Tag Archives: Egypt

Revolution for toddlers

Here’s my attempt at a stylized Egyptian flag made with jelly beans, the easiest colourful material we could get our hands on at short notice on Friday morning when President Mubarak finally stepped down.  After 18 days of roller coaster stress, times when we were cut off from relatives in Egypt (and knowing that Abu Sprout’s dad was trying to get from Cairo to rejoin his family in Alexandria after the government cut off train service for a couple of days), no one had dared prepare anything for a celebration.

I’m not sure that being able to stay up till all hours to follow the progress of a revolution counts as Yet Another Reason to Homeschool, since you really can’t explain  politics to a three year old.  For older children it definitely would be, though.

Young Sprout now recognizes The Bad Man’s picture.

I remember as a child I thought the word “duringthewar” which I thought was one word that simply meant “any time before you were born” and thought I had missed out on something cool.  I hope Young Sprout doesn’t feel he missed out, because the people of Egypt waited so long and suffered so much more than people realized to reach this point.  I just pray that this will lead to real change in a positive direction.

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Egyptian-style art

The wedjat a.k.a. eye of Horus or eye of Ra is one of the most recognized symbols from ancient Egypt.

Working on ideas for a possible fibre art piece I was colouring this in different ways to see the effects, with help from Young Sprout.  Then he drew his own, which is a pretty respectable attempt, definitely one for the portfolio.

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The Skype’s the Limit ~ Egypt

Since I signed up for the Post A Week challenge, every day WordPress emails me prompts and today’s was, What one piece of technology can you not live without?

Up until this week, I would have said the laminator, which was the Eid gift Umm Sprout picked for herself and which we all feel marks the official beginning of homeschooling for the Young Sprout.

Now that the Egyptian government has shut down internet, cell phones, and land lines, I would have to say Skype.  With Abu Sprout’s parents there we are in touch on a daily basis.  Now no one can get through, news crews are unable to gather information, and it’s a big black hole.  We just have to have faith.

Several years ago when Umm Sprout was in grade school our then family survived a major ice storm which left millions of people with no electricity.  We were lucky that ours was only off for five days and that we had a natural gas fireplace and stove.  But that was at least man against nature; this is man against man and much harder to accept.

So to me the most important technology is everything that connects us and lets ordinary people share what is really happening, be it Mounties Tasering an immigrant to death, tanks mowing down peaceful protesters in Tian An Min Square, or any other abuse of human rights.

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Travel the World and Learn Something

YARTHS – sounds like pirate talk, but it’s the acronym for Yet Another Reason to Homeschool and insha’Allah will often pop up on this blog.

Today’s reason is that the search for knowledge can be a geographic search, depending obviously upon family circumstances.

Prophet Mohamed (SAWS) said “Seek knowledge even if you travel to China.”  This inspired the Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta, who spent a lifetime traveling in Asia and Africa in the 14th century CE.

The Imax movie Road to Mecca is a great introduction to his life and travels.

So, for a Muslim homeschooling family, which three countries would be the best to visit?

I’m opting for Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Morocco.

It would be great to go on Umrah as a family so children can learn about their faith and be prepared for the Hajj they will insha’Allah make as adults.

Egypt has been on my must see list since I was a teenager, and I’m still waiting … this would be a great place to visit for homeschooling to learn more about Islam, science, agriculture, engineering and construction, history, and art.  And not to forget the marine life on the Red Sea.

Morocco would give children first-hand exposure to agriculture, crafts such as leatherwork, dyeing, silversmithing, zellig tilework, weaving, decorative trim for clothing, and of course cookery.  Old cookery books from the time of the Caliphs in Baghdad have survived but the everyday cooking in Morocco today is closest to these old recipes than anywhere else.

Of course learning while traveling as a family takes some discipline on everyone’s part.   One of the families on my guest list spent a year in Morocco and I’m looking forward to their insights.

So, which three countries would YOU pick, and why?

We just spent three days in Vancouver.  That counts as travel, since it involved traveling on busses, the SkyTrain, and two ferries.  And although we’re still in British Columbia, there is a difference in culture and surroundings, compared to the Island.

At the Aquarium I was surprised that the vast majority of children were toddlers.  As a child I loved the Aquarium in Brighton and insisted on a visit at least once a year.  During the visit there were times when I felt unsure that our young sprout was taking much in, but when we came home and read I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean, it was clear that he had taken a lot on board.

The challenges of educational travel are threefold:

  1. Make sure no one gets lost or left behind and hopefully no luggage or belongings go astray either
  2. Getting children to participate and be engaged by what they are visiting rather than aimlessly rushing around playing chasing games
  3. Getting children to even see what you came to see.  This is a bigger issue with older children and teens.  I’ve done trips where the theme t-shirt should have been “We went to Niagara Falls and my parents made me get out of the car.”

How do you cope?  You don’t have to be homeschooling to answer this one — any and all input is welcome.  Let’s get a dialogue going and come up with some travel tips.

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