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I know we all have our favorite places online, some blogs, an amazing forum, a “pirate” site with the latest (and oldest) links for shows and movies or just a website on one of our favorite subjects, hobby or passion.

Well, we have also all seen how either a blog we get updates or feeds from or even one we occasionally check in on has the first page starting with the usual “I know i haven’t written in a long time” and of course, you see i’m unfortunately no different from that HOWEVER, as you see, i didn’t start out that way, ha!  I would like to apologise but again, that’s what’s expected and everyone else does and (while i am sorry) i will just say: refer to the first sentence. That’s what has caused my absence and what I have been doing all this time instead of posting. Just kidding. I really have been busy I’m just sure yall are tired of hearing that from the other blogs you’ve read and i feel bad for still saying it. I’m almost positive i said it a few posts ago which may have been a year ago, i hope not!

TO PROCEED on the subject of my post: I found an amazing book online that seriously fills a void in me i had since a child wondering about the past and those great Prophets from the Bible almost everyone knew about and WHERE they lived and came from. As a smart child, i knew all History we learned and were taught could not be 100% accurate with many holes, gaps and theories so these events, dates and people that interested me were still so mysterious because of so many unanswered questions i had.  Where did they live? How do we know? When did they live? Why did certain events happen? What kind of people were they?

Of course, in relation to mankind and its intentions and actions and much of ancient History most of my questions were answered when at age twenty, i read the Quran but that was later, almost the culmination of my quest of unanswered questions from childhood. Between age ten and twenty-five more questions I had in my mind about History were answered by my Dad, other adults, my elders, and reading about it myself than any school I attended. The questions I had about History and the past were resolved by living, learning  and talking to people and gave me more satisfaction than any high school or college class.
I have always wanted to read or learn about History in chronological order, as it happened.  To me, it just made sense.  Even as a child, I always wanted to learn about History from a  balanced, unbiased perspective. I doubted America, the domination of the world who sets the tone for the globe and spends years teaching its students our mere 200+ years of History when compared to global History is less than 5% on the timeline, would teach me History fairly.  When even in this “modern” time of freedom and civil and racial “equality” some states are trying to remove American slavery from the History textbooks? Even when I was eight I knew our textbooks were not fair and glorified our way of life and “freedom and democracy” as the only way of life and superior to all other cultures.
It also bothered me that even when delving into learning about other countries, religions and cultures I had no idea what was going on in other parts of the world at the same time. I had no idea what was going on in China when Columbus supposedly discovered America. Or what was going on in Turkey, Russia or even South America when the light bulb was invented. There was no cohesion, no connection, no real comprehension when i didn’t study History chronologically and look at what the people in all different parts of the globe were all doing at the same time period.
I have always wanted to learn History from the beginning, in order, and develop a thorough understanding. I did find someone who accomplished close to this and it’s not translated to English yet and i will come back to that later when i edit the post. Originally I wanted to make a quick post on this book as I have been putting it off, but you see how i got off in a tangent.

TO PROCEED: (boy it would’ve been easier to scan down to THIS one, lol) The book is called “Atlas of the Quran” recently published in English. It has no other counterpart in English that I know of, and I’ve read as well is in a class by itself. Here is a statement from the publishers about it: ”  An Authentic Collection of the Qur’anic Information with Maps, Tables and Pictures. This Atlas is new in its subject, a subject that has not been touched before. It helps whoever recites the Quran or studies it to specify the locations mentioned by the Noble Verses, and to mark those places of ancient people mentioned in the Qur’an. This is besides locating areas where the incidents of the prophetic Seerah occurred”  Dar-us-Salam publications.  Ok, that’s a little drier than i remember it. I guess I was really excited when I found it. I was even happier when i did a search and found it in a few places online, available to read or download. Here is one place : http://www.kalamullah.com/atlas-of-the-quran.html  i think i also saw it on Wiziq as well as scribd.

