The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Travel in Morocco
Why is travel so important for kids these days?
In a world that is gradually becoming more and more globally aware due to technology and travel opportunities, it is very beneficial for your child to be exposed to other cultures.
Hundreds of people are doing it: dropping traditional school and taking to the road in a movement that values practical education and life lessons instead of in the classroom learning. While we aren’t suggesting that you completely abandon the school system (unless you want to), we do think that it is crucial for children to learn the valuable lessons that come from seeing other countries and learning from experience.
Homeschool families are perfectly suited to try this out as they have the freedom to do lessons on the road or at their own pace while traveling.
After living & homeschooling in Morocco for 10 years, we have put together this “Ultimate Guide” for any home schooling family that wants an amazing educational & inspiring trip to Morocco. In this guide you will find out:
1. Why Morocco?
2. Historic Sites in Morocco
3. Cultural Experiences: Things to Check off Your List
4. Ideas About the Foods of Morocco
5. Structured Lessons: Learning from Experts
7. Trip Tips Section: (Pre-Travel, During Travel, After Travel)
8. Lesson Plan Ideas
I asked my 18 year old daughter to write a paragraph about being homeschooled overseas for this blog post. Here’s what she wrote:
“I am so thankful that I have grown up overseas. From years spent in Morocco, Kenya and Libya, I have been privileged to see and experience first-hand the cool things that a lot of people only read about in books or see in pictures. It is awesome to know that there is more than one way of life, that each country does it differently. Also, learning practical things in Morocco was way more fun than just reading them out of textbooks all the time! My life was like a giant field trip.”
Letting your kids see other countries is not only a more fun and engaging way to learn but can also teach them lessons that they would never have learned in a classroom or at home. It also is a fantastic way for your family to create incredible memories together.
World experience counts more than book knowledge!
With the abundance of cool countries in the world, what makes Morocco the right destination for your family?
My children have experienced about 10 countries and so far Morocco is their favorite. There are many reasons why Morocco is great for homeschoolers but I’ll give you 5.
1. First of all, it is located at the tip of North Africa, making it the perfect cultural blend of Arab culture with European influence. It shares many fascinating aspects of culture with its Arab neighbors, however, there is also a touch of a European feel, because of its colonization from France and proximity to Spain.
2. A second reason that Morocco is worth learning from is because it boasts years of history. Some cities that you enter feel like you are going back into medieval times due to the ancient architecture and preserved way of life.
The Fes Medina itself just celebrated 1200 years of existence! Morocco has many historic sites that are both educational and beautiful such as: ancient tombs of Kings, Volubilis (the Roman Ruins), and old marketplaces where you can buy just about anything. There are also modern cities that are fun to explore as well.
3. A third draw to the country of Morocco is that it is a moderate Islamic country that is safe for travelers. This is the perfect place to learn about Islam in order to understand political and religious events of the present. There is also a Jewish heritage in Morocco that would be interesting to learn about.
4. Morocco also has easy access from the United States and Europe. It is often only one flight away from major airports. Citizens from most countries don’t require VISAS or specific injections.
5. Morocco is a family-friendly destination. It certainly isn’t a boring country! There are many different cities that each have their own charm.
Think of the vast Sahara desert, the blue city of Chefchaouen, the walled old city of Fes and the exciting square of entertainment Jma El Fna of Marrakech. There is also an abundance of cool cultural activities that you and your kids can do: learning the art of Moroccan cooking, watching men dye leather in the tanneries, visiting the Berber pharmacy to hear the benefits of exotic spices or riding a camel to spend the night in Berber tents.
You won’t even realize all the things you have learned from Morocco until you return and see the world differently.
Historic Sites in Morocco
One of the first things you might be concerned about as the parents of homeschooled kids is if your child is learning enough.
While Morocco sounds great as a vacation, will it really teach your kids enough to make it worth it as an educational trip?
We’ll start by covering key historic sites in Morocco that you might want to visit, before moving on to cultural experiences and practical lessons. It might be helpful to have a guidebook such as the Lonely Planet Morocco (Travel Guide) (there is even a kindle edition!) with you to maximize your learning at these sites!
Get ready for the history lesson of a lifetime!
