Phenomic Awareness.. the missing step

A is able to recognize some letters but I felt that she was not able to link the sounds to real objects. She knew a is for apple but it was from memory, she has a very sharp memory MashaAllah and usually memorizes a lot of things without  much effort. She did not  understand that apple began with the sound ‘a’. I realized this when she was unable to do her worksheets and mostly when she was unable to proceed to the third lesson on reading eggs. I was quite worried. Then I read on K5 that Phenomic awareness was  a pre-requisite to reading, even BEFORE knowing Phonics. I tried to do the phenomic awarenessi lesson on k5 with A, but she just did not understand. Then I read on a website.. a simple game to play.. begins with game.. just a simple verbal game. You just take an object and say.. orange begins with O O O Orange.. Ball begins with  B B B Ball.. and so on. Two days of playing this game .. Alhamdulilah she finally understood the link between the letters and the words!

We played begins with game today again and afterwords read Jolly Stories. It was my good luck that I found this book in really good condition at a second hand book shop and got it for Rs.100 only! less than a pound, where as the new book costs Rs. 1000+

She enjoys this book alot and usually gets stuck on the  ’n’ page. For some reason she is intrigued by the ‘dark’ night scenes . in mostly all the books. she recognizes s a t and n howvere she is still a little confused between m and n. She also confuses b with d.. butI havent really serioslly done any of these letters with her, so InshaAllah she will improve.

Today she did lesson 3, 4 and 5   on reading eggs MashaAllah with just a teeny weeny help from me. She is not very quick with the mouse pad and it takes a lot of time and needs A LOT of patience, which she usually doesn’t  have.. but with a lot of support and encouragement and YOU CAN DO IT attitude she did it by herself. MashaAllah.


“I like Allaah.. mama.”

The main focus of my homeschooling is instilling a love for Allah in my children.Today when she said  ’ I like Allah.. mama’ this made me soo happy Alhamdulilah and once when I scolded her for a major disaster, she said crying… mujhay Allah paass jana hai! I want to go to Allah! SubhanAllah. Today while listening to the story of Ibrahim alayh salam at bed time, she also asked me if Allah is in the Kaabah because that is Allah’s house, she already know that Allah is up above the heavens on His Arsh, so i just explained to her that Allah is not in the Kabah, its the direction we pray in. It a masjid and all masjids are houses of Allah because we worship Allah there!

These are some books on Allah which I have been reading out to her and these days she is obsessed with the story of Ibrahim (as). She listens to it from me at bed time and also intently watches the story of Ibrahim (as) Zaky DVD. She also says that she wants to be Allah’s friend, just like Ibrahim (as)

Winter Season Activity

I have been telling A about winters, showing her trees and leaves and grass and explaining how its cold so we need to wear warm clothes.  Since these days she is too much into pasting I decided to do winter season pasting activity with her. I just printed out clipart of winter and she pasted away.

Since it doesn’t snow here, I explained to her what snow is and it snows in Murree and then we also saw vidoes of kids playing in the snow, making snow man and skating and skiing etc. She really wanted to make a snow man and said she wants to go to Murree! Then we also did a paper doll and dressed her up in winter clothes. A was quite excited about the paper doll..but she wanted to glue the clothes on the doll as well!! hehee then I explained to her how we will keep changing the dolls clothes. The clothes still kept coming off though, so im thinking of using paper clips to keep them in place.

We also did coloring in winter printouts. Howe ver I seem to be doing most of the coloring as A just doesn’t have the patience to complete the picture. Just a few scribbles and she is ready to go the ‘next’ page!  One way I have learned to tackle this is to not give her a coloring book or  more than one sheet! There is however improvement in her coloring. First she used to pick one color and color all with the same and now she is Alhamdulilah picking and choosing colors! Coloring has to be done when H is sleeping or is kept busy with aboo in the other room otherwise he also wants to color in the SAME page and loves to scribble on the walls!

If things work out we will InshaAllah visit Murree and see snow for real!


Week 1: Islamic Pre School Curriculum

For A who just turned 3 in January, I have been trying to follow the Islamic Pre School Curriculum updated by Umm Maimoonah, originally designed by Umm Ibrahim atTalibideen Jr. May Allah reward these sisters who did all the hardwork! Special thanks toUmmi Subhana for introducing me to it and encouraging me and supporting me in my homeschooling journey!

However, because of H and A’s moody temprament, we are doing things completely unstructured. Mostly  I just am not able to  read up/organize and print out.Plus H just does not let me use the laptop as he just wants to bang on the keyboard and I have a million other house chores and cooking and making the kids EAT.. .. its like im trying to make them EAT all day long….when I do get time and when H is sleeping I sit down with A and  do some activity. So following is what we have done from Week 1, yes it took us quite some time!

