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Bismillah

The other day, a friend of mine and I were working out the kinks in a project we’ve undertaken that involves sewing. My dd was extremely interested and before the day ended, she had cut up her own fabrics and sat down to do some sewing with at least two different stitches.

Since then she has been hooked so I’ve decided to be proactive and find some resources that will help me to guide her, as I’m pretty much a beginner in sewing anyway.

Tonight, inshallah her friend is coming to sleep over and I hope to do some sewing demonstrations and have them both sew something, even if just a square piece that can serve as a plain hankie or something to wipe with inshaAllah.

I’m looking forward to the tiny project and another milestone of growing up girl inshaAllah.

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Bismillah

Saw this on Disney Junior. It was so lovely I had to get the lyrics.

Mother’s Song
a Traditional Lullaby
(read by Jennifer Garner)

My heart is like a fountain true

That flows and flows with love to you

As chirps the lark unto the tree

So chirps my pretty babe to me

There’s not a rose where’er I seek,

As comely as my baby’s cheek.

There’s not a comb of honey-bee,

So full of sweets as babe to me.

There’s not a star that shines on high,

Is brighter than my baby’s eye.

There’s not a boat upon the sea,

Can dance as baby does to me.

No silk was ever spun so fine

As is the hair of baby mine.

My baby smells more sweet to me

Than smells in spring the elder tree.

A little fish swims in the well,

So in my heart does baby dwell.

A little flower blows on the tree,

My baby is the flower to me.

The Queen has sceptre, crown and ball,

You are my sceptre, crown and all.

For all her robes of royal silk,

More fair your skin, as white as milk.

Ten thousand parks where deer do run,

Ten thousand roses in the sun,

Ten thousand pearls beneath the sea,

My babe more precious is to me.

 And here is another one with the lyrics posted below inshallah:

Home, Sweet Home

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home;
A charm from the sky seems to hallow us there,
Which, seek through the world, is ne’er met with elsewhere.
Home, home, sweet, sweet home!
There’s no place like home, oh, there’s no place like home!

An exile from home, splendor dazzles in vain;
Oh, give me my lowly thatched cottage again!
The birds singing gayly, that come at my call —
Give me them — and the peace of mind, dearer than all!
Home, home, sweet, sweet home!
There’s no place like home, oh, there’s no place like home!

I gaze on the moon as I tread the drear wild,
And feel that my mother now thinks of her child,
As she looks on that moon from our own cottage door
Thro’ the woodbine, whose fragrance shall cheer me no more.
Home, home, sweet, sweet home!
There’s no place like home, oh, there’s no place like home!

How sweet ’tis to sit ‘neath a fond father’s smile,
And the caress of a mother to soothe and beguile!
Let others delight mid new pleasures to roam,
But give me, oh, give me, the pleasures of home.
Home, home, sweet, sweet home!
There’s no place like home, oh, there’s no place like home!

To thee I’ll return, overburdened with care;
The heart’s dearest solace will smile on me there;
No more from that cottage again will I roam;
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.
Home, home, sweet, sweet, home!
There’s no place like home, oh, there’s no place like home!

John Howard Payne

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Bismillah

I’m trying to figure out exactly how to go about teaching my kids (home schooling). There is so much information out there; it’s almost blinding and certainly very confusing. In the meantime, I’m doing this and that, here and there and I think because they are under 5, it seems to be working.

So far the progress for M is:

–          Islamic studies: who is Allah, where is He, what are His attributes/names/abilities. How do we worship Him (asking for things, reliance, trust, loving Him). What does He expect from us (to be truthful, to show kindness, to remember Him at all times, to thank Him for everything we have/like, to try our best to please Him). Next I will be starting with the Prophet (salallahu alayhe wasalaam). I tried before but there was confusion because her cousin is also Muhammad so you can imagine the confusion.

–          Quran: surah Fatiha, the 3 Quls, al Masad, an Nasr, and we just started al Kafiroon (she calls it “tricky” and I have to agree subhanallah). Not all of her pronunciation is perfect and she still needs some prompts but she has most of it down mashAllah so we just make sure to do a lot of revision mashAllah.