1. Volubilis: Have your kids learned about the Roman Empire yet? Volubilis, the Roman ruins in Morocco, has been designated an UNESCO World Heritage site. The site has been around since at least the 3rd century BC, and is one of the best preserved Roman ruins in North Africa. You are able to see the remains of many buildings and impressive mosaics. The triumphal arch is one of the highlights of this site. You will also be able to see olive presses, the House of Orpheus, an aqueduct and fountains. Have your children use their imagination to envision a thriving Roman city!
2. Medina of Fes: This Medina (walled in city) dates back to the 9th century. Take at least a day to explore it. There are over 9,000 little streets leading to old houses, beautiful riads (traditional Moroccan guesthouses/hotels) and shops. A guided tour of the Medina might be to your advantage, since it can be mazelike and hard to navigate on your own. Visit the open fruit and vegetable markets for a taste of some fresh fruit. Absorb the ancient culture, busy life and architecture as you wander through this exciting place.
3. Kairaouine Mosque in Fes: This is found in the Fes Medina. It is one of the holiest mosques in Morocco and is the second largest mosque in Morocco. The minaret dates back to 956. Non-Muslims won’t be allowed into the mosque, but you can still look in to get a view of this incredible historic and religious site.
4. Old Water Clock in Fes: On one of the main two streets in the Medina called the Talla Kibira, there is an old water clock. Drips of water filled up the buckets which would open little doors to show what hour it was.
5. Tomb of Moulay Idriss in Fes: Deep in the Fes Medina, there is a shrine to Moulay Idriss that is a popular pilgrimage spot in Fes. Moulay Idriss was a founder of Fes and was a key influence in bringing Islam. Visit to see and learn about the candles, prayer beads and incense that pilgrims buy.
6. Hassan Tower in Rabat: This is an incomplete mosque in Rabat whose construction was stopped in 1199 when the Sultan Yacub Al-Mansour died. It was meant to be the largest mosque in the world.
7. Bahia Palace in Marrakech: This Grand Vizier Bou Ahmed’s Palace was built in the 19th century by top artisans of Morocco. Visit to see the beautiful architecture and to have your children imagine life in an Arab palace. You will also be able to see where the harem was.
8. Saadian Tombs in Marrakech: Ever wanted to learn where Moroccans bury their royalty? The Saadian Tombs are decorated beautifully and are where at least 60 members of the Saadian royal family are buried. These were discovered in 1917.
There are many other historical sites that you can see in Morocco. In fact, a lot of the practical lessons and cultural experiences that you will want to participate in are based off of Morocco’s long and rich history!
Cultural Experiences: Things to Check Off Your List
The entire trip to Morocco will certainly be an unforgettable trip for you and your whole family.
Nervous that you might miss out on highlights of Morocco?
You don’t want to get back to your home country and realize that you forgot to do something that was always on your bucket list! We’ve gathered this list of best cultural experiences from our family’s 10 years in Morocco (children and adult’s opinions combined!).
Julia, what’s the coolest thing you can do in Morocco?
“I like the desert and the camels. It’s so much fun riding camels because you get to be high in the air and the desert is so big but there’s nobody there except you and your friends. And I like sleeping out there and then waking up for the cool breakfast.”
1. Visit the Sahara Desert: Our children love the Sahara Desert. It is best not to visit in the summer due to the extremely hot temperatures, but is perfect in the other seasons. Make sure to pack long sleeves for the early morning or the evenings as they can get chilly!
Our kids love the camel ride out to the Berber tents for the overnight stay. There, they got to experience sleeping out under the countless stars along with Berber drumming and delicious Moroccan food. This puts a spin on traditional camping! The camel ride is also a fun memory for the family-look out across the endless golden dunes from your big saddle! Other activities that your family might enjoy are sandboarding or relaxing by the pool at the hotel on the dunes.
2. Explore the Fes Medina: Not only are there cool historical sites in the Fes Medina, there are places where you can learn about the culture of Morocco simply by watching! Go deep into the Fes Medina with your family. People around you will all be busy with their daily life: bringing bread to the bakery, picking up vegetables for the lunch they will make, or selling their wares at a little shop. There are so many incredible things to see in the Fes Medina, but here are a few that you don’t want to miss out on.
