Thursday, July 31, 2008

If You Don't Follow a Curriculum

You can go here for links to lesson plans. Read More...

Mini Solar System Complete

Here it is:

Photos From Space

Lol, I know it looks crazy with all the paper clips but my daughter really likes it.

I didn't have dowels to hang the planets from so I went into the dark backyard (the bulb has blown and I didn't replace it), almost grabbed a big spider (wasn't wearing my glasses) and finally got two sticks off a pine tree.

We loosely followed the instructions from here.

We kept Pluto as a planet even though it's being called a "dwarf planet" now and we also included rings on all four planets that have them.

I think it looks better in black and white.

Monochromatic Photos From Space

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mobilising Muslims: A Man and a Network With a Mission

Mobilising Muslims: A Man and a Network With a Mission

Yoginder Sikand

Shy but amiable and disarmingly down-to-earth, 55 year-old Muhammad Abdus Sabur is a man with a mission. He is the founder and general-secretary of a Bangkok-based network of Asian Muslim social activists struggling for social justice and inter-faith dialogue—the Asian Muslim Action Network, its acronym AMAN, meaning 'peace' in Arabic and several languages influenced by it. I met him at his modest office in a Bangkok suburb on a recent visit to Thailand, the meeting being one of the highpoints of my three-week stay in the country.

I pester Sabur (as he is known to his friends) with a flood of questions, and he gently obliges. What made him set up AMAN? What exactly is AMAN all about? What are its goals and what has it done so far?

Sabur tells me how it all started. Born in a village in what was then East Pakistan and now Bangladesh, Sabur began working with a Bangladeshi NGO in the aftermath of the deadly war that resulted in the creation of the new state. 'I worked particularly with badly-affected Hindu families in Sylhet in northern Bangladesh, who had born the wrath of the Pakistan army, who had burned down their houses and had killed many of them', he says. This work brought him in contact with the Bangkok-based Asian Cultural Forum on Development (ACFD), a network of Asian scholar-activists from different religious traditions trying to work out uniquely Asian solutions for uniquely Asian problems, inspired by Asian religious values. In 1979, Sabur was elected as a council member of the ACFD, the youngest on the panel. He shifted to Bangkok to work with the ACFD, and has been based there since then.

'During the course of my many years with the ACFD', Sabur reminiscences, 'I was struck how Christian, Buddhist and Hindu activists, inspired by their religious beliefs, were working on numerous fronts in a very organized manner. They were struggling for inter-community solidarity and women's rights, and speaking out against imperialism and capitalism, world debt and so on, and forcefully debating social issues and problems'. 'At the same time', he goes on, 'I noted, with dismay, how very behind Muslims were in this regard. They had their charities, providing money to madrasas and mosques, which, though important, was obviously not enough to grapple with a whole load of contemporary social concerns, problems, conflicts and struggles'. 'I felt that our essentially charity-based approach was still stuck in a feudal groove—you give donations to the poor, but don't touch them, don't live with and learn from them, don't participate in their lives and in their struggles for justice. Obviously, our responses were wholly inadequate', he adds. 'I knew of many Muslim organizations who did talk of social justice, but this was only in the form of publishing books or delivering lectures. Working with socially-involved Christians, Buddhists and Hindus, I realized that we Muslims, too, need to do practical work, and not just talking and preaching, to translate these dreams of social justice into actual practice.'

In 1990, Sabur began contacting progressive Muslim scholar-activists in different Asian countries to do precisely that. A small group of them, from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Thailand met at Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, in September that year, and AMAN was born. The noted Mumbai-based Islamic scholar Asghar Ali Engineer was chosen as the convenor of the network, and Sabur was elected as its general-secretary.

The aim of the network? 'Essentially, to transmit progressive Islamic ideas to Muslim youth', says Sabur. But it was not as simple as it sounds. This entailed working on several fronts at the same time: bringing progressive and socially-involved Asian Muslim scholars to share their ideas among themselves and with Asian Muslim youth; providing Muslim social organizations with a common platform to learn from each other, improve their methods, build their capacities and expand the scope of their work from mere charity to struggling for social justice and human rights; and interacting with secular as well as non-Muslim NGOs working on issues of common concern, both to join forces as well as to express what important contributions Islam and committed Muslims could make in this regard.

