Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Mixed Faith Family According To a 7 Year Old

Whilst pondering over what to write for this blog post, I wondered what there was to write about. We don’t discuss religion in my family. I was brought up as an Atheist on my Dad’s side, and non-practising Catholic on my Mother’s. If we ever went to church it would be to a Roman Catholic Church which made me feel uncomfortable because of the statues and the smell of frankincense. I think I went once to a Methodist church with my paternal grandma. I liked that church as it was small and cosy. There were no statues or pictures anywhere and I can’t remember any incense smell. My grandma only drank alcohol at Christmas (from what I know).


Sunday, 15 October 2017

Birth Announcement and Story

On October 2nd we welcomed a beautiful baby girl into our family. She weighed 7lbs 2oz which is a similar weight to my other children when they were born. Her siblings dote on her and are constantly asking to hold her and kiss her. Delal in particular is extremely happy that, after two brothers, she finally has a sister. Riyad and Kamil are enjoying being big brothers and I have not noticed any jealousy at all from K. He seems fascinated by the baby in the house!


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

6 Tips to Teach Your Child About Cleaning

Do you remember how decluttered and clean your apartment used to be before the children were born? Are you wondering how other parents can maintain sparkling clean homes AND have children at the same time? It all starts with the right mindset. Stop thinking that you can’t keep a clean home. On the contrary, be positive and believe – your home can be just as clean as the homes of other mums. And when you’ve adopted a positive mindset, time to change your attitude towards your children. Stop thinking that the kids are too young and won’t understand you when you try to teach them a thing or two about cleaning. In fact, children as young as 2 years old can not only understand your ‘cleaning lessons’, but they can help you with the household chores, too. 


Saturday, 7 October 2017

Arabic Seeds Language Resources Fall Bundle Review

Arabic Seeds is a company that offers downloadable resources for Arabic language learning. It was set up out of the frustration of not being able to find any Arabic resources suitable for non-native speakers of Arabic. The founder wanted to show learners that it is possible to integrate Arabic into your daily life as a non-native speaker. This is why Arabic Seeds resources are based on children's interests and daily life situations. Their aim is to make Arabic a meaningful and loved language for learners everywhere.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Christianity to Islam, Trying to Balance This Parenting Thing

“Mom, why do the other kids get to have fun and we don’t?” A sentence I’ve heard too many times, through whines, tears and pouty faces.

When our children see Christmas lights, presents for other children and constant bombardment of jazzy toy ads on TV, all they see is fun. When they see other kiddos running around melodiously asking for candy, decked out in their favorite super heroes gear, they see fun.


Monday, 2 October 2017

September Nature Studies

If you have read about our homeschool curriculum or follow my instagram account, you will know we are following a nature curriculum this year called 'Exploring Nature With Children'. It is a wonderful curriculum that covers different topics each week of the year. For each week, there are activities to do, recommended reading, poetry and a piece of art to study. The curriculum incorporates science, English, art and nature studies so it is really varied. You can check out the curriculum here.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Ali Huda Review - Muslim Netflix for Children

Ali Huda Review

Bringing up children in the technological age can be a worry. There are so many TV channels showing so many different types of programs for children, but do we really know what they are watching? Even UK channels CBeebies and CBBC, channels which are made specifically for children, can have problematic content that we would rather our children did not see. It can be difficult, as well as time consuming, to screen each and every program before we allow our children to watch it. I have not got time for that! Therefore, I was delighted to hear about Ali Huda, the new Muslim Netflix for children. I know my children can watch this without worrying about the content. 


Tuesday, 26 September 2017

An Open Letter To My Unborn Child

To my precious unborn child,

I sit here on the eve of the date you are due, my fourth child, contemplating the journey of motherhood. As a fourth time mother, I think I know what to expect but that does not diminish the feelings of extreme excitement, anticipation and joy that I feel with each pregnancy. You are so longed for, never forget that. From the moment I found out I was expecting you, my heart filled with love for you. You must have been smaller than a dot, yet you were already my baby, my child. I made a promise then to look after you and protect you always.


