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The most practical parenting plan:3 stages of respectful parenting 

The most practical parenting plan:3 stages of respectful parenting . . "A child is a student when playing with sticks. A child is a student when learning to write between lines. A child is a student every single minute because he/she is already living his/her life; we must refrain from entertaining the thought that we need to train children to begin living their lives as adults" . . Click the link on the bio for the blog post on the The most practical parenting plan:3 stages of respectful parenting . What methods do you lean towards? Do share your thoughts💟 . . https://nuzham.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/the-most-practical-parenting-plan3-stages-of-respectful-parenting/?preview=true #homeschoolingmom #homeschool #muscathomeschoolers #muscatbloggers #muscatblog #muscatblogging #omanmums #omanblog #muscatblogging #muslimama #muscat #unschooling #homeschooling #joyfulmamas #motherhoodrocks #letthembelittle #educationsystems #sunnah #raising #lovelearning #themomtribefollowloop #mamatomama #mamaloop9 #mamacanteach #learningathome #muslimama #islamicparenting #instamom #muslimhomeschool #motherhoodthroughinstagram #cheekygigglesonapumpkintummy

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Today I came across a post on a popular mommy page where a mother was asking for book recommendations to teach her 5 month old baby. Teach. Not read to or show but teach.

The other day, another mom in the same group had posted a message out of panic. Due to being pregnant with her second child, this mother had been unable to teach her child to write and do sums and now she is worried that the child would be a failure and shunned. How old was the child in question? Two.

Two years old. 24 months.

We have fallen prey to the demands of this world. We created those demands and now, are in danger of being crushed by them.

When something as natural as learning starts to stress out the student or the teacher,then there is something unnatural in the mix. Take a break and evaluate your goals and priorities. 

“A child is a student when playing with sticks. 

A child is a student when learning to write between lines. 

A child is a student every single minute because he/she is already living his/her life; we must refrain from entertaining the thought that we need to train children to begin living their lives as adults

Here is a beautifully explained piece on parenting that I try to remember to live by:

“On the subject of raising children, Ali ibn Abi Taalib (RA) said:

“Play with them for the first 7 years of their life, then teach them for the next 7 years; and then finally advise them for the next 7 years afterwards .”
*First 7 Years
In the first 7 years, your goal is to build a strong connection with your child. This is the foundation, the base from which your relationship with them grows. If this rock is solid, the remaining years will be much easier. If this foundation forms poorly, the next years will be more challenging.
If you have young children, this (first 7 years) is the time to roll up your sleeves and invest, heavily, in yours and their future. In fact, you will be rewarded for all the righteous progeny that survives you, not just children, until the Day of Judgement.
*Next 7 Years
Once children reach 7, they are ready to learn. This is the time they are sponges, ready to soak up anything and everything you tell them, teach them, show them, and do in front of them. If you built that solid foundation in ages 0-7, they are now more than willing and happy to learn from you.
This is the time to teach them everything — aqeedah, halaal and haraam, fiqh, all the things they need to know to survive throughout their life. Qur’an and seerah are also very important; as one prominent tabi’een said, “we learned seerah (frequently and in details) from our parents the way we learned Qur’an.”
Teach them sports too, Rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Teach your children Swimming, Archery and Horseback riding.” They gain many benefits from it, including physical fitness, learning teamwork, and sportsmanship.

*The Final 7 Years
Once your children hit 14, they are probably already mukallaf (full adults Islamically, and accountable for their actions) — this happens at puberty, or at age 15 at the latest.
At this age, you are mostly out of the picture. Children achieve independence; their personalities manifest; they look more to their peers than their parents and families. During these critical years, befriend them, advise them, and do what you can; understand that they are now full adults, and the choices are theirs to make, right or wrong.
If you worked hard during the last two periods of 7 years, you will already be that trusted confidant, that advisor, that go-to person when they need help or advice. Be part of their lives, and advise them as best you can.

May the almighty aid us in raising our kids!

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Children · Craft · Expat Moms and Kids · Homeschooling · Homeschooling whilst Unschooling · Islamic Homeschooling · Islamic parenting · Kindergarten · Learning colours · Parenting · Unschooling

Colour the traffic lights:preschool

Another fun way to teach colours and keep little hands occupied for hours(if you read on for the little trick)!

I printed this traffic light template for a quiet book back when I naively assumed I could follow a tutorial. Needless to say, it did not get used.

I came across the sheet when clearing a drawer and was struck with an idea to use it to keep my little guy occupied whenever the big sister needs my complete attention.

He is not a big fan of colouring- I had to get creative!

Stuck a piece of transparent sticky sheet thing on the page, hunted for white-board markers in red,yellow and green colours, and a dry eraser and left him to it.