With limited funds at its disposal, it has not been an easy journey for AMAN. Involving the traditional ulema of the madrasas in its work, which Sabur sees as essential, given the influence that they enjoy among many Muslim communities, has yet to happen in a significant way. 'Madrasas are important, I agree, but their students need to have a broader social vision and a deeper insight into a host of social issues of contemporary concern, which many of them lack', he comments. He cites the instance of several Christian groups, each inspired by what they regard as the values of Christianity, that are actively engaged in struggles for social justice and inter-community solidarity. 'Islam, properly understood, teaches us all this as well. It stands for equality and fraternity, not just within the mosque, but in society outside too, but this is hardly how it is interpreted today. It stands for human rights, for all human beings, and not just for Muslims alone. It teaches us to respect diversity. The Quran states that God made people into different communities, so that they could understand one another, not so that they should fight and kill each other. We need to revise many of our traditional understandings, to recover what I believe to be the essential social message of Islam'. And that is where the need to reach out to and work with the traditional ulema comes into the picture, for many of them continue to miss the liberating message of the Quran, properly understood, particularly as it applies to women, the poor and the oppressed and to people of other faiths.

Today, AMAN organizes a number of activities, all geared to developing progressive responses to the myriad challenges affecting the Asian region, and not just Muslims alone. Its annual three-week peace-building course in Bangkok, conducted in association with a Christian university in Thailand, brings together men and women below the age of 40 from across Asia, mainly Muslims but people of other faiths too, to discuss burning social issues, from the rights of minorities and women, inter-faith dialogue and looming ecological disaster to questions of war and peace, religious and national chauvinism, terrorism and imperialism. It discusses possibilities of peace and social justice in a conflict-torn world and the theological resources that different religions, including Islam, can provide in this regard. AMAN also organizes two seven-day youth training courses for men and women below 25 every year, one in Nepal for South Asians, and the other in Bangkok for participants from South-East Asians, with broadly the same purpose.

'Research and action, scholarship and activism, must go together for them to be really effective', Sabur comments, and in order to do precisely that in 2003 AMAN launched a new project titled 'Views From Within: Muslim Communities in South-East Asia'. Under this project, annual fellowships are provided to young Muslim scholars from South-East Asia to engage in research projects on various crucial aspects of the lives and concerns of the myriad Muslim communities living in the region as well as the possibilities of progressive Islamic responses to pressing contemporary issues. So far, thirty-six fellowships have been awarded, and some of the theses that these have led to have been published as monographs.

Three years ago, this sort of socially-engaged research work was supplemented with the launching of a quarterly journal, AMANA, which now comes out in five languages: English, Bengali, Bahasa Malaysia, Thai and Urdu. Plans are afoot to start an Arabic edition soon. A glance through the contents of recent issues of the magazine illustrates its principal concerns: articles about inter-faith dialogue, women's rights, Islam, peace and justice, issues in common between Islam and Buddhism, and the fascinating variety of local Muslim cultures; stories about Asian Muslim groups and individuals tackling HIV/AIDS and working together with Christians in strife-torn parts of Indonesia to restore communal harmony; a report of an Hindu youth cycling across India to protest against nuclear bombs and another about Buddhist tribals in eastern Bangladeshis struggling against decades of discrimination.

Sabur also talks about other on-going work that AMAN is engaged in: helping out refugees from neighbouring South-East Asian countries who now live and eke out a living in Bangkok, galvanizing funds for mosques destroyed in the recent deadly quake in southern China and for families devastated by a killer cyclone in Myanmar and working with a Buddhist group in war-torn southern Thailand to promote understanding between Muslims and Buddhists. He excitedly tells me about AMAN's plans of shortly launching a Master's degree in peace studies in association with an Indonesian university.

Funding for AMAN's activities comes mainly from Western, mostly Christian, NGOs and a major Japanese Buddhist institution, and the AMANA magazine runs with a grant from Action Aid. Although Sabur has sought to diversify, to contact Muslim philanthropists and organizations who could possibly assist, he tells me that he has had little luck with them, and I am not surprised. 'Many of them will fund building mosques and madrasas or to promote their own particular sects and versions of Islam, but not this sort of activist work', he rues. 'Perhaps it is because they are not aware of this sort of thing', he muses. Perhaps, I think, but I am not sure. I cannot imagine hardened Wahhabi Arab sheikhs funneling petrodollars to sponsor initiatives activities that challenge Western imperialism, Muslim religious literalism and extremism or that champion women's rights and ecumenism and solidarity between Muslims and people of other faiths—which is precisely the sort of work that AMAN seems to be engaged in.

