Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Lovely Books Arrived!

A sweet sister offered to ship some books for Maimoonah all the way from Canada and Alhamdulillaah the package arrived today. May Allaah bless the sister for her efforts and generosity!

I did not have any clue what kind of books to get down so another dear sister (you will know who she is soon Inshaa Allaah) recommended some lovely books and all of them arrived today. Maashaa Allaah I really liked them as they are books that could be read in the future as well and do fall into the category of "Living Books". I found them to be good except for few words like "lucky and "church" which I cut it off, other than this lot of morals and survival issues to learn from them. I feel these books are going to give a completely different kind of information to little Maimoonah who is growing and is entering a different type of a world Inshaa Allaah!.

The sister sent me these recommendations with details for each title, and I thought I would share them with you all as well.

Here are the details of each title which the sister (a big jazzakumullaah khayr to you and your family sis) shared.

1. The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills - about an Appalachian girl who has lost her father. She needs a coat, which her mother cannot afford. A few ladies rally around to help her, but this isn't the end to her troubles. Great book for geography (the USA, Appalachia, the mountains), learning about equipment and instruments of the old days (pictures will show), friendship and kindness, coal and mining, quilting etc. There is a bit where they mention Joseph's multi-coloured coat, which is a Christian concept. I explained to the kids that while there is mention of Prophet Yusuf's shirt (three in fact: the one the brothers put blood on, the one which was torn by the `Aziz's wife and the one that healed his father's eyes), we don't know about it being multi-coloured. We got into a short discussion about how important it is to get our information about the deen from authentic sources.

2. The Salamander Room by Ann Mazer - about a boy who wants to keep a salamander. His mother's gentle questions lead him to give detailed explanations about how he can make his room an ideal habitat. Great for science - you can study amphibians and all the creatures mentioned in the book, forests, plants, habitats etc. 

3. Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming - about a girl in the US who sends a care package to a girl in post WW2 Holland. The charitable effort grows and soon involves and benefits not just the families but the communities. Good book for history and geography (Europe, WW2), science (tulips), as well as charity. 

4. Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran - LOVE LOVE LOVE this book :) It is about a group of kids who live in Yuma, Arizona. This book deals with the boundless creativity and imagination children can have. My kids ADORE this book - I think it is because they truly identify with it. I love the philosophy behind this book :)

5. Night of the Moonjellies by Mark Shasha - About a boy's summer experience helping his relatives run their seaside food joint. He discovers something interesting on the beach and his grandmother then takes him on a wondrous little trip that helps him learn about his discovery. Lots to learn about geography (New England, sea), science (moon jellies), art (discuss pictures, use of light, shades of blue), how to run a business, restaurants etc.) Lovely pictures.

6. My Rows and Piles of Coins by Tololwa Mollel - Set in Tanzania, it is about a boy who saves and saves for something precious... I love the selflessness of the child. Good for teaching children about Africa, saving, money and family :)

7. Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine - Based on a true story about a slave who mailed himself to freedom. Interesting story about the cruelties of slavery in America's south. 

8. The Gardener by Sarah Stewart - Set in the time of the Depression, this story is about Lydia Grace Finch, who goes to stay with her Uncle Jim, an unsmiling baker. She brings a suitcase full of seeds and slowly transforms the gray city bit by bit with her flowers. She works on a secret project that she hopes will make her uncle smile. My kids loved this story - we talked about the Depression era, good manners, letter writing, gardening... making the best in a tough situation... 

9. The Friend by Sarah Stewart - Very touching story ... about the friendship between a privileged girl and her helper. Born into a rich family, Belle is often neglected by her parents who leave her in the care of Bea. Belle 'helps' Bea as she does the chores and spends a great deal of time with her by the beach. A great tragedy is averted one day, thanks to the deep connection shared between the two. We found this beautiful reading but also sad ... sad that the maid had such a bond with the girl, a bond that her parents should have had. Close inspection of the pictures will show that it is actually based on the author's life. 

10. A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams - About a girl, her mother and her grandmother and their efforts to save up for an armchair after their old home was burnt down. Lots of lessons in this book - money and savings, frugality, appreciating things, family ties, charity, community spirit etc. 

Picture Books - Muslim Characters
(I mentioned Books 1-4 on my blog here.)
1. Alia’s Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq by Mark Alan Stamaty
2. The Day of Ahmed’s Secret by Florence Parry Heide & Judith Heide Gilliland
3. The Roses in My Carpets by Rukhsana Khan

4. Yasmin's Hammer by Ann Malaspina - about a Bangladeshi girl and her sister who have to work at  hammering bricks. Their family had left the village after a disaster and now live in a shack in the city trying to make ends meet. Yasmin longs to learn and go to school... Nice story about determination and love for knowledge. Good for geography - South Asia/Bangladesh, cyclones, agriculture, rickshaws, Bangladeshi food.

5. The Butter Man by Elizabeth and Ali Alalou - Nora is impatient for her dinner and says she is "starving", so her father tells her a story about his childhood in the mountains of Morocco. When crops were poor and food was scarce, young Ali's father had to find work elsewhere and Ali had only a piece of bread a day. Even this grew smaller as the wheat supplies diminished and the butter ran out. His mother sent him out to wait for "the butter man" (to distract him from his hunger pangs) and this he did every day, until his father returned with food. Powerful lesson in patience, peserverence and counting blessings. Nice book for learning about Morocco and the Berber folk.

