Sunday, August 27, 2006

Five year olds

I’m sorry for not writing that much, I feel so swamped with work these days. There’s so much to do for Connections Academy and on top of all that I also have Madressa that I teach every Sunday.

Basically another girl and I are teaching the kindergarten class. So there’s a bunch of five year olds and then my little three year old who just kind of sits there and colors or plays with play-doh most of the time. I must say it is quite entertaining teaching this class because of the things five year olds just blurt out or do during the lessons.

The funniest is this one little girl who is just so adorable. She seems to always have her mind on something else or she blurts out the most ridiculous things it’s so hard not to laugh. For example, last week the other teacher was talking to them about Jinns and how they are made of fire. So we go through the whole lesson, and everyone “seems” to understand the concept. We do an exercise and a worksheet on it. Then at the end of the class we ask them all again, “So what are Jinns made of?” And before anyone could say anything, she just yells out “ALLAH!” The other students just gave her this look which was like, “What are you ON?” It was so hard not to laugh, but we managed and explained it all again.

Now in the middle of today’s lesson she decides to interrupt us to let us all know how she went to the dentist yesterday and brushed her teeth. The look on her face was priceless because she seemed so proud of herself. It really is just a joy to teach them.

I must admit teaching at Madressa is physically and mentally exhausting, but it is turning out to be so much fun. And best of all, so rewarding!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Connections Academy

I thought I would write an update on Connections Academy and how it is coming along for us. So far the curriculum is extremely easy for us (but fun) however it is quite time consuming. I’m really happy with the connections academy support staff, they are always there and very helpful. My daughter’s teacher as well is very helpful. The schedule can be as flexible as you like it. When you run the scheduler, you can tell it how you want the subjects and lessons scheduled, on what days, etc… So far I’m very satisfied and we are already ahead of schedule, but that’s only because my 5 year old is enjoying it so much she doesn’t want to stop so I usually end up doing the next day’s lessons too.

As for the curriculum, they sent me all the supplies and books and manipulatives. There is a technology course that she does on the computer, which they sent as well, along with her printer. So far there have been some aspects of reading and writing on the computer as well, along with the music lessons (which I am pretty much skipping). Everything else we have books for and art supplies and workbooks, etc… We have a green portfolio folder as well that they supplied in which we place any assignments that are labeled to be sent to the teacher. Then we put that folder in a self-addressed stamped envelope that they sent and send it to the teacher on certain dates throughout the year. Then she will grade them and send them back to us. It’s very organized and I love the fact that it keeps me very organized as well.

As for the teacher, we can email her anytime we want with any questions we may have. We can also call her during office hours with any questions that we have. On top of all that, you schedule a bi-weekly phone conversation. So every two weeks your teacher will call you on a certain day of the week at a certain time to discuss progress, whenever it is convenient for you.

It’s a great system they have going there. I know there will also be field trips scheduled soon that we may choose to go to if we wish.

One thing that was quite interesting was a pre-assessment test called “LEAP” and after she did that test it stated that she was above grade level for reading and math. I knew she was already for reading, but I wasn’t so sure on the math.

So far the only part of the curriculum that is challenging for her is the technology course. Right now we’re learning Microsoft Word. I was quite surprised to see that they expect a 5 year old to learn copying and pasting, using the drawing toolbar and now typing a friendly letter. Well we went ahead with it anyway and I was surprised to see she got the copy and paste down and really enjoyed the word art. Now the next lesson is the friendly letter, can’t wait to see how that goes!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

African Lion Safari

There were lots of Animals, but only some of the pictures turned out decent enough to post. Here are some interesting ones that I love.



I love Zebras, so beautiful.



One of my favorite pics!



My mom feeding the animals; I know we broke the rules, so what!!!



Can someone, for the love of GOD, please tell me what animal this is???


All of the pictures above were taken by my sister.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Niagara Falls

As I promised, here are some pictures from my visit to Toronto. Here's one from Niagara Falls, this isn't the best picture I took, but this is the one I wanted to post. I just love the angle. Niagara is always fun! Especially Clifton Hill.

I'll be posting more from African Lion Safari next.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Recap

Well we’ve been back from vacation for almost a week. We had a great time, did the tourist thing, a little shopping, a little partying and hardly any resting; therefore I am still recovering.

We came home to a nice surprise. My 5 year old is now officially enrolled in Connections Academy and we have already received all of the curriculum, her computer, monitor and printer. We’ve set it all up and everything is ready to go. There is one more package in the mail which we have yet to receive but inshallah we’ll find out shortly what that may be. August 10th is the official first day of school and I have already logged onto the connections academy website and have run the scheduler and already see all of our lesson plans. It’s very nicely set up and extremely easy to navigate. So far I am very pleased with the service. I even called in last week to ask a question and I got a very quick, accurate and polite response.

Connections Academy basically is a public school, but the child is learning from home. They are government funded and you are registered with them like you would be any public school but you are the child’s learning coach at home, helping them and teaching them. The child does have a “certified” teacher that I have to continuously keep in touch with and send my child’s portfolio to them periodically. They then mark our papers and grade us, etc… It’s all taken care for you. I’m very excited to see how it all turns out this year.

Madressa is also starting on the 13th and this year I have been “volunteered” to teach. I’m actually co-teaching the pre-k and kindergarten classes. So both of my daughters will also be my students; can’t wait to see how that turns out!

I have many pictures to share, especially from Niagara Falls and also from African Lion Safari (which was a blast). We were on an elephant!!! :)

I will post pictures and write more soon, Inshallah.