(20:114) ربِّ زِدْنِي عِلْماً

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Islamic Social History

I am planning to go a different route with the social studies/history curriculum in the coming school year, InshaALLAH. I used a U.S. based social studies book and workbook last year and I would rather they learn about other cultures and parts of the world right now since we live here in Canada and are exposed to the Western world every day.

I am thinking of doing small unit studies with countries that have significant Muslim populations(and not so significant in a few cases).

Here is my possible list:

1.Saudi Arabia
14.The Gambia
24.West Indies
36.China (Uighur)

We will try to get to as many as possible, InshaALLAH.

Here are some of the books that may help us along the way.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

If You Don't Follow a Curriculum

You can go here for links to lesson plans.

Mini Solar System Complete

Here it is:

Photos From Space

Lol, I know it looks crazy with all the paper clips but my daughter really likes it.

I didn't have dowels to hang the planets from so I went into the dark backyard (the bulb has blown and I didn't replace it), almost grabbed a big spider (wasn't wearing my glasses) and finally got two sticks off a pine tree.

We loosely followed the instructions from here.

We kept Pluto as a planet even though it's being called a "dwarf planet" now and we also included rings on all four planets that have them.

I think it looks better in black and white.

Monochromatic Photos From Space

Monday, July 28, 2008

Planning for Ramadan

Remember when I was talking about making some sort of Ramadan countdown? Well, I think I might have to make some gift boxes for each day InshaALLAH (for the older two) and have some sort of fun stuff inside. If it's easy and affordable, I'll let you know how it goes, InshaALLAH. I found this site for printable gift boxes.


Our mint has started sprouting a bit but I don't know if we will be successful or not.


It seems to have gotten stuck in this stage. Sabr, InshaALLAH.

My daughter is really interested in building things, particularly triangular shapes. I thought she was making a pyramid but she says it's a triangle. She says that a pyramid has golden rooms for kings and steps on the front like Chichen Itza. So I have been corrected, lol.

Not A Pyramid

We also started our mini solar system:

Rabbil-`alameen (Lord of All the Worlds)

now, they have to dry and then InshaALLAH I can hang them close to our science wall. We used white foam balls that came in a pack (about $2 CDN) from the craft section of Walmart.

The Rest of It

Since I am in the process of reorganizing the classroom, I thought I would give a peek at the rest of our space. I finally put the books in alphabetical order and added them to the bookcase.

Loaded and Ready to go

There was enough space to put our games and some of our boxed puzzles on the bottom so that helps to keep the classroom uncluttered. On top are the rest of our puzzles, the abacus and a book return bin.

Book Return Bin

My daughter can choose to read whatever she likes and when she finishes, she must bring it back to the bin and then I can put it on the shelf in the proper order.

I didn't add library cards yet but I think they are important in case she stops bringing the books back to be shelved. Without them I have no idea what is really missing until I find books buried in the sofa or under the dining table.

Outside our classroom doorway is a long hall.

Classroom Extended

The white wall is where I would like to place a bulletin board with the Qur'an verses of the week, du'a of the week, and hadith of the week for the upcoming school year, InshaALLAH. Also, I found this tree and must have it in order to teach about the family tree of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhis wa salaam)and our own family tree as well.

To the immediate left is the washroom that has our Arabic poster and English sign (this one is courtesy of former tenants). I also need to add the du'a for entering and exiting the washroom.

Al hamaam

Farther down is Qamar perched on his tree
Qamar Sleeping on His Paper Tree

and the far wall has everything for science.

Science Wall

The mats with the planets are from Walmart. They were about $1 CDN in the section with kitchen towels and table linens.

Solar System

I hope this is helpful to someone, InshaALLAH and please, if you have ideas let me know!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

How Did I Miss This?

I had one of those moments where the light bulb came on in my brain today. I searched Google for Good Word Books and they have a web site selling their books at an affordable price. Most of the books are on other sites, but they are cheaper here and they have new things that are not available elsewhere, AlhamduLILLAH.

Classroom Displays

These are classroom displays made by some very creative teachers. My mind is really going through a multitude of ideas that I will probably never have the time to accomplish!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Finally, Some Islamic Science

I'm excited to find some science materials for my daughter. Look at this sample.

There are also other books here under "Nature and Geography".

Look at This!

This will really force us to learn.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Rainy Barbecue

Hmmm what's going on?

Today we ventured out to a barbecue at a park in Mississauga. As soon as we were settled and had our food, we got stuck in a bit of a downpour!

Ready for Rain

We practiced great patience and AlhamduLILLAH the rest of the afternoon was rain free. It was overcast and cool, which is nice for me and the kids had a great time playing soccer and feeding the seagulls.

