Monday, 19 September 2016

Introducing Treasure Baskets

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم





Alhamdulillaah Ramlah is 5 months old now. Maimoonah wants to start "homeschooling" Ramlah!

Sounds a bit strange right? Well not really! I wanted to make Maimoonah's wish of homeschooling her sister at this age a reality!  So it turned out that it is time for us to introduce Treasure Baskets to our little Ramlah.

What is a Treasure Basket?

Treasure Basket is a popular Montessori method. Dr. Maria Montessori believed that children learn best by choosing, by doing and by repeating and exploring anything through their senses. She also thought that children from a very young age, if allowed to develop freely they felt connected to everything and were naturally caring to each other and the world around them. 

So taking the good out of her thoughts, we came up with our own Treasure Basket first and far most connecting little Ramlah to her Creator! Alhamdulillaah!



So generally a Treasure Basket is basket or a box or any container that is filled with natural things and household items which babies and even toddlers can explore by themselves using their senses. Exploring treasure baskets can help teach babies how to select, touch, taste and feel. They become familiar with the objects around them and this may help them to gain confidence in taking decisions. And it helps to develop different skills such as hand eye coordination, fine motor skills etc etc. 

Even though all of this happens naturally, having a treasure basket is a great way to be organized and save time. Babies are really bored and during their waking hours they need some activities to enjoy! Keeping a basket handy helps us a great deal by the Mercy of Allaah. 

Treasure Baskets can be used indoors as well as out doors. The contents of it can vary according the age and ability of the infant or toddler, You can read a simple guide of it here


Our Treasure Basket

Maimoonah is responsible of filling in the basket every now and then with items. She has to do her research and make a note of the items and rotate them and at any given time Ramlah's basket must have the items to be presented to her. 

So basically for now our baskets will include the following:
  • Books to be read aloud
  • iPod to make her listen to the recitation of the Qur'aan
  • Different coloured muslin clothes (washed and clean ready for going into her mouth)
  • Different coloured shawls with different textures (washed and clean ready for going into her mouth)
  • Touch and feel soft toy
  • Baby stimulating toy
  • Ribbons
  • Soft Balls
  • Teething Rings
  • Whiteboard and Marker to write words. (We are trying out Teach Your Baby to Read through flash cards, but using the whiteboard and the marker instead of printed cards)
Items will change each week and will depend on Maimoonah's research and creativity! Will update them as we go on Inshaa Allaah.

How do we use the Treasure Basket?

Reading
Ramlah is unable to sit up on her own yet. So for now what we do is take the books from the basket and read aloud to her. She loves to hear us reading. Sometimes we keep her on our lap and read to her and other times she will be lying down and we show the book to her and read while turning the pages gently but quickly. Her attention span is very very little, we need to read simple books so that we can turn the pages fast. She loves this activity so much, when she knows that we have come to the last page of a book she starts crying. 




Darul Kitab Level 1 books are great books to read to her Maashaa Allaah and she loves the book "Our Creator". Inshaa Allaah when our "Nurture Islaam - Pre-K" Books are ready we would be using them for Ramlah and according to Maimoonah they would be her best books, Inshaa Allaah! 

We also use the touch and feel board books and allow Ramlah to touch and feel while we read. She responds well to this too.

Qur'aan
We make her listen to small soorahs everyday for sometime.

Flashcards
We have started writing few words on the whiteboard and she seems to be enjoying that too. I use the red marker and write words and say it. Erase the word and write another word. I do this fast and may be one session is done within 10 seconds. I am not following any hard and fast rules on this. Just experimenting with Ramlah for now.

Items to explore by herself
Then we give one item at a time to her hand to explore. She would take the muslin cloth and play with it for a little while. Then we give her the teething ring, which she would be interested for few minutes. Then we give her the pom pom balls to touch and feel. Later she may like to have a soft toy to explore. We do not leave her alone at any given time and especially when she is exploring the basket we are around her. 


That's about it.

End of the day Maimoonah talks to Ramlah and gives her a kiss and says "Maashaa Allaah, Ramlah you have done well today in school, good girl!".

During this whole process we talk to Ramlah linking back everything to her Creator. We start with reading the book Our Creator, and when she explores we tell her "Ramlah, Allaah gave you hands to touch, Allaah gave you this little ball to feel, Allaah gave you eyes to see this green cloth,,, etc etc". Little babies love to hear us talk. And Ramlah is pretty quiet when I explain certain things to Maimoonah while teaching her. She looks at our expressions and listens to us and smiles. 

