housecleaning, hope you like them! love the first one, so to the point! haha.

Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing. ~Phyllis Diller, Phyllis Diller's Housekeeping Hints, 1966

Housework is something you do that nobody notices until you don't do it. ~Author Unknown

Our house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy. ~Author Unknown

I'm not going to vacuum until Sears makes one you can ride on. ~Roseanne Barr

The trouble with living alone is that it's always your turn to do the dishes. ~Author Unknown

I am thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.... I am thankful for the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby. ~Nancie J. Carmody

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance. ~Author Unknown

This mess is a place! ~Author Unknown

My idea of superwoman is someone who scrubs her own floors. ~Bette Midler

A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life: he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

It's all in the attitude - housework is exercise. Slim your way to a clean home! ~Linda Solegato

If the shelves are dusty and the pots don't shine,
it's because I have better things to do with my time.
~Author Unknown

There may be dust in my house but there isn't any on me. ~Author Unknown

Source:Quote Garden

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Daily Report (well, trying to make it 'daily!' lol)

We started off today a bit late in the morning, waiting for Dd(8) to wake up, and myself just dawdling, I get like that just after breakfast some mornings, but we need to start working on having an earlier start. Our average start lately has been around 10am, at least an hour earlier would give us more time insha Allaah.

We worked on usual subjects, had a good Maths lesson with Dd(8), we are working from the Singapore Maths workbooks, as I mentioned before she's a bit behind on Maths, and so I started on yr 1 book with her, some of it we just skip, anyway, today's lesson was introducing the method of counting on, I have encouraged this with her, so she was familiar with it, but I think today just reinforced it more for her, Allaahumma baarak feehaa.

With the reading reflex lessons, Dd(5) is flying through them, Allaahumma baarak feehaa, we did two today, they were easy for her masha'Allaah. Not many more lessons, and then she'll be moving on to the advanced code, where it will introduce sounds like 'ch' 'sh' 'ck' etc... I need to buy more readers for her insha Allaah, still haven't got anymore yet, I want her to be more encouraged to read insha Allaah, but hopefully as she progresses more with her reading, she will be eager to start hitting some books.

For Science, we are following the methods and suggestions in 'The Well Trained Mind' , we are working on the animal kingdom, and the second animal Dd(8) chose was 'Domestic Cats' this order was great, as we've just got a cat a couple of wks back, and it's encouraged my daughter to read the book I got from the library on taking care of cats.
So, I read from the encyclopedia a few paragraphs, then Dd(8) narrated back to me what she remembered, she did rather well, Allaahumma baarak feehaa, a tip I picked up from Karen Andreola's book 'The Charlotte Mason Companion' when doing narration, is at the beginning for starting, write down some of the important words, like dates, places, names etc... which are contained in the paragraph, chapter you are going to read to your child, and read them out to your child, mentioning that they will hear these words, and are free to use them when narrating back if they need to. I will start off doing this, but I think as they get the hang of narrating more, I may stop doing it, Allaahu a'lam.
Then, Dd(8) went and drew a picture of the cat (without the face) to accompany her narration in her folder.

Well, still haven't completed the lapbooks, hopefully by the end of the year! haha, insha Allaah they will get done soon. The kids have been talking about doing another lapbook, I told them they need to get this one done first before moving onto another one, it's my fault really, they're happy to do it, it's just getting the time on top of everything else to sit there with them and get it done, but hopefully soon insha Allaah.

Spoke to the school today, and said that Ds(6) may have to stop coming after the holidays, the brother said not to worry, something will be sorted out insha Allaah, so I will wait and see what comes up.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


I've just looked back at my last homeschool update, and realised it was on the 18th January, I was suprised I'd left it so long. I only have a brief update, and a few thoughts I need to blog about insha Allaah.
Well, school's been going well, alhamdulillaah. Masha'Allaah we've had quite a bit of snow in the last week, so the girls did some pictures with a snow theme using cotton wool, cut out some snowflakes, we talked a little about the sense of 'touch', and the girls touched some snow and told me what it felt like, I then did a poster on it. I've taken quite alot of pictures but unfortunately I can't seem to find my usb cable to connect my phone up to the computer, insha Allaah will have another look and get them up on here.

Girls are coming along well with reading the Qaa'idah, masha'Allaah, maths is starting to become a bit more fun since we started using the '150 daily maths lessons' book for Dd(5), Dd(8) sits in on some of her lessons, and some of the extra practice has done her good, allaahumma baarak feehaa.

Both coming along well with the reading reflex lessons, masha'Allaah, it's exciting to see the progress alhamdulillaah.

well, I did say it would be a 'brief' update, it's quite late here, wasn't sure if I was gonna get the time to type anything up, I've just finished planning what we're gonna cover tomorrow, and didn't want to leave it any longer before writing something on here.

