Play is is play!

These are the questions my son Ishaan, who is six years old and who never went to school has learnt to ask me. I do not TEACH….
While playing games on the iPad:
1. How many hours are there in a day?
2. How many minutes are there in an hour?
3. How many seconds are there in a minute?
4. If I say out loud ONE is it one second..or Mom can you count seconds and show me? So I did tick tick one..tick tick two.
5. If it is morning long before it is afternoon?
By watching shadows while walking out with me during the day and night he asked these?
1. Why is the shadow sometimes longer than the man and sometimes shorter?
From his passion for tall towers and buildings he asks these:
1. How many floors?
2. How high is the ceiling of our apartment?
3. If our apartment is 12 feet high then how high is our 10 apt high block?
4. How many feet am I?
5. What is smaller than a foot?
6. How many inches make a foot?
After watching all the shows on TV about 100 years of the sinking of Titanic..this is what Gourika (10) and son played for a whole week:
1. They rearranged the furniture with my help.
2. They pretended they were deep sea divers.
3. They had fancy equipment to fish out ruins of Titanic.
4. Then they reconstructed the pieces (furniture).
5. They imagined that they painted the ship.
6. And then added more features to the ship.
7. Then son became captain Jack Sparrow!!! and DD was Elizabeth from the Black Pearl!
In between the play they keep coming to me to ask for information, words, meanings, references…etc…
Each time we go out in the car or walking…both my kids look at stuff and ask questions…conversations..conversations…that is what we do the whole time…
when I do not have some answers I tell them to give me time and I look it up and get back or figure out some easy way to explain…and provide interesting inputs through internet, movies, books, songs, outings…whatever I can get my hands on…
Sometimes my jaw hurts in the night after having talked and talked and talked…but I am so happy and contended..after those enriching conversations…
My children and their play..make me learn things I do not know or thought was not interested in knowing…The best part is that since the questions come from them..the answers stay with them forever..and it is effortless….no need to sit and cram tables and how to read time by drawing silly circles of clock faces on sheets of paper to learn it…time is being read on iPad, on Mobile phones, on the desk top monitor, on video games, on TV guides, on my lap top…in airports, railway dashboard..
As a parent I am present and enjoying every bit of this learning from all over….
Play…is work…work is play…is what I observe in my children and some other unschooled kids in my community..

‘Mashallah’ and Arabic!

Ishaan and Gourika went and saw the new Hindi film, ‘Ek Tha Tiger’, with their dad. Ishaan asked me after he came back, “What is the meaning of Mashallah?” I looked at Gourika curiously. She said, “Mama it is a song from the film with Katrina Kaif and Salman Khan.” Ishaan smiled and said, “I like that song.”

He keeps humming it all the time. Last night he asked Gourika to play the song on YouTube. So three of us cuddled up in front of the screen on the bed. The song is shot in very middle eastern locales…with middle eastern music. It also has a lot of Arabic lyrics too. Katrina looks stunning in navel showing belly dancer costume and with her ‘no belly’ belly does the item quiet well. 

I watched some fear rise in me first about..the usual ones about indecency and sexuality. I smiled at the fears and brought my attention back to the moment in which we were all having innocent fun. Ishaan was singing along! Something that is so rare. Gourika is the singer in the family. Then Ishaan asked me this, “What language is being used mama besides Hindi in the song?” I said Arabic.

He listened some more then asked in which countries do people speak Arabic? I told him, ” one country is United Arab Emirates and the city you know well, Dubai.” His eyes started to shine. He said, “In the city where there is Burj Al Arab, one of the tallest buildings in the world?”..I said yes.

Gourika asked me, “You grew up in Dubai isn’t it? So do you know Arabic?” I said, “well I did learn it as a subject in school and at one time could read and write..but never really could speak or understand the language, except for the word ‘habibi’ which mean beloved. I also know some of the greeting words.”

Then Ishaan wanted a replay of the song. So we did. Katrina does an amazing pelvic lift dance step in the song. Ishaan looked at me and asked, “can one do that?”…So I did that step to humor my kids. And they all rolled off the bed and said..”Mama you need to get your belly all flat first…”

So I said, “yeah but you know I can make my belly dance…if not belly dance!”

We laughed so much at that. Then I explained to them what is the meaning of Mashalla, Subhanallah and Inshallah!

And looked at more YouTube videos of songs we like…and went to sleep peacefully. Here is the link to the song..Enjoy..I did very much.