(20:114) ربِّ زِدْنِي عِلْماً

Monday, March 31, 2008

Suratul Falaq

We have been going along steadily and making real progress lately, alhamduLILLAH. We started the Saxon Math program and so far everything is great. The phonics program is really excellent; I love the way my daughter has picked up the vocabulary rules without any problems. She also loves the readers that we assemble and color:

The ant is lost

She even has the necessary logic to spell words on her own now. For instance, she knows how to decide if a word should start with the letter c or k. She knows how to code vowels. She has also learned some sight words as well.

For the past two weeks, we have been going over Suratul Falaq. It has been the most difficult for her to learn but masha'ALLAH she is doing well. I think, InshaALLAH in a few more sessions, she will be able to say it smoothly with no hesitation. Judge for yourself:

Social studies is focusing on the choices and changes that families make, such as how to spend finances (yes, they learn that money doesn't grow on trees!) and how a family may change due to the birth of a baby or moving, etc. Science is about to get fun, I think, mostly because the weather is changing. We are assembling a science journal to record various concepts throughout the year, InshaALLAH. I've simply taken some thick manila paper and added a few sheets of notebook paper in between. We are scheduled to go on a nature walk this week, InshaALLAH so we will see the trees and how they are starting to awaken after this harsh winter.

Trunk Bokeh

Monday, March 24, 2008

Welcome To the World

Atlas Puzzle

I can't believe how many people have accessed this blog over the past few weeks. It's very exciting to see that people from far away are visiting us like Malaysia, Peru, Japan and Europe among others. I've also received very lovely and encouraging emails from some of you and I thank you very much. Sometimes it may feel like one's work can really feel unappreciated or unnoticed but really one never can tell who is watching.

To the people who are reading this I ask: do you homeschool or are you thinking about it? Do you have any tips or valuable tools? Don't be shy, (says the shy homeschooling mom); feel free to email me or leave a comment on the blog. Let me know about your progress and challenges. For those of you in the U.K.: do you have a large community of homeschoolers there? Is it encouraged among the Muslim population? How is the quality of education in the Islamic schools and are they expensive? Same question for those of you in the States. JazakALLAH Khair.

We are making a book about leaves . It is really just a way to practice handwriting and an excuse for coloring.

I see a yellow leaf.

We have to laminate it and cut out the circles. Then I will punch a hole in it and use a brass tack to hold it together, InshaALLAH. We have just completed chapter one in our science book about the parts of trees and how trees change throughout the seasons. We are anxiously awaiting a more spring-like temperature (we still have snow on the ground and possibly more on the way).

In the meantime, we bought some sunflower seeds from Walmart.

The last frost date is when?!

However, we must wait until the last threat of frost, which according to this is the 9th of May.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Identify yourself

The many faces of niqab

I wear a niqab, or face veil. I do this of my own volition. I have worn it since my oldest daughter was six months old.

Why do I wear it? Well, for a variety of reasons. First of all, I wear it for extra modesty. Extra modesty, you say? Yes. Believe it or not, I have had guys try to ask me out! Dressed as I was, I have been admired from afar (and up close, I guess). I thought that was insane, but whatever.

Second, when I wore hijab only, people really seemed to go after me for some reason. I've been told by my fellow Americans (at the check-out in the grocery store) that they are going to bomb all of us and our ALLAH. A young punk spat on my back when I was eight months pregnant in the subway here in Toronto, (to him I say see you on the Day of Judgement - rights will be given to those to whom they are due (and wrongs will be redressed)...”[7]Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, #2582

I've been told to go back to my country (er, America?),that I was a disgrace, and once while walking past a group of young girls in 2005 one smugly leaned over and yelled "bomb Iraq!" Blah, blah, blah. And this is the supposed land of multiculturalism. That only applies to food and shopping,I think.

I've received a lot of hostility over the past few years - especially when I am out alone with my children. I find the niqab to be a comfort as it makes most people stay away. So, it is a protection for me. However, there those few self-righteous people who take it upon themselves to "remind me" that "This is Canada, not Afghanistan, you don't have to wear that here", or "Are you going to force your daughter to wear that? But you're so beautiful..." as if they can tell.

Can you believe that?

My daughter will be free to choose the niqab on her own, just as I did. Islam is about knowledge. There is no compulsion in religion. Why is it that because I am a Muslim, people think that I am forcing the religion on my children?

My mother is a Baptist. You don't think she made us go to church on Sunday? We started going to church regularly when I was about eleven and by then, I wanted nothing to do with it. I was always cognizant of God but had my doubts about church.

In Islam, we pray five times a day no exception.

The family that prays together...

