Contemporary Education For Hoi Polloi….

 

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A lake within Epping Forest, London.

 

 

When our eldest was born, we decided to give him better than what we had. Like every parent, we vowed to give him the best of the best. We defined our objectives and marked our priorities, for him as well as for us as parents.We dreamt a world where the main objective for our son would be to serve the Lord and His mankind through his actions and words.We wanted him to reach the depths of knowledge, but all his acquisition and inquests should revolve around the purpose of serving Allah SWT….. We decided that we would never motivate him to choose a particular career, however, we would rather, motivate him to acquire a 360-degree knowledge of religion and how the world connects to it.

It’s not to disparage professions or modern education system, we just wanted him to be an astute, insightful, au fait human who is close to nature. And in this pursuit, we came across the idea of homeschooling.

Homeschooling has been around for centuries and has produced some of the greatest persons in the history*. Despite all its positives, we still started off with traditional schooling due to peer pressure mainly and because of the fear unknown, secondarily. Soon it became obvious, that traditional schooling system is not for us.

 

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… the freedom to arrange your own visits at your own convenience and as per child’s interest. (Picture of Al Tamimi Stables, UAE)

 

The globalization of mankind has risen to many complexities. Where it promises few perks for roaming nationalities, it also gives rise to subtle discordance at the cellular level. Hence, in UAE too,  there has been an increase of interest among families opting for homeschooling.** There are specific laws for Emirati families however, there is no current legislation for expats with regards to homeschooling. There are a number of active homeschooling organizations, which offer a place for kids to socialize and prosper through field trips and competitions as well as support and guidance to families and parents.

It’s a very blissful yet exhaustive feeling for being a teacher AND a parent simultaneously. Coupled with group social activities, this a well-rounded approach to nurture your child in a happy, safe, child-led, natural way…

Our journey to homeschooling has just begun ……May Allah SWT be with us!

 

 

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Ample time to learn chores….

 

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Having more time for imagination and creativity all while learning through play…

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Learning never ceases & becomes a life long passion…

 

References:

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_homeschooled_people

**https://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/family/why-more-parents-in-the-uae-are-homeschooling-their-children-1.92524

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The Duck Lake Tour….

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My eldest running around with his daddy and his uncle  aka long mamu jan

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Simultaneous moon rise behind Jebel Hafeet that I incidentally caught…. View of the lake’s wooden gates.

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Mirror – Mirror

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The little lake inside the resort

 

Winter season is usually very cold in Al Ain as compared to Dubai or Abu Dhabi main city. Mornings and evenings turn extremely dreamy with beautiful pink, gold, orange hues in the sky. It is the ideal time to camp around and do all outdoor activities which are a bit of challenge in sweltering heat.

Surrounded by graceful  Jebel Hafeet and located just off Hazza bin Sultan street, this lovely little lake is found inside OnetoOne Resort, Ain al Faida, Al Ain. In the January of last year, my bro happened to visit us and we were determined to make use of little sunlight left once Wajih returns from office and find some local attractions.

We have two rules for the outing… Rule 1: we search and discuss locations to visit on google maps or car’s GPS and Rule 2: we decide it at the steering wheel, where to go, all while being seated inside the car. It’s wild and irresponsible but also how we love it. There have been few times where we headed off for a day trip and ended up spending a week across the borders 🙂 Fun, adventurous and unpredictable!

So on this occasion too, the plan was sudden yet the trip was short. As I was fiddling with the car’s navigation for local attractions, I stumbled across ”Duck Lake”. Checked the distance and it was hardly 20 km, hence the decision was made. I pressed the screen to select it and off we went!

We were clearly following the navigations directions and soon we found ourselves at the main gates of OnetoOne resort. Since in the haste that we display each time, there was no time to check what exactly to expect there. We double checked the location, the GPS was still pointing us to go further down the resort. Nobody stopped us or asked us where we were heading. After passing the pools, park, boating area, residential blocks and small Baqala, we finally reached to a very private decked area reserved for exclusive parties. And this is where our navigation said its famous phrase” You have reached your destination.”

The lake is surrounded by delightful details. And of course few ducks too.The wooden work on lake entrance site, around, on the deck and the bridge all added up to create a charming overall environment.The weather turned a bit nippy as the setting sun darkened and to our surprise, there was a beautiful moonrise at the same time. As its famously said in photography, that often your best shots are found at your 360-degree point, I was blown away to find a rising full moon as if I hit the jackpot! It was indeed a lucky day for us because we were able to explore the whole resort without anyone bothered. Our subsequent visit failed to provide this privilege. The gates to the duck lake were locked on our second visit and we were told its only reserved for private tours……that we unintentionally had already. 🙂

 

 

Life becomes more beautiful when……

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” When in doubt, choose family. ‘‘ How many of us actually believe in this phrase? Rather, how far less number of us has the privilege to actually have the courage and means to act upon it. I agree and totally understand, it’s not always possible. But when it does,  life becomes more beautiful.

