Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Oman

Welcome to another week of our educational summer vacation! For all my talk about being a lazy mom, I really do love to play teacher and I guess it just comes out in the summertime. My kids and I pretend to travel to a different country every week of summer vacation, and this week it was Oman!

Oman? Where the heck is that?

I don't know, my kids picked it off the map. So needless to say, I learned a lot myself this week. Namely, where Oman is.

Also, I learned how to pronounce it. I always assumed it was pronounced like "omen," I think because it's next to Yemen and I figured they should rhyme. (It's "Oh-mahn," FYI.)

Anyway, this post includes my affiliate links so I get a little commission if you buy something. Let's go!

Monday 


Today my oldest two were still off visiting their grandparents and we didn't want to get started without them, so we took the day off.

The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Oman -- What do you know about the country of Oman? I didn't know anything about it, until my kids said they wanted to learn about it during our educational summer vacation! Use these resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

The little kids and I at home mostly just built forts and ate way too many popsicles.

Tuesday 


On Tuesday everyone was home, so it was time to get back to work!

The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Oman -- What do you know about the country of Oman? I didn't know anything about it, until my kids said they wanted to learn about it during our educational summer vacation! Use these resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

We found Oman on the wall map and filled out our passports. In past years I've made fancy ones that look more like a book, but this year I stapled the pages together and called it a day.



Download the Passport Pages

The flag of Oman was next, and it was one of the more complicated ones my kids have ever tried to draw.

The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Oman -- What do you know about the country of Oman? I didn't know anything about it, until my kids said they wanted to learn about it during our educational summer vacation! Use these resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
You can't really see the detail on the little symbol in the corner, but it's crazy.

My oldest usually does the measuring and drawing, but this time I asked her younger sister to do it. It was very sweet to hear her teaching her sister how to make sure the lines are all straight and the three sections of the tri-color flag are all even.

After reading Count Your Way Through the Arab World by Jim Haskins, we watched this 52-minute documentary on YouTube about Oman. It was about at my kids' limit for attention spans, so you might not make it all the way through unless yours are older elementary- or middle-school age.

Some good shorter videos are here and here, if the documentary is too much for your kids to handle.

One of my favorite free iPad apps, Tap Quiz Maps, has a section on the Middle East and my kids played that for a while, competing against themselves for the fastest time. Okay, they were probably competing with each other.

For a bedtime story, I started reading them Leopard Boy by Julia Johnson. We read two chapters a night and it was just enough time to finish by the end of the week.

The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Oman -- What do you know about the country of Oman? I didn't know anything about it, until my kids said they wanted to learn about it during our educational summer vacation! Use these resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}


Wednesday


Today was devoted to learning about Islam, the official religion of Oman. (Omanis actually have their own special strain of Islam called Ibahism. I researched it but I'm afraid I don't know enough about the subtle nuances of Islam to really understand the differences between them.)

We read a great book called Muhammad by Demi that taught the kids a lot about how Islam began, both through words and just by looking at the pictures. I highly recommend this book.

I think I'm in love with the educational videos from Schlessinger Media and want to marry them. It seems like we watch at least one for every country we visit. They're 20 minutes long and targeted at grades 4-7 (although my 3-year-old loves them, too.) This one was called Understanding World Religions: Islam.

If you can't get your hands on the video (I couldn't find it on Amazon, which to me means it probably doesn't exist) a not-quite-as-good but free substitute is this YouTube video on the 5 pillars of Islam.

We got the idea from Middle Eastern Crafts Kids Can Do! by Sarah Hartman to make prayer rugs. I had big sheets of white packing paper in the basement left over from our last move, so I cut them in half and told they kids they could use any materials they wanted to decorate them like a prayer rug.

The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Oman -- What do you know about the country of Oman? I didn't know anything about it, until my kids said they wanted to learn about it during our educational summer vacation! Use these resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

(It's probably worth adding here that we only did this activity after learning all about Islam and the significance of Muslim prayer rugs, and my kids treated the idea of prayer rugs with the utmost respect. We didn't use the finished rugs in any way, we just hung them up to look at them.)

First, we did a Google images search for "prayer rugs" and talked about the different patterns and features of the rugs we saw. The kids noticed repeating patterns, no pictures, the color blue, and often a point at the top toward Mecca.

I have to say that the finished rugs were awesome! We had marker, crayon, glitter, and paint.

The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Oman -- What do you know about the country of Oman? I didn't know anything about it, until my kids said they wanted to learn about it during our educational summer vacation! Use these resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

My preschooler went crazy and started gluing popsicle sticks and little foam Christmas stickers on hers.

The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Oman -- What do you know about the country of Oman? I didn't know anything about it, until my kids said they wanted to learn about it during our educational summer vacation! Use these resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Different strokes, I guess.

While they were working, we listened to some Middle Eastern music and I read out loud interesting sections from What Do We Know About Islam? by Sharukh Husain.


