My name is Randa, I am originally from Palestine and grew up in Qatar and then moved to U.S.A. for college. I met my wonderful husband, Jemal and that was the start of a new chapter in my life.
When I had my first child (Sumayya), I knew that she was so precious to us and Allah had given her to us as a loan and our job as parents is to provide her with the best opportunity in life and raise her and her siblings with our best that both of us as parents could offer.
I believe strongly that we as parents will be judge on how we raise our children. I also believe that one way to enter Janna is by raising a Muslim son/daughter who prays for me after I leave this life. Subhanallah , I never thought of sending my kids to public school at all, the idea of sending them to private school or Islamic school was there but I never thought or heard that homeschooling even exist. Especially since, I had my education until high school overseas. Home school a child is not common in the Middle East.
I, honestly, was convinced right away, but I had doubted my abilities and skills. My journey with homeschooling started the following day of seeing my friend. I did as much research as I could online. I visited the library number of times and read many books about homeschooling. Then I met a local support group in our area, Urbana in Illinois, and it was comforting to meet other moms who are doing the same thing and a sigh of relief to see their children are getting done with grade school successfully.
It was difficult for me to picture my girls spending most of their day in western schools. A place where the name of Allah is never mentioned. Public school to me means that school is open to the public. Children from all over are welcome to come. Sounds good I am sure, but not exactly. In USA, Parents are not always the ideal role model for a child. Children are coming from a broken household. Divorce rate is high in America. Number of children are raised by single mother. Others are living with step -mother or a stepfather. Children are exposed to so much in their lives that makes them unstable and not feeling secure.
Public school is no longer a place for education and a good friendship. School is becoming a place where children are exposed to sexual relationship, peer pressure, drugs, insecurity, and loud music and so on. Where do you see Islamic education in all of that?
My husband and I decided to take full responsibilities of our children education. I needed to provide for them a safe environment where they love their creator(Allah) and live in peace and harmony. Home is the place where children bloom safely and happily. Life is the real school for a person. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) never been to school and he is the best role model of all humanity. The prophet’s mother decided to send him away from the city to the countryside where he could live pure and healthy life. Rasulullah (PBUH) said that we all are caregiver and we all are responsible for those who we care for.
My girls are now 8 and 9 years old and they both are happy to be with people who could give them all the love in the world (the parents). I think home school could work for all children; Parents need to modify the teaching methods to suit the child’s need. Some children are very active and like learning through games and hands-on activities. Other children love to read and listen to stories. Some children learn by repetitions and practicing often. Children are never the same and they are all unique in their own way.
My family method of schooling is a little different from public school. Our philosophy is to teach our girls the love of learning and the joy of seeking knowledge. I am against the idea of studying only to seek a better grade. My first focus was on reading. Once our girls mastered reading, they were ready to blast off to discover the world. Subhanallah, it is amazing to see them growing mentally and becoming more intellectual by reading alone.
Sumayya and Amina could spend all day reading without feeling bored. They read books first thing in the morning and spend so much time at the library picking up their favorite books. They listen to audio books at lunchtime sometimes and at bedtime most of the time.
As for the other subjects, we do math daily no exception. My older daughter takes math lessons online and that free me a little to help my younger daughter with her math. We work on vocabulary couple times a week and on science once a week. They both love history and that made me love it as well. They are learning about the beginning of civilization from ancient time to current time. They both like Geography, so I have a big map poster hanging in our study room and every time they study a new country, they find it on the map and label it on their own map. They both watch educational shows quite often.
Our girls are both active in the community with both Muslims and non-Muslims who are selectively chosen by us. They both participate in part time Islamic school and Arabic classes. They go to a group study once a week and they both very active in sport as well. They both mastered swimming and ice skating and they are currently taking Tennis/Karate lesson as well. They both are active member of girls scout and go camping with the rest of the group a couple times a year.
Homeschooling a child needs commitments, determination and patience but the benefit of having a child homeschooled is countless and the results are priceless. In USA, homeschooled children scored the highest in spelling bees, they are more aware of world events/news. Homeschooled children are on the top list for college due to high grades. I think any mom is able to home school her child as long as she is willing to provide them with love and patience and understands the child needs as well. Alhamdulillah, technology is very advance and it is much easier to home school a child now than ever before. Home school is getting becoming very common is the USA. Parents are now capable of educating their children in many ways. Some children study online by home school companies that are designed specifically for children who study at home. Some children take group classes with other homeschooled children. A mother could also purchase curriculum online or simply check them out form a local library as well. Teaching different ages as the same time is doable. The older children could easily teach the younger ones (a great way to bond together). A mother could divide the subjects so older ones can do their assignments until mom finishes with the younger ones. Mom then moves on with harder subjects with the older ones. I personally try to purchase subjects that I could teach both of my children at the same time. My daughters do history/geography and science at the same time.
Homeschooling a child is actually a way to prepare them for college. I witness many successful stories of homeschooled children moving on to college in early ages. They are actually on the top list to be accepted in college because of their positive reputation.
Behavior wise, homeschooled children are known to be well-behaved kids who are able to socialize with any group age without any difficulties. The theory behind that is that they are not exposed daily to peer pressure and not being influenced by the wrong crowd. Homeschooling my own children helped me personally. Homeschooling my girls had taught me to be more patient, understanding my girl’s needs. I am learning along with long. I enjoy having them around me while I read to them. I enjoy watching a big smile in their faces when they get their answers right. My girls are bonding with me more. I get so much hugs and kisses from them.
We as parents get to have these kids once in our lives. Let us enjoy them before they fly away into their own lives.