Rabbi Zidnee Ilman
“My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.”
Abdullah ibn Umar narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects. A man is the guardian of his family and he is responsible for them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and his children and she is responsible for them.”
[Narrated by Bukhari & Muslim]
In Islam, it is the parent’s responsibility to make sure their children receive the best possible education, especially about their religion. We cannot entrust this responsibility to someone else, unless we truly trust them. This is one of many reasons why I believe homeschooling is a better option for Muslim parents, as you are doing what Allah has entrusted you with, and not leaving it to others to take care of.
Homeschooling can be a daunting task for someone who is new to the process. It isn’t something that your parents and elders will be able to assist with; unless you too were home-schooled.
When we want to begin, we are overwhelmed often in trying to figure out where to start. Your starting point should be to research everything properly, so that you are prepared for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
I recently wrote and published an e-book aimed at assisting such parents with their research. The book is titled ‘Homeschooling 101: What to expect in your first year’, and is available for purchase and download via my website: Islamic Self Help.
Besides my book, I also recommend the following resources for new homeschooling parents to read before they begin homeschooling:
- Why Homeschooling –a short e-book on the reasons to consider homeschooling, written by Zohra Sarwari
- The Unschooling Handbook –a detailed explanation of unschooling and how to do it effectively, written by Mary Griffith
- Any, and if possible, all books by John Holt. John Holt was an educator who is considered the pioneer of the modern homeschooling movement. His books provide deep insight into how children learn, why the school system is failing, and how to effectively assist your children in learning. Every homeschooling parent should be familiar with John’s writings, in my opinion.
Besides reading these books, you also need to prepare mentally and emotionally for the changes to your life-style that come with homeschooling. In order to help you prepare for the task, I want to give you three pieces of parting advice:
The word Sabr has many meanings which include patience, consistency, persistence, and perseverance. All of these meanings apply to homeschooling. It requires patience in both dealing with your children all day, and dealing with society and their objections. Homeschooling requires consistent effort in educating your children daily. Homeschooling requires persistence and perseverance during difficult days when you just feel like giving up and sending them back to school.
Sabr is critical for accomplishing any goal, and homeschooling is no exception. If you are serious about homeschooling, you will need to build your Sabr levels up and utilize it to keep you going through the obstacles that will get in the way of your goals. And remember that every worthy goal has obstacles in the way of it, so prepare for them with Sabr.
Think Long Term
You may not see the fruits of homeschooling today or even this year; you will face setbacks, you will have to answer to people who don’t understand your choice, and you will have to deal with many challenges. The key is to keep your eye on the goal and think long term. Focus on your long term goals and the core reasons why you chose to home-school your kids.
This is why it is so important for parents to have a strong vision and long term goals for homeschooling. It shouldn’t just be about completing school or doing things differently; there needs to be a deeper motive to keep you going through difficult times.
For me, I want to raise my children to be leaders of their generation with the necessary religious knowledge and worldly skills to lead the ummah into a brighter future. This is why they need an extraordinary education and not just what everybody else is getting. So my entire homeschooling system revolves around these goals. I will teach them things that nobody else usually learns at their age, if I feel it will help them become better leaders for tomorrow.
Long term goals like these are critical as they will be your key motivation during difficult times and will silence any ideas of giving up that may pop up in your mind, like the most common one: it would have been so much easier to just send them to school. If this thought ever crosses your mind, just remind yourself of why you chose to home=school and that it isn’t about what is easier, it is about what is best for their future in the long term.
Enjoy every moment and memory
Your kids will only be kids once, and after a few short years they will grow up and leave home to live their own lives. Homeschooling provides an opportunity to build some truly special memories between you and them that will last a lifetime and help them transition into a healthy adulthood.
It is easy to get stressed out and caught up in keeping up with the syllabus and learning too much every day in such a way that it saps any joy out of the process. Doing so will rob you and your children of an opportunity to build amazing memories and enjoy the finer moments of the process.
Try to relax and enjoy each day for what it is, and to make each day a memorable and fun lesson that your child will cling to for life, especially during the many dark tests they may face as adults.
In closing, remember that homeschooling is an investment and like any investment it requires time, money, effort, patience, and long-term commitment to produce fruitful results. Focus on doing your best, make dua to Allah to assist you every step of the way, and stay true to your Deen and your life vision.
In shaa Allah, if you do all of this, you too can home-school your children effectively without regrets.
Authored by Ustadh Ismail Kamdar
Edited by Beenish Bakhtawar