Alhamdulillaah every situation is a blessing from Allaah. I hope this would encourage Maimoonah to enhance her skills of research and implementation and create the awareness of being responsible in educating young babies and taking care of them. This in turn also would help her to be mindful in finishing up her school work and be a better example for her sister, inshaa Allaah! 

Monday, 12 September 2016

Eid Mubarak - Eid Al Adha 2016

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم



The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) also said, “The day of al-Fitr, and the day of an-Nahr, and the days of at-Tashreeq (the three days after an-Nahr) are our days of ’Eed (festivity); and they are days of eating and drinking.” Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (no. 1945), from ’Uqbah Ibn ’Aamir (radiyallaahu ’anhu). It was authenticated by al-Albaanee in Saheehul-Jaami’ (no. 8192).




Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Back to Homeschool - School Year 2016/2017

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Alhamdulillaah! Time is passing by so soon and another school year is here. Last year was a tough one for us due to my health condition but Maimoonah managed to do her work as much as she was able to. Since we have covered many areas before, having a year's break was not a big issue with regard to the subjects but it did have an influence in the rhythm and smoothness of getting things done. 

We have been covering the Cambridge Primary Curriculum for the last 3 years and even though we have not completed it fully I have decided to go ahead with Cambridge Secondary from this year for English, Science and Geography mainly because, I feel Maimoonah is getting a bit bored with the Primary work and also my good friend here who is also homeschooling her daughters and since her daughters are also starting off secondary we both thought it is time that our kids work together in the subjects we have chosen to be the same. So we have done our lesson plans and chosen books accordingly and we hope to meet once a month to do some project work together. And we have a private co op blog where our kids update with their work done.  We are hoping to have 36 weeks of work and 6 weeks break in between the whole year. We plan to finish off the year just before Ramadhaan Inshaa Allaah. 

So here are the Resources we hope to use for this year Inshaa Allaah.

Islaamic Studies

Usooluth Thalaathah
We will continue with Usooluth Thalaathah Scrapbooking. We have completed the first part of it and will be starting on the 1st Principle. 


Important Lessons for Every Muslim
We will also be continuing Important Lessons for Every Muslim Scrapbooking. We have completed up to Tawheed and will continue the next lessons.

Seerah
We hope to start Seerah Notebooking along with the kids at Iman Homeschool 




Prophets/Sahabahs/Scholars
And we also hope to do at least 3 Prophets and 3 Sahabhas and 3 scholars this year. We are keeping our goals low because we have a baby to look after and we also have many other things to do.



Additionally we hope to revise Salaah positions, and do some project work on certain topics Inshaa Allaah. My thoughts are on doing something about Dajjaal, Jinns, Puberty and the Khawaarij Inshaa Allaah. 

Qur'aan/Hifdh
A sister is helping Maimoonah with learning Tajweed. She will continue her classes with her and recite Qur'aan. Hifdhl revision will be done everyday and she will be choosing her soorahs to continue her memorisation.

Arabic
We are continuing Madeenah Arabic Book and worksheets.



English
We are using the following textbooks for English KS3. The Complete English for Cambridge Secondary 1 - Book 7 has a student book and a work book and the Complete English for Cambridge Secondary 1 Writing and Grammar practice book could be used throughout secondary 1.

 

Complete English for Cambridge Secondary 1 Writing and Grammar Practice Book


These are new books published by Oxford University Press and the first two books are endorsed by Cambridge. The English books are very interactive and attractive with differen topics covered in an easy to understand way. As usual their some topica that are not very islamic so was integrated Islaam into certain lessons so that kids learn the correct islaamic point of view. 

Spelling
We will continue the Spelling Workout Series. 


Copywriting
She will continue Copywriting using the Noble Quraan



Mathematics
We are continuing with Nelson International Mathematics Pupils Book 4 and Workbook 4. We may finish it before the year, so we will go on to Book 5 as well Inshaa Allaah. It has a textbook and a workbook. Inshaa Allaah after we finish the Book 6 which is the last book for Primary we will go forward with Secondary.

 Nelson International Mathematics 2nd edition Student Book 5


Science
For Cambridge Secondary Science we have chosen Checkpoint Science Student Book 1 and Workbook 1.

Cambridge Checkpoint Science Student's Book 1Cambridge Checkpoint Science Workbook 1


We are also using these resources which includes a teachers guide and student's guide. Comes with a curriculum plan, experiments and assignments. We will start off with biology and then chemistry and physics Inshaa Allaah. (Please be aware if unislaamic content)

Geography
We will be using Nelson Key Geography Foundations Student Book. Additionally we have planned some interesting projects for the kids to do.

