This is a scheduled post.
Next in my series of guest posts is a post from Weronika who blogs at Multicultural Motherhood
My name is Weronika and I am a mother of two young children from the south west of England. I am a Speech and Language Therapist and have recently started a PhD in bilingualism and autism. My husband is a Turkish Kurd and we are hoping to raise our children to be multilingual. We are a Muslim family and are planning to home educate our children. I blog about our multilingual, multicultural journey as well as home educating. I also write about my interests; crafting, cooking and all the wonderfully fun activities I do with my children.
“The best gift from a father to his child is the gift of education and upbringing”
Hadith of At-Tirmidhi on the authority of Sa’id Ibn Al-‘as.
I have just started homeschooling my eldest child who has just turned 5 years old. I NEVER thought I would homeschool. It had never even occurred to me that homeschooling might be best for my kids. I grew up a Catholic and went to Catholic schools. I became Muslim when I was 19 years old, Alhamdulillah, and gave birth to my first child at the age of 22, but still I didn’t think about homeschooling. I had a few friends who were considering it but I never really bothered to ask them their thoughts on the subject. I always thought I would send my children to school.
Then, we spent six months living in Germany. My daughter had just turned three and my son was 9 months old. My daughter was ready to start Kindergarten, so I tried to enroll her at the local one. However, the waiting list was around 500 children! I checked some others nearby and they all had equally long waiting lists – between 500-700 kids! I had to accept that there was no way my daughter would be getting into Kindergarten. If we stayed in Germany, and we were planning to at the time, she would be home with me until she started school at the age of six or seven. What would I do with her until then? Surely she should start learning something? It was then I started to look into homeschooling. I read a book called ‘You can do it too’ which is a collection of interviews with homeschooling parents compiled by Lorilee Lippincott. After that I was hooked. I had made up my mind; I was going to homeschool my children.
There are so many reasons I have chosen to homeschool, one of the main reasons being, I would like my children to be able to learn about the things that interest them and develop a love of learning I hope will last a lifetime. For this article, I would like to focus on the benefits of homeschooling for Muslim families.
Give children an Islamic education
You can make Islam an important aspect in your child’s education. Your children can have Quran lessons and Arabic lessons etc. that they may not have at school, unless your children go to an Islamic school or course. Also, you will be able to give your child an education that fits in with the teachings of Islam. You will not have to teach them about things that conflict with Islamic teachings or values. Furthermore, they will not have to join in with the celebrations of other religions such as Christmas.
No Islamic alternative
We are lucky that nowadays there are more and more Islamic schools appearing all over the country. However, there may not be one near to where you live. Also, some of these schools are expensive so you my not be able to afford to send your children there, especially if you have more than one child. In this case, you may like to consider homeschooling so you can bring your children up with the ethos you desire.
Keep children away from an unislamic environment
Your children will not be surrounded by the drugs, alcohol and sexual experimentation that is becoming more widespread in our society. They will also not feel the peer pressure to take part in these activities. It is such a worry for many parents these days. As their children become older they may worry about their exposure to unislamic practices. By homeschooling, you will be able to bring your child up in an Allah-centred environment, free from those troubling influences. This is one of my main reasons for homeschooling my children. Growing up a non-Muslim, I witnessed a lot of the things I would now like to keep my children away from. I am so glad I can protect my children from these things and not have to worry about my children getting involved with them Inshallah.
Free to practice Islam
We are lucky in the UK that we are able to practice our religion freely but there may be instances, particularly in other countries such as France, where individuals do not have this freedom. In Turkey and France, many girls cannot wear hijab to school. I’ve even heard that those women in Turkish universities that wear hijab are risking their grades as some lecturers even give them lower marks because they do not agree with hijab! By homeschooling, you will be able to practice freely. You will be able to take time out for praying, you will be able to wear hijab and you will be able to change your daily routine during the month of Ramadan, if you wish. You could even take the month of Ramadan off or change your timetable to include more Islamic teaching and reflection during this special time.
No worrying about haram food
This is something that I worry about when my children are not with me. I remember an incident when my daughter was a baby and she went to nursery for a while whilst I was studying at university. One day I picked her up and they told me how she had had lots of fun that day playing with jelly! The look on my face must have been one of shock and anxiety and I walked out feeling bad that my daughter had eaten gelatin. However, I should not have worried as the manager came running after me and explained my daughter had actually been playing with vegetarian jelly, thank goodness. I was lucky on that occasion but it does make me think there could have been other times when she was given something non-halal to eat. After all, a lot of non-Muslims do not realise the amount of food that contains gelatin or other non-halal products. I know this because my own family are not Muslim and I often have this issue with them. I have to remind them to check the ingredients.
Removing your child from a hostile environment
Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more usual to witness islamaphobia these days. With all the hatred that is being thrown at Muslims from some individuals in society, you my wish to protect your child from an environment which promotes this. I am not saying that it is the kind of attitude that is promoted in schools but it is becoming more common in society in general.
So there you have it. Six reasons why homeschooling may be beneficial for your child. Please don’t take this to mean that you should be homeschooling, there are many good schools around. I just wanted to think about homeschooling from an Islamic perspective for this post. Personally, I have many other more general reasons why I chose to homeschool and I will be writing an article about these soon.