Sunday, 24 September 2017

Incorporating Islam into Our Homeschool

I wrote a few weeks ago about our new homeschool curriculum here, but now I would like to share with you how we are incorporating Islam into our home learning this year. As Muslims it is extremely important for us to work Islam into our everyday lives and teach our children about it. I have come across many resources to help teach our children about Islam and now I will share them with you.


Friday, 22 September 2017

Daradam Games Review

Daradam is a new French company dedicated to creating educational toys to teach children about Arab heritage and culture. Set up by a multicultural family out of a mum's frustration at not being able to find toys and games for her multilingual children to learn about the language and culture of the Arab world. Hanna Lenda, the founder of the company, took matters into her own hands and began to design toys that would fulfil her vision. She had them produced and that is how Daradam began. There are three toys and games in the collection at present, with plans for more to be introduced in the future.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Bringing Up Children a Different Religion From the Rest of Your family

I was brought up with the Catholic faith and practised it during my childhood. I went to church every Sunday until I was 16. I was baptised as a baby, took my First Holy Communion at the age of 8 and was Confirmed at the age of 14. I went to Catholic schools and even a Catholic sixth form college. Though, as a teenager, I did start to look into other religions and religious practises. Religion has always fascinated me.


Monday, 18 September 2017

Homeschool Curriculum 2017-2018

We are eclectic homeschoolers. We do not follow a particular homeschool philosophy, instead we pick and choose to suit our family best. This is the great thing about homeschooling; the flexibility. We are free to choose what to follow and what not to. We follow a few different curricula but not too rigidly. We believe in free play and being child-led as much as possible. Saying that, we also believe there are certain subjects a child has to learn, such as maths and English, but we try to make these as enjoyable as possible.


Friday, 15 September 2017

How to Introduce a Third Language to Your Preschooler

Many people wonder how you can bring your child up bilingually but there are also those who already have a bilingual child and want to introduce a third language. Can this be done? Absolutely! I received this question on my Facebook page recently so thought it would be a good idea to share some information about it.


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

A - Z of Islamic Signs in BSL Review and Giveaway!

About a month ago I went to the annual Islamic Cultural Fayre in Bristol. I go every year and it is a great family day out. I was walking through the stalls when suddenly I spotted the stall of AminyasminLtd selling Islamic Sign Language books for children. I could not believe it. I had never seen anything like this before and, as a Speech and Language Therapist specialising in bilingualism, I was delighted.


Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Tips to Help Hearing People Communicate With Deaf People

Hearing impairment is the partial or total inability to hear in one or both ears. People with mild hearing loss may use a hearing aid. People with more sever hearing loss may depend on lip reading and those with profound deafness may use sign language as well. 


Saturday, 9 September 2017

Review of 5 Reading Scheme Books

Learning to read is a big milestone in a child's life. It is one of the things all parents feel is necessary and important for their child. Literacy is so important for future success, not just academic success but success in life. It gives you opportunities to get a job, progress in the job market, gain knowledge, improve yourself and increase your self-esteem. It is an important skill that, once you know how, you will have for life.


Tuesday, 5 September 2017

How and When to Teach Your Child to Read

I always get a lot of questions from other homeschoolers asking how to teach children to read. It is a topic that most parents do not really need to think about as their children learn at school. But for homeschoolers, it can be a worry. How should you do it? When should you start? What if they do not want to read? Here I will answer these questions.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Hajj Role Play

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is a pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims must go on once in their lifetime. The pilgrimage is performed every year in the month of Dhul Hijjah, the last month in the Islamic lunar calendar.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Tips on How to Homeschool During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting time but it can also be exhausting. The first three months can often be difficult with the nausea, fatigue and other unpleasant symptoms pregnancy can bring. Then you may feel great for a while before the fatigue creeps up on you again towards the end of the pregnancy. For those who are homeschooling, or thinking about it, you might wonder how you will cope.


Friday, 25 August 2017

Eid Party Crafts For Kids

Eid al-Adha is a special celebration for Muslims all over the world. It is a time when we remember the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him), to follow Allah's command to sacrifice his son. As he was about to carry out this task, Allah sent the angel Jibrail to place a sheep in his son's place. Ibrahim (peace be upon him) then sacrificed the sheep instead of his son. 

