Ramadhan @ Casa Escuela

Why we homeschool our kids?

We want to give them something different which we hope can make a big difference in their lives. So far, Alhamdulillah…Praise to Allah, we are seeing the different mindset and styles of thinking coming from our kids, especially the two most senior students…Muhammad and Musa. After 8 days of Ramadhan, they have never ever mentioned or implied in their action or words anything at all that they want to break their fast…prematurely.

Muhammad and Musa having Ifthar at the surauHere’s our so called module or syllabus for this fasting month of Ramadhan.

1. No monetary reward for fasting. You fast because it’s Ramadhan and because you want to be a better Muslim.

How can being hungry and tired make you a better Muslim?

a. “When we are weak, we will realise that we are only humans and Allah is the Almighty.”

b. “When we are hungry, we will think of other people who are hungry too. We will appreciate the little things that we have. At least we know that by sunset, there are food waiting for us.”

We ask them this question regularly. Sort of a brainwashing if you like. Reasoning is always better than coercion.

2. No Bazaar Ramadhan visits. Never ever, buffet in hotels.

Fasting is not FEASTING! We will try to follow the Prophet’s way of fasting as much as possible. Well, having dates only might not work for Malay intestines but we try to limit the number of dishes and the amount of intake. (This is particularly tough when we break our fast at the surau or at relatives houses because at home we apply the 2 dishes ONLY policy – vegie and lauk)

3. Quranic recitation as much as possible.

We play “fill in the blanks” games when we recite the Quran (Muqaddam – we focus on Juz A’mma only). We play many other games just to make the recitation experience fun every time and we recite verses that they memorize only so that they enjoy more.

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4. Nasyeed time.

When we are in the van, we listen to Nazrey Johani’s “Nasyid Nostalgia the Zikr”.

Alhamdulillah, even little Sarah is enjoying it. (crooning and headbanging even when the tune is melancholic and the lyrics expressed repent to Allah)

Muhammad and Musa loved the nasyeeds too and when we asked them to write the lyrics on their chosen song, this is what we get when they wrote the lyrics on their own.

Musa’s choice: “Wahai Kaum Muslimin”

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Muhamad’s choice : “Perantau”

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Kisah Maryam

(got this picture from cendanakasih.blogspot.com.  Thank you)

Maryam loves ‘lepat labu.’  This Taiping-born girl spent the first three years of her life in Pokok Assam, Taiping.  She got early exposure to traditional kuih-muih and found a liking for ‘lepat labu.’

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This is a picture of Maryam holding a baby pumpkin.  NOT!!!! This is asam gelugor.  The scientific name is Garcinia atroviridis. Below, Maryam explores kampung life.  The grey sheets are for ‘chilli farm’.  Bags of chilli plants will be arranged neatly on the bricks.  According to the farmer, white bags (see far back, near the house) scare wild boar away.  Interesting!

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Alhamdulillah, Maryam turned five last week – August 15, 2009.  We were in Taiping and the whole troop (Abi’s side) gathered for kenduri berendoi dan majlis tahlil.  Just nice for a tiny b’day fiesta.  Tiny cake, for tiny princess, for tiny guests.  Yup, the cake was enough for the tiny ones only.  The moms aimed for the chocolate pieces (dinding kek) and the dads had no idea what’s going on.

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p/s:  Maryam’s request:  Umi, birthday Maryam tak nak lagu ‘Allah Selamatkan Kamu’ tau.  Nak ‘Happy Birthday’.

semangat karate

DSC00587Karate grading is one of the most awaited events for Muhammad and Musa.

Their first ever karate class was when Umi and Abi went away for seminars.  We were in Paloh Hinai.  So, Mak Sue (my lovely youngest sis) accompanied them to the dojo in Kota Damansara (from Bangi) naik teksi.

Nak dijadikan cerita, from Paloh Hinai in Pekan, Pahang I searched for a taxi driver.  Jumpa nombor pakcik yang pernah bawa kami ke KLIA.

“Pakcik, minta tolong pakcik ambil anak-anak saya dari Bangi boleh?  Pergi Kota Damansara.”

“Kota Damansara kat mana?”

“Takpa, Pakcik turunkan anak-anak saya dekat The Curve.  Nanti ada orang jemput kat sana.”

