(20:114) ربِّ زِدْنِي عِلْماً

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Little Fun Outside

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We've been skipping school a little bit (mostly because we've had colds). Still, we decided that we wouldn't let a few sneezes and sniffles hold us back and we ventured outside across the frozen playground to partake in some good old fashioned slipping (me) and sliding (them).

There was a lot of this going on too:

Yup. They still have volcano fever.

My youngest couldn't figure out how to maneuver

so she just gave up.

 **Edit - I fixed the video at the top (I hope, InshaALLAH).
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How To Be A Modern Ansar

This week (and a little bit of last week), we've been discussing what it means to be forced from your home due to circumstances out of your control. What it means to flee and leave behind everything and start fresh with nothing.

Last week, I introduced the concept of keeping track of history on paper in a time-line in conjunction with our seerah lessons.

We're also using the timeline display from LearningRoots.com as a visual. It is certainly easy to make your own, but I wasn't inspired to do so, lol.

Right now, we are discussing the 1st and 2nd pledges of 'Aqabah, and the eventual migration to Madinah. Some questions that I asked were:
1. Can you imagine that the community around us has cut us off and now we can't get to the store to buy food and we cannot eat? Or that we are refused service when we need something? What if our mail is no longer delivered or our landlord kicks us out because we are Muslim?

2. Where would we go? Do we know someone who would be willing to let us go and stay with them? Would they be willing to give us clothes, food and shelter? Toys?

 3. Would it be easy to leave everything that you have and travel to a new city where you do not know anyone? Would it be easy to leave your family behind?

 4. If you are the people who are welcoming strangers into your home, would it be easy for you to give up half of your food, clothing and shelter? Could you give a kid that you do not know half of your things? Would it be easy?

 I am trying to help them grasp the concept of selflessness when it comes to other Muslims and understand that sometimes we have an abundance of material wealth thanks to ALLAH and that it would not hurt us to give some of that wealth to our brothers and sisters who are in need. This lead us to our next geography page which we linked to the story of the Prophet Nuh, alayhi salaam, and a simple art project.

We've completed a page for Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, India, and now, Pakistan.

What does Pakistan have to do with the Ansar? Well, since we've completed volcanoes, up next is floods. The people of Pakistan have really been suffering due to floods and I thought it was a prime opportunity to discuss ways to contribute and how we can be examples of compassion as the Ansar of Madinah were.  Imagine that you (gratefully) receive packets of food, shoes and socks for Eid? That you worry about having fresh water? What about wudu and salat? Is there anywhere to pray? Do you know what to do in this situation?

Of course, after discussing floods, I had to discuss Nuh, alayhi salaam. I found an art project online that seemed simple enough and I made just the tiniest of modifications to it. It was a hit with my two middle children, my eldest is being lazy and hasn't put hers together yet, lol. The bottom plate has a slit cut into it and the top plate is cut in half and I stapled the halves together since they didn't have the patience of waiting for glue to dry. I also stapled a piece of craft foam shaped like a cabin to the top and then placed the animals around the top. Just a few animals go a long way since there's not much room.

An important concept that we discussed is loving ALLAH more than you love anyone else, including your family. We tried to imagine how hard it must have been for Prophet Nuh, alayhi salaam, to watch as his son and his wife turned their backs on him. Our instincts may have told us, even after all this time, to attempt to save them, run after them or plead with them one last time. After all, they are family, right? Instead, Prophet Nuh, alayhi salaam, had the strength and wisdom given by ALLAH to shut the door and follow the commands of his Lord.

36. And it was inspired to Nûh (Noah): "None of your people will believe except those who have believed already. So be not sad because of what they used to do.
37. "And construct the ship under Our Eyes and with Our Inspiration, and address Me not on behalf of those who did wrong; they are surely to be drowned." (11: 36-37)

Arabic Lessons

MashaALLAH, the kids are doing well with their Arabic lessons but I think that we are just a tiny bit behind schedule. We tend to get into it for a time and then back off, sort of a tug of war with our attention span. I wonder if this is from laziness or from being overly enthusiastic? Hmm, I think that maybe I need to actually write down some goals and milestones so that we can stay on track.

We are still using the same textbook but our lessons are mostly oral and role-playing. They like that a lot. It gets them out of their seats and they can be a little silly while still learning.

