Preschool Activity: Popcorn Construction Site!

In our homeschool, I am always trying to find a way to keep my preschooler entertained while I teach his elder brother. This preschool activity worked amazingly! It entertained my three year-old for almost two hours. He had a lot of fun and we got some homeschooling done!

Preschool Activity Popcorn Construction Site

[I know technically its not popcorn, but that sounds a lot better than ‘un-popped corn construction site’!]

This activity is brilliant for encouraging imaginative play. It also works you child’s fine motor skills and is a fabulous sensory experience!

It’s not hard to set up. Just empty a bag of un-cooked corn (rice or lentils would work well too) into a shallow wide tray and add some construction vehicles!

Preschool Activity Popcorn Construction Site

Preschool Activity Popcorn Construction Site
Preschool Activity Popcorn Construction Site

Preschool Activity Popcorn Construction Site
Please give it try and let me know in the comments how you get on. What other activities do you do with your preschooler whilst your elder children study? I’d love to get some new ideas. 🙂
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Please remember us in your duaas.


Peace and Love.

Sewing For 5 year-olds

Bee and Ladybird Sewing Craft

This week in Our Muslim Homeschool the boys have been learning to sew.They sewed these cute bee and ladybird toys. It was really easy and so much fun. Keep reading to see how they did it!

Sewing for kids
Ever since my 5-year-old learnt that Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) used to repair his own clothes, my son has wanted to sew! 
I found these Sewing Craft Kits, made by Baker Ross, and the boys were so excited to get started!
Contents of sewing kit
Image from Amazon.co.uk
It included all the materials you needed to make both the ladybird and the bee including:
– Coloured felt 
– Wool
– Needle
– Felt stickers
– Toy stuffing
– Instructions
Contents of children's sewing kit

The manufacturers recommend this kit for ages 5+, but you know if you child is capable or not. Use your own judgement. My 3-year-old surprised everyone by doing the bee almost entirely by himself….he’s a natural! mashAllah.

Sewing together the felt circles
Sewing together the felt circles
Stuffing his toy ladybird
Stuffing!
Applying felt stickers
Adding the felt stickers

This kit was PERFECT for little ones. The pre-punched holes made it easy to thread the needle through, the large plastic needle was safe, and the final product was SO CUTE!

My natural!
Sewing for 5 year olds
Sewing for 5 year olds

If you wanted to, you could easily recreate this kit yourself, and purchase everything from your local craft shop. 

If you would like to purchase this Children Sewing Kit just click HERE


Have you taught your children to sew? What sewing projects did you do together? Please share with us all in the comments below. 

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Thank you so much for stopping by!

Please remember us in your duaas.


Peace and Love.

Kindergarten Islamic Studies Curriculum

In our Muslim homeschool we use many different resources to create our Kindergarten Islamic studies curriculum.

In my humble opinion, Islam should not be taught to young children as an academic subject, with workbooks and heavy texts. Instead it should be learnt naturally and organically by children from watching their parents and peers throughout their daily lives.

Kindergarten Islamic Studies Curriculum

Learning about Islam should lead to it becoming a natural part of your child’s being and a part of who they are. This cannot be achieved from books and academic exercises, but from good company and righteous parents who set a good example.

That being said, I have listed some materials we use to direct our learning and spark conversations.

1. I Love Islam by Noor Art

This curriculum can be purchased from Noorart. We set aside time to read one chapter a week from this book. We are using Book 1 with our Kindergartner, which is aimed at children aged 5-6. There are five more books in this series covering ages 4-9.

Kindergarten Islamic Studies Curriculum

This book is divided into five units introducing the Muslim child to:
– Basic beliefs (Aqeedah)
– The Life of Prophet Muhammad pbuh (Seerah)
– The Five Pillars of Islam
– The Muslim World
– Prophetic Manners

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Contents Pages: 

I Love Islam Contents Page
I Love Islam Contents Page
I Love Islam Contents Page

This book also comes with a CD, with nasheeds and stories to go along with each chapter. There are also workbooks available at NoorArt that can be used with this book, although we have not tried these ourselves.

