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Giving Yourself a Chance

November 1, 2009

I hate having to prove myself to people, especially those who are close to me. Every time I try my best to prove how well I can do a certain something, I mess it up… only because there’s someone watching me closely, ready to jump at any given chance to judge me on my mistakes. I’d rather do things alone… when no human is watching me. I don’t feel like I have to TRY to do my best just to boost their confidence in me.

Somehow I can’t do things well… or maybe I just make myself believe that? Someone HAS to catch the flaws. They just do… and no one appreciates anything anyways. Or could it be that they never show their appreciation. Oh c’mon, at least a smile? That would make my day.

And because *people* don’t have enough confidence in me, they don’t let me do things. They’re afraid of taking risks. And when they do give me a chance, of course, I can see their expression filled with hesitance, I try SO very hard, so hard… that everything comes tumbling down. What’s wrong with me…?

I realized I did the same thing with my brother. Afraid and hesitant… to let him try something new. And when I did, and he didn’t do so well (of course, how could I even expect him to be perfect on first try?) I yelled at him. Not because there was no room for improvement, but because I was insecure. I didn’t feel like he could do it… what if he made a mistake? I feel terrible for having done that to him.

Hmm… where does homeschooling come in this? Well, initially when I started the post, it was just a rant, but it does have an indirect relation with home schooling. Don’t shrug of the idea of homeschooling off your mind just because you think you can’t do it, or rather, you won’t be ABLE to do it. You’re belittling yourself, and in the process you end up belittling everyone who will be involved in the process. Ok, maybe you don’t know much about homeschooling. Research it. Maybe you like the idea… give yourself a chance and don’t let other people tell you that you won’t be able to do it. Your outcome solely relies on strong will.

The Return

October 1, 2009

It’s been a long time… no, I don’t plan on abandoning. I have tons of ideas revolving in my head, but I somehow seem to forget everything when I sit down to type it out.

Nevertheless, the weather has been AWESOME. Sixty-five degrees in the morning!! I need a sweater! The weather changed almost dramatically, from scorching heat to a fridge, which has caused weird unexpected headaches. The moon fascination has past me. Now I’m obsessed with reading and fretting over preparing for the AP Language and AP Literature exams. You see, normally, I could care less about my score on a test because I normally don’t have to make much effort to pass it, but the AP exams seem daunting and if I fail, I’ll feel like I have failed at what I do best: read and write.

Other than that, does anyone have tips on home schooling boys? My brother is a handful :D!!

Keep a watch for some interesting topics…

Stalking the Moon

August 25, 2009

Ramadhan Kareem to everyone :). I hope everyone’s having a great Ramadhan (less fry, more fruits and veggies). With Ramadhan (not around the corner anymore) and all the moon hype and speculation that happens during this month, I decided it would be the perfect time to conduct my moon study. So every night before Maghrib, me and my siblings watch the moon from the backyard, or rather, as we like to call it, stalk the moon. We missed the new moon because it was too cloudy (Friday night) but we caught the second moon and stalked the third moon till it set behind the trees and was no longer visible. By the fourth night, I was the only one that cared to watch it, everyone else was too busy eating! No, wait, it was actually pretty cloudy during Maghrib so we couldn’t see it, but I did see it around 9 o’clock. Looked like a manicured nail. Not mine…

Nevertheless, I decided to keep a daily journal on the moon and my observations.

Night 2, Day 1:

Appeared around 8 o’clock and set at around 8:45. It was the first day of Ramadhan… well, we didn’t really stalk it much because we were too busy eating? Again… haha.

Night 3, Day 2:

The moon appeared at around 7:40-50 between the north and the west which means… northwest? Something like that. It looked like a banana with the peel on. We just stood there staring at it in awe. As time passed by, it moved towards the west. We thought we saw it flicker, grow fatter, get thinner, and disappear and appear all together. It could have hidden behind a cloud for a moment, we weren’t too sure. At around 9 o’clock, it hid behind the jungle off into the distance. It if wasn’t for that jungle, I’m sure we’d still be able to see it past 9.