Surprisingly, he was at it for a while; he liked being able to erase it over and over again.

You can download it off the following site.

http://www.oopseydaisyblog.com/2010/09/quiet-book-templates.html

This activoty made me realise how easy it is to come up with fun ways to teach and helped reinforce our aim of not wasting anything.

I’m sure you would have your own light-bulb moments in your learning journey;would love to hear from you!
Cheeky Giggles and lots of good wishes blown your way!

Children · Homeschooling · Homeschooling whilst Unschooling · Islamic Homeschooling · Islamic parenting · Kids tips · Kids videos · Kindergarten · Muscat Moms and Kids · Parenting · Unschooling

Learning the 5 senses

Children are anything but predictable. Their minds flitter as a butterfly would in a garden of flowers, always curious and a fascination to behold.

One of the many advantages of child led learning is the opportunity for impromptu lessons that turn out much better than any meticulously planned one. When you take your cues from the child, both the parent and the child embark on a fulfilling learning journey where you find information and new ways of understanding things.

Learning about our 5 senses was one such happy episode.

We had just finished some puzzles and NBaby needed a nappy change. IzGirl and NBoy were browsing through a few books (from the unsupervised access basket of books!) and were waiting for me to return with parts they wanted me to read out.

Turns out they both had picked books on our body and about breathing. This went on to a conversation about senses and we unconsciously covered that topic with a fun game!

Introduction to the 5 senses: Fun game

  • Hear: Make a funny sound and ask if they can hear it. Then ask them to cover their ears and try to listen to you whispering the same sound(a white lie, by all counts!)
  • See: Ask them to cover their eyes with their hands and then ask if they can see anything. For pirate-obsessed children like mine, covering one eye leads to at least a 5 minute distracted pirate play and a lot of yellings of “you mean jelly guts!”
  • Smell: Ask them to smell something, then repeat after asking them to pinch their noses.
  • Taste: Taste a yummy snack and explain why adults make sure not to let any medicated pills touch the tongue before swallowing.
  • Feel: Tickle their arms and ask if they felt it. Do remember to ask permission before you do or you’ll be subjected to a telling off regarding their bodies and boundaries!

Optimistic after the ease of handling an unprepared topic, I even came up with a song to help them remember this and they were  surprisingly delighted with it! Scroll down to listen to my littles and I, belting it out our way.

The Cheeky Giggle’s 5 senses song(to the tune of “She’ll be coming around the mountain”)
We can hear with our ears, with our ears,with our ears.

We can see with our eyes, with our eyes, with our eyes.

We can smell with our nose,

Taste with our tongue

We can feel with our skin, yes we can, yes we can!

All in all, a good day in the CheekyGiggles household. Let me stop now and not jinx myself.

Hope you can use them in your classroom/homes; do share your fun ways of handling new topics too.

Until next time,

Love and Giggles comes your way!

Baking tips · Expat Moms and Kids · Homemade · Homeschooling · Islamic Homeschooling · Kitchen tips · Muscat Moms and Kids · Muslim Mama · Natural alternatives · Recipes · Vegan

THE fudgy vegan brownie

I love potlucks!
Even before discovering my love for food(was quite late, surprisingly), I have always enjoyed a party where everyone brings in a dish to share. For that is what food means to me. Food is about family, friends and memories and what better way to enjoy all of that than by sharing different dishes together? 

It is quite easy to pick a dish when you know the crowd and are sure of preferences. 

It is less easy when you do not know the guests very well; different tastes,dietary needs and allergy issues are all factors.

When we were invited for a not-back-to-school beach bbq by our local homeschooling community, I went through my recipe book(yes, I write down my favourite recipes!) but could not settle on anything. A good friend would be attending with her family and I wanted to make sure that my dish was vegan to share it with them as well.  

When someone else picked salad, I decided to hunt for a brownie recipe because who does not love a good brownie?

I stumbled upon a wonderful blog full of healthy desserts; just reading some of them made me declare my intentions to eat healthy if healthy always looked like that!

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/ Visit her blog for more amazing recipes.

I adapted her vegan brownie recipe to fit whatever I had in my pantry and it turned out really well; did not miss the eggs and butter! 

I used hazelnut milk because it is a long established fact that hazelnut and chocolate has the best marriage, and opted for coconut oil because I hopped on to the coconut oil wagon quite a while ago and do not plan on getting off anytime soon. 

You may choose suitable substitutes. Maybe use wholemeal flour and make it a bit more healthy?

The recipe did not call for black beans or any ingredient that would require a run to the store- definitely my kind of recipe.

Give it a go and let me know if you liked it!

Just a heads up: although it is super fudgy, not too sweet, and just right with a cold glass of milk, it does stick to the roof of the mouth a bit. Nothing a good swig of milk can’t clean. 

