Friday 27 June 2014

Everyday Arabic Series - Books Review

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Alhamdulillaah we received these wonderful series of books on "Everyday Arabic" from Taalib Al-Ilm Educational Resources 

This will be a general review of these books just to give you an idea and possibly you can consider giving these books as gifts for your kids or your loved ones for Ramadhaan and Eid. Inshaa Allaah after Eid we will review each of these books and share with you how we would include this into our arabic Studies while homeschooling.

These books have 8 titles
The publishers say these books are suitable for Ages 4-6 & Above. In Fact its even very much suitable for me too and for the whole family as well. Each books have more than 40 pages and some have more than 50.

All of these books are Questions and Answer Books with pictures pertaining to each title. All are in the form of sentences and have Arabic on one side of the page and English on the other side. The words are colour coded too. 

The quality of the paper inside and outside are pretty good infact when you touch the cover page you feel very nice. 

At the end of each book you also get a couple of  colouring and other activities.

What we like about these books
  • This goes beyond just learning vocabulary
  • Its structured in such a way, where we can start talking Arabic instead of studying only grammar and not being able to speak
  • The English Translation along with the Arabic
  • No transliteration so that the child somehow reads in Arabic only (with transliteration around I have notice the kids really do not make effort to read the Arabic)
  • It is good for English Language and Vocabulary too
  • Can be used for read aloud family session or circle time
  • Illustrations are beautiful and do not contain any pictures of living beings with souls

What we feel that could improve the look and feel of these books!
  • The Arabic letterings are pretty thick and some of the letters are not very clear for kids or the ones who are learning Arabic to read
  • Too much colour in the words and letters is not very soothing to the eye
  • The pictures are too large and are sometimes a distraction to concentrate and read, and one or two words are not clear due to the pictures
  • More Activities for all ages could be a plus

We hope the publishers would take these drawbacks and make them better when they re print Inshaa Allaah.

Other than this I love the concept of these books are looking forward to make use of it to improve our Arabic Studies and I am sure this would add more flavour to it when we start homeschooling after Eid Inshaa Allaah! These set of books are really worth it for the this price and will serve as a wonderful gift too. Check them out and share with others Inshaa Allaah!

And the good news is Taalib Al-Ilm Educational Resources have agreed to giveaway each of these books to one of my readers. So look out for the grand Giveaway after Eid and a full review of each of the titles Inshaa Allaah. They also have many other publications. Its worth having a look at their store. They also have just put out this lovely Ramadhaan Journal

Thursday 26 June 2014

Ramadhaan Basket - 2014/1435

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Alhamdulillaah! Allaah has blessed us with looking forward to another Ramadhaan! This year we are just concentrating on few things only! Due to many reasons and one being a space problem we decided to just have everything we want to do in Ramadhaan in a Basket! Hence a "Ramadhaan Basket" for Maimoonah. She really liked the idea and helped me make her basket and decorated it!

So what is in it?

The Ramadhaan Journal and the Materials to be used for the Journal! She also did her Goals pages for Ramadhaan!


The Noble Qur'aan. She wants to read one page in Arabic each day and read the Tafseer of it too Inshaa Allaah!

Do you see some of those lovely looking Everyday Arabic Books? Yes we got all 8 of them from Taalib Educational Resources and Maimoonah chose to read two books on Camping and Tools all by herself in Arabic and English in Ramadhaan. So we included both of them into the basket too. Look out for the next post on a Review on these lovely books and a surprise too! 

A sewing kit called "A Fancy Pouch" and yarn for some knitting!

Usooluth Thalaathah to read and revise so that she does not forget what she has memorised and learnt.

The Salaah Workshop Notes to revise and perfect the Salaah as she will be 7 this Ramadhaan Inshaa Allaah!

The Golden Series Sahabah books. she wants to read Islaamic Books only during Ramadhaan. These books are lovely to read again and again and contains good revision too.

And a small Notebook, some colour pens and stationery items.

Sunday 22 June 2014

Tarbiyah Girls Club - Final Class for Level 1

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Alhamdulillaah! last Saturday was the last Class for level 1 of this Course. So this class included a revision test of all what we have studied. This was a set of simple worksheets for kids to review what they have done during the last 10 classes. 

Since we missed out one hadeeth from Umdatul Ahkaam - Book of tahaarah we completed that one at this class. This hadeeth deals with urinating it still water and having a ghusl in still water while in a state of janaabah. We did not explain to the kids the meaning of a junoob except we said we will talk about it later and it is a state of impurity. 

