Greetings, ” IN THE BEGINNING”
Omigosh I have been so busy, mashaAllah, I wasnt able to write the very next day when I wanted to. And Allah is the best of Planners. Even though my blog will be about following The Well Trained Mind, we are i guess i reluctantly agree, “eclectic” homeschoolers meaning we take from several different methods. I do believe that the book The Well Trained Mind is superiour* when it comes to breaking down exactly what to do in relation to the plan of study and recommendation of books till an early age when the child is ready for college courses from home through distance education or even attending classes on campus, which is less usual but does happen. It also lays the foundation and advise for day to day plans for the homeschooler as well and is written so that children whose parents still have them in public or private school can augment their education making it more well rounded, in my opinion.
InshaAllah MY course with my child(ren) will not just give them a solid foundation of ‘ilm (knowledge) through following and implementing the Well Trained Mind, but most importantly will inshaAllah (God willing) mold them into the best person they could possibly be-inside and out, while remembering their Lord at all times, making them strong, helpful, thoughtful, well rounded individuals that are a contribution to society, a light to their friends and future collegues, a benefit to their community, respectful of their elders, parents, brothers and sisters in blood and in the religion. Finally, the ideas and lessons I have laid out for my child(ren) will benfit themselves- spiritually, physically, intellectually and emotionally and enable them to know that they may be part of a community in which their actions affect others but as Muslims they will be preparing themselves for those questions that the angels will ask them as they wait in the grave and finally, when the horn is blown and they will be risen and stand on the longest day when there is no shade. The Day of Judgment. Munkar and Nakir are the angels who will ask those three questions and their heart will answer, not their tongue. Frightening but true. “Prove all things, hold fast to that which is true and good” The Bible Theolossians. The proof for these statements I have made are in the Quran and if there is any doubt as to their veracity, visit the links on the side of my page and you will be convinced, although it is Allah (alone) who guides. My father raised me with a love of science and proving all things. He claimed to be an athiest, but I told him he was an agnostic because he believed in a “higher power” but did not belong to any religion with a specific set of beliefs. The reason he still believed in a higher power is because he DID know so much about religions, history, the universe and science-especially how everything in science made sense, it followed rules even though they were not seen. He was so logical in his thinking, everything had to make sense to him. He used to show me his college textbooks and by the age of ten, I had read every book in our house. Anyway, he showed me that in evolution even that had not been proven, he showed me a diagram where there was broken link, a leap of the “skeletons” found when there was a huge time period unaccounted for and not continuing on the same line. Now I know after reading the Quran, there were groups of mankind that were so sinful, that God turned them into Apes. I will provide the verse when I look it up inshaAllah.
Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Algebra, Earth Science shoot my father, come to think of it, taught me most of this stuff not school! These subjects all made sense and he knew that logically, they could not just come into being by themselves or that it had “always been” that the sun, planets in their orbits fixed, and everything had to be planned by something beyond us, an all powerful God Who never tires and is the all-knowing Omnipotent. He believed deep down. It was his arrogance and laziness that kept him from acknowledging his Lord.
And when the unbeliever’s body is being taken away, he cries, “Woe is to me! Where are they taking me?” Al Quran.
My day teaching Sakina
We had a great day. As usual, we (humans) plan things or have a set course in mind and then something else entirely occurs. Our “homeschooling” day (it’s summer and all but we’re always learning) was surprisingly child led. Another name for this type of learning is called child-directed. HOwever, if I could use one word to describe today’s homeschooling it would be “Unschooling” This is the idea that children, if left on their own without any formal plan of study WILL still learn to read and learn about Science, Math and History in their own time and have a general knowledge of all subjects. Of course, that is if the child is “normal” or “gifted” Some children do have learning diabilities but thsi does not mean that they cannot learn or that they are less intellegent in any way. They just learn differently and I know several methods that can help such children. NOt only have I read about different disorders such as ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia and others, I have taught children with such behavioral and thought patterns. I feel it is extremely important NOT to label a child, ESPECIALLY when they can hear you! Children rise to the expectations you set. More on that later. In regars to teaching “disabled” children (they are not, really ) the BEST spelling course I have seen HANDS DOWN is called sequential spelling. The site used to be called avco and it had a lot of freebies such as the first few lessons so you could see how it worked and it really makes sense, you can teach a child or adult to spell on middle school and above level at the same time and at an early age. HOwever, they changed it and you cannot acutally SEE the words. I am sure if an internet search is done, it can be seen before deciding to purchase. Here is the link http://www.avko.org/sequentialspelling.html one of the founder’s of the programs amazing site http://donpotter.net/ed.htm . I found another program for reading at the book store thank God, called Alpha-Phonics. This one was also co-authored by Don Potter. It is a bit tedious but if you go from from to back your child will be able to read beyond a second grade level and most likely spell well, too. And ALlah knows best.
