Children are our future. Sadly, today’s children are facing many challenges like weapons, drugs, gangs and peer pressure in public schoolenvironments.
Once a relatively peaceful environment, many school grounds of today are becoming unsafe for both students and teachers. For these and many more reasons, parents might choose to home school their children in the US because they want to incorporate religious study and/or personal ethics into their curriculum.
We mentioned to our friend Nayma about the issues of public schooling and what home schooling has to offer. She has been homeschooling her children for about 7 years.
Nayma Kose, a dedicated educator and entrepreneur, was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh and raised in Kuwait and the USA. She has BS in Biochemistry and minor in comparative religions from University of Rochester. She got into the MBA program at Syracuse University but decided to stop and take care of her children first.
Mrs. Kose’s main passion is being a dedicated educator. She has been homeschooling her children for about 7 years. She has also started assisted homeschooling program and tutoring service (assistedhomeschooling.com). Not only children living in the USA but also children living in other countries can participate in her program.
She is married to Murat Kose with 5 children. Anyone interested can follow her blog.
What are her plans for the next few years? She tells them that she is booked for the next 15 inshallah(in raising her children). After that if she still is alive, she has lots of plans!
Could you please tell us about home schooling. How do you describe it?
N.Kose: Teaching my kids the science, math, etc. while instilling the teachings of our Prophet (SAW). Seerah and the Quran has the same emphasis as science and math.
Do you believe that home schooling program could work for all children?
N.Kose: Yes all children are capable of being homeschooled.. It really depends on how much commitment mothers want to make. It is a full time job. it means you can have very little socialization. It means losing friends as even a phone conversation is almost impossible to make. I know of friends who started homeschooling their daughters in High School as their children really wanted it.
If a mother can’t do it herself, she can always hire a tutor.
What are benefits and difficulties of home schooling?
N.Kose: Difficulties as I mentioned was a lack of ‘alone’ time for the mother. You don’t get the usual 8 hour break from kids. You are with them 24/7.
Benefits: Are endless… I would not trade it for the world. Instead of always fighting with their siblings, they learn to love and care for each other. They encourage each other to be good. They remind each other when someone goes the wrong way.
You get to add islam into every subject they learn, Allah’s miracle in mountains, space and the amazing growth of plants.
You can let them spend more time in the subjects they have a natural inclination to. One of my children works more on poetry writing, the other in story writing, the other in art… You can nurture those talents in a way only a mother can
Do you think home schooling is better than public or private school? Why? How did you decide to do home schooling for your kids?
N.Kose: Well I think every mother would love to send their children to the perfect Islamic private school where the teachers love children and has a positive outlook in life.
But it is very hard to find that perfect private school where the teachers don’t change every year; Most private Islamic schools in the US also do not have a very good Islamic curriculum
As for public schools, I went to public high school in the US. I would not want that for any child. Any child that has been through an Islamic childhood will detest it. Everything you see there is contrary to Allah’s teachings.
Ofcourse at first you hate it, you detest in your heart, the sights you see and experience, you know kissing, hugging of the opposite gender, cheating, etc.
But the worst of it all is that slowly, it becomes normal for you. It seems you are the abnormal one. Why you don’t even shake hands with the opposite gender?
Remember Allah tells us in the Quran to look for the companions who praise Him day and evening. That was the main guiding light for me to not send my children to public school.
How do you grade your students?
N.Kose: I give them tests regularly just like in school.
Do you believe that children who attend home schooling are getting a higher education?
N.Kose:Home schooled children will definitely miss out on the latest lab gadgets, experiments, etc. But they do get one to one tutoring. And Alhamdulillah nowadays everything is online.
Although not a requirement, you can also send them to college courses for lab once they are in high school.
How do you teach the students different grade level at the same time?
N.Kose: Every morning i hand up each child’s schedule with timings. They look it up and follow it. I go from one child to another helping them when they need it.
i do Islamic Studies together.
Homeschool or not, mothers should spend extra time with their children in the evenings just learning about the Prophet(SAW). We listen to so many online lectures given by great speakers.
I have them do summaries on what they learn. I have them also do plays on different hadiths. When you spend time with the children, the creative things you can do are endless. At the end regardless of what we decide to do, it is Allah who guides. We need to make lots of dua that He guides us and them to jannatul firdous.
Do you think, homeschooled kids would become anti social?
N.Kose: Many parents have that big concern. Are we not depriving them from their peers and social interaction. Will they not be cut off from society and unable to deal with others?
But Alhamdulillah my kids have not turned out to be antisocial. Furkan was able to lead the children in a song in camp. Nur tutors other kids in Delaware and as seen in the picture, she is in a play(act) in which she herself wrote the script. I am not bragging and I hope it is not taken as such. Just want to comfort other mothers that they will not be handicapping their children by homeschooling their precious ones. But instead can instill in them beautiful social and leadership skills that our beloved prophet SAW has taught us. Ofcourse we have to at the same time arrange for social activities for our children to participate. That too is essential for their well-being. But instead of letting others determine our children’s environment for 8-10hours a day, we should take an active part in providing positive companionship.
I wanted that parents should take an active role in their children’s education regardless of if they homeschool or not. Only then will our children succeed. Many of the competions my children participate are national ones. One time I was surprised to see that the first place winner for a critical writing contest was a girl named Leyla Akay from Turkey. Nur was 2nd place in that contest.
A few girls come to study with Nur for first grade three days a week.
This brings up another good thing about homeschooling. Many times I will have the older kids do a science or social studies chapter with their younger siblings. This accomplishes two things: They get to review their facts and also spend time with their siblings. In turn, the younger ones respect their older siblings because of their efforts in teaching them
The next one is also very dear to my heart. Nur, Furkan and I have been learning Arabic(language with grammar,vocab. etc) with this website. (http://www.lqtoronto.com/)You are able to listen and see the brother explain the rules of Arabic Grammar. The person who wrote the books he follows teaches at Medina University. I’ve studied Arabic in Kuwait and in college here, but this brother does it the best alhamdulillah. Also, it Is FREE OF CHARGE. Now there is no excuse for any of us to say that we cannot learn the language of the Quran.
Also many parents think that at the elementary level, it doesn’t matter where kids study or what environment they are in. That we should worry about their Islam after they are 11 or 12. I totally disagree with that. While teaching mine and other children I have realized children are more eager to listen at an earlier age. Their character is growing and developing at a very early age. They learn how to respect others, how to deal with problems, etc from age 2. By the time they are 11, it is very difficult to change their character and sometimes too late. So we have to be very careful in what atmosphere we put our 7 year olds. Remember our Prophet, saw, told us to tell them to pray at that age. So it must be a very important age.
Interviewed by Rabia YENER
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