Sabur's sage advice in the matter is: 'We need to reach out to Muslim organizations, and to well-off Muslims, to make them aware of all these issues, to get them also involved in various ways in similar work. Perhaps some of them want to help out but don't know how. We need to speak out, against all forms of oppression, about poverty and illiteracy and discrimination in our own societies, and against imperialism, terror and war, at all Muslim forums, at the national and international levels. Only then can our views and concerns be heard.' But, coming back to the question of funding, he says in the same breath, 'We can't build relationships with money. What we need are simple, down-to-earth, simple and passionately dedicated people, inspired by the spirit of voluntarism and sacrifice, not doing work only if they are paid.'

'That', he tells me as I get up to depart, 'is precisely what genuine religiosity is all about.'

Sabur gives me a hearty hug on my way out, and, firmly holding my shoulders and looking at me in the eye, he recites from his fellow Bengali, the poet Rabindranath Tagore, a verse that I hurriedly noted:

Akla Chalo, Akla Chalo, Akla Chalo Rey

Jodi Tor Dak Shuney Kiew Na Ashey

Akla Chalo, Akla Chalo, Akla Chalo Rey

Walk Alone, Walk Alone, Walk Alone, Oh You!

Even if no one comes to you on hearing your call

Walk alone, Walk alone, Walk Alone, Oh You!

Muhammad Abdus Sabur can be contacted on and on

AMAN's website can be accessed on


Planning for Ramadan

Remember when I was talking about making some sort of Ramadan countdown? Well, I think I might have to make some gift boxes for each day InshaALLAH (for the older two) and have some sort of fun stuff inside. If it's easy and affordable, I'll let you know how it goes, InshaALLAH. I found this site for printable gift boxes. Read More...


Our mint has started sprouting a bit but I don't know if we will be successful or not.


It seems to have gotten stuck in this stage. Sabr, InshaALLAH.

My daughter is really interested in building things, particularly triangular shapes. I thought she was making a pyramid but she says it's a triangle. She says that a pyramid has golden rooms for kings and steps on the front like Chichen Itza. So I have been corrected, lol.

Not A Pyramid

We also started our mini solar system:

Rabbil-`alameen (Lord of All the Worlds)

now, they have to dry and then InshaALLAH I can hang them close to our science wall. We used white foam balls that came in a pack (about $2 CDN) from the craft section of Walmart. Read More...

The Rest of It

Since I am in the process of reorganizing the classroom, I thought I would give a peek at the rest of our space. I finally put the books in alphabetical order and added them to the bookcase.

Loaded and Ready to go

There was enough space to put our games and some of our boxed puzzles on the bottom so that helps to keep the classroom uncluttered. On top are the rest of our puzzles, the abacus and a book return bin.

Book Return Bin

My daughter can choose to read whatever she likes and when she finishes, she must bring it back to the bin and then I can put it on the shelf in the proper order.

I didn't add library cards yet but I think they are important in case she stops bringing the books back to be shelved. Without them I have no idea what is really missing until I find books buried in the sofa or under the dining table.

Outside our classroom doorway is a long hall.

Classroom Extended

The white wall is where I would like to place a bulletin board with the Qur'an verses of the week, du'a of the week, and hadith of the week for the upcoming school year, InshaALLAH. Also, I found this tree and must have it in order to teach about the family tree of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhis wa salaam)and our own family tree as well.

To the immediate left is the washroom that has our Arabic poster and English sign (this one is courtesy of former tenants). I also need to add the du'a for entering and exiting the washroom.

Al hamaam

Farther down is Qamar perched on his tree
Qamar Sleeping on His Paper Tree

and the far wall has everything for science.

Science Wall

The mats with the planets are from Walmart. They were about $1 CDN in the section with kitchen towels and table linens.

Solar System

I hope this is helpful to someone, InshaALLAH and please, if you have ideas let me know! Read More...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

How Did I Miss This?

I had one of those moments where the light bulb came on in my brain today. I searched Google for Good Word Books and they have a web site selling their books at an affordable price. Most of the books are on other sites, but they are cheaper here and they have new things that are not available elsewhere, AlhamduLILLAH. Read More...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Classroom Displays

These are classroom displays made by some very creative teachers. My mind is really going through a multitude of ideas that I will probably never have the time to accomplish! Read More...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Finally, Some Islamic Science

I'm excited to find some science materials for my daughter. Look at this sample.

There are also other books here under "Nature and Geography". Read More...

Look at This!

This will really force us to learn.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rainy Barbecue

Hmmm what's going on?

