(20:114) ربِّ زِدْنِي عِلْماً

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Time to Assess and Plan

Time to get to work

So it's about time for me to do a mini-assessment of the school year and see what improvements and changes need to be made. At the rate we are going, we should be able to finish everything by the end of September, InshaALLAH. The second week of October is the worst case scenario. This is good since Ramadan and EID are right around that time and InshaALLAH we will be preparing for the baby soon after that. I think we will take a two week break upon the arrival of the baby so that we can adjust our routine.

So far, I am very pleased with the Saxon Math and Phonics programs. She's learning things a bit earlier than I did when I was in school and I am totally impressed with her recall ability. She is well on her way to becoming a fabulous reader, InshaALLAH.

I feel that McGraw-Hill Science 1 is about average, although we really need to implement some fun experiments into the program from time to time. The experiments are pretty basic and easy to do but nothing exciting. I was disappointed that we haven't had a chance to grow our sunflower seeds yet but maybe soon, InshaALLAH.

Quran memorization is coming along as well. She's memorized Suratul Nas also but due to technical issues I haven't been able to post a recording yet. Now she is working on Suratul Kauthar. My husband took her to a local mosque and she recited for a friend of his who is a Tajweed instructor. Masha'ALLAH he said she is doing well.

We have been working with Harcourt Brace's social studies book A Child's Place, Grade 1 and using the accompanying Activity Book. I think this is a very straightforward way of covering the basics of community and the outside world (map reading, what is a good/service?/how families change, etc), but I want to do a little more. I found a nice set of K-6 Islamic social studies texts that cover these things and add a multicultural, Islamic perspective. The set can be bought separately as well but shipping is outrageous to Canada if I buy it that way. I also got the supplementary books for grade 2 from Noor Art. This I did buy separately because it's a bit on the pricey side. It lists applicable activities and has corresponding lessons.

Another concern of mine is Arabic. I have taken three online Arabic courses to learn Fusha. I can read it and break down sentences grammatically but I cannot speak it fluently. I think we will be taking a different approach with Arabic from now on. We will still learn Fusha but we will also learn MSA for the sake of conversation. There is nothing worse than going to a function (like a recent picnic held by one of the city mosques) and having all those sisters shun you and speak Arabic in your face like you don't exist. Besides, it's important that we learn it in spite of things like that because it is a duty for all of us. Because of this, I have spent some time on Rosetta Stone's website in the Arabic demo section. They are quite expensive but they have a payment plan for the homeschool program. My daughter will be taking this in the mornings, InshaALLAH while I work with the younger two. I won't start this with her immediately; I will probably wait until the new school year for her. I will start this for myself as soon as it arrives, InshaALLAH.

One thing we do to compensate for these purchases is take advantage of any available payment plans. Another big thing for us is that we don't spend extravagantly in other areas of our lives. Neither of us is big on shopping at the malls on the weekend or frivolous buying. Not to say that we are suffering for the sake of education, but we always make sure that we can keep these things within our grasp.

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