Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Things we've been working on.

I’ve been trying to teach my four year old more about muharram and the life of Imam Hussain (as). I’ve been reading a lot of stories about the Imams and telling her a lot about Karbala. To help her understand how everything is all related I changed her old blessings tree into Prophet Muhammad’s family tree. So it starts off with his great-grandfather then grandfather, father, mother, wife, daughter, and then into the twelve Imams. After she saw it on the wall it was much easier for her to see how everyone was related, especially Imam Hussain (as).

Another thing we’ve been working on is a lapbook. I’ve been wanting to do one for a while with her now, but never really knew how to do it until I found an excellent website that really laid it out well. I chose the topic Florida to keep it simple and she really learned a lot more about the state she lives in. She did all the gluing and she traced over my lettering with markers. It turned out pretty well. Basically we started off with a Florida map (which she colored) on the front cover and then inside we got pictures and very basic information about the state flag, bird, tree, flower, etc... Of course we got all the info and pictures from my favorite site, enchanted learning.

She really enjoyed making the lapbook and wants to do another one on another topic. I told her maybe in a few weeks. I will post pictures of the family tree and lapbook as soon as I take some.

In a few weeks my local mosque is going to have a majlis for little girls where only the young ones will be reading poetry, lectures and nauhay. So she told me she wants to read a nauha just like mama and she wants a nauha book just like mama’s. So since yesterday we’ve been working on that. I had bought her a little notebook, kind of like a diary, with butterflies on it that I wanted to give to her in a few months to practice handwriting in, but now I’ve turned that into her nauha book. I typed up the only nauha she knows how to read pretty well and I glued the paper on the first page. She’s been screaming her lungs out since yesterday practicing it and she’s really improved since yesterday but her accent is horrid when she speaks urdu. I wish I could somehow fix her accent so the ladies don’t end up snickering while listening to her. It is kind of adorable though. :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Shocking...

What a sad day for all muslims! I just can't believe that this has actually happened. It's such a tragedy!

Holy Shrine Damaged After Blast in Samarra, Iraq

Samarra: Shia pilgrimage centre

In pictures: Iraq shrine bombing

Monday, February 20, 2006

President's Day

Since today was President's Day I talked to my four year old about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Now she's very excited about visiting Washington D.C. and seeing the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. I printed these little books about both Presidents from the Enchanted Learning website (which I love by the way). Then we made a picture of a cherry tree, depicting the cherry tree that Washington cut down. Later she was reading the two books about the presidents to her uncle.

It's cute how she really gets into anything I teach her, especially if there are some arts and crafts involved. :)

Sunday school test

I don't know if I've mentionned this before, but my four year old does go to school one day a week. Every Sunday she goes to Islamic school at our local islamic center. Well she had her mid-term test yesterday where she answered all the questions correctly. I was surprised and very happy to hear she got perfect, but the funniest thing was to see her so happy with herself.

She was mainly tested on some of the arabic alphabet, a couple of surahs, the four angels and their jobs and the Prophet(pbuh) and his family.

She's been on a high since yesterday because of her achievement. Needless to say, it's very amusing. :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Book List

I thought I'd do a list of books, mainly series, that my daughter loves to read on her own. Alhamdolillah her reading is getting better day by day and she really enjoys it. She reads approximately 20 to 30 children's books per week.

Here are a list of some of her favorite series that she checks out from the library over and over again.

1) Little Bear Boxed Set: Little Bear, Father Bear Comes Home, and Little Bear's Visitbooks by Else Holmelund Minarik and Maurice Sendak. I think she's read almost every single one of them and one of her favorite's is Father's Flying Flapjacks (Maurice Sendak's Little Bear).

2) Arthur's Underwear (Arthur Adventure Series)by Marc Brown. She's definitely read all of them, many times. And her father also enjoys reading them to her. Now she has started to read the Arthur Chapter Books #4-6and is really enjoying these as well.

3) The American Girls Short StoriesThe short stories are perfect for her because her reading level is there, but she does not have the attention span or even the interest to read a whole novel yet. She really enjoys the short stories because they are short and very entertaining, she also loves the recipes and crafts they have at the end of the stories. She has read all of the Felicity and Samantha stories in this series, now she is working on Kit, Molly and Josefina.

4) Hopscotch Hill School SeriesThis is also a part of the American Girl Collection. These ones she REALLY loves reading. I think these are her favorite and I believe she has read almost every one in the series. Our library system is really great here in Orange county and they usually have every book that we are looking for.

5) The Magic School Bus SeriesShe loves this series of books and the television show which comes on the Discovery channel! Her favorite is the Human Body one, which I haven't read yet but she was telling me all about it with such excitement. I really appreciate this series that introduces science to children in a fun and entertaining way.

6) Many picture books that look interesting and have wonderful colorful pages and beautiful artwork. We must have read hundreds by now together. Children's books have some of the most amazing artwork I've ever seen. Just go to your local library or bookstore and let your child walk around and pick out books that look interesting to them. Of course not everything she picks out I approve of so I let her pick a whole bunch and then we'll just choose a few from the pile that I think will be appropriate. That way she gets what she wants and can't wait to read them as soon as she gets home.

If you know of any other series that she might be interested in reading, please do let me know.

"10 Ways to be a supportive Homeschool Dad!"