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

How to Use Flashcards for Language Learning

Flashcards are a great resource for language learning. They aid learning by stimulating the memory by a process called active recall. This helps to consolidate information in your long-term memory. In other words, the more you see or use a flashcard the more likely that information will move from your short-term memory to your long-term memory. Things that are stored in your long-term memory you are unlikely to forget.


WordUnited Flashcards Review and Giveaway

Review of WordUnited flashcards

When I was asked to do a review of WordUnited flashcards I was thrilled because they were exactly what I was looking for to help my children with their foreign language learning.

The first thing I noticed when I received the sets of WordUnited flashcards, was that these are not your standard flashcards; they are much more! They are a larger size than most flashcards which is great as it allows for the extra information these cards contain. They are made from thick, durable material which is sure to withstand heavy usage from children. The pictures are bright and clear and the letters are bold, making it easy for children to see, learn and engage with them.


Monday, 21 August 2017

Speech, Language, Bilingualism and Homeschooling Live Q and A 2

Is the age of 4 too late to start trying harder with bilingualism?

No, it is not too late. Children are able to acquire another language fairly easily until the age of 6 or 7 years old. After this age, the ease with which a child can learn another language starts to decline and after the age of 12 or 13 years old it becomes harder still.


Thursday, 17 August 2017

How to Supplement Your Child's Language Classes at Home

Many multilingual children attend language classes at weekends or after school. These can be a great way for them to improve their language skills, converse with others who speak the same languages as them, interact with children of the same multicultural background and feel part of the community. However, if you think attending one language class a week is enough for your child, you are mistaken. Once a week is simply not enough and I explored the pros and cons of weekend language schools in a recent article.


Friday, 11 August 2017

Bilingual Language Activity: Learn Colours With Play Dough

Play dough is an amazingly versatile resource for all kinds of play activities. We use it a lot in many different ways. We have used it with monochrome buttons for numeracy, creating pictures and mark-making. I wrote about using play dough to keep toddlers occupied whilst homeschooling older children. 


Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Speech, Language and Bilingualism Live Q and A

Teaching young children a foreign language

Should you follow a curriculum?

No, you do not need to follow any curriculum. If you think about how babies learn their first language, you will know that they learn it by listening to others speaking it in their environment. It is a natural process so try to make the learning of a second or third language as natural as possible also. 


Saturday, 5 August 2017

Nature Journaling at Dyrham Park

As national trust members, we often go on days out to various stately homes and gardens. Dyrham Park is a wonderful National Trust property in South Gloucestershire and is one of our favourite places to visit. It has a beautiful walk down hills to the house and gardens and has herds of deer inhabiting the grounds.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Learning About the Heart and Lungs

We have been learning about the human body with our weekly project group. We have already looked at the skeleton and the brain. This time we learnt about the heart and lungs.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Learning about Stonehenge

We have been learning about the Stone Age using our history curriculum, Story of the World. We have made crafts and built our own Stone Age den.  Now it was time to learn about Stonehenge, one of the ancient wonders of the world. It is 5000 years old and why and how it was built still remains somewhat of a mystery. 

There are some interesting theories trying to explain it, perhaps the most well-known being that it was a place for ritual ceremonies on Midsummer and Midwinter's day. Today it is still a place for festivities on these two days every year.

There are many legends and folk tales about Stonehenge. I was surprised to learn that one of these legends is that Merlin, the wizard, put the stones there and if you lick one of the stones you will get Merlin's powers! Apparently, people do try to do this but they are immediately arrested as the stones are closely watched and protected. 

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Waldorf Inspired Multiplication Crafts

Learning multiplication is one the the staple requirements of maths education. I remember, as a child, reciting times tables in class at school. I remember the challenge of learning a new times table by heart. I remember how it opened up the capacity for higher mathematical skills. Yes, there is no doubt, learning multiplication is important. However, it can be dull to simply sit down and learn it by rote. Therefore, I am always looking for interesting ways to learn it.

When I came across the Waldorf approach to multiplication, I was entranced. This wasn't just mathematics; it was art. I knew I had to show this to the children and allow them to try it out for themselves.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Pros and Cons of Weekend Language Schools

School classroom clipart

As you may know, we are a multilingual family. My husband speaks Turkish and two Kurdish languages (Zazaki and Kurmanji) and my parents speak Polish. As a Muslim family, learning Arabic is also important. I would like my children to understand the language of the Quran, not just recite it as many people do. Also, as one of the top ten most spoken languages in the world, Arabic is also important from a political and social point of view. 

