One of my favorite “Learning moment” memories: my seven year old comes running indoors to tell me how he just saw a grazing goat suddenly have something fall from within it, then a shepherd lifted the “thing” up cleaned it up and as it shivered in his arms my little boy suddenly realized; the goat had just given birth! Right there on the street! She then ate a little more grass and followed the shepherd down the alley.
Living in Karachi is a true learning experience, most of which does not begin with lesson plans or text books, yet it provides a holistic education for a growing family. Schools now teach live skills, being proactive and problem solving as part of their curriculum; we’ve found that our children learn this naturally by facing the “adversities” of city life.
Good Old Pakistani Street Smarts
Street smarts have been learnt dealing with vendors on the street, water shortages and black outs have encouraged them to call relevant authorities for information, find alternates and innovative ways to get house work done, and make up creative games to occupy themselves. An unexpected situation like rain water gushing into the house from the flooded roof has put the entire family in to quick action mode; rushing around to pick up mats and electronics from harm’s way and arming themselves with water wipers and mops for a quick operation clean up.
Every Child can be an Apprentice
Watching people at work has contributed to our children’s technical knowhow. As children are very much a part of Karachi’s environment, most adults don’t mind a curious child watching them work and will also answer their queries be it while they are digging a ditch or standing behind a camera taping an interview at a seminar. These adhoc classes have also taught the children valuable lessons of interacting with adults from diverse backgrounds.
Lots of Priceless Books – at Bargain Prices!
No education is complete without books and book shopping happens to be a favorite past time for our family. Karachi not only holds large glitzy book shops, but little stores in small nooks as well stalls in its bazaars and hawkers with old books piled high on their carts. Book buying is always a treasure hunt; you never know what little gem you may find tucked away amongst dusty shelves.
And, if you happen to be in the area, why not check out some of the great weekly book fairs such as the one held at Frere Hall, in Clifton… It’s a sure way to spend a fun and educational Sunday evening with your family.
Furthermore, school vacations flag the beginning of a spew of summer classes from academic workshops to sports camps, art classes and even horse riding lessons. Some of these classes continue into the regular school semester as after school classes and clubs. The variety has increased over the years making the summer a blur of activity.
Learning from Security Risks
There is no ignoring the security risks of living in Karachi, but that in turn has helped us develop instincts of caution and remaining alert while we’re outdoors, and it has also encouraged the children to look through the papers regularly.
Sure, Karachi is no storybook city, but we have found that within its adversity and diverse atmosphere our family is learning valuable lessons of life.