Then we had an oral quiz contest. Divided the kids into two groups and the one who answered the most amount of the correct answers and got the highest points was chosen as the winner and we gave some sweets to the winner too.

Then the girls decorated cupcakes and had some fun. These were carrot cupcakes which were baked and the kids decorated their own cupcakes. 

They also had some fun playing around. Finally each girl was given a gift bag. They all seemed happy about it as this came as a surprise to them.


Alhamdulillaah we were able to cover Al Waajibaat upto Knowing Your Religion, We completed the Book of Tahaarah - on Wudoo and purification from Umdatul Ahkaam, we have also done around 6 hadeeth on Adab Al Mufrad and learnt about 3 Great Women of Islaam.

We hope that this initiative benefited the kids and their families and we look forward to continue this club after summer too Inshaa Allaah!

I would like to thank the girls and their parents for enrolling, the sister who opened up her house for this club and for initiating this project and working tirelessly throughout. The sister who took in charge of home making activities for the girls and for a job well done. Sister Umm Aayaah for helping me with all the graphic design and layout for the documents. May Allaah reward you all and make your scales heavy with all the good deeds. Aameen. Jazzaakumullaah Khayr.

May Allaah accept this from us. Aameen.

Saturday 21 June 2014

Tarbiyah Girls Club - Class 10

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

At the 10th Tarbiyah Class we learnt the meaning of Inqiyaad - Compliance with Allaah with Obedience, part of Knowing Your Religion. This included the discussion of newly invented matters in the dheen of Allaah and sticking to the sunnah of the messenger of Allaah. We also learnt the conditions of an action to be accepted by Allaah with examples. 

We also explained the incident of Ibn Masood and the people who were counting pebbles and making dhikr. This was a nice incident to talk about with the girls and make them understand many innovated matters in this pure dheen. Alhamdulillaah!

We continued with Adab Al Mufrad on the topic "Repaying Parents". We learnt the wonderful manners of Abu Huraryrah radhiyallaahu anhu with his mother and the statement of Ibn Umar with regard to repaying one's mother even if someone carries her and made tawaaf when she was old. We spoke about the pain that a mother goes through when she gives birth and how we should be dutiful to her at all times.

This time the kids did bookmarks. We got inspired by this link. And the kids were happy with their work.

Tarbiyah Girls Club - Class 9

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

At the 9th Tarbiyah Class we moved on with Al Waajibaat. We learnt the detail meaning of Istislaam with Tawheed. This part of the study involved talking about the Ghurabaah - The Strangers. We discussed about the hadeeth of the Ghurabaah and the girls were pretty much curious on the Strangers. We also discussed how they can be strangers in different situations that they have to experience. 

As for Taharaah we went through the 10th Hadeeth of Umdatul Ahkaam, Book of Taharaah which talks about "Ghurran Muhajjaleen" and the reward of wudoo. We discussed about the issue of lengthening the marks of the limbs of wudoo and spoke about the differences of opinions with regard to this issue.

We started Aaysha bint Abu Bakr in Great women of Islaam. Since her biography is a bit longer we had to do it for few weeks and may be we will continue in Level 2 of the course as well Inshaa Allaah. We read her early upbringing and few incidents that had happened during her childhood.

This week the girls tried finger knitting and thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Monday 16 June 2014

All About Cambridge Primary Curriculum!

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

I have been getting few mails inquiring details about the Cambridge Curriculum we are using. Since there are new readers here and for the benefit of all I decided to post a detail account of this curriculum Inshaa Allaah from a homeschoolers point of view and from our experience so far.

What is the Cambridge Curriculum?

This is not specifically tailored for homeschoolers, rather it is solely meant for schools. According to the Cambridge website they say:

"Cambridge International Examinations is the world’s largest provider of international education programmes and qualifications for 5 to 19 year olds, and part of the University of Cambridge."

Cambridge offers the following for Academic Programs and Qualifications: 

For each of these levels the website provides a full curriculum framework and resource list for free download for anyone. they used to have it free but now they have it free for all levels except Primary. All of these curriculums are very much in par with the UK National Curriculum but Cambridge offers this for International Students.

Cambridge Primary Curriculum

According to their website... 
"Cambridge Primary, typically for learners aged 5 to 11 years, gives schools a world-class curriculum to develop learner skills and understanding in English, mathematics and science. It enables teachers to assess children's learning as they progress with two optional assessments: Cambridge Primary Progression Tests and Cambridge Primary Checkpoint."

