Thursday, 29 December 2016

Technology Headache!

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم



"Ummi, can I have the computer today?", "Ummi can I just check out the blog now"?. "Ummi, will you promise today, that if I finish all the work I could use the computer?". "Ummi, can I quickly check something on the computer and then start reciting, please Ummi". 

Subhanallaah, yes, technology is indeed giving me a headache! I am just longing for a "No technology Zone", especially with Maimoonah these days!

While we introduced computers and screentime for her only after she turned three for educational purposes and even till now she uses only for educational activities, I am still not comfortable with the amount of addiction to it.

Over the past few years, she used the computer during weekends and she did not have anything much in it as there were only limited activities she could do. But as she has grown now, and with preteen syndromes and moods coming her way she has sooooooo many things to do on the computer that it has come to a point that she is unable to draw a line in usage. 

Some of you may say, so what she is not watching movies, she is not playing games, she is not into chatting with strangers, She writes stories, she does coding, she is learning her communication skills through emailing her friends, she is doing her independent learning, she is reading books online, she is doing research, she is learning new things every day, all this is, in fact, learning anyway, so what is the big deal? 

Well the point for me is, I notice that technology is killing creativity, it is killing human touch, it is killing the natural inclination that every child has within himself or herself which allows the child to do things naturally, it is making the body and mind lazy, it is a barrier for thinking out of the box, it can make the child dumb, and it is undoubtedly an awful addiction which can be a means to disobey our Lord and parents. 
I can support all of the above with evidence and what I am experiencing right now! The day there is no internet or for that matter no access to computer or technology, I find Maimoonah coming out with wonderful creativity. She would use her best handwriting and do a journal page, she would construct something solid, she would play with lego, she would make her snack or a mug of milk, take a book and go outside and sit in the sun, observe the birds, make a note on the bird log book, use the encyclopedias and come out with a small notebook with facts and theories, she would use the Qur'aan to find out an aayah or the tafseer to include in her facts book, I can go on and on and on... all this will not be looked at if the computer is in front of her.

Having said all this, I really do not want her to miss the benefits of the technology as well. I know how much of a help it is and being ignorant of technology these days is not a good idea either. Every subject is connected to technology and the facts and figures and skills learned through technology is also vast. And I clearly do not want her to misunderstand Islaam and some to the conclusion that technology is restricted because of it and thus create any hatred towards the dheen.

So how do we strike a balance?

I tried many things. I have taken away the computer and not returned until she get's her schedules right. I have also tried the usual "Finish your work, and you get the computer" attitude. I have even lost my temper and disconnected the internet on the computer. I have told my husband to deal with it. Even though some of the above seemed to work, I realised that was only very temporary.


Eventually, I took some time to rethink. Who am I dealing with? She is not a very young toddler anymore. She is growing up. She is developing her own desires. She has her weaknesses. She is struggling to draw a line. She is easily falling prey to her likeness and addiction. So I need to help her. I need to make sure she gets her priorities right. I need to make alternatives. I need to listen to her. I need to sit down and discuss with her. I need to find a solution along with her. 

So we sat and we listened to each other. I asked her to list what she needs to do every day on the computer. Then we allocated the time she needs for all of that. We agreed that she gets to use the computer morning and evening each day but for a certain number of hours, And depending on her performance of the week she gets to use it during weekends. The Agreement was made in front of her father and he made it clear that I report to him if and when the agreement is not adhered to and that he will decide the next step in case of any violations! 

Did it work? We are still to fully put into action. But Alhamdulillaah, there is a change, And I hope it will bring about a positive change overall inshaa Allaah. But I am also anticipating that it will take time, and I need to be calm but firm. She needs constant reminders. I need to pick her up when she is falling, I need to give her that attention and love when she needs it most, she needs challenging activities and interesting distractions, I need to give her motivation and I just need to give her my time! Inshaa Allaah. 

How do you deal with technology and kids? What are your thoughts? What is your strategy? 

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Allaah Created Nature Event - Summary!

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم



Alhamdulillaah "Allaah Created Nature" event at the park was a pleasant success with more than 50 kids participating along with their mothers.