Nelson Key Geography Foundations Student Book

We will be incorporating arts and crafts into different subjects to explore art.Maimoonah may attend some of the workshops offered by the Museum which will suit our need during the year Inshaa Allaah. She will be looking into new cooking and sewing skills too. These are not planned but we will do them as and when we take some break. 

How have you planned your homeschool year? 

Saturday, 23 July 2016

New Venture - Home School Support Program

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


Assalaamu Alaikum

Our Past

Alhamdulillaah it has been 6 years now since we began our homeschooling officially. With the grace and mercy of Allaah we have been sharing our noble journey with all of you since our inception by recording our adventures, ideas and offering resources for downloading. I love for your kids what I love for my children and this has been the main reason for continuing my blog throughout the years with all different circumstances that we have gone through. And I ask Allaah to enable me to do the same until I am able to. 

Blogging opened the doors to get to know some lovely like minded sisters and families, students of knowledge, publishers, educational product manufactures, educationists and organizations all over the world and of course enhanced my skills in every aspect by the mercy of Allaah. More and more sisters and children started benefiting from our journey and resources and since then I have been receiving emails almost every week asking for help and advice with regard to homeschooling from many sisters from different backgrounds and places. While I try my best to allocate time for each of those emails and to date have replied to each and every one of them as far as I know, it is indeed time consuming plus I am not too sure if those replies really help them in a larger scale to benefit there kids throughout.

New Venture

Alhamdulillaah with all of the above in mind and after making Isthikhaarah (Seeking Guidance from my Lord) and consulting the believers we have entered into another bigger adventure! 

I invite you to have a look at our new website www.umm-maimoonah.com 




Homeschool Support Programs


This is our new venture. We will be supporting the homeschooling moms with different cost effective packages and online help. 

You can click on our various Support Packs and view the details and send us an email with your interest.



 

We will send you a questionnaire to understand you and your household better to cater accordingly and after discussing with you to assess your need we can agree on the package options and the cost. And upon payment we will begin preparing your customised package and when completed would be posting the package to your physical  mailing address,  Due to circumstances beyond our control we are unable to post the packs to your physical mailing address. The packs will be sent to you via a downloadable link.  We will continue to provide you online support with any concerns you may have in implementing the pack Inshaa Allaah. 

Benefits

This way I hope the moms especially the mom's who are new to homeschooling as well as busy mom's with many kids or with work would benefit Inshaa Allaah. And remember our aim is to link back all beneficial secular subjects kids learn to Islaam and this is why our packages are unique as we would always make sure that the sources are authentic and get our materials checked by students of knowledge Inshaa Allaah. Additionally many homeschoolers spend so much money on resources without actually knowing if those could be used with their kids or not. Aren't we all guilty of stacking up at least some stuff that are still on our shelves unused, purchased long ago and at times still continue to buy thinking it will be of use one day! This is something that I look forward to work on with sisters in order to help them choose resources that they can make use of for the right purpose during the right stages and avoid wastage. 

Moms who are new to homeschooling overwhelmed with the new concept and deal with lot of stress and anxiety wondering from where to start and what to look for. We were also there once and we know exactly what you feel. We hope to build your confidence by the permission of Allaah by directing you towards the right steps to take and sharing our experiences and educating you all about a rather new concept.

There are sisters who send kids to schools and are searching for guidance in teaching Islaamic Studies at home. I firmly believe Islaam should be taught like how the early generation of Muslims were taught, yes some may call it the classical way! Islaam is not a subject that is confined to worksheets and textbooks, It is a way of life and indeed "knowledge comes before actions", and there is so much to learn. Therefore our approach has always been taking that knowledge from the books of the scholars, simplifying it according to the level of the child and presenting in an interactive manner.

Many Islaamic Schools and organizations also write to me asking for help and it would be a pleasure to workout Interactive Activity Packs integrating Islaam into their curriculum and themes. 

We also want to benefit the publishers and small businesses that are putting out quality authentic Islaamic products and other beneficial educational kits and materials by collaborating with them to review and include their products into our packs so that many would make use of them.

Support Us

We look forward to working with many families, schools and organizations inshaa Allaah. You can follows us on facebook , Instagram and Google Plus for beneficial reminders, ideas with regards to cultivating and educating the children and latest updates on our homeschool support programs. Spread the word and support all of us who are involved in this noble program. We are ask Allaah to make our tasks easy and accept our deeds and grant us success in this project. Aameen

Please be free to contact me at ummmaimoonah@gmail.com for any clarifications. 