  • A already knows Who is Allah and Where is Allah. We just practised in Arabic. We have a lot of discussions about Allah. We also listened to a Nasheed Allahu Rabbi from Kids Land, she memorized it quickly and I found her humming it while playing :-) I usually just play the Nasheeds from Kids Land while the kids are playing and A just starts humming along!
  • We did the mini book Who is Allah from A Muslim Child i born. I spoke while she colored. She does not know how to read or write, she just scribbles and is really impatient while coloring, she just wants to go next next page! Sigh.. i don’t know how to handle this.
  • She painted in the name Allah in arabic.
  • She wanted to paste, so I just came up with different things for her to paste.
  • She also did writing exercise on her wipe clean Writing book. She loved it and regulary did this for 3/4 days.
  • We also started the scrap book on 99 Names of Allah.
  • She already knows Surah Ikhlas. I am just trying to improve her Tajweed (Pronunciation) so that she recites it properly without mistake. I used Juz30 Software for repeating each verse a number of times and looping the Surah as well. Juz30 software is excellent for memorization. She would sometimes repeat after it while playing and at times she would come and stand in front of the laptop and see each verse as it is displayed on screen.
  • Ever since she turned 3, she is playing on her quite a lot and especially loves to sit in a carboard box and play pretend.. boat. She puts all her stuffed animals in it too.. I think she is mimicking the story of Nuh alayhis salam (Noah) Little H, bothers her alot and keeping taking her toys out and wanting to get in or out!

Homeschooling through storytelling

The bulk of my home-schooling is currently going on through story telling, as A lovess them! She is captivated by stories which  I mostly tell her at bed time and afternoon naptime. I keep the stories short and interesting and try to put in as much emotions into them as I can. Within a short span of time, within a month she has become familiar with quite a few Islamic figures. The  Islamic stories which I am telling her these days are as follows:

  • Story of Creation
  • Story of Prophet Adam (as)
  • Story of Shaitan – the bad Jinn
  • Story of Nooh (as)
  • Story of Yunus (as)
  • Story of Ibrahim (as)
  • Story of Musa & Firaun (as)
  • Story of Birth of Muhammad (s) and few facts about his life
  • Story of Cave of Hira.
  • Story of Al Isra Wal Mairaj
  • Discussion on Jannah

She also has a few story books on the above mentioned stories, but I find the stories not written very nicely so as to captivate the young mind. She mostly skims through these books looking at pictures and asking me lots and lots of questions. The other day she asked  her father.. “aboo app mujhay Masjid ul Aqsa laijaingay??” Aboo will you take me to Masjid e Aqsa! … this just proves how much children retain from stories and how much it affects them and how they want to re enact the stories they listen to. 🙂

How I stopped my three year old from scribbling on walls!

The first challenge of my homeschooling journey was to stop A from scribbling on the walls, floor and furniture because were were renting… I had been trying to make her stop writing on the walls and other places since she was 1, but nothing seemed to work! I explained, I punished, I ignored.. i tried everything, but the second I turned my head she would be at it! Dadis and Nanis houses are a testimony to that! ahh and don’t ask how Mr.Mamoo would be angry to find scribbles on his sofa and walls! The only solution I found was to not give her anything to write with. Her crayons, pens, markers everything was kept hidden…but this greatly affected her learning to write skills and I realized that not giving her crayons or markers was not the solution. Then I found this book, Parenting through story telling and then I made up stories of a boy and a girl, how the girl would make beautiful drawings and paintings and was appreciated by all and how the boy would always write /paint on the walls…i did this for about a month and in the end always associated my daughter with the good girl..and Alhamdulilah it seemed to have worked
BUT…my 1 year old son is now at it and no storytelling would work at such a young age! The minute he gets his hands on a pen or a pencil he is at the walls…so much for a clean house .. AHHH
Once Upon a time..Parenting through storytelling by Hoda Beshir
It can be downloaded from here


The Homeschooling journey begins…


Ok, so finally I have taken the homeschooling plunge! With two young ones,daughter  A 3 years  and son  H 1.3 years old , homeschooling seems like an uphill task.

A attended school for around five months in Karachi and then we moved to Islamabad and it was when I moved here and attended a homeschoolers meet up  that I decided to give homeschooling a try, for atleast one year and see how things turn up.

There are many reasons why I feel homeschooling is best for A at the time being and there are certain things which I realized only after her school started and that led me to eventually opt for homeschooling.

Firstly, I felt terrible for sending her to school to be looked after by strangers when she needed help for even basic things like using the toilet. I wondered how can an ‘aya’ look after my doll and clean her up properly just the way i would, no that was not possible. I was also more concerned about the tahara factor, because I would change her clothes if any  drops came on her clothes..but would an aya even bother? I don’t think so.