Today we ventured out to a barbecue at a park in Mississauga. As soon as we were settled and had our food, we got stuck in a bit of a downpour!

Ready for Rain

We practiced great patience and AlhamduLILLAH the rest of the afternoon was rain free. It was overcast and cool, which is nice for me and the kids had a great time playing soccer and feeding the seagulls.

Leaving Her Behind

Friday, July 18, 2008

Our Human Body

Super Kid

I made an outline of my daughter on brown paper and we filled the spaces with muscles, organs and bones from various places (scroll down). I couldn't find the proper-sized arms after searching for two days, so we used what we had. Read More...

Free Printable Teaching Aids

At The SparkleBox

I Like to Spy

On teachers, that is! I visit forums for teachers regularly, like at The Teacher's Corner (it's free to register). The teachers on this forum are very generous and offer lots of advice on many topics.

There are many others out there, just use Google search! Read More...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Name Those Bones

Name Those Bones

Name Those Bones II

I found some lapbook resources at Some are bible based but there are some valuable secular ones. Next, InshaALLAH, we might do the addition and subtraction lap books. Read More...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Was Small, Now I'm Tall

I Was Small, Now I'm Tall

This week in science, we are discussing how the human body changes over time. My daughter wrote the sentences to accompany my drawings of her. She was given no spelling help as it's just a free writing exercise. By the way, this is the next to last chapter in the science book.

I have to say, I really like the McGraw-Hill Science series but I might go here to supplement with some unit studies. It is worth it to register with the site, even if you don't purchase anything, there are usually free unit studies offered each month. Read More...

A Leveled Book List

Here is a book list that I found. It lists books from kindergarten to sixth grade and possibly higher. Read More...

Our Homeschool Library Book List

This is the link to the list of books that I have for the new book case. There are still a lot of books here and there but this is the bulk of books from recent purchases. My daughter likes to scatter books all over the house so I think this will be a good solution, InshaALLAH.

I haven't added any Islamic story books yet, they are all in my daughter's room but I think we will be bringing them down soon. As books are added, they should update on the link, InshaALLAH. Read More...

Slowly Making Improvements

The Long View

We finally started making a few changes in the classroom this weekend. My husband had bookshelves along the wall that always got in the way and really made the room look dark, so we moved them to the back wall next to the gym equipment. I then moved the dividers in front of his shelves and along the empty wall for our daily calendar exercises.

We also got an Ikea Expedit bookcase via craigslist and saved about $25. It really makes a difference in the space.

Ikea Expedit Bookcase

I now have to organize the books and I found a free download called Libra (short for library). It is vista compatible and it enables you to enter the books via ISBN or by title and it links to Amazon. I exported it in spreadsheet form and printed it so that I could put the books on the shelf alphabetically (it will only organize by title or first name of book author).

I think InshaALLAH, I will be getting the Expedit Desk also, because I need ample storage space for my teacher's manuals and a place to store things that should be out of reach of little one's hands. Right now, I am using the small table that the kids usually use for art to hold my books.

Where My Desk Should Be

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Gender Unknown

This little baby stayed in the same position the whole session, so the ultrasound technician could not determine the gender.

Mystery Baby I (kid number 4)

Mystery Baby II (kid number 4)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Exactly What I Was Looking For

AlhamduLILLAH! I was just talking to my husband the other day about finding a proper copy work book for my daughter to develop her penmanship and introduce hadith to her. I have been searching the net here and there this week and finally through Cynthia Sulaiman's Creative Outlet have found it! There is a pdf sample here. This book is for grades 2 and 3 and the next book is for grades 3 through 5.

And how could The Muslim Homeschooler not like this? Read More...

We Finally Planted Something

I went to Home Depot with my daughter the other day and we browsed the garden center. Of course, I forgot all about the sunflower mishap (they blew away)and she quickly reminded me that I said we could plant something else. So we looked around and found this:

Jiffy Greenhouse II

It's a simple greenhouse and some mint. I hope it grows into something useful because we've done this before but I think we over-watered the seedlings. This time, InshaALLAH we will be more vigilant.

The most exciting part for her was adding the water and watching the disks of soil get plump.

Soil Disks

Plump Soil

Last night my daughter and I stayed up way too late making sweet potato pies. She really had a good time mashing the potatoes and pouring in the ingredients.