Baarakallaah Feekum

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Ramadhaan and Eidul Fitr - 2016

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Alhamdulillaah, Allaah blessed us to complete another Ramadhaan. We ask Allaah to enable us to reach the next Ramadhaan inshaa Allaah. This was our first Ramadhaan with Ramlah and by the Mercy of Allaah it was smooth even though we could not do 100% we were still able to fast, Maimoonah could go to the Masjid for Taraweeh and Qiyaam with her Abi and I could pray at home keeping Ramlah. 

Benefits from the Sittings
Alhamdulillaah we managed to almost complete the 30 sittings and Maashaa Allaah it is indeed a must read even before entering the month of Ramadhaan. Subhanallaah every chapter has such immense benefits and sometimes it is so sad we did not have enough time to go into details. Nevertheless we read and discussed almost all sittings even though we could not journal the last 10 sittings.


Most of the time Maimoonah was tired so I helped her a lot with writing while she took care of the crafting part. I really enjoyed journalling after a very long time and personally could extract many benefits pertaining to manners of a facilitator as well as rulings related to dheen matters.

I really loved the way Shaykh Uthaimeen begin each sittings with lots of lots of praise and gratitude to Allaah and each day he intelligently uses different attributes of Allaah and different descriptions along with, while sending salutations to the Messenger of Allaah and the Khulaafur Raashideen, during each sittings he wisely describes each of them with what they were known for always giving more and more information about them in the easiest manner for the student to remember. Indeed so much to learn from our Ulama. May Allaah have mercy upon Shaykh Uthaimeen and join him with the companionship of the Prophets and the Messengers and grant him the highest position in Jannah. Aameen. 
His compassion, the way of addressing the students, sincerity in imparting the knowledge, honestly seeking the rewards only from Allaah in teaching the people and the very concise manner of dealing each topic without making it overwhelming or boring are some of the characteristics we as facilitators and teachers of our kids could surely adopt for a better productivity and success. No doubt this really helped me to rectify and refresh myself for the next academic year! 

These are some of the pages from our Journal of Benfits from the Sittings during the blessed month of Ramadhaan.

 

 


The day of Eid was good. We were able to take Ramlah and go to the Eid Musalla early in the morning and Maimoonah was extremely happy with her Eid gifts from family and firends. We had some friends for lunch and it was an enjoyable Eid Maashaa Allaah.
   

Ramlah is 3 months now Alhamdulillaah and pretty attentive when we talk, recite and read. We took her out to the park for the first time early in the morning and she enjoyed the green and chirping of the birds. Waiting for the weather to cool down to take her out and enjoy the nature inshaa Allaah. 


At the moment we are getting ready for the next academic year and this time I want to get back to structure and organizing just like the good old days inshaa Allaah. After almost two years of sort of unstructured work I think it is time to get a bit serious as Maimoonah is growing and need to cater according to her needs plus need to inculcate more in order to prepare her for what shall I say, may be adulthood! Yes time is passing by so soon. She is already nine subhanallaah I cannot believe it really, and with Ramlah around it is best that I am organized and prepared for a stress free, shouting free and disappoitnment free atmosphere inshaa Allaah. More on our plannings coming soon, inshaa Allaah.











Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Ramadhaan Plans 2016 /1437 AH

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم



Alhamdulillaah another Ramadhaan is here and may Allaah make it a blessing for us and enable us to make the most of it. Aameen.

We have been doing many Ramadhaan activities each year in the past. Alhamdulillaah. All Ramadhaan related posts can be viewed here if anyone wants ideas and resources for different ages.

This will be our first Ramadhaan with little Ramlah who will be 2 months when Ramadhaan begins Inshaa Allaah. So we have kept our plans realistic and made it easy on us as we know we will have sleepless nights and it would be very tiring during Ramadhaan. 

Maimoonah will turn 9 this Ramadhaan inshaa Allaah and this year we are hoping to do the well known beneficial book Sittings During the Blessed Month of Ramadhaan with Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih Al Uthaimeen Raheemahullaah. The E Book in English could be downloaded here

Alhamdulillaah these sittings with Shaykh Uthaimeen has lot more than the issues of Ramadhaan. His love for the people, his kindness, his methodology of praising Allaah all the time, his way of thanking Allaah and his beautiful way of conveying the message are some beneficial things to highlight to the kids. May Allaah have mercy upon him and grant him the highest position in Jannah along with the Prophets and the Companions. Aameen. 

We sometimes try to make things fun and attractive for the kids and may fall short in actually reaching our important goal which is making our kids truly understand that Fasting in the month of Ramadhaan is such a valuable opportunity and that each day of it MUST be spent in obedience to Allaah willingly and this worship must be done sincerely for His sake alone to get the rewards. May Allaah help us convey this core message to our kids. Aameen.