A Look Inside:

A look inside I Love IslamA look inside I Love Islam
A look inside I Love Islam

I Love Islam also introduces children to the Ninety-Nine names of Allah. We have been supplementing these lessons with lots of Arts and Crafts:
Al-Khaliq
Al-Malik


2. My First Quran Story Book

As part of our morning routine, w read a story from My First Quran Story Book
every day. This book is a collection of Quranic stories and is aimed at children aged 3-9 years-old.

 3. Memorisation of Quran

As our boys are still young, we don’t teach memorisation of Quran yet, but rather focus our efforts on instilling a love for the Quran. However we do expose the children to Quran as much as we can through Audio CD
, listening to us recite, and Youtube videos:

There is also a fantastic series of books, The Mini Tafseer Series from Ad-Duha institute that introduce tafseer (explanation) of Juz ‘Amma to children. They are based on the teaching of Ibn Kathir and are really excellent. I have personally learnt a lot from them myself. They’re written for children to understand and enjoy.These can also be purchased from NoorArt.


4. Homeschool Co-op

We are fortunate in my community to have a number of other Muslim families who home-educate their children. Our children all come together once or twice a week to learn about Islamic topics in a relaxed and fun environment.

So this is how we ‘teach’ Islamic studies in our Muslim homeschool for my Kindergartener.

If you have any resources that you use with your children, please let me know in the comments. It’s always interesting to see what other Muslim families are using to teach Islam in their homes.
Also if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below and I will answer them as best I can insha’Allah

Thank you so much for stopping by our blog!

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Please remember us in your duaas.  


Peace and Love.

SEA LIFE Manchester : A Homeschooler’s Review

Last week we decided to take our homeschool for a field trip.
Since my son has shown a budding interest in Ocean Life (sharks especially) we decided to make the day trip to Sea Life Manchester.

Ocean Life Unit Study: SEA LIFE Manchester : A Homeschooler's Review

Sea Life Manchester is found in the Intu Trafford Cente, one of the largest indoor shopping centres in the U.K. This meant finding parking and food was so easy and I got to pick up a few things whilst I was there!
You start off having your photo taken, which you can later purchase, and then there is a show. Then you begin to make your way around.

Each part of the aquarium is numbered, and the kids are given a little booklet, with simple questions to answer about each area. When they have answered the question, they look for the ‘stamping station’ to stamp their book.

It was amazing how my boys got into this! They were so excited to run from area to area answering the questions. Its such a clever idea and meant they they really made the most of all the information available. All the displays were very interactive and perfect for children of Primary school age (4-10).

Some of our highlights were: 

1) Under-water tunnels

These were awesome! The kids enjoyed pointing out the sharks and the turtle swimming above.
Ocean Life Unit Study: SEA LIFE Manchester : A Homeschooler's Review

Ocean Life Unit Study: SEA LIFE Manchester : A Homeschooler's Review


2) Interactive Pool

M got to stroke a crab and a star-fish! Pretty cool!
Ocean Life Unit Study: SEA LIFE Manchester : A Homeschooler's Review


3) Turtle Egg Display

This was A’s favorite bit! Apparently the gender of turtles is determined by the temperature the eggs are kept at. To demonstrate this there was a giant egg that the kids have to touch. After about 30 seconds the screen tells you if you egg is a boy (cold hands) or a girl (warm hands)! Genius!
Ocean Life Unit Study: SEA LIFE Manchester : A Homeschooler's Review

4) Interactive Video Game

At the very end of the aquarium was a game, Wii style, where you appeared on the screen and had to hit the rubbish out of the sea to help the little turtles swim across. It was very energetic and the boys ate well after this!
Ocean Life Unit Study: SEA LIFE Manchester : A Homeschooler's Review

Our favourite animals were the turtle, the sharks (of course), the scary Moray eel, and the enormous spider crab
When we got home M was keen to write about his day-out in his diary…
Ocean Life Unit Study: SEA LIFE Manchester : A Homeschooler's Review
Overall I highly recommend visiting Sea Life Manchester, especially if you have children under the age of ten-years-old. It is so well thought out and the staff were very friendly and helpful. We had so much fun and learnt loads!

