Tag Archives: travel

Travel for free

no jet lag, no taking off your shoes, no packing …

Panoramas are a great aid to any homeschooling studies related to travel or history.  Muslim families especially will enjoy these, from the Sahih Bukhari site.

Young Sprout recognizes the Kaaba and is already asking when we can go, so I’m planning to do some downloading.  For the time being I simply downloaded the Cave of Hira (where Angel Jibreel first visited the Prophet SAWS) to make sure it’s working properly.

Technical note:  You have to download the Sahih Bukhari panoramas to view them.

A while back on my other blog, I wrote about panophotographies.   This post contains a link to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  It’s amusing that even in 2009 I was ranting on about people who dress up in red hats and purple dresses to express their individuality just like everyone else!



Filed under field trip, Travel, Yet Another Reason to Homeschool (YARTHS)

Homeschooling in Morocco

A year traveling in Morocco and homeschooling, does that sound wonderful?

My sister-in-law and her husband took their four children for the last school year, and have promised some guest posts and photos.  My older niece Hind is writing a book and sent an excerpt.


This photo I believe is Saidia, which I remember from back in the day when it was a very small town with a beach and an ice cream shop.  Now it’s being developed and has condos and a golf course.


Anyway, here’s Hind!


I skipped downstairs, black high heel hanging from my hands and entered the big living room near the door. I walked towards the beautiful dresses we got. Leila was out in the small waiting room grabbing her shoes. I suddenly heard, elegant clicky foot steps rushing towards the door. Leila presented herself through the door. She paused as if she were in a photo shoot.

“So do you like my shoes?”  Leila asked as she kicked her foot up to show me her black high heels. It had a huge bow on each shoe.

“Yeah, I can’t wait” I said excitedly. We both switched from our pajamas to the breathtaking dresses.

“Oh, Leila you look amazing!”I said as a big smile grew on my face

“You too!”  She said. And instantly a smile grew on her face as well

“Come on girls!” Mom said as she entered the room, in her blue dress.

“Wow, girls, you look great!”Mom said as she took a good look at us

“And you Mom, you look amazing” I said

“Yeah, you look great Mom!” Leila said

“Thanks! Now let’s go!” Mom said. I quickly slipped my feet through the shoes and tightened them. I walked down to go to the garage door like we always did, and waited for Leila and my mom. I was extremely exited. It was going to be so much fun. We’d get to dance all night. Who wouldn’t want that? Although I’m not a good dancer, dancing for me was so much fun.   Really, it was all for the fun.  Leila rushed behind me.

“I hope Miriam and Esmae will be there” I said as I stepped outside. The lights from the Fruits and Vegetables sign light up across the busy street. We waited for mom to lock the door before we left. Then we started to walk alongside the Hanoots (stores). The big man who gave Leila and I gum all the time smiled at us. He was such a nice person. We smiled back. We walked down the dirty path.

“Yeah they were cool people! We totally had fun.” I said with a giggle and turned a left, to enter the neighborhood. We could hear the music already. It was so exciting. With every step I took the music got louder, the lights got brighter and my excitement level got higher. And there we were facing the open door. I stepped in. Houda stood by the door.

“Salam,” she said with an excited but busy smile on her face. She then directed us to the roof. As I climbed up the stairs, I noticed our uncle standing in front of the mirror. He turned as he saw us climbing up the stairs. We said him and he confirmed that the wedding would be on the roof. Scattered around the stair case that lead to the roof, were the annoying little boys from yesterday, who were playing cards. As we walk passed them, they were quiet, and defenseless. They didn’t make a sound and stood to the side.

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Filed under field trip, Morocco, Travel, Yet Another Reason to Homeschool (YARTHS)

Why the Taj Mahal was not the high point of our field trip

Hmm, I dunno, maybe because we didn’t actually go to India?



Or could it be …,. that the model railway, complete with a button to make it run, was a competing attraction?

it couldn’t be the Duplo, or could it?

This was a great outing to the Sidney Museum, which is free, does not have a gift store, and is entirely run by volunteers.  The annual Lego show is on through March.


The Taj Mahal is the biggest Lego kit available with nearly 6,000 pieces and took 35 hours to assemble.  We left with thoughts of making a Kaaba with Mega Blocks (made in Canada!), you would need a base plate and lots of black blocks with a few yellow ones.  I could see that as a good homeschooling project.  (Young Sprout already recognizes the Kaaba) .


The Duplo train was the most fun for youngsters because it was interactive.  We had to promise to go back for more fun.

My personal favourite is good old Albert, because the artist had to put some thought into building a wall with just three colours to convey an image.  I think he did a pretty good job, don’t you?


Filed under Art, field trip, Math, Travel, Yet Another Reason to Homeschool (YARTHS)

Seize the teachable moment ~ but which one?

As I mentioned, we took a trip to Vancouver just before New Year’s.  The adults’ main goals were to:

1) have a family/friends reunion and

2) visit the Vancouver Aquarium, which is not really practical on a day trip from Victoria.  Although it could be done, it would be exhausting.

Of course we felt the Aquarium would be very educational and the high point of the trip for the Young Sprout.

On our way to the SeaBus, we passed rail yards, and he saw trains for the first time in real life.



That and the view from the hotel room of cranes was the most exciting thing to happen on the whole trip!


So my question is:  how to mesh interests with activities?  Especially when it’s something that involves planning ahead and traveling?  If we plan a trip up Island to see steam trains in Duncan will we be satisfied, or will the Young Sprout be in an aquatic phase where a trip to the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in Sidney would give more bang for the buck, so to speak?

Part of this is the adult wish to provide rich experiences for children and the disappointment that ensues when one’s efforts seem not to be appreciated or the child doesn’t want to participate.  Getting into the mode of “you WILL enjoy this if it kills me” mode just makes everyone miserable.

Now, that certainly didn’t happen on this trip, and there was a balance of kid-friendly, fun activities, outdoor walking and running, and the visiting, shopping, and sushi that appeal more to the older generation, but this is still a question worth pondering, I feel.

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Filed under Nature, Travel

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.


Filed under Travel, Yet Another Reason to Homeschool (YARTHS)