Children enjoyed the storytime and introduction to nature from our Nurture Series Level Book "Allaah Created Nature". Alhamdulillaah this little book has simplified information about Nature and the explains in a very child-friendly manner the use of nature. Children will enjoy the interactive activities too bi idhnillaah.
 

 



After the storytime the kids began their nature walk in groups and set out to explore the different posts we had set up at different locations in the park. The posts revolved around the 5 senses and the blessings of nature. Exploring each post included hands-on activities and completing worksheets.








When they completed the walk and discovery of each post they kids got their very own Flower Planting Kit to take home with different worksheets they did.



The heartwarming thing about this whole event was the involvement of our homeschooling older kids in organising this event. They were the kids of my fellow homeschooler Umm Aisha and Maimoonah. The kids planned out the events for the little ones, helped with designing worksheets, took the responsibility of packing the gifts and much more. May Allaah reward Umm Aisha and her family without whom I would never have imagined carrying out an event like this, subhanallaah! So we did not forget the thank the little budding event organizers with a small gift end of the event.


If you would like to do a similar event in your community, school or homeschooling group, you are welcome to contact me to get our "Allaah Created Nature Event Pack".

Here are the details.

Allah Created Nature Event Pack
Nurture Islaam Series



Get outdoors and explore the blessings of nature!
Let the children to learn what is nature with our interesting Nature Event Pack!
Get the kids to understand how we could thank Allaah for the blessings of nature! 
Have a picnic in the park while listening to a story connected to nature!



Ideal outdoor activity for ...
Homeschooling Groups
Educational Organizations
Schools
Play dates
A group of friends


Pack comes with..
  Complete Event Plan/Instructions
Activity Book “Allaah Created Nature” by Umm Maimoonah
How to Take Care of Nature Colouring Sheet
Nature Walk Log Recording Sheet
 Animal Sounds Worksheet
 Leaf Rubbing Sheet
Colours of Nature Worksheet/Colouring Sheet
Natural and Manmade Things – Sorting Activity Sheet


Downloadable Links - Download, print and use
minimum order 15 licenses
To Purchase email ummmaimoonah@gmail.com  

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

What is Geography - Starting KS3!

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم



Alhamdulillaah we started off Secondary level for geography with Maimoonah. The textbook we have chosen is maashaa Allaah very nice and very easy to use, There is a lot of information but all of them are concise and interesting. 

The first chapter of the book is What is Geography. We discussed the definitions and talked about how learning geography would help us as Muslims. And here is what Maimoonah came up with, She also wanted to do a scene with felts for this notebooking. 


Then we used this beautiful pack about Landforms to learn more about physical geography and different landforms. 


Landform Layer Book







To remember at a glance about different types of geographies Maimoonah did this note booking with simple definitions and added examples for each type of geography to make it easy. 





Next, we learnt about finding out places and how to use GPS Locations.


We learnt in details about longitude and latitudes and how to find them for each location. 




We used the Mapping Skills with Google Earth and read more about GPS Location on google and talked about real time scenarios as we are so accustomed to using pin locations to go to places over here and many times easily get lost otherwise, Alhamdulillaah! 



Then we learnt about using graphs in geography and the different graphs used for different purposes. And the use of bar graph, line graph, pie graph, and scatter graph. 

 

Finally, the chapter ends with value and use of all the different types of geographies.




 At the co-op, the kids were asked to do Landform Diorama. Maimoonah chose to do rain forest, but she has not been able to complete it yet. Inshaa Allaah she hopes to do it soon and we can update with the image. Other kids have done their diorama maashaa Allaah. Will update with their pics as well later.

So Alhamdulillaah KS3 geography seems interesting and Maimoonah likes it too. We have been using lot of other books for geography over the years and Maashaa Allaah this textbook is in the format that I was looking for , for a very long time. Finally, something nice to work with especially at this level.











Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Love for Growth!

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم



Assalaamu Alaikum

Alhamdulillaah, more and more families are realising and earnestly striving to nurture their young children with the correct ilm (knowledge) and tarrbiyah (cultivation) from the very beginning of their childhood. 