In terms of price, I think it is good value for money. We bought it, together with entry into LegoLand (also in the Trafford Centre), and it came to around £45 in total for all of us. 

The only negative point I can think of is it is a small attraction. It will only take you two hours maximum to see everything. However, for mums of young kids this is no bad thing! 
If you are interested in knowing more about SeaLife Manchester click HERE for their website.

Have you been to Sea Life? What did you think? Could you recommend any other places to visit in the North of England? I’d love to hear your recommendations. Please leave me a comment below 🙂



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Peace and Love.

  

Shark Craft for Kindergarten and Preschool

A quick an easy craft here for your Preschool and Kindergarten kids. My son has been reading about sharks this week in our Muslim Homeschool…So we decided to make our own shark art-work. 
Its easy enough for young children to do, and the results are very cute!

Materials Needed

– Paper Plates (3 per shark)
– White Paper
– Black Poster Paint
– Crayons
– Scissors
– Glue Stick
– Paint brushes

Step-by-step Instructions

1. Paint two plates with the black paint and allow to dry.

2. Cut the remaining white plate in half and glue it to the bottom half of the painted plate.
3. Cut two eyes and a mouth from the white paper, and use your crayons to add details (teeth, pupils etc.)
4. Glue the eyes and mouth into place.
5. From the remaining black plate, cut out three fins and glue them onto your shark as shown in the picture below.

Please give this craft a try and let me know how you get on in the comments below, or post your photos online and tag me on InstagramTwitter or Facebook. I’d love to see how your sharks turn out!
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Thank you so much for stopping by!

Please remember us in your duaas.


Peace and Love.

Product Review | Ali and Sumaya: Let’s Pray

This DVD is a fantastic resource
for Muslim children, and a very useful tool for anyone involved in Islamic
education. I’m so grateful to be able to share my thoughts on it with you all…

Ali and Sumaya DVD review

Ali and Sumaya: Let’s Read is produced by Imanination Studios. They have created an exciting range of DVDs and apps that use the latest technology to produce INCREDIBLE quality animation. I mean …it’s AMAZING! There is nothing like it in the market today.

These days, Muslim children’s TV has to compete with the likes of Shrek and Frozen in order to meet our children’s expectations and keep them engaged. Ali and Sumaya are trying to meet this goal and honestly… the graphics are awesome!

This is the trailer for their DVD:

The whole feel of this DVD is really modern, cool, colourful and fun. It teaches the subject of prayer in a very gentle and loving way…which I think is best way!

In addition to the prayer, they also teach all the steps and duaas for wudu, the athaan, duaa Qunoot, other Prophetic duaas and seven surahs. There is also a quiz and a ridiculously catchy nasheed!!!

Ali and Sumaya Lets Pray DVD Review

There is NO MUSIC in the DVD and the producers have gone to great lengths to ensure that all material presented in the DVD is based on the Quran and authentic Hadith. Allah knows best. I approached the company for more information on this and they kindly replied:

“We have illustrated the prayer in a way which we believe to be the most authentic manner based only on authentic aHadeeth.  
We have relied on sources such as Bukhari, Muslim, Nisa’i Abu Dawood, Tirmidi and Ibn Majah.  May Allah SWT be pleased with them all. Ameen 

We have sought guidance from various Scholars and People of knowledge in Alexandria, Egypt and also The Islamic Shariah Council, UK.”

The characters themselves, Ali and Sumaya, are so sweet and their recitation of the Quran is so beautiful and clear. I just had to stop what I was doing and listen….so beautiful mashAllah!

Although there are a lot of details on ‘HOW’ to pray, the producers have also tried to put across the pleasure and joy one gets from the Salaah. I loved how they started the DVD with an explanation on ‘WHY’ we pray and why it’s important. The DVD begins with the story of the ‘Night of Ascension’ and my kids were riveted (you know…where their mouths drop open!!!)

