What you focus, expands…takbir!

strike a pose!

Subhanallah!  What a fulfilling week for me, family and coaching zone team.

Tuesday, June 23,2009:  I was on Harian Metro.  My appreciation to Kak Noriah and Mr. Photographer Pak Ya for such splendid article and photos.  This is rezeki big time!  Three days to go before EPL and the article came out just at the right moment.  Those internet savvy readers managed to track my number and the phone started vibrating non-stop while my team and I were having ESB Seminar at SMKA Pedas.

(Full version here)

Saturday, June 27, 2009:  THE day!  The first ever English program (merangkap ladies’ day out) in Malaysia…presenting EPL!!!  (Applause + Cheer).

Sungguh kecoh makhluk-makhluk EPLites ya! (Quiz:  Can you spot a baby yang sedang lena diulit mimpi?)

We’ve got a vogue ustazah, a beautician, a PhD candidate, twins, Nasi Kerabu expert, expecting mom, researcher, future psychiatrist, IT expert, accounting lecturer/tadika principal..just to name a few.  Even one 13-year old ‘terselit’ sekali and so very sporting anak ustazah ni.  What a mix, what a match!

Theme of the day:  red/orange/white with blue in between

Alhamdulillah, we have received supportive and positive feedback from the batch sulung EPL.  They can’t wait for the first EPL Sisterhood Rendezvous (free of charge!).

By July, ladies.. we’ll meet at my favourite cafe and your first WRESTLING task awaits you!

imported from mycoachingzone.net

Five days to go before the big event.  Alhamdulillah, over the weekend, we have received calls from the sponsors, all eager to share fantastic freebies with you!

Kanakkanakhouse.com is giving away a voucher plus FREE Art & Craft Session for kids worth RM25.00.  Not only that, for game winners, Sister Surayah Zaidon (owner/author) has contributed her books, Siri Awal Tulis and pre-schoolers reading series as well.

Ooohhh…more presents for you!

EPL participants will have the chance to take part in “Cepat Baca/I Can Read” workshop for FREE!  Zero ringgit!  What a bargain.  Personally, I have used the I Can Read series for my three kids and I am happy with the outcome.  They can READ!  (and the songs are so catchy!)

I have attended the I Can Read Workshop.  The speaker/author, Sister Zairani is passionate about reading education and parents and educators will benefit from the  program.  I sure did.

What?  You want more? Here goes…

For those who need chocolate to get excited, Sister Haridah of Tasneem Chocolate Garden has the right dose for you.  I love the almond chocolate bar!  (stop drooling please…).

InshaAllah, these ‘vitamins’ will give you the energy to ‘wrestle with English’.

Coming soon…..

Special offer from my favourite cafe!

The boss has given the green light, so just sit tight and I’ll let you know when the time is right.

Home’s Cool? terms & conditions apply


Last Saturday we were invited to give a talk to a group of mostly young couples (with 1 to 2 kids.) We didn’t like it, being there among these young couples …  somehow they made us feel older..with 4 kids. Just kidding!  (Coach Sha suddenly wanted to have another four!)

They wanted us to talk about Homeschooling. That almost made us feel like an authority lah kiranya…we thought of making it academic, you know ..with the facts and figures and researches etc, but we decided against that and we came up with something that’s very close to us…our Casa-Escuela. Past, present and future.

So, habis semua photos of our kids keluar yang melibatkan aktiviti2 bukan sekolah. From ‘main korek tanah’ to a trip to hardware store to smelling kelapa sawit.

Glad to be the ones to introduce them to HS. There were about 25 couples and when we asked “siapa yang berminat nak HS anak?”….a handful of hands went up.  *takbir!*

Antara syarat-syarat penyertaan HS:

1. Set your goal :

Kita nak anak jadi apa? Nak jadi ‘A’ scorer? Nak jadi 4-flatter? Nak jadi high flier? atau simply nak jadi manusia berguna kepada agama, bangsa dan negara. Once you know where you want to go, it’s easier to find the way.

For us, we based our approach on the most basic of all, Quran.  When the foundation is strong, inshaallah everything will be OK.