A big asset to our Arabic program is the Arabian Sinbad series.

This was an Eid gift from my mom and I must say that I am impressed with it. You can see free samples on Youtube or take a look on their website if you're interested.

There are nine different DVDs but so far we have only watched two. I told them that they have to learn all of the vocabulary on the discs before they can watch the others. Also, we are still using Rosetta Stone's homeschool Arabic and I find that our programs are great complements of one another.

In other news, we have completed 35 of the 99 Names and Attributes of ALLAH, AlhamduLILLAH. I am proud of their progress. I was pushing for them to learn 15 a week and they probably could, but I now I just add 5 every week and have my eldest recite them from memory at the start of class and write them from memory onto paper at the end of class every day.

Now, if we could only finish Suratul Fajr. Make du'a, InshaALLAH.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Muslim Homeschooler Erupts

The volcano was a success! I didn't really think it would go so smoothly but it was great. The baby was sleeping, AlhamduLILLAH and was just waking after we finished. We used baking soda, a couple of drops of dish-washing liquid, glitter, yellow food coloring (was out of red), tape, felt, Play-doh, a pizza box, a jar, wads of paper to hold the jar steady, green paper, poster board for the mountain, and roses, lol. Notice the goggles? My daughter didn't want the lava to get into her eyes.

Working Hard to Reach A Goal (long post, sorry)

A few weeks ago, my original plan was to learn 15 names a week until we reached the full 99 Names and Attributes of ALLAH, but I've revised it. Since Eid was coming, we sort of took a break after the first seven and then started up strong at the end of last week. What we are doing instead is reciting what we know from the previous day, learning five more, reciting again with the five new names (until they are said with confidence and accuracy), and then writing them down. This is much faster and it's a lot easier than I anticipated. She is writing down the transliteration and I'm not worried about the spelling. She now knows 25 names, MashaALLAH.

"Toy Story 3" was shown at the CNE on Eid ul Adha. The kids can't stop talking about it so it has been on my mind, lol. As she gets older, my daughter is noticing that her writing assignments are getting longer and she's not liking that very much. We've been discussing how to better improve her writing because I find it is lagging behind her reading ability and she's also being a little lazy. I came across a lens on squidoo about sentence patterns and thought it might be suitable for what we are trying to achieve. I don't recall discussing sentence patterns at such a young age but I figure it will help her to convey her thoughts more fluidly.

This assignment was stretched out over a whole week - don't try to do it all at once or they will be really cranky with you, lol. First, we discussed the movie and I asked her to sum it up in short sentences or phrases, as if she were giving a synopsis to someone who wasn't going to watch the movie but wanted to know what happened. Kind of like a mini-spoiler. (By the way, if you're going to see it and don't want to know what happens, don't read her paper). Next, she rewrote the sentences using the rules of the sentence patterns. Third, she reread the paper and attempted to edit her mistakes. This was her first time doing this on her own, so I was lenient. Lastly, she rewrote the paper,(the cursive was her idea - she hasn't had formal lessons yet but she likes to do it anyway).

Next up, InshaALLAH, I want to take a look at this book, because I have heard that it's really handy to have around the house:

This is the student edition. I purchased it used on Amazon. The only thing that I paid was shipping because I used a gift card, but it runs about $10 or so.

My son is going along nicely with his reading and writing, AlhamduLILLAH and I may be placing a lot more emphasis on his reading in the coming days because he's itching to get at his big sister's books, InshaALLAH.  His math is pretty good too. He's a lot quicker with his daily math drills than his sister was at his age and I am grateful for that! He likes to get into the classroom, do his work and leave. My kind of guy!

 This week, he's been learning about weights and measures and the doubles math facts from 0+0 all the way up to 10+10. He can recall them without any effort, MashaALLAH and he was so proud to have his paper displayed in our hall:

We're also discussing climates and natural disasters for geography and earth science. We've been watching volcanoes explode on the National Geographic website. There's even a little interactive section where you can create the perfect conditions and see a simulation of the natural disaster that you created. We also wrote a little about them and read about them using the Magic School Bus series.

If you are interested in the series, take a look on Ebay. We purchased ours over the summer for about $20 from a local seller.