With so many languages we simply cannot learn them all. We have decided to concentrate on teaching the children Arabic and Turkish as minority languages; our majority language, the language of the society in which we live, being English. 

It can be hard to teach your child a minority language so parents in this position, like us, are often looking for ways to assist their child's language learning skills. Weekend language schools can seem a good solution to this common issue. But are they really? Read on to find out.


Interview With Author Charlotte Olson

Charlotte Olson is the author of a fantastic new range of children's books which promote the awareness of autism through fun and interesting stories.

I recently got sent a copy of a new children's book called 'Suzie goes to the hairdressers'. It is the story of an autistic girl called Suzie and her experience of going to the hairdressers. I got the chance to interview the author to find out all about her new range of children's books.


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Book Review - Suzie Goes to the Hairdressers

When I found out about some new children's books which have an autistic child as the protagonist, I had to get my hand on one. I have never read a book like this before which promotes awareness of autism through the story of a little girl going to the hairdressers. I was thrilled when the author, Charlotte Olson, sent me a copy to review.

The book is about a little girl called Suzie who has autism. She is worried about going to the hairdressers to get her hair cut.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Trip to Marshfield Farm

We often go to special workshops and tours organised for home educated children. Last week we got the opportunity to go to Marshfield Farm where the famous Marshfield Farm ice cream is made. I had never been to this farm before, or heard much about it, but as soon as I knew they made ice cream I was in! 

The drive down to the farm did not take us too long and it made me feel lucky to have this amazing farm on our doorstep. The farm sits in around 1000 acres of land and is home to a few hundred cows.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Tips on How to Homeschool With a Toddler Around

When I tell people that I homeschool my children, I am often asked how I manage it. One of the biggest things people want to know is how can I possibly homeschool with younger children around. Do they cause too many distractions? How can I keep them occupied? How can we get anything done?

Well, it is not as hard as you may think. I see homeschooling as a family affair. We do as much as we can together and I always try to include my youngest as much as possible. In fact, he often wants to be involved. Here are some tips on how to home school with a toddler around. With some simple strategies, you can do it too.


Friday, 14 July 2017

Learning About the Brain

We have been learning about the human body at our weekly project group and this week we learnt about the brain. We started off by watching a few YouTube clips about the brain. This one was our favourite.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Learning Arabic on the Beach

We have just returned home after spending a long weekend at my parents caravan in Devon. The weather was glorious for the first few days and the children had lots of fun building sandcastles, rock pooling and playing in the sea. 

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Bilingual Language Activity - My Family

When learning a foreign language, one of the first things you will want to learn is vocabulary to talk about yourself and your family. You will often need this vocabulary to use in conversations with new people you meet. It allows you to tell people about yourself and it also allows you to get to know others and form relationships with them. 

There are many ways to learn new vocabulary, but when teaching young children, it is best to use practical and/or visual techniques. These techniques will keep them interested in the task, provide them with appropriate context and aid memorisation. As my children love crafting, I often use craft activities for our language learning. 

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Strawberry Picking and Scrumptious Recipes

Fruit picking is one of my favourite summertime activities. Berries are some of my favourite fruits but they seem quite expensive and often tasteless when you buy them out of season from the supermarket; it is always best to eat them fresh from the field. So far we have picked strawberries and I cannot wait until the raspberries are ready to harvest. Still have to wait a few more weeks for those.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Learning about the sense - Taste

As you know we have been learning about the senses. The next sense we have been exploring is the sense of taste. I think this was the children's favourite as they have been asking to do these activities everyday since! First, we read the next book in our senses series; 'Taste that'! 

Then, we did some practical activities. I am a big fan of practical learning experiences, especially for young children. It really engages their attention which makes it more likely they will enjoy, understand and remember what they learn. Here's what we did.


Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Learning about Skeletons

Now that we have finished our astronomy topic, we are moving on to the human body. We started off by learning all about bones and the skeleton. 

