Saturday, September 7, 2013

House of God's Children-The Activities

House of God's Children
Madrasat az-Zahra (School of Flower)
My dream:
An alternative system proposition to modern schooling

----First draft----

For the overview of the House-Madrasah and for some basic principles, as well as the provided links for
-The facility
-Activity examples
-A typical day
-Project examples


The single mothers are responsible of their (biological and adoptive) children, the upkeep of the facility, farming and cooking fresh food every day as well as assisting with other tasks such as teaching. We need bilingual mothers with specific expertise: acupuncturist (or herbalist or doctor of eastern medicine), yoga teacher, gardener and chicken&goat farmer, music teacher, seamstress and shoe maker. Since the first complex can only house 5 mothers, initially these are all the expertise areas we could ideally cover. For areas of expertise (such as hunting, expert in tool making in the wild, etc...) where a mother may not be found, teachers could be hired seasonally or other solutions may be found; for ex children may be sent to summer camps with a focus on hunting and camping skills.

Other children come to school early in the day with the sun (or earlier if they would like to attend morning yoga, meditation and prayers) with preferably one or both parents and have complete access to all communal areas.

For ex, while the parents and some of the single mothers are gardening vegetables and berries, a portable board could be used to teach in the garden while the kids sit on earth with their writing boards. In this, the aim is to provide flexibility and removing the constraints, unbefitting of humans let alone children, of rows of rigid seats and tables in closed classrooms where moving and talking and laughing and drinking water and and and... are not allowed. Also a desirable side effect is that the minds are refreshed with the exposition to fresh air and sunshine (Vitamin D!), while the direct contact with earth helps provide probiotics vital for a strong immune system. Here they can sit, stand on their heads to provide extra blood flow to the brain, jump in frog position, whatever it takes for them to have fun while learning with better motivation and increased involvement. Therefore, outdoor learning on a daily basis (when the weather isn't extreme) should be encouraged.

Science learning should be done in the field when possible: museums, labs, examining plants in their natural environments, observing animals in national parks, etc.

The large communal kitchen can function as a simple lab with some addition of equipments.

Math can be learned in action too sometimes:
for ex: fraction studies with recipes and measurement cups and spoons. To be done during cooking class.
for ex: During sewing class, calculating measurements for sewing clothes or for designing them with human form drawing.
These are more tangible ways of understanding the concepts as well as how they can be useful in practical life. Math that is more elemental can be done outdoors focusing on problems to be solved without pen and paper to fortify the mind and concentration.
for ex: Sarah went to a hen house with 5 chickens. God had offered each chicken 2 eggs. She said praises to God and with gratefulness collected all the eggs. On the way back she dropped 2 of the eggs from her hand basket and they broke. She asked for forgiveness from God for wasting the eggs, out of lack of sufficient attention. How many eggs was she able to bring to her mom in the kitchen?
Students are expected to do ( 5*2=10, 10-2=8 or 5-1=4, 4*2=8) in their minds, loud collaboration as usual can be allowed. It is more important that they can solve a problem as a group, rather than just individually. If no one brings up the second method, present it to their perception and explain why it works if needed. These type of activities can be done while doing menial jobs such as picking weed or collecting fruits. That way it doesn't even feel like "work" and you can all multitask.

Learn math, history, etc not just from modern textbooks but also from ancient original principal books. How about studying Ibn Sina (Avicenna), etc?

Memorization of the Qur'an by repeatedly listening to recordings and recitation

Also memorizing poetry (or theater) in various languages with impressive recitation or acting-pieces chosen by the children themselves

Cooking projects will involve recipes of various cultures, picked by the children, with background music from the same culture.

all children learn to grow their own food to ensure their freedom and independence

how to survive: hunt, gather, garden


extensive biology, herbalism

literature with critical reading skills from varied cultures, especially antique Indian (ex: Mahabharata), Chinese, Ancient Egyptian, Roman, Greek (ex: Iliad), Ottoman (ex: Rumi, Yunus Emre), Persian, etc.
Ancient technologies (Islamic, Chinese...)

Chinese medicine

Yoga, meditation and prayer daily mornings

Exertive sports every morning: swimming, running, ball play

Take the work outside the classroom: garden, kitchen, poolside, media room, art room..

Children are encouraged to pick from the animal shelter and look after pets so they can learn first hand and up close about animals and taking responsibility (just like in hunter gatherer societies).

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