Hello lovely readers of Muslim Mummy’s blog. My name is Salma. I am a Muslimah, wife and mother of four from Canada.
I have been asked by Muslim Mummy to share with you (her readers) about my unschooling adventures with my daughters. One of the questions that she asked was what exactly unschooling is? This post is a one of 5 posts that I have written about the subject, thus, if you would like to go back to my introduction, please visit my blog for that part of the discussion.
There are so many things that I could share about unschooling, however, I thought for the purpose of this post, I will speak about one aspect of our unschooling journey- Playful World Travelling.
Playful World Travelling
The idea of Playful World Traveling is not my own. It comes from Maria Lugones influential paper about “Playful world travelling and Loving Perception” . One of Lugones’ request in her paper, is that women of colour learn to travel to each other’s world, in the art of playful world travelling.
In her paper she speaks about the experience of people who are outside of the mainstream and how they navigate and come to a place of consciousness. This consciousness, I assume, would mean many things to different people. Since my children are still young and inexperienced in the ways of the world, I searched for a way to help them achieve this.
Like all parents I want to teach my children how to identify with and commit to loving others. As a university educated woman, who has travelled to various parts of the world, and love the beauty of people as a whole, I have seen the best and the worst of humanity.
After 9/11, in the face of terrorist threat, we (as Muslims) are faced with the call to prove that we are not “one of them”. This has personally affected how we see ourselves and others. In addition, as little girls with brown skin, my children come from a place where they are routinely referred to as Minorities.
Lugones takes the art if world travelling to another level by using Marilyn Frye’s notion of “arrogant perception”. Arrogant perception can be defined in many ways, but for the purpose of this article and for my own personal understanding, we (at home) consider it to be a barrier that keeps humans from connecting with others.
Arrogant perception make us judge others without looking at the context of their lives. In essence, it creates binaries that are debilitating and destructive to our human relations. We often think that our way of doing things is right; our practices- natural. We then turn others into objects of our perception. Haven’t we all done it?
Armed with the knowledge that they will face a lot in the world, that they will objectify others, and be objectified, and with my own desire to help them learn how to navigate the world I came up with the 26 A-Z project.
The 26 A-Z project consists of 26 carefully selected documentaries; each title beginning with a letter from the alphabet.
Our documentaries focus on disability, poverty, war, environmental disasters, religion, nature, racism, sexism, politics and gender issues.
Iman and Amira have watched 7 of the 26 documentaries that we have chosen together. I attempt to keep the girls well-rounded by offering various media outlets to highlight theme and ideas. For example, when we watched Yellowstone: Battle for Life, the girls created their own national park. Iman looked at the life of the animals in all 4 seasons; while Amira recreated a scene from the film of a park fire, and wrote about the danger to the animals.
The 26 A-Z project is not just about watching documentaries. It is about exploring what we learn by looking at the world, and what we gain when we experience creativity and reality simultaneously. 26 A-Z has allowed me to explore with my children, and learn about privilege, and the responsibility of every human being to care for each other, protect the planet, and speak the truth.
The art of “world” travelling is beautiful, because the purpose of it is to help my daughters understand the reality of other peopleâ€™s experiences of oppression. It forces them to become a part of the bigger picture, by being open-minded. This does not mean that they will not be selfish, and ignorant. It does not mean that they will always have empathy.
It certainly does not mean that they will not face discrimination, and indulge in self-pity. It has allowed them to be aware of the world, and to look at it with (if not different), then new eyes.
InshaAllah, my goal is to help my children to ask questions, make wise decisions, and love Allah’s creation.
Note: I have used Lugones’s article, and Marilyn Frye’s term as my guide. Opinions and thoughts expressed by me are not directly related to her definition of world traveling.