Happy baking!

THE fudgy vegan brownie

  • Servings: 20 generous squares
  • Print

Ingredients

1 cup and 2 tbsp of hazelnut milk

1/2 cup and 3tbsp of virgin coconut oil

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour,sifted

1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp (heaped) salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup raw sugar 

2 tbsp corn flour


  • Whisk the milk, oil and vanilla in a bowl and set aside. 
  • Preheat oven to 165°C and prepare the baking pan.
  • In a large bowl, thoroughly combine all remaining ingredients. The original recipe emphasised on the “thoroughly”,and thoroughly is what I did.
  • Pour the whisked wet ingredients into the dry bowl and stir to combine. Do not be too vigorous or you’ll activate the gluten in the flour.
  • Transfer to baking pan, smooth down and bake for 18-20 minutes.
  • The brownie would look a little underdone but the recipe promised that it will set in the refrigerator.
  • Allow to cool a little, cut into squares and pop into the fridge to cool and set well.
  • You can store this there for 4 days but you would be lucky if you have any remaining!

Nom nom nom

Easy Dinner · Expat Moms and Kids · Homemade · Homeschooling · Homeschooling whilst Unschooling · Islamic parenting · Kitchen tips · Muscat Mom and Kids · Muscat, Oman · Mushrooms · Muslim Mama · Parenting · Pasta · Quick Cooking · Quick pasta · Unschooling · vegetarian

Mushroom and Spinach wholemeal linguine

After a long day of wrestling with letter sounds and refereeing fights, I almost always hurt my neck trying to look out for Papa Bear to finally get home to tag him, hand over the kids and run off to cook dinner. When that gets delayed, all hope is not lost although I cannot promise the same for my temper.

One such evening, IzGirl and NBoy were still bouncing off the walls and number 3, NBaby, surprises us with an early nap but my migraine decided to make an appearance, I decided to let them help and leave the delayed individual to attack the mess. Surprisingly, my children are very much unlike me in the kitchen. They cleaned up after themselves and actually made my job much easier.

Moreover, what better way to teach them life skills than in our own kitchen, with extra loads of love?

The following recipe is very special to us because it is the first dish we cooked together(without me nagging or micro managing them!). We hope you enjoy cooking it and sharing it with your family too!

Mushroom and Spinach wholemeal linguine

  • Servings: 2 tiny tummies
  • Difficulty: Need the help of a responsible adult
  • Print

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Look what we cooked! We ate it with roasted (okay, burnt!) cashewnuts. And how pretty are our Eid decorations?!

Ingredients

  • 6 or 7 fresh mushrooms, washed
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • Portion of wholemeal linguine (regular spaghetti would do)
  • 2 Tablespoons of garlic butter(regular butter is fine as well)
  • 1/4 cup of cooking cream (you can add or reduce as you wish)
  • Salt and Pepper

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Directions

  1. Chop the mushrooms into whatever size you like.
  2. Pick the good spinach leaves, wash and drain.
  3. Ask an adult to boil the pasta and drain it.
  4. Heat a pan and add butter.
  5. Add the mushrooms and sauté them with a pinch of salt.
  6. Add the cream and stir well. Once it starts boiling, add the pasta and mix it in, and check salt and pepper.
  7. Leave to cook for a minute or two and then add the spinach and switch off the flame. Stir well.
  8. Enjoy with some yummy toasted bread and help wash up after dinner.

 https://www.instagram.com/p/BZIPramhrRElN8Bs6R2YU1G394MKXkFUhZIxew0/

Expat Moms and Kids · Homeschooling · Homeschooling whilst Unschooling · Islamic Homeschooling · Islamic parenting · Kindergarten · Mathematics for kids · Muslim Mama · Numbers · Parenting · Preschool · Teaching Numbers · Unschooling

Learning Numbers: Erase the correct one

This was an improvised game when NBoy wanted a turn at cleaning the whiteboard but was not in the mood to draw. Tired of having to scribble whilst trying to listen to the big sister read words, I wrote numbers from 1-10 on the board and gave him the small eraser and proceeded to call out a number randomly for him to erase.

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Learning Numbers can be fun!

He loved the game and was careful about making sure none of the other numbers got erased too!

This game could work even if the child is not completely familiar with numbers.

Hope you have fun getting your whiteboard cleaned!

Expat Moms and Kids · Freedom · Homeschooling · Homeschooling whilst Unschooling · Islamic Homeschooling · Islamic parenting · Islamic society · Islamic values · Muscat Mom and Kids · Muscat, Oman · Muslim Mama · Parenting · Unschooling · Way of LIfe

To School or Not to School

“What school does she go to?” asks a well-meaning person about my almost 5 year old.

