Monday, January 23, 2012

RMI's Day Out!

All work and no play can make a child a dull boy and so on a Tuesday, RMI organized a day of fun in the sun! Cricket being the local passion, RMI booked the Kokan ground for the day, where the students were brought for their inhouse cricket championship.

The students were divided into four teams which included the admin team of RMI as well. Fathers were invited as spectators and could join the game if they desired. Lunch was served on location and the students returned to RMI for a much needed Qalula after Asr.

Alhumdulillah the students had an enjoyable and vigorous match. QBAP's team won the Runner Up trophy Masha'Allah. Alhumdulillah RMI plans to make this a monthly event, three cheers for RMI! Alhumdulillah!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

U, Me and the Stars

U, Me and the Stars: an over night event for boys 12 to 19 to spend some time with some renowned speakers and chill (the kids assured me it was very chilly).

Here's an account of that night as pieced together from the accounts of two very sleepy boys ; ABAP (14yrs) and QBAP (12yrs):

The event began with a talk by Brother Adnan Rashid and then Hisham al Hadi They both spoke in turn, about how they were drawn towards practicing Islaam. Hisham Al Hadi, the son of  Dr.Farhat Hashimi, grew up hearing his parents teach Islaam. Yet he admitted that as a child he had some doubts in his mind- doubts about Allah SWT can lead to Hell and so he then spoke to the kids to help them dispel any doubts they may have.  Brother Adnan Rashid grew up in UK and explained how he lived in the lap of luxury, eventually started a street gang as a kid and eventually found his boredom heading him towards depression. On the other hand he was very close to his grandfather who lived in Pakistan and spent time with him in a village. Farming was his grand father's hobby and Adnan learnt much from him. His grandfathers death had a profound effect on him, his father pointed out how no money in the world could prevent death, his live was much changed by that thought.

The kids were then divided into two groups where the elder group were then addresses by Adnan Rashid and the younger group by Hisham Al Hadi. Delicate matters such as interacting with non mehrum was also discussed, Mash'Allah. The talks were interactive and the boys got an opportunity to interact with the speakers on a one on one basis as well, Masha'Allah. They were impressed by their stories and easy going manner as well, Masha'Allah.

The rest of the night was spent playing basket ball, table tennis (QBAP and a freind took advantage of a empty table tennis table as their friends slept) and chatting with friends. Another high "light" of the night were the three bonfires which the kids took turns sitting around and roasting marshmallows with. (there was something very smoky about the pair when they came home......ugh! a pair of socks tucked into their night bag!) the boys played, slept and were later aroused for tahajud, Masha'Allah.

The following morning they were addressed by Sheikh Abu Abdissalam , who arrive straight from the airport. He spoke to the kids about his journey to enlightenment, which began from a book called "Do you know this book?" It got him reading and thinking and craving for more. Being one who enjoyed reading the scientific aspect of things he marveled when he found his school teachers address facts he had already read about in the Quran Subhan'Allah.

Dinner was a delicious spread of lasagna, chicken botis, seekh kababs and soft drinks. Breakfast consisted of a  tasty meal of halwa, aloo puri, channa and puri. Coffee, tea, sandwiches, brownies and hot chocolate were made available all night, Masha'Allah.

There were some hot words and teasing as is to be expected when a large number of young boys who are not all acquainted with each other must spend time together, but over all the event when smoothly and the boys enjoyed the novel experience. ABAP suggests that further such events should also include quizzes and role play, which they enjoy (and is also an effective ice breaker) at Active Saturday night outs.

We appreciate the Live Deen team's efforts and look forward to more such events for the youth of today, Insha'Allah.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Homeschooling Parent admits she misses school!


Yes its true, as a homeshooling parent I miss school!!! There i said it! I've revealed my guilty secret..... " But what could you possible miss?" you ask.....well .....

- sleeping in once the kids have left for school (though isn't it wonderful to sleep off that time used for rushing the kids off to school?)

- not having to argue with one's daughter about what she will wear the next morning... no arguments involved when having a uniform (admitted she's now developing a fashion sense of her own rather than simply going with the follow)

- when a teacher appreciates the effort you put into improving a child's reading/ writing skill (though you feel guilty knowing that you didn't do anything; your child just seemed to take the initiative because he was now ready for it)

- when mothers of schooled kids complain about current school trends/ teachers/ curriculum now you don't have anything to complain about!

- when your child says something unexpected you can't blame his classmates!

- you can't blame a bad teacher for something your child doesn't know because guess who his teacher is?

- watching your kids march around a stadium for sports day (though your friends envy the fact that you child doesn't have to spend the weeks before sports day in chilly winds or the hot sun preparing for sports day along with term assessments and class assignments)

- attending library day (though we have now further developed our own library without trashy novels cluttering the shelves and my hubby loves the fact he doesn't have to rush to school to attend it and we can read to the kids at anytime instead of being compelled to do it at a given time with a cranky baby along side and i'm glad i don't have to polish white shoes which don't stay white till the end of the day or having the kids bring home unfinished snacks in their lunch boxes, or worry about school bags which look like ragged sacks before the school year is out or...... I guess i don't miss school as much as I thought....)