Since Maimoonah's interest these days are into arts and crafts, we have taken a 40 pages science notebook where one page is ruled and the other page is blank, so that on one side she can write the benefits  and on the other she can do some decor with arts and crafts This is the cover page and the inside page.

 


The book has 30 days of sittings, so each day she will be doing each sitting Inshaa Allaah.




What we plan to do:
  • Read each sitting every day together
  • Discuss the content
  • Take Notes
  • Write the important benefits for each day
  • Decorate, paint, or craft the journal page with the benefits
Arts and Crafts Techniques we want to explore:
  • Chalk Art
  • Snow Flakes
  • Origami
  • Marble Painting
  • Masjid Art
  • Painting with Toilet roll Tubes
  • Paper Towel Painting'
  • Finger Painting
  • Puzzle Pieces Art
  • Foil Art
  • Splash art
  • Feather Art
  • Felt Decor
  • Match Stick Decor
  • Yarn Art
  • Random Painting
  • And More....
Maimoonah will also try to recite the Qur'aan and finish once or twice during the month of Ramadhaan Inshaa Allaah.

If you are someone who has been following our journey from the time Maimoonah was 2 years old, you can see the gradual change each year. As she grows we have tried to incorporate activities for Ramadhaan based upon her interest and ability also according the situation and circumstances in our household. Now that she is growing I hope writing down benefits is something that needs to be given priority as it will enhance the skills of understanding the important points when reading or listening and of course develop the art of taking notes and writing down. Further more it will serve as a reminder for her even later, as any way just before each Ramadhaan she does go through all her previous journals.

Finally I would like to remind myself first and the other sisters, sometimes we take lots of efforts to see that our kids are occupied in Ramadhaan and we make sure that they stick to Ibaadah, but what about us? 

Allaah, the Most High, said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ
O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do? [As-Saff: 61]

Remember we have to be a good example and a role model for our children. They follow us and will try to emulate us no matter how old they are. So if they see us preparing and planning to squeeze in Ibaadah with all our other duties, they are going to try and do the same, Inshaa Allaah. So let us also have some goals to get closer to Allaah and not contradict that which we say with our action as this is indeed from the necessities of good Tarbiyah. 

May Allaah accept our intentions and deeds and may He grant us the best during this Ramadhaan and help us to get closer to him and give us the ability to help our children reap the benefits of this blessed month. Aameen

What are your Ramadhaan plans?

Friday, 20 May 2016

Baby Diary - Beautiful way of Bonding!

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


Alhamdulillaah it has been over a month now since little Ramlah arrived and she has been keeping us busy, Maashaa Allaah. 



Maimoonah started a cute Baby Diary, where she records all about her little sister Ramlah from day one. Since her birth itself was an adventure and a pleasant surprise for Maimoonah as she was able to witness it, she was eager to have a journal ready for Ramlah to read when she is grown up Inshaa Allaah with all her different phases of growth and memories recorded. Journalling in general is delightful.           I have always encouraged free writing and I do not interfere in her journalling and writings. Making mistakes is fine, in the sense that kids must be confident, in order to boost this confidence it is best not to edit or correct their journalling. It should always remain as an enjoyable activity which is stress free. Even a toddler will for sure love just a small folded book with pictures to paste and colour, inshaa Allaah.
At times I see Maimoonah reading her old journals with a smile on her face, which in fact brings back all of us lot of memories. She loves that we read her journals and feels happy in sharing her writings.

I usually read her journals while she is asleep and the whole house is quiet. Reading her entries with a cup of coffee makes me understand her feelings, her thoughts and her interests as well. This in turns gives me an opportunity to change certain ways within me in order to benefit her more. Plus it helps me evaluate her strengths and weaknesses in grammar, language and writing skills. No doubt this is far better than exams and worksheets to improve a child's skills. Inshaa Allaah will share more facts and ideas about journalling and how to get started in a separate post later. 

As for this baby diary, I noticed that she is writing with passion and love. She decorated the cover pages using some crafty ideas including origami, Popsicle sticks and stickers. I like the point that she remembered to put knowledge into action by beginning the diary with "Basmalah" knowing the reasons of starting something with it. (In the name of Allaah, in order to receive blessings and benefits - Learnt in Usooluth Thalaathah - The Three Fundamental Principles). 

Her introduction and the first chapter reflects that this baby diary is another means of beautiful bonding among the siblings. Maashaa Allaah! Maimoonah adores Ramlah. May Allaah bless both of them and increase their love for each other for His sake and protect them both. Aameen.




 

Inshaa Allaah Maimoonah will continue this diary and we hope Ramlah will appreciate her big sister's efforts in keeping a sweet diary full of her adventures for her to read when she is older. 
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