Shhh..Don’t tell the kids but we plan to send them to Tahfiz school when they’re 13. Training future huffaz seriously is beyond our expertise…so harus diserah pada yang pakar.

2. Either one must be self-employed:

Or like us, both are self-employed (dalam kata lain, we work for one another together *how redundant!*).  This allows the kids to follow us wherever we go. The MAIN concept of HS is one of the two must be with the kids as much as possible. We believe that if we can achieve financial independence, HS will be the best ‘education’ method for them.

SHOE-less at KLCC!

Musa SHOE-less at KLCC!

3.  Teamwork:

If only the mom or the dad gets excited to HS ..it’s not going to work. Both must be a good team. Humans get tired.  Humans get frustrated.  Humans get mad.  So, it’s VERY USEFUL and SENSIBLE to form a good teamwork between husband and wife.  Apa yang penting? KERJASAMA…so at the end of the day, when the job’s done, we can celebrate with …CELERY!! Yeaaa!!!

4. Passion for learning:

Orang Islam dah maklum konsep IQRA’. HS memang teramat-sangat memerlukan parents belajaq.  Dalam kata lain kena baca lah….Readers are leaders.  One thing we discovered is that the more we want to teach our kids the more we must LEARN….best betul.

Contoh: Nak suruh anak hafal Juz A’mma, Abi must hafal too. As of now, the father is leading with Surah ‘Abasa, Muhammad At-Takwir, Musa Al-Infitar. (kelihatan Umi mengelat..)

5. Creative and Resourceful

Not the artwork kind of creativity here. Creative in finding solutions to problems. Creative in experimenting new ways to make kids understand something. Always on the lookout for new ideas and approaches to make it different from mainstream schooling. I always bear in mind that, I must never make it the same like the school teaching.

having a BIG van helps too

having a BIG van helps too

6. Networking

Parents must have friends from various fields and make those friends your kids’ friends too. At the same time let them build their own network with children their age.  Some people accuse HS as a socialization ‘killer’ saying that homeschoolers won’t be able to communicate well with people when they grow up. We beg to differ.  It’s a long way to go… to make our kids interact well with people of all ages.  But HS gives them a head start.  Slowly…and surely, InshaAllah.


As a token of appreciation (how nice!) the committee gave us some chocolates sponsored by coklathalal.com (yummylicious) and Al-Quran with word by word translation. MashaAllah!  Fantastic!

p/s:  We plan to do a nationwide program on this, traveling all over the country sharing with people about HS.  Join the club!

Superb Sunday

Alhamdulillah..what a splendid Sunday we had.

Morning – off to a picnic. Congrats to Mommy Lyna for planning and executing the program.  Bab execute ramai orang surrender, so hats off to her and Sis Fid and Sis Yaya and the rest who gave their labour of love for the picnic.

Ridz, Me, Sarah, Maryam and Ngah on the side (our Cambodian helper).  We managed to play “Hammer-Hammer” 2-3 rounds only.  So sorry coz we had to rush to Jalan Duta after that.  I wish I could stay longer and played more games with the sporting moms and dads (yup, they are very selamba).  Next time, Inshaallah.

triple thanks to LittleMama of Moms Bloggers Planet for the photos.

11 am – Radio IKIM with DJ Ahmad Nazri.  Yoohoooo  Yeehaaaaa on air with Ridz.

– see, the whistle from MSK get2gather masih setia dipakai –

MashaAllah, what a rezeqi to get almost 45 minutes worth of air time promoting EPL and our company, coaching zone.  First time masuk radio..nasib baik muat.  It was kecoh and riuh (as planned hehehe) apatah lagi both of us ‘gila mikrofon’.  Right after that, Michael Buble was singing nonstop (my ringtone lagu “everything”) and SMS started pouring in.  IKIM listeners booking their seats for EPL.  Alhamdulillah..

We gave away 2 free tickets – yang menang both males, both nama Amar, menang buku silapmata Ammar plus our EPL tickets.  Yang amat best, one listener, Mr. Arif, siap catat notes on his PDA while waiting for his wife at the Pasar Ikan.  Thanks, Mr. Arif – you are the best.  For those who’d like to know what we talked about, visit his blog ya.