Ali and Sumaya Let's Pray Review
Learning how to make Wudu!

Ali and Sumaya Let's Pray Review
Don’t forget the ears!!!

Each step for Salaah is very clear and easy to understand. They’ve added a fun element by having little icons pop up (like in a video game) that remind you when to recite aloud or tell you how many rakaats left. It’s just very cool without being gimmicky. It is entertaining and fun but still preserves the sanctity of the prayer.

Throughout the DVD, all Quran and duaas are written very clearly at the bottom of the screen, in Arabic with translation and transliteration.
.
My only concern with this DVD is, as we all know, the prayer varies between Muslims depending on which path of Islam you follow. However, fundamentally we all pray the same, it’s just in ‘the finer details’ that we differ (I think…although I’m no expert!!!).

Ali and Sumaya Let's Pray DVD Review

My two boys are only three and five, but I felt they benefited from watching it. After only watching it once, my five year-old was telling me how many rakaats are in each prayer, and when you need to pray that prayer!!! MashAllah…it worked!

For young children, do not try to make them watch the whole thing through, but rather take it in chapters. I plan to teach one aspect of the prayer (wudu, athaan, prayer times etc.) and then use this DVD to reiterate what we have been discussing.

I think children over the age of seven would benefit the most from this DVD because some important points are written on the screen and not narrated by the characters. So if your child does not read well they may miss out on these parts.

Ali and Sumaya Lets Pray Review

Ali and Sumaya Lets Pray Review

If you’re interested in purchasing this DVD, you can buy it on their website Ali and Sumaya.
At this time of writing this, it costs £14.99, or you can rent it from Vimeo for one year for $7.50. All details are on their website.

There is also a FREE app that goes along with the DVD, that features lots of interactive animations and games, to help teach the prayer and reinforce what they have seen in the DVD.

Here is the trailer for the app:

The company also makes these fabulous posters to go along with the DVD. They are big (A2), nice quality and very cleverly designed. They images are faceless if you wanted to hang them up. There is one for boys and one for girls. They are quite complicated, so I would not recommend them for children under 5.

We plan to look the relevant part of the poster after watching that part of the DVD. This is yet another teaching tool to visually prompt and reinforce learning. They are available to purchase on their website.

Ali and Sumaya Let's Pray PosterAli and Sumaya Let's Pray Poster

Overall I feel that Ali and Sumaya: Let’s Pray has filled a void in the market; a void that English-speaking Muslim children desperately needed filling!

If anything is unclear, or you need more information, please leave a comment for me down below and I will do my best to answer your questions, or pass you onto someone from the company insha’Allah. 

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Thank you so much for stopping by!

Please remember us in your duaas.

Peace and Love.

Disclaimer: This review was NOT sponsored. Although Imanination Studio sent me a complimentary copy of this DVD and the posters, all opinions expressed are genuine!




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Dear Busy Mum,

A little advice from my heart to yours.

After a week
of teething and difficult nights, I decided this morning to go out for a solitary
coffee. No kids, no husband, just me and my books!
Advice for busy homeschool mums
I’d be lying
if I said that I didn’t feel overwhelmed sometimes. Being with the three kids
EVERY DAY…ALL DAY is draining. Some days it’s the mess that gets to me, others it’s
the fighting, but usually it’s the noise that can get too much.
Don’t get me
wrong, my kids aren’t badly behaved (well…no more than the average kid). In
fact, I think they’re wonderful. They bring me so much joy! But we all need a
break every now and then!
As I was
walking down the road, to get to the café near my house, it was like seeing my
street in a completely new way! It was so nice to actually experience THAT
moment.
So often, as
a mum, you are busy checking you have everything for everyone, checking you
haven’t lost one of the kids, making sure everyone has been to the toilet,
eaten enough, as well as throwing in the occasional ‘educational’ tit-bit, that
you just don’t even have time to look around. There’s no time to Stop…Breathe…and
SEE what’s around you.
It was incredible
just looking at the people walking past, blissfully unaware of how ‘lucky’ they
are; not because they don’t have children … No, No, No! Lucky because that have
THIS MOMENT! So precious. So fleeting. If only they would Stop….Breathe…REFLECT!
“Verily!
In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and
day there are indeed ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs,
revelations, etc.) for men of understanding. Men who celebrate the praises of
Allah standing, sitting and lying down on their sides and contemplate the
(wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth (with the thought):
“Our Lord! You have not created this without purpose! Glory to thee! Give
us salvation from the penalty of the fire.”” Q3:190-1.
Whether
we have children to fill our time, or jobs, or academic studies, or whatever our
worries are, remember, Dear Busy Mum, this life is just here to occupy us. The
Dunya is here to give us our provisions, and to distract us from our true
purpose…Allah.
I
am as guilty as you, perhaps even more guilty, of forgetting my Lord and
busying myself too much with my ‘life.’