I later was reading some homeschooling books or publications and they recomendeed the same program for reading, that it was an excellent program. It is, but they stated the cost was about $30 and i looked on my book and that was the original cost but I had gotten it for $5.00! So one should always carouse used book stores and thrift stores. I cannot tell you how many treasures I found from an old bookstore or small vintage shop underneath the street or in a small shopping strip. The library is everyone agrees, possibly the greatest free source for homeschoolers with magazines like Time : http://www.eduhound.com/ but my library in particular sells used books something like semi-annually and has open hours in the basement where the adult books are only $2.00, the children’s books all .50 cents and the magazines and national geographics like, 20 cents! Everything is arranged according to the dewy decimal system so it’s really neat that I can look up a book on my library’s website, then check to see if it’s in the basement. Sometimes when I learn of a particular teacher;s book on theory, good bestsellers, see recommendations for literature or whatnot i check it out on Amazon and read the description as well as the customer comments. These are REALLY helpful. I eve go to barns and noble I know a lot of us hate big business companies where it’s all about the bottom line, but honestly you can order almost ANYTHING from Barnes and Noble and they will order a book for you and you can come see it you dont even have to buy it. This is helpful for me because I like to see something before I buy it and even on Amazon sometimes you can see a few pages of the book you are searched or are interested in. I get the educator’s discount at B&N and it’s twenty percent. In addition to their sales and coupons/specials they e mail out, one can make a killing with discounts. Another awesome resource is scholastic book sales. Don;t waste your time buying from yur child’s school or a distributor. Go to their site and sign up as a teacher or homechooler and you can receive notices of sales and discount coupons but best of all, you can WORK at the warehouse during the time when they have sales up to five times a year and they will pay you ten dollars an hour towards books! I havent done this yet, but I moved over here by where thier huge warehouse is. I just realized that! Anyway, I havent done this yet, it was my goal last time but time passed but it would’ve come in habdy when my oldest wanted that new vampire bestseller! It was like, over twenty bucks!
On that note, believeit or not I got The Well Trained Mind for a mere $2.00 at my local library bookstore. I had been looking for this book for two years I am not exagerating. I lived in three different cities within the same 60-80 mile range and went to every used bookstore in each city, a total of seven bookstores AND NEVER found The Well Trained Mind. Evidentally, no one gets rid of this book once they buy it! ( I know its on e bay and amazon I am just super cheap) I used to say, “My favorite four letter word is: FREE !
