Friday, October 26, 2007

Math for Muslims

Assalm alykom:
I always dreamed of an integrated curriculum made by Muslims. I think it could encompass every subject. So far now, I just make little things here and there that gives my children a sense of commonality with what they are studying. I was searching for math worksheets the other day, and I thought I should just make my own using clip art on Microsoft. She loved it. I used one of the problems with a woman wearing hijab and she was so happy with it. I hope to make her more of these.

Learning Arabic

Assalam alykom:

My son Nour who is eleven and my daughter Muryam who is nine can read write and speak Arabic fluently. Now, is the time to teach my daughter Zaynab who is five and my daughter Faatimah who is three. Even though I am American, I have been blessed to be able to speak, read and write Arabic. I speak formal Arabic and it was my wonderful husband who taught me. I can teach the children myself, until they reach the level of needing the grammar. This is where I have never been able to excel, yet! However, I am not giving up. As far as teaching the young ones, this is how I began. We start about four years of age just recognizing the letters and their sounds. This lovely sister has a great site for manipulatives. I have used many things on this site. After they are able to recognize the letters and the sound of the letters, we began writing the letters and using words that began with each letter. This is what I will concentrate on for most of the year. Arabic has many curves in the letters and this will take a great of practice for the child to master it. Probably towards the end of this year, I will start to introduce the Tashqueel. This is the Fatah, Dumah and Kaserah sound for each letter. Next year, I will start to work on the letters when they are in different positions in the word.

The notebook pictured above is a composition book for early years. I just draw a picture in it of the letter, and she practices writing the letter. Here are letters that I printed out from sister Sumayyah's site. I printed the clip art from Microsoft. I printed two pictures of each sound of a letter. We use it as a memory game or just matching letter sounds. I laminated them before I cut them all up to preserve them longer.

Here is a connect the dots using the Arabic alphabet. I just drew it myself first and then erased the lines.

Here is the finished picture that Zaynab did.

Here is another worksheet that I made Zaynab. I just typed the letters out and then used clip art to match a picture that has the beginning sound. If anyone would like me to email this one, just send me an email, and I will be more than happy to send it.

The Red Tide

Assalm alykom:
We are temporarily staying in a condo on the beach. Last week a natural event was taking place. It is called Red Tide. Red Tide is actually algae blooming off of the coast. This type of algae is toxic and kills a great deal of the marine life. The ocean appears to have a red a brown tint to it, hence the name Red Tide. For us humans, the Red Tide was affecting the air. When we went outside, it would cause us to cough and sneeze and would cause irritation to the eyes and nose. As far as swimming in it, we did not. However, the news reports said you could swim, but it may cause a rash. I was not taking my chances with the kids. One thing it did provide for us was a giant interactive science lab. My son Nour needed to observe a water habitat and make a map of it and my daughter, Muryam needed to find lines, shape and geometric patterns in nature.

The waves were rough, so the young sea turtles were washing back up to shore. We found a conservationist saving them. She said they were not affected by the Red Tide, but they were tired from the rough seas. She was collecting them and taking them to a rehabilitation center. She said these were about a year old.

I really love these sea horses and the star fish. Nour just finished a research report on the process of mummification. He learned in his research that these two animal naturally mummify once they are exposed to air. Well, that was enough information for them to start drying the dead ones that they found on the shore. The starfish actually looks like a rubber or plastic toy. It is dark purple and bright orange. I almost did not pick it up because I really thought it was a rubber toy.

Nour had to draw a diagram and label the parts of a water habitat, we took pictures of some of the fish that were along the shore. Then we went home and tried to find their names.

These are Atlantic Spade fish.

This one we were never able to identify. Nour calls it a Monster Fish because it is so weird looking, Subhannallah!

These little fish are called Mullet.

Here is Nour's diagram of his beach habitat.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A field of black eyed susan

Assalam alykom:
These shots were taken in a field off of Lake Jessup in Oviedo, Florida. We were on a toll road traveling to Daytona Beach from Orlando. The view was just breath taking, and Thank God we had the camera in the car. When we got out on the side of the rode, the smell was very over powering and so sweet. It looked just like a sea of yellow and smelled like sweet perfume. The beauty that Allah gives His creations are so magnificent! The bottom picture looks like a black eyed susan, but I am not sure if it is one. I shot this one off the beach near Daytona.

Salt dough project

Assalm Alykom:

My five year old is reviewing her alphabet right now. At the same time, we are daily learning the English alphabet along with the Arabic alphabet. We made some things out of salt dough that represented the letter we were working on. The "B" is shaped like a butterfly and the apples are for the Arabic letter "ta". This would be the word "tifaha" for apple. Here is how we did them.