Dear
Busy Mum
, stop rushing…stop thinking… stop…STOP!
Look at what is around you…BREATHE….REFLECT….ALHUMDULILLAH!
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Thank you for visiting our blog! Come again soon!

Please remember us in your duaas.
Peace and Love.

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Muslim Homeschool Curriculum Choices

UK Online Maths Programmes

Today on Our Muslim Homeschool, we are going to be talking about MATHS! More specifically, the best maths programmes that are available online for homeschoolers in the UK.

After being asked by several homeschooling
families to recommend an online maths programme, I decided to share my recommendations in a blog post instead!

Online Maths Programmes for UK Homeschool

Whilst
using an online maths platform is not necessary, it can be a fun way to supplement
your existing curriculum, or encourage reluctant learners. They can also be
helpful for parents who are nervous teaching maths to their children themselves.
As with most homeschooling material, there is a lot available
from U.S.A. Whilst these can be used by homeschoolers in the UK with little or no problems, some prefer to use curricula that is tailored to students in the UK.
Below I have listed online maths programmes that
specifically try to align with the UK National curriculum. This list is by no
means exhaustive and is not done in any particular order. The focus of these recommendations is particularly for children of Primary School age. 
It does NOT include the many websites that offer
downloadable worksheets. Instead it lists those that have instructional
videos, animations, games or interactive questions available.

Online Maths Programmes

C indicates this platform can be used alone as a complete curriculum.
S indicates this site could be used as a supplement to another complete curriculum.
P indicates that this site required payment for complete access.
F indicates that this website is free.

Education City S P

Education City uses animations and games to teach Maths, as
well as Literacy, Science, French, German and Spanish. At the time of writing this,
there is a free trial period and then you pay £29.95 per child per year.

Math Seeds S P

Mathseeds aims to teach core maths and
problem solving skills needed to be successful at school. For kids ages 3-6, it uses interactive
animations and games. At time of writing, there is a free trial period and then
it is £29.95 per child per year.

Maths Whizz C P

Maths Whizz is for children ages 5-13. It teaches through
animations and questions. If a concept of not fully understand, the software
will reteach the same topic differently, until the child has understood. At the
time of writing, Maths Whizz is offering a free trial and then is priced at
£149 per annum.

Conquer Maths C P

Conquer maths has a good reputation amongst homeschoolers in
general. It teaches children aged 4-18 through instructional videos and
questions. This is more ‘school-like’ and there are no games or silly songs! At
the time of writing, they offer limited access to their material for free. For
complete access it is £100 per year.

IXL S P

IXL teaches Maths and
English from Reception through to Year 13. It is entirely questions, with no instructional
element at present. This programme offer a limited ‘allowance’ of questions for
free. At the time of writing it costs £59/annum for unlimited access to all
questions. 

Mathletics S P

Mathletics is widely used in schools in the UK, has won awards
and has a good reputation overall (although my son didn’t like it!). It reinforces and improves maths skills using
instructional animations, interactive questions and math drill races with other
students online. It is adaptive, and will adjust the questions asked, according
to your child’s strengths and weaknesses. They offer a free 10-day trial and thereafter
it is £39/child/year.
  