Night 4, Day 3:

It was a cloudy day. We didn’t get to see it appear or set… But I did see it through my bedroom window for a second and resumed doing whatever it was I was doing.

I know how much we love eating unhealthy foods all through out Ramadhan and complain about heartburn, sleepyness, inability to get anything productive done, lazyness, and such symptoms every day because of all the fats and fry and oil and sugar we consume. We also end up gaining a ton of extra weight by the end of the month. Try to make this Ramadhan healthier. NO FRY. If you want samoosa and kabab that badly, bake ’em! You absolutely CAN have Ramadhan without that stuff! I mean, you’ll have a BETTER Ramadhan without all that stuff.

Being desi, my mom insisted on making fry. “At least for you kids, you have no fat… I won’t eat it.” So I took over the duty of making iftaar (she does catering and gets tired by iftaar time). Turns out I’ve inherited my mom’s cooking genes :).

And now, I’ll leave you with an awesome journal for Ramadhan (which I haven’t even tried out myself): www.heartwheeljournal.com.

Homeschooling During the High School Years

August 15, 2009

Things can get a teeny bit complicated and technical as the years pass by. You suddenly have to worry about how you’re going to get into college, how you’re going to get your diploma, how you’re going to get into a top notch university, whether you will (or your kid) be able to become a doctor/lawyer/engineer, and so on. The list of worries are endless. I will try to address certain issues here.

  • The key to whizzing through the high school years is to find out your states graduation requirement. You can find the requirements online. Just type in your state and “graduation requirements” and tada, you should have it. The amount of credits differ from state to state. For example, in Florida you must have 24 credits in order to graduate while in Maine you only need to have 18. Isn’t that convenient?
  • Another issue of concern in the lack of a formal diploma that comes along with the home schooling baggage. You don’t get a diploma from your state or anything of that sort. You actually don’t even NEED a diploma. Most universities will accept you if you have a well kept transcript and record of your home schooled years. One great advantage that home schoolers have over regular kids is the amount of time which allows us to graduate (with an Associates degree!!) years before our peers. Dual enroll at a local community college!!
  • Dual enrolling, for those that don’t know, is attending college while in high school. That way you earn high school credits along with college credits. As the credits accumulate over time, you’ll be able to get an AA as well. It’s like getting a free degree :). Yes, dual enrolling is free!
  • FYI, one high school credit consists of 150 hours of working time. Either that, or the completion and mastery of a certain subject such as Algebra. Half a credit courses consist of about 75 hours.
  • “Courses” such as cleaning (Home Economics), cooking (Culinary Arts), studying Islamic studies (Religious Studies), memorizing Qura’an, studying calligraphy, gardening, sewing, any kind of sport (Physical Education) ALL count as courses. You MUST document them and have enough proof to show that you’ve actually done the things you claim to have done in order for it to be valid.
  • Taking SATs aren’t necessary. I really don’t think so, but then that is my personal opinion (I’m not in favor of ANY type of standardized tests for many reasons). If you’re looking to get into a good college, then maybe it might be better for you to take them (make sure you score high on them! Save thy home schooled name from disgrace!)
  • And again, if you STILL think it’s important to have a diploma (even though you can get your Associates while in high school) then by all means consider enrolling your kid into an umbrella program (which could be your local Islamic school). I don’t know of any particular umbrella program though. I know of NARHS, which provides you with a certified diploma. Read up on them: www.narhs.org. You can also consider sending your child to the local high school for the last semester. It’s all up to you.

These are just the basics. I recommend reading up on the subject. One of the BEST books on this subject is: High School @ Home: You Can Do It! by Diana Johnson. I got it from the library and loved it. I wish I didn’t have to return it :(. There are some AWESOME charts (transcript records, hour charts, reading lists) which you can make copies of and use through out. Simply amazing book. There are many books out there… If you’ve read a great home schooling book, drop me a comment :).

