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Let me first put this out there:
I wear hijab (the traditional Muslim headscarf plus loose, modest clothing) and I believe there is great benefit to it in this life, and the Hereafter. I don’t think it is the end-all of whether someone is a good Muslim. I do encourage Muslim women to wear it, but don’t automatically discount them as a “bad Muslim” because someone doesn’t choose it for themself.
Okay, let’s move on.
Any hijabi (woman who wears hijab) knows that flying can be a somewhat stressful time. There are the looks in the airport, the “random” screening, and just the uncomfortable feeling that we can’t do anything too noticeable. For instance, I was walking past a door in the airport yesterday and noticed something written on it about birds, which I thought was odd. Then I looked at the rest of the door and realized it was a door for the Department of Homeland Security. As a covered woman, I don’t want any extra time checking out that door, though I still wonder why it’s also associated with birds of some sort. Anyway, I digress.
I worry that these situations will discourage Care Bear from wearing hijab as it’s seen as a hassle and lessens her sense of safety. It makes me sad that hijab gives some a feeling of less security instead of more security. Allah tells us in the Qur’an that it is a safeguard for women:
“O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better, so that they may be recognized and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.” (Quran 33:59)
I walked into our trip with this unease in mind and I was concerned in how I would be treated as a traveller, both in the airport and in an area I was unsure of the response to Muslims. I was in for a pleasant surprise.
First, I was not given the “random” screening I’ve had every other time I’ve flown since I started covering. Both on our flight from our home and back, I was treated as if nothing was different. Wow! This was the first time in the 5 years I’ve been wearing hijab that has happened. Second, we were treated very nicely from Muslims we came across, and two actually started a conversation with me expressing their wishes to be more practicing.
It was refreshing to have Care Bear witness how hijab connects us to a worldwide community. So often she sees me only in our local area, and interacting with Muslims we already know. People we’ve never met before exchanged salams (greeting of Muslims to other Muslims) in this new area, and we encouraged each other in this journey that can feel overwhelming at times. The two Muslims that said something to me about wanting to practice more never would have said anything had I not been wearing hijab.
Hijab is not just about being strong or weak; a good Muslim or bad Muslim; extreme or liberal. As Allah says in the Qur’an, quoted earlier, it is about protection and being recognized. Sometimes the idea that one will be recognized as a Muslim is a deterrent for people to wear hijab, but I must say from experience the benefit outweighs the risk.
I don’t want to lose sight that hijab is about pleasing Allah, and there will be times where wearing hijab is not easy. It isn’t about what is easy or beneficial, but instead what is right. The lesson I want Care Bear to learn, and all teens for that matter, is that living Islam is worth it. Teens are in a time where the importance of other’s impressions are at an all time high, and hijab can make teens very aware of how others perceive them. But just like the weather, there are sunny days and rainy days. If we are patient through the rainy days, we get to experience the sunny ones, and benefit with our good deeds in the meantime.
I think many teens would be surprised how many positive reactions they would get from the world at large if they focused on doing what they think is right, even if it is the unpopular thing.
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We’ve been talking a lot about compost and how to take care of it… but what’s the point? What’s the end goal?
Dirt! Beautiful, crumbly, healthy dirt. Why buy compost from the garden store if you can turn your trash into compost for free? Compost gives essential nutrients to a home garden, and you’d be surprised how many listings there are for compost on Craigslist! I suppose if you have an excess amount of compost, you can always sell it or give it away, too! Many times you can mix compost with the dirt already in your back (or front) yard to create a healthy environment for fruits, veggies, flowers, herbs, anything! You may want to test the pH level of your dirt before getting started to know what you’re working with and talk to someone at your local garden store about how to balance the pH level for what you want to grow. I would suggest going to a specialty store for answering those types of questions as they are more likely to have answers for you than a big-box store like Home Depot. Or, if you’re like me, I just figured the first year I wouldn’t grow much of anything and trial an error was going to be my way to learn.
So, how do you know when your compost is ready to use? Here’s a few things to watch for:
- It should look like dirt by all accounts. As long as you didn’t put anything that takes forever to break down (large sticks, egg shells, a whole pumpkin not cut into pieces), you shouldn’t see any remains of food or garden scraps.
- It shouldn’t be warm. While the compost is breaking down, it is at a higher temperature than you’d expect for regular dirt since it is working. Once it stops working, it cools down.
- It should not smell. Hopefully your compost doesn’t smell anyway, but if your compost smells, that’s a sign it is still breaking down some components.
What are some ways you use your compost?
Missed the previous posts about composting? Find them here:
While I was planning on waiting a bit longer to move to a self-hosted site, there was just too good of an opportunity to pass up!
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We’ve already talked about how to get through puberty alive in the past, but memorizing Qur’an with a girl in puberty presents slightly different challenges given she will have her period from time to time. Since she shouldn’t be handling the mushaf (moos-haf, the Qur’an in its original Arabic text) directly, what are we to do to keep making progress?