We also read a bit about the climates of deserts and read a tiny bit about dromedaries in the Handbook of Nature Study and a few other sources that we have lying around. I also have to be brave tomorrow and let the children try their hands at making a volcano, InshaALLAH. I promised, lol so there's no backing out. We just have to keep the baby from eating it.

I think that we will cover earthquakes and Surah Al- Zalzalah ,(the earthquake), InshaALLAH. Also, we will jump over to Pakistan and discuss the floods. I hadn't planned to go to Pakistan yet, but since we are studying the Ansar of Madinah, we can talk about ways to help our fellow Muslims in Pakistan as a current events example.

If you're in Canada, you may be able to find this at your local Dollarama store - it was worth that dollar, believe me.

Also next week, in the Western Sunrise series, InshaALLAH: the people who were sent invitations to Islam, i.e. the Persia,Rome, Syria, etc. with quick geography lessons. وكيف نفعل مع اللغة العربية؟ (And how are we doing with Arabic?) 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Time to Start Salat

When I started homeschooling, my biggest fear was teaching my daughter to read. I often wondered if I would be successful and if I could pull it off. I mean, what if I couldn't convey the message to her properly? Would she fall behind?

Now, I look back and laugh to myself because I was so frantic. And just when I've gotten comfortable,I realize that I now have an even greater obligation. My daughter will turn seven very soon, InshaALLAH and I hope to prepare her for salat. She has joined me as I pray on rare occasions, but now, I want to gently nudge her along, hoping that the act of salat will soon become a natural addition to her day and that she feels inclined to show her obedience and love for ALLAH on her own, InshaALLAH.

I've started using the lessons from Talibiddeen Jr because MashaALLAH, it's all there and it's organized and it saves me time. We're doing a little copywork here and there and discussing the various positions, times, conditions, etc.

InshaALLAH, I also plan to show her the dvd Pray As You Have Seen Me Pray. 

Mommy Needs to Learn Too

InshaALLAH I am making an effort to keep up with my Islamic learning. This is quite a feat while homeschooling, studying Arabic, housework (cough, cough) and other demands like exercise. Yes, exercise too, lol. I sometimes wonder how it can all be done. Not everything gets done, but AlhamduLILLAH, some things do.

I am keeping several notebooks at the moment. I don't like binders for myself, but I love using composition notebooks and I have a few spiral-bound notebooks on hand as well. 

Right now, I'm slowly working my way through Bulugh Al-Maram and when I find the time,(SubhanALLAH, there is time but I have to stop finding distractions), Al Arabia Bain Yadaik - Arabic Between Your Hands, level 1. I try to get my husband to participate because my reading aloud is painfully slow, but I think it's probably hard for him to help (because my reading aloud is painfully slow, lol).

I would also like to tackle the Qur'an commentary whilst reading the entire Qur'an over the course of the next year because honestly, this isn't something that I've done before. I've started this only because my daughter is learning Qur'an and it motivates me to learn more as well. Do you have a schedule for the Qur'an reading, and how much do you read each day? Do you read in Arabic/English/other only or with a commentary? Are you memorizing as you go along?

A Very Nice Eid, AlhamduLILLAH

As usual, we have had nothing to complain about, AlhamduLILLAH because ALLAH (subhanahu wa ta'ala) has given us what we've asked for and more.

The children had an excellent time at the Eid prayer that was held at the CNE downtown and mashaALLAH, I think we were all completely exhausted when we got home. There were rides and food and games and a petting zoo as well. I didn't bring my camera but my sister-in-law had hers and made me take a few. They are the fuzziest, blurriest memories, but at least we have them, lol.

Monday, November 15, 2010

May you and your families have a safe and happy Eid (AMEEN).

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Western Sunrise Part I: The First Hijrah to Al Habasha

*The extensive subject matter is courtesy of the notes taken from the lecture of Shaykh Abdullah Hakim Quick's Western Sunrise course held at Al Maghrib Institute*

(My notes): Any mistakes are surely mine without the intention of doing so, and May ALLAH forgive me, AMEEN.

The Quraish of Makkah persecuted the Muslims, which led to the migration of 12 male and 4 female Sahabah, including 'Uthman ibn Affan and Ruqayyah bin Muhammad (SalALLAHU 'Alayhi Wa Sallam) to Al Habasha in order to seek asylum. Travel during this time was an arduous task,therefore, the number of muhajiroon was small.