–          Math: number up to 100, their shapes, counting in Arabic and Swahili to 10, and she is starting with simple arithmetics (additions up to and totaling 10).  Days of the week are mostly good, she misses Thursday and Friday sometimes. We are starting on the months of the year in English and will do the Islamic months at the same time. She knows about Ramadhan thoughJ. Also to start working on is telling time, we haven’t covered that at all. She loves measuring and telling shapes of things. she uses her counting skills and knowledge of shapes very well whenever we do activities or when playing by herself or with her brother mashAllah

–          Reading: she loves books and reading. She often re-tells herself the stories I read for her using the pictures for prompts. She is starting to recognize some simple words (sight words) up to 3 letter words so that’s great. Her alphabet, both caps and small letters, present no problems mashAllah. She can also write them pretty well and we recently started copy work, of which is very good at mashAllah. I haven’t focused much of the Arabic alphabet but will be giving that side of things some sprucing up inshallah and plan on working with her till she can start to read in Arabic as well inshallah. She does know the alphabet for the most part so it’s a start right? It’s hard to teach two languages at the same time.

–          Languages: her English is actually superb and of a very high level mashAllah so nothing to add there except to keep up with reading high vocabulary books and keep talking and explaining things as I have been doing inshallah. Her Arabic is pretty basic because I stopped using it around her in order to facilitate her integration into the family here in USA. However, we plan on doing an immersion program for her and her brother this summer when we take them to DZ inshallah.  Dh will also get a teacher for her to spend a few hours a week supplementing whatever I or him can’t teach her ourselves inshallah. As I did with English, I plan on getting her some good Arabic cartoons and other children friendly entertainment programs to help with picking up the accent and correct pronunciation inshallah. This year I decided I would add Swahili to the picture. I do think children’s minds are ever so malleable and very able to learn many things mashAllah so I’m taking advantage. I have already started speaking to them mostly in Swahili and amazingly enough; they are picking it up very fast mashAllah so I will continue my efforts. A little bit here and there is better than nothing at all so I hope to have some good news at the end of the year inshallah.

–          Life Skills: we started cooking together mashAllah. Simple things like boiling pasta, mixing dry or wet ingredients, cookies, cake mixes, bread, and pancakesJ. She’s quite good in the kitchen and helping mama areas actually, from helping with her brother, with clean up, table setting, folding laundry, tidying up, etc. As for herself, with a little help, she can clean herself in the bathroom but I still prefer to do the big clean ups. She can brush her own teeth, wash her own hands, brush her brother’s teeth, wash her body (shower), dress herself with everything though she can’t hook the zipper for her jacket yet. She is usually very good at picking her own outfit and dressing herself and matching things properly. I still do her hair. I think I’d like to keep doing her hair until she goes to live with her husband inshallahJ. She’s very good at self-learning, and also at teaching her brother many things mashAllah. They play very well together mashAllah, which makes me so happy Alhamdulillah.

–          Manners: she has some of the basic Islamic manners down pat and we are still working on not talking while on the toilet and also interrupting when adults are talking. She is learning her bathroom dua mashallah and the pronunciation is pretty good mashallahJ. She has the sleeping and waking Duas down pat, as well as Bismillah before eating/dressing/undressing and various activities, as well as Alhamdulillah for sneezing and YaHarmukAllah for the other person. I still haven’t taught her the traveler’s dua, the one for using a vehicle/climbing into the car, and the full one for leaving the home/entering the home though we are working on her remembering to enter with the right leg each time.

–          In General: I feel that the whole schooling has been very natural, without a formal atmosphere or even a set curriculum or program, just when I think she is old enough to attempt something, or she herself shows an interest in that thing or perhaps the circumstances or situation brings up the lessons and we capitalize on this. Like going to the Museum she learned about butterflies and dinosaurs, about various animals, about various environments, etc. Also watching various programs she keeps learning things and her interests in various matters get sparked and I try to capitalize on that inshallah. To be very honest, I’m absolutely amazed at the capacity that children have for learning mashAllah. To know that Allah imbued them with such abilities and yet most adults view children as incapable of grasping important matters is really an insult to their intelligence. I’m working to rectify whatever prejudices I may have towards these little amazing people mashAllah.

