Friday, January 10, 2014

A new journey...

I haven't been here in a while and that's because I felt that I was no longer a mommy blogger. My girls are both in public school and I no longer homeschool them, so I didn't have much to say here. But I missed blogging. So I thought in the new year I shall start a fresh new place that can be more about me and my thoughts.

I've started up two new blogs, first is my main blog where I will share things about myself, reviews, tutorials and other random tidbits that pop into my head. The other is my food blog where I will share recipes I've picked up from my mother and my mother-in-law as well as various other places.

Anila Again (my new blog)
Anila Cooks (my food blog)

I hope you join me in my new journey.

Happy new year.




Monday, September 20, 2010

No longer homeschooling

This time I'm not making any promises to keep up posting on here.  Seems like every time I do I disappear for a 2.5 years.  Sorry about that. 

This post is basically an update on what I've been up to.  The girls are 9 and 7 now.  The nine year old was in Connections Academy from ages 5-8, so basically from Kindergarten through 3rd grade.  Last year in the 3rd grade she had to go to a local public school for 3 days to write the FCAT and she said she enjoyed the experience and wouldn't mind trying out going to school for a year.  Since she said that, I decided I would definitely give her the opportunity to attend school. 

When my youngest was 5 I tried my best to get her into Connections, but due to funding cuts and weird new Florida rules, they stated that she needed to have attended a brick and mortar school for at least one year before they can accept her into the Virtual School.  I wrote so many letters to the Superintendent but unfortunately nobody could do anything.  I purchased the Calvert Homeschool curriculum for her for two years but it became increasingly difficult for me to try and teach her because I was so used to the structure and organization a virtual school brings into our lives.  Things were often chaotic and with her temperament and tendency to get frustrated easily, at times I was at a loss for what to do. 

That's why this year I finally decided to register them both into the local public school.  I have a very sweet and dear muslim neighbor whose children also attend the same school and she gave the school rave reviews.  My 9 year old is also in hijab full-time now so that was also a bit of a worry for me.  However my neighbor's daughter also wears hijab there and has been for many years without any issues or problems. 

I remember the first day we went to register.  We were sitting in the office and the principal approached us just to say hello.  He's very sweet and friendly.  We told him that we were registering our daughters and they were always homeschooled or virtual schooled so this will be their first time actually going to a school.  He reassured us and really made me feel at ease.

I had my 9 year olds transcripts and FCAT scores from last year on me, so he asked to see the FCAT scores.  When I showed him he was so surprised and happy.  He said these are the highest scores you can get and asked to make a copy.  Because of those scores they've placed her in a special gifted class for 4th graders.  All of the students in that class have high scores and the work they do is of a higher level.  I can already see it in the homework she brings home.  She really is enjoying every aspect of that class, which I'm quite suprised about.

I remember my little girl when she was only 3, so shy and quiet.  Now she is so talkative and friendly and outgoing.  I thought adjusting to school would be tough for her, but she has managed really well and talks about all the friends that she has made.  The gifted class is really challenging her and I was happy to see the books that she has been assigned are much higher than her grade level.  I will talk more about that in future posts.

My 7 year old on the other hand, she really didn't want to go.  But I explained that only this year you have to and I will homeschool you again next year.  The first day she was fine, the second day was not bad either but then after a few days she started missing being home a lot.  She had some problems with being able to finish the math tests on time since at home she was never really timed before.  So the first week took some time for adjustments and I spoke to her teacher but now, Alhamdolillah, things seem to be going well.  She's really liking school she says.

They both say they might even want to attend school again next year, but after that my eldest will be in middle school so most definitely they will be homeschooled once again.

I think I rambled enough in this one post.  I will definitely blog more now that I have more time to myself.  I'd like to discuss more about what we did during Ramadan, their current Madrasah and other updates that I feel like sharing. 

I'd like to add, I had closed this blog down for over two years but every once in a while I would still get contacted about it, so I really appreciate the support I get from you guys.  I have changed the blog a bit.  I ended up deleting some personal posts, didn't think they were that necessary to keep and also updating some links and such on the sidebars.  I've also added some books on the side that I recommend for reading, especially if you are looking into homeschooling.  I will try and change that up every once in a while.

Time for me to get some sleep, but I have to admit....it feels nice to be writing again. :)

Monday, March 31, 2008

Shel Silverstein and updates

Okay I broke my promise about writing more often. But I will definitely try to at least once a month, if not more. I've been meaning to write for a while, but I just get so exhausted with so much going on.

Alhamdolilah everything is going well with Connections Academy. My 6 year old is almost finished with all her courses for the first grade, just one more month left and we should be done them all. We did finish first grade math in December and have been doing second grade Math since January, so that's basically the only course we'll have left after the month of April, but we have to stop in the middle of it once the year ends at the end of May and then pick up where we left off after the summer in August. This year the courses we covered were:
Language Arts
Math
Science
Social Studies
Education Technology (computer course)
Art
Activites
Physical Education
Spanish (Elective)

We are still working on Language Arts, Math, Computer Course, Spanish.

