(20:114) ربِّ زِدْنِي عِلْماً

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I'm Back

The kids and I have been under the weather for a few days and I'm just now starting to feel better. I'm still a ways from 100% but alhamduLILLAH I think the worst has passed, InshaALLAH.

We skipped a day of planned lessons but we still managed to be productive in other ways. In spite of sickness, I've been printing and laminating here and there and gathering materials for file folder games. I'm hoping that I can get a handful of them ready for next week, InshaALLAH to keep my two year old busy.

I checked out a book called Hands-On Ancient People (Volume I) and we have used it for a couple of projects. I don't really feel right recommending it because there are some obviously haram projects in the book (it has art activities for Mesopotamia and Egypt and some so-called Islamic projects that are cultural, not Islamic). I plan to scan the pages that have some value and take it back to the library.

One of the projects we did was a paper chain with the templates from the back of the book.


I might make one more to hang as a banner for the Ramadan sign I have yet to make, InshaALLAH.

We also made mini prayer rugs today. The kids either drew their own designs on the center or glued a picture. I opted for a picture :)

Prayer Rug

Prayer Rug

Prayer Rug

Prayer Rug

One of the books that I purchased at the thrift store a few weeks back is Stuart Little by E.B. White.

It's a chapter book with 15 chapters, about 130 pages. My daughter read this by herself, mashaALLAH and she narrated the story as she finished each chapter. It took her about a week and a half. I gave her a book report form - I think it's from Donna Young in the beginner's book report section.

First Book Report

I pretty sure that I want to stay with the story a little longer rather than rushing to the next book, although she's eager to read something else. Maybe I will give her something separate to read as we continue to analyze this one, InshaALLAH.

I also grabbed some composition books from the dollar store so that we can begin some creative writing exercises.

Dollar Store Composition Book

I printed some writing prompts from another blog and cut them into strips. Each day, she chooses one and then glues it to the top of the page. Then, she writes a paragraph or so and I read it later. This is just for practice. I don't check the grammar but I might give some feedback to encourage her to stretch her imagination. Hmmm, and maybe I will add some Islamic topics as we go along with our Islamic studies, InshaALLAH.

Writing Exercises

We also added in a bit of Montessori math strategies from Montessori Materials to help my oldest review her addition tables. We're about to start multiplication and division and I want to make sure she doesn't forget what she's learned. I stapled some blank paper between construction paper and made a little booklet of math facts. She did the whole thing fairly quickly and didn't really use the table, so I feel confident that she knows these, alhamduLILLAH.


We're also keeping up with our Arabic numerals (Hindi)by using these cards from Yemen Links. I really like the idea of the Arabic rummy because it makes her think about the order number. Very clever, mashaALLAH.

Arabic Number Rummy

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Poor Man's Continent Map

Check out Montesecrets for a cheaper alternative to the traditional Montessori continent map.

Ramadan Mubarak, Ramadan Kareem

Saturday, August 22, 2009

File Folder Game Tutorial

If you like file folder games, Mrs Estupinan has a tutorial for creating a pouch file folder.


CNE Gate

This is the 175th anniversary of the Canadian National Exhibition.


We decided to take the kids on opening day (Friday) since the tickets were $1.75 (big mistake, lol). It was so crowded! Not that I expected anything less but my goodness! I don't think I'll ever go on opening day again.

Still, the kids had fun (looking at the animals and seeing the rides and games),and that was the most important thing - especially since their uncle and auntie came with their new baby.


Big ole cows


Farm Animals and Ostriches?

The CNE is one of the last big events of the summer; This year, the kids definitely had an eventful summer with most of the people that they know and love.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

100 Sites to Buy and Sell Books

Here's a list of places to get the books that you need or get rid of the ones that you don't want :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Learning To Read

My son is doing well with his lessons, mashaALLAH. I am using the Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and so far he likes it. He's not quite ready to begin writing so I am showing him how to form letters with sand on a tray.

Sand Writer

It's a bit messy but he likes it anyway. Also, I make words with the few letters that he knows and I ask him to read them by sounding out the words or I ask him to identify the letters by sound (i.e. "Show me the letter that sounds like mmmmm).

Sounds like mmmmmmm

We also still have the other tree on the wall. I decided to take down the rain forest animals (finally) and add the alphabet. I will probably just have him find the letters that he knows by pointing them out (with the meter stick) and tell me the sounds. I think that I will add some acorns to the bottom with the capital letters on them.

Our Alphabet Tree

He's also doing well with his math.

Singapore Math K Book A

Sometimes I let him work with his dad just to take the pressure off of me. It's different and he learns to adjust to different styles of teaching.

Learning With Dad

Week in Review

Last week was busy, mashaALLAH. In fact, it will probably feel very busy around here for the next month since Ramadan is on the way, InshaALLAH.

We've been doing a lot more work in a shorter period of time and so far, so good, AlhamduLILLAH. My daughter likes the shorter sessions but she sometimes wants more to do, lol. This weekend, she did extra work so now she's a bit ahead.

Last week, we finished our plant growing section. We learned about growing food and what it takes to make the cereal that we eat.

From the Fields to the Table

We also finished our plant growing experiments. We discovered that our plants will not grow if they are missing one of the key components (air, light or moisture). We filled a jar with water and beans and then waited a couple of days to note the changes, if any.

Discovering Why They Didnt Grow

I knew they were going to stink, lol but for the sake of learning, I asked her how they smelled. You can see from her expression that they did not have a pleasant smell.

Sinky Experiment

We also kept track of the other beans that we laid on a moist paper towel inside a plastic bag.

Ready to Transfer

MashaALLAH, those beans are doing well and we have added soil to a small jar to nourish them.