AND last week i also found out all this time i have been saying wiziq when it is pronounced WIZ I.Q.  quite embarrassing when a sister pointed that out, especially when you actually look at the name icon it’s obvious. I almost blurted out my own “IQ” to prove i had all my lightbulbs on upstairs.  Who even SAYS that anymore? Oh, yeah just another reminder that i’m getting old and sounding more and more like my father everyday,,,”I remember when a McDonald’s hamburger was five cents…” lol

So, there you go, there’s the link. It is an amazing book, check it out. I hate spending money in fact, i always thought it was a virtue but discovered, no saving money and THINGS is actually closer to an obsession and part of my OCD. I didn’t learn about that either till a sister gently pointed out I look it up online and myLord, I see a picture of someone’s bookcase with OCD and the books were all symmetrical with the tallest on the sides down to the shortest in the middle and arranged by subject. I thought everyone did that it just looks better. I never considered OCD because im not a clean freak or germaphobic and not always clean because i’m thrifty…..i save things. Well, i realized i WOULD be into perfection and have an orderly, spotless house if i didn’t have KIDS and i was messy not spotless because i am a ….hoarder. uhg, i said it. I guess the positive thing about it, having OCD, i am an organized hoarder. I always called my dad a “packrat” and everyone did also wow, ding! After seeing that A&E show i realized, no he was a hoarder.

Growing up, we always had many books and magazines (don’t get me started on my dad’s mags). I have never thrown any book out and the only ones I no longer have were loaned out or lost. So i have over a hundred books al hamdulilah, organized and straight. Wait, lemme go check…
I forgot about the ones strewn about the house we’re currently reading or referencing.  I have been getting a lot of cheap(or free) bookmarks lately because i find myself and kids using many books at once and don’t wanna continue the spread eagle way of laying them down to mark the place. What does everyone else use? Sometimes I leave a pencil laying inside to mark my place because its handy usually i have it to lightly mark a word I want to look up or important point. Of course, i lose my place as soon as DH or DD needs a pencil and can’t find one. I yell, “Go look in my book laying on my bathroom counter!” lol

Soo  a bit embarrassing mentioning my ….interesting quirks but i don’t feel too bad or worried because I know im not crazy. You know Ellen? Ellen DeGeneres? I don’t agree with her on everything (of course) but she writes books exactly the way she talks. And, having read a couple of her books I see I write and seem to have the same thought process/tangent thinking she does. Perhaps she spends hours on her standup or dialogue for her show and days writing her books, i dunno. Gosh, now i was convinced if my thought process was like Ellen’s and SHES not crazy that i shouldnt worry if anyone thinks I AM. Boy, i just blew that. If she spends hours preparing her funny, witty, diagram like spealls then it’s not in the moment and i am NOT like her…who is normal, not crazy. lol. 

From what i just said I seriously need to go back to that beginning course in Logic book. It’s not that Logic thrills me, thou i feel it has a place in Classical Education and learning comprehensive, rational thought but i was, what i call, de-shirking the manual, making it safe and friendly for my kids:) I need to go back and finish it. I am speaking of “Introductory Logic” by Douglas J. Wilson & James B. Nance, texbook and answer key. The pencil is gone now so if i can only find my place…

I SHALL BE BACK …..

P.S. I forgot to say i was so impressed with the book and purely fascinated by its scope I bought it. Getting it in the mail for my kids and i was like getting a present, how awesome they love that not ‘real’ presents.

Anyway, I have been supplementing Atlas of the Quran and Ibn Kathir’s The Prophets with the state of Georgia’s k12 History course.  It substitutes and compliments it wonderfully and we are to Prophet Sulaiman now. The k12 History curriculum starts off with ‘beginning’ man and the Fertile Crescent, Babylon, Sumeria and Egypt and tells the some of the stories of the Biblical prophets as well. So far, it is NEARLY chronological and where in conflict, i made adjustments. I am pleasantly surprised how well  The Atlas of the Quran works with Ibn Kathir’s the Prophets. I will write more later on the specifics of how I taught DS History, moved things around and what was supplemented or substituted, inshaAllah. He is really enjoying the online History and the time we as a family, learn the Prophets and people in Ancient History. Lately, we play a game who can recall and list the Prophets alahi salam in order and DS is actually winning over DD and I. Yes, i may be teaching it, but I grew up reading the Bible, some of the Quranic Prophets are not in the Bible. Allah subhanna wa ta’ala says in his book that He sent a Prophet to every nation. We don’t know about them all. Does anyone know about how many? Someone told me once it’s like one hundred thousand?
Of course they all came with the same message: Allah is One, and without partner. Tawheed. La ilaha il’Allah . And the final messenger, the seal of all Prophets, Muhammad, salla lahu alahi wa salam. There is no God worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.