The only difficulty we've had this year so far is with Language Arts there was quite a bit of writing which took me a while to encourage my 6 year old to do. For example, if she had to write a story or letter of some kind, it would span over about a week. The first day we would read an example of a story or letter to get an idea of what is required. The second day we would brainstorm ideas and write an outline on the chosen topic. The forth day we would write the first draft of the story or letter. The fifth day we would write the final draft (unless they wanted us two write two drafts which they did at the starting of the year, then we would do another draft and then the day after the final draft.) All of this had to be in her own handwriting, so as you can see at the starting of the year this would take a lot of encouragement and assistance. But I spoke to her teacher about this and we decided not to push too hard and to let her take extra time if she needed. Now she actually enjoys doing all the drafts and outlines because she can write however she likes and then in the final draft it takes her over an hour cause she loves to make every single letter absolutely perfect. It's been great for improving her handwriting and assisted in keeping her focused.

Spanish was also a bit challenging because this year she had to learn and memorize quite a bit and then actually record her voice into an audio file of her reading certain stories or songs that they taught her in Spanish. But she LOVED getting feedback from her Spanish teacher telling her how well she read the story or how excellent her accent was when she spoke Spanish. So that really helped encourage her to do better and better in her recordings, which she does about once or twice a month.

Speaking of recordings, this year for her Poetry Book Response Activity she had to choose a poem that she liked, write it out in her best handwriting and then present it to a live audience or record it into an audio file for the teacher to listen to. Well last year she had presented hers to a live audience (some family and friends) but this year we recorded her and emailed it to the teacher. I thought she sounded so cute I made a little movie out of it and put it up on youtube since I hadn't put something up there for a while either. Here it is, enjoy! :)



I will write more soon about my 4 year old and how she is progressing and also a recent field trip we went on with Connections Academy!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

So sad.

Last night I was up late looking up some videos on youtube for arba'een, when somehow I stumbled back upon my own blog here. So I started to read back through some of my old posts and literally started crying remembering all those times that I wrote about. I am so upset that I do not get the chance to write in this blog anymore. I don't want to forget those moments that I spend with my girls, but I do. And re-reading the things I wrote here before just brought them all back to me.

So today what I did was first went back to my inbox and replied to all the numerous emails that I have received through this blog for the past few months. It amazes me how many people still visit, read and discover my blog on a daily basis. I have tried my best to reply to everyone, but I know I skipped a few because after a while it just got so draining. In any case, I feel like I have caught up with that.

What I want to do is start writing again. Writing in this blog and telling whoever may stumble upon here what I do with my children everyday. Letting everyone know how much my girls have changed, blossomed, and grown since my last detailed posts about them. They are now both 6 years old and 4 years old. The most drastic change has taken place in my youngest for she is no longer the rough, grouchy and unfriendly toddler she used to be. In fact quite the opposite. I want to write about the changes in her personality and how her reading is progressing. I want to write about how my 6 year old is doing in her lessons and what she has learned from them.

Not only do I want to do all of this, I need to do it. I need to write all this down so, just like last night, in the future when I stumble upon this blog, it will again bring me to tears.

More posts coming up shortly. Promise. :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"A Man in the Attic" by Imran Zaidi

Assalam Alaykum everyone,

My apologies for abandoning this blog and not writing more often. We have been busy with Connections Academy. Inshallah I will write more about that as soon as I get the chance, for now I wanted to post something that is a little off topic, but very important to relay to everyone.

Ali Imran Zaidi, my brother-in-law, makes short films as a hobby. The short film “A Man in the Attic” is written, directed, produced and narrated by him. It has been winning many awards in Orlando, Toronto, DC and more… And NOW it is finally available online for all to see!!!

This film is now appearing on the home page of Current, the internet/cable channel started by Al Gore. If it is viewed by many people and gets popular they will buy it and put it on their TV channel. So please if you can take 7 minutes out of your time to view it, and possibly vote for it (to vote though you need an account, which is simple enough, but not necessary to view the page) and also to send this to anyone and everyone that you know, we would appreciate it.

This is the direct link to view “A Man in the Attic”:
http://current.com/items/87571021_a_man_in_the_attic

Synopsis:
A MAN IN THE ATTIC (2006)
Written/Produced/Directed by Ali Imran Zaidi, 7 min 25 sec
An American Muslim ponders, discusses and ruminates on his position in America, and the decline of his people in western civilization.
http://www.theseventhlevel.net/AManInTheAttic

If you want to know more about Imran and his work visit: http://www.theseventhlevel.net/AManInTheAttic/aliimranzaidi.asp
His contact info is on there as well.

Thanks everyone and I hope you are all well Inshallah!!!