Congratulations you’re Honest!

Ever been honored with such a certificate.

Congratulations!

This is to certify that

You are the most HONEST student of 2015

And even if you had one,people might just have a good laugh at it.Its such a rare achievement to be appreciated,yet we all want everyone else to be honest with us,from merchandised stores to our kids. Lets be honest are we really encouraging honesty in our children?

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Let me break it down- the way we judge our children and students is fostering shame, hubris, cynicism and cheating.

It is not easy to force people to do what they do not want to do.At first the cane was the most common instrument of coercion in schools.Another method was public shamming.School masters would ridicule misbehaving or poorly performing children in front of their classmates.Today we rarely use cane but we have a way…we rely now on system of testing , grading and ranking children to motivate them to do their school work.Children are made to feel ashamed (inferior) if they perform worse than their peers and proud (superior) if they perform better.Our children’s worth lies in the grades they get.

Our system of grading and ranking to motivate students seems almost perfectly designed to promote cynicism and cheating.Students are constantly told about the value of high grades.Some children may just not be able to memorize all those things which they will anyway forget after the test,out of desperation they resort to cheating. On the other hand top students are under pressure of getting into top collages ,cheating is win win for all.Your parents, teachers, school…everyone wants you to succeeded.Being “smart” is what everyone wants,no one cares about being “honest”.

Let me tell you about the best of all the teachers….have you ever read a hadith where the  beloved Prophet (May peace be upon him) tells the Sahabas…”Please do your homework and I will test you on it.”or “memorize the khutba there will be a quiz on Monday”or this is a big one”How much Quran have each one of you memorized?”

What! never read anything like this…Hmmm

So how come we have all these ideas about education and that tests and quizzes are the only way to measure how much a child knows?

If you carefully see the way of the  Prophet(May peace be upon him).He educates his companions by words of encouragement and hikmah and love.People wanted to hang around him.They were motivated to learn and preach Quran.

Honesty and truthfulness are celebrated in Islam

“Oh you who believe! Eat not up each other’s property by unfair and dishonest means.” (4:29)

The Prophet often used to say in his khutbas:

“Remember, there is no faith in him who is not trustworthy; there is no place for him in religion who cares not for his pledged word or promise.”

We may not be telling our children to cheat or lie,but we are creating a perfect situation for them to practice all these vice.

We do have certificates and appreciation for reading or some competitive math exam.Lets print some certificates and encourage our kids when they are honest and truthful(its not so easy to be honest) and not just brush off their effort by  saying….”Be careful next time!”

We print a lot of those certificates from Here.

 

 

 

What Charlotte Mason Education looks like in a Muslim home.?

Charlotte Mason was a 19 th century British Educator who founded a chain of Parent Controlled School called Parents National Education Union (PNEU).Her style and exposition were homely.She stressed the influence  and responsibility of the home.Specifically addressing the mother she writes:

The mother needs to acquire her own habit of training her children so that by and by,it is not troublesome to her,but a pleasure .She devotes herself to the formation of one habit in her children at a time,doing no more than watch over those already formed.

Some elements you will always read in her work are:

Living books

This is what drove me right at the heart of this philosophy.Whole books are living in the sense that they are written by a single author who shares personally his favorite subject with us.An exemplary author for us is Imam Bhukari ,who started acquiring knowledge of Hadith at the age of ten and traveled to Makkah when he was sixteen.He spend six year in Hijaz acquiring knowledge.He traveled many different places gathering Hadith ,it is said he collected over 300,000 Ahadith and memorized 200,000 .He labored day and night to sift forged Ahadith from authentic ones.In his book he only chose 7,275  haidth with repetition and without repetition 2,230 hadith ,which there is no doubt about authenticity.SubhanAllah.Now this is not in a story format ,which is one quality of a living book.But its soo neat and beautiful words of the Prophet make is ever so living.

On a more contemporary note Luqman Nagy has written some wonderful books with passion and information.

Narration

With living books a child gains knowledge through his own efforts .He digs out facts and information and then expresses in his own language.Narration also provides opportunities for a child to form an opinion or make a judgment ,no matter how crude.Because narration takes the place of fill in the blank and multiple choice tests it enables the child to bring all his mental faculties into play.