“She doesn’t yet. We are homeschooling at the moment” I reply in weary apprehension, expecting another tirade of shocked expressions and 5 minutes of a lecture on how they know what would be better for my child. You know, because, they have seen her couple of times and have children of their own, they automatically become self-proclaimed experts on my child too…(mini rant over)

To be honest, the above scenario does not happen as often as I claim it to but the after effects of such a confrontation and the willpower it takes for me to not respond in kind, has me agitated for a while, and thus, prone to a lot of dramatics.

Most people are genuinely curious about what homeschooling is all about and their questions are always welcome because they are merely asking without assuming the worst or telling me how “wrong” I am.

What exactly is homeschooling?

It is basically the education of a child at home, primarily by the parents.

Then what in the world is unschooling?

It is a more radical form of homeschooling where conventional school systems and curriculums have no place; the learning is experience based on each child’s preference.

Is it legal?

Yes, depending on the country you live in. Most governments require parents to educate their children but they do not govern what kind of education that would be.

Do you follow a syllabus?

Not at the moment, I pick up on my child’s changing interests and we focus on whatever that maybe.

So, you are unschooling?

No.

Then you are simply being a teacher at home but for one child?

No.

What exactly are you doing?

I am helping my children learn in any way that they want to, without allowing the constraints of a label restrict our learning.

That is what we are doing.

Going against socially expected norms and the “done-thing” is much harder than I thought it would be. The inner turmoil I face at wondering if I am doing right by my children keeps me up most nights. Then I Google. And I panic even more.

It is always scary doing something different, especially when it comes to your children; there is absolutely no way of knowing if you are doing the right thing till it is too late. There have been many days when I have wanted to throw in the towel and do what we are “supposed” to be doing but I always backed out after a frustrated husband finally looked about ready to agree with me.

After many prayers and contemplation, things started coming into better perspective.

Homeschooling was introduced to me accidentally through a video from a lovely site called Rahmah Muslim Homeschool . Intrigued, I started researching on this since providing a wholesome Islamic education was absolutely important for us. After sifting through a whole plethora of information on the net, I was muddled as to what I should be doing. I decided to pick a site, and start off from there. Although I am unable to remember the site, it did have quite an extensive list of homeschooling activities that included teaching sight words. Jumped  right on the sight word train and spent a night cutting and pasting words intended for my then  2+year old little girl to memorise and start reading because a certain list I picked up on another site claimed she should be reading by the time she was 3 years of age.

IMG_20160925_232105
This method may work and she was quick to memorise the words. It took even longer time helping her forget them to help her focus on sounds.

Needless to stay, sticking to a rigid schedule whilst trying to tick off everything in my “list” took its toll on us and I felt it was just too tough because I was not a qualified teacher. After audibly questioning my decision to move into finance instead of education after leaving school, I started looking for online education degrees. Long story short, I came to my senses before paying for a full degree programme that I never would have completed.

Then I began to look into local homeschooling families and to my surprise, there was a whole community in Muscat! I began this journey in trepidation with absolutely no support system but meeting this wonderful group helped by reassuring me that we were doing just fine. One mother in particular fascinated me with her attitude towards learning and living, and she helped me finally figure out how to let go of social expectations and focus on what would be best for my family. You can follow her journey on Raggamuslims.

I have been meaning to chronicle our journey but kept putting it off till I read a well thought out piece in Happiness Is Here and realised how our journey could help another family make their decision to create their own path.

Homeschooling for us is now merely a loose label that we use for sake of ease when having to answer a question about school for our children.

Our learning journey at the moment is about listening to their (now 4+ and 2+ year olds!) interests and learning about them with them. However, I am a firm believer in the power of reading and the vast knowledge accessible to one with the ability to read, which meant that I could not adapt the relaxed method of “letting them learn”. Instead I looked into Jolly Phonics method and took their online course in order to teach reading.  We do not focus on traditional mathematical lessons because it simply does not interest them; they learn that through play. I cannot draw to save my life and so, skipped over teaching them how to draw. Instead, I made sure they have easy access to crayons, colour pencils and paper, and now, I am amazed by their creativity. My 4 year old wants to try out school at one point and we would let her if she is sure that is what she wants but for now, we are enjoying the journey  with a lovely unicorn learning her letter sounds and a curly-hair ball of sunshine with an interest in shapes and a love for gluing things.

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The unicorn is doing a Sound Sheet for letter “f” and her brother is doing a gluing activity with shapes, hastily drawn by yours truly

I have stopped worrying about what education should be and I am focusing on letting them decide their learning experience. Shedding all the preconceived notions of education that I was taught all my life is still a work-in-progress but I am slowly but surely coming out of that state of mind.

Our journey is not about schooling nor is it about not-schooling; it is about learning naturally and developing a lifelong love for learning.