6. My Great Grandmother's Gourd by Christina Kessler - A pump has been installed in a village in Sudan, allowing folks to draw up water efficiently. This piece of technology seems to excite everyone except for Fatima's grandmother, who seems to be infuriatingly set in her ways. She insists on collecting water using the baobab tree even though others ridicule her. Then something happens and teaches the villagers the value of respecting tradition even while they embrace progress. 

That is the end of the details given by sister Imaan.I hope this would help others as well Inshaa Allaah.

We also had a surprise gift in the package. 

May Allaah reward the sister immensely! She had got us these Usborne Lovely set of encyclopedias. Actually I was looking for Science books for next year, I think I may end up using these books. They are such lovely books with extended resources links at the website.

Truly Innalhamdalillaah for all of this, what more can I say!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Kindergarten Curriculum Summary - Week 29 & 30

Islaamic Studies
Fiqh - Dua and etiquettes of Dua. We used the Tj Dua Unit Study for this. Explained to her the difference between "Want" and "need". Asked her to mention some "Wants and Needs and I wrote them down.

Then we went through each want and need and identified who can give her each one of them. And made her understand that while Abi and Ummi can give few of the things she needs and wants it is only Allaah who can give her everything and even what Abi and Ummi can give her is only given by Allaah. And we should ask Him alone , all what we want and need.

We learnt the etiquttes of asking dua. We also revised the Asmaaul Husna and discussed which attribute could be used for each dua.

I told her the story of the three in the cave, that they were trapped and they asked Allaah dua to help them by mentioning the good deeds. And asked her to mention some of the good deeds she has done and that she could use to make dua.

We pasted the etiquettes of Dua review sheet on the Islaamic Studies Book.

We read all the Darul Kitaab Learn About Series Books on Dua.


  • Grammar -  Continuous and Perfect Tense




  • Grammar - Contractions



  • Reading - We started reading "The Treasure Island" She can read but she wanted me to read aloud every day each chapter. 

  • We have not finished the book yet. But this book has given her a very new understanding about the world she is living in. For the first time she is reading about Pirates, killing each other, fighting with each other and so on. She had many many questions and I can feel that she is beginning to understand that people are different. 
  • She also wanted to know about the author of the book and she was pretty confused that he lived and wrote this book 100 years ago. She also wanted to know whether there are any Muslim Pirates? I explained the hadeeth of Allaah, "A believer who drinks khamr is not a believer while he is drinking khamr, a believer who steals is not a believer while stealing." So she is learning. I was not too sure if these kind of stories were good to give her to read, but I also thought she must know these things and it is better that she knows this from me first. I keep telling her that we understand the evil so that we will try to protect ourselves from that evil.



She did the smart start science book activity on weather.

She did the worksheets on weather words and weather pictures. 

She used an old magazine and cut some of the clothes that are used during different weather conditions and pasted them accordingly. Also We did a weather Graph for the month of May. I looked up on the internet and told her the past month's recorded weather for the city and asked her to mark on the graph. This is the first time she learnt how to mark on the graph and what a graph is all about. She did well.

We also revised the dua to be told during different weather conditions, examples rain, thunder, storm, etc etc.

  • MEP - Year 1 - Maimoonah can understand and do additions now without much of a problem. But I noticed that she is struggling a little with subtractions. If I give her problems to solve she could tell easily but with equations she is getting confused. So I used the marbles this time and kept explaining to her the concept of  minus. Asked her to write an equation and then also gave her the marble and asked her to demonstrate to me the the equation. 



We also together did this MEP activities.


Since we did about heat, I took the opportunity to make her understand the -1, -2 on the number line.

  • Reading - We took out some Arabic First Books and read. Since the letters are big and clear she could read them and then did some activities on them.


Maimoonah is growing Maashaa Allaah and I am finding it difficult to get her to bed at night, as she has so many things to do lol and which is very normal at this age. I sometimes get so annoyed that she takes so much of my time just trying to go to bed. So since we got her a copy of the Noble Qur'aan , I thought it would be better that I make the Qur'aan and Bed Time Story Book and also gives me an opportunity to revise something with her. She was more than happy and Alhamdulillaah gets ready to go to bed faster than before. The deal is if she gets to bed fast I read more, if she takes her own cool time my reading is less. She has requested me that I read Soorah Baqarah with the meaning every night. So I read one soorah from Juzz Amma that she has memorised and I ask her to recite the Arabic and I read the meaning and the explanation given. Then I read one page of Soorah Baqarah each night with meaning and explanation. So far so good Alhamdulillaah!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Machines/ Electricity/ Heat


We learnt that Machines help us do things easily and they are made by man by the permission of Allaah and used by people in their day to day work. We read the encyclopaedia and it talks about different kind of Machines and how they are made. We did not get into detail at this stage.


 I asked her to name some machines she knows. Then she did the smart start science book activity on machines.


We learnt that Electricity is a type of energy and used most of the time. 


We learnt that even our body has electricity and the most easiest way was to show the static electricity.


Then I asked her to go around the house and tell me the things that we use that needs electricity. Then I wrote them down and along with it she brought some of her toys that also needs electricity. Also we learnt that Electricity can kill us and we have to take extra care and discussed safety measures. 

She did the Science Book activities.


Then we identified what are things that use the socket and what things use battery. Showed her the switches and the flow of electricity while explaining a bit on circuits. 

We learnt that Battery stores electricity.

Then we did the DK worksheets on electricity and circuits.  She could draw a simple circuit by herself and could understand and identify whether the circuit would work or not.


I gave the pictures and asked her to paste and make a circuit.




We learnt that heat is another type of energy. Spoke about when we would need heat and for what. 

She did the smart start science activity.

Taught her to read a thermometer and introduced the minus numbers which was useful for maths as well.

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