Curriculum: Math and Physics

July 16, 2009

While researching the moon and all that, I found a great site for distance learning focusing on Math and Science: http://www.derekowens.com. It’s always great to have a proper teacher for Math and Science since it mostly involves concepts you cannot understand on your own unless you’re a genius (like my sister who taught herself Algebra1, Geometry, and Algebra2… and hopefully Pre-Calculus in the coming years:D).

Project Specials: The Moon

July 15, 2009

Lots of nights ago, I was awoken by a bright light shining in my face. Was it a flashlight, I wondered, was someone in the backyard? Turns out my sister left the blinds open. We have no back yard neighbors. It’s a beautiful open field with a canal running behind us. It’s gorgeous, thus there are no buildings to obstruct the view of the sky. It looks something like this:

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… on a rainy day…

Any how, when I looked carefully, I realized it was the moon. And guess what? I couldn’t turn the “lamp” off either! I had to sleep with the moon flashing in my face because I was too tired to think of closing the blinds.

The moon, was HUGE. And bright. And beautiful, subhanallah… It was full. Or so I thought. When I woke up for Fajr, it was on the other side, the far right side. And then after praying fajr, I could see it setting. It disappeared behind the trees. The next night, the same thing happened. This time, it was even bigger. And it took longer to set. Was today the full moon? Or was it yesterday? The moon had sparked my curiousity and I decided I wanted to do a project on it with my siblings. Wouldn’t that be nice? Ramadan’s on the horizon. It would be great to learn of the stages of the moon and be able to figure it out yourself. So I wondered how to carry out this project. I’m no scientist.

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It’s beautiful… I feel like I can feel the world spinning around me… the solar system doing what it does. I feel the power of The One who controls it all. In the morning, I can see the sun rising and the moon setting… at night, I can see the sun setting and the moon rising. Wouldn’t it be great to study them. I made a chart to aid my experiment. You can find it here: moon. Taking pictures of every sighting is a great idea. I’m going to experiment with that. I don’t have a great camera… but hey, maybe I could get a better picture if I climbed the roof or that tree in the backyard! Of course, it would scare the hell out of my mom :D. Worth a try?

I didn’t want to base my project off of any other project on the web. I wanted to make my own… So I did, but resources are always a necessity. Here are a few site to check out:

Moon Phases

Moon Phases Activity

The Islamic Calender

Science of Moon Sighting

I had found this site that had all the details of the phase of the moon of the night in different areas along with info about the time of moon rise and set and stuff, but I lost it :(. And to end it on a beautiful note:

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‘Twas a lot more beautiful in person. Camera SUCKS!

The Best Math Curriculum Ever!

July 5, 2009

I’ve just discovered the best Math curriculum ever. I am the type that HATES math. I loathe it. I suck at it, if I may be true to myself. I started doing terrible in Math after things got too complex: Pre-Algebra. But I’m not the only one that hates math. There are thousands of kids out there, who hate math. Ok, fine, half the kids in this country hate school, in whatever form it may be. Most of them think Math is useless. I don’t know how it’s useful, I just know it IS useful, if only there was a curriculum that connected real life to math… Hmm… Guess what? There is one.

Math U See has a very well developed way of teaching Math. I so should’ve gotten this for Algebra 2 instead of Saxon :(. Order the catalog and watch the demo CD that comes with it. I’m sure there’s nothing that can stop you from using this curriculum after that!

“Math·U·See’s goal is to help produce confident problem solvers who enjoy the study of math. The reason we study math is so we can apply what we learn in everyday situations. The students learn their math facts, rules, and formulas, and are able to use this knowledge in real life applications. The study of math is much more than committing a list of facts to memory. It includes memorization, but it also encompasses learning the concepts that are critical to problem solving.”

Isn’t that awesome :D?