July 4, 2010

Enrichment Curricula!

Posted in 2010 Curricula, 2010-2011 Curricula at 1:57 pm by Umm Fatimah

Since I’ve been going on about our spin material as of late, I thought it worthwhile having a run through at some of the extra materials that we have. We haven’t used all of them, and rather pick and choice as and when I feel F may need some extra aid. Below is a list of what we have and what modules they fall into:

Reading/Phonics: Explode the code

Writing: WriteShop Primary A

Grammar: Grammar Land, Big Grammar Book and Daily Grammar

Spelling: Spelling Workout and maybe Sequential Spelling

Critical Thinking/Phonics/Reading: Language Smart

Maths: Singapore Maths

Science: R.E.A.L Science [Life]

History: A Child’s History of the World

What are you using and why?


May 16, 2010

A Hiccup and A Review… Vocab: Wordly Wise 3000 [Bk 2]

Posted in Review at 4:14 pm by Umm Fatimah

Asalaamu alaykum [May peace be upon you] everyone,

My last post stated that I would be doing a series of reviews of our current school curriculum, however, I did not get a chance to do so. The past week has been filled with a series of coughs and moans, as my entire house joined the rest of the country in catching one viral infection after another. Although we are better now, Alhamdulilah [All praises are due to Allah] being ill really helps you to put things into perspective.

It’s amazing how we can trot along without sometimes realising the importance of our health and how if it were to be taken away from us, how this could turn our lives up side down. For me, it reminded me once again, how I am not as thankfull as I should be for all the Blessings Allah has graciously bestowed upon my life and my family. How life is so simple, when your children are healthy, and how difficult it becomes if the slightest thing happens to them.

I remember only to well, when F was 18months and she fractured both bones in her left leg, how distraught and helpless I felt as my little baby moaned from pain all night long, and how so many other mothers sat with their ill children [some perhaps had very ill children] coomforting them the best they could. That day was the first time I felt real sorrow as I looked in to the eyes of these helpless youngsters.

Subhanallah it is a grave mistake not to be thankful for what we have, for our blessings are so many that we can rarely count them all. I ask Allah to make us thankful for his grace, and to have mercy upon us for our shortcomings. Emm before I become all tearly, I’ll get back to the issue of writing up this review:

Vocab: Wordly Wise 3000 [Bk 2]

For our Vocab this year I decided to try out Wordly Wise 3000, mainly becauce I came across supportive reviews for this program. We’ve only had the program for a couple of weeks and haven’t really had the chance to fully implement it, however, I have read through the teachers manual and skimed read some of the activities of the workbook, enough at least to give an initial view point of the books.

The Teachers Resource Book has five main categories:
* A Guide to using the wordly wise program
* Specific guidelines for book 2 lessons
* Answer key to student book exercises
* Additional review exercises and answer key
* Reproducible tests and answer key

It is stated that the purpose of this book is to provide the parent with the methods and tools that are needed to improve their students vocabulary. Does it do this? well I personally think that the teacher’s manual does a good job at introducing the teacher to the methods by which vocabulary can be increased. There is use of academic research and opinon to support their approach. These arguments are presented well and are user friendly, with tables, diagrams, and graphs to better illustrate the issues.

The manual also gives advise on teaching scheduals, explaning what to do and how to do it, somthing I found quite useful. It also explains the exercises in the workbook. There is a section dedicated to a sample lesson, further explaining to the teacher how a lesson ought to be taught to the student.

The use of the answer key, is not all that necessary at this stage as the lessons are not particulary difficult. However, the use of lesson review exercises are helpful to students, who perhaps are not yet ready to tackle exercise E is the lessons. This allows for the teacher to supplement, and to perhaps use exercise E as an enrichment exercise once the student is prepared.

The final chapter includes reproducible tests, to supplement the workbook which include an answer key. If the teacher is new to Wordly Wise I would recommend purchasing the resource book as it allows the teacher to better grasph how to implement the curriculum. Whether it would be needed in the above years maybe relative, perhaps it is fine to continue thereafter with the workbook alone.