Sakina’s attitude was very positive today because we just had fun. HOwever she still learned because everything she said I found a way to loop it back to science, creation (people and animals) and physical education. Im a poet and I didnt knowit! I always wanted to put my bint (daughter) in gymnastics because I was and several other reasons. My husband wants her in Karate or some other form of martial arts/defense. You would assume it is the typical reasons, girls are in gymnastics; boys and men like martial arts. That is not the case in our bayt (home). I wanted my daughter in gymnastics not just because I was but for the reason that I see the huge potential she has. I was good in gymnastics, very flexible from a young age and strong but I was afraid of the balence beam. When I had my second daughter, I realized I had not been all that strong. When she was eighteen months old, had only started walking at eleven months, she did the most horrifying thing that I didnt realize it’s significance until later. I had taken her to the park and she was climbing this half moon monkey bar thing, you know it got higher and higher, leveled off in the middle, then went down again. The structure was about six feet wide and four feet tall. I was standing next to her when suddenly, she let go! She swung her legs through the space between the bars while still holding on with her little arms. My daughter was really petite for her age and all my children were chubby as babies, then leaned out, steadily growing up on the five percent line. (My mother is 105 pounds and five foot one) Anyway, she was small so it looked even more bizarre, lol. So, she still hangs there, not uttering a cry, swinging back and forth, until she dropped. I was close enough to get her, but I think I was in shock. Later, when she was three years old, I was taking out the trash in my duplex/apartments and there was a wall made out of huge beige bricks about five feet high sorrounding the trash dumpster. She scaled that wall like spiderman, with no shoes and pulled herself on top, then proceeded to walk along the line of the wall, which was quite wide because they were not normal size bricks usually found in houses. She had NO FEAR. I was amazed. NOt only was she NOT scared, she could lift her own body weight! When I was in gymnastics, it was between the ages of seven and nine, somewhere in that time frame, I don’t remember. No, I think I WAS ten, well at least when I quit. I lived in the country and my mom would bring me, an hour drive so all the kids there didn’t attend school with me but I made friends with a few of them. Incidentally, one of the girls on my team advanced and actually made it to the olympics. Anyhow, one of my friends had fallen, not at OUR gym, but at her school down the street-while on the balance beam. She had this HUGE bluish-purple bruise on the inside of her leg. She told me how extremely painful it had been when it happened. Boys may hurt, but it hurts us too! So, I was even more terrified of the balance beam and could not overcome that even though I was great at bounce floor and coming along in uneven bars. (I was real weird about those I actually liked not wearing gloves, getting blisters, then tearing them from repetetive practice on the bars.-Explains why my 8 yr old daughter scratched her mosquito bites till they bleed!) SO, getting back to my piont, I recognized my daughter’s ability and potential. And sucess is with Allah, glory be to Him. Also, my daughter’s father had been very strong, we used to make my oldest daughter laugh when she was seven by me laying on top of him, making my body stiff while he bench pressed me! (He was in the first airborne army division) So, it made sense that my second child was so strong because her father was. Even though I held first place once and second many times for the president’s challange for the chin hold-amount of time (like four minutes al hamdulilah) I could NEVER life my own body weight like doing the pull ups (chin ups). Some years, I could do ONE ! Obviously and Allah knows best, my daughter got her skill from her father. This is why in Islaam, in our book the Quran it says not to cut off the blood ties that this is a major sin. This is because the child will not be understood as well and Allah knows best the reason. In our book it is forbidden for us to adopt and change the last name of the child.
My husband doesnt want my daughter to be in gymnastics because he doesn’t want the whole world seeing her half-naked in competitions or the Olympics. Imagine. I mean, I see his point now. I was even telling Susie today (her nickname) that the girls who do gymnastics never grow tall and start developing much later. I told her how Mary Lou Retton had never grown taller than grandma, in fact she was only about four foot eleven inches. I couldn’t believe it i remembered Keri Strug’s name and searched youtube and we watched her nail that landing on her last try on a sprained ankle, winning the gold for herself and her country at the Olympics. I teared up, it was real silly of me. I told Sakina how great God is because Keri should have never won. She should have given up after she hurt her ankle the first time, that she could’ve made it much worse, beyond repair. ( I didnt word it like that exactly, she is eight) Sakina asks if she was hurt afterword I said, sure she had to go to the hospital and everything. But she was Ok, all praise to God. I told Sakina Allah is the best of planners and only He could have made that possible, that normally in gymnastics, they cannot vault again when they are hurt, it is too painful or damaging and they ESPECIALLY dont land PERFECTLY, no hop or anything. There is usually a hop, I know. Too much power from the body force flippin in motion, you know an object in motion tends to stay in motion. Anyhow I told Sakina that in fact, it is extremely rare for a gymnist to land perfectly after the vault, the way she did. It is unheard of for one to land solid, with a perfect landing and score when injured. i looped the “life” lesson into that, bringing everything back to our Creator and how perfect everything is. We talked about the four phases of matter today as well whie we were cooking and the steam was rising. (Gas) I asked her about the water we put into the ice trays, what phase it that? (Solid) In addition to cooking and “science” we learned some fractions and following directions by following the instructions on the box. She read the words, I praised her and corrected her pronunciation when needed.
