Saturday, October 31, 2009

The pumpkin patch

Assalam alykom:
Here is another field trip we took. It was a local pumpkin patch. Here is the link for it.
It is quite a place! It has animals , rides, and of course pumpkins! My children had a great time!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Fly Craft

Assalam alykom:

I was teaching my little girl who is in kindergarten about bugs. We were learning about the house fly as one of the bugs. It is quite a gross creature! We stumbled upon this little craft and my 7 year old daughter made one also. They had fun running around the house smacking their older brother and sister with the flyswatter. Click here for the template.

Field Trips

Assalam alykom:

I am planning this year to do many field trips with my kids. This has been something a little lacking in our past homeschooling days. We were always moving around. So, planning field trips did not make the school year each time. We took our first trip to a local family apple orchard. It is very close to our home. The orchard was family owned and operated. The family was so kind to us. The owner gave each child a bag and allowed us to pick all different kinds of apples. She explained how the orchard worked. She had a small area where they made apple cider and showed the kids how it was made. She had a apple sorter and polishing machine and she ran a few apples to show us how they sort them all. In the end, we bought a bag of apples and some cider. From the bags she gave the kids to pick their own, we had so many apples. My daughter tried her hand at an apple pie and it was very delicious. We are planning to go to a local pumpkin patch this week. My son is studying American History and of course the American Indian. I am calling around to local reservations with the hopes to visit and learn more about their culture.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Another year down in homeschooling

Assalam alykom:
I have been so busy to put time in my blogs. I have really wanted to update my readers on my homeschooling journey. This is our 9th year of homeschooling with the exception of one year that we all went to an Islamic school. This year and last we used the Oak Meadow books. I had one child at 7th grade, then, 5th grade, and 1st grade. I have to say, this is the most economical full packaged curriculum. I also have to say it is not the most high quality either. The saying goes that you get what you pay for. For first grade, I still am not happy at all with the level of teaching. It is so light that it almost seems uneducational. I realize that it is a different form of education that is similar to the Waldorf style. However, I wonder where the child eventually catches up with reading and math. At first grade, there is still very little reading, if any and math has almost no computation at all. I supplemented my own, and felt I wasted my money on the curriculum. For second grade, I just went to Ebay and bought some things. I got the Scott Foresman Language Arts and Singapore Math. The local Catholic school was retiring their Science, Health and Social studies. I bought them for a small donation along with the teachers manuals. Last year, I had a 5th grader and a 7th grader. I like some parts of the Oakmeadow in the upper grades. For next year in 6th grade, I already have that whole curriculum from my other child. To save money, we are just going to go ahead and teach it to my daughter. For 8th grade, I decided to pick and choose. I like the English and the History in Oak Meadow. It has them reading classics instead of the new books. These classics tend to be more wholesome and have more meaningful stories. I also like the writing that is in the Oak Meadow. It has a great deal of writing and my children are really good writers from it. They can writer a 2 to 4 page report on something in a blink of an eye. Their reports are organized and their content is very good. I decided to switch to Singapore Math and Science. The science in Oak Meadow is really uneducational. There is not much explanation and the experiments almost never work. The math is very light and easy for my son. I think that he could be more challenged. So, I decided to try the Singapore math. Also, I got it much cheaper on Ebay than the Oak Meadow Math. This year I am going to also add another student. My 4 year old daughter will now be part of our school. She will be 5 soon and needing to be taught kindergarten. I have not worked with her at all. I am in no hurry since I have my hands full with the other three. My husband is taking over my oldest exclusively. This way I have more time to spend with the other three. Also, the higher grades are more complicated, and I spend alot of time studying and understanding the material so I make sure they are getting the best knowledge. Overall, we had a great year! Our new little farm was a great educational lab for the kids. We saw baby goats born before our eyes, we watched barn swallow build nests and raise their young, we have so much area to run and play, it is so dark we can see every star like a planetarium, the list of wildlife is on going, we have seen pheasant, deer, porcupine, raccoons, woodpeckers, opossum, chipmunks, honeybees, lighting bugs, coyotes, hawks, geese, humming birds, rabbits and the list goes on. I pray that all of you homeschooling families have had as much success this year as my family has had!