She is very proud of them and is treating them like her new pets (we released the snails a few days ago).

Growing Like A... Bean

We also began notebooking for our Islamic Studies.

Islamic Studies Notebooking

We are using the notebooking binder pages from Talibiddeen Jr. along with our Stories of the World books by Safia Iqbal.

Our second lesson was on the early men and clues of them left behind by archaeologists. Of course, we also learned that the biggest clues about how people lived is found in the Qur'an.

We also attempted to make tools by using twine, sticks and rocks.

Tools of The Early Men

Tools of The Early Men

Early Men

We're also learning about implementing Islam outside the home and the importance of being a good Muslim no matter where you are.

Following Islam Away From Home

When it was all over, my daughter put together an Arabic alphabet puzzle that we bought her last year for Eid. We were so busy after having the baby that she never got a chance to open it!

Arabic Alphabet Zoo Puzzle

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Have You Seen The Islamic Will Calculator?

It's right here.

More Toddler Activities

We've been really busy for the past two weeks and I'm searching high and low for ideas that my toddler can use. There are a lot of moms out there with really good ideas but the problem right now is time. I spend time taking care of the home, teaching, tending to the baby (and everyone else)and I'm trying to consistently workout (20 lbs gone, mashaALLAH), so when am I going to find time to implement these good ideas?

I've been a little busy here and there, doing things in spurts since there is no way that I could get a whole project completed. LOL, sometimes, I can't even complete a thought without interruption. There's always someone who needs something, subhanALLAH.

My children like puzzles a lot. They have quite a few but I know that they get bored doing the same ones over and over. My sister in law gave me a 500 piece puzzle a couple of weeks ago (imagine how horrible it would be to let my toddler open the box, lol). I can see it now; puzzle pieces in the sofa, under the dining table, and all over the floor. For now, I'm hanging onto it.

I found some pictures via Google Images then printed, laminated and cut them out so that we have some handmade puzzles.
From time to time, I read a blog called Chasing Cheerios and I think it was she who inspired me to do this.

Homemade Puzzles

She likes the vivid colors and the animals so I hope that she doesn't get bored soon. I might rotate them every so often and actually, it just occurred to me that I can make them with the Arabic alphabet or a du'a for my older kids, AlhamduLILLAH.

My oldest daughter used to be obsessed with tangrams when we started Saxon Math and so I have these various little shapes in our math supply box.

Saxon Phonics

I found some printable tangrams from abc teach and then I cut them out and laminated them. I also punched a hole in the corner and added a ring so that they would be easy to flip through.

Mini Tangrams

We haven't used them yet but I hope that she likes them, InshaALLAH.

I also made some lacing cards for her. A couple were printed from a website (I cannot remember where I got them) and then I decided to make some from a box that I had lying around.

Lacing Cards

Handmade Lacing Cards

Doesn't the tire look flat on the truck?

I'm also considering the purchase of Preschool Activities In A Bag, which sounds like a real asset to have according to a few folks that have recommended it. I can certainly see the value of having ready and assembled activities on hand for a busy, distracted child. If I get it, I'll let you know how it is, InshaALLAH.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How To Keep A Science Notebook

Tips for keeping a science notebook, table of contents, labs, etc.

Oops, I Forgot

To add our art project from last Friday. We tried the glue resist dinosaur from That Artist Woman's blog. We didn't have the proper tempura paints on hand so we used our acrylic paints. It slipped my mind to fill in the facial bones and since it was a trial, we didn't worry about it. Still, I like it and I think my daughter did a good job. We have a couple more waiting to be painted, so I'll try it with the tempura paints and see how they turn out, InshaALLAH.

Glue resist dinosaur

Glue resist dinosaur

Glue resist dinosaur

Glue Resist Dinosaur

Adding New Components Such As Notebooking

As she gets older, my daughter is able to retain more information and she's able to grasp more difficult concepts, but I don't want her to just soak up knowledge from a book and not apply the knowledge. She likes to be involved in her lessons rather than just sitting at a table all day, so I try to think of projects for her that are fun and relevant to the lessons.

I recently stumbled upon a blog called Science Notebooking and now of course my mind is racing with ideas that I have no time to work on (but I will, lol). Homeschooling is a constantly evolving, never static process. I learned long ago not to fear changing or adding to our agenda. If it's beneficial, why not? We used to do a bit of notebooking so I am familiar with it.

Her Science Notebook

We are using a science book that needs to be printed and put into a binder anyway, so I thought that I would try to make it as interesting as possible while allowing her to create her own book of science along the way.

Beans in Jar Science Experiment

The first few chapters in her book are about plants and seeds and germination. She's thrilled to do anything that involves seeds so she's having lots of fun with this.


There are lots of ways to personalize your binder/notebook. I thought of using a composition book like the teacher at Science Notebooking but I decided to stick with the binder since we have to print out the lessons. It would be too much work to properly size the worksheets and then glue them into the composition book.

I also plan to add some pages for our nature studies/walks. I found lots of notebooking pages for science all over the net, like these and these.

We're also working on a small, handwritten glossary but I didn't get a picture of it yet.

Up next, InshaALLAH, toddler activities.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Muslim Heritage Day

AlhamduLILLAH, my husband managed to get free tickets for Ontario Place, so we took the family today.

Muslim Heritage Day

We had a great time and managed to spend a few hours unwinding before the thunderstorms came crashing in, subhanALLAH. I didn't take the big camera (didn't feel like carrying it), so of course my little point and shoot photos were pretty blurry. Oh well, here are the best ones:

Muslim Heritage Day

Ontario Place

Muslim Heritage Day

Free Fall

Free Falling