Sunday, 17 December 2017

Polar Animals Activities

We attend a lot of homeschool groups and activities but our regular project group is among our favourites. We are working on an animal theme at the moment which has seen us learning about dinosaurs, microorganisms, horses, woodland creatures and much more! At our last session we learnt about polar animals, a fitting topic for this time of year.   

Sorting Arctic and Antarctic animals

We began by looking at where these animals lived on the Earth. Above is D's drawing of the world which we used as a visual aid. We talked about the Arctic and Antarctic and the differences between them which lead to different animals living in each location. Firstly, the Arctic is frozen ocean whereas the Antarctic is a continent made up of various landforms such as mountains, valleys and lakes. Secondly, the Arctic is warmer than the Antarctic and this could affect the life in the area.

We talked about which animals live in the Arctic and which animals lived in the Antarctic. For example, polar bears live in the Arctic and penguins live in the Antarctic. We used these printable pictures of the animals and placed them on the Earth in the relevant areas.

Then we looked at more information about some of the animals in more detail.

How are polar animals adapted to the environment?

While we were discussing each animal, we talked about how they were adapted to the cold environment they live in. The children used these printables to make posters showing how each animal was adapted.

Blubber experiment

To help the children gain a better understanding of how these adaptations allowed the animals to survive in cold climates, we did some experiments so the children could find out. We started with the blubber experiment. The children put a disposable glove on one hand and cover it with Trex (vegetarian equivalent of lard). Then they plunged both hands (one covered in Trex and one without) into icy water to see which one stayed warmest. They discovered that the hand covered in Trex was warmest and I explained how that was like the blubber surrounding an animal and keeping it warm.

How do penguins stay dry?

Our next experiment was to find out how penguins keep dry. I gave the children one of these printables and asked them to colour the whole penguin with wax crayons.

Next, they sprayed their colourings with water. They were surprised to see water droplets staying on the surface of the paper, where the wax crayon was, and not going through. This was a great way to show the children how penguins stay dry. 

Building animal dens

Our next practical activity was really fun and enjoyed by all the children. I set up a table with dry spaghetti and small, white marshmallows and asked the children to construct animal dens. The spaghetti could be broken up into different sizes depending on the construction. It was amazing to see some of their creations!

Once the children have made some animal dens, you could add some little animals and turn it into a small world play scene. We did not have any polar animals so added some snowmen instead!

Origami polar bears

Our final activity was making origami polar bears. We used this tutorial which included a helpful video. These are so quick and easy to make and can be adapted to different types of bears. My children have been making these on and off all week in slightly different shapes and sizes!

We have all had a lot of fun learning about polar animals and have now come to the end of our animals topic. Have you been learning about polar animals in your homeschool?

Additional articles of interest


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Infinite Mommy Breastfeeding Cover Review

My breastfeeding journey

I am currently breastfeeding my fourth baby who is now two months old. I have breastfed all four of my babies but I had never tried a breastfeeding cover until now. With my first baby, I was so anxious to breastfeed in public. I remember covering up with scarves or blankets when I was out and about and needed to feed my baby. A scarf is reasonable but I imagine my daughter would not have been too happy about be covered with a hot, stuffy blanket!


Thursday, 7 December 2017

How to Deal With Negativity About Homeschooling

Recently, I made a video talking about our homeschool journey. If you watched that, you will know that I never planned to homeschool. It was something we fell into due to our personal circumstances but since then we have not looked back. We love homeschooling and have fun every single day. However, we also do experience a lot negativity about it; particularly from family members, unfortunately. They just cannot understand why we chose to homeschool our children and are blinded by the "kids must go to school" mentality. 


Monday, 4 December 2017

November 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.


Friday, 1 December 2017

December Monthly Goals - Knitting

Last month, I wrote about my monthly goals as a way of sharing with you what I was up to and keeping myself accountable. Last months goals were all about striving to be more organised and productive. As the mother of a newborn baby, it has been a struggle to get things done, understandably. But I felt that I should start to get back on track and begin to organise myself better in order to be more productive.


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

6 Tips to Help You Breastfeed With Confidence

I am currently breastfeeding my fourth baby who is now 8 weeks old. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed my babies. My mum breastfed my siblings and I so it just seemed like the natural thing to do. I never questioned my ability to breastfeed. I was never one of those mums who thought I would buy some formula "just in case" I found breastfeeding difficult. I was confident in my ability to breastfeed my babies even before I had attempted it. To be honest, I think that may have made all the difference.


Friday, 24 November 2017

Response to the Proposal to Question School Girls Wearing Hijab

When I found out Ofsted school inspectors have been told to question primary school girls wearing hijab I was stunned. Amanda Spielman, head of Ofsted, is the lady responsible for this. She recently met with campaigners who are against girls wearing a hijab in school. Well, no wonder she has become suspicious of it. I guess noone in that meeting was telling the other side of the story. I would like to know why she did not also meet with women who are in favour of the hijab. Surely she must know it is important to look at both sides of the argument before drawing a balanced conclusion and acting upon it.