The Tanneries: Sure, they might not smell the best…but there are sprigs of fresh mint provided for you to hold up to your nose as you look out over the men dying and scraping leather. Watch them move from vat to vat, waist deep in the dye. The process of making leather is very fascinating and an unforgettable sight! Afterwards, look downstairs at the variety of leather products to see Moroccan slippers, bags and poufs.
Mom, what’s the #1 thing you should do if you’re a family going to Morocco?
“Go to the desert.”
“Julia already said that. What’s #2?”
“I think the weavers are amazing. I like watching them throw the shuttle back and forth, and there’s the guy spinning thread. I don’t know how he does it so fast!”
The Weavers: Walk into the open courtyard through a small dark door. You will be greeted by an incredible display of colorful scarves arranged on the shelves on the wall and the sounds of the looms. Weavers and their looms are situated around the courtyard.
Your children can watch how the weaver works the loom with his foot and throws the shuttle back and forth, creating new lines of thread in the cloth that grows longer before your eyes. In the corner, there is a man spinning thread. People are available to try the scarves on you in different Moroccan styles. You might want to remember these if you take some to the Sahara for protection from sand on the camel! Check out the different types of cloth and patterns!
The Berber Pharmacy: This is my kids’ favorite spot to go in the Fes Medina. The Berber Pharmacy is a type of spice shop. Once inside, you will be seated for a demonstration of the different oils, spices and perfumes that they offer.
Need a remedy for congested sinuses? Take a deep inhale of the anis seeds!
Want to learn how Argan oil, or Moroccan oil, is made? Your host will tell you.
Enjoy smelling jasmine, rose and sandalwood oil, along with frankincense and white musk. Have your daughter try the kohl, the natural Moroccan eyeliner. You will definitely come out of the shop smelling like many different scents and with a new appreciation for home remedies.
Pottery & Other Arts: To visit the place where they make the famous blue and white Fes pottery, you will have to drive out of the Medina.
It is definitely worth the short drive to watch potters create their works in front of your eyes, or to watch the women hand painting the incredibly symmetric designs on the dishes.
Take a walk through the buildings and see how they make clay bricks and larger dishes as well. If you can’t make it to the pottery workplace, then you will at least be able to see mountains of this gorgeous pottery as you walk through the Medina. Pick up some tajine-shaped salt and pepper holders or some beautiful dishes to bring home as a souvenir. There are so many designs, some even overlaid with silver, that it will be hard for you to make your choice!
While in the Medina you and your children can also see other arts of Morocco such as the incredible needlework that looks the same on both sides of the cloth, or the hand chipped tiles that fit together in a mosaic pattern making up the tops of tables. There are even people etching designs into gold plates!
Bethany, if you could go to one place in Morocco, where would you go?
“I think I’d like to go to Chefchaouen again. I’ve only been once and I just remember that it was all blue.”
3. Visit Chefchaouen: Chefchaouen is one of those places that you might not think exists until you go there. It’s called the “blue city,” because the houses are painted blue and white, making a cool and charming atmosphere. Check out the handicrafts that are unique to this city such as woven blankets and wool garments. Your kids might also want to taste the goat cheese that is popular there!
4. Go to the Jmaa el Fna: This large square is located in Marrakech. It is the entertainment center of the city-filled with street musicians, jugglers, and food stalls. Wander around and listen to the music, watch the entertainers and taste foods from the delicious booths! Try fresh dates or other dried fruit for a snack, or grab a meal at a nearby café. Your children will find the snake charmers exciting! Being there in the evening is truly a cultural experience. There will also be horses with carriages around the square. If you want, you can take a ride in one of these around Marrakech.
5. Visit Essaouira: Essaouira is the perfect spot for tourists. If you want to combine this educational trip with a little relaxation, you should definitely check out Essaouira! It is a small coastal city with a fantastic Medina that will provide plenty of options for souvenir shopping or just exploring. If your kids are adventurous, they might want to try wind surfing or kite surfing! Watch the fishermen bring in the daily catch, or sample it at a local restaurant.