Since we started our Homeschool Support Program, I have been receiving numerous emails from families inquiring about the packs and books and many families will be using the packs soon with their children, Inshaa Allaah.

What I also noticed is that there are many more families who are eager to use the same packs but are not able to afford the cost involved. 

And Alhamdulillaah what fills our hearts even more is that, there are many individuals who are looking for opportunities to earn continuous rewards for themselves and their families by spending and sponsoring those families who are unable to afford the cost for our materials. 

Therefore we have set up "Love for Growth" - a project that would help those who are in need of our materials to educate their children but are unable to afford the cost.

Those who are interested in contributing may get in touch by emailing me at ummmaimoonah@gmail.com with the subject heading - "Love for Growth". 

Share the Khayr Inshaa Allaah. Spread the word around and reach the families who are striving to educate their kids! 

May Allaah accept this from us. Aameen


Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Nature Event at the Park - Doha

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم



Alhamdulillaah! Our Nurture Islaam Pre -K Curriculum Books and Pack is taking shape and we are about to complete the whole pack. Alhamdulillaah many families have shown interest in our much-needed curriculum packs. It is indeed a lovely feeling when you know that kids around the world are using your materials. 

If you are in Qatar, this is a wonderful opportunity to come and join us for the "Allaah Created Nature" event, where we will be using one of the Pre - K Nurture Islaam Series Book "Allaah Created Nature" and having some awesome activities at the park. Alhamdulillaah there has been an overwhelming response so far and few spaces still available. So if you in Doha and interested in the event please register at your earliest as we will be closing registrations when we reach the maximum number of participants. 

Here are the details:

Come and join us for an exciting event at Dahl Al Hamam Park.

•Explore Nature with the new book "Allaah Created Nature" by Umm Maimoonah
•Listen to a story and the read aloud from the book
•Learn why Allaah Created Nature and how to take care of it
•Enjoy a nature walk through the park to discover some of the many blessings of Allaah
•Complete different tasks around the park while learning about your senses and the natural world around you. 
•Enjoy a little picnic in the grass
•Take home your own copy of the activity book and a "Plant Your Own Flower Kit"

Details
Event: Allaah Created Nature - Mum's and Kids Event (No men or boys older than 7 years)
Age: 3-6 (Mum's MUST be present with the child) 
Number of Kids: 50 Maximum
Venue: Dahl Al Hamam Park
Date: Saturday 29th October 2016
Time: 9am to 11.30am
Price: 70 Qr per child (should be paid at the venue on the day of the event)

Registration: Email ummmaimoonah@gmail.com with the following information:
Mom's Name
Mom's Contact Number
Child/dren's Names and Ages

(We will have some volunteers bringing cupcakes and juice. Feel free to bring something to share)

Important: This event is only for mothers and children.
And children must be accompanied by the mothers at all times during the event.
No cancellations. Absentees must send a replacement or pay the cost and take the materials.





Monday, 19 September 2016

Introducing Treasure Baskets

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم





Alhamdulillaah Ramlah is 5 months old now. Maimoonah wants to start "homeschooling" Ramlah!

Sounds a bit strange right? Well not really! I wanted to make Maimoonah's wish of homeschooling her sister at this age a reality!  So it turned out that it is time for us to introduce Treasure Baskets to our little Ramlah.

What is a Treasure Basket?

Treasure Basket is a popular Montessori method. Dr. Maria Montessori believed that children learn best by choosing, by doing and by repeating and exploring anything through their senses. She also thought that children from a very young age, if allowed to develop freely they felt connected to everything and were naturally caring to each other and the world around them. 

So taking the good out of her thoughts, we came up with our own Treasure Basket first and far most connecting little Ramlah to her Creator! Alhamdulillaah!



So generally a Treasure Basket is basket or a box or any container that is filled with natural things and household items which babies and even toddlers can explore by themselves using their senses. Exploring treasure baskets can help teach babies how to select, touch, taste and feel. They become familiar with the objects around them and this may help them to gain confidence in taking decisions. And it helps to develop different skills such as hand eye coordination, fine motor skills etc etc. 