(The exams mentioned above the Progression and Checkpoint, as homeschoolers we cannot sit for them privately but if any school could accommodate you for the exams you can make your kids sit the exams through a school)

This is the level we are using now. We started this when Maimoonah was 5 years old. Cambridge Primary Curriculum Framework  list include the following Subjects:

Cambridge Primary Curriculum Framework

When you download the above you will see that some stages are missing in the documents. I have downloaded the complete framework when they had it a couple of years ago and you can see them here, here and here

For all of the above subjects they also give you a comprehensive list of resources (List of Textbooks) endorsed by Cambridge for you to choose. These resources lists are updated every now and then on their website. Here are the links of the resources for each Subject mentioned above: 

Resource Lists for Cambridge Primary Curriculum:

You also get a Teacher Support website which has many assessment papers and other teaching aids for teachers. But this site is password protected and accessible only by schools or teachers authorized by schools that are registered with Cambridge. So we homeschoolers cannot get direct access to this. In fact I wrote to Cambridge and requested if they could provide me the access and I am interested in paying and registering with them but they replied back saying their policy is such that this is only for schools and not for private candidates.

Cambridge Primary and Secondary 1 offers only the above subjects and ICT, when you come to Secondary II you can choose 7 or more subjects from 70 subjects  to continue till IGCSE or O level.

How do we get about this Curriculum as a Homeschooler?
  • Simply use the Framework provided and do your lesson plans
  • Use their resource lists and Choose the Textbooks that are easily available for you and that you and your child find interesting. I tend to choose the books that are widely used by schools in my area who are registered with Cambridge purely because you do not have to pay a lot for shipping as the books will be any way available in our local area.
  • Since the whole Primary Program is divided according to Stages start with Stage 1 and go on according to the ability of the child
Why Did I Choose this Curriculum?
  • Saves us time to do more Islaamic Studies in detail and Qur'aan and Arabic as no need to spend time looking for resources and plans for other subjects.
  • I am familiar with the UK Curriculum and Exams as I have worked with British Council for Number of years sending kids for Exams
  • No registration required with any entity to use this curriculum and it is free. Expenses are only for the Textbooks.
  • This Curriculum has a continuity. Begins from Primary and Ends at Pre Uni. So I do not have to waste my time every year looking for a new curriculum.
  • It is recognized worldwide.
  • The IGCSE or Cambridge O Levels and AS/ A Levels - The final recognized Examinations can be taken as a Private Candidate from all over the world through the local British Council at any Age. In Fact you do not have to sit for all the subjects at the same time. Even from 10 years the child can start sitting for the subjects one at a time. The Certificates will be given accordingly and this is recognized by any university.
  • This Curriculum is bundled up and divided in such a way that we can go forward or backwards according to the level and the ability of the child. For example Primary has 6 stages to be completed between the ages 5 - 11. You do not have to wait till 10 years old to do Stage 6, rather you can get on with all stages as soon as the child is ready. Also if your child is good in English she or he can go ahead with the next stage and if she or he needs more time for Maths you can go slow. So that the child is not halted in one subject just because of another subject.
  • Islamically speaking you are able to scrap off the unislaamic stuff and go on with the others. We can use the concept and teach Islamically. Example: Since the framework is available if we are teaching about "Setting" in English we really need not use the Greek Myths or Fairytale Stories to make them understand "Settings" We can use the True Stories of the Prophets and explain the kids the concept of "Setting". I used the Story of Ismaaeel and Hajar and the birth of ZamZam. It was a great setting indeed!
  • We have to only concentrate on 3 Main subjects and we are free to do any other the way we want to. Like Arts and Crafts, Sewing, Geography are some of our additional subjects that we do from all over and when we want. Makes it stress free for the kids. 
Drawbacks of Cambridge Primary Curriculum
  • Solely caters for Schools 
  • No Teacher Support for Homeschoolers
  • Cannot sit for Assessment Exams at Primary and Secondary Levels and get the Certificates
  • Only 3 Subjects are available till Secondary II. No frameworks or resources for additional subjects such as Geography, Health, History, Skills etc etc. 
How do we get along with the Drawbacks?
  • The Curriculum caters for schools but there is no hard and fast rule that only school going kids must use it. We have used it and it is going fine so far Alhamdulillaah.
  • The Curriculum is Clear and Textbooks have all details and teacher support is not a big need
  • Checkpoint Sample Exam Papers and Past papers can be downloaded on the internet and we can get our kids to do them any way to check their levels as we homeschoolers are mostly not so worried about Exams any way. Also this is only optional according to Cambridge website. So not mandatory to make our kids sit for these exams at these levels.
  • We do not spend much time on other subjects. We only do islaamic History and just read through the Encyclopedia for other world History. This curriculum does not makes it essential to use other subjects. Additionally we only do geography for which we just use a mix of all books and workbooks and follow the UK National Curriculum guide for geography.