Today, the brother who picks my son up for school and brings him home, informed me that after this week he will not be able to take him anymore, due to clashes with time, as he also picks up at another school, and it takes extra time to come to this area, I was gutted when he told me, I actually felt close to crying, there are many reasons why I prefer my son to be in school, one of them being the interaction with boys his age, if he were to be homeschooled, he'd mainly be around girls (his sisters), and also my husband works away, and I feel it is important especially for my son to have a role model, someone who can set an example daily for him, and at the school, brothers teach there, and I feel this is good for him insha Allaah. He's also doing well with the Qaa'idah Allaahumma baarak feehee, I fear now that if he were to come out of school, I'm not going to be able to help him progress as quickly as he probably is now.

The options available to me right now, are probably to get the bus over there every day, with the kids and the baby, I'm not keen on taking the bus, especially with a big pram, I used to do it for a while back in Cardiff when I was pregnant, it was quite hectic somedays, often we'd have to let one or two buses go by as they would be too full, or the weather would be bad etc....
or my other option is to homeschool him also, I'm scared of taking on this extra challenge in a way, don't get me wrong, I would love to teach my son along with my girls, but when I did used to have him home before he was more interested in playing than learning, and it was just easier to teach my eldest daughter, and actually my youngest, as she would like to sit it on a lesson, and be eager to do some work, so from that lack of teaching him at that time, when he did go into school, he was very behind, and had to be put back to Reception when he should have been in Yr1. Now alhamdulillaah, he has started to catch up, with his reading etc.. but he still has got alot of catching up to do insha Allaah.

There are days also when my son and my youngest daughter go in silly moods, and often my eldest daughter will too, and no matter what I say to them, they'll keep giggling and joking around, I find it stressful when they're like this, and I wonder how many of those days would we have if I were homeschooling them together.

I feel quite confused right now about the whole situation, it's funny cos only a week or two back, I started to have thoughts about bringing my son out of school, mainly due to an increased 'bad' attitude he has had, which I feel he has picked up since starting the school, also at one point, I had been reading something about teaching our kids, and it made me feel bad in a way that I was homeschooling my daughters but not my son, and how that he's out from the home from 7.30 am until nearly 4pm each day, I'm missing out on a big part of his life, but then I started to think about the importance of him having his friends, teachers etc... and thought maybe it's the best thing for him to be there, Allaahu a'lam.

I think I need to make istikhaarah insha Allaah, and take it from there, I wondered earlier whether to start looking again for a house in the area that the school is in, so I could keep him in there, but imagine I do move, and then decide that I'd rather homeschool him? hhmmm! we're all feeling kind of settled here now alhamdulillaah, and masha'Allaah we've got a cat now, so haven't really heard any mice, that was one of the main reasons I wasn't feeling too happy here, but so far so good alhamdulillaah. Insha Allaah, intending to restart my driving lessons again soon, but not sure when, and don't know how long it would take to pass my test, so I can't rely on that.

Like I said, I will make istikhaarah, maybe speak with the school, see what they suggest. To be honest, the thought of teaching my son , does kind of appeal to me, but I'm just feeling very apprehensive, I don't want to mess his education up, and I'm just feeling a mixture of emotions right now, mainly sad, for my son, he has said that he would like to be homeschooled, but he's also said he'll miss so and so, etc... and I can kinda tell that he will miss going to the school, I want him to be settled, and don't want him in out of school, well, Allaah knows best, it's written already, so I shouldn't stress myself over it, will keep you updated.

Sorry for the essay!

Friday, 6 February 2009

15 Tips to Raising Great Children Insha Allaah.

Children are easily influenced by their surroundings. These days, it is extremely difficult to expose our children to an ideal Islamic environment given the influences from media, friends and even other members of the family. With television, radio, Internet and forms of media mostly touting un-Islamic values, it is up to parents and adults close to the children to set the correct example.
It is impossible to shield our children from all the negative forces that can shape their minds and, ultimately, their behavior.
However, by our own example and showing them better options, we can set them on the true path, which is to obey the commandments of Allah (swt) and our Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him). Here are some tips you may want to follow in helping your children grow up with Islamic values.

Start by teaching them the importance of Worshipping only Allah: The best thing any Muslim parent could ever teach their children is to emphasize, from the day they can comprehend, that Allah (swt) is One and no one is worthy of worship except Allah (swt). This is the fundamental message of our Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) and it is our key to Paradise.

Treat them kindly: Kindness begets kindness. If we were kind to our children, they in turn would show kindness to others. Our Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) was the best example in being kind to children.

Teach them about Muslim Heroes: help your children grow up with Islamic values of Muslim heroes. Instead of Batman or Superman, tell them about real heroes such as Abu Bakr, Umar ibn Khattab, Othman bin Affan, Ali bin Abi Talib and others. Tell them how Muslim leaders brought a real peaceful change in the world and won the hearts of Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Let children sit with adults: It is preferable for children to be among adults, especially when listening to Islamic lectures. The Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) would often put children in the front row when he spoke to the people.

