Early Math

Early Math

Years ago, when I started homeschooling, I fretted over how expensive everything was and felt wretched when I could not afford this or that programme. Now that I’m starting over with Peep, I see that I was being completely ridiculous. Ah… hindsight! ;)

There are lots of free Math resources online and some may lack the bells and whistles that we may often look for or be used to. Still, now that I’m in a back-to-basics mode, I see how these are good, solid materials that have stood the test of time.

Here are some Mathy links you might enjoy checking out:

Early Reading Resources

Early Reading Resources

I am a curriculum junkie. There’s no shame to my game ;)

I wrote a post about homeschooling for free a long while ago. Some links are now outdated so I’ll be revisiting and reposting these resources over the next few days.

Today, early reading… because my youngest, Peep, has turned 4 and has officially joined the student body.


Lift Off!

Lift Off!

The remarks of Donovan Livingston, Ed.M.’16, student speaker at HGSE’s 2016 Convocation exercises.

Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin,
Is a great equalizer of the conditions of men.” – Horace Mann, 1848.
At the time of his remarks I couldn’t read — couldn’t write.
Any attempt to do so, punishable by death.
For generations we have known of knowledge’s infinite power.
Yet somehow, we’ve never questioned the keeper of the keys —
The guardians of information.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen more dividing and conquering
In this order of operations — a heinous miscalculation of reality.
For some, the only difference between a classroom and a plantation is time.
How many times must we be made to feel like quotas —
Like tokens in coined phrases? —
“Diversity. Inclusion”
There are days I feel like one, like only —
A lonely blossom in a briar patch of broken promises.
But I’ve always been a thorn in the side of injustice.

Disruptive. Talkative. A distraction.
With a passion that transcends the confines of my consciousness —
Beyond your curriculum, beyond your standards.
I stand here, a manifestation of love and pain,
With veins pumping revolution.
I am the strange fruit that grew too ripe for the poplar tree.
I am a DREAM Act, Dream Deferred incarnate.
I am a movement – an amalgam of memories America would care to forget
My past, alone won’t allow me to sit still.
So my body, like the mind
Cannot be contained.

As educators, rather than raising your voices
Over the rustling of our chains,
Take them off. Un-cuff us.
Unencumbered by the lumbering weight
Of poverty and privilege,
Policy and ignorance.

I was in the 7th grade, when Ms. Parker told me,
“Donovan, we can put your excess energy to good use!”
And she introduced me to the sound of my own voice.
She gave me a stage. A platform.
She told me that our stories are ladders
That make it easier for us to touch the stars.
So climb and grab them.
Keep climbing. Grab them.
Spill your emotions in the big dipper and pour out your soul.
Light up the world with your luminous allure.

To educate requires Galileo-like patience.
Today, when I look my students in the eyes, all I see are constellations.
If you take the time to connect the dots,
You can plot the true shape of their genius —
Shining in their darkest hour.

I look each of my students in the eyes,
And see the same light that aligned Orion’s Belt
And the pyramids of Giza.
I see the same twinkle
That guided Harriet to freedom.
I see them. Beneath their masks and mischief,
Exists an authentic frustration;
An enslavement to your standardized assessments.

At the core, none of us were meant to be common.
We were born to be comets,
Darting across space and time —
Leaving our mark as we crash into everything.
A crater is a reminder that something amazing happened here —
An indelible impact that shook up the world.
Are we not astronomers — looking for the next shooting star?
I teach in hopes of turning content, into rocket ships —
Tribulations into telescopes,
So a child can see their potential from right where they stand.
An injustice is telling them they are stars
Without acknowledging night that surrounds them.
Injustice is telling them education is the key
While you continue to change the locks.

Education is no equalizer —
Rather, it is the sleep that precedes the American Dream.
So wake up — wake up! Lift your voices
Until you’ve patched every hole in a child’s broken sky.
Wake up every child so they know of their celestial potential.
I’ve been a Black hole in the classroom for far too long;
Absorbing everything, without allowing my light escape.
But those days are done. I belong among the stars.
And so do you. And so do they.
Together, we can inspire galaxies of greatness
For generations to come.
No, sky is not the limit. It is only the beginning.
Lift off.

Back to school

Back to school

It’s actually been quite lovely to be back in Islamabad. I fretted through packing suitcases and grumbled (inwardly) during the flight. I quaked when I saw the amount of vacuuming and tidying that I had to do once I hit Pakistan and still miss my family in Singapore, but now that I am all settled in, I am quite alright really.

There, I’ve said it. I am fine with being back.

Yes, we’ve had mountains of laundry from the trip and still more from the layers of warm clothes we go through each day… and yes, we’ve had runny noses and chilled toes, but seriously, we are blessed in ways we can’t enumerate, so we’ve more or less gone through our issues with winter with smiles.

Our shambolic living area was given a makeover in our absence. The Dad Man, Dadi and Anees pulled out all the stops and gave us a special kind of homecoming, ma shaa Allah. Marz and Bear have their room back, so they are happy campers. We miss the obstacle course of books and desks… Bibliomaniacs that we are, we’ll always crave the feeling of being surrounded by books. However, it was high time to admit that the Lightbulb Lab was taking over our place (like literally!). Alhamdulillah, the Dad Man had room in the office space he’s renting, so the books have a new home. We still have a large book case in our hallway and we visit the Lightbulb Lab often, so we still have books — just enough so our compulsion for a tome is satisfied, but just not that many that we feel like we can’t breathe! The glass room is still a work in progress, but the leaks have been plugged up and is decent enough that I no longer call it names or pretend it isn’t there ;) There is potential for craftiness there, in shaa Allah!

Is that hope and cheer you’re hearing from me? You bet!

We’ve been cramming lots homeschool-wise. We’ve HAD to after our last trip and in view of upcoming trips (in shaa Allah). I’ve gone back to ‘school’ too and am taking a few courses. It has been a humbling experience — I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, so it has been a struggle. I’ve realised that it is all good though. I’ve been reminded of how little I know and how much harder I need to work. I’ve also been reminded of how tough it must be for my children and how I should be kinder to them.

I have a few resources to share, but Peep has been up to his shenanigans again. Last night, it was this:

Never... NEVER... leave the boy alone with a box of tissues... Or in today's case, a jar of ink.
Never… NEVER… leave the boy alone with a box of tissues… Or in today’s case, a jar of ink.

I wish you happy sunshiney days!

Young Muslim Rhymes

Young Muslim Rhymes

My young friends, Haadiyah and Aymum Sajid, are two creative homeschoolers who are just brimming with ideas. They are always working on one creative project or another, ma shaa Allah.

Haadiyah is 10 and Aymun is 8 and, together, they have produced a lovely book of poetry for the young ones. Young Muslim Rhymes teaches Islamic concepts like the importance of Niyyah, love for our Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the Hereafter and the need for a united Ummah. Each poem calls for action by linking its message to real life.

Haadiyah and Aymun lovingly laboured over many aspects of the book — there are vibrant illustrations and best of all, their engaging recitation on the audio CD. They’ve had some wonderful support from friends who helped them with the recording and layout and now, I hope that you too can show them some love.

To learn more about this book, please visit the YMR page at HomeWorks.

I’m giving away 5 copies of this book in shaa Allah. Please leave a comment with your email — it won’t be published — and in shaa Allah, I’ll get in touch with you.