No Homework

When a child follows her method there is no need for homework,because the child immediately deals with the literature at hand and proves his mastery  by narrating.Instead of homework children enjoy cozy evenings with good books and parental attention.

No Grades

Charlotte wanted children to be motivated by admiration ,faith and love ,instead of artificial stimulants such as prizes (stickers ,candy or money),competition and grades.I still have to work my way through this one….some days all my boys do is jump on the bed …yes whole day!they can go on and on and on….they just don’t read some days!

So when they finish reading a book I buy them a kinder joy egg!(aahhh I am ashamed)but then you have well read kids,so its a good deal.(I told you I am an eclectic homeschooler)

Free Afternoons

Formal lessons end by one P.M.So afternoons are free for running ,climbing,yelling and all out doors.It  has been observed that boys particularly cannot flourish with out this opportunity. Handicrafts ,chores ,cooking ,gardening ,visiting lonely neighbors ,observing nature may all be enjoyed during this time.

Nature study is emphasis on being outdoors and observing nature. Students keep a nature notebook of drawings and description of their many finds.

SubhanAllah this observation of nature is ever more emphasized in the Quran …every now and then we come across ayas where Allah says:

Do they not observe the birds above them, spreading their wings and folding them in? None can uphold them except (Allah) Most Gracious: Truly (Allah) Most Gracious: Truly it is He that watches over all things. (Surah 67, verse 19)

And Allah has created every animal from water: of them there are some that creep on their bellies; some that walk on two legs; and some that walk on four. Allah creates what He wills for verily Allah has power over all things.

Over and over God tells us that the alternation of night and day are signs of His power. And the weather and climate are His to create and control.

Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars that you can see; is firmly established on the throne (of authority); He has subjected the sun and the moon (to his Law)! Each one runs (its course) for a term appointed. He regulates all affairs, explaining the signs in detail, that you may believe with certainty in the meeting with your Lord.

And it is He who spread out the earth, and set thereon mountains standing firm and (flowing) rivers: and fruit of every kind He made in pairs, two and two: He draws the night as a veil o’er the Day. Behold, verily in these things there are signs for those who consider!

And in the earth are tracts (diverse though) neighboring, and gardens of vines and fields sown with corn, and palm trees – growing out of single roots or otherwise: watered with the same water, yet some of them We make more excellent than others to eat. Behold, verily in these things there are signs for those who understand! (Surah 13, verses 2, 3 and 4)

Few Lectures

Through Charlotte’s method we need not do very much teaching .Children gain the ability to educate themselves.They do not depend upon notes they have taken from a teacher’s lecture-where most of the information has been per-digested by the teacher.With the method of narration from books,the child at age six or seven, comments on the carefully chosen words of an author in essay form, either oral or written.Too much explaining by the teacher can be a detriment to self education

Ideas and Culture

Children’s love of knowledge is dependent upon how clearly ideas are presented to them.The mind feeds upon ideas.To quote Charlotte

“Ideas must reach us directly from the mind of the thinker, and it is chiefly by the means of the books they have written that we get in touch with the best minds”

Education is a Discipline

By discipline Charlotte basically means laying down the rails for good habits.Which are foundations for a well mannered child.

And how important are manners in Islam:

Abu Darda (RA) reported that Rasulullah (SAW) said, “Nothing is weightier on the Scale of Deeds than one’s good manners.”(Al-Bukhari)

Abu Hurairah (RA) said, “I heard Abu al Qasim (Rasulullah (SAW)), say, ‘The best among you in Islam are those with the best manners, so long as they develop a sense of understanding.” (Al-Bukhari)

 

 

 

Clay Pots

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So we decided to make our own pots,pans and jugs.We used air dry brown color clay,and watched a documentary about early nomadic life.Understanding how difficult life was,made us all very grateful for everything we are blessed with.

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These pots and jugs were later used in an archeological dig project which I just created in a tub filled with sand.But these were soo fragile that the handles kept coming out and then we had to glue them.