We Made Pie

By the time we finished, we were too tired to taste them, especially since you have to wait for them to cool. My mother-in-law had a taste and said they were good. I got the recipe from here. Like others who rated the recipe, we used 1/2 the amount of sugar and for the other 1/2, we used brown sugar. Also, to make the pie mixture a little thicker, I added two tablespoons of flour.

We finished our chapter on ponds today by talking about the food chain of pond animals. We made another page for our science journal too.

Top of the Food Chain, Y'all

Here is an interactive food chain activity that you can try. Read More...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

SU Abroad: Muslim Cultures: Historical Diversity and Contemporary Realities

Each year, Syracuse University in New York offers a summer program dedicated to Muslim Cultures in London. "The program combines course work with guest lectures; visits to museums, mosques, and special exhibits; field projects; and study tours to Granada and Istanbul, historic sites of exquisite Islamic architecture."

According to the website:

"Financial assistance totaling approximately $6,000 per student is available for all those admitted to the program. This includes a tuition grant that covers 3 of the 9 credits, and a program fee grant of $1,400 that covers billed expenses for the field study trips to Granada and Istanbul. This award is in addition to individual grants of $2,000 that are available to all students regardless of financial need."

About 50 percent of students who study at SU Abroad centers are Syracuse students. The rest come from over 150 schools and colleges across the U.S.

Click here for more information.

Dr.Mohammad Riyaz Ahmed Scholarship Fund

The Dr.Mohammad Riyaz Ahmed Scholarship Fund "helps students, representing various area high schools and colleges or universities, receive scholarships and allow them to use these scholarships at the colleges and universities of their choice. "

Applicants must belong to Muslim community centers in certain cities in Oregon (Portland and some other cities) or specific areas of Washington State (specified on the application).

Preference is given to students studying the following fields: Law, Journalism, Psychology, Counseling, or social work.

Deadline: In 2006, the deadline to apply for this scholarship was in May. Visit the website to obtain more accurate information for 2008-2009.

Click here for more information.

This is My Daughter's Reading Level

Not bad for a four year old, eh? She couldn't read the word "enormous" without help, but everything else was fine, AlhamduLILLAH.


How To Set Up Your Library

Scholastic has an article called Creating Your Own Classroom Library: Set-up. The article is based on Your Classroom Library: New Ways to Give it More Teaching Power, by D. Ray Reutzel and Parker C. Fawson

It even gives tips for effective library set ups and classroom organization. Read More...

Wrapping up Science

We are almost finished with our science book, AlhamudLILLAH. We have three chapters left and then we can focus on finishing our social studies, math and phonics, InshaALLAH. My goal is to complete this school year by the end of October, InshaALLAH. That way, we can focus on our new schedule and prepare for the baby, InshaALLAH.

Today we discussed ponds and learned some new vocabulary, (habitat, nonliving things, definition of a pond). We made a new page for our science journal to show the different inhabitants of a pond.

Pond Habitat

Now, I have to convince my husband to let us have an aquarium in the classroom and we'll really have some fun! Read More...

Sunday, July 6, 2008


I got in touch with the person from Craigslist who is giving away textbooks for donations to their library. It's a church school so I don't know if they are secular or Christian books.... Read More...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Calendar Ideas for Primary Students

Farhana was asking me what we do with our calendar. My daughter has learned the days of the week and knows how to say the date properly. She reads them and recites them every day and then we do a weather chart in our book. I think it would help if all of this were visible on a constant basis, so I am thinking of setting up a bulletin board with everything in our classroom hallway. Ours is pretty large and I may scale it down a bit or buy a pocket chart of some sort just to conserve space. Here are some ideas for you at

I would like to set up some sort of Ramadan countdown to Eid chart, like this Ramadan Advent Calendar.

There's also the Islamic Calendar at Yemen Links.

InshaALLAH this helps!

Elementary/Middle School Books

If you are near Etobicoke, there is an ad on Craigslist for books...they just ask for a donation to their library. The link is here. Read More...

Are These Groups Still Around?

I was wondering if anyone knows if these groups are still around:

The Home Educated Muslims

Toronto Muslim Homeschoolers

and Al-Manar Homeschoolers Foundation

I've emailed them and if I get a response, I will keep you posted, InshaALLAH. Read More...

Friday, July 4, 2008

Okay, so here's what I'm thinking

Four chairs from here in the blue-green; a table from Staples - one that folds and can get out of the way if we need the floor,and bookshelves from...I don't know! I just want this one but I don't want to spend so much on it. Read More...

