August 29, 2010

Two days and counting…

Posted in Uncategorised, Weakly update at 5:07 pm by Umm Fatimah

A few days till we start school- Yaay!! We haven’t been doing much school work in the past month since I’ve had my head glued to my text books, preparing for exams and more or less have had F reading every day. However, she has managed to get through quite a few books in that time which is great. I’m noticing huge improvements in her fluency and confidenceJ. Her interest in reading is also developing, which I am very pleased about.  She does not doubt herself anymore when I assign books that maybe a little more challenging, have longer chapters or generally a thicker book.

Great timing really because this coming term I am hoping to really concentrates on her writing. We have quite a lot of work to get through, so hopefully we’re on the right track. I’ve spent some time looking through different reading lists for grades 2/3 and 4 to give her a variety of text to read from which has been a real help actually so we will continue with this system of choosing. I’m hoping to set up a column with our reading lists, which I’m hoping to get round to pretty soon, so stay posted.

At the moment I’m bogged down with doing our daily planning. I’ve managed to write up a table of what work I hope to cover on a monthly basis up to December, then I’ve broken down the subjects to identify how this can actually be done, on a weekly basis, all that is left is to complete the daily lesson plans, for this term which is turning into a task in itself.  I’ve never been the kind of person who obsesses about schedules and deadlines, well maybe the deadline part lol. So I’m seeing what a chore it is, however at the same time, looking at our daily plans really helps to put into prospective what you want to cover and whether you really can fit it all in.

Additionally it gives an opportunity to glance at how your child will develop be it academically or otherwise, which is great!! We just have to stick to it like glue!  I’m very excited about starting school again, not only because I’m hoping to complete some of our previous materials and starting others but also because I won’t be studying in September as I hope my degree will now be over [still waiting on results. So I can concentrate 100% on F and her work- I’m sure in many ways I will be learning along with her 🙂

If you remember correctly F was taking a summer course on Quranic Phonics. She will have her last lesson tomorrow which will mark the ending of their level 1 and 2 Quran program. She has done very well with this course.  Alhamdulilah she has managed to retain all the tuition and can happily tell you all the rules that she has learnt so far. She is very pleased mostly with being able to pick up the Mushaaf to read it on her own [perhaps with very minimal help].They have just been reading surah Baqrah for practice and she seems to be doing pretty well. All she needs now is plenty of practice on a regular basis.

Insha’Allah my aim for this year, is to start her over again with Juz-Ama and to have her sound out each surah a number of times with the Mushaaf and without, this will reinforce correct pronunciation as well as improving accuracy. Her fluency Insha’Allah will follow naturally with the practice so no worries there. So our general aim for now is to complete 3 surahs a week with perfect pronunciation Insha’Allah. If we follow this plan we should finish some time in spring which would be great. I ask Allah to make it easy for her, and to bless her heart with the beauty of that which she will learn Ameen.

Well I ought to be getting back to my planning so that’s all for now.

July 14, 2010

Last week and a little of this one.

Posted in Weakly update at 12:11 pm by Umm Fatimah

We’ve had a pretty relaxed week, taking things slowly and not living by the schedual as much as I’d hoped. To be honest I’m not really a schedual type of gal so this was always going to be a bit of a strech for me. Nonetheless we did meet most of our targets at the end of the week.

Firstly we managed to get through AAS1 and are soon to start AAS2 next week Insha’Allah. I am hoping to do a quick review this week of SWO B so that we can get a move on with this also and have it finished by the summer Insha’allah. We wont work on it as often as AAS1 so Insha’Allah that will strech out for the summer. Although AAS1 was pretty easy 99% of the time, it allowed for us to have a gental introduction to the program, so that F is now comfortable with it and is very much looking forward to the next stage Insha’Allah. We were also able to pick a few new rules that we hadn’t covered before, for example the difference between having a K or a ck at the end of a word. I didn’t even know the ‘why’ myself! aint it weired how your just know what looks right, or rather how it is spelled but don’t have a clue about the rule? Alhamdulilah I can foresee that I will relearn alot whilst homeschooling F 🙂

We didn’t cover much on the Maths front, and have decided that this week we will do some review work insted of moving on. Insha’Allah it will give F some free time to really absorb most of the information she has been learning. We were really excited to have RSM delivered yesterday morning. I have been having a sneak peek and all the manipulatives look really cool. Baby K was most excited to get her hands on things Masha’Allah :-). I made a quick comparision last night between the two programs, and am wondering how I will enable F to maintain alot of the principles that she would have learnt in Beta [MUS], perhaps I will have to make some enrichment material for her just to keep her on her toes. Over all we’re all very excited about starting RSM in september Insha’Allah.