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Aqeeda

One of the most important topic and very close to my heart is Aqeeda.We are doing lapbooking inspired by Iman’s Homeschool

This sister has such Ammazinggg worksheets and lapbooks, I have always learned soo much from her.May Allah bless her abundantly.She has been very generous in sharing her printable.

 

Living books

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Living books was a term originated by Charlotte Mason.Now why am I soo in love with this approach.Firstly because the author of such books are really passionate about their work.Secondly the facts are presented in story form.And who doesn’t like stories.

Its a well know fact that people have always resorted to stories to pass morals lessons from generation to generation.Stories are always cherished and no matter how many times you hear them,they never get old.

All time famous Aesop fables are one such example ,Aesop was a Greek slave,who used his imaginative animals with human characteristic to tech moral behaviors.

The mere text book style maybe helpful for some one who wants to prepare for an exam,but for some one who wants to immerse himself into the subject and fall in love with what he is reading,he will have to look for real books or living books.

Children love things which are more personalized and if they are able to make that connection with a book or author,the purpose of the books is achieved.One page test which Karen Andreola talks about in her book Charlotte Mason Companion is;

You will know  you have found a living book if you hear them plead,”Read me more”!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Types of Resting places

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Since we are studying about pyramids which are basically graves or as I like to call them the resting places.My almost 10 years old son is ready for me to discuss this issue with him.He has attended a couple of funerals in the family,and is very well aware of Salatul Janazah.

Infact I remember once both brothers were playing while praying,they like to perform salah like its done in Haram.(like how they say the takbeer two times)….so after they said tasleem.Older bro asked little bro to lie to down in front, and he read Salatul Janazah.(yeah…he did that)!

I was totally like OMG….No way….they cant do that….I haven’t taught them this.

But within few second I got myself together and realized,I was the one to teach them to observe everything consciously going on around them and with kids its monkey see monkey do.

So moving on… initially Egyptians used to bury their dead in the same way as we Muslims do today,with slight differences.

Gradually they started to put a concrete or mud wall more like a mud cake type structure around the grave,which was called Mastaba.

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And finally…they thought of putting up some steps to Mastaba,and there you have a step pyramid.Of course there are more details which my son went through but I am just giving a basic idea of what we were covering.

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Since our spine is Islam, and this topic is ever so close to every Muslim…I brought in the Islamic way of burial.

We read very briefly,http://www.mfs.asn.au/ghusl–burial-steps.html

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These are the examples of lahd or L shaped graves in Jannat ul Baqi (Madina).

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If you are blessed to visit Madinah, do visit the museum, we were allowed to take the pictures which came in very handy while studying this topic.

 

Sugarcube Step Pyramid

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Our step pyramid is missing two steps which we will inshallah install sometime later.I was thinking…in my math brain… starting with seven cubes will give us a six steps pyramid…but of course it dint….so you see this architect needs to do her homework.

IMG_1630But all in all we understood the what they meant by a step pyramid and did lots of math…like multiplying cubes…adding and estimations etc etc.

IMG_1628Like with most of our projects these days. I like to take a back seat and let the boys figure out things,but I remember my son did tell me our pyramid will be short!

IMG_1627So if you would like to do this project start with ten cubes at the base.As my kids were placing them right on top of the cube below…you may not do that and just place new cube between the two bottom ones….I think thats a better way to make a study pyramid.

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Any time is Tea time

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Hmm well not actually but usually….the first thing in the morning I need is a good sweet tea….with no background sound.Those 10 mints are sooo precious, I have to take out time for this.But then there are times when I just start the day with loading laundry(which is a sign of me being a bit cranky for the most part,so to handle this issue….I prefer to sip a cup right before we start our school time.Its just soo good to calm myself with warmth of the cup between my hands.

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The sun starts to leave the horizon and in the school room we all feel a little lazy and want to take a little break,its almost 4’oclock and my oldest son prepares a wonderful cup of lemon tea, he is going to be turn 10 this year and he’s soo proud when he serves me.Other little people share,sip ,spill and move on.

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If you ever invite me to your place, tea is what I’ll like to have … WITH sugar….please!!!