I hope this would help those sisters who wanted to know in detail Inshaa Allaah.

Sunday 15 June 2014

Ramadhaan Journalling Event - Doha

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Alhamdulillaah we organized a Ramadhaan Journalling Session for the kids and the event was well attended Maashaa Allaah.

71 kids registered for the event. Here is what we did. The idea was to introduce journaling for the kids with making Ramadhaan the core. 

We made a Pack for each child where all materials were included for them to complete a Ramadhaan Journal during the Month of Ramadhaan.

What is in the pack?

Activity Sheets - (We choose some sheets from My Ramadhaan Activity packs for older kids and we made a two pages easy Activity Sheets for small kids) Done at the session, can be used for cutting and pasting on the journal later
A Journal Notebook - To maintain the Ramadhaan Journal
A sheet of Writing Prompts- To help kids write Journal pages
Journalling Description Sheet - How to Journal and tips for Ramadhaan Journal
A Ramadhaan Journal Goal Sheets with Hadeeths - Can be used separately or cut and paste 
Stickers - For Decoration and Good Deed Tree
A pack of Sequins - For decoration
Pieces of Different Wrapping papers with different designs - For decoration
Ribbons - For Decoration
Coloured Tissue paper pieces - For decorating borders and pages
Construction Papers - To be used for Journal pages
Coloured Papers - For decoration or to be used for writing
Different Shapes of Post it Stickers  - For decorating the writing pages on journal pages
Glue & Scissors and All are packed in a folder

We packed all of them in a folder and kept them ready!

Since there were 70 kids we grouped the kids and put a couple of sisters who volunteered, in charge of each group. Alhamdulillaah the sister who opened up the house for us allowed us to use the whole of her house. So the younger kids were in the living room and the older kids were in different rooms in their groups. We had to use her Kitchen as well Maashaa Allaah. This was our Program for the day!

Program - 9am to 12 noon
Registering and arranging the kids - 15 minutes (8.45 am to 9am)
Reading “When Ramadhaan Comes” with all kids  - 15 minutes
separate kids according to groups and sisters in charge take over each group  - 15 minutes
Both age groups do their respective Ramadhaan Activity sheets ( the respective sisters  in charge would supervise) - 30 minutes
Explain Journaling using the Notes - 15 minutes
Break - 15 Minutes
Decorating the Cover page of the Journal  - 20 minutes
Making a Journal page on the topic of - “Dates”  - 25 minutes
Sticking the Ramadhaan Tracker and Good Deeds Tree on one page of the journal and talking about some good deeds - 15 minutes
Writing one page of Goals (6 and up) - 15 minutes
Wrapping up/ Cleaning Up - 15 Minutes

We went around each group explaining what they should do and the sisters in charge supervised the kids in their groups.

We have kept separate the materials that would be used on that day by the kids and handed over the packs only when they went home as we did not want the kids to mess up the lovely tempting stuff inside.

We made some samples before the event to show the kids what we would be doing on that day!

These are some of the pics taken while the kids are busy with work at the session!

Decorating the Cover Page


Making a Date Palm Tree

Sticking the Good Deed Tree

Older kids did a collage of the Date Palm Tree

We asked the parents to send us pics of the complete journals after Ramadhaan Inshaa Allaah! Alhamdulillaah we could see the kids enjoying and their different creativity and talents. 

Our little Maimoonah enjoyed it too. When we came home she was saying "Ummi, why don't you have more events like this? It was so much fun". This is her cover page and her work!

This is a very nice way of bringing the community together and making the kids happy and making them learn about Ramadhaan too. Sisters are welcome to do the same in their local Muslim Communities Inshaa Allaah! If you need any further assistance in organizing something similar in your community you can contact me at

We thank all the sisters who came forward to help us with this event and did a wonderful job yesterday and we thank the kids for participating.  Jazzaakumullaah Khayr wa Baarakallaah Feekum!

My special and sincere thanks to my dear freind for taking in charge of the most tough part of buying the stuff for the packs, arranging and packing them and open up her house for the event. May Allaah bless her and her family and reward them with good in this world and the next. Aameen. We also are so thankful for the kind gesture of Silver Envelopes. They generously sponsored us with these lovely Ranadhaan Eid Scrapbook Art Packs for the kids who participated. Jazzakumullaah Khayr!

May Allaah accept this from all of us. Aameen!
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