Keep it Balanced

Today was an interesting home school adventure. I had all three children in the classroom while my mother-in-law went to the library. We don't normally keep my youngest in the classroom because she likes to explore all of the areas that I haven't toddler-proofed. For instance, as soon as we got settled in the room, she grabbed paint and put it in her mouth, (we were painting while she napped and she came into the room before I could put it away). She's pretty quick but it's nontoxic paint, alhamduLILLAH. She really likes clay, so I let them make various things with it and they wanted to show it off:

Look at what we made

We explored the concept of heavy versus light and used the balance. I put various foods into plastic sandwich bags and we compared them to one another. They liked this a lot and learned that bigger is not always heavier. We also discussed solids, liquids, and gases and whether or not we could measure their mass.

Keep it Balanced

I finally laminated some numbers so that we could use them on the divider and make a large room calendar. Of course, I forgot to make one for the year and I didn't realize that the days of the week are on winter hats. Oh well. I also need to do an Arabic set for the Islamic calendar. The numbers are also a good way to help my son recognize them and to count them.

Reworking the Number Wall

We are slowly changing the classroom around a bit to accommodate the addition of my son into our space and to give them ample room for books,projects, and whatever else we do. Teacher's manuals are pretty big sometimes, so I am bringing my desk downstairs, (okay, my husband will be doing that)so that I don't get in their way. Right now, everything is cramped because we have my husband's bookshelves on the wrong wall and we need shelves for the kid's library. We visited Value Village and got so many good books. If you buy four books, you get one free, so we really loaded up.

More Books

There were lots of games, especially the memory game and we bought them all. My daughter loves playing the memory game and I figured we better get whatever they had in case the cards start to go missing.


We also found this nice little plastic crayon bank for about twenty-five cents. We will use it for spare change and money that we find outside for zakat, InshaALLAH. My daughter is very concerned about the poor getting enough to eat, subhanALLAH.

Zakat Bank

One book that I really like is The Human Body book. It is a pop up book and it's so interesting to see all of the different parts. My daughter is particularly fascinated with it and spends lots of time looking at it. My mother-in-law was not too thrilled about it, she says it's a little scary, lol.

Books Again

Inside the Human Body Book

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Science Kits Here

Mastermind Educational Children's Toys has an assortment of science kits and labs available. If you are in Canada, shipping is free for orders $75 and over. In the U.S., there is flat rate shipping of $5 for orders over $75.

This site has just about anything you need for homeschool science kits - even forensics!

is the Canadian site and the International link.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

DIY Dollhouse

If Razanne needs a place to stay, make her one of these! Read More...

If We Ever Get Through Saxon Math

I think, InshaALLAH, we will be going with Singapore Math next year. I like the thoroughness of Saxon Math but it is a sightly different approach than what I am looking for. It teaches the bare-bones essentials of math and lays a foundation that every child needs but it is repetitive and bland.

Singapore Math is more conceptual, using what they describe as "The Concrete > Pictorial > Abstract approach."
I printed the placement test for potential grade 2 students and it looks like she will be on track for the second grade math program once we finish the Saxon Math program for grade 1, InshaALLAH. You can see the placement guide here. Singapore Math also offers Standard (metric) or U.S. versions of their texts. We will go with standard since we are in Canada, InshaALLAH.

I thought that this year was going to be harder than the previous year simply because I planned to introduce my son into the homeschooling environment on a more formal level as well. However, he was a bit too young and I was too ambitious.

Every day he joins us in the classroom for a short while to help with art projects and listen to the Quran sessions, along with games and coloring (he loves to draw but isn't interested in coloring). I found out a lot about his learning style just by observing him. He has a good attention span and has a real interest in our Arabic sessions.

The new school year, InshaALLAH, will be his introduction to school, perhaps starting with the Calvert School Kindergarten program that I already have and assessing his progress at the halfway point of the upcoming school year. This means that I must revamp the schedule to fit in individual and group activities.

How will I keep myself from being overwhelmed? Well, for us, routine is always the key. And, knowing that I don't have to be a slave to a curriculum also helps. If I feel that my daughter won't benefit from doing a mundane task that the book suggests or it's too time-consuming or just plain ridiculous, we skip it. No guilt, no hassle. I never skip the important things, but I can think of something better to do than marching around the house saying the alphabet which she has known since she was very young.

If I don't plan accordingly, it can turn into a real mess, so careful scheduling is the backbone of our day and I know ahead of time if I can combine lessons or need to spend extra time or supplement a lesson. It saves a lot of time and I don't feel like I didn't provide a quality day for the children. Read More...