In chapter eighteen, verse one hundred ten of the Qur’aan:

“Say (O Muhammad ): I am only a man like you, it has been inspired to me that your Ilah (God) is One Ilah (God, –i.e. Allah). So whoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.”

The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], “We make no distinction between any of His messengers.” And they say,
“We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination.” (2: 285)

Say, ‘We have believed in Allah and in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Descendants, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are muslims [submitting] to Him.’ ” (3: 84)

 

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Ramadaan Mubarak! May Allah forgive my sins and I ask everyone i have wronged intentionally and unintentionally to forgive me. We are all the children of Adam and brothers and sisters in Islaam.

I bear witness there is no God but Allah and Muhammad, salla lahu alahi wa walam, is the Messenger of Allah.

Ramaadan is the month when the Quran was first revealed and the month we are commanded by Allah to abstain from all drink and food from fajr (when the first light begins to change the morning sky) till sunset.  Muslims all over the world  rejoice in this sacred month. We follow the lunar cycle not the solar, so Ramadan is earlier every year and never set on the same day or month for all time. We also have the “sight the moon” or if it is cloudy or not seen, we complete  thirty days from before to determine the first day of Ramadan.

The moon phase we look for is called the hilal, or the thin sliver  that appears at the beginning when it starts to “wax” after the new moon.

This month, i plan to do at least one lapbook with each child, a masjid/minaret diorama and many other crafts and activities inshAllah. For the lapbook, we will go a little cheaper this time and make it less like a large folder.

We will be hanging up our timeline inshAllah, something i have meant to do for some time. Al hamdulilah i realized both children are on the first year of the Ancients, my daughter for 5th grade and my son in first grade. It was great when I realized this because I can teach them some History together as well as reading from that time period, although with dd she will go into the History deeper, as with the logic stage.

The timeline will be especially useful in the children visualizing the time difference between historical events and people, particularly Prophet Muhammad, saws as he came after the Ancients period we are currently studying. I wanted to fully explain Ramadan to them, have them learn du’a for breaking their fast and other relevant supplications, learn some of the rules and regulations for Ramadan and the special salaat performed in Ramadan. I also wanted to read them humorous and heartfelt stories of the Prophet and his companions during Ramadan as well. Children love to laugh and I know mine learn better if learning can be made fun so i want to try to do that this year.

Dd fasted some of Ramadan last year but I didn’t believe it was obligatory upon her yet for various reasons. This year she will be fasting all month, inshAllah. Since she was in a private Islamic school two separate years I know she knows about Ramadan but whenever you question your children you will usually find where there are holes in the information so I am sure these will come up in our teaching and discussions this month so we can rectify any gaps or misinformation, inshaAllah.

I am having dd also do logic puzzles online as well as with a book I found years ago, called Logic Anyone? It was not one of the books listed in The Well Trained Mind but it follows the pre-logic period getting them ready for the formal study of logic by doing mental exercises and puzzles. When i feel she is ready to begin the formal study of logic, either halfway through this grade or starting sixth, i will start her on the book recommended by the WTM. If you don’t have a logic puzzle books or don’t want to buy what the WTM recommends for pre-logic grade five, or you just don’t want to wait you can print out many logic puzzles and brain benders from online or even play them online. These are some of the sites we have used for logic games and puzzles. Some of them, i can’t even master!