In the good, almost 4 decades of my life, I have met some very wonderful people.  You can easily categorize them as good or bad influences, however, I have learned from everyone and every circumstance. What so happens is, after a while, everything becomes the same. i.e. a sweet memory. I know some people may not agree with my statement but letting go and forgiving is actually for yourself and for your inner peace. I learned to do that early and now I am reaping the benefits.

Once we untie ourselves from unnecessary strains in our lives and appreciate what little you have, you manage to climb the mountain of peace. You feel on top of the world. You begin to enjoy things that you have; things that matter to you most; begin to enjoy life!

It is, at this moment, when you have made peace with your inner self, forgiven yourself and others, anyone who has been a good influence on you or done you any favors in the past, emerges as the icons of humanity. I am blessed with not few but many. I am very grateful to them for helping me, supporting me and guiding me; and most importantly, leaving me spellbound with their exemplary lives.

BIG Thank You to you all, where ever you are …..

 

 

 

 

Back to beach ⛵️⛱

Posted by Joveria Shah on Saturday, April 2, 2016

Maldives…. Heavenly escape !

 

One of the exclusive beaches….IMG_5957

 

The wooden deck connecting the chalets to the main island…

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Along with mods and cons, island offered beautiful late night walks and Balinese massage was divine. 013

 

Another deck from our exclusive afternoon snacking area….012

 

A general access lagoon for snorkeling, kayaking, and motorsports. 011

 

Craziest skies from the terrace of our chalet. 008

 

View of lagoon meeting the ocean ….015

December of 2015 was very special… husband decided to arrange a surprise trip. Yes, unlike many, I love surprises!

I had no clue at all that we are going away on an international vacation. I was totally kept  in darkness about it and was only asked what do I fancy for a short vacation. My mind instantly said let’s hire a yacht in Dubai, or go skydiving or maybe go on a balloon ride.As we were discussing the possibilities, I was fearing my wish list would be too extravagant, wild and swanky and most definitely, embarrassing so I told him to decide himself with an accompanying You- know- Me gesture.

A few hours later, Wajih came home early and very blandly asked I have a surprise for you can you guess where we are going? As much as I like surprises, I also hate the guessing game. Acknowledging my thoughts, he said start packing we are leaving tonight for Maldives! I was floored … literally. The joy was immense and shocking. I didn’t think it was needed that I would ask where? how? coz  I already left all this on him to figure. Now my job was to pack under two hours and leave for the airport. Packed quickly and soon we were in the taxi heading to catch a plane. Suddenly, my husband asked the taxi driver if he could stop by at the Mall so we could do a quick last minute shopping? I smiled in my heart. Who stops at the mall for a shopping when he is running late for departure? But since at the time of my wedding, I had accepted the fact that life with this man is going to be a roller coaster ride, so I was fine with it. The taxi driver was happy as his meter would still be charging while we would be at the mall. So we stopped at the Mirdiff City Centre and had a detailed inspection of watersports equipment in one of its sports shops. We bought upgraded scuba gear and random items for the kid and other stuff. After spending more than an hour we left the shop and decided to have a quick lunch as we were starving and the flight was at about 10pm in the night.

The best thing about such events is that I remain unpanicked though I can easily get stressed while Wajih would stay calm even if the world meets an apocalypse. He works best under pressure. It was a long connected flight via Doha, where we met an 8-hour long stay over, he had already booked an Air BnB at Doha airport. Which was such a huge relief as I was expecting our second one and our first born was already tired. It did well to us and after relaxing we had another 5-hour long flight to Male’.

Male’ Airport was a bit of a disappointment. The cloudy skies were distracting and driving us berserk. As soon as we stepped out of the airport vicinity we could see the sea right across the road! I was like whats next? Wajih said we shall be fetched by the resort team. Somebody from Cinnamon resorts quickly found us and here I found another surprise. We were being picked up in a speedboat! another dream come true. Our son was ecstatic! The weather was beautiful and the sea was rough as it was monsoon season there. We were smiling ear to ear.

The speedboat ride lasted for 20 minutes and ended at our resort, Cinnamon Dhonvelli. Needless to say, the first class hospitality displayed by the staff. Our chalet was among the most private ones with our own terrace facing the sea. I cannot forget the starry nights we spent there lazying on the couches and counting shooting stars. It was out of this world experience. The whole resort, friendly and helpful staff, the services, the comfort, I wish it for everyone to experience. If you are a millionaire, I am sure you would never want to come back. A week’s long stay ended in a jiffy and our son was all in tears to leave that place. He thought we have actually moved there 🙂

As we are approaching almost two years now, I often thought about writing the post about it but failed. Hopefully, we would visit there soon but this time I want a private jet  to pick us up from airport. Just Kidding !

The land built of Atolls , surrounded by most diverse marine life & equally blessed with a crazily beautiful sky.

Posted by Joveria Shah on Friday, December 4, 2015

 

 

 

 

Pas de photos post !!!