We’re still reading through OPG and some times feel a little surprised at how quickly F is able to apply the rules she learns. Masha’Allah her reading is really coming along now which I am very pleased with. I recently brought her a reward chart and a load of stickers to help encourage her in her reading. It seems to be changing her attitude some what as she looks forward to picking her stickers. Perhaps at the end of each week I will reward her with doing an activity of her choice twice in the week. This way she will not only get to look forward to our activities but hopfully the promise of more will motivate her to make a consious effort in her reading Insha’Allah. I’ll update you with how she gets on.

Her Quran classes have been going ok. The work is still basic for her, but she enjoys sitting on the computer without baby K’s distractions lol. Its soon going to get a little tougher for her but were both looking forward to it Insha’Allah. I love to see her with a Mushaaf in her hand reading the Quran. I consider it one of the most blessed moments as a muslim mum. Baby K has been joining in with some reading, shes being learning to say Aalif Baa Taa Thaa Geem Haa [arabic alphabet]. Walahi its amazing how much babies pick up just from observing you.

I’ve been wondering about schooling baby K who is very interested in participating at school time. I usually give her crayons and a book and she sits happily for a good while concentrating on her colouring. I can see already that she appreciates the responsibility [I amost laughed thinking to connect this word with a 14month old] of working with F. How her face lights up when I ask her if she wants to take part is priceless Masha’Allah. Schooling her at this stage wouldn’t be anything formal, perhaps in autumn Insha’Allah I can start her on word and number recognition. I had already brought some things for her, Insha’Allah I will have to dig it up and see what maybe relevant.

Thats all for now. All the best!

July 2, 2010

A years glance & summer plans…

Posted in Weakly update at 10:35 am by Umm Fatimah

Aside from not blogging I have been quite busy with homeschooling. Having started our first year of homeschooling in the middle of the year, I feel that F has missed on quite some work. In a bid to catch up, Insha’Allah we will work through the summer on a tight schedule to ensure that the bulk of the work gets done. We have recently been doing a 7day school routine, which has at times felt a little stressful. However, Alhamdulilah we are finally getting into the swing of things . Schooling 7days a week may sound a little much at first, however, we do much of our school work in the mornings, which does allow us to enjoy most of our afternoons doing other things.

What do we have to get through? Oh just the small task of completing grade 1 and two curricula  No biggy!!!

At first the panicking sensation every time I opened a grade 1 book almost worried me to death! However, sometime last month I was able to identify the speed in which F could get work done, without feeling burdened by the work load. Masha’Allah she is a bright kid, picking up on things very quickly with the ability to draw connections in her work and so I was able to make an outline, of how to tackle this task. I didn’t want to cover material for the sake of ticking of a check list, the most important thing is to ensure that she’s actively learning and retaining that information, which I feel so far we are doing well on.

So what are we doing you may be wondering? Well I made a decision to concentrate on developing her Language Art skills, her studies in Islam as well as setting a foundation in her arithmetic. I’ve decided to hold off on Science, Geography/History and a few other bits and bobs until the autumn term.

There have been a few changes in our choice of curricula. We have swapped Singapore Maths [SM] for Maths U See [MUS] Delta, as I didn’t personally find SM all that great. Although it is a very popular choice in many homes, I didn’t feel there were enough exercises to ensure mastery as well as the somewhat awkwardness of its teaching style. MUS Masha’Allah is going quite well. We are currently on lesson 14 and hope to finish it by august. In which time, I hope to start Right Start Maths [RS]. I am hoping that the use of RS will enable F to have plenty of opportunity to reinforce the concepts covered in MUS. Perhaps we will finish RS B in October time, and then move on to the following levels Insha’Allah. As I am tying this I wonder how other families cover the material and how long it would usually take them to do so? At the moment we cover 4 lessons a week, which may take us an hour or so to complete. If I feel F needs a little more practice I have recently been dipping into SM there’s no point in letting it go to waste I guess.

With regards to Language Art we managed to complete WWE1 last week and have started WWE2 this week. Insha’Allah I hope to have this completed by august also. I have noticed that there’s quite a jump between the two levels, so we are covering a narration and a dictation in the first day, and then a narration, copy work and dictation in the next. Although this is still speeding up the pace a little we are going slower than before. Although were enjoying our lessons in WWE I do find that it is quite a slow curriculum, does anyone else agree?. Consequently, I can picture F becoming bored quite quickly if we were to spread the work out as recommended. I am also hoping to complete FLL2 by the end of august so that we can start FLL3 in due course with WWE3 in the autumn.