Learning About Astronomy - the Planets

Our final astronomy topic was the planets. We started by reading these books about the planets which are great for children. Each book covers two planets.

Then we made posters with all the planets on. This was a lot of fun. The children were given a long, thin piece of black paper and circles of white paper of different sizes. They then used poster paints to paint each planet. They looked at pictures of the planets to help them do this.

As they painted, we talked about the different features of each planet. What colours were they? Were they made of gas or rock? Did they have any moons or rings?


Monday, 26 June 2017

Bilingual Language Activity - Finger Painting Wildlife

As you may know, we are a multicultural, multilingual family with quite a few different languages being spoken in our surroundings. As the children's father is from Turkey, Turkish is the main language we are teaching the children. It can be very difficult to teach the children a non-native language, and even more difficult to maintain it. Therefore, I am always on the look out for new ideas or thinking up creative ways to make language learning fun.

The weather has been glorious lately so we have been spending a lot of time outdoors. I try to encourage my children to participate in outdoor play activities as much as possible and prompt them to observe the environment around them. When we go out and about, I point out the flowers and wildlife that we encounter and encourage them to talk about their own observations. I thought it would be a good idea to start learning some more wildlife vocabulary in Turkish so we can use it on our outings, or even just in the garden

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Learning about astronomy - the Earth

We have already learnt about the stars, the Moon and planets. Our next astronomy topic covered the Earth. As our planet, the Earth is something we all know a lot about. We started by thinking about all the things we love about our planet. 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Celebrating Laylat al-Qadr

Laylat al-Qadr is a special night for Muslims around the world. It is the night of power when Allah revealed the first verses of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad pbuh. We do not know the exact date of Laylat al-Qadr, we only know that it is one of the last 10 days of the month of Ramadan and it is an odd numbered night (21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th). This night is very special because it is said to be worth as much as 1000 months, or 83 years. The angels come down from the heavens and are among us, although we cannot see them. Muslims carry out lots of acts of worship during the last 10 days of Ramadan in the hope of gaining the blessings of the night of power. They pray, read Quran, make dua and do other acts of worship.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Building a Stone Age Den

We have been learning about the Stone Age as part of our history curriculum. We have done many crafts and activities, which you can read about in this post, as well as attending a workshop at the local museum. After all that, I thought it was time to get outdoors for a practical lesson.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Learning about the Stone Age

We have spent the last couple of weeks learning about the Stone Age. We are following the 'Story of the World' curriculum for history, which is the only curriculum we follow (apart from maths). I really like the 'Story of the World' curriculum. It comes with two books; a reading book and an activity book. 

Monday, 12 June 2017

Learning About Astronomy - the Stars

Our next topic in our astronomy project was stars. Stars are such a broad topic and you can cover many different areas; types of stars, the life cycle of a star, the birth of stars and our star - the Sun. We started off by watching a short video about stars which I found on YouTube by Storybots. Storybots really make learning fun by introducing topics through song.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Learning About Astronomy - the Moon

We have spent the last month or so learning about astronomy as our science topic. We have learnt about the planets, the Earth, stars and the moon. We go to a project group once a week where the children learn about these topics together with other children. They love this weekly group and have started to make some good friendships. We often continue learning about these topics at home and they form the basis of our science curriculum, giving it structure and focus.

We were not able to cover the moon during our project group sessions so we spent a week learning about it at home. 

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Nature journaling at Bowood Woodland

I have been reading a lot about nature journaling recently. It is a lovey way to study nature using art and observation. By sketching or painting, it allows you to slow down and analyse something in great detail and you may spot things which you otherwise might miss. Look at the colours, the shapes, the textures in detail and experiment with techniques in your artwork. Nature journaling is a great way to learn skills, document your observations and gain knowledge about the natural world around us.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Ramadan Calendar

Here I will show you how I made a Ramadan calendar for my children. A Ramadan calendar works like an advent calendar but instead of counting down the days til Christmas, it counts down the days of Ramadan til Eid day.

During Ramadan Muslims must fast from dawn to dusk. This means that they must not eat or drink anything during daylight hours. The length of time of the fast varies each day as the days either lengthen or shorten throughout the month. At the end of the month, we celebrate Eid.

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