This was the first hijrah (religious migration) of the Muslims.

The Prophet (SalALLAHU 'Alayhi Wa Sallam) said, "If you go to Abyssinia it would be better for you, for in it there is a King who will not tolerate oppression. It is a land of truth. Go until such time as ALLAH shall relieve you from your distress." (Ahmad)

The Muslims lived in Al Habasha/Abyssinia (Ethiopia) for a short time when they received word that the Quraish had converted to Islam. The muhajiroon returned to Makkah upon hearing the good news. Unfortunately, all was not as they hoped. 

The Prophet of ALLAH (SalALLAHU 'Alayhi Wa Sallam) had recited Surah An-Najm, and the Quraish who were in his presence were overcome by the beauty of ALLAH's words, so they prostrated towards the Ka'bah. The polytheists of Makkah ostracized those Quraish who had been affected by ALLAH's words, and the Muslims were in a worse state of oppression than before.

The second hijrah consisted of 83 men and 19 women and was led by Ja'far ibn Abi Talib (Radi-Allahu anhu). The Muslims appealed to the kindness of the Emperor of Axum, As'hamah.

This time, the Quraish sent their own delegates who used bribery and deceit as their tools to convince the emperor to return the Muslims to Makkah.

Ja'far ibn Abi Talib (Radi-Allahu anhu) recited Surah Maryam, causing the emperor and his court to weep. Hearing truth in the words of ALLAH, Emperor As'hamah An-Najaashi granted the Muslims refuge and full protection in his lands.

The Prophet Muhammad (SalALLAHU 'Alayhi Wa Sallam) sent a letter to An-Najaashi, inviting him to Islam. An-Najaashi secretly accepted. As'hamah then sent his son Armah and 60 riders to Madinah announcing his conversion, but none survived, perishing in the Red Sea.

An-Najaashi died as a Muslim and the Prophet (SalALLAHU 'Alayhi Wa Sallam) made Janazah prayer for him in absentia.The following was revealed in response to criticism of the Janazah:

"And there is certainly, among the People of the Book those who believe in ALLAH, in the revelation to you, and in the revelation to them, bowing in humility to ALLAH: They will not sell the signs of ALLAH for a miserable gain! For them is a reward with their Lord, and ALLAH is swift in account" (Surah Al -'Imran: 199).

Fifteen Sahaba died during the Hijrah to Al Habasha. An-Najaashi is buried in Negash, Tigray Province with some of them.

Some of the recorded Abyssinian Male Companions of the Prophet (SalALLAHU 'Alayhi Wa Sallam):
Sayyidana Bilal ibn Rabah
Khalid ibn Rabah (Bilal's brother)
Manhaj al Habashi
Shuqran al Habashi
Abu Bakrah al Habashi
Dhu Makhmar al Habashi
Aslam al Habashi

Abraha ibn Sabah
Abraha ibn Fathoon
Ayman and Anjasha al Habashi

Female companions:
Umm Ayman  [Barakah (dry nurse of the Prophet - SalALLAHU 'Alayhi Wa Sallam)]
Barakah, the servant of Umm Habeebah
Ghafeerah bin Rabah (sister of Bilal)
Nab'ah Al Habashiyyah

***32 Abyssinians migrated to Madinah with Ja'far ibn Abi Taalib.

Links for more information, InshaALLAH:

See Islam in Ethiopia

See the Muslims of A. Davey's "The Streets of Harar, Ethiopia" set

We used this map to trace onto our notebooking page.

Free notebooking pages 

The Muslims of A. Davey's "Streets of Harar, Ethiopia" Photostream

Info on Ethiopia found here, here, here and here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

File Folder Games

I've made a few more file folder games in the last few weeks. Go to A Muslim Child is Born and take a look at her file folder games. They are excellent for those learning to count in Arabic.

There are also various free games all over net and if you feel creative, you can make your own. They can be as simple or as complicated as you wish and file folder games are excellent supplements to your homeschool.

This one was supposed to be a bit more involved but instead of cutting the robots into smaller pieces, I simply attached the pages to a folder with brads.