(20:114) ربِّ زِدْنِي عِلْماً

Thursday, December 13, 2007

So, I've been wondering for some time how to make this a more interesting and readable blog, but I haven't really put forth much effort. I have read some fascinating blogs in the past few years and I think those bloggers must devote a lot of time to them. Time is a luxury that I sort of have. I can't say that I don't. In this day and age, we all devote portions of time to so many things that we spread ourselves thin and appear to be busier than we really are. For example, I have posted maybe ten times on this blog. Whooptido. Ten times is probably what I should have done in the first month. It's not like I'm not on the internet. Before school and after school I find the time to sneak on. I am regularly seen on www.flickr.com as well as a couple of other sites, so it's not that I don't have the time. I was very hesitant about setting up a blog because you have to give the public a bit of your self. I am pretty private - a. I'm a niqabi so few people know how I look in the first place. b. I am active online more so than in real life; I have three small children so they take up quite a bit of my day (and night). c. I don't really feel like taking the time to weed out the garbage one is bound to get on a blog in the comments (not that I have any readers, lol). So, chalk it up to shyness, busyness and a bit of laziness too.
Anyway. My daughter is doing surprisingly and exceptionally well. Her uncle is five and he's in public kindergarten. He's up to "E" in the alphabet and I'm pretty sure he can't spell his name yet. It's December and we have just about finished the curriculum. She's reading first and second grade books (and everything around the house: cans, bottles, boxes, etc.). I am quite proud of her success and pray that InshaALLAH she keeps at it. I myself feel burnt out from time to time because it takes lots of patience to sit back and watch a child learn. You start itching to "help". That's part of the whole fast-paced society thing, I guess. It's training for the adult to learn how to sit still and let things happen as they may.
It looks like Eid-ul-Adha is going to be on Wednesday, InshaALLAH so I have to prepare for that. We will be adding balloons and such like last Eid so the kids should really get a kick out of that. I think they will be getting some puzzles and books mostly - especially something from the Melissa and Doug collection. Their stuff is expensive but it rocks. We got their abacus for the kids and it is quite handy abacus.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Television?

As salaamu 'alaikum.

How do you feel about television? Is public t.v. alright? Islamic movies only? I think I want to cut it out altogether. My kids are little and really have no business in front of the tube and I know that they will gladly sit there until I turn it off. They do other things as well, but I would like for them to feel that t.v. is a luxury, not a right. I stopped watching it so long ago (we don't have cable) but I admit that I miss cable network news and all the home/d.i.y. networks.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Time to shift gears

Salaam,

It's been quite a while since I last blogged and it's time to shake the cobwebs from my head. Now that Ramadan is over we are trying to pick up the pieces and plow ahead in the curriculum. It was tough to focus toward the end of the fast. My daughter is quite ahead and I need to sort of regroup and figure out new activities for her to do so that we don't skip any important details.
We celebrated Eid on Friday, October 12 but it looks like the local celebration was on the 13th. We did our gift exchanging Stitch by stitch
and attended the salat on Friday but also went to the Eid celebration downtown on Saturday. Fun for the kiddies
There was quite a turnout which made the wait extremely long for the rides. Sadly, the bazaar wasn't all that spectacular, yet I managed to purchase a tiny dishdasha for my son for about ten dollars. I hope they have Eid ul Adha in a different place because it was so humid! Humidity is hard on a niqabi! Prayer mats are all trampled now
The cool thing about this Eid is that I met a sister from the States! I haven't seen any African American sisters who live in Canada since I got here. The bonus is that her family attends the local mosque. I also met another African American sister from Florida who is a motivational speaker. She and her husband were here at our local mosque trying to assist with organizing halaqa's and other general social events. We also met a family on Friday's Eid prayer who invited us over for breakfast and we ended up staying the whole day, AlhamduLILLAH. May Allah grant mercy and peace to all the wonderful Muslims we met and the ones that we did not have the opportunity to meet. Ameen.
If you knit, there is a website which you may or may not have heard of called ravelry. It is a good place to organize and show off your knitting and there is even a group for Muslim knitters!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Ramadan is coming to an end

So, I have been fasting for what seems like forever. I have never had trouble with fasting until this Ramadan. Also, I don't think I have ever been so busy! I have been teaching every day - including a couple of times on the weekend. My daughter is doing quite well and has progressed in ways that I hadn't foreseen.

She's reading early reader phonics books and can sound out words slowly on her own. She's also really good at mathematics - especially abstract concepts.

Working hard

I need to stop by the local mosque bookstore, InshaALLAH, and pick up a set of Islamic curriculum books by Good Word like these. They sell the whole set at cost so it's $15.

This should, InshaALLAH be a good Eid for the kids because the older they get, the more excited they get. I like to watch them open their gifts, I get a real kick out of that.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Almost time to start

So, I am getting ready for the homeschool. I have the Calvert School Curriculum and I must say I am excited. My oldest is begging to start school but I told her that we will wait until after Labor Day, InshaALLAH. I think we will have Islamic/Arabic school year round but the secular curriculum will follow the Ontario designated school year.
I definitely feel elated after getting that heavy whiteboard hung. stud finder
My arms hurt after all the stud finding and drilling. I must say, it really gives that classroom feel.
Whiteboard
I still have more to do but it's a start. I think I will expand beyond the curtain and put up a bulletin board/display area on the hallway wall and make that a play area for the little ones. Zellers is open 24 hours Friday through Sunday so I am sure we will be stopping by there to grab a couple of backpacks for them (not that they have anywhere to go but backpacks are great fun).
One thing we are doing is taking the disciplined approach, meaning wake up, get dressed properly (proper Islamic school dress), and start class with Fatihah.
The only concern I have about all this is that we will be starting right before Ramadan. AlhamduLillah for Ramadan. Hopefully, the routine will be easy to follow and I will exercise much patience, InshaALLAH while I am fasting. I did manage to find some Ramadan activity books for them to color and I think we can make some type of decorations for the classroom. I need to really brainstorm or check the internet for inspiration.