Secondly, she was the youngest in class and she seemed to be intimidated by other children. My noisy chirpy and over confident girl, who had no qualms talking to complete strangers on the street and greeting shop keepers, gardeners and other strangers she came acrooss, was very quiet and reserved in class.  She was not social at all in school and this is one thing which I am still not able to understand properly, why such a change of personality in school and at home!?? Because of her shyness, she did not speak much at all and it seemed that she did not know her stuff!

There was nothing really ‘Islamic’ being taught at the Nursery level, where as I realized that at such a young age, the memorization and absorption is the strongest, so why not teach our deen and make full use of these precious years? I realized that at very young ages home-schooled children were very aware of their deen MashaAllah! I was very much inspired by UmmiSubhana and UmmiMaimoonah. MasahAllah they have raised such able and such knowledgeable girls at such a young  age!

Then there were the school timings.A has been suffering from night terrors since as far as I can remember , probably 1.5 or 2 and due to this, taking a small nap in the afternoon was a must and she used to take a nap between 12 and 1:00, but due to the school timings from 9:30 – 1:00, her whole routine was disrupted and  it was too long for a 2.5 yr old. By the time she arrived back home by 1:40, changed and had lunch, she was so over exhausted that she just was unable to nap in the afternoon and the result of which was terrible night terrors and dreary mornings!

Last but not the least, even a Islamic school can not provide a truly Islamic environment, with children coming from different backgrounds and different levels of ‘islamic’ home environment, it really seems useless to send your child to an Islamic school where her class mates are discussing movies and TV and bollywood and singing songs.

The thing that really hit home were John Holts book: How Children Fail , which truly opened my eyes to see the flaws of the ‘schooling’ system and it gave a little explnation of how and why my daughter’s behavior changed in school.I would recommend every parent and every teacher to read his books!

These are just some of the reasons why I have decided to homeschool my daughter and see how it goes for at least a year. May Allah make this journey easy for me and my kids and I really want to keep checking my intention that I am doing this for the sake of Allah alone, to raise upright kids who would serve Allah’s deen and become my greatest source of sadqa e jariya. Ameen

Homeschooling rant

Assalamu Alaykum…Okay so I have not seriously blogged since ages and I can’t believe that I used to be such a regular blogger. Firstly I did not have time to blog..reason.. Motherhood! Some say that your life ends when your kids’ life starts! Hehe it surely does happen, but then soon after you life takes over a new leaf and a totally new life begins. Seriously no bachelor or bachelorette can EVER truly understand what it’s like to be a parent. It is ONLY after you have kids that you realize what being a parent truly means and the heaviest responsibility Allah has kept on your shoulders..of nurturing righteous muslims..

Children are a gift from Allah and they are an ‘amanah’. We have to raise them right on the true deen, so they are aware of their Creator and what living Islam truly means. That is why when my daughter turned 2.5, I searched and searched for a right ‘Islamic School’.l admitted her in ‘Reflections’, a good Islamic school in Karachi. But Allah had other plans for me..

No sooner had a month passed that I learned we had to move out of Karachi. We didn’t really have other options. so here I am , writing this post from Islamabad. Its a beautiful, peaceful city. Alhamdulilah Allah has blessed me with so much I can’t thank Him enough. I am truly loving it here. Everything is just perfect – just perfect ..for homeschooling.

I used to think that homeschooling was only for those muslim families living in the west with no options of Islamic schools, but I was surprised to know that there were homeschooling families in Pakistan Then i came acroand lots and lots of blogs of homeschooling muslim moms. SubhanAllah! I felt ashamed.. they were doing SO MUCH and their kids MashaAllah so advanced and learning everything right in the protective nest of their own home, especially their deen and truly loving everything.

Now we are in Islamabad…my daughter is out of school and I have decided to homeschool her.InshaAllah.

Homeschooling is not what I used to think or what most people think it is. It is not a school-at-home where the mom stands in front of the blackboard from 9-1 teaching. No, its a ‘dynamic’ learning environment and much much more. There is still a lot of reading, thinking, organizing and planning to do and decisions to make.. but InshaAllah may Allah make it easy for me to homeschool my children. It is a challenge.. no doubt it is, but it was the kids who made me ‘unemployed’..but Allah has ’employed’ me now for my own kids. What could be a better job than that!

10 Dec Lunar eclipse Visible from Pakistan

There is going to be an amazing lunar eclipse on the evening of 10th December, which would be visible from Pakistan. The moon will rise on the evening of 10th December while entering penumbra.

Now this is not just any other ordinary Eclipse. Its a Senelion, which means that the sun and moon would both be visible in the sky at the same time, even though it is technically impossible because for an eclipse to occur, the sun and moon must be 180 degrees apart.