Leaving Her Behind

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Our Human Body

Super Kid

I made an outline of my daughter on brown paper and we filled the spaces with muscles, organs and bones from various places (scroll down). I couldn't find the proper-sized arms after searching for two days, so we used what we had.

Free Printable Teaching Aids

At The SparkleBox

I Like to Spy

On teachers, that is! I visit forums for teachers regularly, like at The Teacher's Corner (it's free to register). The teachers on this forum are very generous and offer lots of advice on many topics.

There are many others out there, just use Google search!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Name Those Bones

Name Those Bones

Name Those Bones II

I found some lapbook resources at homeschoolshare.com. Some are bible based but there are some valuable secular ones. Next, InshaALLAH, we might do the addition and subtraction lap books.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I Was Small, Now I'm Tall

I Was Small, Now I'm Tall

This week in science, we are discussing how the human body changes over time. My daughter wrote the sentences to accompany my drawings of her. She was given no spelling help as it's just a free writing exercise. By the way, this is the next to last chapter in the science book.

I have to say, I really like the McGraw-Hill Science series but I might go here to supplement with some unit studies. It is worth it to register with the site, even if you don't purchase anything, there are usually free unit studies offered each month.

A Leveled Book List

Here is a book list that I found. It lists books from kindergarten to sixth grade and possibly higher.

Our Homeschool Library Book List

This is the link to the list of books that I have for the new book case. There are still a lot of books here and there but this is the bulk of books from recent purchases. My daughter likes to scatter books all over the house so I think this will be a good solution, InshaALLAH.

I haven't added any Islamic story books yet, they are all in my daughter's room but I think we will be bringing them down soon. As books are added, they should update on the link, InshaALLAH.

Slowly Making Improvements

The Long View

We finally started making a few changes in the classroom this weekend. My husband had bookshelves along the wall that always got in the way and really made the room look dark, so we moved them to the back wall next to the gym equipment. I then moved the dividers in front of his shelves and along the empty wall for our daily calendar exercises.

We also got an Ikea Expedit bookcase via craigslist and saved about $25. It really makes a difference in the space.

Ikea Expedit Bookcase

I now have to organize the books and I found a free download called Libra (short for library). It is vista compatible and it enables you to enter the books via ISBN or by title and it links to Amazon. I exported it in spreadsheet form and printed it so that I could put the books on the shelf alphabetically (it will only organize by title or first name of book author).

I think InshaALLAH, I will be getting the Expedit Desk also, because I need ample storage space for my teacher's manuals and a place to store things that should be out of reach of little one's hands. Right now, I am using the small table that the kids usually use for art to hold my books.

Where My Desk Should Be

Friday, July 11, 2008

Gender Unknown

This little baby stayed in the same position the whole session, so the ultrasound technician could not determine the gender.

Mystery Baby I (kid number 4)

Mystery Baby II (kid number 4)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Exactly What I Was Looking For

AlhamduLILLAH! I was just talking to my husband the other day about finding a proper copy work book for my daughter to develop her penmanship and introduce hadith to her. I have been searching the net here and there this week and finally through Cynthia Sulaiman's Creative Outlet have found it! There is a pdf sample here. This book is for grades 2 and 3 and the next book is for grades 3 through 5.

And how could The Muslim Homeschooler not like this?

We Finally Planted Something

I went to Home Depot with my daughter the other day and we browsed the garden center. Of course, I forgot all about the sunflower mishap (they blew away)and she quickly reminded me that I said we could plant something else. So we looked around and found this:

Jiffy Greenhouse II

It's a simple greenhouse and some mint. I hope it grows into something useful because we've done this before but I think we over-watered the seedlings. This time, InshaALLAH we will be more vigilant.

The most exciting part for her was adding the water and watching the disks of soil get plump.

Soil Disks

Plump Soil

Last night my daughter and I stayed up way too late making sweet potato pies. She really had a good time mashing the potatoes and pouring in the ingredients.

We Made Pie

By the time we finished, we were too tired to taste them, especially since you have to wait for them to cool. My mother-in-law had a taste and said they were good. I got the recipe from here. Like others who rated the recipe, we used 1/2 the amount of sugar and for the other 1/2, we used brown sugar. Also, to make the pie mixture a little thicker, I added two tablespoons of flour.

We finished our chapter on ponds today by talking about the food chain of pond animals. We made another page for our science journal too.

Top of the Food Chain, Y'all

Here is an interactive food chain activity that you can try.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

This is My Daughter's Reading Level

Not bad for a four year old, eh? She couldn't read the word "enormous" without help, but everything else was fine, AlhamduLILLAH.