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/math/logic/puzzles/  (easy)

http://www.puzzles.com/PuzzlePlayground/NonManipulativePuzzlesHome.htm (harder, different levels and methods)

http://www.coolmath4kids.com/math_puzzles/index.html Critical thinking and math problems. One of my favorite math sites for kids.

http://www.learninggamesforkids.com/logic_games.html Skill building and interactive. I can’t pass level two on the Sliding block game!

http://www.thelogiczone.plus.com/logic_index.htm  Grid logic problems, can be filled in online so no paper needed. For easier or beginner problems, click on Kids corner.

http://school.discoveryeducation.com/brainboosters/ Lateral thinking, reasoning, Spatial, word play. Beginner and up

http://www.puzzles.com/Projects/LogicProblems.html Difficult/Adult

http://www.allstarpuzzles.com/logic/ Rated by difficulty. Some of these middle schoolers can do.

http://www.barcodesinc.com/articles/math-logic-problems.htm what i call a ‘mamalist’. Divided by level and subject

http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/brain_teasers.htm Resource list

http://www.printable-puzzles.com/printable-logic-puzzles.php Printable grid logic problems

And of course, there is always Sudoku.

Two weeks before Ramadan started I read, studied and did the exercises in Introductory Logic by Douglas J Wilson to prepare myself for teaching dd. It is the text recommended by the Well Trained Mind for the formal study of logic for grades fifth through eighth but meant for sixth grade. It is very Christian oriented with not just many statements of shirk but also requires a basic knowledge of the Bible, in particular the New Testament as well as a little history from that time, which would be a problem for someone who has no knowledge of that. Although I am Muslim, I was raised Catholic but became a Christian as a teenager, have read the Bible and know some of the events that surrounded the New Testament writers so it was not a problem for me however for my daughter or most Muslims they might be confused. Despite the glaring shirk, i found the text easy to follow but you must have the teacher key, so I have both. I ordered them years ago from Barnes and Noble they where a bit hard to find. However, i am not sure this book would even be permissible to let a Muslim child read, in fact, I am almost sure it is not so i am going to ask someone who is able to ask a scholar. In the meantime, i have rewritten many of the statements and substituting words and statements more appropriate. I plan on using the “new” version when dd is ready. Even with an adult the scholars have warned against even listening to the speech of someone on misguidance so i am not even sure it is permissible for me to read this book! I am halfway through understanding the lessons as well as writing notes and substitutions. i am planning to check out the alternative suggestions, Critical Thinking book one and two and A Case of Red Herrings series perhaps they will be more suitable for Muslims to use for beginning Logic.

 I have never really studied logic before except for a little in middle school and college but they didn’t call it “logic”. In Math, we would do analogies,Venn diagrams and word problems where a chart must be drawn to find the answers. For example, we would be asked about the favorite flowers of five children, while no two like the same one:

1.Karen’s favorite is not the tulip. 2. Derek hates tulips and roses. 3. Someone really likes daisies. 4. Fay likes violets. 5. Tanya is allergic to carnations. 6. Scott like the flower to which Tanya is allergic.

And you would use a chart to deduct who likes which flower. Problems like the one above, analogies and some Venn diagrams where the only logic i had, if you could call it that because now that read through Introductory to Logic it’s nothing compared to those! I found it easy to follow although it does get consistently more difficult. If you are not entirely familiar with logic, you must learn it yourself before teaching your child so if they don’t understand or have questions you will be able to explain and help.

In regards to the text Introductory Logic and its issues, i will go further into this later as well as give examples of such problem statements and what I substituted instead. Also, i am aware that with newer editions of the Well Trained Mind, some of the recommended books for different subjects have changed due to discontinued publishing and lack of availability. With each subject we study I will list what we are using and how as well as what others use or what the newest edition of the Well Trained Mind recommends. For instance the History textbook for the logic stage was changed but I actually was able to find one at a used bookstore even though it is out of print.

 I will update our craft projects for Ramadan inshaAllah. Some of these i will get from  http://tjramadan.blogspot.com/ maa shaa Allah and http://raisingmuslims.wordpress.com/2008/08/12/ramadhan-lapbook-pics-printouts/ with great printouts for a Ramadan lapbook.

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