123maths S P

123maths takes a step-by-step approach to teaching maths,
and aims to fill in gaps in the child’s knowledge. It appears to be thorough
and more ‘school-like’ in its approach. At the time of writing, it offers a
10-day free trial and costs £48.99 per child per year.

BBC S F

BBC offers links to free animations, games and videos that
would be a fun supplement to your child’s current curriculum.

Komodomath S P

Komodo Math focuses on what it calls ‘Maths Fluency.’ This
essentially means helping the child become faster and more confident with their maths calculations. The lessons are taught with fun animations, followed by
questions. It is also adaptive, and will adjust the questions asked according to
the child’s understanding of a topic. At the time of writing they offer a free
14-day trial. Thereafter it is priced at £69/year.
   

There are also a few other websites that are worth
mentioning:

MEP Maths

MEP Maths is not an online platform, but rather a complete
downloadable curriculum that is available for FREE! It follows the parameters set
by the UK National Curriculum.

Free Instructional Videos

The following sites offer EXCELLENT instructional videos in Maths that are worth checking out. They are for the U.S. market, but most of them, if not all, can be useful to homeschoolers in the U.K. 
As I mentioned before, you do NOT need to use an online
maths platform, but many families to find it useful. These are the best from
what I have seen online.

It is worth using the free trials they offer to see if they suit
your child’s style of learning.

We have tried many of the one listed above, and
my son’s favourites have been Education City and Maths Seeds. This is not
because they are any ‘better’ than the rest, but they just appealed to his personality
and taste! So definitely give some of these websites a try!

Please leave me a comment below and tell me: 
Which online maths programmes do your children enjoy using? 
Would you say any are better than the others? 
What about for older kids?

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Thank you for visiting our blog! Come again soon!
Please remember us in your duaas.
Peace and Love.

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Muslim Homeschool Curriculum Choices

LIEBSTER AWARD!

I have recently been awarded the Liebster Award by the inspirational Raising Young Believers. Thank you so much! 🙂

If you were like me, you probably have no idea what the Liebster award is! So here is a brief overview:
The Liebster Award is an
online award that is by bloggers, for bloggers. It’s passed from person to
person to encourage connection and support within our writing community, and to
help discover new and upcoming bloggers.

To accept the award and participate there’s just five simple rules:
1.      Link back to the person who nominated you
2.      Answer the questions given to you by the nominator
3.      You can choose to nominate up to 11 other bloggers
with less than 200 followers
4.      Create 11 questions for the nominees
5.      Notify all nominees via social media/blogs
Here are my answers to the questions
asked by Raising Young Believers. So much fun!

1. Do you cook? What’s your favourite meal to prepare?

Yes, I do cook. When I have time, I love experimenting with new recipes and I’m getting quite good at baking breads and cakes. My favourite meal to prepare is a traditional English roast dinner. It reminds me of my childhood 🙂


2. What do you do in your time off? How do you unwind?

By the time the children are asleep, and any last bit of housework is done, its usually 10pm. To unwind I like reading or writing new blog posts. This blog brings me so much joy! 


3. Have you ever been camping? If no, would you ever
go camping?

I went camping as a teenager with my school, and I hated it! I love being outdoors, but nothing beats having a nice warm shower and curling up in a ‘real’ bed after a long day hiking! 


4. As a child, did you enjoy school?

Yes, for the most part, I did enjoy school. But often I felt that it was a complete waste of my time! I vividly remember sitting in a English Literature class learning about World War I poetry and saying to my friend, ‘Why are they making me learn all this! When am I going to use this!’ Even then I had an opinion about education!

5. What is your greatest fear?


Being buried alive….enough said!

6. Sweet or salty foods?


Salty! Savoury pastries, pretzels, salted crisps…..yum!

7. Movies or books?


Books. I can’t even remember the last time I watched a movie! When I go on holiday, the first thing I pack and unpack are my books! Total Bookworm!