6. Visit Ait Ben Haddou: This huge fortification is comprised of six Kasbahs and almost fifty ksours – individual Kasbahs. Ait Benhaddou rests near a valley at the base of the Atlas Mountains, 32 miles away from Ouarzazate, which also happens to be the film capital of Morocco. Lawrence of Arabia, the Gladiator and Black Hawk Down all had parts of their movies filmed in this area. You may also want to see the village of Ait Benhaddou that is situated on top of a hill. Here, your kids will be able to be more active as they can climb and run around-which might be nice for them after being in different cities.
Stephen, what’s your favorite thing to do in Morocco?
“I like going to the white-table cloth place (Restaurant Asmaa in the Fes Medina). I love their tajine and they have pretty good bread.”
7. Eat as much Moroccan food as you can: Moroccan food is well-known for its delicious savory flavor. There are different types of food that you will encounter, but you are sure to enjoy nearly all of them!
8. Get Squeaky Clean at the Hammam: A hammam is a public bath. Men and women go at separate times to the hammam, so your family will have to split up if you have both guys and girls that want to experience this (this would be a good time to go shopping or exploring for those not at the hammam).
At the hammam, you strip down to just your underwear and then go into large rooms, some of which are hot steam rooms and others that are cooler. You can scrub yourself or have someone else scrub you down until you are cleaner than you have ever been in your life. Try the traditional Moroccan soap and shampoo for the full experience! My wife doesn’t prefer the hammam because she likes her privacy but my daughters have taken women from tour groups to the hammam and they loved the experience!
9. Day in the Life of a Berber: This is a day trip from Marrakech. It is a hands-on day that allows you to experience life in the Berber culture! Mohammed and his family will guide you through a typical day as a Berber-from brewing mint tea, making khobz in a clay oven, harvesting olives or bringing water from their well. What a fun way for you and your family to learn about Berber culture!
Ideas About the Foods of Morocco
Trying out the local cuisine can be a fun learning experience. You never know what you might taste, but if you keep an open mind, you may love it.
Here are some of the more common foods that you will find in Morocco:
Tajine: Tajine really refers to anything that is cooked in the conical pot for which the dish is named. It is served in one common dish that everyone can dip in. Typically, it is a type of stew that has beef, lamb or chicken in the center with vegetables, dried fruit or nuts on top. Our children love the chicken tajine that is covered in French fries.
Other examples of tasty tajines are beef with prunes and almonds, tomato tajine with meatballs, chicken tajine with lemon and olives or lamb tajine with apricots. They are normally eaten with the Moroccan bread, khobz, which is round and flat.
Couscous: You might have sampled couscous before in your home country, but authentic Moroccan couscous will definitely surpass all previous experiences. The steaming grain is piled with steamed vegetables, chickpeas and sometimes raisins. In the center of the dish is chicken. Broth might be provided on the side to pour over the couscous. This is one of the only Moroccan dishes that isn’t eaten with khobz.
Brochettes (Kebabs): These are skewers of beef, chicken, turkey or meatballs. They are seasoned to perfection and grilled. They make a delicious sandwich in khobz or can be eaten by themselves with French fries on the side. You can find these in little hole in the wall restaurants on the sides of the street.
For more top Moroccan foods, check out our blog post: They say these are the best Moroccan foods…
Eating the food is a cultural experience in and of itself. Silverware will probably be provided for you, but go for the challenge of eating like a local!
A lesson on manners…
[notify_box style=”yellow”]When dipping into the center dish, rip of a piece of bread that you can fit in your mouth. No double dipping![/notify_box]
[notify_box style=”yellow”]Only use your right hand when dipping into the dish.[/notify_box]
[notify_box style=”yellow”]It is polite for you to eat only what is in front of you-your “piece of the pie.” Don’t reach across the dish and dip in someone else’s portion.[/notify_box]
[notify_box style=”yellow”]Be careful when using the napkins. We thought that the lovely napkins were there to wipe our mouths on, but they are really to make sure that no food falls in your lap. Try to avoid staining them, if possible.[/notify_box]
[notify_box style=”yellow”]When you are getting good at eating Moroccan food, you will only need to use your thumb and your first two fingers to pick up the bread and tajine.[/notify_box]
Structured Lessons: Learning from Experts
You will try delicious food every day of your homeschool trip to Morocco, but why not take a cooking class to bring knowledge back to your home country?