So how would this be possible? Its possible due to atmospheric refraction, which makes the sun ‘appear’ higher in the horizon, where as in reality it has already set.

So to watch this phenomena, a clear horizon would be needed to watch both the sun set and the moon rise.Living in Karachi, I doubt such a clear horizon would be available, but it somebody is able to get a clear sight, please do snap some pics and share with us.

The Moon Rise time for Karachi for saturday evening is 5:37.

P.S. Dont forget to pray the eclipse prayer “Salat ul kusoof” as was the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhe wasallam. Read details about his prayer here

Further Reading:
Dawn Eclipse of the Moon

Saturday’s Lunar Eclipse will Include ‘Impossible Sight’

Moon Rise and Moon Set Timings for Karachi

The best example is of our Prophet (s)~ said Ali ibn Abi Talib

But the best example for you is that of our Holy Prophet.Follow him sincerely and faithfully.He is the greatest leader for those who require a leader and the best teacher for those who want to achieve self-respect. Among His creatures, Allah most likes him,who obeys His Prophet and follows in his footsteps.~ Ali ibn Abi Talib

Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 163, pg 376.

Prophet Muhammad ordered us not to lament and bemoan loudly – said Ali r in Nahjul Balagha

Oh Prophet of Allah! I love and respect you more than I loved and respected my parents. Your passing away has put an end to the Prophethood,to the revelation and to the messages of the Lord while that of the other Prophets had not resulted in this way….

IF you had not ordered us to be patient and NOT to lament and bemoan loudly, we would have kept weeping and lamenting ceaselessly, though all this weeping,lamenting and bemoaning could not stand in comparison with the actual loss of your presence. But death is an inevitable event, nobody can turn the death back and no body can stop it from coming.

Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 239, pg 533. Islamic Semiinary Publication

Effects of Quran Vs Effects of Music on an apple!

Shared By: Quanita Rizvi
Alhuda Institute Canada

Assalamoalaikum wrwb 

Few weeks ago my daughter, who is in first grade had a science fair at her school.  We decided to do an interesting experiment.  Our Hypothesis was that listening to Qur’an has physical effects just like listening to music has physically visible effects.  To prove our point we took an apple which also has 60-70 percent water content like human bodies.  We cut the apple into half, put each half in a zip lock bag and then for seven days played Qur’an for one half of the apple and music to another half of the apple .. Both apples were kept on room temperature.  The results were amazing and so our hypothesis was accepted.

In Quran Surah Luqman Allah(s.a.w) says:
And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allâh without knowledge, and takes it (the Path of Allâh, or the Verses of the Qur’ân) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment (in the Hell-fire).(6)

In surah Yunus Allah SWt says about  Quran:
O mankind! There hath come to you a admonition from your Lord and a healing for the (diseases) in your hearts and for those who believe, a Guidance and a Mercy. (57)

Please look at the attached pictures.  The first picture is of the apple when it was freshly cut. Second picture is after 3 weeks of the experiment.

JazakAllah Khiaran



Left: Music Apple Right: Quran Apple


Shared By: Quanita Rizvi 


Al Huda Institute, Canada

Social Research: Evils of Free Mixing

Just wanted to share this social research study on free mixing between men and women by Muslim Researchers. This should make us sit and reflect…

Source: Islam QA:

There follow some of the results of a study on mixing undertaken by some Muslim social science researchers.

When we put the following question: What is the Islamic ruling on mixing as far as you know? The results were as follows:

76% of respondents said “It is not permitted.”

12% said, “It is permitted” – but moral, religious, etc. restrictions apply…

12% said, “I don’t know.”

Which would you choose?

If you had the choice between working in a mixed workplace and working in another where there was no mixing, which would you choose?

The responses to this question were as follows:

76% would choose the workplace where there was no mixing.

9% preferred the mixed workplace.

15% would accept any workplace which suited their specialties, regardless of whether it was mixed or not.

Very embarrassing

Have any embarrassing situations ever happened to you because of mixing?

Among the embarrassing moments mentioned by respondents in this study were the following:

Continue reading

It’s only when you become a mother you realize the worth of your mother!

Its been a long long time since i blogged.. reason… well its almost impossible to take out time for writing with a 2 year old and a new born in the house. I have missed blogging a lot and was thinking of how should  I make a come back. So iv decided to share my joys and pains of married life and parenting and write very short write ups….so here goes.

Motherhood is a great transition. You finally realize what your mother went through and realize that bringing a new life into this world is the most amazing and the most difficult thing  in this world. But guess what… raising them up  is tougher than labor! Motherhood means sacrifice sacrifice of .. sleep hobbies interests and self! and it is only then you realize the worth of your mother.