I found this article in the homeschooling section of about.com (which I looooove by the way). Alhamdolillah my husband is a very supportive husband and father and has really helped me with educating my girls tremendously.

Here's is the link for those of you interested:
"Top 10 Ways to be a Supportive Homeschool Dad"

1) Provide for your family.
If your wife is the one at home doing the teaching, the most important thing you can do is provide for the family so she can concentrate on the teaching. It takes a big weight off her shoulders if the bills are paid and she has the funds needed for homeschool materials.

2) Be supportive to your wife.
It is very important to listen to your wife and be understanding after a rough day. Stand behind her and be supportive of what she's doing with the kids.

3) Give your wife time to herself.
Give her time for herself, either to go out with friends, time home alone, an uninterrupted bubble bath, or whatever she enjoys a couple times a month, if not weekly. But in addition to that, try to give her 20 or 30 minutes a night for herself.

4) Show interest in school work and projects.
Ask the kids what they're learning. Look at their school work and projects. Offer encouragement and your own knowledge in the area.

5) Read to your children.
Take the time to read chapter books to the kids. They will always remember the time spent in a good book. And if you can, get into the characters, use funny voices - even teenagers enjoy being read to.

6) Play games together.
Playing games, doing puzzles, even hide and seek is a perfect way to spend time with the kids and give mom a few minutes to herself. Of course, your wife can play too!

7) Include the kids in your household projects.
Be sure to include the kids in projects you do around the house. They'll learn a lot and be a help to you at the same time.

8) Be involved in the kids' projects.
Plan some projects to do with the kids related to what they're studying. Even if it's only a couple times a year, it'll be meaningful to them.

9) Take the family on educational field trips.
Take the family on educational field trips when possible - zoos, museums, aquariums, hiking, etc.

10) Don't neglect your marriage.
It's very, very easy for homeschooling moms to get all wrapped up in the kids and neglect the marital relationship. Plan a date night for the two of you. It is important for the kids to see a solid, loving relationship. They'll be shaping their future relationships on what they observe at home.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

"Everybody has a Bellybutton"

A family friend is VERY pregnant and my four year old saw her everyday during the majaalis and asked about it. So since I promised myself that I would always be open and honest with her about everything I took her to the library and we found an AWESOME book in the non-fiction section that I wanted to blog about. It’s called Everybody Has a Bellybutton: Your Life Before You Were Born by Laurence Pringle. It covers everything starting from how the female egg is joined with the male sperm and becomes a cell and then how it starts to drift and divide into a cluster of many cells towards the uterus. Then it gets nourished by the placenta, becomes an embryo, then a fetus. It talks all about the umbilical cord and how the baby grows inside and when it’s born and how it feels. This wonderful book has beautiful descriptive pictures that really helped her see and understand it all. After reading it with her once and talking about it, I have seen her reading it over and over again to herself and sharing it with the rest of the family. She was so fascinated by it! This is a book that I will be purchasing for her so it will be a part of our library at home.

Ashura

On ashura my family had decided to stay at home to do the A'maal of ashura instead of at our Islamic center because we knew it would be too much for the girls to sit through, and then the majaalis after that as well. So we lined up all the prayer mats in the living room and prayed together. Of course the girls did not follow everything we did, my four year old did most of it, but my two year old just sat and played with her prayer beads. It was really nice to be able to do that with them and explain everything to my four year old as we went along. She got to read the English translation of it along with us so she understood what we were reading. She was so fascinated to learn about all the different aspects of it. She was especially eager to do the part where you walk back and forth seven times just as Imam Hussain (as) did when he was taking Hazrat Ali Asghar back to the camp after he was pierced with the arrow.

I was surprised to see how much she understood everything just after ten days of talking and reading about it. She knows most of the martyrs’ names and how they were killed. I thought perhaps telling her the whole truth might be a little too much for her at this age, but then I figured that I should always be very open and honest with her about everything and then if she has a hard time dealing with something, just help her get through it as much as I can. I don’t want to sugar-coat anything because I want her to realize just how big there sacrifice was, even at her age. I can see a difference in her already. She is much less self-absorbed and thinks more about the world.

Eventhough the speaker read the majaalis in urdu and she barely understands that language, she listened to him very closely and asked me anything she didn’t understand. Since my urdu is pretty bad as well, I answered to the best of my ability. Now she says when she’s older she wants to recite at the majaalis as well.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Muharram

Muharram is here and I still haven’t been able to attend a majaalis, I’m pretty congested but I do feel a lot better today so I will try for tomorrow.

On the topic of Muharram, Masooma wrote an excellent entry, I really think it’s a very important read for all, please visit her Otowi blog.

I’ve been trying to teach my four year old all about Muharram and Imam Hussain (as). She really picks things up very quick. I told her about Yazeed and how he killed all of Imam Hussain’s (as) family and she just couldn’t understand why he did it. I tried to explain it was for power and then all of a sudden it looked like a light bulb went off in her head and she said, “I guess he was just listening to Iblis a lot.” I was just a bit in shock that she said that because a while back I had told her about Iblis and how he whispers bad things in our ears and about the angels on our shoulders writing our actions all down. I just didn’t expect her to understand it all so quickly and connect the two together. Finally she then said, “Before Allah puts me in paradise, I’m going to ask him to show me Yazeed burning in the fire. He was very mean.”

I was speechless!