12 noon – off to Madrasah al Qurra’ to pick up Muhammad and Musa

hidangan dulang nasi briyani gam - sponsored by Hamba Allah

hidangan dulang nasi briyani gam - sponsored by Hamba Allah

The most awaited event of  the week.  We were late.  We missed their hafazan test.  Thanks to Mr Hafiz for catching the event on video.  So glad my kids stayed till the end.  Alhamdulillah (remember the mistake  I made last Wednesday?).

Both boys hafaz Surah ‘Abasa and An Nazi’at.  They’ve had a head start at Casa-Escuela with Ustaz Ridz.

Oh…their luggage…mhhpphhh…the smell of one week worth pakaian yang dibasuh oleh budak-budak lelaki…itu pun banyak yang tak terbasuh…hamhhhhhhmhllphhhh…tahan nafas

2 pm – off to Batu Pahat for cousin’s wedding……………..back home Monday night.

Sarah disuap Briyani Kambing oleh Yot

Sarah disuap Briyani Kambing oleh Yot

What a fulfilling Sunday!

Commercial Break

Peek-a-boo:  Got the most awaited call of the month – from Kak Noriah of Harian Metro – to do an interview and some photo session for the paper. Can’t spill the beans yet… but here are some behind-the-scene pics.

no, I don't do this everyday

no, I don't do this everyday (apparel sponsored by me)

aaa.....what is this??

aaa.....what is this??

Pak Ya the photographer arranging the set

Pak Ya the photographer arranging the set

Chatting with Kak Noriah...20 years of journalism!!
Chatting with Kak Noriah…20 years of journalism!!

I’ve made a Misteak!

Uwahahaaaaawaaakaaakaa (this is craughing = crying + laughing)

I’ve made a BIG misteak. I mean mistake.  Of visiting the boys in the middle of their tahfiz camp.

After maghrib:

The ustaz called.  Boys crying – wanted to see Umi (hey, that’s me!! hooray, they missed me!!!)  Come on, I should be strong and persistent that my zuriat’s on a mission to ‘mantapkan penghayatan Al-Quran’.  And as advised by other parents who have sent their kids at young age to study Quran locally and abroad, I should remain cool and let them be independent.

After all, only till Sunday..then we’d be together again.  Happily ever after!

But that’s not how it happened.

I succumbed to emotion and persuaded Ridz (Abi) to come fetch them home. (oh, the devil in me wears Crocs tiruan)

So after Maghrib, the big hiace made its way across N9 and arrived in Melaka around 9 something.

We did not go to the madrasah straight away.  We stopped to call the Ustaz.  “Dah OK dah…”

Then the crime was committed…

Mistake 1:  Talking to your son over the phone.

Upon hearing my sweet and melodious voice, Muhammad started to weep and sob.  Suara bergetar.. “Umi..nak baalliiiikkk..sob sob..nak Umi..sob bob sponge bob”

Mistake 2:  Actually visiting them.

After the phone call, we went up and met them.  They ran out of the surau and hugged us.  “Nak balik!”

Mistake 3:  Having the intention to take them home.

Remember, innamal a’malu binniyat.  I was almost sure of bringing them home.  Ohhoo..almost.

After a loooong counseling session with the father, after much persuasion, after much reassurance..

We decided to leave them. NO GO, KIDDOS!!!

So long, farewell..see you Sunday!

So long, farewell..what's with the long face?

Their friend, Alif, was sobbing too. (initial plan nak angkut all three of them but Alif’s dad way stronger.  Alif must stay.  So how could Muhammad and Musa abandon his friend right?  That was our justification – You two must stay because if you go Alif will be all alone.  It’s not fair to leave him, right?  Trio in mission, remember)

Ridz asked me:  Are you ok with this (leaving the kids)?

Me:  Sure (bukan dalam nada ceria gembira menang motor)

Ridz:  Go inside the van now. (wah..like a warrior protecting the damsel in distress)

Me:  Sure.