–          So far the progress is I is:

–          Language Development: mashAllah I’m really impressed with him so far. We speak mostly English and like I said, I started enforcing the Swahili for everyone and the kids are picking it up. I is taking everything in stride and his ability has not been impaired by the introduction of the new language. I was hesitant to do this because with M, we switched mid-way, about 6 months before she turned 2, to Arabic and I felt even as I was doing it that it was the wrong thing and that it was going to delay her and though she did speak some before she turned 2,  I feel she would have much earlier and done much more had I stuck to just one language for just  another 2 or 3 months longer. With I, he will be two in about 3 months and I feel the switch happened at the right time. Also, he has M to practice his language skills with and that I think is a total plus for him mashallah.

–          Reading: We do a lot of reading books and actually one of his favorite activities is to read and often when he sees an adult, he approaches them with “book, book, book” in hand mashallah. I haven’t done anything formally with him but I feel like in a couple more months he should be able to handle letters and numbers, again because M is around to “teach/play” with him mashallah. For now he counts random numbers out, and expresses his feelings using proper words in full sentences mashallah. For example he would say ‘I love you  mama’ or ‘I love to play mama’ or ‘I love khubz (bread) mama’ or ‘I love you babu (grandpa)’ or ‘where is bibi (grandma)’, or ‘I love baba’ or ‘let’s go play mama’ or ‘I wanna go downstairs mama’ etc. . He also still uses a lot of one words like ‘TV’ (lol he’s addicted to this one I think), or ‘book’ or ‘apple (which he uses for both apples and oranges)’ or ‘water please’. I love his ‘please’ it’s just the cutest, with mama tucked in for good measure.

–          He also says Bismillah for eating and Alhamdulillah when he sneezes, and Allahu Akbar for praying, along with folding the hands and making sajda (laying down his whole body though) mashallah. Lately, he’s been repeating the Shahada and the morning and night Duas with M mashallah.

–          Life Skills: he’s learning to undress himself; so far the shoes and jacket are a success mashallah. He knows to put his arms into the holes for sleeves and which article goes where, such as hat on the head and shoes on the feet mashallah. He eats mostly with his right hand mashallah may Allah make him right handed. He knows the trash and puts things there when indicated and knows the sink and puts dishes there mashAllah though he does sometimes put the dishes in the trash but never the trash in the sink so I wonder at that sometimesJ. He also knows “clean up” and even sings it mashallah, and can pick up after his toys and return them to their box/place.

–          In general: honestly I feel he is doing very well in learning things, from manners to the right actions, to languages, and good behavior. Being that he’s not even two yet, I really have no expectations and am willing to be surprised and amazed by any progress he makes because it is truly a miracle from Allah mashAllah.

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Bismillah

Teach skills naturally – so when I’m cooking, student M “helps” with measures, counting, fractions, terminology and vocabulary, science (chemistry with mixing, changing states, etc). When doing laundry we can read about chemicals, molecular compositions, chemical reactions, why certain stains wash away with just water, or water and soap and others require pre-treatment, why cold water or warm water, about types of water such as hard water, etc. all this is science mashallah.

For example when things are broken in the house and they are simple to fix such as a leaky faucet or broken zipper or torn dress, how to fix it, etc. this teaches life skills, independence and increases confidence because they can do more things for themselves, also creative thinking if they have to tinker with things like electronics etc.

Also I’ve read that reading out loud is very good so some things to do would be to read kids’ stories, picture stories (all the way up to manga – clean ones though!), Quran, hadith, stories of prophets or sahabah, stories with morals, or stories that spark an interest (maybe in planes or history or space) etc.

Also a lot of re-reading should be good as I noticed definitely that when a cartoon episode is repeated x times, my kids definitely start picking up themes, dialogue, songs, etc. So, I should not be discouraged and inshallah a good technique I noticed really works right now is to wait for M to pick on a point of interest in the story and tell me the whole story her way, either from that point forward or going back and forth to clarify points etc.

