After three years of waiting, the Children’s Public Library is finally open here in Muscat. It’s located in Qurm, just across the street from the Children’s Museum, another great family resource. Some moms have been complaining about the soft opening hours of weekdays from 10am to 3pm but guess what?
The hours are perfect for us homeschoolers. So much so that we’ll be holding our weekly co-op there. To finally have the numbers and drive to reinstate the homeschooling co-op is quite exciting. We have committed volunteer teachers who are passionate, available, and willing to make our group thrive.
Interestingly, our current homeschool crew is comprised of about 20 families, representing 17 nationalities and speaking more than 21 languages. Many members are first-time homeschoolers or have been homeschooling for less than five years. Hearing the newbie anxieties and curriculum conundrums has us reflecting on our own homeschooling/unschooling philosophy.
As many of you know, Lil’ Z is not so little anymore. She’s turning seven in December, God willing, and this milestone is significant in the Islamic ethos. Traditionally, children were left to play for the first seven years of life and formally instructed thereafter. Similar views are articulated in the highly successful Finnish educational system, the Waldorf philosophy as articulated by Rudolf Steiner, and others.
Some mistakenly interpret this approach to mean that children learn nothing before the age of seven, but as we know firsthand, this is just not true. Children learn foundational life and character lessons through imitation, play, culture, and daily life.
Lil’ Z’s learning up to this point has been an extension of our family life and lifestyle. So, now we’re introducing table work time to our daily rhythm where she can choose between copywriting, workbook exercises, or art. Her weekly media allowance is usually conditional upon cleaning her room and being truthful. However, we’re also planning to add a checklist of a few other completed academic and household tasks before she enjoys the privilege of watching episodes, playing educational games, or using a tablet. All of this, supplemented with our weekly co-op classes and recreational activities affirm for us that homeschooling is offering the enriching educational experience that we hoped for and, more importantly, building moral fiber and character, which is our top priority.
If you’re interested in learning more, join our Homeschoolers in Muscat group on Facebook. And if you’re not local, just feast on these lovely pictures of our new library and imagine you’re here.