I hugged them.  Muhammad was holding my body not wanting to let go.  Musa was crying in his heart.  Dada berombak-ombak, hidung kembang-kembang, mata berair.  I kissed them, touched their heads and took Sarah and Maryam and Aisyah to the van.

Muhammad was screaming “NAK IKUT!!!!!!!!”  The Ustaz had to hold him.  Musa remained seated with tears in his eyes.

Subhanallah…my heart was heavy and light at the same time.  Can’t explain…

In the van, while having Sarah on my lap, tears were pouring cats and mice.

Allah knows best.  Got SMS from our friend, Hafiz – Alif’s dad – a doa.

“Rabbana yassir lana, wa la tu’assir ‘alaina, ya latheef.  Ya muqallibal qulub.  Thabbit quluubana ‘ala diinika”

p/s:  Don’t visit your kids in the mid of separation.  Trust Allah and…berdoalah!

Muhammad & Musa off to Melaka

For the first time… our family has made a ‘hijrah’ – a migration.  Muhammad and Musa are away for ONE WEEK to attend “Kem Penghayatan Pemantapan Quran” at Madrasah Al-Qurra’ in Alor Gajah, Melaka.  Actually, not one week but 8.5 days.

We got to know about the madrasah last year, while doing Infaq.  Coach Ridz interviewed Prof. Musa of IKAZ (Institut Kajian Zakat) UiTM Alor Gajah, Melaka.  Prof. Musa, an accounting professor, is the founder of Al-Qurra’.  His two huffaz sons, Ustaz Yazid and Ustaz Yusuf manage the center.

*huffaz is plural for hafiz – one who memorizes the entire Al-Quran.
Future Huffaz with their Ustaz

Future Huffaz with Fathers & Ustaz. Prof. Musa in blue jubah

Muhammad and Musa’s friend, Alif (from Batu Pahat) joined the camp as well.  Just nice, a trio on a mission.

"Doa before 'berangkat' - ala-ala going for Haj"

"Doa before 'berangkat' - ala-ala going for Haj"

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, presenting…

"Kids + Kolah = Splashing Fun"

"Kids + Kolah = Splashing Fun"

Spacious Hall - beds at the back

Spacious Hall - beds at the back

What Muhammad packed - notice the cologne?

What Muhammad packed - notice the cologne?

Double-decker, double fun

Double-decker, double fun

Squiggly Jawi by Musa

Squiggly Jawi by Musa

Muhammad spotted a moustache!

Muhammad spotted a moustache!

These are my kids too

Yup, I’m THE ummi for Muhammad, Musa, Maryam and Sarah.

But I do have at least forty other kids that I see once a week.  My English Zone kids (teens pun ada) at AMPAC, Bangi.


Basically, the games that I play with my own kids at home, I play with the kids at E-zone.  Among them:

“Time Bomb” (from Genkienglish.com) – where one person takes turn saying numbers from 1 – 13.  Whoever gets number 13, will be out of the game.  To make it F.U.N, each person can say up to 3 numbers, for example:  player A – 1, player B-2,3,4, player C-5,6, and so on.  Full of suspense!  DO try this at home.

Last week, E-zone kids did an activity “My Country”.  Credit goes to our interns – Faiz and Najat – who conducted the session.  Students created their own country, complete with currency, map, language and anthem.


The goal of English Zone is to make English learning fun and appealing to students.  Specifically, the targeted skill is aimed at writing.  However, writing cannot stand alone without the ‘help’ of reading.  Reading input, writing output.

These active and energetic kids look forward to E-zone every week because they practice all 4 skills (listening & speaking too) without even realizing it.  The trick is to ‘camouflage’ the writing and reading activity into a game.  Put a time limit – voila! You’ve got the competitive spirit burning!

To teach them the importance of checking their writing – the big word is PROOFREADING – we played ‘Running Dictation’.

DSC00149My E-zone kids – they run, they read, they write.  In this game, 3 in a group.  Two readers, one writer.  Readers run and read the poem on the table, then go back, tell the writer to write.  With correct spelling and punctuation.  Students take turns becoming writers and readers.

High energy game.  Run = Fun!