Lessons in this would go under language arts for the most part, with increase in vocabulary, sentence structure, comprehension, story making and telling, presentation skills, etc.

Yes, definitely unschooling is the way to go for me I think (randomly)

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Bismillah

I’m getting it I believe, I really do… Alhamdulillah it is all due to Allah’s help for sure!

Oh you are wondering what I’m getting exactly right? Easy… how to homeschool my kids, yay!! I’ve spent the past 4 years (M is 4.5 now mashallah) trying to figure out this homeschooling business. I knew I wanted to do it from the beginning. I also knew from the beginning that it’s the right thing to do and the right way to teach my kids about the world around them, their purpose in it, and how to go about executing their objectives inshallah.

But I just couldn’t grasp the details. It all seemed like water, slippery and ephemeral. Alhamdulillah though, after spending the past two months trolling blogs and various websites, I think I’ve grasped the starting point, if not necessarily every detail that is it follow inshallah.

Now before the knowledge leeks from my seemingly perforated brain, I’m going to try and outline things here inshallah for later review.

One, this is for Allah and therefore, the center, the beginning and end o if, and the driving purpose behind lessons to be taught, should all related to Allah, and how to serve Him inshallah. More on this later inshallah.

Two, this is about becoming a Mu’min and journeying through life with this identity as the paradigm, the defining character, of every life choice, every action, every hope inshallah.

Three, human beings, and especially children, are created to learn new things, then integrate and implement them in their lives, then use them to further grow and learn more new things. My main goal as a homeschooler then is to guide and not necessarily to teach, and to be very careful about not stunting or eliminating this inborn ability due to my own shortcomings and failings inshallah.

I think by viewing my role not as a traditional teacher (stands at the head of the class, tells the kids what, when, where, and how, no matter their own perspectives or ideas, and then ensuring they conform to the standard (one not set by Allah by the way) in order to pass whatever examination), but as a guider and a nurturer. One whose goal is to help, advise, encourage, cheer, and support the learning child as they explore the world, and find their rightful place and purpose and go about taking that rightful place in society and fulfilling their purpose for being alive in the first place inshallah.

So for me, if I think of it as an extension to being a mother, or being a mother to the fullest sense, then I feel like I can really see how to approach homeschooling and even achieve success in the endeavor. When I view myself as the person who will be guiding and helping my kids to understand their world, using all available resources, in a logical and well planned out manner inshallah, I feel like it’s a role I can take and do justice in.

When I used to think that what I needed to be was a teacher (in the traditional sense), I just felt so inadequate. But I don’t feel inadequate to fulfill the role of a mother, even though I don’t know everything, I feel its ok because I can always learn what I need to know. Further, as a mother for now almost 5 years, I feel like I understand what being a mother is all about.

Motherhood is a state of being, and a mother to her children is a nurturer, a provider, a helper, an advisor, a friend, a confidant, a cheerleader, a loving pair of arms, a supporter, and so many other things that I’m sure I will realize in time inshallah. I also know that a mother is a teacher and a role model, in addition to the above, or perhaps in summary of the above.

A real teacher helps and encourages, points to right directions and travels the perils with you until understanding is reached, encourages and cheers your efforts, advises and cautions you as necessary, and is always there for you, celebrating all the achievements and comforting all the hurts away.

I can be that can kind of teacher, a mother-teacher, and I feel I can provide proper schooling inshallah (with some serious learning on my part, some trial and error while doing it together with the kids inshallah).

With that said, I think maybe unschooling would work great as the beginning platform for launching this homeschooling business, as structure is not on my list of strengths. My oldest is young enough for me to start slowly, to explore the variety of styles of homeschooling that are out there inshallah, and to organize myself and our space and day so that the most amount of learning takes place, without the harmful aspects in existence today of “educating” and “schooling” inshallah.

However, I still need to think some more but like I said, I think I’m getting it… I really do mashallah. May Allah manifest understanding and clear guidance in this endeavor inshallah.

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