8. Summer or winter?

This is hard but I guess I’d have to say summer. I love pottering about in our garden, tending to our very modest vegetable patch, as well as doing school work with the kids outside. 

9. Tea or coffee?


Coffee, coffee, coffee!

10. Where do you get your blogging inspirations from?


I read a variety of blogs by all kinds of women! I think my first introduction to the blogging scene was Noor Janan Homeschool. Its still one of my favorites! 


11. Share the link to a blogpost you most enjoyed writing.

It was fun writing ‘A Day-In-The-Life‘ blog post. I knew our home was a crazy place, but it wasn’t until I wrote this that I realised how crazy! 
  

And now my nominee is:

Suhaila from Play, Unpenned – Please check out her blog. She writes beautifully about gentle parenting and the importance of play, as well as many other things!

And the questions that I would to ask are…

1. Describe yourself in three words.
2. If you could recommend one thing for a new mum to buy for her baby, what would it be?

3. Do you use a baby-carrier, and if so which brand?

4. If you could describe your parenting style in one word what would it be?
5. Are you are early-bird or a night-owl?
6.  If you could be a character from a book/movie, who would it be?
7. Where would you most like to travel?
8. If you had the whole day off (no work, no kids etc.) what would you do with your time?
9. Favourite food?
10. What do you write about in your blog?
11. Share a link to a blogpost that you most enjoyed writing.

I can’t wait to read your responses! 

Please remember us in your duaas.

Peace and Love.

Book Review | The Story of the Elephant Pop-up and Play Book

Its that wonderful time of year where we all feel excitement for our fellow brothers and sisters on Hajj, and anticipation for the coming of Eid.

I’ve been following Shade 7 Publishing for some time on Instagram and had been planning to buy their book ‘The Story of the Elephant Pop-up and Play book‘ for my boys for Eid al-Adha.

Well, I was thrilled when the publishers reached out to me and offered to send me a copy to review, as well as offering all my readers a DISCOUNT CODE on the price of the book. I am so excited to share this beautiful book with you all.

‘The Story of the Elephant’ is an Islamic children’s book based on Surah al Feel (Chapter 105) of the Holy Quran.

For those unfamiliar with the story:

The tyrant ruler of Yemen, Abraha, leads his army of elephants to Mecca to destroy the Ka’ba. Allah sends a great flock of birds to protect His house, they drop stones onto the soldiers from a great height and the whole army perishes. 

It’s the perfect story for a children’s book! 
Uniquely, this play book features pop-ups, interactive flaps and tabs, as well as a colouring map and press-out elephants to re-create the story. It is suitable for ages 3+.

The Story of the Elephant Surah al-Feel Book Review
The army of elephants!

The Story of the Elephant Surah al-Feel Book Review
Beautiful bird pop-up

The Story of the Elephant Surah al-Feel Book Review
The Ka’ba – Dramatic End to the Book

I thought it would be fun to make a YouTube Video of my first impressions when I opened up the book. I hope the video will be useful for you to see inside this book and help you get a feel for it. It’s my first ever Youtube Video, so please forgive my amateur videography skills! I’ll get better insha’Allah!


Well, my thoughts on this book are…it’s brilliant! 
Firstly, its is really well written. It kept my boys engaged and interested.The language used is pitched at the right level, being neither too complicated for little ones, nor to simplistic. 
“Abraha was so cross, he sent an army of elephants to Mecca to destroy the Ka’ba stone by stone.”
Secondly, the paper is thick and glossy, and will withstand whatever little hands try to do to it!

My favourite bit…Pull the tab and the elephant kneels down!

Pull the tab to watch the stones drop

The illustrations are beautifully hand-drawn and the pop-ups are completely charming! My kids were so excited when they saw them:
“Wow!”
“Look Mummy, the elephant’s got a hat on!”
“Look at that! Look at that!”
“The Ka’ba!!!”
I particularly appreciated how the publishers have incorporated a little Seerah into the book. They mention that the year of the elephant is the same year that our beloved Prophet was born in, and talks a little about Abdul Muttalib. They add another dimension to the educational experience by referring back to Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and the duaa he made to protect Mecca.