Make them feel important: Consult them in family matters. Let them feel they are important members of the family and have a part to play in the growth and well being of the family.

Go out as a family: Take family trips rather than allowing your children to always go out only with their friends. Let your children be around family and friends from whom you want them to pick up their values. Always remember that your children will become who they are around with most of the time. So, watch their company and above all give them YOUR company.

Praise them: Praise is a powerful tool with children, especially in front of others. Children feel a sense of pride when their parents' praise them and will be keen to perform other good deeds. However, praise must be limited to Islamic deeds and deeds of moral value.

Avoid humiliation: Similarly, do not humiliate them in front of others. Children make mistakes. Sometimes, these mistakes occur in their efforts to please the parents. If you are unhappy with your children, tell them in private.

Sports: The Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) encouraged sports such as swimming, running and horse riding. Other sports that build character and physical strength are also recommended, as long as the children maintain their Islamic identity, wear appropriate clothes and do not engage in unnecessary mixing.

Responsibility: Have faith in their abilities to perform tasks. Give them chores to do in line with their age. Convince them that they are performing an important function and you will find them eager to help you out again.

Don't spoil them: Children are easily spoiled. If they receive everything they ask for, they will expect you to oblige on every occasion. Be wise in what you buy for them. Avoid extravagance and unnecessary luxuries. Take them to an orphanage or poor area of your city once in a while so they can see how privileged they are.

Don't be friends: It is common in the West for parents to consider their children as friends. In Islam, it doesn't work that way. If you have ever heard how friends talk to each other, then you will know that this is not how a parent-child relationship should be. You are the parents, and they should respect you, and this is what you should be teaching them. The friendship part should be limited to you and them keeping an open dialog so they can share their concerns with you and ask you questions when they have any.

Pray with them: Involve them in acts of worship. When they are young, let them see you in act of salaah (salat). Soon, they would be trying to imitate you. Wake them up for Fajr and pray as a family. Talk to them about the rewards of salaah so that it doesn't feel like a burden to them.

Emphasize halaal: It is not always good to say "this is haraam, that is haraam". While you must educate them on haraam things, Islam is full of halaal and tell your children to thank Allah (swt) for the bounties He has bestowed on them- not just for food and clothes. Tell them to be thankful for having eyes that see, ears that hear, arms and legs and, the ultimate blessing, Islam in their hearts.

Set an example: As parents, you are the best example the children can have. If you talk to your parents rudely, expect your children to do the same to you. If you are disrespectful to others, your children will follow too. Islam is filled with Divine advice on the best ways to bring up your children. That makes it an obligation upon parents to be good Muslims so their children will try to emulate them. If you don't take Islam seriously, neither will your children. It goes back to our third point, which is to give them Islamic heroes. As a parent, you should be their number one hero.
Al Huda Institute, Canada

Note from myself - with regards to the part 'Don't be friends' I agree, that you should have a friendly relationship with your child, but within limits. Sometimes when we get too 'pally' with our kids, they can often lose some of the respect for us are 'their' parents.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Feeling panicky!

I was just sat here finishing off online, when a thought just came to my mind, 'what if I don't teach my children properly, and they end up not knowing enough?!' scary thought huh? but I'm sure majority of us have had this thought cross our mind sometime or another. At the moment I really don't feel we're doing enough, and I think that's why this thought has just come at me, I need to put my mind more to the planning insha Allaah.

SubhanAllaah when you look at the big picture, our kids education and academic future insha Allaah is in our hands, it's a great responsibilty, and one that I need to be taking alot more seriously, I owe it to these kids, I can't mess it up for them insha Allaah. And it shouldn't be all about academics, their deen is so much more important, and right now to tell you the truth, we're not really doing any islamic lessons, I'm so not sure which resources to use, we started with these books, can't remember what they're called right now, but the kids just didn't seem to be that enthusiastic, and it didn't encourage me either. I have the IQRA books, and was thinking about starting them up again, I just don't have that really positive feeling about them though. I don't know why. So that's also something I need to get a move on with insha Allaah. Because each day is so very precious, we lose a day, we lose another opportunity for learning, I feel so bad for my kids right now, I don't want them to be behind, Dd(8) is with her Maths, but coming out from school last year, she was, and has progressed a bit more, since homeschooling her again, Allaahumma baarak feehaa.

Insha Allaah I will start working harder with them, doing the best I can, and at least I can say 'I tried'!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Apologies for no updates

I'm so sorry I haven't updated the blog for a couple of weeks, I decided to take a bit of a break (from the blog) but insha Allaah should get something up on here this week. Planning on getting the lapbooks finished off insha Allaah, the kids have been working on them now and again, but it's about time they were completed, will post up some pics when they're done insha Allaah.