We do this when the time for prayer arrives, regardless of location, i.e. at home, the mosque, the mall.... I expect my children to begin praying regularly when they are of age, no exception. This should be a natural progression since they were born Muslim and it is what they know.


It should be an easy transition, a rite of passage, not something forced upon them. My daughters will wear hijab, InshaALLAH. Not because Ummi and Abi said so, but because ALLAH said so. This does not mean that my son is off the hook. He too will dress in accordance to the Sunnah. He too will observe the modesty requirements of a Muslim male.

I wear the niqab because it was the right choice for me. Choice. That means I am exercising my freedom, no? Why is it that people believe that their version of freedom is the right one?

We live in a Western society but this does not make us any less Muslim. It also does not cancel our rights to live as Muslims. Nor does it give those who are different from us free reign to assault with words (or saliva).

Therefore, we have to keep our heads up, speak up when necessary and not take the abuses that we are told we deserve. We must hold on to our identity.

For example, we have two flags of the Khilafah hanging in our classroom.

Flag of the Khalifah

Traditionally, early Arab flags were of one colour only, usually black or white, and charged with a religious inscription. It is thought that Muhammad himself used such flags, and it is said that his followers fought under a white flag.

Working hard

You can see the white and green one there but it is now in a different spot. The point is that I want my children to see the Shahadah everywhere. I want it to be a fixture in their hearts and minds. When I was young, we stood to recite the pledge of allegiance. My children recite the Qur'an and proudly say they are Muslims and that they love ALLAH.

We have also purchased some (very inexpensive) Ottoman coins so that they can see a piece of Muslim history up close and personal.

Circulated Ottoman coin

Note that this coin is free from the ego of the Sultan, unlike the many who have cast their faces upon coins and bills.

Head to head

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How we do it

A couple of people have asked how we are learning Suratul Ikhlas so I thought I would share. We don't do anything fancy, nor do we take a huge amount of time to do it. At the start of each day, we sit together and we recite the surah together three times. Then, we go over each line three times together. After that, I listen to my daughter recited and I give her cues if she gets stuck. Right now, she knows almost the whole surah with no help. She gets stuck on the last half of ayat 3 (...walam yuulad) and the first part of ayat 4 (walam yakun(l) lahuu). She knows walam is there but she needs a little help here.
This was how she sounded after a little practice today:

Masha'ALLAH, not too bad. She had to shout because the mp3 player didn't have a mic.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Stay inside where it's warm

Fighting the Wind

In spite of the freezing cold, this was a very productive week. We accomplished everything on our schedule, AlhamduLILLAH.

My planner

My daughter had her first assessment and completed it with no errors, masha'ALLAH. The phonics program is great so far and we have become more comfortable with it and follow it along seamlessly.

Next week, InshaALLAH, I plan to introduce a new Arabic text into the curriculum. It is the Arabic Language for Beginners by Dr. Hosni Kandil. The book starts off with familiar vocabulary like the members of the family and moves on from there. I believe this also corresponds with our social studies lessons, but I need to check and make sure, InshaALLAH.

My planner Week 2

Also, our board with the calendar needs numbers in both Arabic and English, so I will need to print out some flash cards for both.


For Qur'an, we will once again cover Suratul Ikhlas to make sure my daughter knows it comfortably, InshaALLAH. She seems to be doing well with her recitation but I don't want to rush her. We also need to start adding more du'a memorization. She knows the basics for eating and for the washroom and for sneezing but we will need to do more, InshaALLAH. I haven't had a problem finding resources for learning, AlhamduLILLAH. If anything, I find that my printer and laminator can't keep up with the demand!

We have another lapbook to add to our resources, AlhamduLILLAH.

Inside the Five Pillars of Islam

This one is specifically for the Five Pillars of Islam. The front cover is courtesy of Talibiddeen Jr. It's nice to have something visual for the children other than coloring pages and worksheets all the time so that learning is not always mundane or predictable.

Lapbook cover for the Five Pillars of Islam

The lapbooks are valuable because they can pull them out when they are bored or if they have questions about previous lessons. As they get older, InshaALLAH, they can become more elaborate and contain more complex information - especially since they will predominantly do them by themselves!

This lapbook has a simple game at the top to help with Arabic terminology.

Five Pillars Matching Game

These terms are used interchangeably (like zakat and charity)so I wanted my daughter to be familiar with both. Each pillar has a velcro square so that the correct words can be matched.

Five Pillars Matching Game

I also found a nice little flowchart for Hajj.


It shows all of the places one needs to go and what worships must be performed. I left the link at the top of the page and laminated it. I then cut it into three panels so that it would fold easily when the lapbook is closed.