After looking at the beautifully embroidered napkins, you might want to take a class to learn how to do it yourself. There are many structured lessons that you and your children would enjoy as a hands-on application of the beautiful culture you have been experiencing! Here are a few ideas…
Cooking class: Cooking classes are offered in Fes and Marrakech. In some cooking classes, you will even go through the market with your guide to select the ingredients for the meal that you will prepare. Then, the Moroccan cook will walk you through the preparation of a delicious meal!
Arabic class: Obviously, a trip to Morocco isn’t enough to learn Arabic. However, your kids might enjoy an Arabic class just to see what it is like and to learn some basic phrases that will be useful on your journey!
Embroidery workshops: Try your hand at the amazing Moroccan needlework that makes the same design on both sides of the cloth! Your teacher will teach you the technique of Moroccan embroidery.
Religion Lecture: In Fes, at the Kairouine Library, you will be able to find professionals that can give you a lecture on the religion of Islam. This information will prove very fascinating and perhaps insightful to the culture of Morocco.
If the idea of traveling around the country while staying at beautiful hotels and riads sounds too touristy for you, think about trying a homestay!
There are many Moroccan families that are willing to host people in their homes for a few days in the Fes Medina. There, you will be able to get the complete cultural experience by immersion.
You will hear Arabic throughout the day, you will eat and help prepare the daily meals and you will participate in Moroccan family life. It is a great way to learn about the Moroccan culture up close and personally.
You will make great friends and definitely learn more than you would have at a hotel or riad. Your kids might find it a bit frustrating at times, not being completely comfortable or not understanding the language, but if your family is adventurous and really wanting to learn about Morocco, this would be a good experience! It certainly would provide you with a new set of eyes when you return to your home country and a whole new set of family memories.
Trip Tips Section:
It can be hard to travel with a homeschool family (trust me, we know!) especially to new countries where you don’t speak the language or understand the culture. Here are some tips that we would like to share with you in order to maximize you and your kids learning experience!
Tips for Pre-Travel:
Before traveling, your main job is to get the kids excited about the trip and plan just enough so that the trip goes smoothly with maximum educational fun!
1.Start by researching Morocco in order to understand the area of the world that you are going to visit. Try finding fun facts or things they didn’t know before! You can make it a game or a challenge to make it more interesting. (Think Jeopardy-style questions or trivia games.)
2. Make lists of things you want to do/experience. Think of some funny things too. Below, I’ll give you some ideas of a Medina Photo Scavenger Hunt or Morocco Bingo that these will be helpful for.
3. Look at pictures of Morocco. This is easy. You can find these online by simply googling it, or check out our 25 Pictures that (Almost) Capture the Beauty of Morocco. Your kids will see the beauty of the country they are going to visit and start to anticipate it!
4. When you are packing, pack lightly so that you don’t have to lug huge suitcases around. Check out our what to pack page. It also might be helpful to leave a little space in the luggage so that you can bring souvenirs back home. (Think Moroccan teapots or lamps, spices, slippers etc.)
5. What are your kids going to do on the airplane? Some planes have movies, but the plane you are flying on may not. Pack a small game bag with games the kids can play on the airplane. Bonus points for creativity! Another good idea for keeping kids entertained and on their best behavior is to make little surprise bags for the kids as rewards. They can be cheap, but anything new is exciting for children!
6. See if there’s a Moroccan restaurant nearby you. If there is, then try it out! Once you arrive in Morocco, you might find that there is a difference between local Moroccan food and the restaurant food you tasted in your home country. This would be a good place to practice the Moroccan manners that we talked about above.
6. Want to learn some basic Arabic phrases? Here are a few that your kids can have fun practicing before you go:
[notify_box style=”blue”]Shukran: Thank you. (Add the word bzef to say “thank you very much.”)[/notify_box]
[notify_box style=”blue”]Salam: Hello.[/notify_box]
[notify_box style=”blue”]B’salama: Goodbye.[/notify_box]
[notify_box style=”blue”]La: No (Combine La shukran to say “no thank you,” a phrase that can be very helpful with shopkeepers)[/notify_box]
7. Read books about North Africa! Our kids always find it cool when they visit a place that they read about in one of their favorite books. Some books about North Africa that they enjoyed (not specifically Morocco) were Shadow Spinner and Mara, Daughter of the Nile.
