Building Blocks

In looking at a picture from our recent trip to India, I reminisced witnessing the beauty and majesty of the Qutub Minar in Delhi. For those who aren't familiar with the Qutub Minar, here is a quick history lesson from the annals of Indian History.

The Qutb Minar was commissioned by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, the first Sultan of Delhi, and was completed by his successor - Iltumish. This 72 meters high red sandstone and marble tower has a base diameter of 14.3 meters and tapers to 2.7 meters at the top. As the name suggests (minar is the Arabic/Urdu term for minaret), this UNESCO World Heritage Site tower was made to serve the purpose of a minaret from where the adhan (call to prayer) could be called in India's first mosque. Most important to note here is that the Qutub Minar was constructed in parts, one cylindrical column at a time, with the final one completed 172 years after it's inception.

The beauty and magnanimity of this tower is shadowed only by the farsightedness of the Muslim builders. At the time when Qutb-ud-din Aibak asked for a Minaret to be built, the builders and architects built with the future in mind. They made a base so strong and a foundation so deep that the following leaders could keep building on it even over a hundred years later. In this lies the lesson for us- to give our children a foundation so strong that they can build their own towers as high as they desire, whenever they desire.

Education is not based on the memorization and regurgitation of facts and data. It's about gathering the tools of learning to be able to educate oneself for as long as one desires. If the foundation of education is built upon these true tools of learning, the mechanics of learning will come with ease. Teaching our children to think for themselves, to think critically, to analyze, to synthesize, to understand, to read beyond the words, to get to the deeper meanings of the written or spoken word- these are just some of the skills that are imperative in a highly competitive and dynamic work world.

Therefore, we must prepare with the end in mind. It's not about a plan and execution for right now, but for the future- not just for one generation but for every generation that follows. If we are to do it right, then we can leave a legacy, like our ancestors did. It's not about raising just one generation or just our children, it's about raising the bar so that every child can reach his potential.

May God grant us the wisdom to do what's best for now and the future.

Why I homeschool

Why I homeschool

Recently a question about homeschooling sparked a lengthy, and somewhat heated, conversation on an email list I belong to. It was good that it made all the noise that it did because I usually don’t notice much on this list. But this question made me think about my own reasons for homeschooling and articulating my reasons was a good exercise, as it’s important for us to all understand and review why we choose to do what we do.

"Children, children, what do you see?"

"Children, children, what do you see?"

While visiting the Emirate of Dubai, we saw vast expanses of brown desert all around us with tall skyscrapers and gigantic shopping malls dotted along highways. This was what we saw, until we arrived at an enclave right smack in the middle of the Dubai desert. Here, the temperature instantly dropped as we entered a man made tropical haven.

Happy Left-handers Day

Happy Left-handers Day

When I first read this on my newsfeed, I chuckled a little. Then I realized that in America we have a day dedicated to almost everything. From ‘Fruitcake Toss Day’ to ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’ (no, I’m not making these up), we tend to celebrate inane things. Celebrations for the first time a toddler uses the toilet successfully to the time a senior citizen decides to “celebrate their life”,  have become commonplace.

Almost that time of year

When the intense heat of summer goes down and and number of isles of stationery in a store go up, it can only mean one thing: back to school is just around the corner! While most parents begin back to school planning with supplies shopping, uniform re-evaluation, schedule development and carpool assignments, homeschooling parents began their back to homeschool planning before the school year ended. 

Make art, not mess

Make art, not mess

Unlike the hands on moms who can pull out the many utensils of art and let their children explore and find themselves, I’m one who pulls her hair out when art time rolls around. Don’t get me wrong, I provide plenty of art supplies and art exploration activities for my young ones, but, the activities are usually constrained to space, material or at the very least, clean up time.