About Curriculum

For any parent embarking on homeschooling, "what curriculum to use?" is a daunting question. Here's a overview on some curriculum options:

- Textbooks:
Most families begin their journey with textbook used in most schools. This is easy to do in Karachi at least where one can go to any stationary shop and ask for the textbooks of your chosen subjects at a chosen school. Most textbooks also have an accompanying teachers guide. This allows you to view a large selection of books and chose which is appropriate for your child. Its usually a good idea to speak to relatives with schooling going children to view their books prior to visiting a shop.
Paramount Publishers allows you to view and purchase books from their website (  Oxford textbooks ( can be bought online but unfortunately their entire book list is not available for viewing online and they are slow at delivering. Both places have a cash on delivery option for Karachi.

- Curriculum  in a box: This is an option used by many homeschoolers who would like a structured curriculum where textbooks, worksheets and even day to day activities and study plans are provided.The providers of this are abroad so it helps if you have a way to receive them at a relatives house and then brought to Pakistan (so it can be very pricey) To use these one must register online and pay a fee and the box is delivered to
you. Some of the more popular providers are :

Calvert School;

Kinza Academy (Hamza Yousuf):

(I am not recommending either, but simply letting you know what's out there). Be aware that many online curriculum in a box is Christian based and often made in accordance to state regulations; in many countries there are laws where homeschoolers have to make a portfolio of their children which is evaluated by Councillors and must sit for state funded standardized tests. In Pakistan we have the freedom to chose our curriculum of our younger children and for matric or cambridge papers we can register as private candidates to purchase syllabi and for examinations.

- Online resources
: Alhumdulillah the internet has allowed us access to a variety of online resources- free and some at a cost. Its hard not to get overwhelmed, so do try to focus on your child's abilities and needs when selecting what to use and try your best to ignore the rest!

Some popular sites are:

Most of these sites provide curriculum, free online books, links to useful sites as well as advice on how to get started.

-D-I-Y curriculum: Most families begin by buying a host of textbooks and then eventually settle for a mixture of books, online resources as well as sending their children to tutions and afternoon classes for more tricky subjects. Often informative story books, nature study, kitchen chores and outdoor sports all come together to build a families holistic curriculum. Families also adopt a number of homeschooling approaches or a mixture of several approaches to suit their children, family values and even lifestyle and that's the beauty of homeschooling, its flexibility.

To learn more about homeschooling approaches, websites, articles on curriculum and those worrying questions such as "how will I know my child is learning?", "what about tests?" "socialization?" you can browse through the various links provided by our list at :

and to read more about how various families are homeschooling do look out for Homeworks magazine as well as read up on our blog:

Its important to stay focused on your child and families goals  when planing your homeschooling life, there's a wealth of information out there so make lots of dua, stay focused, research and enjoy the experience.

Working Winter

When school winter vacation comes around, they is bustling with winter classes and workshops for all children to chose from, and as always, homeschooling famlies make the most of these opportunities. This winter the Piranis participated in the following workshops:

Offered by Hibakidz at their office, this workshop was conducted by the enthusiastic and fun loving sister Umm Zakariyya. She is one of the sub editors of HibaKidz as well as Reading and Creative Writing coach at Fajr Academy. The workshop was available to children aged 8 to 12. The workshop walked the participants through the stages of writing to publishing and ended with the children putting together a short story as a book.

QBAP (12 yrs) was a at first reluctant participant, who returned home and admitted it was a lot of fun, the very first day Masha'Allah. He also realized that though he had studied these steps earlier at school this was the first time he had a teacher that made it fun and we found he now enjoyed writing rather than complaining about what a chore it was.

Another workshop offered by Hibakidz. Sister Rubina Khilji who conducted the workshop has been teaching adults calligraphy for many years now and this was her first workshop for children. She is passionate about her work and hopes her students will continue practicing on their own and revive the glory of this form of Islamic penmanship Insha'Allah.

IBAP (10 yrs) and QBAP (12 yrs) both attended this workshop. They were given several sheets with boldfaced prints of the letters of the Arabic alphabet and then taught how to hold and move a thick marker to trace the letters. They were provided with a thick marker specially cut for the work as well as a thinner calligraphy marker (made in Japan). They were shown how a reed pen is made and explained about the importance of literacy in Islam. In the end they werre taught how to write their names and write a Dua asking Allah SWT to increase their knowledge, which was framed for the children courtesy of Hiba Magazine.

Both boys appreciated the art and are keen to practice and develop this skill, Insha'Allah.

Abbati also decided to make the most of the classes offered during this winter and attended a 10 day Arabic class conducted by Ibrahim Abidali. Brother Ibrahim teaches Arabic at Generations School and also conducts a twice a week session at the children's Quran class. Some of the children had attended his children's summer course last summer.

Abbi was accompanied by ABAP (14 yrs) and later QBAP as well. It was a starters course, but br Ibhrahim's informal and warm style had his students soon conversing in simple sentences by the end of the class and lloking oforward to the next class he plans to conduct after a months time Insha'Allah.