Even though all of this happens naturally, having a treasure basket is a great way to be organized and save time. Babies are really bored and during their waking hours they need some activities to enjoy! Keeping a basket handy helps us a great deal by the Mercy of Allaah. 

Treasure Baskets can be used indoors as well as out doors. The contents of it can vary according the age and ability of the infant or toddler, You can read a simple guide of it here


Our Treasure Basket

Maimoonah is responsible of filling in the basket every now and then with items. She has to do her research and make a note of the items and rotate them and at any given time Ramlah's basket must have the items to be presented to her. 

So basically for now our baskets will include the following:
  • Books to be read aloud
  • iPod to make her listen to the recitation of the Qur'aan
  • Different coloured muslin clothes (washed and clean ready for going into her mouth)
  • Different coloured shawls with different textures (washed and clean ready for going into her mouth)
  • Touch and feel soft toy
  • Baby stimulating toy
  • Ribbons
  • Soft Balls
  • Teething Rings
  • Whiteboard and Marker to write words. (We are trying out Teach Your Baby to Read through flash cards, but using the whiteboard and the marker instead of printed cards)
Items will change each week and will depend on Maimoonah's research and creativity! Will update them as we go on Inshaa Allaah.

How do we use the Treasure Basket?

Reading
Ramlah is unable to sit up on her own yet. So for now what we do is take the books from the basket and read aloud to her. She loves to hear us reading. Sometimes we keep her on our lap and read to her and other times she will be lying down and we show the book to her and read while turning the pages gently but quickly. Her attention span is very very little, we need to read simple books so that we can turn the pages fast. She loves this activity so much, when she knows that we have come to the last page of a book she starts crying. 




Darul Kitab Level 1 books are great books to read to her Maashaa Allaah and she loves the book "Our Creator". Inshaa Allaah when our "Nurture Islaam - Pre-K" Books are ready we would be using them for Ramlah and according to Maimoonah they would be her best books, Inshaa Allaah! 

We also use the touch and feel board books and allow Ramlah to touch and feel while we read. She responds well to this too.

Qur'aan
We make her listen to small soorahs everyday for sometime.

Flashcards
We have started writing few words on the whiteboard and she seems to be enjoying that too. I use the red marker and write words and say it. Erase the word and write another word. I do this fast and may be one session is done within 10 seconds. I am not following any hard and fast rules on this. Just experimenting with Ramlah for now.

Items to explore by herself
Then we give one item at a time to her hand to explore. She would take the muslin cloth and play with it for a little while. Then we give her the teething ring, which she would be interested for few minutes. Then we give her the pom pom balls to touch and feel. Later she may like to have a soft toy to explore. We do not leave her alone at any given time and especially when she is exploring the basket we are around her. 


That's about it.

End of the day Maimoonah talks to Ramlah and gives her a kiss and says "Maashaa Allaah, Ramlah you have done well today in school, good girl!".

During this whole process we talk to Ramlah linking back everything to her Creator. We start with reading the book Our Creator, and when she explores we tell her "Ramlah, Allaah gave you hands to touch, Allaah gave you this little ball to feel, Allaah gave you eyes to see this green cloth,,, etc etc". Little babies love to hear us talk. And Ramlah is pretty quiet when I explain certain things to Maimoonah while teaching her. She looks at our expressions and listens to us and smiles. 

Alhamdulillaah every situation is a blessing from Allaah. I hope this would encourage Maimoonah to enhance her skills of research and implementation and create the awareness of being responsible in educating young babies and taking care of them. This in turn also would help her to be mindful in finishing up her school work and be a better example for her sister, inshaa Allaah! 

Monday, 12 September 2016

Eid Mubarak - Eid Al Adha 2016

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم



The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) also said, “The day of al-Fitr, and the day of an-Nahr, and the days of at-Tashreeq (the three days after an-Nahr) are our days of ’Eed (festivity); and they are days of eating and drinking.” Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (no. 1945), from ’Uqbah Ibn ’Aamir (radiyallaahu ’anhu). It was authenticated by al-Albaanee in Saheehul-Jaami’ (no. 8192).




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