Monday, August 20, 2007

8th grade

Mingle2 Free Online Dating - Science Quiz



ha ha. That was fun. It's been a loooooooong time.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Friends are family

So I talked to my friend about the whole doll issue and we are straight. Turns out I was being too sensitive and need to lighten up. Well, with her. There are some others who don't even come close to supporting me but I will let them be.
This past weekend, we snagged a mega saucer for the baby from EBay for twelve bucks. I was happy about that since it retails for at least $80 CAN.
So we decided to go with a curriculum after all. I looked at Calvert School and they have an excellent program. The lesson samples are explicit and complete. I realize the time it would take to put together something like this and I see the value in it. Of course, I bought mine used from good old EBay. The one that I bought did not include the math so I still need to hunt for that. I don't know, maybe Calvert, maybe Saxon for math. Of course, I have heard good things about these guys too. Sigh. So many choices. What ensures a program is the right one for you? Reputation is one thing but I think we are in need of a homeschool co-op in the area so that I can pick the brains of the members. I found links to two Muslim homeschool support groups that were dead. Yay. I wonder if any exist around here anymore....
I also found http://www.teacherstorehouse.com which gives free shipping for orders over $75.
I took a quick detour into a thrift shop this weekend and scored big. I got these and plenty of other stuff. We saw a man selling used office and classroom furniture so we picked up a HUGE whiteboard and two partitions for $85 including delivery (down the street) to our house. Now we have to figure out how to safely mount it. I scored some other things too but my camera battery is not so strong so those will have to wait until next time, InshaALLAH.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Curriculum at this age?

Arabic curriculum So, I'm wondering which curriculum I should be using for my daughter. I mean, she's three and a half and I don't want to rush and spend hundreds of dollars if I don't have to. Actually, I am quite content to wing it for the moment, especially when I find things like this: http://www.eduref.org/index.shtml. There are many lesson plans available online so I am rather happy to go through them and devise my own plan based on these. On the other hand, AlhamduLILLAH I have everything I need to start teaching Arabic, InshaALLAH. I have lots of books that we purchased over the last few years with worksheets and vocabulary with lessons from kindergarten through high school. Arabic curriculum
Also, I want to make sure they have a well-rounded education so I need to scour the Internet for arts and crafts ideas as well as incorporate storytelling into the agenda. I have some excellent Arabic books with stories of the Prophets for that but I need to translate them for the kids. That means I have to get to work with my trusty Hans Wehr Dictionary Studying.
Speaking of arts and crafts, I discovered the Waldorf doll recently and attempted to make something similar using items that I had on hand Carefree. I think she's not so bad although I got a little negative criticism from a friend and that hit a sour note with me. She said, "sheesh, what a scary doll", nothing positive, no affirming the hard work I put into crafting something with my own hand for my daughter. It took me about three weeks altogether and I was quite proud of her. I didn't sew eyes because I thought it Islamically inappropriate. Sigh, some people are always on a negative trip. Simmy was a great help - she gave me the body pattern. If I do it again, I will make it totally in the tradition of Waldorf, including following directions for the head and stuffing.
I've also joined the ranks of knitters on http://www.ravelry.com to showcase my knitting and meet other knitters. I hope to find some Muslim knitters out there but so far I haven't been fortunate. I first started knitting after becoming intrigued with a sister who was knitting at a conference. I wanted to knit before this because of my dad's mother who crocheted many a project in her time (and still does even though she's in her late eighties).

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Already the dreaded "bad blogger"

As-salaam alaikum,

Can you believe it? My little newborn is now three months old and she's laughing. They grow up fast. I have been too busy to blog but I did manage to find a little time here and there to "play school" with my oldest. She's learning to spell even though she's not reading yet; I figure it's a good start. I have been scouring EBay for used children's books and she's delighted when she gets a new shipment. All in all, it's much cheaper than the bookstore chains.

The recent addition to our small library is the Little House on the Prairie series. I know there are a lot of Christian themes throughout the book but overall there are some good examples of modest family living that I admire.

<span class=
It also reminds me of where I'm from. The country. My husband would have a fit if he were anywhere that could only carry dial-up Internet service and some of your neighbors (most likely some sort of kin) raised cows or goats, lol. It's a whole other way of life.

Some day, InshaALLAH I might take the family down to visit my father's place, which is about fifteen acres of land with only one neighbor on the other side. My kids would love it and the fresh air would benefit them. He's eager to see them again and talks about taking them fishing and taking my husband on a deer hunt. It would be awesome to see them learn a skill like that. Nobody has ever been harmed by self-sufficiency.

I made some brownies the other day and let my oldest help out. Of course when I wasn't looking she was licking the chocolate and egg batter (ugh). The first batch was good, we couldn't stop eating them.

<span class=
The good thing is, she has a real interest in hands-on tasks and isn't shy about getting her hands dirty.
I've also been knitting up a storm in the past few weeks. I am reading a few books by Elizabeth Zimmermann.
I used it to make this <span class=

and this.
Finished
Those underarm holes are hard to darn. I need a good finishing book to improve my techniques. Knitting is only half the job. A shoddy sewing / finishing throws all of your hard work right out the window. Sigh. Sabr InshaALLAH.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Food for Thought



You have to try the New York Times no knead bread...it turned out very nicely with a crusty outside and a chewy inside. I hope the kids like it. If they don't it will be good as little pizzas....