The deal was made.  Pak Ngah the Sensei picked the three of them from the location… a bit late.  Later, Pak Ngah told us how Muhammad made a long face because Pak Ngah did not pick them on time.  Afraid they were going to miss the class (padahal, bukan Pak Ngah ke yang ajar kelas tu?).  Hmm..

After our half-day program at PH ended, we drove straight to KD to pick them up.

Apparently, Musa refused to join the class.  He insisted that Mak Ngah (also a black-belter) teach him, not Pak Ngah.  Setelah dibedah-siasat, rupa-rupanya malam tadi Encik Musa bermimpi yang Pak Ngah jadi garang.  Jadi menurut firasat beliau, baik belajar dari Mak Ngah.  Safer, kot…

At last, both managed to complete their first lesson.  Susah-payah datang dari jauh, tanpa ibu dan ayah, berbekalkan semangat juang yang tinggi.

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The funny thing is, the FIRST lesson is also the LAST lesson – for that year.

A year later, we migrated to SK.  Pak Ngah just opened his new dojo, Karateworks, at Bdr Sri Putra.

Thus began Muhammad and Musa’s karate journey.

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Musa had (used to have) this strange habit of rolling his tongue when got nervous.  When his turn came up for grading, the tongue-rolling got more intense.  He looked so small compared to other students.  Imagine, first time performing in front of ‘strangers’.

Right after his turn ended, Musa ran out from the hall and broke down in tears.  I guess he was so tense and stressed out.  No questions asked. Biarkan…..

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That was then, this is now.

Alhamdulillah, Muhammad and Musa have earned their purple belt.  For three days, the boys were down with flu and cough.  They almost missed their grading last week.  But karate is such a motivation for them.  Muhammad woke up early, performed his solat, took his shower, prepared the outfit.  Bersungguh-sungguh memajukan sukan untuk negara, abang kita ni.

I said, “I’m not sure you guys are up to it..better rest at home and go for the next grading.”

He ‘pujuk’ me that he’s all well.  He woke Musa up and both of them practiced outside.  Misi membuktikan pada Umi yang “Kami boleh dan kami mampu dan kami wajib pergi grading!”

Okay, mission accomplished.  According to Abi yang batuk-batuk menghantar si sulung dan si tengah ke UIA PJ, they performed all-out.  Berbeza dari grading-grading sebelum ini.  Kus semangat..

Congratulations, Muhammad and Musa.  A step closer to black belt!  Barakallahu fik.

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What do you think?

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I saw this guy at KK airport and after some persuasion, he allowed me to take this lovely shot of his T-shirt.  Maybe he hated school or maybe he just liked attention, apparently he has never heard of homeschooling.

For the record, we at Casa-Escuela DO NOT HATE schools or anything close to that. We love schools, it’s just that we love our ‘homeschool’ MORE simply because we rule the school…yeaaa!!

Animal Planet

Homeschool is cool because we get to visit public attractions on weekdays.  No crowd, no jam.  Cheaper rate sometimes.

Recently, we visited the animals at Taiping Zoo.  Being the only family there, we got the animals’ attention!

IMG_1723 The parking lot should be called parking ‘few’.  Awas!  When you have so many spaces to choose, jadi rambang mata pulak.  We opted to park Baby Hiace quite far from the entrance .. ada unsur-unsur keluarga sihat.  That was the theme of the day actually because we started that beautiful Monday morning with a swim at the pool!  Splashing fun.

POOL-un swimming! (=pulun means all-out)  IMG_1713

Heaven!  We did not plan for this swimming thing – hence no bathing suit packed for this trip. (Otherwise, you get to see me parading my perfect figure by the poolside, ay caramba!) *astaghfirullah*

For RM2 per head, this is what we call ‘rezeki’!

Then, off to the zoo!

IMG_1727 Lesson 1:  Buying Ticket

– Multiplication Challenge: How much for two adults, three kids and a baby?

–  Polite Expression:  Request for tickets in a polite manner, please.

–  Giving appropriate answers when people asked, “Tak sekolah ke hari ni?” (No school today?)

–  Wanted to teach them to line up and wait for your turn but… no line!!  Well, privileged folks we are!

The rest of the lessons were all about animals!

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Next dream destination:  Singapore Zoo