Finally we also actually did some gymnastics in the living room and decided we would be dong that from now on. She asked if we could do gymnastics every day and I could be her coach and then we could “do school” five days a week. I said that was a good idea. So we worked it out on weekends or the days she picks to be off, working it around our schedule, she will do gymnastics/stretching mornings and later, her Language Arts using First Language Lessons, in additon to all the other stuff we are doing which I will post later inshaAllah. I worked it out that she is copying/dictation from “The Creation” on…till we come to the ancients. In order, like in the Well Trained MInd. A few days ago I wrote a special, full page printed copy from the Quran on the Creation and “The Fall” and had her copy it, then went over it and filed it in her notebook. Sometimes we just do dictation and I check it. In the first few lessons of The First Language lessons, a poem is assigned. I substituted a poem on the spider instead of the one of the caterpillar for her to memorize. It was called “The Little Spider” and we found it by doing a search online because i remembered a site I had gone to before of Muslim children’s poetry. I didnt find the particular site I was looking for, but I DID find a very good one, a great substitution. http://www.islam4kids.com/i4k/i4k.cfm?scn=poems&pm=poems/The_Little_Spider.htm I chose the spider because the spider is important in our religion; it is spoken of in our book(Al Quran) as well as the hadeeth. We are not allowed to kill spiders unless they are poisinous and try to harm us. In addition, we aren’t allowed to kill bees either. In general, we are not allowed to kill any animals or insects nor be cruel to them unless we are to eat them and we are only allowed to eat certain things. We don’t eat pork. We cant eat anything like roadkill (seriously) or predatory animals such as a hawk. If I am wrong and someone is reading me, please correct me! The animal must be killed in a proper manner as to ease and lessen the suffering of the animal and we are forbidden fro cutting the head complety off. We also cannot maim, shoot or shock the animal. It’s jugular on one side, the windpipe, and then the vein on the other side must be cut quickly and we are commanded to sharpen our knife so that it is quick and painless as possible. We also have to calm the animal down and cannot have it hanging upside down (as with chickens) or mooing loudly because they are all in a line and seeing the other’s killed. We must not eat veal. The conditions it is kept in is haram (forbidden) to us Muslims. To keep a baby cow (calf) in a small stall so that it cannot lay down and live in the dark almost 24 hours a day so that it’s meat is tender and not bruised, only turning on the lights for it to eat–this is prohibited for us. It is a crime against the poor creature. In Islam, everything has rights and those rights must be respected. In our day and age is is common for the attitude of an individuals right to go and do as he or she pleases without concern for the repercussions of their actions—a person;’s personal “freedom” and “Liberty comes before society. This is very selfish in nature and not, actually natural. There is altrusim in nature. Anyway, in Islam society’s rights come before the individual’s. This concept is complety opposite to the “American” way and I’m sure to anyone who read this who is not Muslim, this concept is quite “foreign” But this is God’s law and He, subhanna wa ta’ala knows what is best for us. On that note I need to go, i really have to go to sleep. The clock on here is totally wrong, it says morning but it is very late at night/early morning for me. Everyone is asleep. I will continue more when I make time, inshaAllah. This page is not the final copy so forgive the errors or lack of evidences (proofs) from The Quran, hadeeth or other sources. I will add them later, inshaAllah. Salutations and I hope you are in the best of Iman(faith) and health.
**I have used Sequential Spelling. It is best for children who read at a beginning 4th grade level or better. Some homeschoolers use it with younger children or lower-level readers, splitting up each lesson into two parts. My personal take is that it can be frustrating if the reading level is not yet beginning 4th.
In my opinion, the program works best for older children who are very poor spellers, as it seems to teach visual subskills other spelling programs take for granted. It would not be a good program for “natural” spellers because the amount of repetition would be too boring. Nancy
I agree with Nancy and personally think SRA Spelling Mastery is better to use for younger children. I’d go through Spelling Mastery C and then Spelling Through Morphographs through 6th or 7th grade and only start AVCO after that. There is a lot to teach in spelling that is not taught in AVKO alone. Janis
*mashaAllah (it is as Allah decreed)