The wordbook comprises of 15 lessons with each lesson consistsing of 5 exercises. The exercises are designed to not only aid the student in remembering the meaning of the words but also actively using them in sentences. Through these exercises, students encounter the vocabulary words in multiple ways which of aids retention.

Initially the student is introuduced to the words in a table followed by a definition coupled with a picture to support visual learning. The definitions are expressed in their different meanings for example from a noun to a verb, so that the student learns the different context within which they can be used. All in all I believe the Wordly Wise curriculum to be a good investment. My only disagreement with it is that the vocab at times seemed easy for F, who has a good range of vocabulary.

However, I brought the preceeding years to have a look through, and noticed that they do become slightly more difficult Alhamdulilah [All praises are due to Allah]. Moreover, the reading ability of the lessons in the workbook is at a good standard, as I try to get F to do the work herself, only helping her with the more difficult parts. Furthermore, the range of exercises do balance the slight easiness of the vocabulary as she practices the range of use.

A further bonus to these books is the free website that can be used by students to practice their vocabulary, it covers all the grades. It is very useful for visual learners, or perhaps when the student may seem reluctant, the interactive study of the material can boost confidence as well as likability.

Well people, all the best Insha’Allah if you choose to go with Wordly Wise 3000.

April 17, 2010

Current Read alouds

Posted in 2010 Read Alouds at 4:14 pm by Umm Fatimah

  • Little House in the Big Woods: Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • A Collection of  Just so Stories: Rudyards Kipling’s
  • Tales from Shakespere: Charles & Mary Lamb
  • The Adventures of Pinocchio: Carlo Collodi
  • Favorite Poems Old & New: Selected by Helen Ferris


Posted in 2010 Curricula at 9:46 am by Umm Fatimah

As I previously said, we are using the classical method of home education, via the advice of the Well Trained Mind. Much of the curricula that Ive recently started to use are from their recommendations. Although were only a few weeks into the program, I must say that we are very much enjoying the new found freedom that homeschooling offers.

I try to get most of the school day completed in the mornings when Fatimah is most alert. Having said that, we do at times go over to the afternoons, mainly because I have started Fatimah in a mixture of years 1 and 2. So I am trying as best as I can to move her forward so that she will be in her rightful year as soon as possible. I did this mainly, because after a few assessments I realised that she was quite behind in some areas of the curriculum.

Although her comprehension skills are very good, she does struggle some what with maths and her reading standard is not as good as I would like. With that in mind I have decided to ensure that she is well aquainted with the foundations before moving on. At first I was quite nervous about this decision because I did not want her to fall so far behind, seeming as were starting in the middle of this school year already. However, Fatimah has taken on the challenge head on and Insha’Allah [God willing] we will get there.

Our current book list:

Language Arts:  The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading. By J.Wise & S.Buffington; The Writing Road to Reading by Romalda Bishop Spalding & Expode the Code workbook 3-4 by Nancy M. Hall.

Grammer: First language Lessons levels 1&2. By J.Wise; Primary Language Lessons. By Emma Seral and Teacher’s Guide.

Writing: Writing with Ease Levels1&2 [workbooks] By S. Wise.

Spelling: Spelling Workout Level B&C. Modern Curriculum Press; Sequential Spelling level 2 AVKO Research Education Foundation. The ABC’s and All Thier Tricks [A Complete Reference Book of Phonics and Spelling] By Margaret M. Bishop

Vocabulary: Wordly Wise 3000 Book 2 2nd Edition & Teacher Guide.

Critically Thinking: Language Smarts Grades 1&2. The Critical Thinking Co.

Maths: Singapore Maths: Book 2A&B Including workbooks.

History: The story of the World Volume1 Ancient Times, Activity Books1 Acient Times, The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History and Blackline Maps of World History.

Science: Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. B.J.Nebel and DK Encyclopedia of Animals.

Arabic Language: Easy Arabic Reading…. More to come

Islamic Studies: Comming soon Insha’Allah