Okay let me just spurt it .. I am very upset today .Actually , I have no words to describe my apprehension and let me tell you why. Let’s begin this sob story…

Case 1:

Somebody today at one of the many hundreds of face book groups I have joined, posted her melancholy. Her young child who just started primary  at a very expensive private school got bashed at school by the class teacher for reasons so trivial like asking for frequent toilet breaks and the child’s hair got pulled when the teacher saw a wet floor and intelligently  ” assumed ” that it was a mishap done by that innocent child…. Can anyone believe this ??? Is this really happening ?? Can the teachers be that cruel ???

Things just don’t end there… the desperate mother looking for support and advice, also described how difficult it is to communicate with the teacher apart from Parent Teacher Conferences which is actually invitation sent by school. The poor mother worries about the cost of school fee lost incase they withdraw the pupil and high probability of the child not getting admission for current term in any other reputed school.

This happened in an expensive school in Dubai …………………………………………..

 

Case 2:

The second event was faced by another mom, whose 3 year old just started off nursery and has started refusing to go in the morning . The little child resists in whichever way he deems to detach from mommy. Her post portrayed as if parents have done their best but still failing to send of their kid to school without fuss. The teachers say , like always, the child was fine after you left ; stopped crying and started playing with other kids….

Now I know some of us may shun it by considering it a benign separation anxiety issue and there are legitimate ways to deal with it. But what if we are missing something?

This phrase ” don’t worry , your child was fine after you left; stopped crying and started playing with other kids” somehow feels austocious … My reasons are as under:

 

a)  If the kid really enjoys  school’s /nursery’s environment why he is not happy to go there ?

b) Even if the parent accepts that , they are committing some mistake in handling the anxiety at home, why the highly competent staff are unable to alleviate it even for a mere 1%??

 

I am not here going to bullet point the do’s and don’ts in these situations as anyone can easily find it on the internet . I told the lady to follow her motherly instincts . And that moms are correct 99.99% of the times in their gut instincts. I knew I hit the right cords, still her adamancy to recognition didn’t let her to use her analytics . She was still finding excuses to believe it was nothing else but just a phase.

So when I sat down today to write my blog, my mind was speculating my pictures. I needed a picture that could easily comprehend a mother and a child’s connection. Something that I can pin point and say , ” here you go folks ! I described it all ” . NO I CANNOT ! and no one can . I have no shame to openly accept that there is no such word or expression or phrase ever written to describe maternal love as it can only be felt . Not captured ; not written ; not recorded in any way. Then WHY ? Why we ignore it ? Why this powerful connection bows in front of system and circumstances? We know the system fails and circumstances can change . They are all modifiable . But our connection to our kids is real , is solid , it’s unmodifiable.

My mind and my heart has been contemplating at many levels for these two cases. They not only justifies a failing modern educational system but also unveils socio-cultural complexities. In some cultures, it is OKAY to hit a child in order to maintain ”discipline”. Parents growing up in such cultures worry not about the physical abuse and emotional trauma  of their children but for everything else and most importantly child not going to school. Now , here , I would also like to point out this misconception that bricks and mortar schools are the only place for children to get education and socialize. I may look deeply into it in my next post. I mean I am totally speechless at this perception. Clearly, shows how much humans are bounded by chains of tradition and peer pressure.

I would leave this blog with a question for  my readers…

Are your chains of tradition and peer pressure are stronger than the love for your child?your own flesh and blood  ????

 

Enroute to Dibba ….

Enroute to dibba with masafi mountains in the view ….

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Dibba Beach ….

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Fisherman waiting for a last catch of the day ….

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         UAE has given us numerous experiences…. moments to laugh and cry, feeling welcomed and yet isolated, intrepid yet prudent . It’s a place where the magic of it’s golden sand can push your limits of everything and anything , anywhere. What a place to be !

Among many of the blessings that we enjoy here, long days of sunshine are something nobody can miss. Remember my formative years in Karachi, where hot & humid sunny days felt so draining .. May be it was just a moment in time, as time is a relative thing and depends largely as how we perceive it . Shining sun which looks very smily now , was a torturous, ferocious, uncanny foe who was doing nothing much than frying us on our way to school, college and university. When we siblings started visiting London initially for holidays back in 2000s , cloudy grey skies were delirious ! We would go for long , unhurried walks, exploring the vicinities and figuring out how to reach back home…Fast forward, Al Ain, the sun shines with all its glory for good 11-12 hours ! too much of everything is boring and so now we are bored with clear blue skies and buckets of sunshine every day .

Also being surrounded by a desert, we cherish every single drop of water in our natural surroundings. We have learnt to cherish rain, lakes, beaches, ponds, even puddles and the aquarium in our house 🙂

Since in Al Ain we are surrounded by tall and handsome , somewhat reddish colored sand dunes, often the natural, instinctive and primitive urge for a change of scenery emanates from the deepest cringes of our soul . Hence we drive for 2, 3, 4 sometimes 5 hours in scorching sun with irritated and exhausted kids only to wet our feet under setting sun. If we are lucky we get , 20 minutes to 45 minutes to spend in naturally lit waters. We are still grateful for this… After all , we are humans and change is what our hearts desire….