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Recycled Picnic Table

Assalam alykom:

The nice thing about old farm properties is that you can find alot of Junk. I made this table out of old planks of wood that I found in my barns and cinder blocks that where scattered through out my pastures. My kids and I cleaned up the wood an nailed them together to form the top. Then we just used planks of various sizes to form the seats. It is not as stable as a real table, and I always tell everyone to sit at your own risk. We have enjoyed many dinners outside so far on it. I love any craft that turns junk into a usable item.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Good Life

We have lived in Nebraska for about 7 months now and survived the winter. When we first entered Nebraska upon moving here, we noticed the sign at the state line saying: "Welcome to Nebraska...... the "Good Life". We now have a little masjid with a handful of familes, Alhamdolilah. My husband has been recently doing some very inspiring khutbas about living the "Good Life", not just in Nebraska, but everywhere and for everyone. I hope you enjoy them and have as much inspiration as our little community has had from them. Just click the words next to the number and have a listen to each inspiration.

Good Life
by Radwan Kouatli

1. Good Thoughts
5. Corporate Mercy (will be added soon)
Good Life Through Remembering Allah
by Radwan Kouatli
1. Your Wali
Good Life Through Keeping Allah's Commandments
by Radwan Kouatli
1. Remembering Allah's Commandments

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Learning Geography

Assalm alykom:

I have been really busy with life to commit time to my blog. This is my latest craft that we did with my first grader. As you know, I use the Oak Meadow curriculum. They teach the beginnings of geography in a different way that I am not used to when comparing the ways to my older kids. My older kids you would start with a flat map or a globe and teach them North, South, East and West. They would always look a little lost because that cannot conceptualize it to their scale. With Oak Meadow, they teach the child from his/her small surroundings. They have them make a map or a model of their room. With this, they can relate to where something is because they are familiar with it. Then, you teach them the directions from their room. The next step, the place gets a little bigger. The child needs to make a map of their house. Also, they need to know the directions here. Again, the child learns a little bigger area. They need to make a map or model of their neighborhood. I like this method very much. At this age, they really can conceptualize each step of making the area bigger. We made this little model of her room that she shares with her two other sisters. We made the all of the furniture from boxes and then painted them. The bed is a bunk bed that we made from Popsicle sticks and small boxes. We made the floor, which in their room is wooden, from Popsicle sticks that we varnished. We made the windows from magazine picture of the outside and the put fabric curtains. She loves it and does not want anyone to touch for fear it will break. I encourage you to try this concept in teaching. I really loved it!

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Tortoise and the Hare

Assalam alykom:

We were doing the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. My girls had happen to check a book out at the library with crafts related to old stories. This one was in there and we thought it would be fun to act the story out with them. They are made with little toy cars. We just used double sided tape and tabed the puff on the rabbit and the paper for the turtle. Since they have wheels, we could just race them accross the floor. I love the story too! It is such a classic!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Weather/Wind Vane

Assalm Alykom:

With my first grader, I have been teaching about the weather. They have the typical weather vane that you make from a straw, pencil and paper. I wanted it to be more exciting. We made this one from junk we found in our barns. It took a little bit of engineering and rigging, but it actually turns. We used PVC piping, metal scraps that we found, a long nail, washers and a metal hose fitting. The girls painted it funky colors, and now it sits on a post near my pasture.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Fancy Bird Feeders

Both my 5th grader and my 1st grader have studies of birds and making feeders. Well, here is our idea. I visit local auctions where I live. At these auctions, they sell everything by the box load. Therefore, I usually have a few treasures that I do not want or need. So, we made bird feeders from them. The first two feeders, we painted a hard plastic bowl, glued some buttons, and stenciled some teapots. We glued the bowl on to a glass vase using Hard As Nails Glue. Lastly, we used the same glue to put it on a fence post near my pasture. So far, I am glad the glue is holding up to the fence post, but we still have not seen a bird. The bottom feeder was a little more complicated. We uses to glass candle stick holders, a vase and a piece of pvc piping. We glued the first candle holder on to the vase. We then glued the pipe and then another candle holder on top. The way we mounted the candle holders, allows them to be like cups to hold the seeds. The pvc pipe, we coated with peanut butter and than seeds. Again, there are no birds, but they look nice on the post.