There are various theories why someone going through puberty turns into a bit of an airhead. Whatever the truth of the matter is, it presents the necessity to review things more often and to review things you thought they could never forget. When Care Bear is on her period, we take that time to review suwar (chapters of the Qur’an) we have covered in the past. In theory, she should be able to just recite a couple suwar on the day of the week we cover Qur’an memorization. In reality, she needs to prepare for this day by listening to recitation of the Qur’an from quranexplorer.com, and read along with it. This way she can avoid having to directly touch the mushaf, relying mostly on listening to the recitation for her review. During this time we cover two suwar, starting where we left on the last time she was on her period, reviewing the them in the order they are in the Qur’an.
So, the last time we did a review, Care Bear covered Surah Burooj and Tariq (85 and 86). Next time she does a review like this, she’ll cover Surah al-‘Ala and Ghashiya (87 and 88). In contrast, when she is memorizing new suwar we go in descending order of the suwar, going from the end of the Qur’an towards the beginning. This way when we review, she is reminded of the correct order of the suwar.
It can be frustrating as the parent to watch her go from a stellar student in Qur’an memorization to what seems to be just memorizing for the day and then forgetting as soon as we walk away from the lesson. The lessons we really soak in during this stage in her development are the life lessons we learn from the tafseer (explanation and background of the verses) of the suwar she’s memorizing. We never stop trying to memorize Qur’an though, and masha’Allah, she’s 3/4 of the way done with the last Juz of the Qur’an. I know she remembers the ideas and concepts she’s learning from the tafseer, even if she forgets the Arabic recitation of the Qur’an after some time passes. At this point in her life, retaining the meaning of Allah’s Word is of utmost importance – arguably more important than rote memorization.
With blended families, it isn’t all that uncommon for there to be a large age gap. My sister and I are nine years apart, and Little Miss and Care Bear are almost eleven years apart. In a homeschool, it can save time and energy to work on some subjects together, but this becomes harder as the age gap widens.
While it doesn’t make sense to join some subjects with the two girls, there are ways they can both learn things together. As everyone knows, you learn more when you teach, so why not give Care Bear the opportunity to teach? As I talked about in my post about kids helping kids, it teaches the older siblings parenting skills to help out with younger siblings. Of course, there are other opportunities as well. Here’s just a few:
– Page through youth encyclopedias. Usborne encyclopedias are my favorite, with DK Publishing coming in a close second. Little Miss is interested in the bright and interesting pictures, and Care Bear can read the captions to learn more about that item.
– Read alouds are great for bringing together readers and non-readers. Even if the book does not contain any new vocabulary or ideas, just picking apart the artwork in a well made book can provide an educational opportunity on the use of art as a way to tell a story. I LOVE Kane Publishing books for their preschool age story books. They bring together authors from around the world and the illustrations are magnificent The only way I know to get Kane Publishing books are through an Usborne books consultant.
– Head to the museum. The same concept applies that the little one can show interest in something, and there’s typically more information for the older child to soak in also. If two adults go, you can even split ways so both kids can go where they are most interested.
– Have the older child teach the younger child how to do simple tasks. Being able to instruct someone else with concise words is a skill in itself! How often do we use filler words (like, so yeah, you know, etc) and we aren’t clear with what we say the first time around? I remember in high school we had to do a writing unit on how to write instructions and that was probably the toughest one I had to do! You want to say things as clearly with as little words as possible. Being choosy of our words is definitely a skill our family is working on!
Do you have other tips for how to bring learning to both the very young, and the growing youth?
February 1st is World Hijab Day, and I want to encourage everyone to participate, especially any non-Muslims!
There are a number of reasons I think this is beneficial on a societal level:
- It’s healthy for people to get out of their comfort zone from time to time. Take a day to learn what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes.
- Many find it is liberating to to not have others view them in a sexual way. Even the most common clothing in our society can accentuate the female figure, sometimes causing men to pay more attention to our bodies than the words we are using.
- Afraid you’ll get a negative response? Learn what it’s like to have others treat you with their preconceived notions.
The single hardest part of wearing hijab for me over the past 5 years has been overcoming others’ existing opinions of who I am and what my life is like. The idea that I must hate Jews, or America in general, or my husband forces me to wear the hijab, is frustrating to battle each day. I see memes online that perpetuate the idea that Muslims are any one of these things. I don’t think people posting these types of memes think they are making life harder on anyone, but ask any Muslim how they feel in rural America – continuing these ideas that Muslims are inherently bad, or that the Qur’an teaches violence makes trips through rural America just a little bit harder on us.
Take a day to see what it’s like to be a foreigner in your own country, or what it’s like to draw the attention to your words because the rest of your body isn’t available to look at. It’s both invigorating, and eye opening.
Such an important reminder in every aspect of our lives!
Ibn al-Qayyim said:
“The one with a dead heart will make you feel lonely. So, take advantage of his absence as much as possible, because you will not feel lonely except when he is with you. If you are put to trial with him, give him your outer attention, wander from him with your heart, separate your inner self from him, and do not let him distract you from what is more deserving of your attention. Know that the greatest of losses is for you to be preoccupied with one who will bring you nothing but a loss in your time with Allāh – the Mighty and Majestic – and being cut off from Him, wasting of your time on him, weakening of your energy, and dispersing of your attention. So, if you are tested with this – and you must be tested with this – deal with him according…
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