children’s day in turkey

on april 23, 1920, the grand national assembly
laid the foundations of a new, independent, secular, and modern republic
from the ashes of the ottoman empire.
atatürk dedicated april 23 to the children of turkey
to emphasize that they were the future of the new nation.
other nations send groups of children to turkey
to participate in the festivities and learn about each other’s cultures.
the official name of the holiday is
23 nisan ulusal egemenlik ve çocuk bayramı
or april 23 national sovereignty and children’s day

children's day turkey

now here’s the unofficial version from kayseri:
it was april 22
— earth day —
and we were making biscuits for breakfast.
when we heard music outside.
i also thought i saw a parade near the local school.
i was too curious to just look from afar.
so, instead of staying in our pajamas,
eating breakfast,
and then getting ready for a typical homeschool day,
we quickly got dressed,
but the biscuits and some pretzels in a bag
and headed out to see what what going on.

the music continued as
groups of people headed toward the school
with some children in costumes or traditional dress.
all of that just peaked our curiosity.

it turned out that the local school
was putting on an outside show
for national sovereignty and children’s day.
the national holiday is officially on saturday, 23 april,
but the school held the performances on the preceding friday.

we saw several dance performances
and a short play
that seemed funny even though i barely understood a word.
we left before the show was finished
because the girls were tired, hot and thirsty,
but we enjoyed experiencing another taste of turkey’s culture.

children's day turkey
dancing to hadise’s latest hit “dum tek tek”.

children's day turkey

children's day turkey

children's day turkey
curious girls looking at us instead of the performance

children's day turkey
belly dancers

children's day turkey

children's day turkey
representing several nations

children's day turkey
the crowd

where is Allah?

it’s questions like these that children come up with.allah calligraphy by samir malik
it’s also a good time to reconnect with the basics of islam.

when one of my girls asked me this question
i answered “everywhere.”
then i rediscovered
alAqida alTahawiyya
or “Tahawi’s Statement of Islamic Doctrine”.

“everywhere” is an incorrect answer
because Allah cannot be bound by time or space.
He is unlike anything we can imagine.

alAqida alTahawiyya is a concise statement
of the creed of islam.
just re-reading the first 28 points
every once and awhile
can readjust our islamic perspective on Allah.

i plan to share them with my girls
during our studies of quran and islam
and just in daily life
when questions like
“where is Allah?” come up.

just to get us started
here are the first 28 points:

We say about Allah’s unity, believing by Allah’s help that:

1. Allah is One, without any partners.

2. There is nothing like Him.

3. There is nothing that can overwhelm Him.

4. There is no god other than Him.

5. He is the Eternal without a beginning and enduring without end.

6. He will never perish or come to an end.

7. Nothing happens except what He wills.

8. No imagination can conceive of Him and no understanding can comprehend Him.

9. He is different from any created being.

10. He is living and never dies and is eternally active and never sleeps.

11. He creates without His being in need to do so and provides for His creation without any effort.

12. He causes death with no fear and restores to life without difficulty.

13. He has always existed together with His attributes since before creation. Bringing creation into existence did not add anything to His attributes that was not already there. As He was, together with His attributes, in pre-eternity, so He will remain throughout endless time.

14. It was not only after the act of creation that He could be described as “the Creator” nor was it only by the act of origination that He could he described as “the Originator.”

15. He was always the Lord even when there was nothing to be Lord of, and always the Creator even when there was no creation.

16. In the same way that He is the “Bringer to life of the dead,” after He has brought them to life a first time, and deserves this name before bringing them to life, so too He deserves the name of “Creator” before He has created them.

17. This is because He has the power to do everything, everything is dependent on Him, everything is easy for Him, and He does not need anything. “There is nothing like Him and He is the Hearer, the Seer.” (al-Shura 42:11)

18. He created creation with His knowledge.

19. He appointed destinies for those He created.

20. He allotted to them fixed life spans.

21. Nothing about them was hidden from Him before He created them, and He knew everything that they would do before He created them.

22. He ordered them to obey Him and forbade them to disobey Him.

23. Everything happens according to His degree and will, and His will is accomplished. The only will that people have is what He wills for them. What He wills for them occurs and what He does not will, does not occur.

24. He gives guidance to whomever He wills, and protects them, and keeps them safe from harm, out of His generosity; and He leads astray whomever He wills, and abases them, and afflicts them, out of His justice.

25. All of them are subject to His will either through His generosity or His justice.

26. He is Exalted beyond having opposites or equals.

27. No one can ward off His decree or delay His command or overpower His affairs.

28. We believe in all of this and are certain that everything comes from Him.

read the rest here:

subtraction work

working with sanaa and subtraction
has made me have to remember
one of the pillars of montessori:
freedom to do work.

i felt sanaa had been ready for subtraction for some time
but she was resistant.
i tried to encourage her,
but she just was not interested.
it was SO frustrating for me,
but then i had to remind myself
that she would get to the work when she was willing
and self-motivated.

that moment came,
i think, from a conversation we had
that required subtraction.
that spark of inspiration and interest
lit a desire in her.

sanaa subtraction chart
here she’s using the subtraction chart
to solve problems
starting with 18 down to 1.
she quickly understood the pattern
and decided she didn’t need the chart.
if something was wrong
i would ask her to check her work with the subtraction chart.

she has progressed to the blank subtraction chart,
and subtraction dice game
(not montessori, i don’t think),
and subtraction stamp game.

reminder to self:
it is much easier to work with a child
when she is self-motivated.
have the work available,
have patience,
and have belief that the desire will manifest itself.
and when it does…whoa nelly!

100 bead chain

rahmah 100 chain
doing the 100 chain.
counting by 1s,
and then by 10s.
afterwards she closed her eyes
and counted by 10s to 100.
the first few times she peeked,
but i didn’t say anything. (smile)

stringing beads and classroom management

aya is not old enough for montessori yet,
but i’ve got to manage her somehow.
we have circle time at the beginning of every homeschool day:
after our welcome song
we discuss the date,
any current events or holidays,
value of the month,
surah of the week,
and do a song, rhyme or poem.
aya takes part in
and enjoys these activities.

but then what to do with her for the rest of the time?
i tried getting her up early
so that she’d be sleepy by the time homeschool was up and running.
i tried placating her with chips
— her favorite snack.

now i’m giving her activities she can do with success
and minimize frustration.
the good ones
often keep her occupied for a good 10-20 minutes at a time
so that i can do some work with the older girls.
aya stringing beads
here she’s stringing beads,
developing concentration,
eye-hand coordination,
hand strength/flexibility and pincher skills.