8. Give each of the kids a journal/scrapbook for the trip. A fun idea is to let them decorate their own cover using magazine clip outs or other craft supplies. A scrapbook might be hard to take along on the trip as it might be difficult to take supplies along, but a journal would be a fun way for the kids to practice their writing skills and save memories! Having these beforehand makes the children excited about saving tickets, taking pictures, or collecting other small items to put in the scrapbook when they get home.
9. Get a key ring for each kid that they can put small mementos on…postcards of each city you visit, little keychains with Moroccan pictures or other things they collect along the way. This makes sure no “treasures” get lost.
Here are some of our ideas for games/activities to prepare beforehand!
Medina Photo Scavenger Hunt: If your kids are older, they might be able to carry around their own camera. For younger kids, a disposable camera might be a good idea so they can take their own pictures and not worry about breaking anything! This can be played with teams or individually. Set up a list of things you want your kids to take pictures of. The one who completes the most photo tasks or does it first, wins. We’ll give you a list of a few things to do to get your brainstorming started…
WARNING: When taking pictures of people, first ask, because in this culture some people don’t like to have their photo taken. Read more about photo etiquette here.
• Take a picture of someone in your group eating snails…yum!
• Take pictures of 5 different cats in the Medina (cats are everywhere in the Fes Medina!) One bonus point for the funniest cat picture.
• At the weavers, have someone put a scarf on you in the traditional Moroccan style! Picture needed for proof. Bonus point if everyone in the group is featured.
• Find another group of tourists. See if they’ll take a picture with you.
• Find a sign that has a funny Arabic-English translation.
• Take a picture of a mule carrying Coke into the Medina. Bonus point if someone from your group is in the picture!
• Find a camel head to take a picture of!
• Taste the orange juice on the side of the road. Picture for proof!
• Take an artsy door picture. The group with the most artistic Moroccan door picture wins the point.
• Sample 3 foods being sold on the street (examples: olives, pastries, bread, fruit, etc.)
• Take a picture of each person in your group holding something that starts with the same letter as their first name.
• Take a picture of an animal that is not a cat.
Moroccan Bingo: This is a game that the whole family can help prepare. Using the things you have learned from this blog post and your research on Morocco to come up with different experiences you expect to have. Make bingo boards (the sturdier the better) for the family and cross them as you go along!
Ideas of things to include:
• Different foods you might eat: tajine, couscous, kebabs, khobz etc.
• Places you might go: Chefchaouen, Fes Medina, Sahara etc.
• Specific tasks at different places: Eating a unique food, participating in the Berber pharmacy demonstration, using an Arabic phrase, going to the hammam, riding “no hands” on a camel, climbing the tallest dune by the Berber campsite, buying something from a fruit stand by yourself etc.
• Incentive for good behavior: helping Mom or Dad with the packing, doing something thoughtful for a sibling, not complaining in the car, picking out a gift for a friend back home etc.
Moroccan Wordsearches or Crossword Puzzles: There are many places online that you can use to make word searches or crossword puzzles. This is a good option for car drives, airplane rides or evenings at your hotel when the kids want something relaxing to do.
Tips during Travel:
Really, the travel time should be taken care of by your tour operators to make sure that you don’t have to worry about the details of your trip. However, here are some tips to keep your kids learning in fun as you enjoy Morocco!
1. Start each day with a quick overview of what you are going to see that day. If you are visiting many cities or historic locations, this will be a good idea to get let your kids have the right expectations for the day. Remind them that flexibility is part of the adventure!
2. End each day with a quick discussion of what you experienced. It doesn’t have to be formal to be educational-this can be as simple as saying your favorite location you went to while eating dinner.
3. Try to be aware as much as possible. Remember the journals we suggested you get? Let the kids write down things they noticed about Moroccan culture (writing every day would be a good idea to keep their journaling skills sharp!). As a parent, you can point out things to them that they might not have noticed. “Did you notice how the older women dress differently than the younger women?”
4. Don’t be nervous to try new things. Many times, your kids will mirror your attitude. If you are negative about trying something new, they will be too.