According to Ms Spielman, donning a hijab could be seen as sexualising young girls! What?! How did you work that out Ms Spielman? Lets take a look at what could have led her to this unbelievable conclusion.


Sunday, 19 November 2017

Turning 30 - Musings on a Milestone birthday

Last week I turned 30 and it got me thinking about life, reminiscing about the last 30 years and the last 10 years in particular. The older you get, the faster time seems to go by; have you noticed that? My twenties seem to have gone by in a flash and now I enter my thirties with excited anticipation.


So what were my twenties about? Mainly, my twenties have been about motherhood; pregnancy, newborns and dealing with toddler tantrums. I became pregnant with my first child at the age of 21 and my baby girl was born a few months after my 22nd birthday. Although I was married at the time, I was considered a young mum and I felt this had quite negative connotations. 


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Raising Children of a Different Religion

I will never forget that moment, when my parents got their suspicions confirmed: ‘She is a  Muslim!’. It was almost nine years ago and, boy, was it a journey of self-search, acceptance and reconciliation.

Let me go back to where it all began… It was around 2010, when I flew abroad leaving my family behind. It was time to leave the nest and the relationships were strained. Plus, the studies that I didn’t enjoy, and the lack of career opportunities helped to make the final decision.


Monday, 13 November 2017

Our Homeschool Journey

I never planned to homeschool. In fact, if you had told me 10 years ago I would be homeschooling my children, I would have thought you were crazy! I was one of those people who thought homeschooling was nonsense; normal (what is normal?!) people just did not do that kind of thing! So, knowing that, it may surprise you that I now homeschool my children.


Friday, 10 November 2017

October 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.


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Imagistones Review

Storytelling is an important part of our everyday lives. We are always telling stories, whether it is to recall events or create fictitious tales. Through storytelling, children can begin to learn and understand about things they have not themselves experienced. 

Children love to listen to stories being told but it is important for them to learn to tell stories themselves too. As a Speech and Language Therapist, I have often worked with children to help them learn to create narratives and now, as a home educator, I am teaching my children this skill too. 


Sunday, 5 November 2017

November Monthly Goals - Organisation and Productivity

I have a confession to make. I have never been a particularly organised person. I was always the one with the messy bedroom when I was growing up (in fact, I still am quite untidy). I blame my creativity. Creative people are messy, according to research studies. Is this a bad thing? Well, some of the most creative people, such as Albert Einstein and Roald Dahl, had messy desks. As Einstein famously said, 'If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?"


Friday, 3 November 2017

Pumpkin Activities

We have been learning about pumpkins in our homeschool as part of our nature curriculum, Exploring Nature With Children. I decided to take the children pumpkin picking for the first time. We have been fruit picking many times in the summer, but we had never been pumpkin picking before.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Does Bilingualism Cause Speech and Language Delay?

As a Speech and Language Therapist, this is a question I often hear. In fact, it is not always a question, but a statement; bilingualism causes speech and language delay or my child doesn't speak yet because we speak two languages at home. So is this true? The short answer!


Friday, 27 October 2017

Ilyas and Duck Book Review

I am always on the look out for new Islamic children's books. When my eldest, who is now almost 8 years old, was a baby, they were so difficult to find and the books that were available were dull and lacked imagination. However, now there are many more available and the quality of the stories is rising.

I recently came across Ilyas and Duck books and was thrilled to be asked to review them. There are three books in the series and I was sent two of them to review. The first is, 'Ilyas and Duck Search For Allah' and the second is, 'Ilyas and Duck in A Zakat Tale.'

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

My Mother and My Children: Reflections of a Muslim Convert

"Ummi, Ummi…" My 7-year-old was tugging on my skirt to get my attention. There was a 
sense of urgency in his eyes. "Ummi, please can't you tell Grandma to be a Muslim?"

I struggled to hold back my tears as I explained to my son that Allah is the only one who 
makes Muslims and that each of us should try to talk to Grandma about Islam and make 
dua that Allah would guide her and open her heart to accept the truth.


Monday, 23 October 2017

Bilingual Language Activity: Autumn

We have been learning about autumn this month in our nature curriculum. I always try to add some language learning into whatever we are doing. I previously wrote an article about using Arabic language resources to learn about autumn, so I thought it would be good to show you how we have incorporated Turkish language learning into our homeschool too. 


Friday, 20 October 2017

15 Reasons to Homeschool Your Children

As a homeschooling mum of four, I am always asked why I choose to homeschool my children. Many people have not even considered homeschooling before and it is definitely not the norm. Even some who have considered it, do get put off by schools and local authorities telling them it is not a good idea.


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.

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