Thursday 


I was happy to see that my kids actually remembered some Arabic from last summer when we "visited" Mauritania, or at least it sounded familiar to them this time around.

There are a lot of videos showing you how to say simple phrases in Arabic on YouTube, but my favorite came from WatchMojo.com. We learned how to say hello, goodbye, please, and thank you

The rule is that the kids need to say 'please' and 'thank you' at the dinner table all week in Arabic. It's cute to see a preschooler say "shoo kran" when you pass the potatoes. We also learned to count 1 to 10.

I explained to the kids that Arabic is a really inseparable part of Islam. The Koran is only written and recited in Arabic, so even Muslims who don't know Arabic are expected to learn it for that. They were able to see that in this video (which I like to call "Arabic Veggie Tales," as well as what written Arabic looks like:


My preschooler giggled with glee "He's a hot dog teacher!" while watching this video and I had the song stuck in my head for days.

We learned a few basics of the Arabic alphabet here, and then each of the kids did an Arabic worksheet of their choice from Education.com. You have to sign up for an account but it's free to download and print these worksheets. I created an account and they haven't spammed me to death yet, so I think it's safe.

For lunch we made naan from a recipe I've had forever (but haven't used in years) and this delicious hummus from Inspired Taste.


Friday


Since Oman is about 80% desert, I thought it was fitting we talk about that. Oman used to be covered by ocean so there are lots of fossils of sea life in the desert. Crazy, huh?

We talked about life in the desert for the Bedouin people, and how their lifestyle has changed with water trucks and tourists. We watched the short YouTube videos here and here.

As an activity, we wrote postcards from the desert. I just cut 4x6" pieces of white posterboard and put three lines for an address on the back. The kids could write them to anyone they chose, pretending to be either themselves as tourists or a Bedouin living in Oman.

My 3-year-old wrote a postcard to her sister, saying "I love this desert because there's lots of tents here!"

The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Oman -- What do you know about the country of Oman? I didn't know anything about it, until my kids said they wanted to learn about it during our educational summer vacation! Use these resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
The front of the preschooler's postcard: Not sure what I'm looking at here, to be honest.

My 7-year-old, who really just wanted to get this over with so he could play Legos, wrote to his friend Brian. His read, "Dear Brian, I live in the desert. It is hot." And that was it. He's a deep thinker, what can I say?

The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Oman -- What do you know about the country of Oman? I didn't know anything about it, until my kids said they wanted to learn about it during our educational summer vacation! Use these resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
He was obviously very impressed that people could drive through the desert.


Saturday


We had plans to talk about the government of Oman, since there are only a few other countries in the world ruled by a sultan. I was even going to have the kids write arguments for having a sultanate and arguments for having a democracy. But you know... life happens, and we didn't get around to it.

But it wasn't a total failure. For dinner we had a lamb and eggplant casserole from Cultures of the World: Oman by David C. King (but similar to this recipe) that looked pretty weird but tasted really good!

The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Oman -- What do you know about the country of Oman? I didn't know anything about it, until my kids said they wanted to learn about it during our educational summer vacation! Use these resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Phillip's commentary: "This is the most eggplant I've ever seen in one place." He didn't say it like it was a good thing.

This would've been really tasty with some naan but we'd eaten it all already, so we substituted tortillas.

We washed it down with what's fondly called "Arabian champagne," apple (or papaya) juice mixed with seltzer, since most Omanis are Muslims and don't drink alcohol. Our family is Mormon and doesn't drink either, so we're well acquainted with Arabian champagne's American cousin, Martinelli's sparkling cider.


If I could do it over again, I would've liked to squeeze in more Middle Eastern cooking. There's baklava, falafel, and all kinds of other goodies to try. If only making it were as much fun as eating it, I think I'd be more motivated to fit it into our schedule.

The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Oman -- What do you know about the country of Oman? I didn't know anything about it, until my kids said they wanted to learn about it during our educational summer vacation! Use these resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}


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7 comments:

  1. What another fun week. I consider myself a pro at geography and I have NEVER heard of Oman. I actually had to go and get out our globe. :/

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    1. I think the kids just picked it to try to trick me into revealing that I didn't know where it was!

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  2. Wowza this is awesome! I think your kids will look back on this learning time with fond memories when they are older. Plus it is way more interesting than just sitting around and playing Minecraft!

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    Replies
    1. They're pretty much doing that when we're not talking about countries. My 7-year-old just discovered a series of Minecraft novellas at the library and checked out one of them. There are no words.

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  3. Jenny, you are the bestest mommy ever! I love your summer travels! You want to marry the videos- haha! I say that for stuff too!
    I so enjoy your writing style.
    Melinda

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    Replies
    1. I don't say that about many things, so when I do you know I really mean it.

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  4. What a fantastic learning unit. I loved how you tried to incorporate as many aspects of the culture as possible. It sounds like a week jam packed of great times and adventures.

    ReplyDelete