The Story of the Elephant Surah al-Feel Book Review
Abdula Muttalib’s camels

The Story of the Elephant Surah al-Feel Book Review
The duaa of Abdul Muttalib

The book also features some duaas in Arabic, which are very clearly written, with vowel markings, transliteration and translations, so anyone and everyone can benefit from them. 
There’s a simple quiz at the end to reinforce what your children have learnt, with the answers hidden underneath yet another flap!
The book contains a large pocket at the back that contains the colouring map and a press-out card Ka’ba and loads of elephants. One way you could use this is to re-create the elephants approach to Mecca using these press-out figures. For kids that enjoy hands-on learning activities, this is great way to reinforce what they have heard and bring the story to life.

The Story of the Elephant Surah al-Feel Book Review
Colouring in his Ka’ba

The Story of the Elephant Surah al-Feel Book Review
“I’ve got the mummy elephant! You’ve got the baby one!”

The Story of the Elephant Surah al-Feel Book Review
The whole family joined it!

My 5 year-old son loves this part in particular! He keeps bringing out the map and adding more and more detail to it. Then he sets up all the elephants and the Ka’ba with great satisfaction! Unfortunately its all a bit to fiddly for my 3 year-old to do on his own, so he’s happy looking through the book again and again, pulling all the tabs and lifting the flaps.

The Story of the Elephant Surah al-Feel Book Review
Using this map to revise geography
The Story of the Elephant Surah al-Feel Book Review
Reenacting the approach of the Abraha’s army 

This book is definitely robust enough for young children. So far it has survived some serious love from my little ones!
‘The Story of the Elephant’ makes teaching this Quranic tale, not only easy, but a really special and memorable experience for children. It has to be my kids’ favorite Islamic Children’s book at the moment. 
It is not just a picture book, or a pop-up book, its a whole educational experience. It encourages learning and love for the Quran in a variety of ways and at a variety of levels . We even used it to teach Geography, History, Character building and Islamic history. 
I highly recommend this book. We absolutely love it!

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE:

The publishers have very generously asked me to pass on a DISCOUNT CODE to you all. 
This discount is exclusive to the readers of Our Muslim Homeschool. 

US Residents 

Receive 45% DISCOUNT off the cost of the book. 
Visit TAQWA MEDIA and enter the Discount Code OMHS2015 at the checkout.
This is offer is limited to the first 6 copies sold.
Thereafter, it will entitle the customer to 20% discount. This offer is only valid for then next 2 weeks.

UK Resident and REST OF THE WORLD

Receive 20% discount off the cost of the book.
Visit SHADE 7 PUBLISHING and enter the Coupon Code OMHS2015 on the ‘Cart’ page.

It is only valid for the next 7 days.
(09.00GMT Saturday 12th September to 09.00GMT Saturday 19th September 2015)
Shade 7 Publishing have also created a cross-curricular 6 week lesson plan pack to go along with this book, for children in years Reception to Key Stage 2. It conforms with the New 2014 National Curriculum framework in the UK. 
For my followers the publishers have agreed to:
1 Book + 6 week Lesson Plan Pack for £49.99 (inc. UK shipping).
3 Books + 6 week Lesson Plan Pack for £99 (inc. UK shipping).
If you live outside of the U.K. contact them directly for shipping costs. 
If you are interested in the lesson plan pack, then email them at info@shade7.co.uk  to arrange purchase. 
We will be working through some of these lesson plans over the coming weeks insha’Allah. I will keep you all up to date and show you how we have been using them on my Instagram and Facebook accounts.
The Story of the Elephant Surah al-Feel Book Review

I hope you found this review helpful. If anything is unclear, or you need more information, please leave a comment for me down below and I will do my best to answer your questions. 
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Thank you so much for stopping by our blog!
  
Please remember us in your duaas.  


Peace and Love.

Disclaimer: Shade 7 Publishing sent me a complimentary copy of this book. This review was NOT sponsored. All opinions expressed are genuine! 

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