5. Relax and have fun! This is about making memories with your children as they have a hands-on learning experience! Games, snacks and adventurous spirits will make this a good time. Here’s an idea for a fun activities that doesn’t need beforehand preparation.
The 10 Dirham Challenge: The currency in Morocco is dirhams. This challenge is to give each kids 10 dirhams to spend (between $1-1.50 depending on exchange rate) and see who ends up with the best item at the end of the day. Feel free to increase the number of dirhams you give, depending on the amount of space you have in your luggage. You might be surprised with what your kids can find!
Tips After Travel:
When you get home, the kids are probably going to be sad to leave Morocco but also just excited to sleep in their own bed. What can you do as a family to celebrate the wonderful, educational trip you had in Morocco?
1. Scrapbook away! This is a great place to put all those pictures that you took on the Scavenger Hunt, or the fun shadow pictures you took while on the camel. Paste in your place ticket stubs, dried flowers you found, completed Moroccan word searches or anything else creative that you want! You could attach the keyring full of memories to this as well. These could be fantastic coffee table books for your neighbors to look through or something fun to show the grandparents. In a couple of years, your kids will love to look back on these books they created!
2. Make a Moroccan meal for your friends! What about inviting some of your close friends over for a homemade Moroccan meal? It will be fun for the kids to show their friends how to eat Moroccan-style. What a delicious and dishes-free dinner!
3. Write a paper. This one doesn’t sound as fun as the first two, but after all, this trip is meant to teach your children about another culture. Have them write a paper on what they learned in Morocco. This can be as short as a paragraph for the younger kids, or a formal research paper for your older kids!
Lesson Plan Ideas:
You probably have a curriculum that you are working through with your kids and are wondering whether to keep it up over the trip or not.
My guess is that your kids would rather abandon their homeschool lessons for the trip to Morocco and you would rather not pack those books in your luggage. That doesn’t mean that the children have to be excused from all work! Have some shorter assignments for your kids to do on the trip or have the journey be “field-work” time to collect notes for your return! Here are some of our ideas…feel free to come up with your own as well!
1. Studying poetry? What better place to practice poetry than in the beautiful Sahara desert? On your visit there, assign the kids to each compose a poem about their experience in the Sahara desert. This can be varied for ages-younger ones can do shape poems or haikus while older kids have to write longer poems like sonnets or free verse. These can go in scrapbooks later! (This doesn’t have to be limited to the Sahara…why not write a quick haiku at every place you go and write it on the back of a postcard?)
2. On your trip, have the kids take notes comparing and contrasting their home culture with Moroccan culture. Turn this into a compare and contrast paper that focuses on a specific area: food, dress, relationships, etc.
3. Practice writing using the senses…pick a place that you visited in the Fes Medina and use all 5 senses to describe it. (Do you have a family blog? These would make great posts…)
4. After a trip to a historical site, research one (or more!) other historical event that happened at around the same time. Make a timeline with these to get a better idea of how Morocco fits into world history!
5. Any of your kids learning about geometry? Check out the incredible mosaics on the walls of mosques or buildings. See if they can find tessellations and have this architecture be inspiration for their next geometry project!
6. If you have been reading any other books about different cultures, you could have your kids write an essay comparing the main characters culture with the Moroccan culture. Pick an area that the book focuses on. Or for a more creative spin: how would the main character react to being dropped into Moroccan culture? What would be similar, what would be different?
7. Make a map of Morocco! This could be a fun project and would make a great wall decoration.
8. Pick up some fossils or rock collections at one of the little towns on the way to the Sahara. Classify these rocks for a study of geology!
Other essay topic ideas:
How does religion affect culture?
Reflect on the differences in generations in Morocco. Is there a difference in the lifestyles of the younger generation and the older Moroccans? Think about cell phone usage, clothing styles, gender roles etc. How is this the same/different in your home culture?
Take a look at Moroccans in other parts of the world. Where are there big groups of Moroccan immigrants? What factors affect this? (Climate, culture, job opportunities etc.)
Write about the economy of Morocco. What is their main source of income? In what ways were the businesses you saw in Morocco different than/similar to those of your home country?
How does Moroccan art reflect what is valued in Moroccan society?
Examine kinship in Moroccan culture. What are their traditions surrounding marriage, family relationships, etc.?