Parents who have experienced the joy of homeschooling consider it a calling. Without doubt, homeschooling is a great option for Muslim families who want to protect their children from un-Islamic influences, and give them a personalized, need-based Islamic education that is not found in public schools. Homeschooling can be rewarding and fun, both for children and their parents, since it saves both from falling into the regular school routine and keeps their timings flexible and free to accommodate many activities not otherwise included in a regular school.
Is Homeschooling the right choice for you?
- Publish date:02/04/2009
However, homeschooling is also hard work.
Homeschooling mothers have to divide their time between choosing and following each child’s curriculum, organizing school days, teaching children, checking their work, keeping the homeschooling routine fresh, in addition to the long list of tasks that already fill a mother’s days: cooking, cleaning, laundry, chauffeuring, nurturing, grocery shopping. Besides, wives have to make time exclusively for their husbands. All these responsibilities definitely add up, and should be considered before you take the decision to homeschool your children.
Things to consider: Other than these daily responsibilities, there are other things to think of.
How well do you cope with pressure?
Anyone who has homeschooled children, especially multiple children of different age-groups will tell you that homeschooling can be extremely stressful. This is because the pressure of your children’s education, their success and failure is completely on you. In schools, there are specialist teachers to tackle a different subject, which takes the pressure off one teacher and gives children exposure to a variety of teaching styles and personalities. It also gives teachers some breathing space, and gives them more time to concentrate on the subject they are best at.
However, at home, you’re the one teaching your children everything – from art and craft to Science, sports and languages. If you have more than one child, the pressure gets multiplied proportionately. Throw a toddler or two or a newborn in the mix, and you have the recipe for a complete breakdown even if you’re not the easily stressed type.
Your ability to cope with pressure and remain focused and motivated in spite of ‘off days’ is a good indication of homeschooling success. It is also a good idea to have a support system in place and network with other homeschooling mothers to exchange encouragement and ideas. Join an online forum, read homeschooling books and strategies by the experts before you start on your homeschooling journey, so that you know exactly what you’re going in for.
Make an informed choice and be prepared: physically, mentally and spiritually. In your daily schedule, make time for prayer and Athkaar. For example you could give the children a mid-morning break while you pray Ad-Dhuha (the midday prayer) or take a peaceful time-out to recite Athkaar (the mention of Allah). It makes all the difference to your state of mind as it maintains your spiritual connection with Allah, refreshes your intention that you are doing teaching your children for the sake of Allah and de-stresses you in a way no other thing can.
Do you have an emergency plan?
The Prophet , advised us to trust in Allah the Exalted, but tie our camel. In homeschooling terms, this means preparing a Plan B for emergencies like a child's or your own sickness, the arrival of house-guests or a new sibling. Surprises and homeschooling don't go very well together, so you must be super-organized and prepared for most eventualities to avoid your home-schooling plan from getting completely derailed.
Just like teachers in regular schools, make lesson plans and divide the monthly curriculum that you plan to follow according to each subject. This way, you will know where to start off from, if you have to take a sudden homeschooling break Prepare work sheets in advance (or download them off the internet) and keep them in a separate file. In case you are can't teach for a few days, they will keep the children occupied and in touch with whatever they've been studying.
Keep your spouse updated with whatever you're doing. Make a separate home-schooling log for each child and enter the lessons you do each day, mentioning the date. This way, he can take up where you left off. Homeschooling doesn't necessarily have to be entirely the mother's responsibility. Fathers who pitch in make the experience much more rewarding, expose the child to more a greater variety of teaching experiences and help the family bond together. There are many homeschooling fathers who find it gratifying to teach their children, as part of their Islamic duty, in obedience to the commands of Allah, where He Says (what means): "O you who believe! save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones." [Quran 66:06]