We have had some changes in our spelling curricula. Previously we were using Spelling Workout[SW] and I also had Sequential Spelling at hand which I was hoping to start. I went through it and didn’t see F learning the rules of spelling which i think is essential. Something that also lacked in SW and so we have moved on to All About Spelling[AAS] 1&2 for the summer. We’re finding AAS1 quite easy, but I thought it best to complete it as a review to our phonics as well as a gradual change over. This multi sensory curriculum is proving to be a hit for us. Even baby K gets involved with the letter tiles, and has recently learnt the phonic sounds of A B and C… How cute huh? Masha’Allah. So with spelling the plan is to be on AAS3 by autumn Insha’Allah. We’re still going to keep SW as an enrichment activity Insha’Allah, so we will have SW B finished this summer to start SW C in autumn Insha’Allah.

With regards to vocabulary, were covering Worldly Wise 3000 grade 2 and hope to have it finished by autumn in order to start grade 3. Although we could properly have covered more in this area, I don’t want our school work to seem a lot of work for her, so we’re just going to take our time with this one. One thing I have noticed her improving upon is her ability to cover the extract questions on her own. Masha’Allah I thought she may find this a little difficult at first but she has been doing fine. The rest of the questions seem easy for her actually so I am glad that a part of it is requiring her to think a little deeper.

We are zooming through our Explode the Code books 3-5 which is her reading enrichment activity books. Their very easy to complete and so are working well as a review for phonics, spelling and vocabulary. Best of all she does them when I’m busy running around so they keep her busy for a little while, no more ‘mum what shall I do?’ lol

We’re still prodding along with the Ordinary Parents Guide to Reading. Much of it is a review of rules we have come across in our daily reading. Insha’Allah I hope to finish it by august also. I am hoping that soon she will be ready for chapter books. Her reading isn’t her strongest area, but I have noticed that she doesn’t enjoy it so much as she used to when she was younger. I get moans of ‘mummy do I have tooo’ ahhh!! I sort of stuck with ideas to stimulate her to enjoy her reading. Dont get me wrong, once she gets into the book I often find her snuggling with it happily on the sofa. But the initial fight is still there. I am hoping that it’s just a phase did anyone have this problem at some point? How did you get round it? Would love to hear some ideas Insha’Allah.

For our Islamic studies we have started using The Islamic Studies workbooks by The International Curricula Organisation. We haven’t advanced in them to be honest, but Insha’Allah that is the purpose of this summer right? To catch up! I’ve also recently enrolled F on Quran summer program, she had her first lesson yesterday. Although it is pretty basic for her at the moment, I am happy for her to spend her summer covering Qaaidatun-Noor, Id already started this book with her, but it would be great to have an actual teacher to correct some of her pronunciation Insha’Allah.

For the future, I have been looking and evaluating our current curricula to identify how well or not our current choices fit us. Alhamdulilah I have made a few changes for the coming year, perhaps some time in January we will alternate our choices. I have already made a few decisions and purchases and feel quite excited about them. Look out for that post 

April 17, 2010

16.03.10

Posted in Weakly update at 5:03 pm by Umm Fatimah

Asalaamu alaykum everyone,

I wasn’t really going to make a post in this section just yet, but F was so excited about some of her progress this week that I just couldn’t let it pass. So what are we so excited about? well we’ve managed to get through our 1st grade in First Language Lessons [FLL] Alhamdulilah. She has managed to memorise a number of poems from this book as well as some ground grammer rules. I am proud of her work ethic in this topic Masha’Allah. We’ve only had the book for two months, and although I was at times kindda laid back, but she was able shoot through the tasks nonetheless Alahmdulilah.

Before we move on to 2nd grade I would like to make a lapbook with her, on the different rules we’ve covered so far. I’m totally new to everything homeschooling, so I shall take this weekend to gather up some ideas and some materials Insha’Allah. Perhaps, We will make one that gives enough room to add the 2nd grade rules also. If anyone, has done one before on grammer, I’d very much appreciate ideas, I think I can buy ready made ones right? well off I go to do some more research. It sometimes feels like my readings on relevent curriculum ideas never end… but I must admit I love doing it 🙂

Barak’Allah feekum [May Allah bless you All]