Sunday, January 31, 2010

Stones Into Schools - January Book Club pick review

Stones Into Schools by Greg Mortenson is the sequel to Three Cups of Tea and if you like the first then you will like this as well. Some of my immediate impressions after reading this is that the author seems to have changed a bit or perhaps he's been a bit groomed, not sure. Two things that stand out or three perhaps is that unlike the first book he never once prays in this one although he does say Asalaamu Alaikum a lot. Of course he is not a muslim but the fact that he prayed in the first one and there was a certain I don't know rawness about him, it just seems sad that he seems to lose that in this journey of his life. Also when he speaks of the Taliban he doesn't have even one good thing to say about them. I disagree with this type of thing although maybe its what the majority of his audience expects from him. Since no one is 100% of anything I find it unfair not to point out any postives ie eradicating the poppy farms. A new thing he seems bent on too in this book and his promotional material is lowering the birth rate in these countries; Afghanistan and Pakistan. It could be due to high infant death rate and lack of medical care that he makes this case but one wonders if there are other reasons as he doesn't say this is a good idea to be implemented until things change but only that they should be. What I liked about the book was that there were many touching moments and very fascinating historical accounts of the region going back to Alexander the Great and the Silk Road. Also an inside view of the corruption going on in these countries and different factions. Shown as well was the poverty, suffering and lack of basics like medicine and hospitals. I think that Greg is doing a good job with his school building but the idea of a secular education which he believes will fight terrorism is short-sighted. What is also needed is a real islamic education so that barbaric practises like "bride price" or being against girls' education are eradicated. Qurans in local languages are needed to counteract false information given at madrassahs where only reading Quran in arabic is stressed without understanding or just false lies being taught. It would do a world of good too if Greg would actually sit down and read the Quran and sift through the difference between their cultural practices and actual islamic ordinances.

Hope you all read it too. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Orangutans - a dream come true.

My second son traveled to Malaysia recently and realized his dream by visiting the orangutans.(monkeys like to hang around too.) He would still like to save them including continuing to avoid palm oil products and encouraging others to do the same. Ahem I'm thinking the Malaysian gov't would not be too impressed as this is one of their largest exports. But in the spirit of vice-regency I say more power to him! Enjoy the photos.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Burnt Out

Feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. Homeschooling without any outside support is very taxing on the soul. I live in a place that has no muslim homeschool group or even muslim homeschoolers of any kind. The secular homeschool group is pretty inactive except for a trip to Christmas Tree farm which I ignored. Also the place I live is so lacking in resources for kids activities of any sort that its hard to find them things to do outside of bookwork. On top of that the kids miss their friends so much and also keep complaining about that. I think if one wants to homeschool they should do it as soon as kindergarten starts so the kids can't keep comparing it to school and be in a community with a homeschooling group and lots of activities. I can't even find nature activities for my kids barely because I live in a town surrounded by farmland hence almost all the trees have been chopped down. That in itself is killing my soul. Insha Allah I will be sending them back to school unless something amazing happens in the meantime. I've made my salatul istikharah and am feeling like this is the right step. Please comment!!!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It takes a muslim village......

You know the expression;"it takes a village to raise a child"..but what about a muslim child? I think it takes a muslim village. How about kids growing up overseas cut off from their extended families back home and cut off from other muslim families because they are racist and exclusive? How about kids cut off by their non-muslim relatives in the case of converts? How about muslim kids growing up with no muslim people around because they are not in a big city? How do parents cope? Anyone else going through this? What advice do you have? To tell you the truth I'm tired of being a one woman show! This is too much burden for me. How can I be a shepherd without any help whatsoever? I can't even do little things like teach my kids quran because no one has taught me! I need a sea change, I need it now. I need my muslim village NOW!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Award Awaits

I got this award from my daughter (Handmade Beginnings). I'm supposed to list 10 things that make me happy and tag 10 people.

1. Being muslim.
2. Having a big loving family.
3. Living in a good country.
4. Writing.
5. Friends that keep in touch.
6. Kindness of strangers.
7. Unexpected gifts.
8. Giving dawah and charity.
9. Baking.
10. Being in nature.