Materials used:

  • Salt dough(take any recipe from the internet)

  • Acrylic paint

  • Assortment of plastic pony beads

  • Plastic craft string

  • Paint brush

  • Clear nail polish

Directions: After we formed the shape we wanted, we poked a hole in the top to run the plastic craft string. We then baked them in the oven until they were very hard. I put it around 300 degrees. Be careful not to burn them. Allow them to cool. Then we painted them with acrylic paint. Paint them on both sides so you can use them as a pendant for the necklace. After they are really dry, I painted them with clear nail polish. This is basically a varnish to preserve them. Once this was dry, both my three year old and my five year old daughter were able to string the beads they wanted on the necklace. It makes a really nice project, and it reminds them of the letter they learned.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Learning about Shapes

Assalm alykom:

You probably think that I am going to tell you some pointers about teaching shapes to young children. Well, actually this was a lesson for my fourth grade daughter and me. In the Oak Meadow cirriculum, the science starts out with alot of observing. I was skeptical about it at first. I was thinking what is the point to all this. They provide these small jewelers loupes for looking at things close up. They have the student go and look at things in nature to look for shapes. Look at the wing of a dragon fly, the bark on a tree, flowers, or leaves. From these observations, they want you to look for shapes. Look for obvious shapes such as circles and squares. Also, they should look for shapes that are not defined. After all these observations, they are to go and look at early primitive tools and artifacts. They want the student to look for the shapes that these early people carved or painted on these artifacts. Then, the point is that these early people did not know shapes. They were not taught these shapes in school like us. They have never seen these shapes. These early people learned shapes through looking and observing Allah's creations. Therefore, if the student also observes Allah's creations closely, he or she will inevitably learn something. I am 39 years old, and this was something I learned that was new about shapes!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Decorating Notebooks

Assalm Alykom:
This year, I am having my older children write in a journal every couple of days. Sometimes, I tell them what to write, and sometimes, I let them write anything. They love poetry that rhymes, and most of the time the will write a poem if I did not give them something to write about.
We decided to decorate their journals to make it more personal and fun. Here is how we did it:

Materials Needed:

  • composition notebook

  • flat items to place on the book. we used pressed flowers, cards and construction paper. Other suggestions would be: fabric, wrapping paper, stickers, cut up magazine pictures. I do not suggest computer printouts. The ink tends to bleed.

  • Modge Podge gloss (you can pick up at any craft store or craft section in Wal-mart)

  • paint brush

Brush a coat of Modge Podge on the notebook. Next, we carefully put a piece of construction paper the size of the book. Then, we put another coate of Modge Podge on the top of the paper. Next, we put our flat objects on the top of this. Again, you apply another coat of Modge Podge. Be sure to apply the coats evenly. The Modge Podge is very thick and leaves streaks. Finally. we would continue to put several coats of Modge Podge until we achieved to gloss we liked. Make sure you let the Modge Podge dry in between each coat. If not. it will be a thick goopy mess.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Oak Meadow

Assalm alykom:
Well, we have been using Oak Meadow for a month now. We really like it so far. The grades that I am teaching is 6th, 4th and kindergarten. The 6th and 4th grade are designed to have the children explore and research the subject areas on their own. This exploration has a great deal of hands on work such as creating maps and creating models of things. There is also a great deal of writing and reading involved in these upper grades. The children expressed to me that they like it because it is not just sitting down an memorizing definitions and concepts. While they were attending the Islamic school last year, they told me that the curriculum and the studies were so boring. Through the projects, they are having fun while they learn. They give the children several projects to choose from each time. Therefore, they are also involved in their own decision making process. They do not have the children reading short stories in a reading book. They are reading classic novels and most of them I like. I sent some of them back because I did not approve of the content. I intend to have them substitute with something more approving. This way they still get the quality reading that is needed. This curriculum is great if you also have multiple children. There is only a couple of books that you work from and no workbooks. All their work is done in notebooks. Therefore, if you maintain the books you can just pass it down to the next child. It is also very affordable. After checking with other curriculum's, this was the least expensive. The kindergarten is very laid back. My daughter already knows how to write the alphabet and can even read a few sight words. The kindergarten has them just learning the alphabet. I am using this repetition as a review for her and trying to spend more time on her Arabic letters. The stories they have them reading are the Beatrice Potter stories with Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny. I like these classical stories because they are not full of the sorcery like most fairy tales that they are exposed to at this age. There are many great crafts that are included, and I am excited about doing them all. If anyone would like more information or questions about my experiences, please feel free to email me in the box of my side bar.