In an effort to help our kids understand the world better and learn about the cultures where we live - we embarked on a week of discovery about the world of Islam! We read from an assortment of books about history, culture, lifestyle, beliefs, and food. We learned about architecture & design, and even made a list of vocabulary words that we wanted to learn: (mosque, minaret, arabesque, head-scarf, doppa, muzzein, loom, 5 pillars, Ramadan, pilgrimage, Allah, caliph, halal, imam, Mecca, & Qur'an)
After all that "study" and preparation - we made a visit to Da Bazaar - the central spot to observe Islamic culture in our city. We have been to this Bazaar countless times since we have lived here the past 5 years, but never with the intention of observing and discussing the Islamic flavor of our city with the girls. It was so fun! We had wonderful talks about head coverings, modesty, and why arabesques are used so often in Muslim decor. We took time to observe details of wool & silk rugs (looking for a real-live loom), Uyghur instruments & even made a scavenger hunt for a friend to do later (he is 7 too!). They counted the minarets and took notes about details they observed. The girls were so enthralled with the little outing - and didn't want to go home. This "field trip" was actually unplanned on my end, but it just seemed to fit with what we had been learning this week. Here is a picture of Asia's favorite rug - full of Arabic styled arabesques!
After making the effort to create a hand's-on experience, I can attest that the girls learned so much more - and will retain the memories (or knowledge) more than if we had just looked at books. It just takes a little time, a desire to ask questions and to learn in the process!