I would like to tag:

Days of our lives
Random thoughts of a delusional mom
The Muslim Homeschooler
Grow Mama Grow
River City Homeschoolers
Life Storyteller
Itto's Living Faith
Islamic Fiction Books

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Help Haiti

After reading about what happened in Haiti I decided to read all about the country itself here and was astounded by the history of this place. If anything you would think it was cursed; earthquakes, hurricanes, embargos,slavery and genocide. You can donate here to Islamic Relief. May Allah guide them and protect them. Amin. My condolences go out to anyone there affected. Inna illaihi wa inna ilaihi rajiun.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Learn something new everyday

My 3rd daughter was learning about Mesopotamia today in history and she learned about how they had so many inventions including the wheel. But did you know they invented the umbrella? Apparently only the monarch got to use it though but he had a servant to hold it over him to protect him from the sun. Nice life eh? Aside from that I read a very interesting article here about ravens which are in the Quran. You can watch the video here.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Learning Quran

Where I live there is nowhere to learn Quran for adults (I could drive out of town one way and get quran lessons for my kids but they refuse to take adults or drive in another direction and they teach arabic but not Quran), so I decided to try the 3 free lessons that are offered online by Quran Reading. First of all let me say I was very skeptical; its hard to teach an old dog new tricks as they say and I didn't think I could actually learn anything online. I wanted a real live teacher by my side and was really clinging to that idea. Then I read a book called Adaptability and they talked about how most of the people who died in Katrina (and this is just after I read Zeitoun,lol) were old people. The reason is because every hurricane that had ever come before in their lifetime had not been a big deal so they didn't leave. Whereas the young people had nothing to compare it to so they followed the instructions and left. So I thought to myself I better learn this lesson; its sink or swim! So I signed up and let me say I was very pleased! The teaching is excellent and I felt like I was learning so much in such a short time and the teacher was so nice and patient masha Allah and also a female as I requested. I highly recommend them. You can get weekend classes (8 0f them) for only $30 a month. If you want more there are other options. I also found this free option;Arabic reading and writing made easy, but without a teacher here and you get a certificate in the end. May Allah make it easy for all of us to learn Quran. Amin.

Update: after taking the course a little longer I realized that too many letter were being mispronounced so I dropped the course. Back to square one!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Muslim Crafts

A friend was asking for some links for muslim crafts for kids and I accidently came across this link. Tons of craft ideas and activities here. Have fun! I think I'd like to make the date palm tree myself!

Just bookmark it!

If you're looking for some great islamic bookmarks or want to make your own then check out these links here, here,here,here and here. Happy reading bookworms!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Saturday, January 2, 2010

For Kids from Al-Huda

Some of you may be familiar with the Al-Huda program but did you know they had a kids section on their site? Here it is. Its fun and beneficial. I really love the arabic alphabet going for a picnic video; great way to learn dammah, kasrah and fattah.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Rainforests and Forces

My 4th son is learning about the rainforest in science. He asked me what buttress roots were and I found the answer here. This is an interesting topic for the son of a guy who comes from Malaysia. What I love about homeschooling is that you get to learn so much right along with your kids. Whoever heard of roots taller than a person? Maybe I need to start reading National Geographic more often. My 3rd daughter is learning about forces. I found a great website here. It also includes activities. Insha Allah we will be building a straw bridge.

Time Management

A lot of people ask me how do I find time to read even though I have 10 kids. Let's call it multitasking; I read while I feed the baby or other times I can squeeze it in here and there. And I don't just read for pleasure; I have to be learning something. Life is short and you have to maximize your time. We are accountable for it. Here is a new cd set about it by Muhammad Al Shareef. I haven't been to any of his seminars but heard they are great. I don't live anywhere near where he gives them for one thing and I find the price high as well. Perhaps you will enjoy them or one of his seminars. His sister is the one who wrote Release Your Inner Queen of Sheba. I met her at the writer's expo. She also does seminars and has a blog. Use your time wisely folks!