The five daily salat ovals can be found on a printable from Talibideen Jr. I just cut it up, punched a hole and added a brass tack. The other photos that I used were found in Google Images under keyword searches like Five Pillars, Hajj, zakat, etc.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Today, we continued with Suratul Ikhlas. Her memorization is going well, masha'ALLAH.
Saxon Phonics 1 is coming along well also. Each day a new letter is introduced and she has to use the letter tiles to spell words.

Saxon letter tiles

This part is really review for us because she can already read but the rules that are implemented are new concepts for her. She's getting a solid reading foundation to back up what she already knows, so I am happy. Her handwriting has improved quite a bit. She writes the letters on a mini white board that I purchased from Walmart for about three or four dollars and then she writes them on her spelling sheet.

"a" little practice

She does get confused about the direction of a couple of letters like "j" and "d" and "b" but this should improve with time, InshaALLAH. My husband told her to picture the word "bed". "b" comes before "d" in "bed". This is helping.

We're almost done with the parts of the tree but I think we will do a lapbook for trees since the last one was so easy.

The Fast and the Furious

In social studies, we are continuing with the concepts of school and school workers and the special unit practices on maps and map legends:

School Workers

After school, we have a late lunch and my daughter reads a book of her choosing. I read to her during school, so she has to spend at least 10-15 minutes reading on her own. Recently, my husband stopped by one of the local libraries and brought home a bunch of library discards for us!

More Library Discards

At the end of this week, InshaALLAH, there is a unit on manners and following rules. This corresponds with our Five Pillars of Islam unit because manners are extremely important during Hajj. I will try to tie the two lessons together and maybe we can pull out those manner cards. This would make a good lapbook too (5 Pillars) and since I can't seem to find any on the web, this will be one of my own undertaking. Make du'a, InshaALLAH that I can pull it off!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Learning Ikhlas

We've been opening our class with Suratul Fatiha for a long time and now, InshaALLAH, we will be switching to Ikhlas. My daughter was three when we started homeschooling and it was also the first time I sat down with her to help her learn the Qur'an. I stayed with Fatiha for a long time and now it's time to move on.

My husband is working with her in the evenings and I work with her in the mornings. The key for her is repetition and consistency. For the first few days, we say it together and then she recites on her own. My son is two years old and he's starting to pick it up as well, alhamduLILLAH.

We are doing well with the Saxon Phonics and I am trying to have sabr because part of the math program isn't here yet. InshaALLAH I should have it no later than next week. Canadian mail is awfully slow sometimes.

We are still doing our unit on trees, so I tried to be a little creative today. While my daughter finished her social studies work, I quickly drew a tree and made labels to correspond with the parts of the tree that we are studying. Then she glued them to the proper spots. I'm no artist, but my drawing served its purpose, lol.

Tree with labels

Monday, March 3, 2008

First Lapbook!

Money Lapbook

So last night I (mostly) finished our first lapbook. It was very quick and easy and I think it will help us to count our change, InshaALLAH. I finished the rest this morning before we started school. The cover was taken from fotosearch and because I didn't sign up for the membership there was a copyright logo on the front which doesn't bother me one bit, but if it bothers you, look somewhere else for some free clip art - there are plenty of places out there.

The templates for the lapbook were provided by lapbooks by carisa and by making learning fun.

There were a couple things that I altered, like the Bible verse section. I took out the verse and provided an appropriate hadith. This also comes in handy when discussing zakat.

Tirmidhi / Money Lapbook

I also colored the faces of the coins:

Money Lapbook

My favorite parts were the mini-book, which gives plenty of practice with addition and learning the values of coins,

Money Lapbook

the vocabulary section, that has a hands-on spelling game,

Money Lapbook

and the pet shop game. This game asks how much each pet costs. There are various coin-sized circles at the bottom that add up to the amount on the coin. This aids in coin recognition.

Money Lapbook

It was a very cute lapbook. From start to finish it took about an hour.

Money Lapbook

Whenever I find something like this on the net, I take what I can use, leave what is not according to the Qur'an and Sunnah and add what benefits us, InshaALLAH.

Overall, it was fun to make and my daughter really likes it so we may do this again very soon!

We also had our first social studies lesson, about school (what it looks like, the importance of following rules, etc).

social studies

This is a drawing of our house. The yellow part is our classroom in the basement. The other stuff is the playground in the back. She spelled and wrote the sentence by herself.

Science was a lot of fun too. We are studying trees. It has warmed up a bit so the kids are able to get out and see trees up close for themselves. This first unit familiarizes them with the parts of a tree and their function. We did lessons one and two today.

parts of a tree