How To Set Up Your Library

Scholastic has an article called Creating Your Own Classroom Library: Set-up. The article is based on Your Classroom Library: New Ways to Give it More Teaching Power, by D. Ray Reutzel and Parker C. Fawson

It even gives tips for effective library set ups and classroom organization.

Wrapping up Science

We are almost finished with our science book, AlhamudLILLAH. We have three chapters left and then we can focus on finishing our social studies, math and phonics, InshaALLAH. My goal is to complete this school year by the end of October, InshaALLAH. That way, we can focus on our new schedule and prepare for the baby, InshaALLAH.

Today we discussed ponds and learned some new vocabulary, (habitat, nonliving things, definition of a pond). We made a new page for our science journal to show the different inhabitants of a pond.

Pond Habitat

Now, I have to convince my husband to let us have an aquarium in the classroom and we'll really have some fun!

Saturday, July 5, 2008


I got in touch with the person from Craigslist who is giving away textbooks for donations to their library. It's a church school so I don't know if they are secular or Christian books....

Friday, July 4, 2008

Calendar Ideas for Primary Students

Farhana was asking me what we do with our calendar. My daughter has learned the days of the week and knows how to say the date properly. She reads them and recites them every day and then we do a weather chart in our book. I think it would help if all of this were visible on a constant basis, so I am thinking of setting up a bulletin board with everything in our classroom hallway. Ours is pretty large and I may scale it down a bit or buy a pocket chart of some sort just to conserve space. Here are some ideas for you at teachingheart.net.

I would like to set up some sort of Ramadan countdown to Eid chart, like this Ramadan Advent Calendar.

There's also the Islamic Calendar at Yemen Links.

InshaALLAH this helps!

Elementary/Middle School Books

If you are near Etobicoke, there is an ad on Craigslist for books...they just ask for a donation to their library. The link is here.

Are These Groups Still Around?

I was wondering if anyone knows if these groups are still around:

The Home Educated Muslims

Toronto Muslim Homeschoolers

and Al-Manar Homeschoolers Foundation

I've emailed them and if I get a response, I will keep you posted, InshaALLAH.

Okay, so here's what I'm thinking

Four chairs from here in the blue-green; a table from Staples - one that folds and can get out of the way if we need the floor,and bookshelves from...I don't know! I just want this one but I don't want to spend so much on it.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Keep it Balanced

Today was an interesting home school adventure. I had all three children in the classroom while my mother-in-law went to the library. We don't normally keep my youngest in the classroom because she likes to explore all of the areas that I haven't toddler-proofed. For instance, as soon as we got settled in the room, she grabbed paint and put it in her mouth, (we were painting while she napped and she came into the room before I could put it away). She's pretty quick but it's nontoxic paint, alhamduLILLAH. She really likes clay, so I let them make various things with it and they wanted to show it off:

Look at what we made

We explored the concept of heavy versus light and used the balance. I put various foods into plastic sandwich bags and we compared them to one another. They liked this a lot and learned that bigger is not always heavier. We also discussed solids, liquids, and gases and whether or not we could measure their mass.

Keep it Balanced

I finally laminated some numbers so that we could use them on the divider and make a large room calendar. Of course, I forgot to make one for the year and I didn't realize that the days of the week are on winter hats. Oh well. I also need to do an Arabic set for the Islamic calendar. The numbers are also a good way to help my son recognize them and to count them.

Reworking the Number Wall

We are slowly changing the classroom around a bit to accommodate the addition of my son into our space and to give them ample room for books,projects, and whatever else we do. Teacher's manuals are pretty big sometimes, so I am bringing my desk downstairs, (okay, my husband will be doing that)so that I don't get in their way. Right now, everything is cramped because we have my husband's bookshelves on the wrong wall and we need shelves for the kid's library. We visited Value Village and got so many good books. If you buy four books, you get one free, so we really loaded up.

More Books

There were lots of games, especially the memory game and we bought them all. My daughter loves playing the memory game and I figured we better get whatever they had in case the cards start to go missing.


We also found this nice little plastic crayon bank for about twenty-five cents. We will use it for spare change and money that we find outside for zakat, InshaALLAH. My daughter is very concerned about the poor getting enough to eat, subhanALLAH.

Zakat Bank

One book that I really like is The Human Body book. It is a pop up book and it's so interesting to see all of the different parts. My daughter is particularly fascinated with it and spends lots of time looking at it. My mother-in-law was not too thrilled about it, she says it's a little scary, lol.

Books Again

Inside the Human Body Book

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Science Kits Here

Mastermind Educational Children's Toys has an assortment of science kits and labs available. If you are in Canada, shipping is free for orders $75 and over. In the U.S., there is flat rate shipping of $5 for orders over $75.

This site has just about anything you need for homeschool science kits - even forensics!

is the Canadian site and the International link.